Support for Lead/Deputy Recruiters

Safer Recruitment and People Management is an integral part of keeping people safe in the Church.

As a Lead/Deputy Recruiter you have a key role to play in the Safer Recruitment process and administering the on-line DBS check application process.

On this page, you will find the information you need to help you understand your role and signposts to key resources as well as the other support available to help you carry out your responsibilities.

You will find sections on: 

Your role as a Recruiter

Each PCC should appoint a Lead Recruiter who will ensure that the Safer Recruitment Process is completed as outlined in the Church of England's Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders and Bodies Practice Guidance.

Please note the Church of England guidance refers to the role of Parish DBS Administrator, in Rochester Diocese we use the term Lead Recruiter in line with the terminology used by Thirtyone:eight who are the DBS service provider for Rochester Diocese. The role of Lead Recruiter is the same as the Parish DBS administrator.

The tasks of a Lead Recruiter are to:

  • Establishing the identity of the applicant, through the examination of a range of identification documents as set out by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
  • Checking and validating the information provided by the applicant on the application form.
  • Ensuring the application form is fully completed and the information it contains is accurate.
  • Ensuring Confidential Declaration Forms are completed as required.
  • Ensuring that all confidential information is carefully handled, disclosing information to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team where appropriate and necessary and making sure records are kept accurately and held securely.
  • To keep up to date with changes implemented by Thirtyone:eight and/or the Disclosure and Barring Service and relevant diocesan circulations.

The PCC may also appoint Deputy Recruiters to support the Lead Recruiter. The role of a Deputy Recruiter is similar to that of a Lead Recruiter.

If necessary, a Deputy Recruiter can request the same level of access as the Lead Recruiter in order to complete the full DBS  application process.


Applying to be a Lead/Deputy Recruiter

To become a Lead/Deputy Recruiter a New Recruiter Application Form needs to be completed by the applicant and signed by the Incumbent.

Download the New Recruiter Application Form

Once completed the application form needs to be sent to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team by one of the following methods:

Upon receipt, a Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will authorise the application and forward to Thirtyone:eight for processing. 

Please note: If the Lead Recruiter or Deputy Recruiter's details change, please inform Alison Jones, Safeguarding Administrator on so that we can update our records and those at thirtyone:eight accordingly.


Safeguarding Training and DBS Requirements for Recruiters

All recruiters are required to have completed the online Church of England Safer Recruitment and People Management training and Basic Awareness. 

You can find more details about these courses, and how to book, on our Safeguarding Training Modules page.

DBS checks and Lead/Deputy Recruiters
Recruiters are not usually eligible for a DBS check, however:

  • If you hold an additional role you may be required to complete additional safeguarding training and hold a DBS depending on the role you hold. 
  • If, as Lead Recruiter, you require a DBS check for an additional role, this can be completed by a Deputy Recruiter. They can complete the Lead Recruiter’s ID check section, the Lead Recruiter can then complete section Y of their own application. 
  • If there is no Deputy Recruiter set up, you can approach a nearby parish to process your application but it will appear under their parish organisation records. Please note that the processing parish will be charged for all paid worker applications, therefore, this charge may need to be reclaimed from the applicant's parish. This will need to be decided between the two parishes. This does not affect volunteer applications as these are not charged to the parish.


Carrying out DBS Checks 

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the government agency that provides information about an individual’s criminal record history, in the form of a DBS certificate, helping organisations to make informed recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The use of DBS checks forms just one part of the safer recruitment process. Obtaining a DBS certificate must NOT be seen as a substitute for carrying out other safer recruitment checks and processes, or as the end point of the process. 

The Diocese of Rochester only processes enhanced DBS applications (either with or without the barred list) and this is through the service provider Thirtyone:eight.  An enhanced DBS (with check of the barred lists) is the most thorough check.

More information about DBS checks can be found in the tabs below.

DBS Costs
DBS checks for employed staff are paid for by the individual parish. Any DBS check for voluntary roles are paid for by the diocese.

Thirtyone:eight offer a digital ID check service, such checks incur additional costs, all costs for digital ID checks must be covered by the individual parish. The diocese will NOT cover the cost of digital ID checks.

Please note that if the digital ID check fails, for example due to applicant error, this will still incur a charge. The ID check will need to be repeated, if this is via the digital ID check route a further charge will be incurred, alternatively the manual ID checking route can be followed.

DBS renewals
The Church of England guidance is that DBS checks are to be renewed every 3 years (formerly 5 years).

The deadline for all DBS checks to be within a three-year renewal period is 3rd January 2024. From this date, all DBS checks must be three years or under.

Thirtyone:eight now provide a three year DBS renewal service.  Thirtyone:eight will email the current Lead Recruiter around three months before any previously submitted applications are approaching the three-year anniversary of being sent to the DBS.

The email makes clear that if this person is still active in their role, a renewal will need to be completed. If there is more than one application due for renewal in the same month the email will contain a table instead.

The notification will contain the DBS Application Reference, Surname, and month of original submission. The email makes it clear that if the person has left the role or a re-check is already in progress no additional action is needed.

This service is provided at no additional cost to parishes or the diocese.

Portable DBS checks

DBS certificates within the Diocese: If an individual already holds a DBS certificate for a role within the Diocese, that DBS certificate is transferable/acceptable within the Diocese for another role as long as it is of the correct level/type of check for the additional role. 

For instance, if you have a DBS for working with children and your new role will include working with adults then it will not cover you and you will need a new DBS for the new role. 

There is no requirement to have another DBS if your current DBS meets the correct requirement for another diocesan role.

DBS certificates from outside the Diocese/other organisations: Church of England guidance states that any DBS obtained from outside of Rochester Diocese will not be accepted unless the person is registered with the Update Service. There is a process to follow which includes checking that the workforce and level of check detailed on the most recent DBS certificate meets the requirements for the role for which is being considered. 

Guidance on how and when to use the Update Service is available here

Please note: Certificates on the Update Service can only be used for like-for-like checks. This is because the employer/recruiting body is not legally entitled to know any subsequent information relating to a different workforce or level of regulated/non-regulated activity.

For example, a nurse who has been checked for working with children and vulnerable adults can’t then use that check for working just with children in a youth activity as this will only require the children’s workforce and not the adult workforce. Similarly, a volunteer check can’t be used for a paid role.


Assessing who is eligible for a DBS check

Any church body asking an individual to apply for an enhanced DBS check with or without a check of the barred lists has a legal responsibility to ensure that the role is eligible.

It is a criminal offence for anybody to carry out an enhanced DBS check with or without a check of the barred lists on roles that are not eligible. Church bodies that carry out illegal checks may not only be committing an offence under Part V of the Police Act 1997, but are also likely to be in breach of data protection legislation.

Therefore, it is important that all roles have a clearly defined job description which will assist when considering DBS eligibility.

The following resources can assist with assessing eligibility:

Confidential Declaration Forms (CDF) and when to use them

A Confidential Declaration Form (CDF) and privacy notice are to be used for positions requiring an enhanced DBS. 

CDF for new appointments requiring a DBS
As per the Church of England Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance, a CDF must be completed by all applicants for positions engaging in regulated activity or otherwise working/having substantial contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults which requires an enhanced DBS check (with/without barred list).

  • The ‘responsible person’, the person who oversees and is accountable for the recruitment and appointment process, should request a CDF to be completed prior to moving onto the DBS application stage. 
  • This gives the applicant the opportunity to disclose details of any convictions, cautions, final warnings, and reprimands that will be displayed on a DBS certificate.
  • The information declared by the applicant, as well as that provided on the DBS certificate, can be taken into account when deciding on an individual’s suitability for the role for which he/she applied.  

As a Lead /Deputy Recruiter, please ensure that a CDF has been completed prior to submitting a DBS application for a new appointment. 

CDF for existing appointments requiring a DBS
With regards to DBS renewals, there is no requirement (legal or policy) for a new CDF to be completed each time a new DBS is applied for or the DBS Update service accessed.

From a good practice point of view, it can make some sense to renew a CDF at the same time as a DBS renewal because you would then have a contemporaneous DBS check and CDF. This can also act as a reminder to the applicant to consider whether there is any new information they need to declare since their last DBS application.

In the case of DBS renewals, the applicant should have previously completed a CDF during their recruitment process. 

The CDF includes a signed declaration agreeing that after and during their appointment they will inform the parish if any new information comes to light that would alter their responses on the CDF (ie, they are charged, cautioned, become subject to any Police/Social Services/Social Work department (Children or Adult Social Care) investigations etc). 

If there is any doubt about whether the applicant’s previous CDF included this statement, or doubt that they have ever completed a CDF, then requesting the person to complete a fresh one at renewal is advisable.

Downloading the CDF forms
The Church of England has its own Confidential Declaration Form and privacy notice, which should be used instead of those provided in the Thirtyone:eight recruiters guide.

New versions were agreed in December 2022. Please find a link to them below:

Section 5 (Confidential Declaration) of the Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance | The Church of England,

Please note that the privacy notice that accompanies the CDF is now available as a separate document, also located via the above link. This needs to be sent with the CDF.


Responding to a blemished CDF/DBS

Once a CDF or DBS has been completed, you may receive a notification that it is blemished in some way. These are the steps you should take:

  • If a CDF contains information relating to any offending or investigations by statutory agencies you must inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
  • If you receive notification that a DBS certificate contains information, or you receive the message ‘Please wait to view applicant certificate’, you must inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Team as soon as possible.
  • View the Rochester Diocese's procedure for dealing with a blemished DBS/CDF

In the case of a blemished DBS certificate, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, as part of the risk assessment process, will request a copy of the applicant’s completed CDF from the recruiter. Therefore, it is good practice to establish that a signed CDF has been completed prior to DBS/DBS renewal applications.


Useful Resources

Relevant guidance:
Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance | The Church of England
Update Service 
Blemished DBS  - policy and procedure
Flow chart – The DBS disclosure process

31:8 resources
Helpline 0303 003 1111
Thirtyone:eight eligibility guide 
Thirtyone:eight Recruiters Guide and Applicants Guide documents
Thirtyone:eight eLearning courses


DBS Regional Outreach Team

The DBS Regional Outreach Advisers provide dedicated support and can be contacted directly for advice and guidance. You can find details of the South East DBS Regional Outreach Adviser on their webpage - The DBS Regional Outreach service - GOV.UK (

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can find FAQs including those relating to DBS and Safer Recruitment on the Frequently Asked Questions page in the Safeguarding section of the Diocesan website.


Key Contacts

Greg Barry

Lead Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
07585 952174

Get in touch

Caroline Smith

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
07768 036590

Get in touch

Anthony Glockling

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
07825 315748

Get in touch

Alison Jones

Safeguarding Administrator

Get in touch


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