DBS Disclosures

All criminal records checks are made via thirtyone:eight (formerly known as CCPAS) with whom the Diocese of Chester has partnered to provide its Disclosure and Barring Service.

Please use:

Appendix One - Disclosure Registration Form - Only to be used for initially registering the parish with Thirtyone:eightEach parish must register for a membership account in order to apply for disclosures and renewals. The parish will only ever need to complete this form once for inital registration to obtain a parish membership account number. PLEASE DO NOT COMPLETE THIS FORM FOR REGISTERING A CHANGE IN RECRUITER PERSONNEL - please use the appendix two formIf you are unsure as to whether your parish is already registered with Thirtyone:eight, or you do not know your membership account number, please do contact us. Once a parish is registered with thirtyone:eight they will be able to obtain free DBS advice on subjects such as who is eligible for a check by telephoning the thirtyone:eight helpline on 0303 003 1111 and quoting their parish registration number.

Appendix Two - New Recruiter Appointment Form - This form should be used whenever you need to register or change Lead Recruiter details and add or amend additional recruiters to the parish membership account.

In order to avoid delays in registration with Thirtyone:eight, please ensure that you use the correct form.

Completed forms can either be posted to Mrs E Geddes, Diocesan Director of HR, Church House, 5500 Daresbury Park, Daresbury, Warrington, WA4 4GE.or sent by email to either Liz Geddes at liz.geddes@chester.anglican.org or Maxine Southwick at maxine.southwick@chester.anglican.org


Blemished Disclosures

On rare occasions a blemished disclosure result is received: from the E-Bulk system the Parish Lead Recruiter and the Diocese will be able to ascertain whether the disclosure is clear or blemished, although they will not be aware of the information contained on the blemished disclosure.  It is a Diocesan requirement that a blemished disclosure certificate should be obtained from the applicant by the Lead Recruiter who MUST post it marked ‘confidential’ to Mrs E Geddes, Diocesan Director of HR, Church House, 5500 Daresbury Park, Daresbury, Warrington, WA4 4GE in order that she can arrange for a risk assessment to be carried out by the Diocesan Safegurading Advisor.  The applicant must not be appointed until the risk assessment process has been completed by the diocese.

Parishes should also be aware that they SHOULD NOT mark on the E-bulk system when a certificate has been seen or whether someone is clear to work - this is for the Diocese to detail upon completion of the risk assessment by the safeguarding team.

Further information can be obtained from Church House (01928 718834) from:

Maxine Southwick on extension 239 or 01928 643440 or 07701 325223.
Liz Geddes on extension 240.



Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding DBS checks.

If your question is not detailed below, please remember that if you are registered as the parish lead recruiter or additional recruiter with Thirtyone:eight, you can contact them by telephone on 0303 003 11 11, or by email at info@thirtyoneeight.org and they can offer free DBS help and guidance. 

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Am I able to carry out Digital ID checking for DBS checks?

No, at present, the Diocesan policy is that manual checking of ID should continue to be carried out on ALL DBS checks.  Parishes should be aware that digital checking incurs a £4.50 charge per ID check, and because the DBF currently pays for all DBS checks carried out by parishes, digital checking SHOULD NOT be used as an option for ID checks by parishes, except in exceptional circumstances and only after obtaining diocesan approval first (please contact the HR team).  In circumstances where there is either only one parish recruiter, or when the parish has more than recruiter but they are related to each other, then the parish will need to register another additional recruiter in order to carry out the manual ID checking for these recruiters, should they hold additional posts that require a DBS check.  Digital checking should still not be used. 

I have been appointed as the lead recruiter or recruiter for my parish, how do I register with Thirtyone:eight?

To register a new lead or additional recruiter for the parish/benefice, an APPENDIX TWO FORM will need completing (see the section at the top of this page or ‘other useful documents’ below) - one form per person to be registered. Once the applicant has completed the form, it will need countersigning by the Incumbent/Priest-in-Charge before scanning and emailing to either Maxine Southwick, HR Officer at maxine.southwick@chester.anglican.org or Liz Geddes, Director of HR at liz.geddes@chester.anglican.org - who will then sign the form(s) as a Diocesan authorised signatory, before forwarding to Thirtyone:eight for processing.

(Please note: When the parish is in vacancy the form can be signed by a churchwarden in place of the Incumbent or Priest-in-Charge)

I am lead recruiter or recruiter for my parish, do I need a DBS check in order to carry out checks on other employees, workers or volunteers?

As a lead recruiter or recruiter for a parish you do not need a DBS certificate.  However, if you have an additional role, such as that of Parish Safeguarding Officer, you may need a DBS for that role, although this will depend on the specifics of the individual role .  (Please see the Thirtyone:eight recruiters guide in the section ‘other useful documents’ below)

I am the lead, and only, recruiter for my parish.  I also act as the Parish Safeguarding Officer and I require a DBS check, how do I obtain this and who can check my ID?

The parish will need to appoint a second recruiter who must be registered with Thirtyone:eight, in order to access to the parish membership account and have the ability to record details from the lead recruiters identity documents onto the system.

Are we allowed to accept portability of a current certificate?

In accordance with updated diocesan policy, NO checks should be conducted using the update service.

CLERGY AND LAY WORKERS HOLDING A BISHOPS LICENCE OR PTO: DBS checks for clergy and lay workers (such as Readers, Pastoral Workers, Lay Ministers) holding a Bishop's Licence or Permission to Officiate cannot be carried out using the Update Service, because the Update Service does not cover enough of the criteria for the level of enhanced+ check required.

OTHER POSTS: The diocesan policy has recently changed and parishes are no longer permitted to use the update service at all in regards to checking.  You will therefore need to conduct fresh checks when current DBS certificates are up for renewal. In part, this is because when parishes use the update service the diocese would only find out about any blemished certificates/checks if parishes informed us about them.  Instead, by asking parishes to do fresh checks, and to renew these every 3 years through their parish Thirtyone:eight accounts, the diocese will get to know when anything shows up in order to be able to conduct safeguarding checks at diocesan level, in accordance with the diocesan policy.

Should they wish, applicants can register for the Update Service and use this for roles oustide of the organisation, however, they should be aware that there is an annual subscription fee which they would be responsible for paying.

Further information regarding the DBS update service can be found on the GOV.UK website here and on the Thirtyone:eight website here

What do I do if a certificate comes back blemished?

In accordance with diocesan policy, ALL blemished certificates MUST be posted and marked ‘confidential’ to the HR department at Church House, who will log receipt of this before passing onto the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser to carry out a risk assessment.

Parish lead recruiters and additional recruiters MUST NOT mark the certificate as ‘seen’ on the Thirtyone:eight website, nor that an applicant is 'clear to work' - the HR department will mark appropriately following the completion of the risk assessment.

If the Lead Recruiter hasn’t already obtained the original certificate from the applicant and forwarded it to the HR Department at Church House, we will contact the individual directly and ask them to send to us the original DBS certificate within 14 days.

The applicant must not be appointed until the risk assessment process has been completed by the diocese.

I am not sure which roles require DBS checks and at which level (basic or enhanced)?

Please refer to the 'Enhanced DBS Eligibility for Church Workers Guide' at page 34 onwards in the ‘31:8 Recruiters Guide’.  This details different church worker roles and their eligibility for DBS checks – basic or enhanced – with advisory notes.  There is also a 'Regulated Activity decision making flowchart' at page 30 of the guide, which you may find useful in determining whether or not these are due.  As there isn’t any eligibility criteria for a basic disclosure, the parish should be able to carry out basic checks, if needed, for roles that do not fall under the criteria for enhanced checking.  Please bear in mind, that when making decisions regarding eligibility these should be based on the specific and individual duties of a role.

Whether checks carried out are basic or enhanced, the DBF is charged for these.

If you are still not sure, please contact Thirtyone:eight who will be able to advise further.

Do PCC Members need DBS checks?

In the 'Enhanced DBS Eligibility for Church Workers Guide' at page 34 onwards in the ‘31:8 Recruiters Guide’ - it states for PCC members that they are eligible for enhanced DBS checks.  The level of check and advisory notes detail "Only for churches that are a charity and work with children or adults at risk. Enhanced - as Trustees of a charity that works with children or adults at risk, good practice would say that they are checked".

Do PSO's need a DBS check? 

Please read the guidance here to help you determine whether your PSO is eligible for an enhanced DBS check, as not all will be.  Please bear in mind when making decisions regarding eligibility, that these should be based on the specific and individual duties of a role. If your PSO does not meet the eligibiltiy criteria for an enhanced check, you can apply for a Basic DBS check.

How often are DBS checks required to be carried out?

From 4 January 2022 the Church of England national policy changed, and parishes should ensure anyone requiring DBS checks have a DBS certificate that is 3 years or less and be on a 3 yearly rechecking cycle.

When should I start the renewal process?

As mentioned above, anyone requiring a DBS check should have a DBS certificate that is 3 years or less and be on a 3 yearly rechecking cycle.  However, in order to allow time for sorting identity documentation, completing the DBS application and for the checks to complete with the authorities, because these can regularly take weeks and sometimes months before a new certificate is issued, the date the previous certificate expires shouldn't be taken as a deadline by which to apply for a new check, but rather the date by which a new certificate should be in place.  We would therefore highly recommend starting the renewal process several months in advance of the expiry of the previous certificate.

Do I need to obtain a confidential self-declaration form for each individual requiring a DBS check?

In accordance with official guidance, confidential self-declaration forms should only be obtained from persons for whom you are carrying out either a standard or enhanced DBS check and parishes should use the form created specifically for Church of England use below (found under Other Useful Documents).  You should not obtain confidential self-declaration forms from anyone for whom you are only carrying out a basic check.  This is because the form contains more information to that for which you would legally be entitled to know.  Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website at DBS filtering guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

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Other Useful Documents

Confidential Declaration Form - For Church of England Use (Staff and Lay Roles Only) Please be aware that parishes will need to amend this form for their own use (by amending the highlighted sections), before providing to staff and lay personnel requiring an Enhanced DBS check for their roles.  Confidential Declaration Forms should not be obtained in respect of anyone for whom only a basic DBS check is required.

Privacy Notice - For Church of England Use Please be aware that parishes will need to amend this notice for their own use (by amending the highlighted sections) before providing to staff and lay personnel with the above Confidential Declaration Form when requiring an Enhanced DBS check for their roles.

31:8 Recruiters Guide March 2021

31:8 Applicants Guide to Enhanced Disclosures March 2021

31:8 Applicants Guide to Basic Disclosures March 2021

Appendix Two - New Recruiter Appointment Form


Changes to DBS Renewal Timeframe

When and how does the Guidance change from 5 yearly enhanced DBS rechecks to 3 yearly rechecks take effect?

From 4 January 2022, all new appointments and 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 3 January 2024 all those requiring enhanced DBS (with/without Barred List) checks must have a DBS certificate that is 3 years or less and be on a 3 yearly re-check cycle.

These details and further guidance can be found in the Church of England information and FAQs re phasing in DBS renewal changes document.

Page last updated: Tuesday 4th June 2024 1:05 PM
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