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In 2015 the United Reformed Church (URC) undertook a review of their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) arrangements for local churches and Synods, to offer the best possible service and highest standards of service to United Reformed Churches. After a lengthy period of evaluation a new supplier was chosen, with the contract awarded to Due Diligence Checking Limited (DDC). In 2019 the processing of DBS checks for Minister and Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers was transferred to DDC. If you are interested to read about DDC and the work that they do, please feel free to explore our site.

DDC have a great deal of experience dealing with faith organisations and processing DBS/PVG checks for organisations as large as the United Reformed Church.

How does the URC DBS system work?

The system utilises an online application and management system or a paper-based application process if preferred, together with the friendly and supportive DDC Customer Services Team who are available to help you at every stage of the process. Please click here for more information on contacting DDC.

For those United Reformed Church Verifiers (churches and synods), who do not have access to the internet but need to request checks, DDC will still be able to help! The easiest, quickest and safest way to request and carry out checks is through the online application system, and there are numerous ways to do this (even if you do not have an email address!). Arrangements have also been made to allow applicants without email addresses/access to a computer to complete the online process.

However, please click here for details about the fully paper based process.

How does the URC PVG system work?

Unfortunately Disclosure Scotland do not yet have an online submission facility for PVG checks so United Reformed Churches and ministers in Scotland will still need to use the paper based process of application. This can still be initiated, tracked and managed through the online Client Area. There is also a useful tool in place when requesting these checks to ensure the correct PVG form is sent to the applicant. Please ensure that you answer the questions asked to ensure the correct form is sent, and delays are kept to a minimum.

The new PVG process is fully described through this ‘United Reformed Church Mini-Site’, as are the specific roles and responsibilities of those directly involved in the process.

The roles involved in the process – churches and synods:

The DDC system can be broken into three main steps, all of which will involve the Church Verifier. The United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office has a list of approved Verifiers, and any requests or changes to those undertaking this role should be communicated to the United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office. If you are a Church Verifier who would like to share this role with another person or you are standing down, please complete the form required and submit them to the United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office. This will need to be in accordance with a decision recorded in the minutes of a Church or Elders Meeting and signed by your Minister or Church Secretary. The United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office will then communicate this to DDC, who will initiate the new log-in(s) as required. If there is a basic change in details, for example a change of email address or new contact number, you can inform DDC directly, but you must also inform the United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office.

The main steps:

  1. The Church Verifier requests checks for their church through the online Client Area, or by handing out/printing the application packs.
  2. The Church Verifier checks the applicant’s identification documents to ensure they are valid and fit for purpose. For the online process this is simply a case of answering basic multiple choice questions on the system, about the original documents presented. For the paper process, Verifiers will need to complete a specific form to confirm what they have seen, photocopy the documents and send the photocopies to DDC with the application pack supplied.
  3. The Church Verifier is notified that the process is complete. If a Certificate is issued containing information that needs to be reviewed by the United Reformed Church, a notification will be sent by DDC to the United Reformed Church Safeguarding Office. A process will then be initiated to collect the Certificate from the applicant, review the contents and undertake a risk assessment. Once this has been completed an automated email will be sent to the Verifier to confirm that the applicant can begin their role with the church. If the applicant cannot be cleared to work in the role, or specific conditions are required, the Verifier will be notified.