Human Resources

2.0    Procedure

2.1    Criminal Records Check Process

2.1.1    Recruitment and Selection

Applicants will be made aware if the post they are applying for is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. For posts that require the disclosure or a relevant DBS check of criminal records, HR will ensure advertisements and associated literature contain a statement notifying applicants that where an offer of employment is made, the College will also submit a request for a check to the DBS and confirmation of the offer will be subject to satisfactory references and the outcome of the checking process.

Applicants should be made aware that:

  • They will be required to provide relevant information to verify their identity.
  • If they provide false or misleading information, fail to provide information that is directly relevant to the post or deliberately withhold information, the offer of employment may be withdrawn.
  • By completing and signing the self-declaration form they are giving their consent to the College to verify the information through a criminal records check and to be provided with the outcome of any such checks. Once the information has been recorded HR will ensure that the applicant knows who the information will be disclosed to, what it will be used for, the process for handling and storing the information and the length of time it will take.
  • Should they seek to input or challenge a DBS check, they must do so in a timely manner so as not to delay the process.
  • If requested to do so, they will agree to subscribe to any system of "portable DBS check" which may be introduced and will agree to the College having access to the up to-date information provided in that check at any time and in a timely fashion.
  • Individuals are reminded that carrying out regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults whilst barred is a criminal offence and they will be expected to sign a declaration form confirming that they are not barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.
  • At interview, or in a separate discussion, the College will ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to disclose, by the applicant, any relevant information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment.

When considering the relevance of the offence and suitability for the post, the following factors may be taken into account:

  • The seriousness of the offence and its relevance to the safety of other employees; students, children and research subjects etc;
  • The length of time since the offence occurred;
  • Any relevant information offered by the applicant about the circumstances which led to the offence being committed;
  • The nature of the job and any opportunities that may present the applicant to re-offend;
  • The country in which the offence was committed e.g. some activities are offences in Scotland and not in England and Wales and vice versa;
  • Whether the offence has since been decriminalised by Parliament.

2.1.2   Non-UK Residency

Where a post calls for a criminal records check and the applicant is based overseas, a certificate of good conduct or overseas criminal record check will be required. Where the applicant state that they have never lived in the UK before, a check would normally be carried out via the DB overseas database.

2.1.3    Contractors and Volunteers

In general, the work or services provided by a contractor or volunteer will not require a check on the basis that responsibilities would not normally include unsupervised access to vulnerable groups including children. Where a check may be necessary, the basis for a criminal record check and the level of check (standard/enhanced) is determined by the duties and responsibilities that the contractor or volunteer will carry out.

2.1.4    Agency Workers

Birkbeck manages its recruitment of agency staff through the preferred supplier process which is managed by the London University Purchasing Consortium. All applicants sourced through agencies are subject to appropriate employment checks through the agency on an ongoing basis in accordance with agreed guidelines.

2.2    Criminal Records Discloures

In the event that an applicant has been shortlisted for a post and subsequently discloses  a criminal record, HR will contact the applicant to request further details. This information should be returned by the applicant under confidential cover for the attention of the relevant HR Manager clearly stating their name, the vacancy number and job title. The applicant will be notified that any personal data disclosed at this stage will only be handled by staff with the delegated authority to do so. Line managers should seek advice from HR and complete a risk assessment checklist to determine the suitability of the applicant in such circumstances. Criminal convictions do not automatically exclude anyone from being considered for a post. An assessment of the circumstances surrounding the conviction and the applicant’s skills and experiences should be reviewed alongside the risk assessment for the post.

2.3    Starting Work Before a DBS Check is Complete

Where a DBS check is required but has not been completed prior to a new recruit commencing work, line managers should consult HR in the first instance so that a risk assessment can be carried out and the following precautions taken to safeguard children and vulnerable adults:

  • DBS Disclosure process begun to verify applicant’s status.
  • Self-declaration form received from applicant.
  • Satisfactory references received from authorised personnel, with one from the most recent employer.
  • The applicant will not be assigned to work with children and vulnerable adults.
  • Additional relevant safeguards are identified and implemented until the College receives an up to date DBS.

2.4    Accepting Previously Issued CRB/DBS Checks

The College will consider DBS checks from other organisations on a case by case basis. Line managers should consult HR before a decision is made. If relying on a previous DBS check, a self-declaration form should also normally be sought. In any event, once live, applicants may be required to provide a portable DBS check which will contain up-to-date information.

2.5    Unsatisfactory Outcomes of a DBS Check

Where a DBS check results in an unsatisfactory outcome, line managers are advised to liaise with HR to review the best course of action. HR will discuss the findings of the DBS check with the applicant before any consideration is given to withdrawing the conditional offer of employment. If the decision is taken not to proceed with the appointment, the College will forward a letter to the applicant formally withdrawing the offer of employment.

2.6    In-post Checks

Existing staff in posts that require a DBS check will have their status checked/ re-checked on a periodic basis. Staff will be expected to notify HR, if during the course of their employment, they become the subject of a police investigation, they are arrested, cautioned, charged or convicted of a criminal offence. Staff are also expected to notify HR if they become barred from working with children or vulnerable adults, have been barred or there are any circumstances (including a referral or investigation) which may lead to them being barred. A deliberate failure to comply with the process may be considered a disciplinary matter and result in disciplinary action including dismissal. Additional checks may be required where the level of check required for the post changes or there are concerns about a member of staff’s behaviour.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Email: humanresources@bbk.ac.uk