Cumbria County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. This is reflected in the way we recruit, contract services, undertake our duties and address any safeguarding concerns which may arise. 

Cumbria County Council's Safer Employment and Criminal Convictions procedure (PDF 632KB).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for helpful information about our safeguarding practices during the recruitment process:

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service and a DBS check returns information about an individual's spent and unspent criminal record.

There are 3 main types of DBS checks which return different levels of information about a person's criminal background and / or suitability to work with children and /or adults. These are:

  • standard DBS
  • enhanced DBS 
  • enhanced DBS with barred list check.

An applicant will require a DBS check if they are offered a position with us which is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. The types of roles that would require a DBS check are mainly those that involve working with children or adults at risk. However if the role you are applying for requires a DBS check, this will be indicated on the advert, the job specification or the recruitment information for the role.

The DBS check forms part of the recruitment process and allows employers to make safe and informed recruitment decisions about a candidate's suitability for a role. Find out more about the DBS check process.

The DBS will send DBS certificates directly to the individual applicant rather than the Council or School.  All applicants then need to present their DBS certificates to the recruiting manger within 7 days of receipt.

Managers / Headteachers will then review the content and record some basic information to confirm the certificate has been generated.

DBS certificates are sent directly to the applicant so that they can make sure the information is accurate and up to date before they choose to share the information with prospective employers.

The DBS say it can take around 8 weeks for a DBS check to be processed and returned to the applicant. Our experience is that most are processed sooner, however some applications do take up to 8 weeks.  

Additionally, delays can occur if forms include errors so applicants should check the form thoroughly before submitting it.

As an applicant you are able to check the progress of the disclosure application on the DBS Tracking Service website by entering the DBS application form reference number and your date of birth.

No, if the post you have applied for requires a DBS check then you cannot start employment with Cumbria County Council / the School until a DBS certificate has been received, the content has been reviewed and successful clearance has been confirmed.

The DBS clearance is only one pre-employment check required during the appointment process and appointments are also subject to clearances such as health checks, references, qualification and registration checks.

Successful candidates will be contacted as soon as all pre-employment clearances have been successfully received so that a start date can be arranged.

DBS checks are not portable from one employer to another so candidates will need a new DBS check before they commence any new employment with Cumbria County Council / the School.

The Update Service

However, if an applicant is subscribed to the DBS Update Service, their original DBS certificate is transferable and candidates should present a copy of this to the recruiting manager along with confirmation that they are a member of the update service. Candidates are also required to provide consent for their status to be checked by this service. Candidates should be aware that even if they are a member of the update service, the original DBS clearance can only be accepted if the level of DBS clearance covers the requirements of the role. For example, if you had a standard DBS check with a previous employer, subscribed to the Update Service, and now need an enhanced DBS clearance - a new DBS check will be needed.

Find out more about the Update Service

Cumbria County Council and some Schools

Additionally, it should be noted that Voluntary Controlled Schools, Community Schools and Cumbria County Council are all classed as the same employer. Therefore a new DBS check will not be needed provided that:

  1. The applicant's employer will not change (they will be moving jobs between any of the above establishments)
  2. The level of DBS clearance required in the new job is the same as your old / existing job
  3. There will be no gap in employment between the old job and new job.

All unspent information on your criminal record, eg criminal convictions, cautions, fines etc, should be declared in the relevant section within the application form when you apply for the job. This applies to all jobs.

If the post you are applying for is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and therefore a DBS check is required for the role, you should also declare any relevant spent information. This information will be returned on your DBS certificate if you are successful at interview so it is important to declare this at the beginning of the recruitment process.

It is recognised that in order to appoint on merit, and to comply with legislation, Cumbria County Council considers candidates for employment from the broadest range possible, which includes ex-offenders.  Obtaining a job is an essential part of successful rehabilitation. 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 for interview. Having a spent or unspent criminal conviction does not automatically exclude candidates from getting a job with us. In these circumstances a structured assessment takes place to determine the appropriateness of the appointment and if any adjustments may be required.

The DBS cannot access overseas criminal records.  Where candidates are recruited from abroad or where a candidate has spent time living or travelling abroad, a DBS check may not provide a complete picture of an individual's criminal record.

In these circumstances it is the applicants' responsibility to obtain a Record of Good Conduct from the appropriate country where they have been living, working or travelling and to meet any associated costs. Failure to do so may result in any offer of employment being rescinded. In many circumstances, a DBS clearance is needed in addition to a record of good conduct. 

The Home Office has published additional guidance on criminal record checks for overseas applicants.

Cumbria County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and all of our recruitment and vetting practices are in place to promote equality and fairness for our candidates as well as the safety of our service users. 

"Safer Recruitment" under part 3 of the "Keeping Children Safe in Education" guidance describes the recruitment practices required when recruiting to roles in an education setting such as a school, college or maintained nursery school. 

For roles in these settings, the following recruitment approach is taken: 

  • application forms are scrutinised before shortlisting is undertaken for any gaps in employment. These are discussed with candidates and accounted for during the interview
  • two written references are taken up before interview and any issues discussed with the candidate at interview 
  • interviews are be undertaken face to face
  • prior to employment, all essential qualifications and registrations for the role are verified
  • the relevant pre-employment checks for the role must be carried out, including a DBS Check. 

Normally only the successful candidates referees will be contacted after interview.

However if the role you are applying for is in an education setting and covered by the "Keeping Children Safe in Education" guidance then references will be contacted before interview. This applies to those roles in schools, colleges and maintained nursery schools.

The table below provides a list of pre-employment checks applicable for safeguarding appointments. The type of pre-employment check required is dependent on the role and setting the employee will be working in.


Types of Pre-employment check

Further details

Applies to

Right to Work in the UK

 To check if someone can work in the UK, and find out what documentation needs to be provided and copied, please access the tool below:

Right to work in the UK tool

All employees


2 References

Satisfactory references to be received prior to appointment. For those working in an education setting, the references must be requested prior to interview.

All employees


Occupational Health Clearance

Outlining the fitness for the candidate to work in the role and any reasonable adjustments to accommodate the appointment.

All Employees

Proof of relevant qualifications

The qualifications needed to undertake the role as outlined in the role profile and post specification

All Employees

Teaching Services Checks

Teaching Services Checks are needed prior to employing a teacher. They cover

  • the award of QTS
  • completion of teacher induction
  • prohibitions, sanctions and restrictions that might prevent the individual from taking part in certain activities or working in specific positions

Teaching Services

Teaching Roles only

Childcare (Disqualification) declaration

Pre-employment declaration form confirming the prospective employee is not disqualified from working with children of a particular age group in schools.

Individuals providing childcare and working with particular age groups

Peripatetic /supply staff who could provide childcare for this age group during their employment 

Proof of relevant registrations or licenses

Certain roles require registrations or licences before an individual can work in the service.

For example:

  • CQC registration for health and social care roles
  • HCPC / GSCC registration for Qualified Social Workers and Occupational Therapists

Relevant roles only as outlined in the post specification

DBS Check

Those working in roles that are eligible for a DBS check require DBS check before commencement. Types of check:

  • Standard DBS
  • Enhanced DBS
  • Enhanced with barred lists (children's and /or adults)

Relevant roles only as outlined in the post specification

Alternative DBS

Update Service Check

This check replaces the need for a DBS, but can only be applied to candidates who are registered with the DBS update service.

Relevant roles only as outlined in the post specification

Statement of good conduct

The DBS cannot access overseas criminal records.  Where a candidate has spent time living or travelling abroad it is the applicants' responsibility to obtain a Record of Good Conduct from the appropriate country. Failure to do so may result in any offer of employment being rescinded. Advice must be sought from People Management/HR Provider

How to apply for a statement of good conduct

This check may be needed in addition to a DBS check.

Posts requiring a DBS Check