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Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in 2012. The DBS is responsible for:

  • processing requests for criminal records checks
  • deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list
  • placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

See the Disclosure and Barring Service website for more information.

Criminal Record checks (DBS checks) 

The University processes DBS checks for staff and students via the following departments:

  • Human Resources - For new/existing employees who require a DBS check or recheck as part of their position with the University, or as a result of a change of activity for an existing employee.
  • Student Admissions and Recruitment - For applicants to programmes of study that require a DBS check or for students who require a DBS as part of their programme of study (including DBS checks for research students and students on placements)
  • Warwick Volunteers - Warwick Volunteers complete a DBS check for student volunteers who are involved in a Warwick Volunteers Project where they are required to work with children or adults at risk.
  • Unitemps - For Unitemps staff who require a DBS check or recheck as part of their position with Unitemps, or as a result of a change in activity for an existing Unitemps employee.

If you require a DBS check for a student or staff member, please contact the appropriate department listed above for further advice.

DBS at Warwick

The University will undertake DBS checks every three years, noting that for students the DBS check will be considered valid for the duration of their course of study.

  • A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out.
  • Checks for staff are every three years, and for students will be for the duration of their course, noting that the onus is on staff/students to declare any changes to their criminal records that occur between checks.
  • DBS checks will be retaken if a member of staff takes a career break/leave of absence, or if a student took a period of temporary withdrawal. In both instances the break/withdrawal would need to be for six months or more.
  • If the student/staff member has signed up for the DBS update service rechecks can be undertaken online.


  • We can accept checks that have been completed by other organisations, provided the level of check, application position and workforce match the position they will be joining at Warwick.
  • The member of staff/student must have signed up to the update service for us to accept a DBS check from another organisation
  • We must check that the applicant’s identity matches the details on the update service.
  • There is no obligation to accept a check undertaken by another organisation – it is up to the discretion of the recruiting area (Admissions, Warwick Volunteers, Human Resources, Unitemps) to determine whether a check from an external organisation can be accepted on a case-by-case basis


Employers must make a referral to the DBS when they have concerns that a person has caused harm, or poses a future risk of harm to vulnerable groups, including children.

The power to refer can be used when an organisation thinks a person has either:

  • harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult
  • has satisfied the harm test; or
  • has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence and;
  • the person they’re referring is, has or might in future be working in regulated activity and;
  • the DBS may consider it appropriate for the person to be added to a barred list

Any potential matters for referral to the DBS should be reported immediately to the University’s Designated Person for Safeguarding via