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

"It must not be forgotten that only a tiny percentage of those 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)

Page Contents

Paper DBS Applications

"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)

If you do not have an email address or access to a computer you will need to obtain a paper DBS application form, and guidance, from your PSR (Parish Safeguarding Representative)/Recruiter. The contact details for your PSR should be listed on the A3 safeguarding poster on your Church notice board.

If your parish still has any remaining stocks of the old-style CRB paper applications with form reference numbers commencing F00 please shred them as they will no longer be accepted. Only DBS paper applications with form reference numbers commencing F01 will be processed.

If you are a PSR/Recruiter and need to order some more paper DBS application forms for your parish please email your request to or call 01245 294438.

Download our Applicant’s Guide to completing paper DBS forms

Download our Evidence Checker’s Guide to checking and completing paper DBS forms

Download our Checklist of Acceptable Identification Evidence (Updated 03/09/18)

Since June 2013 the DBS have ceased sending copies of applicant's DBS certificates to the Registered Bodies. If the applicant has completed a paper DBS application form they MUST show their DBS certificate to their PSR/Recruiter to be checked and recorded before they can begin their role.

For more information about the changes to the DBS please visit their website:

Please Note that The Diocese of Chelmsford will cease to process paper DBS application forms from December 2018. From then on all DBS applications MUST be processed online only. Any paper DBS application forms received into the Safeguarding office after the 30th November will be destroyed.

"The suitability of an applicant or nominated volunteer for work with children, young people and vulnerable adults should not be solely dependent upon vetting checks and DBS disclosures. Someone whose DBS disclosure is clear may still be unsuitable and the other safer recruitment processes must always also be used." (Protecting All God’s Children: The Policy for Safeguarding Children in the Church of England)

Here are some useful links to the DBS website:

ID checking guidelines for DBS check applications from 3 September 2018

DBS continuation sheet

For all enquires relating to paper DBS applications please call the Safeguarding Team on 01245 294438 or email

Online DBS Applications

"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)

From 27th April 2018 this service will be provided by the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS). CCPAS 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 CCPAS via their website -

Getting your Parish Registered with CCPAS so that you can start processing online DBS applications:

Each parish 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.

  • It is a CCPAS requirement to appoint a person(s) within the parish to organise and manage online DBS applications. CCPAS 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 CCPAS and the parish. Currently these people are often called ‘DBS Administrators’ or ‘DBS Clerk’. In many parishes this is part of their PSR's (Parish Safeguarding Representative's) role. If any of the information stated on an online DBS application is incorrect this can be amended by the Lead Recruiter (with the applicant’s consent). A Lead Recruiter can amend any part of the application up until it has been countersigned by CCPAS. The Lead Recruiter is the only person that can complete section Y on the applications, approve and send the applications to CCPAS, track applications and monitor results.
  • 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 CCPAS 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. The 'Additional Recruiter' can verify the applicant’s ID – BUT they CANNOT amend the applicant’s application, they CANNOT complete/approve the process and send the application to CCPAS and they CANNOT track applications and monitor results.

Each Lead Recruiter will need to have an email address and be able to send and receive emails.

  • Unfortunately, because an 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, safeguarding, 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 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 form must be signed as indicated by the Recruiter(s) AND the Incumbent/ PIC or Chair / Acting Chair of the PCC in a vacancy to confirm the appointment.

To register your Parish and your Recruiter(s) 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.

Once your parish is registered login details, instructions and full guidance will be sent to your registered email address by CCPAS to each Lead Recruiter and Additional Recruiter. 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 CCPAS are available to help you. They can be contacted on 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) or

Processing online DBS Applications:

  • The Recruiter sends an invite email to the online DBS applicant (the template for the invite is Appendix 3 in the Recruiters Guide E-Bulk System guidance).The email should include:
    • The Filling in your DBS Application online guidance
    • The Organisation Reference number and the 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 and enter in their personal details.
  • Once the applicant has completed their online DBS application form. They will now need to contact the Recruiter to inform them that their application is complete and to arrange for the Recruiter to check their identity documents*.
  • The Recruiter will check the applicant's evidence of identity from original documentation and add this information to the online DBS application.
  • The Lead Recruiter will amend any incorrect information on the online DBS Application form (with the applicant’s consent), complete section Y, approve and electronicaly send the application to CCPAS.
  • CCPAS also check the online DBS application before it is countersigned by them and forwarded to the DBS for processing.

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

Detailed advice on this procedure is contained in the CCPAS E-Bulk Guides for Recruiters and Applicants:

*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.

"The suitability of an applicant or nominated volunteer for work with children, young people and vulnerable adults should not be solely dependent upon vetting checks and DBS disclosures. Someone whose DBS disclosure is clear may still be unsuitable and the other safer recruitment processes must always also be used." (Protecting All God’s Children: The Policy for Safeguarding Children in the Church of England)

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 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 that works with children and/or vulnerable adults
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 and requires a criminal records check, and if so the level of the check.

Our Diocese of Chelmsford eligibility diagram is no longer available as it is being updated. In the meantime you can refer to this guidance:

If, after reading the guidance, you are still unsure what level of DBS check (if any) your role is eligible for please email the Safeguarding Team (
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.
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.
What do I do if I run out of space for previous names and addresses on my paper DBS application form?
Just print out a Continuation Sheet then complete and enclose this with your paper DBS application form.
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.
When does my DBS Certificate expire?
It is The Church of England's policy to re-check DBS certificates every 5 years. It is your responsibility to keep your DBS certificate safe and accessible. The DST (Diocesan Safeguarding Team) do NOT have copies of DBS certificates.

Expired DBS Certificates

DBS certificates remain valid for a maximum of five years within the Church of England. If the applicant is still in a role that requires a DBS check they must complete a new DBS check BEFORE the expiry of each five year period. This applies to the issue date of the DBS Certificate and not the commencement date of any particular role that an individual might undertake or move to within this period. It is the individual’s responsibility to make sure that they complete their new DBS check BEFORE their current DBS certificate expires.

Should there be a delay in obtaining their new DBS check, they are no longer approved by the Church to act (page 10 section 3.3 in the Church of England, Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment document). We would recommend that the applicant asks their appropriate Recruiter about starting their new DBS application 3 months before their current DBS certificate is due to expire to ensure that this doesn't happen.

DBS checks for members of Clergy (including ALL those with Permission to Officiate) should NOT be processed at parish level by the PSR/Lead Recruiter. They should receive an email invite to complete their online DBS re-check from their Archdeacon or their Area Bishop.

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 PSR (Parish Safeguarding Representative). 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 the 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 then 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 applicants and UK applicants who lived abroad

If you are a foreign national, or UK national who has lived abroad within the last 5 years, the PSR/Recruiter at your parish will ask you for an Overseas Criminal Record Check and/or Letter of Good Conduct for your time spent abroad. You should contact the embassy or High Commission of the country in question.

We can process online Overseas Criminal Record Checks for most countries but there is an additional cost that either the PCC or yourself would need to cover. The cost differs depending on the country so please send us an enquiry. Your PSR/Recruiter will need to email the Safeguarding Team ( to initiate your Overseas Criminal Record Check.

If your Overseas Criminal Record Check or Letter of Good Conduct needs translating you will need to obtain a certified translation. The embassy of the country concerned should be able to recommend an approved translator.

The DBS website has some more information about this that might help you:

For more information please contact Laura Tyler
Is there anything wrong with this page?

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are asking for your prayers as the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has recently finished its hearing into matters in the Diocese of Chichester. Please pray for all those involved, and for all affected by safeguarding issues.

Read More.

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.