The Diocese of Lincoln partners with thirtyone:eight (31:8) in relation to Disclosure (i.e. DBS) services and accessing the safeguarding Helpline. For DBS related queries, please contact them on 0303 003 1111 and choose option 1.

In the event the DSA is unavailable (due to being on holiday or other absence), they may advise thirtyone:eight to offer safeguarding cover via their Helpline (0303 003 1111).

In such instances, the Diocesan Safeguarding Team will ensure that information about such arrangements is appropriately communicated to parishes. An Information Sharing Agreement between the two organisations will allow for the DSA to receive a copy of the advice thirtyone:eight may offer the parish church/caller.'

DBS checks are mandatory for certain roles within the Church. 

The roles that require DBS checking are set out in the Church of England’s Safeguarding Guidelines for Safer Recruitment which are available here (see page 9 and Appendix 8).

Ensuring safer recruitment practice is in place across the whole diocese is extremely important to the Diocesan Safeguarding Strategy. Whilst DBS checking is only a small part of the overall safer recruitment process, it is nevertheless essential for certain roles that are recognised as being significant positions of trust. To this end the diocese has sought to provide a DBS checking system that is efficient and easy to access. To enable the Diocese of Lincoln to achieve this objective we have partnered with The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (31:8).

Established in 1977, 31:8 provides an unrivalled professional safeguarding advisory service. Many dioceses use this system, with 31:8 being one of the largest umbrella organisations to offer this service. The benefits to the parishes include: 

  • access to the online e-bulk application system
  • a much faster processing service via dedicated processing staff. In a recent audit (over a four-month period) 41% of checks were processed within just one day)
  • no more need to send any forms in the post
  • greatly reduced potential for errors than completing with paper forms
  • access to online reports, including DBS status information
  • a dedicated account manager providing specialist help and advice
  • regular updates.

Effectively, 31:8 are the countersignatory for the diocese for all parish and diocesan DBS checks.  They will provide an efficient electronic web-based system, although if this is not an option, parishes can use the paper format.

How Does The Scheme Work?

  • Forms will be filled in online by applicants, verified online by parishes, sent online to 31:8 , who countersign online and forward to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
  • For the vast majority of checks where there is no concern, replies will be with the parish within three days from the completed form being emailed to 31:8 , meaning that a form could be filled in and verified one Sunday, and the applicant can be on a rota by the following Sunday. Additionally, it is ‘impossible’ to fill the forms in wrongly, removing the frustration and delay of incorrect forms and, as the forms are electronic, parishes will never run out.
  • The system places control and responsibility at parish level, increasing local efficiency and enabling parishes to manage their own safer recruitment practice in line with the policy guidance.
  • 31:8 do levy an administration charge per application: at present this is £5 plus VAT. The Diocese of Lincoln will continue to cover the cost of this for parish volunteers for the immediate future. Those employed by parishes as paid workers will be paid for by the diocese but the Diocese will recharge the cost, £44, to the appointing parish. All payments will be processed through the Diocese of Lincoln.

The various handbooks about our diocesan scheme are published below:

E-Bulk Guide for Applicants (This is for those people needing to complete a DBS check for themselves.)

Recruiters Guide - E-Bulk System (This is a guide for those parishes who are already registered with the CCPAS scheme.)

31:8 Disclosure Service (This is the guidance for parishes that need to register with the CCPAS scheme.)

Church of England - Promoting a Safer Church - the Safeguarding Policy for children, young people and adults.

If your parish is already registered with 31:8 then please make contact with them directly.

The most recent list of registered parishes can be viewed here

If you are a member of the clergy or a licensed reader and you have a query about your own DBS check, please contact [email protected] or call Kate on 01522 50 40 50.