Persons of concern
The Diocesan Synod in October 2019 enacted a process to regulate the participation by a Person of Concern in a life of a parish or congregation or the Cathedral.
A Person of Concern is a person whose presence may constitute an unacceptable risk of harm to any person engaged in the activities of the parish as a result of sexual abuse or physical abuse and includes a person falling within any of the classes of persons defined in the Act including a convicted sex offender, s67C.
How the process works
If the Director of Professional Standards receives a report that a Person of Concern is participating or wishes to participate in the life of a parish or other body, the Director must make a preliminary assessment of risk as required by s67D and report to the PSC. The Director will follow the protocol approved for the process.
The PSC may in its absolute discretion, after giving the person an opportunity to be heard, by resolution declare that a Person of Concern is a prescribed Person of Concern for the purposes of the Act: s67G.
If that happens, the Person of Concern must–
- apply to the Office of Professional Standards for a clearance for participation; and
- apply for a national Police Check at the expense of the Diocesan Corporation:
If the person fails to apply or is refused a clearance, they are prohibited from participation except as allowed under s67Q. In that event, the Archbishop must approve in advance in writing the circumstances in which the person can be admitted to Holy Communion.
The Person of Concern may object to that determination and have the matter referred to the Professional Standards Board for determination: s67O.
The vicar or senior minister and churchwardens of the parish have particular duties in relation to a prescribed Person of Concern: S67S.
They include, where a person has been prohibited, taking all reasonable steps to prevent the prescribed Person of Concern from having entry or access to premises or activities of the Church either generally or in a specified location or circumstances, except to be admitted to the Holy Communion in circumstances approved in advance in writing by the Archbishop.
The vicar or senior minister and churchwardens of the parish also have certain responsibilities under any safety agreement they enter into.
Safe Ministry to Children Canon 2017, s8(1), Second schedule Part 4
Persons of Concern Policy tabled at the session of General Synod held in 2017