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Safeguarding Young Children and Vulnerable Adults

Updated Dec 2015: This document is updated to reflect the changes which have occurred since the previous issue in January 2012 and is a summary of the main points and guidelines concerning members.

Summary of Main Changes

  1. The previous functions carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have been merged into a new Disclosure Barring Service (DBS). A current CRB certificate will remain valid.

  2. The DBS is a one-stop service to those requiring criminal records disclosures and barring checks for employment / volunteering purposes. Barring checks are checks against lists of those barred from working with children, young people and adults who are vulnerable.

  3. Regulate Activities organised as a Guild or Branch Event or in a Home Tower remain subject to these requirements.

    Regulated activities

    The 2006 Act defined those activities which would legally require Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for workers dealing with children whether in a paid or voluntary capacity. The key consideration is where an adult has the opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with a child stemming from close and regular contact. The teaching, training or instruction, care or supervision of children and also in certain health and care institutions. For bell ringers this has been clarified as being the activity of hands on teaching of children by the group leader or other designated person. In a mixed group, other adult ringers are deemed to be a peer group assisting or under the supervision of the group leader. The legal requirement is, therefore, confined to those actually physically teaching the young juniors on a regular basis and the various possible scenarios are shown on the appended table. DBS checks should not be otherwise necessary and in this respect attempts to blanket check all ringers including those supervised by a leader are illegal.

  4. The Guild have a legal responsibility to ensure that the proper checks have been carried out for all Guild and Branch events involving a Regulated Activity. This process and responsibility will led by the relevant Guild and Branch Safeguarding Officer.

Ringing Activities and Legal Requirements

The following points and associated table sets out what ringers need to watch out for and take appropriate action.

Ringing activities NOT LEGALLY REQUIRING any DBS (former CRB) checks:

Ringing activities LEGALLY REQUIRING DBS check where carried out on a regular basis or involving overnight stay (for example weekend courses).

Activity Supervision by DBS checking by New checking
Arranged by
Face to face teaching by Tower Captain or Deputy : Home tower Tower Captain PCC PCC
Transporting juniors as formal arrangement, Irrespective of frequency Church or Guild as Organiser PCC PCC
Face to face teaching organised by Guild or Branch Tower Captain of Host Tower or Guild / Branch Officer Guild / Branch Safeguarding Officers Guild / Diocese by arrangement


  1. It has been clarified that helping teaching at different towers as an individual would not be aggregated but if, for example, a Guild organised a series of weekly training events, albeit at different towers, then that would be classed as a regulated activity because of the common provider.

  2. It should be noted that UNDER SUPERVISION EXEMPTION applies to teachers and helpers if they are under the supervision of a DBS checked leader recognised by the local church.

  3. Checking of DBS status can be carried out by the appointed responsible Child Protection person within the Parish involved or by the Guild. In all cases permission of the person whose status is being checked must be obtained.

  4. DBS checking of persons NEWLY taking up teaching activities in a supervisory/leader capacity will normally be dealt with by the Parish. The status of those already DBS (former CRB) checked through other activities (such as school teacher) can also be checked by the church.

Paper checks are only an aid and not a guarantee. The guidelines of good practice, especially having two adults present when young people are being taught, should always be followed

Portability of Certificates

Portability of DBS certificates between similar activities relating to children and vulnerable adults may be obtained by applicants for DBS checks, whether for new or renewals. At the time of application or within 14 days of receipt of certificate, applicants must apply for a continuous updating of their records. This updating service enables a person's record, with their permission, to be looked at on-line buy a prospective employer or user organisation and if "no change" is shown may lead to permission being granted to work without a new DBS application. The degree of portability is at the discretion of the user body.

Note: The existing LDGCBR Register and Certificates of DBS (CRB) approved bell ringing tutors will remain in use until all existing users of this system have adopted the new system described above.


Lincoln Diocesan Safeguarding Officer: Penny Turner
Email:      Phone:01522 504022     Mobile: 07432 522412
(Please use the mobile number out of office hours)

Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers Safeguarding Officer: Joy Lord
Email:      Phone: TBA

Tower or Branch     The contact information for each Tower and Branch should be prominently displayed in your tower and may also be obtained from the relevant PCC / Branch Secretary, or from the relevant Branch pages.

Guidelines / Responsibilities

When planning or supervising a regulated activity the Tower Captain / Leader should work with the PCC to ensure that appropriate DBS (CRB) checks are made.

A ringer organising/leading a bell ringing outing/visit or a Guild Officer arranging a single or series of events should ensure that the checks listed above have been carried out and state this on a permission to participate form to be completed by parents of children taking part in the outing or Training session.

It is important to note that a DBS (CRB) check on its own is of very little value as a protection measure. It is important that two adults are present whenever young people are taking part in ringing or being transported to or from ringing events.

It is good practice for an attendance register to be kept, including the names of any visitors.

Parents of new recruits should sign a consent form and should be encouraged to come to an early session to see what is involved.

Concerns about issues relating to the protection of young people and vulnerable adults should be reported as soon as practicable to the Priest or the PCC's Safeguarding representative responsible for the Tower. Further advice can be obtained from the contacts listed above.

Further guidance can be found on the Central Council website or this website.

  1. A Vulnerable adult is defined as: "Any adult aged 18 or over who, by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation is permanently or for the time being unable to take care of him or herself, or to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation"

Last updated December 2015