What checks should you do on clergy who are invited to take part in services outside of the parish where they are licensed, whether from another diocese, another jurisdiction, or another denomination?

Current practice in the Diocese of London is that checks are required for all Church of England clergy coming into the diocese to take up substantive posts. This normally consists of the Area/Diocesan Bishop requesting a Clergy Current Status Letter (CCSL) from the Bishop in the diocese where the clergy person currently holds a license or permission to officiate. It includes a safeguarding check from the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor to ensure that DBS checks and training are up to date. Together, these will confirm that the clergy person is in good standing.

If a clergy person has been ordained overseas (not including the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Ireland, or the Church in Wales) and wishes to officiate in the Church of England, they need to obtain the permission not only of the bishop of the diocese, but also of the Archbishop of Canterbury. To do so without having obtained the Archbishop’s Permission, even for one service, is an ecclesiastical offence for which proceedings may be taken under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. Applications are made under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. Further details, including how to apply, are here: https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/sites/abc/files/2021-04/OPTO%20%20Non%20CofE%20Clergy%20-%2025.03.21.pdf.

However, for UK and ROI clergy from within other Areas of this Diocese or from other Dioceses, to take a one off service or occasional office here or to preach once, you can now simply look up the person’s current status on the National Register of Clergy: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/national-register-clergy. In addition, you need to ask them to show you proof of their DBS check and that their safeguarding training is up to date. You can then write to them confirming that you have done these things and that you are giving them permission to minister in your church for a particular occasion. You should keep a copy to show that you have done so (and you may also copy this letter to the Bishop’s office, who will hold it as a record on the parish file and as evidence that you have fulfilled your obligations).

Canon B43 covers clergy from other denominations. In brief, assurance needs to be sought from the minister’s authorizing body that they are in good standing and up to date with DBS checks and safeguarding training. There are different levels of permission depending on what they are being asked to do: some things can be done without consultation or permission; others require consultation with the PCC and the permission of the Bishop.

It would ordinarily be the Incumbent or Priest-in-Charge who would liaise with the Bishop in connection with such matters.

During a parish vacancy this information would be shared by the Bishop or Archdeacon as part of the vacancy process.