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

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)

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 -

Getting your Parish Registered with thirtyone:eight 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 requirement of thirtyone:eight to appoint a person(s) 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 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 thirtyone:eight . The Lead Recruiter is the only person that can complete section Y on the applications, approve and send the applications to thirtyone:eight , 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 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. 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 thirtyone:eight and they CANNOT track applications and monitor results.  An Additional Recruiter can be granted the same access rights as the Lead Recruiter to complete Section Y and the ID section of the DBS application with thirtyone:eight, please contact the Safeguarding team if you would like this actioned.

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 thirtyone:eight 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 thirtyone:eight are available to help you. They can be contacted on 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) or

If you are no longer a Lead Recruiter or Additional Recruiter, please email the safeguarding team at:

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 face to face*.

The Recruiter will check the applicant's evidence of identity from original documentation and add this information to the online DBS application.  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. 

Contact either the Safeguarding Team via email: or alternatively please contact thirtyone:eight on 0303 003 1111 ext.1 or email, should you have any queries regarding the above.

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

Detailed advice regarding the online DBS application process is provided in thirtyone:eight's E-Bulk Guides for Recruiters and Applicants:

The thirtyone:eight Statement of Fair Processing (which is read and agreed by all Recruiters that have completed the 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.

DBS guidance regarding the application process:

*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.
What is a Home-based position (HBP) DBS 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.
What do I do if my DBS certificate is ‘positive’, ‘blemished’, ‘not clear’ or ‘has trace’?
(This means that there are criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands or other police information listed on your DBS certificate).
  • You will need to show your DBS certificate (the original - NOT a copy/scan) to your recruiter as soon as you have received it in the post. Any delay in doing this will delay your appointment/return to the role.
  • Your recruiter will then cross-reference this to the confidential declaration form, that you completed before you submitted your DBS application, to see if there are any discrepancies.
  • Your recruiter will then provide this information to the DST (Diocesan Safeguarding Team) for a risk assessment. (Someone from the DST may need to conduct a face to face risk assessment with you depending on the nature of the information provided).
  • Should you not wish the confidential declaration form and/or the DBS certificate to be seen, which is entirely your choice, you must withdraw from the role.
When does my DBS Certificate expire?
DBS certificates remain valid for a maximum of five years within the Church of England. 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. You will NOT receive notification from the DST prior to your DBS certificate expiring.

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.

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

Should there be a delay in obtaining a new DBS check, the indiviual is 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.

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 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.
‘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

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 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.