Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

‘The start date or appointment must not be confirmed until the relevant criminal record check is received and examined…It must not be forgotten that only a tiny percentage of adults who abuse are caught and still fewer are convicted, so organisations must never rely solely on a criminal record check. Criminal record checks, although crucial, remain only one element of safeguarding and the safer recruitment process.’ - The Church of England: Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment

Click on a link below to take you to the relevant section:

Processing DBS Applications with the Diocese of Chelmsford

"A DBS check is the end of the process when the appointer/appointing body is minded to appoint. A DBS check is not the start of the process and should not be the only check of suitability." (The Church of England: Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment)

Please Note that The Diocese of Chelmsford ceased processing paper DBS application forms after the 30th November 2018. Any paper DBS application forms now received into the Safeguarding office will be destroyed. If your parish still has any remaining stocks of the paper DBS application forms please destroy them.

From 27th April 2018 our provider of online DBS applications changed to thirtyone:eight previously known as the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS). thirtyone:eight has been working with churches since 1977 and is the only independent Christian charity providing professional advice, training, support and resources in all areas of safeguarding children and adults at risk of harm. You can find out more about thirtyone:eight via their website -

Register with our Ebulk provider thirtyone:eight

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

Each parish/benefice will need to ensure that they have someone ready to take on the role of ‘Lead Recruiter’. This role can be supported by an 'Additional Recruiter'.

To register your Parish and your Recruiter(s) with our Ebulk provider, thirtyone:eight, the Electronic DBS Recruiter Registration Form will need to be completed and returned to (scanned copies) or  Safeguarding Team, Diocesan Office, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, ESSEX CM1 1AT.

  • It is a requirement of thirtyone:eight to appoint a person within the parish to organise and manage online DBS applications. thirtyone:eight call these people 'Recruiters'. The role of the Recruiter is one of trust and requires a high degree of honesty and integrity. The Recruiter will be privy to highly confidential and potentially sensitive information and we do therefore require that the role is filled by someone with the highest principles.
  • The 'Lead Recruiter' will be the main point of contact between thirtyone:eight and the parish. Currently these people are often called ‘DBS Administrators’ or ‘DBS Clerk’. In many parishes this is part of their PSO's (Parish Safeguarding Officer's) role.
  • In addition to the Lead Recruiter, it is advisable that there is at least one other Recruiter appointed within the parish to handle online DBS applications. This is so that thirtyone:eight always have a point of contact if the Lead Recruiter is unavailable; or if they, or a relative of theirs, needs an online DBS check. This person would be the 'Additional Recruiter'.

Each Recruiter will need to have a secure email address and be able to send and receive emails.

  • As the email address forms part of the Recruiter's secure login details, it can only be used once. This means that, for security reasons, the Lead Recruiter and the Additional Recruiter are not able to use the same email address.
  • This email address could be a church email address e.g. but, for security reasons, it should NOT be a shared email address OR an email address which is associated with employment/voluntary work outside of their church role e.g.  

If you are going to be a Lead Recruiter covering this role for several parishes please contact the Safeguarding Team ( prior to submitting your completed Electronic DBS Recruiter Registration Form as we may need to agree a joint ‘title’ to facilitate access via a single login in these circumstances.

The thirtyone:eight Statement of Fair Processing (which is read and agreed by all Recruiters that have completed the Electronic DBS Recruiter Registration Form) includes that you have agreed to:

  • Follow the instructions contained within thirtyone:eight guidance
  • Not proceed with any online DBS check until the applicants have completed and returned a confidential declaration to the Recruiter.
  • Ensure that all User Accounts and other details are kept safe and secure.
  • Not share User Account Details with any party not explicitly authorised by thirtyone:eight.
  • Ensure that any DBS checks requested or carried out are justified and allowable as per the DBS Code of Practice and other relevant legislation
  • Ensure identity verification is done with due diligence and in full compliance with the DBS Code of Practice, DBS guidance or any other applicable guidance or legislation.

Once your parish is registered login details, instructions and full guidance will be sent to your registered email address by thirtyone:eight to each Lead Recruiter and Additional Recruiter.

If you are no longer a Lead Recruiter or Additional Recruiter, please email the safeguarding team at: to make us aware of this change.

thirtyone:eight's E-Bulk Guides for Recruiters and Applicants:

Once your parish is registered login details, instructions and full guidance will be sent by thirtyone:eight to the registered email address of each Lead Recruiter and Additional Recruiter.

Please click on the links below to see thirtyone:eight's short, easy to follow video tutorials. These give instructions on how to complete different parts of the online DBS process:

Initiating and processing online DBS Applications via thirtyone:eight

  • The registered Recruiter sends an invite email to the DBS applicant (the template for the invite is Appendix 3 in the Recruiter's Guide). The email should include:
    • The Applicant's Guide (either as a link or attachment)
    • Your Organisation Reference number and your Organisation Passcode
    • The Position Applied For. The Recruiter should provide them with this information and it must reflect their eligibility for the check. (i.e. How they are working with children and /or adults).
  • Using the information in the email sent to them the applicant will now be able to login to thirtyone:eight and create their online DBS application.
  • Once the applicant has completed their part of their online DBS application form they will need to arrange for the Recruiter to check their identity documents.
  • The Recruiter will check the applicant's evidence of identity and add this information to the online DBS application.
  • Only the Lead Recruiter can now amend any incorrect information on the online DBS Application form (with the applicant’s consent), complete section Y and click Approve to electronicaly send the application to thirtyone:eight .
  • thirtyone:eight check the online DBS application before it is countersigned by them and forwarded to the DBS for processing.

ID checking for DBS Applications - COVID-19 Temporary Guidance

Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we are aware that this will affect the DBS ID checking guidance. Currently, when validating ID documents, it is a requirement to carry the examination out face-to-face or via a live video link as an alternative method. Under the current guidance, the ID checker must be in physical possession of the original documents so they can be checked for indicators of fraud. As the public are being advised to work from home where possible, this is causing difficulties in receiving the physical documents, thereby delaying applications, and preventing applications from being submitted.  To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS Enhanced ID checking guidance will be changed for a temporary period as from 19th March 2020. The change will enable:

  • ID documents to be viewed over a video link or;
  • scanned images being sent to the Lead Recruiter in advance of the DBS check being submitted.

The applicant will be required to present the original versions of these documents to be checked, when it is safe to do so and prior to commencing in their role. Please ensure that you still follow the advice on GOV.UK around checking identity documents for indicators of fraud. Please click on the following link for more information: DBS ID Checking Guidelines

We will advise you when this temporary measure has been removed by the DBS to allow face-to-face identification checks to be conducted. 

In line with the DBS code of practice all applicants requiring a DBS check must have their identity verified. If you are unable to provide your ID in person ask your Recruiter about getting your identity document copies certified at the Post Office. Please note that not all Post Branches can provide this service. To find the nearest branch that offers the service, use the Branch Finder. There is a cash fee of £10.50 for this service which the DST cannot reimburse.

Contact the Ebulk provider thirtyone:eight

The guidance booklet contains all the information needed to start processing DBS checks electronically, however, should you need advice about any aspect of the electronic DBS application process the disclosures team at thirtyone:eight are available to help you. They can be contacted by calling 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) or emailing

DBS Eligibility Guidance:

If, after reading the guidance, you are still unsure what level of DBS check (if any) the role is eligible for please email the Safeguarding Team (

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 Chlemsford?
  • An enhanced level DBS certificate contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC) which have not been filtered in line with legislation and a check of information held by police forces.
  • An enhanced level certificate with barred list check(s) contains the same PNC information and check of information held by police forces as an enhanced level check but in addition will check against the children’s and/or adult’s barred lists.
Why have I been asked to complete a DBS check?
You may have been asked to complete a DBS check with the Diocese of Chelmsford because:
  • You have applied to work (paid or unpaid) with children and/or vulnerable adults within the Diocese of Chelmsford and you have completed the previous stages of the Safer Recruitment process, OR
  • You need to renew your DBS check because your previous DBS certificate is due to expire (within the Church of England DBS checks should be renewed every 5 years), OR
  • As a PCC member you are a Trustee of a Charity
Do I need a DBS check?
If you have applied to work (paid or unpaid) with children and/or vulnerable adults within the Diocese of Chelmsford you should have been given clear job description which sets out what tasks are expected of you and what skills are required. The job description will include whether the role is eligible for a criminal records check, and if so, the level of check that is required.
What personal details do you record and how do you use it?
Please read our Safeguarding Privacy Statement before you submit your personal details for a DBS check (UK Criminal Record Check) and/or Overseas Criminal Record Check or online Status Check. It explains what information we record and how we use it. As a Registered Body The Diocese of Chelmsford adheres to the DBS Code of Practice.
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 Home-based position (HBP) DBS check?
The Home based position flowcharts help you to determine if you are eligible for a Home-based position (HBP) check as part of your DBS check.
Am I eligible for a volunteer (free-of-charge) DBS check?
To 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.
Is my DBS certificate portable/transferable?
A DBS certificate is NOT automatically portable/transferable. Please see more information about the DBS Update Service below.
How can I track the progress of my DBS application?
Just enter your application reference number and date of birth into the DBS Tracking Service.
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 my DBS certificate has been dispatched but I have never received it?
If you have used the DBS Tracking Service and can see that your DBS certificate was dispatched over 14 days ago and you have not changed your postal address since the applicantion was made you can request a reprint.  A reprint request must be made within 3 months (93 days) of the date of issue of your certificate. You need to make this request to the DBS by completing the relevant reprint form and emailing it to The DST can't do this on your behalf.
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 includes a change in the length of time between DBS renewals from 5 years to 3 years. The change will be phased in over a two year period (2022-2023), so from 2024 we will be up to date and in a normal 3 year cycle. 
What does this mean for DBS checks in my parish?
The year the DBS Certificate was isued When the parish now needs to process the re-check
2018 2022
2019 2023
So this year (2022) parishes will still need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2017 - but now they will also need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2018 too.
Next year (2023) parishes will need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2019 - as well as also re-checking all those that have DBS certificates issued 2020.
Certificates issued from 2020 will then be in the normal, 3-yearly, cycle.
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).

The DBS Update Service

What is the benefit of using the DBS Update Service?

You can have your DBS Certificate kept up-to-date electronically and take it with you from role to role, within the same workforce*, where the same type and level of check is required. This means that you will not need a new DBS check every time your job title changes – but you will need a new DBS if the workforce changes. This allows you to reuse your DBS certificate when applying for similar jobs.

*On the DBS application form you will have selected ‘Child Workforce’, ‘Adult Workforce’ or ‘Child and Adult Workforce’ in section X61, Line 1.

How does the DBS Update Service work?

If an individual subscribes to the DBS Update Service their employer can go online, with their consent, and carry out a free, instant check to find out if the information released on the DBS certificate is current and up-to-date.

Is there an additional cost?

Joining the service is an individual decision but we are highly recommending it for volunteers as it is free. Paid workers would need to pay a yearly subscription fee of £13.00 at their own cost.

How do I subscribe to the DBS Update Service?

Subscription to the DBS Update Service is NOT automatic – but you can join at the same time you apply for a DBS check or within 30 days of the date of issue printed on your Certificate.

I am a PSO (Parish Safeguarding Officer). What do I do if someone shows me a DBS certificate processed by a different organisation but they have subscribed to the DBS Update Service?

  • You will still need to check their original DBS certificate to make sure that it is legitimate and that the level of check processed is adequate for their role in your parish.
  • You also need to check if there are any offences/convictions listed because when we perform an online Status Check it will only tell us if there is any NEW information.
  • You will need to check their photo ID (valid passport or driving licence) and cross reference the details against the DBS certificate.
  • You then, with the applicant’s permission, need to email us with the applicant's name, date of birth and 12 digit disclosure number so that we can perform an online Status Check. We will then email the results to you for your parish records.

Here are some useful links to the DBS website about the Update Service:

DBS Update Service

DBS Update Service - Applicant Guide

Overseas Criminal Record Checks

If a candidate/applicant is applying for a role (whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid) that is eligible for a DBS check and they are either coming from overseas OR have lived outside of the UK they need to complete an Overseas Criminal Record Check as well as completing a DBS check.
The recruiter/employer needs to contact the safeguarding team by emailing to initiate an Overseas Criminal Record Check. The cost of this depends on the country/countries that the candidate/applicant has lived in. The cost will be the responsibility of the PCC recruiting the candidate/applicant.

Certificates of good conduct

  • The recruiter/employer should also try to obtain a certificate of good conduct from these candidates/applicants.
  • The relevant embassy/high commission (or police force) should be contacted for this.
  • Either the recruiter/employer (or the candidate/applicant) should obtain a certified translation of the certificate of good conduct.
  • 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 recruiter/employer 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.

For more information please contact The Safeguarding Team
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Independent Audit of Safeguarding

An independent audit of safeguarding in the Diocese of Chelmsford was conducted by SCIE in April 2017. This was part of a national programme of audits.

Read the diocesan response to the report.

And the report in full.