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DBS Guidance & FAQs

 A DBS (Criminal Record) check is only 1 step in the Safer Recruitment process and should not be the only check of suitability

thirtyone:eight process the DBS applications for this Diocese

To be able to process online DBS applications your parish/benefice must have a Lead Recruiter registered with our Ebulk provider, thirtyone:eight.

What level of DBS check (if any) is the role is eligible for?

If, after reading the guidance, you are still unsure please contact our Ebulk provider, thirtyone:eight.

NEW Basic DBS Checks

On 20/12/2023 we emailed all PSOs (Parish Safeguarding Officers) & Lead/Additional Recruiters (DBS Administrators) to make all the parishes aware that from January 2024 they would be able to process Basic DBS checks for their parish(es).

A Basic DBS check can be used for any position/role that is not eligible for an Enhanced DBS check, For example: ALPs (Authorised Local Preachers), PSO’s (Parish Safeguarding Officers) and Lead/Additional Recruiters (DBS Administrators).

The cost for a Basic DBS check is £24 (including V.A.T.) per application. The Diocese of Chelmsford has agreed to pay for the first five Basic DBS checks for each parish during 2024. The parish will be required to pay for any additional Basic DBS checks that they request. An invoice will be raised by the Diocese of Chelmsford Finance Department and sent to your parish to arrange payment.

Prior to starting a DBS application

The Diocese of Chelmsford expects that all individuals complete and submit the relevant confidential declaration form to their PSO/Lead Recruiter before each and every DBS application.

The Privacy Notice should be provided to DBS applicants with either the Basic or Enhanced Confidential Declaration Form (The Privacy Notice is completed by the PCC to inform applicants as to how their data is used/stored).

If you have any queries about filling in the Privacy Notice Form please feel free to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team by emailing

Frequently Asked Questions about DBS:

  • What is the DBS?

    On the 1st December 2012, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged together to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

    The main aim of the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) is to aid us in making safer recruitment decisions and ensuring that unsuitable people do not work with vulnerable groups.

  • What is a DBS check?

    A DBS check (known as a CRB check until 2012) will reveal information about your criminal record.

  • What are the different levels of DBS check processed by the Diocese of Chelmsford?

    Basic DBS check: A Basic DBS check is for any purpose, including employment. The certificate will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

    Enhanced DBS check: An Enhanced DBS certificate will contain details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer, which are not subject to filtering. The certificate may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is deemed relevant and ought to be contained in the certificate.

    Enhanced with Barred Lists DBS check: An Enhanced with Barred Lists certificate will contain the same information as an Enhanced DBS certificate, but will also include a check of one or both Barred Lists.

  • What is a Home-based position (HBP) DBS check? Also known as a Working From Home (WFH) check

    If your Recruiter selects YES for the question 'Working with vulnerable groups at the applicants home address' on your DBS application this means that your application will be sent to police forces for consideration of third party checks. 

    The purpose of the third party check is to allow the police to consider information held not only on the applicant, but also on a family member, relative or close friend. As the legislation permits disclosure of ‘any information’, this too may be considered for disclosure on your DBS certificate.

  • Am I eligible for a volunteer (free-of-charge) DBS check?

    o qualify for a volunteer (free-of-charge) DBS check you must not benefit directly from the position the DBS application is being submitted for. You must not:

    • receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)
    • be on a work placement
    • be on a course that requires them to do this job role
    • be in a trainee position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification

    Please refer to The DBS definition of a volunteer.

  • How do I escalate my DBS application?

    If you have used the DBS Tracking Service and can see that the DBS have had receipt of your DBS application for more than 60 working days you can 'escalate' your application by calling DBS Customer Services on 0300 0200 190. 

    After 70 working days you can call DBS Customer Services on 0300 0200 190 for the address of the police force and you can write to the police informing them of the length of time that you have been waiting.

  • What do I do if I have lost/destroyed my DBS certificate?

    The DBS can’t process a reprint request if the DBS certificate has been accidentally lost or destroyed after you received it. You will need to apply for a new DBS check and pay an admin fee for this to be processed. 

    The DST (Diocesan Safeguarding Team) do not have copies of DBS certificates.

DBS certificate is ‘positive’, ‘blemished’, ‘not clear’ or ‘has trace’

Everyone that submits a DBS application will receive a certificate. The certificate result status will be one of two statuses;

  • “Certificate contains no information” – This means the certificate contains no criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands or other police information.
  • “Please wait to view applicant’s certificate” – This means the certificate contains information and you will have to view the applicant’s certificate to see this information before they can begin work with children or adults at risk

If you hear someone say that a DBS certificate is ‘positive’, ‘blemished’, ‘not clear’ or ‘has trace’ it means that details of the applicant’s criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands or other police information are printed on the certificate.

  • In this instance the applicant will need to present their DBS certificate to their Recruiter. Any delay in doing this will delay their appointment/return to the role.
  • The Recruiter will then cross-reference this to the confidential declaration form, that the applicant submitted before they began the DBS process, to see if there are any discrepancies.
  • The DBS certificate must always be referred to a DSA (Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser) by the Recruiter. A DSA is qualified to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences and the risk and will make a recommendation concerning the suitability of the applicant to the person responsible for the appointment in line with the diocese’s local arrangements. A DSA may need to conduct a face to face risk assessment with the applicant depending on the nature of the information provided.
  • Should the applicant not wish their DBS certificate to be seen, which is entirely his / her choice, the application must not proceed further and must be terminated.

DBS expiry dates and recheck cycle

If an applicant is still in a role that requires an Enhanced DBS check, they must complete a new Enhanced DBS check BEFORE their current certificate expires. This applies to the issue date of the Enhanced DBS Certificate and not the commencement date of any particular role that an individual might undertake or move to.

An important update was emailed from the Diocese of Chelmsford Safeguarding Team on 17th December 2021 to all parishes: The NST's 2021 Safer Recruitment and People Management (SRPM) policy included a change in the length of time between DBS renewals from 5 years to 3 years. The change was phased in over a two year period (2022-2023), so now (in 2024) we are in a normal 3 year cycle. 

What did this mean for DBS checks in my parish?

The year the DBS Certificate was issued When the parish needed to process the re-check
2017 2022
2018 2022
2019 2023
2020 2023
2021 2024

If you are still unsure when you need to complete a DBS re-check please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

Please note in your diary!

Please keep your DBS certificate safe and accessible as the issue date is printed on it. The DST (Diocesan Safeguarding Team) do NOT have copies of DBS certificates and you will NOT receive notification from the DST prior to your DBS certificate expiring.

We would recommend that individuals make a note of their DBS certificate issue date, re-check date and that they contact their appropriate Recruiter about starting their new Enhanced DBS application approximately 3 months before their current Enhanced DBS certificate is due to expire.

Enhanced DBS checks for members of Clergy, Readers/LLMs and those with PTO, should NOT be processed at parish level by the Recruiter. If the individual has not received contact from their Archdeacon's Office or their Area Bishop's Office 3 months before their current Enhanced DBS certificate is due to expire, then they should contact them directly to initiate a new Enhanced DBS Check.

We recommend 3 months because should there be a delay in obtaining a new Enhanced DBS check, the individual would no longer be approved by the Church to act (page 10 section 3.3 in the Church of England, Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment document)

For more information or to report anything wrong with this page please contact The Safeguarding Team