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If you work or volunteer with children in your local church, you should do a DBS check before you start working and then every four years.There are a few exceptions- but ask don't assume. 

The eligibility criteria for those working or volunteering  with vulnerable adults is slighlty more complex : see the flow charts for more details. If you are eligible you should do a DBS check before you start working and then every four years.

Ask your local church safeguarding coordinator or secretary for a DBS form.

Please remember that the DBS check is just one part of the Safer Recruitment Process. 

IMPORTANT!! Please make sure you complete  the final step of the process and send your certIficate to the Panel office when you receive it directly from the DBS. We provide a prepaid envelope for you to do this. We will send the certificate back to you and let your church know that the process is complete. Unless you complete this final step we are unable to verify that you have a DBS check for your role. 

The Panel office will infom the local church when a DBS check for an individual has been completed. The church should keep a confidential record of the DBS status of their volunteers so they can ensure renewals are completed prompty and all new volunteers complete the process. The church should not retain any DBS certificates. 



 A check should be repeated every 4 years If you have been doing the role for a while, your  church safeguarding coordinator or secretary will be able to tell you when your next check is due. 

If you have registered with the DBS update service and it is over 4 years since you last did a check with the Panel, you can complete your renewal quickly without needing a new DBS form.

Read our information sheet for more details or  complete this form and send it to our office  along with your original certificate or get  IN TOUCH if you need help or more information.

We can usually check your DBS online in a matter of minutes.

Please note :  If your update service subscription has lapsed, if you have lost your original certificate or if your church role is not at the same level or group as the original certificate we may need to ask you to complete a new form.


Where a role is eligible for a DBS check it is our policy that one should be done. This is in line with best practice principles and the Charities Commission guidelines. 

Note :we can't do a check just incase someone decides to work with vulnerable groups in the future.  We must be able to verify that each role is eligibile before submitting an application to the DBS.

Look at the flowcharts and examples to see who is eligible and needs to do a DBS check click here

Read Our Policy and Summary of Eligibility leaflet here

This information is also in section 2 of the 2022  Handbook 

still unsure -look at our checklists below...

Checklist for DBS check eligibility for those working with Vulnerable Adults here

Checklist for DBS check eligibility for those working/volunteering with children here

Supervision - in order to decide if a role with children is regulated activity or not it is essential to establish if there is adequate supervision. Click here to read the statutory guidance on supervision. 

Trustees: If a trustee is involved in regulated activity and works closely with vulnerable groups or manages or supervises those doing the work they will be required to do a check with a check of the barring lists because of the nature of the work, not because of the title 'trustee' HOWEVER a trustee, involved in the running of a church that provides activites for children or vulnerable adults is also eligible to do an enhanced check (without a check of the barring lists) even if they  are not  working directly with the vulnerable groups.  This is because a church working with children and vulnerable adults is classed as a "charity for vulnerable groups" for DBS checking purposes  and the trustees are responsible for the work.


Many minor and old convictions and cautions have been filtered and will not appear on a DBS certificate after 11 years ( 5.5 years for convictions that occured under 18 years old) and do not need to be disclosed. These filtering rules were updated in November 2020. Generally minor convictions are filtered after 11 years.but serious and violent offences (specified offences) and those leading to a prison sentence will never be filtered. See the New filtering rules for DBS certificates (from 28 November 2020 onwards)

See the Unlock disclosure calculator to work out if your conviction needs ot be disclosed. (Unlock is an independent national charity that provides a voice and support for people with convictions)

See also  2.7 in the handbook 



Click here to see our DBS application process  WE ARE SORRY THAT CURRENTLY ONLY PROCESS PAPER FORMS 

(This information is also in Section 2 of  the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Handbook)

If you need to complete a DBS check for your role within the church,ask your safeguarding coordinator, church secretary or minister for a form.

see above for more information on the Update service.

ln line with DBS code of conduct each DBS applicant will need to meet face to face with a Panel Verifier to have the form checked and their identity verified by cross checking with 3 documents such as a Passport, Driving licence or utilities bill. The full list of acceptable documentation can be found here.

A list of volunteer verifiers is available from the Panel.
Please note many ministers and staff  ministers have also been trained to carry out this role so ask in your local church first. 

Please make sure you remember the final step of the process and send your ceritficate to the Panel office when you receive it directly from the DBS.
We will send it back to you and let your church know that the process is complete. 

 We are frequently asked…

Can I use a DBS certificate I have from another role?

Q " I am a teacher - I've done a DBS for work,  surely I dont need to do another check for my role in the church"       

A  " Well it depends. Unless you have joined the DBS update service  it is still the same rule as previously. You  need a DBS check for each organisation you work or volunteer for."

Many people believe that one Disclosure and Barring Service certificate is enough for all the work that they do with vulnerable groups and that they will never need to do another one. Unfortunately this information is not completely correct. A DBS certificate is not automatically portable but since 2013 it has been possible to reuse a certificate  if the applicant has registered with the DBS Update service within 30 days of receiving their previous certificate.

Read the Panel information sheet here

In order to re-use your existing certificate for your church work you will need to have registered on-line with the Update service. We will need to see the original certificate, receive your written permission and ensure that a Panel verifier or your church leader has verified your identity. This form will lead you through the process.

Contact us for more information or visit the DBS website. DBS update service guide



A DBS check will only give information about an individuals time in the UK. If you have a vulnerbale group worker / voLunteer who has lived overseas you should follow the procedures noted in these links to get longer term information about their criminal history.

Please note: the individual often has to get this infomation before they leave their previous country.

Guidance on the application process for criminal records checks overseasGuidance on the application process for criminal records checks overseas



Please also look at the relevant pages in the DBS guidelines for Applicants for identity checking rules and requirements for non EEA workers and volunteers.

Note - employers are responsible for ensuring that new employees and volunteers are allowed to work in the UK 



 click here to see the DBS guidelines for applicants including information if you have an unusual address

 Click here for more information about the rules regarding the filtering of old convictions and warnings

Click here to see ID checking Guidelines and the current list of documents you will need to make your application

 click here to see the current list of DBS publications and updates

DBS Code of Practice  click here 

 DBS Update Service  To read more about the service  which can allow you to use your DBS certificate again please click here