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Safer recruitment

Information and guidance on Disclosure and Barring Checks in England and Wales and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) in Scotland.

You will find information about eligibility for checks as well as guides on how to administer the checking process depending what country the role or post you are recruiting for is based.

For a full list of the roles requiring a criminal record check please click here.

Safer recruitment information


Disclosure and Barring Service Checks (England & Wales)

We currently use the Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC) to process our DBS checks for those working with children and adults at risk.

Updated information on checks for Minsters and Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers are processed by the URC will be online soon.

DBS checks should be renewed every five years.

We encourage URC verifiers to use the electronic DBS application system where possible, through DDC.  This will speed up the application process significantly as DDC will countersign and send applications on to the DBS within two working days.

The time it takes to obtain criminal record disclosures is also much quicker than using the paper-based system.  As an added advantage, verifiers will receive e-mail notification of completion with disclosure issue number and date.  (The applicant should not start their role until this notification is received.)

Online DBS Application

All verifiers have been set up on the online system and will have received email notification from DDC containing their password and login information.  Verifiers can continue to use the paper-based application service if they would prefer, but we would strongly encourage everyone to try out the online system where possible.

Online applications are free of charge for volunteers and £44 for paid workers, to be paid online.

Download the DDC Quick Start Guide to Online DBS (PDF | 1mb).   More detailed guidance can be found on the DDC website.

Please note that the online system does not apply to checks for Ministers or Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers. For information about these checks, please contact the safeguarding team.

Paper DBS application forms

Application forms for those working with children and adults at risk are available from DDC.  You can download the DDC Quick Start Guide to Paper DBS (PDF | 889kb)

Application forms for ministers / Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers are available from the safeguarding team.

Eligibility for DBS Checks

A new definition of ‘Regulated Activity’ came into force in 2012. For guidance about which roles are eligible for a DBS check, please follow the links below:

Please note that the DBS have changed their wording regarding eligibility for DBS checks for the child workforce. The DBS now state that people who work with children infrequently, but who would be in Regulated Activity (new or old definition) if it were done frequently, are now eligible for an Enhanced check without the children’s barred list check.

This means that people working with children can now be checked even if they don’t meet the usual DBS frequency criteria. For example, volunteers working on a rota.

Additional information about eligibility can be found on the DBS section of the GOV.UK website.

Disclosure Certificate Handling Procedure

Disclosure certificates are only issued to applicants, which means that Registered Bodies (in our case, DDC) no longer receive a copy of certificates like they used to.

Download DBS certificate process for churches  (Word | 2mb) for the current procedure regarding the handling of certificates, which verifiers and applicants should follow.

Online Update Service

The DBS Online Update Service makes disclosures portable between different organisations. This means that individuals can keep their DBS certificate up-to-date and take it with them when they move to a new job or role where the same level and type of check is required.

The service is free of charge for volunteers and £13 per year for those in paid positions. You can join the update service with your e-reference whilst your check is being processed or with your DBS certificate number within 19 calendar days from the date it was issued.

You can the DBS check service provider for your e-reference number.  Visit the DBS section of the GOV.UK website to find out more.

Field X61 on the DBS Application Form

When completing Question X61 ('Position applied for' field) on the DBS application form, verifiers need to enter 'Child Workforce''Adult Workforce' or 'Child and Adult Workforce' on the first line, followed by the actual role title in the line below.

DBS Verifiers

DDC provides a range of forms and guidance materials for DBS verifiers, which can be found on the DDC website.

DDC also provide training for verifiers, covering all aspects of the DBS process. For further details, please contact DDC.

If you would like to register a new DBS verifier for your church, please follow the link below and return the completed form to [email protected].

Please note that Church Secretaries are automatically registered verifiers with the United Reformed Church. Ministers, Local Church Leaders and CRCWs are no longer automatically verifiers.

If new verifiers wish to use the online DBS application system, they will need to provide an email address in order to do so. Due to the sensitivity and confidential nature of the information being received, this email address must be for the verifier's use only.


Scotland PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) Scheme Checks

In February 2011, the Scottish Government introduced a new membership scheme to replace and improve upon the current disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups.

Further information can be downloaded:

To access the current DDC forms for PVG verifiers, go to the DDC website. You can also download the DDC Quick Start Guide to PVG Checks (PDF | 885kb)

Further information about the PVG Scheme is also available on the Disclosure Scotland website.


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