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DBS support and Guidance

A key way of protecting children and adults from harm is to ensure the careful recruitment of those working with them.

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)

Processing DBS Applications

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 -

Register with our Ebulk provider thirtyone:eight

To be able to process online DBS applications your parish/benefice must be registered with our Ebulk provider, thirtyone:eight.

DBS Eligibility Guidance:

If, after reading the guidance, you are still unsure what level of DBS check (if any) the role is eligible for please email the Safeguarding Team

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 Chelmsford?

    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 with the Diocese of Chelmsford 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, OR
    • As a PCC member you are a Trustee of a Charity.
  • 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 a criminal records check, and if so, the level of check that is required.

  • What is a Home-based position (HBP) DBS check? Also known as a Working From Home (WFH) 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 volunteer (free-of-charge) DBS check?

    o 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.

  • 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 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.

DBS certificate is ‘positive’, ‘blemished’, ‘not clear’ or ‘has trace’

Everyone that submits a DBS application will receive a certificate. The certificate result status will be one of two statuses;

  • “Certificate contains no information” – This means the certificate contains no criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands or other police information.
  • “Please wait to view applicant’s certificate” – This means the certificate contains information and you will have to view the applicant’s certificate to see this information before they can begin work with children or adults at risk

If you hear someone say that a DBS certificate is ‘positive’, ‘blemished’, ‘not clear’ or ‘has trace’ it means that details of the applicant’s criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands or other police information are printed on the certificate.

  • In this instance the applicant will need to present their DBS certificate to their Recruiter. Any delay in doing this will delay their appointment/return to the role.
  • The Recruiter will then cross-reference this to the confidential declaration form, that the applicant submitted before they began the DBS process, to see if there are any discrepancies.
  • The DBS certificate must always be referred to a DSA (Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser) by the Recruiter. A DSA is qualified to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences and the risk and will make a recommendation concerning the suitability of the applicant to the person responsible for the appointment in line with the diocese’s local arrangements. A DSA may need to conduct a face to face risk assessment with the applicant depending on the nature of the information provided.
  • Should the applicant not wish their DBS certificate to be seen, which is entirely his / her choice, the application must not proceed further and must be terminated.

DBS expiry dates and recheck cycle

If an applicant is still in a role that requires an Enhanced DBS check, they must complete a new Enhanced DBS check BEFORE their current certificate expires. This applies to the issue date of the Enhanced DBS Certificate and not the commencement date of any particular role that an individual might undertake or move to.

An important update was emailed from the Diocese of Chelmsford Safeguarding Team on 17th December 2021 to all parishes:

The NST's 2021 Safer Recruitment and People Management (SRPM) policy includes a change in the length of time between DBS renewals from 5 years to 3 years. The change will be phased in over a two year period (2022-2023), so from 2024 we will be up to date and in a normal 3 year cycle. 

What does this mean for DBS checks in my parish?

The year the DBS Certificate was isued When the parish now needs to process the re-check
2018 2022
2019 2023

So this year (2022) parishes will still need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2017 - but now they will also need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2018 too.

Next year (2023) parishes will need to re-check all those that have DBS certificates issued 2019 - as well as also re-checking all those that have DBS certificates issued 2020.

Certificates issued from 2020 will then be in the normal, 3-yearly, cycle.

If you are still unsure when you need to complete a DBS re-check please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

Please note in your diary!

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 and you will NOT receive notification from the DST prior to your DBS certificate expiring.

We would recommend that individuals make a note of their DBS certificate issue date, re-check date and that they contact their appropriate Recruiter about starting their new Enhanced DBS application approximately 3 months before their current Enhanced DBS certificate is due to expire.

Enhanced DBS checks for members of Clergy, Readers/LLMs and those with PTO, should NOT be processed at parish level by the Recruiter. If the individual has not received contact from their Archdeacon's Office or their Area Bishop's Office 3 months before their current Enhanced DBS certificate is due to expire, then they should contact them directly to initiate a new Enhanced DBS Check.

We recommend 3 months because should there be a delay in obtaining a new Enhanced DBS check, the individual would no longer be approved by the Church to act (page 10 section 3.3 in the Church of England, Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment document).

  • 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 or to report anything wrong with this page please contact The Safeguarding Team