What is Safer Recruitment?
Safer recruitment practice is an essential part of the Church of England’s approach to safeguarding. Safer recruitment refers to the whole recruitment process including application forms, confidential declarations, role descriptions, taking references, interviews and criminal record checks.
The Safer Recruitment Practice Guidance 2016 sets out safer recruitment practices for people working or volunteering in a Church of England setting.
To ensure only the most suitable people are recruited to work with children and/or adults experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect, churches should follow the Steps to Safer Recruitment.
What is the Disclosure and Barring Service?
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
Criminal record checks provide details of an individual’s criminal record, including convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. Individuals who have been judged as unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups can also be placed on a barred list, and therefore cannot seek or undertake certain work with children, young people and/or adults at risk. It is the policy of the Church of England that all those who work in eligible roles must have an enhanced criminal record check, with or without a barred list check, as appropriate.
On-line DBS Applications
The Diocese of Portsmouth have appointed an on-line provider to process DBS checks on our behalf.
Parishes should register with Thirtyone:eight by 31st March 2019 to use their on-line system. Whilst the Diocese is moving to an electronic system, we will continue to process DBS paper applications, but this will cease from the 30th June 2019.
Overseas Criminal Record Checks
The DBS cannot currently access overseas criminal records or other relevant information as part of its disclosure service. If you are recruiting people from overseas or if an applicant has either lived and/or spent a period of time abroad s/he will be required to obtain a criminal record check or certificate of good conduct from the relevant embassy/consulate/high commission to cover the time s/he lived/spent abroad.
For further information about criminal record checks for overseas applicants please click here.
If it is not possible to obtain criminality information from the relevant embassy, the recruiting parish/church body will need to make further appropriate checks so that any relevant events that occurred outside of the UK can be considered. These further checks should include additional references, including at least one from a previous employer, and if necessary the referee should be contacted to provide further clarification as appropriate.
Right to Work in the UK
A DBS does not check whether an applicant is permitted to work within the UK. Therefore, parishes must make sure that any new members of staff (paid or voluntary) are allowed to work in the UK before they take them on. The implications of not checking an individual’s right to work in the UK can be costly, and therefore parishes are encouraged to ask all their new appointees to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK before they start their role, and keep a record of this as evidence that they have checked.
Please contact the Safeguarding team for guidance about the recruitment process including disclosure and barring checks.
See below for supporting documents and links relating to safer recruitment.