Safer Recruitment and People Management

What is ‘Safer Recruitment and People Management’ (SR&PM)?

The Church of England’s safeguarding policy statement ‘Promoting a Safer Church’ outlines the Church’s commitment to promoting a safe environment and culture across all Church bodies for children and vulnerable adults. An essential part of this commitment is ensuring that all those who work or volunteer with vulnerable groups are suitable for the role they will carry out.

One way in which the Church aims to fulfil the above commitment is by following ‘safer recruitment’ processes and ensuring continued vigilance once someone is in role. Obtaining a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Certificate is only one element of ‘safer recruitment’ processes. The reality is that many people who have abused or will abuse in positions of trust do not have a criminal record. Therefore, the wider process of ‘safer recruitment’ is an essential part of the Church of England’s approach to safeguarding.

Consequently, the National Safeguarding Team have reviewed its previous guidance, ‘Practice Guidance: Safer Recruitment’ which was first published in 2015 and in July 2021 published its new policy and associated guidance, ‘Safer Recruitment and People Management’ (SR&PM). Whilst published in July 2021, the guidance can be immediately implemented although formal implementation is mandated for January 4, 2022.

Please see our safeguarding briefing papers and frequently asked questions document about this new guidance which outlines the main points we need everyone to be aware. However, please also read the full guidance alongside it as it contains many additional elements.

‘Safer Recruitment’ Training:

To assist in the implementation of SR&PM, an online ‘Safer Recruitment’ e-learning module has been developed. All those listed below are required to complete the module. It can also be completed by anyone else for whom it is deemed relevant. It is a simple and relatively short course that produces a certificate of completion that can be saved in an individual’s personal file as evidence of competency when involved in recruitment.

  • A Line Manager
  • Involved in the recruitment of Church Officers (employees, elected members, and volunteers)
  • A Parish Safeguarding Representative or Safeguarding Officer in your church body
  • Responsible for administering DBS checks
  • An Ordinand during IME1

The module is available on the National Safeguarding Training portal.  If you are a new user of the portal you will need to follow the on-screen instructions to register and create an account. Once you have logged in, click on the tab that says ‘Online Courses’, then select the ‘Safer Recruitment’ module. Once completed, please save and/or print a copy of your training certificate for your records and notify your Parish Safeguarding Officer so they can keep a record of your training achievements.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Section 9 of the SRPM outlines the requirements and good practice advice for undertaking DBS checks. The section also contains guidance as to whether a role is eligible for a DBS check and if a barred list check is also required.

Where the role requires a DBS check, it is diocesan policy to use an Enhanced DBS, not a basic one.

If the PCC, as a charity, sponsors and approves, in its own name, work with children or vulnerable adults, then all PCC members (including the churchwardens, as ex officio members of the PCC), will be eligible for a DBS check. The decision about who to check on a PCC is left to local determination and our diocesan policy is that all churchwardens and at least two other members of the PCC are checked.

DBS checks are renewed at least every three years or before you begin a new role.  To avoid suspension from a role while awaiting a DBS disclosure that has been delayed, we recommend starting the DBS renewal process six months before it is due.

Safer Recruitment and administering of DBS checks is the responsibility of the PCC. Each parish has a nominated DBS Recruiter who is responsible for handling DBS checks and accessing the online system (ThirtyOne:Eight).

The flowchart on our website provides an overview of how to apply for a DBS check.

The DBS Recruiter is usually the Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) although this does not have to be the case, if you are unsure please ask your PSO or parish priest.

If your parish does not have a DBS Recruiter or wishes to appoint a new DBS Recruiter you should contact the safeguarding team on


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