Professional Standards Amendment Bill 2019

Professional Standards Amendment Bill 2019

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne held its 53rd Synod on the 16-19th October and passed the Professional Standards Amendment Bill 2019; aimed at improving timeliness, safe management of persons of concern and stronger alignment to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse in relation to deposition of Holy Orders.

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne held its 53rd Synod on the 16-19th October and passed the Professional Standards Amendment Bill 2019; aimed at improving timeliness, safe management of persons of concern and stronger alignment to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse in relation to deposition of Holy Orders. These amendments have been a collaboration between the Office of Professional Standards and the Chancellor, Mr Michael Shand AM QC. It is the product of consultation and feedback regarding operationalisation of the Professional Standards Uniform Act 2016. It is believed these changes will improve what was already a robust piece of legislation. There is a focus on the Professional Standards Committee having greater authority and options for early intervention and the ability to deal with some matters without referring to the Professional Standards Board. In relation to persons of concern (not a church worker but someone that constitutes a risk of physical or sexual assault) the legislation aligns to expected General Synod changes to the Person of concern policy and Safe Ministry to Children Canon. It seeks to support the Director of Professional Standards to have the ability to access critical information such as police and working with children checks. Clearance for participation is a new category of clearance (screening) required for persons of concern. There were other technical drafting issues and changes to the audit cycle to align with General Synod requirements.