Diocese of Carlisle

DBS Online

The Diocese of Carlisle has moved to an online system to process enhanced DBS checks, replacing the need to complete paper forms.

We have now rolled this out across all three Archdeaconries and we will stop processing all paper DBS forms with effect from 23 December, 2021.

We believe that this change will allow DBS checks to be done quicker and more efficiently, helping you to ensure that safer recruitment and safeguarding practices are followed. 

In this section of the website, you will find relevant paperwork and guides to assist you with the online DBS process, as well as some information below which has been provided by thirtyone:eight, the company through which the checks are being completed

How the DBS Online system works

Thirtyone:eight – Who Are We?

We're an independent Christian charity which helps individuals, organisations, charities, faith and community groups to protect vulnerable people from abuse.

• To do this, we provide training, consultancy, disclosures and a helpline, making sure everyone is equipped and empowered with the tools they need.

• We are leading experts in safeguarding, working with government to inform legislation and promoting high standards in safeguarding practice.

• Trusted for over 40 years, we work together with a network of thousands of member organisations to make sure that standards for safeguarding are upheld and protected.


Criminal records checks are available to help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable to work with children or other vulnerable members of society.

The government agency set up to administer these checks is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS’s aim is to help employers in England and Wales make safer recruitment decisions. A number of roles, especially those involving children or vulnerable adults, are entitled to a criminal record check. The DBS enables many organisations to access these checks as part of good recruitment practice.

The DBS’s role is to help protect children and vulnerable adults by providing a first-class service to support organisations recruiting people into positions of trust. Applications for criminal record checks have to be made through a Registered Body. Many organisations require DBS checks for their workers but do not qualify to apply to become a Registered Body in their own right, however checks are possible through another agency known as an umbrella organisation appointed by the DBS.

Thirtyone:eight is one such umbrella organisation. Thirtyone:eight also help users reach appropriate decisions where offences or concerns are revealed by a disclosure check. Thirtyone:eight disclosure services are open to all organisations whose workers qualify for a DBS check.

Thirtyone:eight has created a bespoke membership scheme specifically tailored to suit the needs and demands of the Diocese of Carlisle. Direct benefits of this scheme are that the Diocese enjoys reduced rates, direct access to named Account Managers, assistance processing DBS checks and specialist advice on eligibility.

We are committed to working within the security procedures laid down in the DBS Code of Practice and the Police Act 1997. Working within this framework we will only disclose information received about an individual to named Recruiters, or appropriate persons involved in the recruitment process within the Diocese of Carlisle in conjunction with its parishes and organisations.

We are available to provide impartial advice in individual circumstances, although the decision on whether or not to appoint someone is a matter for the Diocese of Carlisle.

In registering with the thirtyone:eight Disclosure Service your Parish has agreed to follow the procedures contained in this guide. This includes following safer recruitment policies and procedures and complying with policies laid down by the Disclosure and Barring Service, including their Code of Practice, Equal Opportunities policies and those relating to the handling of criminal records information. We cannot stress enough that the DBS expectations have the force of law. If DBS policies are not complied with, applicants might have a valid case for formal complaint.

Throughout this document reference will be made to the Lead Recruiter role. Please note that this is a thirtyone:eight term and it will often be performed by the Safeguarding Coordinator/officer but can be a separate person.

What is a Disclosure?

A Disclosure is a document containing information held by the police and government departments that provides details of a person’s criminal record, including convictions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC). It can also contain details from lists and other information held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as well as information held by local police forces.

A Disclosure, therefore, enables organisations to check the background of a job applicant (paid or voluntary) to ensure they do not have a history that makes them unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults. A Disclosure is an essential element of the appointment process within any church or organisation, forming part of a structured recruitment policy that should include interviewing, checking of references, staff supervision, training and ongoing support.

The person(s) within the Parish/Benefice handling Disclosures is called the Lead Recruiter and the thirtyone:eight Disclosure Service will usually correspond with this person. The role of the Lead Recruiter is one of trust and requires a high degree of honesty and integrity. The Lead Recruiter will be privy to highly confidential and potentially sensitive information and we do therefore require that the role is filled by someone with the highest principles.

Appointing Additional Recruiters

In addition to the Lead Recruiter, there could be at least one other Recruiter appointed within the church/organisation to assist the Lead Recruiter with checking ID. This is very helpful so that we always have a point of contact if the Lead Recruiter is unavailable; or if a relative of theirs needs checking. To do this you can either give their details when you initially register with us on the Registration form or at a later date you will need to complete a ‘New Recruiter Appointment Form’.

Enhanced Disclosure

An Enhanced Disclosure should be applied for where the appointment involves a substantial degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults, including unsupervised activities such as teaching, supervising, training or providing advice/guidance on well-being. (This applies to most people working with, or responsible for, children in a church situation, including Sunday School Teachers, Youth Workers, the Church Leader, Pastor, Minister, Vicar). In a very small number of cases the police may choose to use common law powers to provide information directly to employers in cases where this is necessary, for example, to prevent crime or harm to others.

Basic Disclosure

Basic Disclosures are useful where a role is not eligible for an Enhanced check but where the role requires (or publicly indicates) a certain level of trust by the church or organisation. This could include roles such worship leaders, those offering transport to/from events, administrators, welcomers, preachers, caretakers, refreshment team etc. A Basic Disclosure involves a search of the Police National Computer (PNC) for details of all current convictions. The disclosure will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Anyone can apply for a Basic Disclosure as long as they live or work in the UK (those living/working in Scotland will need to apply via Disclosure Scotland). The DBS fee is £23.00 per check (no difference for paid or volunteer workers) plus our admin fee (the same as you already pay for your Enhanced checks).

Checks for Parish/Benefice/Cathedral/Mission Community/Deanery (herein referred to as Parishes)

Most checks carried out by thirtyone:eight in the Diocese of Carlisle membership scheme are for Parish/Benefice workers/volunteers who are appointed by the Parishes in the Diocese of Carlisle. Because of the nature of the appointment and Church requirements for Diocesan involvement, thirtyone:eight would regard the Diocese of Carlisle as being directly involved in the recruitment process and therefore the Diocese of Carlisle will have access to Disclosure results - ie. whether the Disclosure was clear or blemished. By using the thirtyone:eight disclosure service Parishes are in agreement with this.

How the Appointment Process Should Work

The appointment process should not operate in isolation from a working safeguarding policy or government guidance around adult safeguarding, prepared in accordance with the principles contained in the official government guidelines and national church and diocesan policy and practice guidance. In particular please refer to the safer recruitment practice guidance available on the diocesan website.

Thirtyone:eight require the Diocese of Carlisle to appoint a person(s) within the Parishes to deal with disclosures (known as the Lead Recruiter) they will be authorised by the Diocese. This may be the same person as the Parish Safeguarding Officer, and they will usually be the main point of contact between thirtyone:eight and the Diocese of Carlisle.

If you work within a united/joint benefice or mission community / deanery then there is no need to register each parish separately - you can join under one record with one Lead Recruiter and additional Recruiters who can assist with checking ID.

Those who have responsibility for the recruitment of workers must understand that a criminal records check is only part (albeit an essential one) of a safer recruitment process. This process is crucial in preventing unsuitable or dangerous individuals gaining access to vulnerable groups. It includes the completion of a job application/registration form, self declaration form, an interview, taking up references and a criminal records check as well as the applicant’s agreement to abide by the organisation’s safeguarding policy.

Operating a safer recruitment policy sends a powerful message to parents, children, visitors, as well as those intent on harm, that safeguarding is taken seriously in the organisation.

It is important to stress to applicants that having a criminal record should not necessarily bar the person from being appointed unless children or vulnerable adults would be put at risk. The scope of a criminal records check must be explained to the applicant, including the fact that strict confidentiality is observed. Information relating to the Rehabilitation of Offenders and Safe Storage policies should be made available for applicants to see. Importantly, individuals should also be asked to complete a Confidential Declaration Form before a check is applied for. This gives a person the opportunity to discuss any past issues which could emerge in a check. In such circumstances advice can be given on whether or not information would prevent someone working with children or vulnerable adults. Also, later on where there is a ‘blemished’ disclosure, the information given by the applicant in a self-declaration can in some cases help in determining the outcome (for example, in assessing their honesty).

A check is one part of a safer recruitment process

Taking up a criminal records check is the last stage of an appointment process. You must follow the safer recruitment process for the Church of England.

In summary, therefore, you will have:

• Explained to the applicant at an early stage that the position is subject to a criminal records check, the scope of such checks, and the policies in place which can be inspected. They are therefore assured that the matter will be dealt with confidentially and efficiently.

• A job application form/registration form and confidential declaration form will have been completed.

• The applicant has been interviewed and satisfactory references received.

• Those responsible for the appointment have decided that on the basis of the above the person is appointable, subject to a DBS check.

As the final stage in the appointment process, the person can now be asked to complete a confidential declaration and make an application for a criminal records disclosure. The DBS application is made online on the thirtyone:eight Ebulk system. Part of this process is to also complete the 31:8 Self Declaration form. Please note this is in addition to the self declaration completed as part of safer recruitment.

Once this has been completed, the form will be processed by the Lead Recruiter who will check evidence of identity from original documentation, complete the Recruiter’s section on the E-Bulk form and send it electronically to thirtyone:eight. Detailed advice on this procedure is contained in the thirtyone:eight E-Bulk Guides for Recruiters and Applicants - these will be sent to you in a ‘Recruiters Acceptance Email’ once your Registration Form has been processed.

The Counter-Signatory at thirtyone:eight checks and authorises the Disclosure application and then forwards it electronically to the DBS. Once processed, a paper certificate will be issued by the DBS to the applicant and an electronic result to thirtyone:eight, the Parish Lead Recruiter and the Diocese.

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. Any certificates containing information must be viewed and risk assessed by the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. The applicant must not be appointed until the Diocese has given its approval.

Please note that these procedures are followed whether the applicant is a paid worker or a volunteer.

Full details of the safer recruitment process can be found in the Safer Recruitment Policy for the Church of England.


Workers can be re-checked at any time if there is a concern, or routinely every five years unless they have registered for the DBS Update Service, which means you can regularly check their certificate for further information (see below). Parishes will appreciate that a check is effectively out of date as soon as it is issued. In any event, it is only as good as the information on which it was based and the adequacy of the identity checks etc.

Can I Accept a Disclosure from Another Organisation?

The only way certificates are portable from one role to another is via the DBS Update Service. Any applicant can subscribe to this service and take their certificate with them from role to role where the same level and type of check are required; although they must register within 30 days of the certificate’s issue date. The status can be regularly checked by the employer so there will be no further need to apply for fresh disclosures when renewing them. With the individual’s permission, employers can go online for a free and instant check to find out whether the certificate is still up to date. Whether the Update Service can be accepted or not depends on the policy of your diocese.

Anyone wishing to join the update service will be responsible for paying their own fee.

Please note that clergy and those who use their home address as their place of work, cannot use the update service as it does not cover individuals connected with the home address.

Payments and Charges

The Diocese of Carlisle makes payment to thirtyone:eight on behalf of your Parishes for all DBS Checks you process direct so there is no cost to your church for volunteer workers. Please note that where staff are employed by the church the DBS charge for employed workers (currently £40) will be claimed back from the Parish. The DBS Fee for a Basic Disclosure of £23.00 per check (no difference for paid or volunteer workers) will also be claimed back from the parish.

How to Register

To register for the Diocese of Carlisle Disclosure Service Scheme your Parish should:

1. Agree to formally adopt a policy on the fair treatment of all applicants and the handling and safe keeping of information (click here for more) and agree to work within the requirements of UK data protection legislation, GDPR and the DBS Code of Practice (click here for more). We accept that an organisation may still be working on these documents at the point application is made to join thirtyone:eight. However, these documents must have been formally adopted and available to applicants before the Lead Recruiter begins to process checks for workers.

2. Complete and return the thirtyone:eight/Diocese of Carlisle Disclosure Registration Form. The completed form should be sent to:


The Diocese will authorise and forward your form, to thirtyone:eight. Thirtyone:eight will begin processing the form and will firstly contact a recruiter to verify their email address is correct. Once the Recruiter has verified their email address, they will be issued within login details and the ‘Recruiters Acceptance Email’ which confirms their appointment and contains the Recruiters and Applicants Guides. From then on, the Parish can use the thirtyone:eight Disclosure Service to carry out criminal records checks for workers.

Links and Resources