Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Recruitment FAQs

I have a prospective volunteer for Sunday School can they come and observe a session before they apply for the role?

Yes, however, they must not be used in any of the preparation or activities nor can they be counted as an adult in the child to adult ratios.

I have a prospective volunteer for Messy Church can they come for a trial session as a helper before they are interviewed for the role?

Yes, and it is a good way of observing how they interact and if they will fit into the group so this can be used as part of the selection process. This should be limited to only one session. They should not be counted as one of the adults in the adult to child ratio and ideally the person observing/working with them should not be counted either so they can focus on the volunteer. They should never be allowed to be alone with a child during the session for example they should not take a child to the toilet.

Do I really need to advertise volunteer roles?

Yes, as it ensures that all roles are open to everyone and that there is transparency especially for leadership roles.

A retired gentleman has applied for a role however he only has individuals who are at the church who can be referees is that okay?

Ideally, references would include at least one referee from outside of the church however that is sometimes difficult. A robust selection process and good records for why the process was not followed is good practice.

An individual is new to the church but states they have a great deal of experience. How long should we wait before we allow them to apply for a role?

There are no hard and fast rules in these circumstances however experience has revealed that there are benefits in seeing how someone fits into church life for a period of 6 months before allowing them to apply for any role.  It is imperative that references relating to their previous experience are taken up in such circumstances.

There are gaps in the individual’s employment record, should we be concerned?

Yes, ideally these gaps should be filled before any paper sift and should not be addressed only at the interview.

If an individual applies for a paid role and they are not a UK national, do I have to do any extra checks?

Yes, the person’s “right to work” in the UK will need to be checked. See the following for more information:-

Can couples lead youth groups without a 3rd person/leader being present?


2.11.1. Many such groups will meet in the homes of group leaders. Whilst it may be preferable for the group to meet in the church hall, it is recognised that this is not always possible. Additionally, being hosted in someone’s home can be a valuable part of youth group life. As in every situation, sensible safer working practice arrangements should be followed, with particular diligence given to the prohibition against lone working. Two adult leaders should always be present. If the youth group is led by a couple, there should be a third adult leader/helper present. The reason for this is that a primary reason for the ‘two adult helper’ rule is that adults can keep each other accountable for how they behave around young people. The relationship between a married couple may make such mutual accountability difficult and arrangements to ensure the presence of a third adult are required. Safer Environment and Activities Oct19_0.pdf (


How often do I need to have a DBS check?

DBS checks are now to be renewed every  3 years rather than the previous guidance of renewal every 5 years. 

To enable this change to be achieved in a timely and realistic way, the national church has provided the following guidance:

From 4 January 2022:

a. all new appointments and

b. all those whose enhanced DBS is due a recheck from that point onwards should have their DBS recheck carried out and then be put on the new 3-year recheck cycle.

By 4 January 2022: Church Bodies must have assessed all other individuals who do not fall into categories a. and b. above, but whose DBS is more than 3 years old, and put a plan in place to ensure that all those individuals have a DBS no older than 3 years by 3 January 2024 and after that, ensure they are also on the new 3-year recheck cycle.  (Therefore, any DBS that was renewed in 2019, 2020 or 2021 needs to be planned for renewal again prior to 3rd January 2024)

This means all Church Bodies have a 2-year period from 4 January 2022 to 3 January 2024 to carry out the rechecks needed.

By 3 January 2024: All those requiring enhanced DBS checks (with/without Barred List) have a DBS certificate that is 3 years or less and will be on a 3 yearly re-check cycle.

An individual already has a DBS and is now taking on an additional role which also requires DBS.  Do they need to be subject to a new check?

Only if the original DBS check is not of the appropriate level or workforce. For example, the DBS is for working with children and they will now be working with vulnerable adults.

Do I need a new DBS if I’m getting married?

No, unless your role is changing you will not need a new DBS.

Will other members of my household require a DBS if I am holding a bible study group for children in my home?

In terms of roles that involve working at home with children: If an applicant carries out some or all their work with children from their home and they are carrying out teaching, training, instruction, guidance, supervision, care, or healthcare for children, the home-based option in section Y can be marked as yes. If the role meets the criteria for a home-based check this allows the police to consider information held not only on the applicant but also on family members, relatives and frequent visitors to the address that could pose a risk.

It is good practice that these groups take place in church or church halls rather than individuals’ homes.

Do people offering to help with groceries need to have a DBS, especially, if those whom they are helping are elderly/vulnerable? 

Yes, if handling money this person should be subject to an adult enhanced check of the barred list.

Do Church Administrators or Treasurers need a DBS?

Purely administrative roles i.e. Church Administrator or Treasurer are NOT eligible for an Enhanced Disclosure (unless they are a Trustee) as they do not work directly with vulnerable groups. Additionally, a DBS cannot be obtained for those who handle sensitive or confidential information (unless they are supervising those working in Regulated Activity).

Do PCC members need a DBS?

An Enhanced check is needed for Trustees of churches that are a charity and work with children or adults at risk.

What should I do if I have, or a person applying for a role has, a Blemished DBS?  
Can I use a DBS registered with the Update Service?
Do Parish Safeguarding Officers or representatives need to have a DBS check for their role?

Parish Safeguarding Officers or Safeguarding Representatives are not eligible for a DBS, unless they are a member of the PCC or they line manage someone who is engaged in Regulated Activity.

How can I work out if a role should be subject to a DBS?

Parish Lead Recruiters can access the thirtyone:eight on-line DBS Eligibility Guide.  You can use the on-line too; or phone the safeguarding team on 01634 560000; or contact thirtyone:eight 0303 003 11 11.

Does a Lead Recruiter (DBS administrator) need a DBS?

No, they are not usually eligible as they do not work with children or vulnerable adults, unless they are a member of the PCC or they line manage someone who is engaged in Regulated Activity.

If I already have a DBS for one role within the Diocese is that acceptable for any other role within the Diocese?  

DBS is transferable/acceptable within the diocese as long as it is the correct level/type of check.  For instance, if you have a DBS for work with children and your new role will include working with adults then you it will not cover you. 

Where can I find out how long I should keep DBS or employment records?

Keep or Bin…? Care of your parish records guidance can be found here

What criminal record check do I need to request if someone applies for a post from overseas?

The person making the appointment should ask the applicant to obtain criminality information (also known as a certificate of good conduct/character) from his/her relevant embassy/high commission (or police force). This means that in addition to the DBS check, the candidate/applicant must seek this additional check to cover the time he/she spent abroad. (Further advice can be found on the Home Office website).

If such information is not available from the embassy/high commission etc. or if there are concerns about the reliability of the information provided, the person(s) making the appointment should take extra care when taking up references and checking any previous employment record. In such cases, additional references should be sought and at least one reference from a previous employer should be contacted by telephone as well as by letter.

Does a volunteer Santa Claus or Santa’s Elf require a DBS check?

It is unlikely that they would be eligible.  However good practice would suggest using volunteers who already hold a current DBS check in their usual role and ensuring that parents/carers should remain with their children at all times.

I have been asked by an organisation associated with the Diocese to obtain a DBS, does the Diocesan Office process this?

No, the organisation that is employing you, whether you are paid or a volunteer, are the only ones entitled to request a DBS.

If a DBS has been obtained for a role outside of the Diocese is it acceptable? 

This would not be accepted unless the person is registered with the Update Service.  There is a process to follow which includes checking that the workforce and level of check detailed on his/her most recent DBS certificate meets the requirements for the role for which he/she is being considered.

Training FAQs

I have attended various safeguarding training courses through employment or other volunteering, do I still have to undertake C of E Safeguarding training?

The House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy and Guidance requires that Church of England Safeguarding training needs to be completed at the required level for your role within the church. We therefore cannot accept other organisations training.

Do I need to complete Basic (formerly C0) or Foundation (formerly C1) if I need to undertake the Leadership module for my role?

Yes, the training is progressive, if your role requires the Leadership training module you should complete Basic (formerly C0) and Foundation (formerly C1) on-line prior to attending the Leadership session.  Leadership will then be due for renewal in three years from date of attendance and you will only need to repeat this session.

I don’t have access to a computer, how can I complete the on-line training?

Many parishes are offering face-to-face training to those who are in similar circumstances. Contact your Parish Safeguarding Officer to see if this is available in your parish.

I wish to deliver face-to-face training for people in my parish who for whatever reason are unable to complete this on-line.  What do I need to do?

The person wishing to deliver this should have completed Leadership Safeguarding Training.  Please contact Alison Jones, Safeguarding Administrator at for details and resources to ensure that we update our records of training delivered and provide certificates.

I previously completed a Church of England on-line training but cannot access the system to complete a refresher or a different course, who should I contact?

The on-line training system is managed by the National Safeguarding Team and therefore we do not have access to your login details or passwords.  If your username or password no longer work, choose the Forgotten Your Username or Password link at the login screen.  If this still doesn’t help email 

I share an email address with another person who also needs to complete the on-line training?

You will either need to create another email address for the second person or email

Where can I found out what level of safeguarding training I require for my role?

A chart detailing various roles and training levels can be found on our website at:  Details for accessing the on-line training and face-to-face courses can be found from this page too.

How can I find my on-line safeguarding training certificates?

Log into the training portal at click on your name at the top right of the screen, select "View Profile", select the "More" tab menu, scroll down and click on the "My Certificates" link under the Miscellaneous heading.  Find the certificate you wish to download and click on the download symbol on the right below “File”.


I need to pass some confidential information to the Safeguarding Team, how should this be done?

Email is not secure therefore good practice states that personal details should be recorded or detailed in a Word document which is then password protected and sent to the Safeguarding Team.  The password should be passed to the Safeguarding Team either by text or verbally, it should not be sent in another email.  A guide to password protecting documents can be found here

Other FAQs can be found on the thirtyone:eight website at