Section 1 - Responsibilities

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Last updated: 15 July 2021
Version: 1

1.1  A responsible person must be identified for each role being appointed to that falls within the scope of this guidance.  The responsible person is accountable for the recruitment and appointment into that role and must him/herself have been safely recruited.

1.2 A responsible person must also be identified for the ongoing support of the person appointed into the position. The responsible person must him/herself have been safely recruited.

1.3 The responsible person must be familiar with the requirements of this guidance and be up to date on their current safeguarding training.

1.4 If responsibility is delegated at any stage, the responsible person must ensure that the individual they are delegating to is capable, competent and has received all required training.  The responsible person retains overall accountability for ensuring all requirements described in this policy are met. 

Good practice advice


Identifying who is responsible for the recruitment into a role where the Safer Recruitment & People Management Guidance Requirements apply is important to ensure quality and consistency across the whole process.  

Not identifying a responsible person can result in a lack of clarity and ultimately important aspects of the process not being carried out properly or missed altogether.


Considering the Role

In some Church bodies, the responsible person might be known as a ‘line manager’ or ‘supervisor’ of the role.  Given the complexity of the Church of England, there are many different positions that may have the role of the responsible person and many different terms that might be used to refer to that person, e.g. ‘incumbent’, ‘group leader’, ‘volunteer coordinator’.   It should also be recognised that some people in Church bodies may be better equipped/qualified than others to carry out this role.

The responsible person should plan and oversee the whole recruitment process.  Depending on the role, there may be other people and teams involved at various stages of the process e.g. the interview panel members, Human Resources, DBS administrator and so on, but the responsible person should maintain oversight of the whole process.

Individuals with any responsibility for the recruitment and appointment process, as well as ongoing management, should have completed training on Safer Recruitment and People Management (see Section 15: Learning & Development).

Overall Responsibilities

Parishes and Bishops' Mission Orders (BMOs)

Parochial Church Council (PCC) or BMOs equivalent body.

The PCC or BMOs equivalent body is the main decision maker of the body. They are responsible for the appointment of those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults, paid or unpaid.

Often the responsibility is delegated to the incumbent. At least two individuals (who could include the incumbent) must be responsible for recruitment overall.

Diocesan Employees and Volunteers

Diocesan Secretary (on behalf of Diocesan Board of Finance) and Diocesan Bishop

Cathedral Employees and Volunteers


Religious Communities


Governed by their constitutions, and in line with the Safeguarding in Religious Communities policy

Overall Responsibilities in relation to Clergy Appointments


Who appoints and decides the method of appointment and whether to advertise?

Role of Patron

Role of Bishop

Role of PCC

Incumbent (including team rector)

Patron (who may be the bishop; or may be patronage board constituted by scheme in case of team rector)


Right of veto

PCC reps have right of veto

Priest in charge

Bishop (unless the Bishop has delegated this role to a suffragan bishop or archdeacon)

Right to be consulted – all patrons in a vacancy


No right of veto, but PCC has to be consulted 

Team vicar

Patronage board (where constituted by scheme)

otherwise bishop and rector jointly

Patronage board (where constituted by scheme) is patron and appoints

Chairs patronage board (where constituted by scheme)

Appoints jointly with rector

PCC reps have right of veto


PCC reps have right of veto

Assistant Curate

(when not a training post)

Incumbent nominates

No role

The Bishop licences.

No legal requirement to be consulted but may be.

Assistant curate

(when a training post)

Incumbent offers post – having been authorised to do so by Bishop

No role

The Bishop licences: no veto but could refuse for good cause

No legal requirement to be consulted but may be.

Involving others in the process

Wherever possible and appropriate to the role, involving children, young people or vulnerable adults can be valuable.  Examples of how people might be involved include but are not limited to:

  • developing a role description;
  • being a member of the interview panel;
  • creating a video to be shown to prospective candidates;
  • helping to devise interview questions;
  • being involved in the induction process.

At diocesan and cathedral level, involving survivors and victims in the selection process for senior safeguarding roles should always be considered and arranged wherever possible, for example, in respect of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSAs) and Cathedral Safeguarding Advisor (CSAs) roles.   

Where other individuals are involved, Church bodies need to ensure they are supported to understand their purpose and role in the process, as well as provided with appropriate practical and emotional support.

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest arises when there is a conflict between a public duty and a private or personal interest.  It is recognised that in some Church bodies, conflicts of interest are difficult to avoid. e.g. where a clergy spouse is a volunteer or employee or where a parent is an employee or member of clergy. 

Wherever possible, conflicts of interest should be avoided throughout the recruitment and selection process.  Any potential conflict of interest should be identified and discussed, and steps put in place to manage the conflict.  Steps may include removing the person from the process, restricting their role in the process or ensuring there is an independent person involved in the process e.g. on the interview panel.