How Do We Carry Out DBS Checks in Our Parish/Mission Community?
- Overview of how to access the Disclosure and Barring Service
- Who pays for a DBS check?
- How Does the Application Process Work?
- Who Can Check Who?
- Diocesan DBS Contacts
- Archdeaconry-specific Contacts
In the Diocese of Exeter, DBS checks are carried out online, managed on behalf of the Diocese by CCPAS (Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service). Applicants enter their details through an online form then meet with a local DBS Verifier (evidence checker) for their ID documents to be verified. The checks are then authorised by the Diocese and CCPAS transfer the check details securely to the Disclosure and Barring Service using the DBS E-Bulk system. Once the checks are completed, the applicant is sent their certificate.
Before a parish or other appointing body can carry out DBS checks, they need to recruit one or more DBS Verifiers to initiate checks with the applicants and to verify their identity through face-to-face checks of their documents. The nominated DBS Verifier needs to have Internet access and basic computer skills (i.e. be capable of filling out online forms and sending emails with attachments). Every DBS Verifier needs to register with CCPAS and the DBS by completing and signing the CCPAS-Diocese of Exeter DBS Verifier Registration Form, having it counter-signed by the parish priest (or, in the case of a vacancy, a Churchwarden) and sending it to the address at the top of the form. Having done so, the new Verifier will be sent their login details and guidance on how the system operates by CCPAS.
Parish Safeguarding Representatives usually register as a DBS Verifier, but it does not need to be the same person and you can have multiple Verifiers registered. If you have difficulty recruiting a DBS Verifier for individual parishes, it makes sense to work on DBS checking as a benefice or mission community, with all the local evidence checking taking place under one registration code, so that any local Verifier can check the ID documents of an applicant from any of the local churches. Registering multiple DBS Verifiers like this to work collaboratively has several advantages. Verifiers can provide support for one another and cover for each other if someone is ill or on holiday. They can also carry out the ID checks where an applicant is related to the local Verifier or the Verifier them self needs a check for a role in their church. (NB: the DBS Verifier role itself is not eligible for a DBS check.) Multiple local Verifiers also increases the likelihood of someone being available at a convenient time in a convenient location for applicants to get their ID documents checked.
The Diocese subscribes to the DBS Code of Practice. Before requiring a volunteer or employee to apply for a Disclosure via CCPAS, PCCs should make a formally minuted decision to observe the DBS Code of Practice.
Parishes, mission communities or other local groupings that are already registered to process Enhanced DBS checks can register to process Basic DBS checks by contacting the Diocesan DBS Coordinator. Further details can be found in the Notes to Accompany the CCPAS Basic Disclosures Recruiters Guide.
Basic DBS checks require payment of a £25 fee levied by the DBS, regardless of whether it is a voluntary or paid role. Enhanced DBS checks for volunteers (those not receiving any reward, be it payment or a qualification from the role) are free, attracting no fee from the DBS. Enhanced DBS checks relating to parish clergy or paid workers require payment of a £44 fee levied by the DBS. Parishes/appointing bodies are responsible for paying the £25 or £44 application fee (or they may require the individual to pay the fee them self, depending on the financial position of the appointing body). Cheques payable to ‘EDBF Ltd’ (Exeter Diocesan Board of Finance) should be sent with the Disclosure Cover Sheet to the appropriate diocesan contact (see below), who will not proceed to authorise the application without having first received the relevant payment. The online administration fee payable to CCPAS for all paid and volunteer applications is borne by the Diocese.
The DBS Verifier will be asked by the PCC/appointing body to initiate a check with the person being considered for appointment. The Verifier will provide the applicant with details on how to complete the online form and arrange to meet with the applicant to have their identity documents checked. The checker will confirm the applicant’s identity on the online form and will submit the check to their diocesan contact (see below) who will then approve it and submit it to CCPAS. If the applicant is unable to complete an online form for them self, they can ask for assistance from the Verifier, Parish Safeguarding Rep, local Clergy or anyone else with Internet access who could invite them to complete the form on their computer.
The above is just a summary of the process. A more detailed overview of how the process works in the Diocese of Exeter can be seen in the DBS Parish Verifier Process Flowchart. Technical guidance is issued to DBS Verifiers by CCPAS once the registration process has been completed. The advice to be issued to Enhanced DBS applicants on completing the process is the E-Bulk Guide for Applicants. Basic DBS applicants should be issued with the Applying for Basic Disclosure Applicants Guide and the accompanying Notes to Accompany the CCPAS Basic Disclosures Applicants Guide. For Verifiers registered with CCPAS and the Diocese of Exeter, advice on completing the Enhanced DBS process and guidance on eligibility of applicants can be found in the E-Bulk Guide for Diocese of Exeter DBS Verifiers. For Verifiers whose parish/mission community/local grouping is registered to carry out Basic DBS checks, advice on completing the Basic DBS process can be found in the Applying for a Basic Disclosure Recruiters Guide and the accompanying Notes to Accompany the CCPAS Basic Disclosures Recruiters Guide.
Training for DBS Verifiers is available on the Diocese of Exeter website here: DBS Verifier Training
The Diocesan Safeguarding Team have access to an electronic record of all the applications and disclosures that are issued through CCPAS and the Diocese of Exeter, but it is important that DBS Verifiers and Parish Safeguarding Reps maintain their own Parish Information Log that will track renewals. DBS checks need to be renewed every 5 years currently.
When checking for a DBS renewal, the applicant’s personal details and references are not required to be collected again, but a fresh Confidential Declaration must be completed for Enhanced DBS checks. To this end, there is a standalone version of the Confidential Declaration form available to download here.
The DBS Verifier cannot check the identity of any member of their family, whether related by blood or by marriage. They also cannot check their own identity documents. This is a commonly encountered issue, especially in smaller parishes, and is a good reason to recruit multiple Verifiers in your parish or mission community. If you need to check yourself or a relative and no other Verifier is available in your parish/mission community, please contact your local Archdeacon’s PA or the Diocesan DBS Coordinator who can provide the details of other Verifiers near to you. (NB: when using another Verifier to do identity checks, the application must be started using their organisation code so that the check appears in their list of pending checks. They will need to provide you with a copy of the Parish Information Log once they have performed the ID check.)
DBS Coordinator (For general DBS queries and Cathedral Checks)
The Old Deanery, The Cloisters, Cathedral Close, Exeter, EX1 1HS
Tel: 01392 294969
Archdeaconry of Exeter (Clergy and Reader checks only):
Archdeacon of Exeter’s Office, Emmanuel House, Station Road, Ide, Exeter EX2 9RS Tel: 01392 425577
Archdeaconry of Barnstaple (All checks) and Archdeaconry of Exeter (Volunteer and Non-Clergy checks only):
Archdeacon of Barnstaple’s Office, Stage Cross, Sanders Lane, Bishop’s Tawton, Barnstaple EX32 0BE Tel: 01271 375475
Archdeaconry of Plymouth
Archdeacon of Plymouth’s Office, St Mark’s Church, 1 Sanctuary Close, Plymouth PL2 1EN Tel: 01752 202401
Archdeaconry of Totnes
Archdeacon of Totnes’ Office, Blue Hills, Bradley Road, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot TQ13 9EU Tel: 01626 832064