Challenge: Finding an alternative to slow, paper-based DBS checking.
The 3,500+ DBS checks Plymouth’s admissions team complete during the academic year previously consumed vast amounts of staff time. Many students would fill in DBS forms once they’d received their August exam results, creating a September rush right when the admissions team had their hands full.
“For months, we had people spending all day opening letters, photocopying forms, checking IDs, entering details on a spreadsheet and posting various documents around the country,” says Roland Monger, Admissions Manager at Plymouth University. “All this meant we couldn’t get on with our other work, which had a knock-on effect on recruitment at our busiest times.”
“We were losing five or more students every year because we couldn’t get a DBS check done in time,” says Roland. “That’s terrible for them, but also meant the university lost money in tuition fees and could be fined if it missed NHS course quotas.
The Solution: Moving to automated checking with GBG OnlineDisclosures.
Ronald visited other institutions already using online checking and invited three suppliers to pitch. “GBG OnlineDisclosures was head and shoulders above the others - nothing came close,” says Roland, noting the ability to outsource ID checking to an applicant’s local Post Office as a particular attraction. “Other companies were saying applicants would still have to send their paperwork to us which was no use at all.
“GBG’s people were the best too – knowledgeable, quick to respond and very good at explaining the system in a non-technical way.”
The Benefits: Instant cost and efficiency savings
The admissions team simply generate batch emails directly from the admissions database. Applicants complete the online forms independently and there are no documents to check or errors to correct.
“The beauty of the GBG OnlineDisclosures is that it won’t let applicants submit forms until they have filled them out correctly,” says Roland. “We monitor the progress of the check using GBG’s reporting tools and make sure it’s completed successfully. It’s a very light touch process for us now that hugely reduces our workload.”
Applicants themselves just log in to see how their check is going, with GBG’s helpline and online guidance documents available if they have any questions. “We don’t get calls from faculties or the endless daily emails and phone calls from applicants asking us about progress anymore,” says Roland.
Plymouth’s savings in staff time, print and paper has cut £8.10 from the cost of processing each check - that’s over £30,000 annually. The streamlined checking process also ensures that last-minute applicants can be accommodated and course quotas filled, thereby maximising fee income and avoiding any fines. Roland estimates that Plymouth will admit five extra students due to faster checking – worth an annual £135,000 in extra tuition fees.