Safer recruitment for parishes and churches

We are committed to excellence in safeguarding practice

Safer recruitment refers to the whole recruitment process for volunteers and paid workers which includes application forms, confidential declarations, and role descriptions, taking references, interviews, and criminal record checks.
The Diocese of Liverpool has now adopted The Safer Recruitment Practice Guidance 2016 and the Parish Safeguarding Handbook which set out safer recruitment practices for people working or volunteering in a Church of England setting. 

This section covers

9 steps to Safer Recruitment

Step 1  
Be clear about who is responsible for appointments
Step 2
Ensure that you have safeguarding policies in place – including a policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders
Step 3 
Ensure that you have an up to date and clear job description (paid staff) / role description (volunteers) for the role – these should specify the individual’s safeguarding responsibilities
Step 4
Ensure that your application form complies with the recommended safer recruitment practice
Step 5
Always ask for and take up references. Ask Referees specifically about an individual’s suitability to work with vulnerable people
Step 6
Ensure each application received is accompanied by a confidential declaration from the applicant
Step 7
Ensure that a face to face interview is conducted for ALL shortlisted candidates based on an objective assessment of the candidate’s ability to meet the person specification and job description

Step 8
Ensure that your preferred candidate is informed that the offer of employment or voluntary work is conditional on receiving satisfactory information from all necessary checks – including DBS Check
Step 9
It is good practice to induct new volunteers and staff, to ensure supervision and support is in place and to conduct a review regularly as the role requires.

Documents to support the Safer Recruitment process

Please use these templates to help make it easier for you to do Safer Recruitment in your church

More templates and resources can be found at:


Recruitment of Ex-Offenders

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. But we do follow strict guidelines and procedures for the recruitment of ex-offenders which we expect all parishes to follow
Read our policy here


Disclosure and Barring (DBS) Checks

We now process all DBS applications online using the eBulk system, which is managed by Thirtyone:eight (formerly CCPAS). All those working in a paid or voluntary capacity with children, young people or vulnerable adults may require a DBS check as part of the safer recruitment process. A new DBS disclosure should be requested every five years.
You should appoint a Lead Recruiter to manage the DBS process and may also choose to appoint an additional recruiter.

Newly appointed Lead Recruiters need to contact Debbie Doran, St James’ House, Tel: 0151 705 2124 or email: to complete the documentation to register with Thirtyone: eight     

 Click on the link for the Model Job Description for a Lead Recruiter and Additional Recruiter
For any queries around how the DBS process works in the Diocese, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team via email:  For enquiries about the eBulk system (including login and password queries) or eligibility for DBS checks for specific roles in your parish, please contact Thirtyone:eight on 0303 003 1111, selecting option 1.

Documents to support DBS checksChurch of England roles where the activity is seen to be eligible for a DBS check –
Updated Government Guidance for verifing DBS checks

We have been notified that for DBS applications the government has updated their guidance regarding verifing a persons ID when they apply for a DBS check, we have also been notified by 31:8 (the company that process DBS checks on behalf of the Diocese) of the new changes and they have updated their guidance accordingly, below are the links to the new guidance both from the government and 31:8

http://ID checking guidelines for standard/enhanced DBS check applications from 1 July 2021 - GOV.UK (

http://DBS Update September 2021 - Thirtyoneeight

Using the DBS update service

If you have a church member who is registered with the DBS update then churches can use this service to check the status of their DBS disclosure - to be able to do so you need to use the following link  Go to the section which is headed - Employers and other organisations then click on the link and complete the process - enter your church name as the organisation.  Before you carry out an update check you will need the permission of the person who subscribes to this service - please use this form for permission purposes and to record when you have completed an update check, this must be kept as part of your recruitment records.  

The following DBS update Flow chart will help to guide you through the process 

The following document provided by 31:8 give details of the update service - Update guidelines

DBS checks for PCC members (trustees)

The Charities Commission considers that all Church of England parishes are charities and therefore PCC members are classed as charity trustees.

Church of England Safer Recruitment guidance states: Appropriate checks should be carried out after the relevant individual is elected to his/her post.  It should be made clear to all nominees prior to any election that all appointments will be subject to appropriate checks.

Therefore once PCC members (trustees) have been elected to their role they should complete the following:

  1. Apply for a DBS check 
  2. If they have not already done so complete Basic online Safeguarding Training, in addition the Diocese also recommends completing online Foundation Safeguarding Training which can be completed by logging into the Church of England Safeguarding Portal – Safeguarding Training Portal (

What check is appropriate will depend on the status of the PCC - see DBS checks for PCC Members (Trustees) for information, see also Appendix 8 of the Safer Recruitment Practice Guidance for more information.

In addition, you must check that they are eligible to serve as charity trustees (i.e. are not disqualified under charity law), and that HMRC would regard them as ‘Fit and Proper Persons’.  This can be done by asking trustees to complete a ‘Trustee Eligibility and Fit and Proper Persons Declaration’.  To download the form and for further details on Trusteeship please visit the Parish Resources website:


DBS checks for anyone applying for a new role in the same diocese/cathedral/team or hubs

In this case, you do not require a second criminal record check (i.e. their current check will be portable), this is provided

  • the result of the criminal record check has been seen and does not need renewing and
  • and the new role is: with the same “workforce” (i.e. either working with children or working with adults experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect); and eligible for the same/lower level of criminal record check as the previous role.

For further information or queries relating to Safer Recruitment contact the Safeguarding team via email:



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