Safer Recruitment & DBS

Training and Events Safeguarding Team


What is Safer Recruitment and People Management?

The Church of England’s safeguarding policy statement Promoting a Safer Church outlines the Church’s commitment to promoting a safe environment and culture across all Church bodies for children and vulnerable adults. An essential part of this commitment is ensuring that all those who work or volunteer with vulnerable groups are suitable for the role they will carry out.

One way in which the Church aims to fulfil the above commitment is by following ‘safer recruitment’ processes and ensuring continued vigilance once someone is in role. Obtaining a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Certificate is only one element of ‘safer recruitment’ processes. The reality is that many people who have abused or will abuse in positions of trust do not have a criminal record. Therefore, the wider process of ‘safer recruitment’ is an essential part of the Church of England’s approach to safeguarding.

Consequently, the National Safeguarding Team have reviewed its previous guidance, ‘Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment’ which was first published in 2015 and in July 2021 published its new policy and associated guidance, Safer Recruitment and People Management’ (SR&PM). Whilst published in July 2021, the guidance can be immediately implemented although formal implementation is mandated for 4th January 2022.

Please see our Safer Recuitment and People Managment Leaflet about this new guidance which outlines the main points we need everyone to be aware of currently. However, please also read the full guidance alongside it as it contains many additional elements.

Safer Recruitment Training

To assist in the implementation of SR&PM, an online ‘Safer Recruitment’ e-learning module has been developed. All those listed below are required to complete the module. It can also be completed by anyone else for whom it is deemed relevant. It is a simple and relatively short course that produces a certificate of completion that can be saved in an individual’s personal file as evidence of competency when involved in recruitment.

  • A Line Manager
  • Involved in the recruitment of Church Officers (employees, elected members, and volunteers)
  • A Parish Safeguarding Representative or Safeguarding Officer in your church body
  • Responsible for administering DBS checks
  • An Ordinand during IME1
How do I complete the Safer Recruitment module?

The module is available on the National Safeguarding Training portal. If you are a new user of the portal you will need to follow the on-screen instructions to register and create an account. Once you have logged in, click on the tab that says ‘Online Courses’, then select the ‘Safer Recruitment’ module. Once completed, please save and/or print a copy of your training certificate for your records and notify your Parish Safeguarding Rep so they can keep a record of your training achievements. If you experience problems logging into the online training portal for your training please send an email to the National Safeguarding Team Training Helpdesk.

Safer Recruitment Documents

Parish Volunteer Role Descriptions

The following are model role descriptions you may find useful as you seek to implement SR&PM in your recruitment processes and volunteer management. 

Please note that the grading of the DBS requirements on these roles may not be up todate. Remember once you have completed the Role Description to your specification then please contact the Safeguarding Team who will grade the DBS requirements. You can also use this online tool to help grade a DBS level.

It is important that the role description shows - who the applicant with be working with (children or/and vulnerable adults), how the applicant will be working with them, and how often in a 30 day period. 


Disclosure & Barring Service Checks

A key way of protecting children and adults from harm is to ensure the careful recruitment and support of those working with them. The National Church of England Safeguarding Practice Guidance on Safer Recruitment sets out safer recruitment practices for people working or volunteering with children and adults. The most important and legally binding aspect is the completion of the criminal record checks known as ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’ Checks (DBS). The Practice Guidance outlines who should undertake a criminal record check in accordance with their role. The guidance is available from any member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team or via the Diocesan website or the Church of England website.

We have now moved to an online DBS checking process. The diocese has contracted with a third-party organization to provide online DBS checks. If you are required to have a check or have responsibility for overseeing or arranging or verifying DBS checks at a parish level you need to make yourself aware of the new process. Please see information sheet below, which will go into some detail about the process. All members of the safeguarding team are on hand to assist you regarding this – please do feel free to contact us if you have an queries.

How to request a DBS check

Every time someone in your parish needs a DBS check the parish safeguarding officer or the incumbent will need to email Rachel requesting the check with the following:

  • The Applicant's Name and email address.
  • Confirmation the Confidential Declaration Form (CDF) is complete and clear. If there is a disclosure we will need to see it. The CDF will need to be kept safe and secure with parish files. The CDF and its privacy notice are above under Safer Recruitment Documents.
  • Confirmation the Safer Recruitment Process has been followed. There is information and documents above.
  • We will need the applicant's Role Description unless it is an established role like Churchwarden, PCC Member, or Parish/Benefice Safeguarding Officer. There are example role descriptions above.
  • Information on who the Verifier will be if it isn’t the person requesting the check. The verifier will need to see the applicant's IDs and complete the applicant's DBS level of check.
  • What parish or benefice the role will be in.
  • Whether the applicant is a volunteer or paid.
    • If the applicant is paid, we will need to receive payment for £44.79 before a DBS Check is done. This can be done by cheque payable to ‘HDBF’ or bank transfer.
Update Service

What is it?

The Update Service is an online subscription service that lets you keep your standard and enhanced DBS certificates up-to-date. It also allows your organisation to check a certificate online, with your consent.

Registration lasts for one year. The service costs £13 per year and starts from the date your DBS certificate was issued. The £13 fee is payable by debit or credit card only.

Please Click on the link below for more information. This will take you to the applicant guide on the government DBS page.

Government DBS Update System

If you sign up to the update system please make sure that you read their update service private policy.

Update Service Privacy Policy


Online Update Service Instructions

Online DBS Update Service Check Consent Form

Online Update Service DBS Process Chart


*IMPORTANT : The old paper DBS process is now shut and no more paper applications will be processed. If anyone isn’t able to do an online check please get in touch with the DBS Administrator (Rachel) who will assist. 

Each parish must adhere strictly to the requirements of the Safer Recruitment Practice Guidance and must take full responsibility in obtaining a DBS Check for all relevant paid and volunteer workers within the church, PRIOR to them commencing their church roles and activities. This is a legal requirement and not optional.

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