VolunteeringSafe RecruitmentParish Safeguarding Reps - News & Vacancies

Our Parishes rely entirely on people who volunteer their time, energy, skills and talents at the service of the Church. Volunteering enables the laity to recognise and use their gifts for the benefit of their parish community, to develop and nurture a sense of welcome to all and to foster a spirit of trust and openness that reflect the values of our ministry.

Safe Recruitment of volunteers

The Catholic Church is committed to doing everything possible to ensure children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe from harm. A critical responsibility is to ensure that anyone who is applying to work or minister within the Church, whether paid or otherwise, in a role which gives them direct access to children or vulnerable adults, is selected with the utmost care.

The Church is legally required to operate safe recruitment procedures and as such, for some roles, undertakes DBS checks to fulfil its obligations. This may include a barred list check depending on the nature of the role and whether it involves working unsupervised with a vulnerable group/workforce.

Typical roles that require a DBS check can be found here.

There are four stages of the safe recruitment process

An individual may express an interest in taking on a role or may be asked by the parish priest/group leader to support others in the group. A role description will be given to the individual which outlines what they would be expected to do and the personal skills/qualities required for that role. A formal discussion/interview may also take place with the parish priest/group leader or the parish safeguarding rep.
The parish safeguarding reps are trained in all stages of the safe recruitment process and will have the relevant forms/paperwork for completion by the potential volunteer.

These include:

  • Consent Form (for DBS processing)
  • New Volunteer Registration Form (requires details of two referees who the Diocese can write to in support of the volunteer’s application)
  • Self-Declaration Form (information required on any previous convictions, cautions or reprimands).
    Please note in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act some convictions/cautions will not necessarily bar an individual from volunteering in the Church. However, a formal risk assessment process will take place prior to confirming appointment in role.
  • Confirmation of Identity Form (three forms of ID are required for a DBS check)

Please note the Diocese operates within GDPR guidelines and in line with national policies regarding the obtaining, processing, storing and
retention of personal data and information. The Diocese will not pass on or sell data/information to any third parties.

All completed paperwork is sent to the Diocesan Safeguarding Office for checking and processing. References will be taken up and the disclosure check (if applicable) will be submitted to the DBS for completion. Please note that references may be followed up by telephone or face to face discussion if
further information is required.
Following receipt of satisfactory references and a clear DBS disclosure, the volunteer can be formally appointed to the role. The parish safeguarding rep will be informed by the safeguarding office that all safe recruitment checks have been completed. He/she will then ask the volunteer to read and sign a Volunteer Agreement Form. This form outlines the terms of the volunteer partnership between the individual and the parish, the national policies applicable to volunteers and the training they should undertake to help them in their role.

Training for volunteers

The Church has a responsibility to ensure all those who undertake ministry with others are adequately trained in safeguarding matters.

The Church has worked with Educare to provide an e-learning package to help raise awareness of safeguarding within our communities. The e-learning package is available free of charge and consists of six different training modules. As part of the Church’s commitment to safeguarding, all our volunteers will be asked to complete the module(s) relevant to their role upon their appointment. The parish safeguarding rep will advise you what module(s) should be completed. Details of the modules and how to register can be found here: E-Learning flyer.

What we expect from volunteers
The Church appreciates the time and commitment given by our volunteers and will do the best we can to ensure your volunteer experience with us is enjoyable and rewarding. We will treat all volunteers fairly and with respect.

We expect our volunteers to perform the role to the best of your ability and to follow the Diocesan Code of Conduct.

The role of a volunteer is not a legally binding contract and can be terminated by either party at any time.

However, if you wish to stand down from your role we would ask that you speak to your designated support person/parish priest before doing so, to enable a replacement to be found if required.

What our volunteers can expect from us
A designated support person will be advised to you on commencement of your role. We recommend that any support needs or difficulties are discussed with them in the first instance.

If these are not resolved, you may wish to speak to your parish priest or Dean responsible for your parish.

If you have a safeguarding query or concern then you can discuss this with your parish safeguarding rep who will do all they can to help. If you are unable to discuss the matter with the rep then you can contact the safeguarding office on 0114 2566453.

If the concern is urgent and you feel a child or vulnerable adult is at immediate risk of harm then please call the Police or Social Services.

More information on the reporting of concerns can be found here (Volunteer parish support hierarchy flyer).

Diocesan policies applicable to volunteers – all volunteers are expected to comply with the following Diocesan policies:


Health & Safety
You should read and familiarise yourself with this policy paying particular attention to the parts that are most relevant to your role. It is important that volunteers understand their responsibilities for Health & Safety and operate within the limits of their competence at all times (Health & Safety Policy)
Cash handling
The Parish Administration Handbook sets out formal cash handling procedures for those roles that involve the collection and handling of monies raised in the Church.
Suspicion of any dishonesty will lead to the volunteering work being cancelled. Where appropriate and if the dishonesty is evidenced, a report will be made to the Police.
Data Protection
In the course of your volunteering you may have access to confidential information relating to the Diocese or a person connected with it. Such information is not to be shared with anyone not authorised to receive it either during your volunteering with us or at any time after you leave your role.
Equality & Diversity
You should adopt high standards of personal conduct and behaviour towards others and treat everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself.
Volunteers should not make remarks about others (either via email, text or social media) which could be deemed to be inappropriate, offensive or discriminatory.
The Catholic Church of England and Wales, the Bishops and Religious Congregational Leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church and affirm a ‘One Church’ approach to protecting children, young people and adults at risk through the promotion of a sustained culture of constant vigilance.
A ‘One Church’ approach refers to use of the same policies, procedures, standards and systems in relation to safeguarding. By signing the volunteer agreement form you are confirming you have read and understood our Safeguarding Policy Statement.

More information on the national policies and procedures can be found via CSAS (Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Services) www.csas.uk.net.

Useful contacts:

Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator – Marie O’Donnelly
0114 2566454 / 07909 117964 [email protected]

Diocesan Safeguarding Administrator – Jo Pearson
0114 2566453
[email protected]

We all have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of everyone, whether they worship in our Church or join us for activities. Everyone should be treated with respect and consideration and particularly by taking care of those who may be vulnerable.

What is Safe Recruitment?

Safe recruitment processes help to create a solid foundation for ensuring that those in safeguarding ministry, be they staff or volunteers working with children, young people and vulnerable adults are comfortable in those roles and have access to support and training. They also help to ensure that no one who is unsuitable for work with those who are vulnerable is in role and to demonstrate publicly that the institution of the church is committed to safe practice. All will be selected and expected to work in accordance with current National and Diocesan Policies and Procedures and in line with the Guidelines on Equality and Diversity (CBCEW, 2004).

To get information about Safe Recruitment processes you can:

• Talk to your Local Safeguarding Rep, Designated Link Person or manager – please find their details on the Meet the Team page

• Contact the Safeguarding Administrator Jo Pearson by phone on 0114 2566453 or by e-mail at [email protected] or the Safeguarding Coordinator Marie O’Donnelly by phone on 0114 256 6454 (office) or 07909 117964 (mobile) or by e-mail at [email protected].

• Attend one of our Safe Recruitment training sessions

• Go to the https://www.csas.uk.net/procedures-manual/.

To do this effectively, the Diocese will ensure that

Safe recruitment processes will be followed

• Within parishes and other communities, safeguarding procedures are promoted to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them.

• Activities will be planned so that they are purposeful, organized and work within Diocesan policies for Health and Safety, including where necessary required risk assessments, insurance and registers.

• Event/activity leaders set and maintain safe, consistent and understandable boundaries

• All premises, equipment and means of transport used are safe, secure and accessible, complying with current Diocesan Health & Safety Procedures and the Equality Act 2010

• There is a minimum of two adults linked to every group for all activities or events for children and vulnerable adults; ratios may be greater for particular demographics

• Confidential information is stored, used and destroyed when no longer needed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

• All financial matters are managed in a prudent and transparent way in order to both protect the vulnerable from abuse and those who work with them from allegations

Interviewer Guidance

“All applicants for paid or voluntary work with children, young people and vulnerable adults must be interviewed before being appointed, The interview might be conducted by the Parish Priest, group leader and Local Safeguarding Rep. As to the degree of formality, the interviewers should bear in mind the nature of the post/role, level of responsibility it carries, and the maturity and experience of the applicant.” (Parish Pack p.32 and 33)

Interview-Guidance Document.

Guide for applicants

A Simple “Safe Recruitment” Guide for Applicants

You may get into volunteering because your priest asks you, you see an advertisement in your Parish or organisation newsletter, on the website or you hear an announcement at mass. If your priest asks you to be involved in a project, it is good practice to remind him that there is a process to follow and that you may need a DBS check.

For a document about the roles requiring a DBS, click here.

Regarding your role
The leader of the activity/role that you want to be involved in or the LSR should meet with you. This does not need to be a formal interview but they have simple questions to ask of you and information to give you, including a role description. This is an important part of the process because safe practice requires that you   know what is expected of you. The role description is also important for the office as different roles require different levels of checks.

Attached is a summary of available volunteer role descriptions.

Required documents
The Local Safeguarding Representatives, Designated Link Person or person responsible for recruiting will ask you to complete a number of forms. It is her/his responsibility to obtain those forms. We are trying to model best practice in recruiting and the pack can sometimes look daunting.

Documents List

• A Purple Disclosure and Barring Application Form

• An envelope to return your DBS certificate to the office

• A leaflet explaining the forms used within the safer recruitment process

• Safeguarding Self declaration (DBS 4) form

• Volunteer Application form

• Confirmation of Identity ID Form (DBS 3)

• Catholic Church guidance for disclosure applicants

• Catholic Church guide for the online update service

• Training questionnaire

Each document that you have to complete has a different and important function. The Diocese has worked hard with the national office (CSAS) to ensure that the paperwork is as simple as possible but there are some questions that we are obliged to ask, and there are reasons for repeating some information.

References for new applicants are taken up through the Safeguarding Office.

3-year renewal period

In this Diocese, all volunteers in ministry and employees with safeguarding responsibilities have a DBS renewal every three years. At each renewal you will also need to complete a self declaration form. If you have been doing one role for a couple of years and have an up to date DBS certificate, your suitability for a new role will need to be established and the safeguarding office will advise as to whether you need a new check. This depends, for example, on whether or not the new role has different responsibilities and whether or not the original check is at the right level. In addition people in roles such as Lourdes volunteers, will need to complete a self declaration every time they go to Lourdes.

For information about what happens to self declarations, which are confidential documents, click here.

Service of documents

It is the responsibility of Parish Safeguarding Representatives and Designated Link Persons to ensure that all paperwork is returned securely to the Safeguarding Office where it will be processed by Amanda or Jo and submitted to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

When you receive your certificate, you also have an option to register your certificate online. For information about the online registration service, see www.gov.uk/dbs. Registration is not a Diocesan requirement but it may remove the need for multiple checks in the long term. If you choose to use this service, you do need to do that within 14 days of the certificate being issued. You do not need to send in your certificate to the Safeguarding office unless you are requested to do so by either Jo or Marie.

Receiving Clearance

If you are an existing volunteer or post holder, you will not be required to stand down whilst we are processing the application. However, no new volunteer should start in role without completion of the recruitment process. So you are asked to be patient and accept that the process will be completed as quickly as possible, but that some things may be beyond control of the safeguarding office.

The DBS certificate on its own is not a guarantee that you are clear to start.
Although this happens rarely, we want to avoid situations where information comes out though references or any other matters are declared which make it inappropriate for you to be in the role and require you to stand down after you have started.
It is important therefore that you do not start in role without having received confirmation from the Safeguarding Office.

When you receive that confirmation, the Local Safeguarding Representative and Designated Link Person will advise the Parish Priest or manager and will ask you to sign the volunteer declaration found hereNew Volunteer Agreement Form.


We hope that you will sign up to some of the training sessions which are available. If you feel that the group you have joined needs some bespoke updated information or greater safeguarding awareness, please ask the safeguarding office  (see training page).

Please note that by September 2014, all volunteers and paid workers should have access to an e-learning safeguarding training package designed with the Catholic Church context in mind.

Many of our parishes have a volunteer safeguarding rep who are appointed following a formal interview and recruitment process. The reps will have a good level of safeguarding knowledge and expertise obtained through a professional role and will have completed an induction and training before commencing their role in the parish.

Parish Safeguarding Reps are the link between parish and the diocesan safeguarding office. They have specific responsibility for promoting good and
safe practices in all activities involving children, young people and vulnerable adults within the parish or congregation. This includes facilitating the DBS
disclosure procedure and ensuring that everyone who is required to go through the process does so.

Parish Safeguarding Reps have a sound knowledge of the national policies and procedures and who to contact in the event of a safeguarding issue or concern.

They also promote Diocesan training and events by displaying information on parish noticeboards, newsletters and parish websites.

Parish Safeguarding Reps are a valuable source of support for all our volunteers.

The contact details for your rep will be displayed in the parish. If your parish does not have a safeguarding rep then the office can signpost you to a
neighbouring rep who can help.

If you are interested in becoming a safeguarding rep for your parish then please contact the safeguarding office (0114 2566453) for information on the
recruitment process.


Volunteering News & Vacancies

Domestic Abuse Services are still Operating during Lockdown

Sheffield and Barnsley https://www.idas.org.uk/resources/handbooks-leaflets-posters/ Rotherham https://rotherhamrise.org.uk/ Doncaster https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/crime-anti-social-behaviour-nuisance/support-for-victims Chesterfield https://www.chesterfield.gov.uk/living-here/people-and-families/domestic-abuse.aspx Worksop https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/domesticabuse/help

Parish Reps Vacancies

Please note that we have vacancies for a Parish Safeguarding Representative in the following Parishes.  If you are interested in applying for this role, please read the attached document and make your interest known to your Parish Priest and contact the Safeguarding Office on 01142566453 or 0142566454 and speak to…