Safer Recruitment and the Disclosure and Barring Service

What is ‘Safer Recruitment’?

Safer Recruitment is one of the core safeguarding principles to which the Church of England and the Diocese of Exeter are committed:

“We will carefully select, support and train all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with Safer Recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures and barring schemes.” (Diocesan Safeguarding Policy)

‘Safer Recruitment’ refers to the whole process of appointing people to act as volunteers, office holders or paid employees to work with or support vulnerable members of the community, be they children, young people or adults. Safer Recruitment practices should transition seamlessly into safer working practices that relate to how people in such positions operate once they are in post.

The use of criminal records checks via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is one important and often required element of Safer Recruitment, but it is just one tool in the toolbox. Good practice revolves around developing job descriptions, effectively taking up references, interviewing candidates and combining these with other safe practices to create a context in which the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the care of those who work with them are appropriately prioritized.  Safer Recruitment practice is laid out by the Church of England in this guidance document:

Safer Recruitment Practice Guidance 2016

The Diocese of Exeter has produced this flowchart to provide an overview of the Safer Recruitment process that should be followed:

Safer Recruitment Diocese of Exeter Flowchart

Parish Safeguarding Representatives, group/activity leaders and PCC members with a responsibility for undertaking or overseeing appointments should access Safer Recruitment training before initiating an appointment process.  We have made this training more accessible in the Diocese of Exeter by offering it as a Safer Recruitment Training Video, as we realise that appointments may be necessary sooner than face-to-face training could be accessed.

If you have questions relating to Safer Recruitment, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on 01392 294975 or Email

Disclosure and Barring Service

If you are a parish, mission community or other body within the Diocese of Exeter that appoints volunteers or workers and want to know more about how you carry out DBS checks for your appointments, please go to DBS Administration Resources. 

If you have a role within the Diocese of Exeter and want to know how you get DBS checked, please refer to the following:

How do I apply for a DBS check in the Diocese of Exeter