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From CRB to DBS: changes to CRB checks and their impact on HE admissions Pip Gilroy, SPA Admissions Support and Development Advisor Mairwen Cleal, Legal Counsel, UCAS Kim Hearth, Exeter University. Legislative changes . Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

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From CRB to DBS: changes to CRB checks and their impact on HE admissions Pip Gilroy, SPA Admissions Support and Development AdvisorMairwen Cleal, Legal Counsel, UCASKim Hearth, Exeter University
legislative changes
Legislative changes

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

  • 1 December 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau merged with Independent Safeguarding Authority to form a single body, the Disclosure and Barring Services.

The Main changes as a result of the merger and new legislation are:

  • change in terminology from CRB to DBS
  • Update Service – available from 17 June 2013
  • Changed definitions of “regulated activity” meaning fewer people now require checks.
  • Checks now sent to individuals in the first instance.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013

  • came into force on 29 May 2013
  • The amendment relaxes the rules on disclosure of cautions and convictions
  • Filtered cautions and convictions are referred to as ‘protected’ cautions and convictions
  • Filtering only applies where:
    • An individual only has either one conviction or only cautions and then certain rules will apply to determine whether or not such a conviction or cautions are protected from disclosure on the DBS certificate
  • This means that you can no longer ask an applicant to declare all unspent cautions or convictions.
what does ucas collect
What does UCAS collect?

Criminal records disclosure is split between two questions within Apply:

  • Application level – all applicants are asked to indicate by ticking a declaration if they have any relevant unspent convictions
  • Course level – if the course falls into the ‘excepted’ category, i.e education, the applicant is asked to declare whether they have any cautions or convictions which would appear on a DBS check
  • There is detailed help text for both questions guiding the applicant what they should and should not disclose

Other legislation to consider:

  • Data Protection Act -Information about the commission, or alleged commission, of criminal offences is sensitive personal data.
england and wales update service
England and Wales: Update Service
  • Individual registers for the Update Service when they obtain their disclosure
  • Any registered body can then, with the individual’s permission, perform a free “Status Check” to see
  • whether any new information has been added to
  • the disclosure
  • If the Status Check reveals that there are no changes to the disclosure, the registered body can be absolutely confident that the individual’s disclosure is still valid and up-to-date, and does not need to seek a new disclosure
  • Significant improvement on the old scheme, which required new checks periodically, and every time an individual changed employment / activity
england and wales update service limitations
England and Wales: Update Service Limitations
  • Registration costs £13
  • Individual has only 14 days after disclosure issued to register
  • Disclosure is only portable between positions relevant to the same workforce: “Adult”, “Child” or “Adult and Child”. Moving between workforces will always require a new disclosure
  • Update service does not allow the registered body to view the actual disclosure online: will still need to view the original
  • If there have been changes, registered body will not see details of these, and a new disclosure will be needed
  • If existing disclosure relates to a voluntary position, a new one will always be required when moving to a post ineligible for a free disclosure
some particular issues for heis relating to courses requiring disclosure
Some particular issues for HEIs relating to courses requiring disclosure
  • Gaining sight of the original disclosure check from all applicants (England and Wales, will also apply to NI from 2015)
  • Timing of checks: significant delays in DBS checks in 2013 caused problems but now resolved
  • Checks for Clearing / Late applicants
  • Allowing applicants some form of registration when checks are still outstanding
  • Checks for international applicants :CPNI
england and wales more information
England and Wales: More Information
  • An independent charity providing information and advice for people with convictions
  • Happy to advise applicants and pre-applicants about their obligations re disclosure, filtering etc.
  • Happy for HE providers to direct enquirers to them
  • Happy to talk to HE providers

spa good practice guidance applicants with criminal convictions
SPA Good Practice Guidance – Applicants with Criminal Convictions
  • Originally written in 2008
  • Partially revised in 2011
  • Substantially revised Feb 2014 and published on SPA website at
group discussions
Group Discussions
  • Filtering
  • Checks for clearing/late applicants
  • Checks for International Applicants