Clearance for service

Who needs a clearance?

The Archbishop in Council of the Diocese has resolved that certain roles, offices and positions for lay people for service in the Church (other than for authorised lay ministry), require a clearance for service.

They include a member of the Archbishop in Council, the Chapter of the Cathedral and Parish Council member, a Director of Music and people engaged in child related work.

Your Vicar or senior minister may in their discretion request a person (not already required by Archbishop in Council) to apply for a clearance of service in connection with a particular role office or position: s60(3).

Application for a clearance for service – new interim requirements from Nov 2020

The Archbishop in Council has approved new interim requirements for volunteers and lay employees to obtain a Clearance for Service before they undertake any role, office or position in the Diocese:
Why – It is essential that we work together so that our Parishes/AACs are safe places for everyone – children, vulnerable people and all others. This reflects our Christian faith as well as our society’s expectations and legal requirements. We must do everything we can to ensure we achieve and maintain safe environments.
Who Table A details which roles, offices and positions require a Clearance for Service. This table applies both during the interim and long-term arrangements.
What – Interim Clearance for Service arrangements are being introduced as follows so that we comply at all times with the Victorian legislative requirements and transition to compliance with our own Diocesan requirements within the next 12 months:

Action

a. Working with Children Check (WWCC) required from Nov 2020
b. National Police Check (Crimcheck) required from Nov 2020
c. Clearance for Service application form including Referee Check required from Sept 2021
d. Statement of Commitment to the Child Safe Code of Conduct required from Sept 2021

When – all volunteers and lay employees must comply with the interim arrangements (Actions a. and b. in the above table) by 28 February 2021. Your parish will provide more information about how to do this.
By whom – once a volunteer or lay employee has satisfactorily completed the above steps, Kooyoora, an independent Office of Professional Standards, can issue a Clearance for Service, subject to it completing its own checks.
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The clearance checks

It is a condition of eligibility for a clearance for service that you are fit to hold the proposed role office or position in the Church whether unconditionally or subject to any condition or restriction (s62 of the Act). An assessment is made on the basis of the information supplied in the application, the below checks and the information held by the Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards.  The Office will act in accordance with the Clearance for Service Protocol (Melbourne).

  • CrimCheck Online Application Form – Police Check
    • This is a check of all offences that are disclosed from a person’s National criminal records.
    • If you have previously obtained a favourable Police Check during the 3 years previous to the date of your application for a clearance, please supply a certified copy of that check to Kooyoora Ltd with your Clearance for Service Application form. The Office of Professional Standards will treat that Check as a Police Check for the purposes of your application.
    • See the Fact sheet on Police checks
  •  Working with Children Card

    Under Victorian law, if your volunteer role involves children, you are required to hold a current Working with Children Card (WWC).

    • The grant of the Card involves a check whether certain offences relevant to the safety of children are recorded against the applicant for the Card.
    • The card is valid for 5 years unless the Department of Justice suspends or revokes it in the meantime. If you move from voluntary to paid work, you must apply for an ‘Employee’ Card.
    • VIT card holders can now register their VIT card with Working with Children Check Victoria.  Click here for details.
    • See the Fact sheet on Working with Children Cards
  • National Register check

This involves a check of the National Register maintained by the Office of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia.

The clearance process

Broadly the process where, as a lay person, you have been offered or appointed or elected to a role, subject to clearance, is as follows:

  • The Director of Professional Standards

He or she is authorised to make a determination that a clearance for ministry be issued to you if satisfied that you are unconditionally fit for the proposed role office or position (s63 of the Act).

  • The PSC

If not so satisfied, the Director will let you know and the application will be referred to the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) for further consideration. You will have the opportunity to direct any submissions to the PSC, as provided in the Clearance for Service Protocol (Melbourne).

  • The Board

If the PSC is not satisfied of your fitness, the application is referred to the Professional Standards Board for determination. You will be informed of this referral and given the opportunity to respond. These steps are to ensure that procedural fairness is observed.

The Board may direct that the Office of Professional Standards refuse the application or grant the clearance for such period and subject to such condition or restriction as it may determine (s81).

Duration of the clearance

A clearance is valid for the earlier of the period specified in the clearance (not more than 5 years) and the resignation or retirement of the person from the role office or position unless the clearance is revoked or cancelled in the meantime by the Office of Professional Standards at the direction of the Professional Standards Board.

The standard certificate of clearance states that it remains in force, subject to the provisions of the Act, from the date specified in the certificate until the earlier of—

(a)        the fifth anniversary of that date;

(b)       the revocation or surrender or the expiry without renewal of the Working with Children Card given to the holder pursuant to the Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic);

(c)        the occurrence of a conviction event in relation to that person; and

(d)       the resignation or retirement of the person from each role office or position

unless it is sooner suspended or cancelled by the Office of Professional Standards pursuant to a direction of the Professional Standards Board or the Professional Standards Review Board.