The charity commission requires appointment of volunteers, and paid staff, to be done through a process of safer recruitment. This is a framework that uses a range of measures to both deter and prevent unsuitable individuals from working (either paid or volunteers) with vulnerable people. Mistakenly, some believe that carrying out a Disclosure and Barring check (DBS) is all that is needed when recruiting workers. Whilst it can be tempting for churches to take short cuts when people are willing to help out, are a familiar face and there are gaps in the rotas, it is important to be aware that a DBS check is only part (albeit an essential one) of a safer recruitment process. This process should be carried out prior to people engaging in roles working with children or young people and adults at risk. The Moderator wrote to all churches in November 2015 about the need for all of our volunteers to go through this process Letter to all Churches re Safer Recruitment of Volunteers 04-11-15
The safer recruitment process includes the development of a job description (or role profile for volunteers), completion of an application form, a self-declaration of criminal history, a face-to-face interview, taking up references and a DBS check. It also includes an agreement, by whoever is fullfiling the role, to abide by URC Safeguarding Policies, and a commitment to undertaking regular safeguarding training.
Please see step by step guide Step-by-step-guide-for-safer-selection-and-recruitment-of-volunteers-and-paid-staff
It is crucial that references are taken up before interviews as this allows exploration with referees prior to interview and enables any outstanding questions to be incorporated into the interview process. Additionally this means that there is much less delay before being able to make a decision about appointment so volunteers, or potential paid staff, are not ‘on hold’ until this has taken place.
The following forms will assist churches in undertaking this process for paid staff and volunteers:
model-Volunteer-Application-Form (this is shorter and therefore less onerous than the one for paid workers)
Role description and person spec drop in co-ordinator Role and person spec Drop in co-ordinator
Blank person spec and pro forma for completing a job or role description. These can be used to formulate your own if the other two do not match the job that you’re thinking of appointing to.
Model Volunteer Agreement This would be given when a volunteer is appointed. This is not a contract and this is made clear in the model agreement attached.
It is advisable that all volunteers and paid workers are given a code of conduct when they are ‘appointed’ so that they are fully aware of expectations. There are two versions, the Long Code of Conduct that goes into detail about what is good practice and the Short-Code-of-Conduct-updated that churches can ask volunteers or paid workers to sign
Concerns – If you have any concerns about a volunteer or paid worker, depending on whether the criteria is met, these may need to be referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer. Please consult the Synod Safeguarding Officer for advice if this happens as there may also be a duty to refer to the DBS and Charity Commission. This duty to refer is in respect of lay and ordained people.
Disclosure and barring information– With the recent changes in legislation whether a volunteer or paid member of staff is entitled to have a DBS check can be a bit of a minefield. This document goes through the various forms of DBS checks available and describes when an individual is legally entitled or have a DBS check.
self-declaration-form this is connected to DBS checks and is an important part of the process of appointing both volunteer and paid staff.
Handling of DBS Certificate Information – a model policy for handling disclosure information
Model Equalities policy – This includes topics of discrimination, equal opportunities in church life, provision of services, appointment of paid and volunteer staff and assessment of information about criminal convictions