Safer recruitment of church officers and volunteers is an essential ingredient of good safeguarding in church settings. Congregations expect a worship setting to be a safe space and we know that those with ill intentions towards (in particular) children and young people will seek out settings where people are trusting and processes are weak.
Safer recruitment fulfils two important functions. It can identify at an early stage persons who should not be working with children, young people or vulnerable adults. It also sends a clear message to the wider community that should they attempt to do so, such people will be identified and prevented from taking on roles of trust.
Key policy and guidance documents agreed by the House of Bishops are:
Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance
Scope of the Safer Recruitment and People Management Guidance
Safer Recruitment and People Management Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend that a leader in each parish has read the guidance document with its comprehensive role definitions and model forms.
- There are now 16 steps to take in safer recruitment and people are advised to undertake the Safer Recruitment and People Management online training course to familiarise themselves with these. Visit our Safeguarding Training page for more details.
- A set of model forms for church organisations to adopt or adapt. These include models for a volunteer job role, an application form, a reference form, a model for recording an interview or discussion, and a letter of appointment.
- The Church of England Confidential Declaration form. A Church of England Confidential Declaration form must be completed by all applicants for positions engaging in regulated activity or otherwise working/having substantial contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults which requires an enhanced (with/without barred list) DBS check. All recruitment documentation must detail the Confidential Declaration requirement for that particular role and the basis on which that requirement is made, so that the applicant is aware from the outset. If an applicant does not want to complete a Confidential Declaration form then the application process must be terminated. Please also see the Church of England Confidential Declaration Form Privacy Notice.
- Guidance on DBS checks. A check with the DBS is not a substitute for following the safer recruitment process (most people who have harmed children or vulnerable adults have not been reported, let alone convicted). It is however an important safeguard. The Church has published three summary overviews of eligibility for these checks:
- Activities that make a person eligible for an enhanced criminal record check
- Church of England roles where the activity is seen to be eligible for a criminal record check
- DBS eligibility – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Carlisle Diocese supports parishes and the Cathedral in undertaking these checks. For further advice and application forms contact Human Resources.