Recruitment of ex-offenders and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The University is committed to a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities and to treating students and staff solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, as stated in our Charter.

Recruiting candidates with criminal records 

We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar an applicant from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background to the offences.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) provides criminal record checks for employment-related and voluntary appointment purposes. This is help establish whether a successful candidate has a background that might make them unsuitable for the job or volunteering position in question.

As an organisation using the DBS to assess applicants' suitability for positions of trust, the University complies with the Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.

What is a disclosure?

A disclosure is a document containing information held by the police and government departments. Disclosures provide details of a person's criminal record including convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC). Disclosures for those in regulated positions will also check 'barred' lists of those considered unsuitable for this type of work. Depending upon the level of disclosure, it might also contain information held by local police forces.

A Disclosure will only be requested after a risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those jobs where a disclosure is required, applicant information will contain a statement that a disclosure will only be requested in the event of the individual being offered the position.

Recruitment process

Unless the nature of the position allows the University to ask about an applicant's entire criminal record we only ask about ‘unspent’ convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 sets out those occupations and positions considered exempt from the act - these are generally positions of trust and which may involve work with children, older people and other vulnerable groups where there is a valid need to see a person's full criminal history in order to assess their suitability for a position.

For posts that require a disclosure, successful candidates receive guidance notes from Human Resources with their offer letter which details personal documentary evidence required by Human Resources before the DBS can be applied for.

Employment will be offered on a conditional basis, subject to a satisfactory disclosure, and a formal contract will not be issued until the disclosure certificate is received.

Further support

For further advice, contact the Resourcing Adviser.


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Telephone: 01206 876559