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Human Resources


Secure storage, handling, use, retention and disposal of criminal record certificates and certificate information

This page describes how your data is used and stored if you are required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or a basic disclosure (criminal records check) to take up an offer of employment at the University.

General principles

The University uses the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Disclosure Scotland to help assess the suitability of applicants for certain positions of trust. We comply fully with the DBS Code of Practice regarding:

  • The correct handling and use of certificates and certificate information.
  • The storage and destruction of certificate information.

The University also complies fully with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 and other legislation relevant to the safe handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of criminal record certificate information.

Handling and Storage of Certificates and Certificate Information

Criminal record certificates are sent only to the applicant for a DBS check or basic disclosure. The applicant is asked to present the original certificate to the designated person in the department/institution (often the departmental administrator), to the Head of Recruitment or other DBS counter-signatory in the Human Resources Division. The type of check, the certificate reference number and the date of the check will be entered onto the applicant's record on CHRIS (the University's Human Resources and Payroll System) to show that the check was completed.

Where an applicant for a DBS check has subscribed to the DBS Update Service (which enables the University to do an online status check to determine that a previously issued DBS certificate is still up-to-date), the same details will be recorded on CHRIS.

The University will not retain photocopies of criminal record certificates or print-outs of DBS status checks. Where these are made to assist the recording of required details on CHRIS (please see above), they will be shredded immediately after data entry and stored in secure storage until then.

If a criminal conviction, caution, reprimand or outstanding hearing is disclosed by an applicant, through a DBS check or through a basic disclosure, an objective assessment of the effect that this should have on the applicant's employment will be completed using the HR20 Objective Assessment of a Criminal Conviction form.

All completed HR20 forms are kept in secure storage. Access to HR20 forms, DBS certificates and DBS status check print outs is strictly controlled and limited to those people in the University entitled to see this information as part of their duties in accordance with section 124 of the Police Act 1997.

The University recognises that it is a criminal offence to pass this information on to anyone who is not entitled to receive it.


Certificate and status check information is only used for the specific purpose for which it was requested and for which the applicant's full consent has been given.


Completed HR20 forms are retained for six months, to allow for the consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints. If, in very exceptional circumstances, it is considered necessary to keep certificate information for longer than six months, the University will consult the DBS about this and will give full consideration to the Data Protection and Human Rights of the individual.


Once the retention period has elapsed, the University shreds HR20 forms. While awaiting destruction, HR20s will not be kept in any insecure receptacle (such as a waste bin or confidential waste sack).