Frequently asked questions

Recruitment FAQs

I have a prospective volunteer for Sunday School can they come and observe a session before they apply for the role?

Yes, however, they must not be used in any of the preparation or activities nor can they be counted as an adult in the child to adult ratios.

We don’t have a Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) in role.

The guidance states there should be an appropriately experienced named PSO to work with the Incumbent and the PCC (please see the following guidance for further details - roles-and-responsibilities-practice-guidance.pdf (, or join with other parishes to share a named PSO.  However there are times when the parish does not have a PSO, in these circumstances where possible try and share out the PSO workload with other suitable volunteers/staff, some parishes have adopted a team approach to the PSO role where one person is named as the PSO and others are deputies to help share the workload.  Keep a record of how you are managing to cover the PSO work load in the absence of a named PSO and the efforts to recruit a new PSO as soon as possible.  Let the church community know who is the point of contact should they have any safeguarding issues whilst you are recruiting a new PSO.  The Incumbent or their spouse cannot be the named PSO, however, the PCC and the Incumbent have a duty of care with regards to safeguarding and should look to put a plan in place to cover these responsibilities.  
Our website Support for Parish Safeguarding Officers - Diocese of Rochester ( contains useful information about the PSO role and the Parish Safeguarding Dashboard. shared approach.

I have a prospective volunteer for Messy Church can they come for a trial session as a helper before they are interviewed for the role?

Yes, and it is a good way of observing how they interact and if they will fit into the group so this can be used as part of the selection process. This should be limited to only one session. They should not be counted as one of the adults in the adult to child ratio and ideally the person observing/working with them should not be counted either so they can focus on the volunteer. They should never be allowed to be alone with a child during the session for example they should not take a child to the toilet.

Do I really need to advertise volunteer roles?

Yes, as it ensures that all roles are open to everyone and that there is transparency especially for leadership roles.

A retired gentleman has applied for a role however he only has individuals who are at the church who can be referees is that okay?

Ideally, references would include at least one referee from outside of the church however that is sometimes difficult. A robust selection process and good records for why the process was not followed is good practice.

An individual is new to the church but states they have a great deal of experience. How long should we wait before we allow them to apply for a role?

There are no hard and fast rules in these circumstances however experience has revealed that there are benefits in seeing how someone fits into church life for a period of 6 months before allowing them to apply for any role.  It is imperative that references relating to their previous experience are taken up in such circumstances.

There are gaps in the individual’s employment record, should we be concerned?

Yes, ideally these gaps should be filled before any paper sift and should not be addressed only at the interview.

If an individual applies for a paid role and they are not a UK national, do I have to do any extra checks?

Yes, the person’s “right to work” in the UK will need to be checked. See the following for more information:-

Can couples lead youth groups without a 3rd person/leader being present?


2.11.1. Many such groups will meet in the homes of group leaders. Whilst it may be preferable for the group to meet in the church hall, it is recognised that this is not always possible. Additionally, being hosted in someone’s home can be a valuable part of youth group life. As in every situation, sensible safer working practice arrangements should be followed, with particular diligence given to the prohibition against lone working. Two adult leaders should always be present. If the youth group is led by a couple, there should be a third adult leader/helper present. The reason for this is that a primary reason for the ‘two adult helper’ rule is that adults can keep each other accountable for how they behave around young people. The relationship between a married couple may make such mutual accountability difficult and arrangements to ensure the presence of a third adult are required. Safer Environment and Activities Oct19_0.pdf (


How often do I need to have a DBS check?

DBS checks are now to be renewed every  3 years rather than the previous guidance of renewal every 5 years. 

To enable this change to be achieved in a timely and realistic way, the national church has provided the following guidance:

From 4 January 2022:

a. all new appointments and

b. all those whose enhanced DBS is due a recheck from that point onwards should have their DBS recheck carried out and then be put on the new 3-year recheck cycle.

By 4 January 2022: Church Bodies must have assessed all other individuals who do not fall into categories a. and b. above, but whose DBS is more than 3 years old, and put a plan in place to ensure that all those individuals have a DBS no older than 3 years by 3 January 2024 and after that, ensure they are also on the new 3-year recheck cycle. 

This means all Church Bodies have a 2-year period from 4 January 2022 to 3 January 2024 to carry out the rechecks needed.

By 3 January 2024: All those requiring enhanced DBS checks (with/without Barred List) have a DBS certificate that is 3 years or less and will be on a 3 yearly re-check cycle.

An individual already has a DBS and is now taking on an additional role which also requires DBS.  Do they need to be subject to a new check?

Only if the original DBS check is not of the appropriate level or workforce. For example, the DBS is for working with children and they will now be working with vulnerable adults.

Do I need a new DBS if I’m getting married?

No, unless your role is changing you will not need a new DBS.

Will other members of my household require a DBS if I am holding a bible study group for children in my home?

In terms of roles that involve working at home with children: If an applicant carries out some or all their work with children from their home and they are carrying out teaching, training, instruction, guidance, supervision, care, or healthcare for children, the home-based option in section Y can be marked as yes. If the role meets the criteria for a home-based check this allows the police to consider information held not only on the applicant but also on family members, relatives and frequent visitors to the address that could pose a risk.

It is good practice that these groups take place in church or church halls rather than individuals’ homes.

Do people offering to help with groceries need to have a DBS, especially, if those whom they are helping are elderly/vulnerable? 

Yes, if handling money this person should be subject to an adult enhanced check of the barred list.

Do Church Administrators or Treasurers need a DBS?

Purely administrative roles i.e. Church Administrator or Treasurer are NOT eligible for an Enhanced Disclosure (unless they are a Trustee) as they do not work directly with vulnerable groups. Additionally, a DBS cannot be obtained for those who handle sensitive or confidential information (unless they are supervising those working in Regulated Activity).

Can we use the Digital ID Check service for DBS applications?

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.

Do PCC members need a DBS?

An Enhanced check is needed for Trustees of churches that are a charity and work with children or adults at risk.

What should I do if I have, or a person applying for a role has, a Blemished DBS?  
Can I use a DBS registered with the Update Service?
Do Parish Safeguarding Officers or representatives need to have a DBS check for their role?

A PSO can apply for a DBS check if they meet any of the following criteria:

  1. If a PSO is also a PCC trustee of a church that is a charity working with children or adults at risk an enhanced DBS is needed.
  2. If a PSO engages in either of the following as part of their roles and responsibilities:
  • Overseeing/supervising/managing workers in Regulated Activity
  • Carrying out Regulated Activity with children and/or adults

An enhanced DBS check with a check of the relevant barred list (children and/or adults) is needed.  Please note in relation to regulated activity with adults and regulated activity with children (involving personal care) you only need to carry out or oversee/supervise/manage those who carry out this activity once to be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check of the relevant barred list.

  1. If a PSO is engaged in overseeing/supervising/managing workers who require an enhanced DBS check without a check of the barred list they too will be eligible for the same level check, enhanced DBS without barred list.

Please record which of the above requirements apply within any enhanced DBS application in the additional notes section. If you do not meet any of the criteria above you will not be eligible for an enhanced DBS with or without a check of the barred lists.

Please see the Support for Parish Safeguarding Officer page for further details including the PSO role description.

How can I work out if a role should be subject to a DBS?

Parish Lead Recruiters can access the thirtyone:eight on-line DBS Eligibility Guide.  You can use the on-line too; or phone the safeguarding team on 01634 560000; or contact thirtyone:eight 0303 003 11 11.

Does a Lead Recruiter (DBS administrator) need a DBS?

No, they are not usually eligible as they do not work with children or vulnerable adults, unless they are a member of the PCC or they line manage someone who is engaged in Regulated Activity.

If I already have a DBS for one role within the Diocese is that acceptable for any other role within the Diocese?  

DBS is transferable/acceptable within the diocese as long as it is the correct level/type of check.  For instance, if you have a DBS for work with children and your new role will include working with adults then you it will not cover you. 

Where can I find out how long I should keep DBS or employment records?

Keep or Bin…? Care of your parish records guidance can be found here

What criminal record check do I need to request if someone applies for a post from overseas?

The person making the appointment should ask the applicant to obtain criminality information (also known as a certificate of good conduct/character) from his/her relevant embassy/high commission (or police force). This means that in addition to the DBS check, the candidate/applicant must seek this additional check to cover the time he/she spent abroad. (Further advice can be found on the Home Office website).

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 person(s) making the appointment 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.

Does a volunteer Santa Claus or Santa’s Elf require a DBS check?

It is unlikely that they would be eligible.  However good practice would suggest using volunteers who already hold a current DBS check in their usual role and ensuring that parents/carers should remain with their children at all times.

I have been asked by an organisation associated with the Diocese to obtain a DBS, does the Diocesan Office process this?

No, the organisation that is employing you, whether you are paid or a volunteer, are the only ones entitled to request a DBS.

If a DBS has been obtained for a role outside of the Diocese is it acceptable? 

This would 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 his/her most recent DBS certificate meets the requirements for the role for which he/she is being considered.

I am a Lead Recruiter but also hold a church role that requires a DBS, who can process my DBS application?

A Deputy Recruiter 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.  Volunteer applications are paid for by the diocese, paid worker applications are recharged to the parish processing the application, so this may need to be reclaimed from the applicant’s parish which should be decided between the parishes.

Training FAQs

I have attended various safeguarding training courses through employment or other volunteering, do I still have to undertake C of E Safeguarding training?

The House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy and Guidance requires that Church of England Safeguarding training needs to be completed at the required level for your role within the church. We therefore cannot accept other organisations training.

When should safeguarding training be completed after commencement of role?

The House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Learning and Development Framework 2021 states “The required core safeguarding learning pathways should be a priority with Basic Awareness and Foundation being completed as part of an induction process and the remaining core pathways being completed within six months of an individual taking up a post”.  We understand that this may not always be achievable due to availability of courses.

How often do I need to renew my safeguarding training?

Safeguarding training is valid for 3 years and needs to be renewed at the highest level.  For instance, if you are required to undertake Basic Awareness and Foundation for your role, you would only need to renew Foundation after 3 years and there would be no requirement to renew Basic Awareness.

If your role requires that you complete other safeguarding training such as Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse, and Safer Recruitment and People Management, then these also need to be renewed every 3 years.  The Parish Safeguarding Officer training is required to be completed once.  Modern Slavery is optional online training.

Do I need to complete Basic (formerly C0) or Foundation (formerly C1) if I need to undertake the Leadership module for my role?

Yes, the training is progressive, if your role requires the Leadership training module you should complete Basic (formerly C0) and Foundation (formerly C1) on-line prior to attending the Leadership session.  Leadership will then be due for renewal in three years from date of attendance and you will only need to repeat this session.

I don’t have access to a computer, how can I complete the on-line training?

Many parishes are offering face-to-face training to those who are in similar circumstances. Contact your Parish Safeguarding Officer to see if this is available in your parish.

I wish to deliver face-to-face training for people in my parish who for whatever reason are unable to complete this on-line.  What do I need to do?

The person wishing to deliver this should have completed Leadership Safeguarding Training.  Please contact Alison Jones, Safeguarding Administrator at for details and resources to ensure that we update our records of training delivered and provide certificates.

What safeguarding courses can parishes deliver as face-to-face sessions, for those who are unable to undertake these on-line?

Resources for the following are available:

  • Basic Awareness
  • Foundation 
  • Safer Recruitment and People Management
  • Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse

Please contact Ruth Campbell, Safeguarding Trainer or Alison Jones, Safeguarding Administrator, for these resources and attendance list so that training can be recorded and certificates issued.

I previously completed a Church of England on-line training but cannot access the system to complete a refresher or a different course, who should I contact?

The on-line training system is managed by the National Safeguarding Team and therefore we do not have access to your login details or passwords.  If your username or password no longer work, please click the “Help and FAQ button” below the “Log in” button to see further options.  If this still doesn’t help please email for assistance.

I share an email address with another person who also needs to complete the on-line training?

You will either need to create another email address for the second person or email

Where can I found out what level of safeguarding training I require for my role?

Details of the training levels required for every role can be found in our Safeguarding Training Pathways matrix. Find details of all online training and face-to-face courses on our Safeguarding Training Modules page.

How can I find my on-line safeguarding training certificates?

Log into the training portal at click on your name at the top right of the screen, select "View Profile", under the heading “Miscellaneous”, choose “My Certificates”.  Find the certificate you wish to download and click on the download symbol on the right below “File”.

I have completed Church of England safeguarding training with another parish or diocese, is this valid for other parishes and dioceses?

Yes, Church of England safeguarding training such as Basic Awareness, Foundation, Leadership etc. is accepted by this Diocese if undertaken in other parishes or dioceses, when evidenced by a certificate issued on successful completion of the training.


I need to pass some confidential information to the Safeguarding Team, how should this be done?

Email is not secure therefore good practice states that personal details should be recorded or detailed in a Word document which is then password protected and sent to the Safeguarding Team.  The password should be passed to the Safeguarding Team either by text or verbally, it should not be sent in another email.  A guide to password protecting documents can be found here

Other FAQs can be found on the thirtyone:eight website at

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