Referee Checking

We know that referee checking for our trainees is important – we want someone to vouch for the character and suitability of a person to work with vulnerable people –  but how should we go about it? Well in the Safe Ministry Check system you’ve got a few options!

There are three options available for collecting reference checks from referees – the manual option, the one-click referee option and the web-form easy response option.
You’ll find all these options in your account, under Auto-Screening Options. 

Let us walk you through them!

The Manual Option

The first option is to have trainees provide their referee details, but NOT automatically collect the reference check from these referees. Admins could then contact referees themselves and obtain a reference. A flaw with this option (other than the heavy load on your administrators!) is that the details of the reference are not recorded in the Safe Ministry Check system.

To use this option: make sure you select ‘Yes’ to people providing referee details and select ‘No’ to Safe Ministry Check automatically verifying people’s referees.

The One-Click Option

The second option is the one-click option, where an email is sent to the referees and they just need to click ‘Yes’ or ‘Not entirely’ in response to 4 statements. The email looks like this:

Dear John Doe,

Recently Jane Doe – as a member of [CHURCH NAME] – completed the online Safe Ministry Check course at As part of the standard screening process, Jane Doe was asked to provide the name and email of someone who could vouch for their character and suitability to do work that may include interacting with vulnerable people.

Can you confirm ALL of the following?

  1. I am John Doe.
  2. I have known Jane Doe for more than 6 months.
  3. To my knowledge, Jane Doe has never been the subject of a formal accusation of any sort of wrong-doing or abuse.
  4. I have no concerns about Jane Doe and believe Jane Doe is of suitable character to work with children and vulnerable adults.

Please select one of the options above. Please be honest. This is an important part of making sure our organisations are safe places for everyone. If you select “Not entirely” a member of their organisation will contact you to elaborate further.


The Safe Ministry Check Team

This option does the heavy lifting of collecting references for you, with minimal effort required on the referee’s part. The referee can simply click ‘Yes’ or click ‘Not entirely’ and this information is recorded on the trainee’s profile.

If a referee selects ‘Not entirely’ an administrator should get in contact with them to hear their concern/s. It could be something as simple as incorrect details – name spelled wrong, or they haven’t know the trainee for long enough – or it could be a concern surrounding the trainee’s character. 

To use this option: make sure you select ‘Yes’ to people providing referee details, select ‘Yes’ to Safe Ministry Check automatically verifying people’s referees, and select ‘One-click easy response’ for how you want referees to respond to requests. 

The Web-Form Option

The third option is the web-form option, where an email is sent to the referee inviting them to complete a reference check via a short online form. The email content is the same, but instead of four statements and a ‘Yes’ or ‘Not entirely’ option, referees will see this: 

This option requires a little more effort on the referee’s part, however it provides admins with a lot more information, minimising the back and forth needed between administrators and referees in the case where the referee needs to correct details or has a concern. 

An example of the online reference check is below:

As the referee completes the reference check, selecting ‘May be an issue’ will trigger a comment box at the bottom where they can indicate any concerns that they have and provide more information.

Then, on the trainees profile you can view a summary of the referees response. If a referee has flagged any concerns, this will be marked as ‘Pending admin approval’, allowing administrators to review the information, determine whether follow up with the referee is necessary, and then mark the referee as ‘Positive’ or ‘Negative’ (depending on the situation).

For example:

In this case, John being related to Jane makes him an invalid referee, and Jane will need to nominate another referee. Instead of contacting John, the administrator can just ask Jane for another referee. 

Let’s look at another example:

In this case, you can see that John wanted to be transparent and has shared that Jane Doe was convicted of speeding in 2010. The administrator can assess this information and take action – this is a long time in the past and isn’t relevant to her role in kids church leading, and so the administrator can mark this reference as ‘Positive’, all without needing to contact the referee. 

This will then note on the trainee’s profile that there was an issue raised and an admin has manually approved the reference. You can also view the details of the referee’s response in the trainee’s history. 

Which option do I choose?

Which referee option you choose is up to you! Each option helps you fulfil your obligations and verify the character of the trainee, it’s just a matter of weighing up how much you ask referees to do with the load on your administrators. Use whichever option best suits your needs and use it with confidence, knowing you’re one step closer to building a safe culture in your church!