Section 1: General information


  • Sessions/Parish Councils
  • Presbyteries
  1. Police checks for lay workers in paid positions with pastoral responsibilities are now mandatory.
  2. This requirement applies to all new appointments from 1 March 2003 onwards.
  3. The rationale for this mandatory requirement for a police check for lay workers in positions with pastoral responsibilities is that it is one way in which the Church can minimise, though not necessarily eliminate, the likelihood of more vulnerable members of society being put at risk by individuals whose behaviour may be detrimental to others' safety and wellbeing.
  4. The requirement for police checks to be done does not exempt Sessions/Parish Councils and Presbyteries from working through thorough recruitment and appointment processes.
  5. Sessions/Parish Councils and Presbyteries should, as part of the application process, obtain appropriate consents and declarations from all prospective appointees. See Section 3 for a sample declaration form. If applicants are not willing to sign this form then they should not be interviewed or appointed.
  6. Applicants should be asked to supply the names and contact details of 2-3 people who may be approached as confidential referees. Some of the questions which a referee should be asked are outlined in Section 4.
  7. Following an interview, the successful applicant should be asked to fill in a consent form for a police check to be done and the consent form should be forwarded to the Assembly Office, with the application form from the Session/Parish Council Clerk or Presbytery Clerk. See Section 2 for details about the process. Care must be taken to explain the reasons for the police check and to outline the process.
  8. The police check process takes time: two months needs to be allowed from the date of mailing the application and consent forms.
  9. If an offer of appointment is made prior to the results of the police check being known the offer can only be conditional and is subject to the result of the police check.
  10. If the police check does reveal that a person has criminal convictions that need not automatically preclude the person being appointed. Information about the factors which should be taken into account are outlined in Section 5.