Diocese of Manchester

Safeguarding resources for use during pandemic

This page has information and resources to support your work in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe during the coronavirus emergency.

Please visit the Document Library for new resources to support work with children and young people during the pandemic. This includes advice on social media and videoconferencing, support networks and online youth work.

The Church of England also has Mental Health reflections for coping with anxiety and loneliness (March 2020) and new information in relation to Domestic Abuse during Covid-19 (April 2020).

DBS checks 

We are currently living in some very extraordinary and difficult times; however, we recognise the importance, now more than ever, to make sure that we continue to follow Safer Recruitment and continue processing DBS checks.

The Church of England and Thirtyone:eight websites are regularly updating their pages so please check them when you can.

The Disclosure helpline remains open to answer any questions you may have. However, with staff working remotely, it may take a little longer than usual to answer your call. The telephone number is 0303 003 1111 option 1.

Checking of ID documents

As the public is being advised to work from home where possible, this is causing difficulties in receiving the physical documents and is delaying applications and, in some cases, preventing applications from being submitted.

To ensure the necessary checks can still be carried out, the DBS standard and enhanced ID checking guidance has been changed for a temporary period from 19 March 2020.

The change has enabled:

  • ID documents to be viewed over video link


  • scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted

The applicant will be required to present the original versions of these documents when they first attend their employment or volunteering role.

If it is still not possible for someone to renew their DBS whilst self-isolating or shielding, even in the light of the new arrangements provided by the DBS, then unfortunately the PTO will need to lapse until the DBS can be renewed. Clear records of any clergy to whom this applies should be kept. Once the individual is no longer self-isolating, the DBS may be applied for and the PTO renewed, subject to all other criteria being met.

Pastoral Support

Many organisations are looking at practical ways to support those within their community, in particular, by obtaining shopping on their behalf. If your workers are offering to get shopping for those who need help because of age, illness or disability and, therefore, taking money from them, then the role will be eligible for an Enhanced check with a check of the barred lists (i.e. Regulated Activity).

In the same way, if your organisation was supporting an adult before self-isolation because of their vulnerability (e.g. age, illness, disability, etc.) then this would qualify them for a DBS if that same level of support continues albeit in a slightly different format.

If a person is receiving support because of self-isolation (or forced if the government chooses to restrict movement) then they are not, as defined by the DBS, an adult at risk or an adult with care and support needs (Care Act 2014) and eligibility would therefore be unlikely.

Do call the Disclosure Helpline if you need more specific advice (0303 003 1111 option 1).

Safeguarding and DBS Factsheet: FAQs

Zoom Meetings

You may be aware in the news of Zoom meetings being hijacked by an anonymous person(s) and then being able to share inappropriate content to the audience. We have reviewed the recommended changes to be made to our Zoom environment which we’ve applied with immediate effect. These are listed and highlighted in bold below. There are also some guidelines on what best practices to follow.

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests. This has been switched on now and should come into effect immediately.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join. The latest app is being installed and reported by Zoom.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organisation’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.


Information Policy Guidance

It is important to consider the security of your parish’s acts of worship and church meetings when delivering them online. Just as you would ensure your church buildings and halls are safe and secure for the purposes for which they are being used, the same is true online; that said we should also ensure that they are places of welcome to newcomers. Generally speaking, online acts of worship and church meetings will be performed via either a streaming service (e.g. Facebook Live, YouTube) or a video conferencing service (e.g. Zoom, GoToMeeting).

Download the full guidance.

Filming your service

Safeguarding guidelines

As churches begin to think about returning to their buildings for worship and consider how they might still engage online, we have produced these short guidelines around use of images.Whilst we would encourage you strongly not to simply record your service in church but produce something online that may be shorter, if you do or use part of a recorded service you must ensure all consents are in place for children, young people and adults at risk.Ensuring that consent is gained should be part of our ‘normal’ parish safeguarding practice, but this is an important reminder for these days as we move back into our buildings but still want an online worshipping presence in our parishes.

Photographs and video recordings are ‘personal data’ as far as data protection legislation is concerned and must be used responsibly.

Please ensure

  • That a clear announcement is made at the beginning of the service, before any recording begins, that the service will be recorded and to ask those who do not wish to be on the video to make themselves known.This group of people should be assured that they won’t appear and every effort should be taken to ensure that is the case.It is important to ensure that this announcement happens every week to account for changes of attendees in the congregation and people’s preference which can change, particularly if they are vulnerable/at risk.
  • Written consent should be obtained from parents and carers if children and young people are involved in the service, for example, if they are serving, reading or leading prayers.Consent forms are available from the Diocesan Childrens and Youth Officers.It is important that you have both consent to take the photos or video footage and to use it.When obtaining this consent you must state clearly where the video footage will be posted/used, for example posted on parish website, shared on Facebook or Twitter. 

Safeguarding training during the pandemic

All face-to-face training has been cancelled as a result of the pandemic. C1 Safeguarding Training is now available online. This should be completed after completing C0 online training. C1 training is for all clergy and those with safeguarding responsibilities with children and young people within our church communities and can be accessed via the following link: https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org/

When you register for online learning modules you will be required to use your own email address. If you only have access to a shared email address please contact the help desk for assistance.

SafeToNet Foundation 

SafeToNet Foundation (www.safetonetfoundation.org) is a small charity that focuses on safeguarding children online. SafeToNet is making 1 million copies of its safeguarding software available free for life to UK families. SafeToNet is an app for parents that helps safeguard their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, while respecting the child’s rights to privacy. It also gives children wellbeing exercises to help deal with issues such as stress, fear and anxiety. More details available at https://safetonet.com/foundation/covid

Please email neil@safetonetfoundation.org to arrange a call about how the SafeToNet safeguarding can help you safeguard children in your diocese

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The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House,
90 Deansgate,
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400