The Professional Standards Commission was established by Canon 6 of 2004.
The Commission is to:
- examine questions of professional standards, safe ministry practices and training, care and support for ordained and authorised lay ministry, referred to it by the Primate, the Standing Committee or the General Synod, and to report thereon to the referring party and the Standing Committee; and
- make recommendations to the Standing Committee on matters relating to professional standards, safe ministry practices and training and care and support for ordained and authorised lay ministry.
The Commission has developed Canons and resources to promote safe ministry.
The Path to Safer Ministry - A "Roadmap" of National Professional Standards Resources
This "roadmap" is a guide to the use of the various resources to assist safe ministry promulgated by the Professional Standards Commission over recent years. These resources are organised into two groups, one for prevention of lapses in safe ministry and the other for responses to lapses should they occur. The Path to Safer Ministry - A "Roadmap" of National Professional Standards Resources approved by the General Synod Standing Committee, November 2011 (SC2011\2\32)
The Anglican Church has released the report of a major research project commissioned to help strengthen its child protection protocols. The study was prepared by leading child sexual abuse experts, Emeritus Professor Kim Oates AM of the Medical Faculty of the University of Sydney and Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney Faculty of Law.
Model Professional Standards Ordinance
The 13th General Synod in October 2004 encouraged dioceses to pass the model Professional Standards Ordinance along with any amendments suggested by the Standing Committee of General Synod from time to time (Resolution 55/04).
The model Ordinance provides for the adoption of a code of conduct, a series of protocols and an institutional structure for handling complaints relating to sexual misconduct for clergy and church workers by dioceses. This includes the formation of a Professional Standards Committee and a Professional Standards Board, the appointment of a Director of Professional Standards and specification of their functions.
The model Ordinance and all subsequent amendments approved by the Standing Committee may be downloaded below. Earlier versions of the model Ordinance and all amendments from January 2004 to May 2007 are available from the General Synod Office.
The National Register Canon was first adopted by General Synod in 2004. As development proceeded with a National Register, implementation of the Canon proved challenging and an extensive revision was proposed and agreed by the General Synod in 2007. Further amendments as agreed by General Synods in 2010 and 2014 have been adopted with the Canon continuing to be cited as the National Register Canon 2007.
The National Register is an essential part of the Church's response to the prevention of child abuse and adult sexual misconduct . The Canon provides for a national, transparent and accountable process to ensure appropriate checks are made before all ordinations, licences or appointments are made.
The National Register contains only information primarily pertaining to complaints or findings of child abuse and adult sexual misconduct as well as adverse findings against or adverse admissions made by clergy or lay people within the Church. Details about the operation of the National Register may be found in Canon 15, National Register Canon 2007. Operational instructions for handling of information on the National Register (input, inquiries, access and disclosure) are provided for in a series of protocols which may be found below.
National Register Canon 2007 Canon 15, 2007 (Amended by Canon 13, 2010 and Canon 09,2014) Full description of the National Register and information it contains
National Register Protocol 1 (Revised July 2014) Inclusion of information on National Register Operational guidelines
National Register Protocol 2 (updated November 2014) Access to and disclosure of information on National Register Operational guidelines
National Register Protocol 3 Ascertaining information on National Register Operational guidelines
National Register Protocol 4 Amending information on National Register Operational guidelines
Faithfulness in Service
Faithfulness in Service is the national Anglican code for personal behaviour and the practice of pastoral ministry by clergy and pastoral workers. It was approved by the General Synod in October 2004. Since then, it has been revised periodically by the General Synod Standing Committee.
At the sixteenth session of General Synod in 2014, a Faithfulness in Service DVD resource for clergy and church workers was launched.
Launch of Faithfulness in Service DVD
The Primate spoke of the importance of this resource as a significant intervention in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and officially launched Faithfulness in Service – a DVD resource for clergy and church workers.
Ms Rose Elu prayed in her language for the protection of children in all our communities.
Mr Garth Blake SC moved, Mrs Dianne Shay, seconded,
The General Synod commends the use of Faithfulness in Service - a DVD resource for clergy and church workers in all Australian dioceses.
Carried by acclamation.
1 July 2014
The current and past consolidated versions of Faithfulness in Service and amendments as passed are listed below and may be downloaded by clicking on the below links:
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2005/2/040 at the meeting held on 10-11 July 2005
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) -July 2005
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2006/1/030 at the meeting held on 4-5 March 2006
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) -March 2006
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2006/2/062 at the meeting held 20-22 October 2006
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) - October 2006
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2011/1/48 at the meeting held 8-10 April 2011
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) - April 2011
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2016132 at the meeting held 13-14 May 2016
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments Approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2011/2/33 at the meeting held 18-20 November 2011
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) - November 2011
Faithfulness in Service - Amendments approved by Standing Committee Resolution SC2016132 at the meeting held 13-14 May 2016
Faithfulness in Service (Consolidated) - May 2016
Faithfulness in Service Discussion Guide May 2006
Faithfulness in Service Feedback Sheet May 2006
Faithfulness in Service and Copyright
Faithfulness in Service is protected by provisions of the Copyright Act 1968.
Please note that:
- The Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation owns the copyright in Faithfulness in Service.
- Members of the Anglican Church of Australia are permitted to reproduce the document provided that copyright is acknowledged.
- The Anglican Church of Australia permits the reproduction of Faithfulness in Servicein whole or in part by any other party on the conditions set out in paragraphs 4 and 5 below.
- The Anglican Church of Australia does not and is not to be taken to endorse the use of any part or the whole of Faithfulness in Service by any other party for any purpose and disclaims responsibility and liability of any kind in respect of such use.
- If any part or the whole of the text of Faithfulness in Serviceis used by any other party for any purpose, then such party, by such use:
- releases the Anglican Church of Australia from and
- indemnifies the Anglican Church of Australia for all liability loss and expense arising from such use.
All enquiries should be made in writing to:
The General Secretary
General Synod Office
The Anglican Church of Australia
Suite 4, Level 5
189 Kent Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Model System for Selection and Accreditation of Lay Parish Church Workers
The Professional Standards Commission has also developed a model system for the selection and accreditation for lay parish church workers. This model was approved by the General Synod Standing Committee in October 2006. A variety of resource materials for dioceses may be downloaded below.
Pastoral Supervision of Abusers
The General Synod in October 2004 referred to the Professional Standards Commission by Resolution 34/04(c)(ix) and (x):
- the preparation of a model agreement between a known abuser of children or other vulnerable people and church leaders for the involvement of the abuser in the parish or church organisation; and
- model guidelines and resources for the training, functioning and support of accountability and support groups for known abusers within a parish or church organisation.
Furthermore, the General Synod recommended [Resolution 35/04(m)] that each diocese adopts a system of pastoral support and pastoral supervision of known abusers of children or other vulnerable people within a parish or church organisation that includes:
- the entry into an agreement between the abuser and church leaders for the involvement of the abuser in the parish or church organisation; and
- the establishment of an accountability and support group for the abuser.
Subsequently, in December 2006 the Commission released the resource entitled Model Guidelines for the Pastoral Supervision and Support of Known and Suspected Sexual Abusers in Parishes for national use. As well as providing information about sexual abuse and some of the attendant theological issues, this resource addresses the pastoral supervision and support of known and suspected sexual abusers. It also includes a template of a Memorandum of Understanding between the abuser, the parish and the diocese.
The General Synod Standing Committee resolved on 16-18 October 2009 to recommend Revised Guidelines for Parish Safety where there is a risk of Sexual Abuse by a Person of concern, which guidelines have been prepared by the Professional Standards Commission.
Pastoral Care and Assistance Principles
The Standing Committee by Resolution 2009/3/037 resolved:
To recommend principles for a system of pastoral care and assistance for those who have been sexually abused as a resource for dioceses.
The Australian Bishops released a set of pastoral guidelines for private confession with special reference to child sexual abuse in April 2006 called Private Confession, Pastoral Guidelines (April 2006). Amendments were approved by the Standing Committee in March 2011.
Pastoral Guidelines with Special Reference to Child Sexual Abuse March 2011
Safe Ministry Training - National Benchmarks
These benchmarks are a development of the standards for safe ministry training agreed and developed by the National Council of Churches in Australia Safe Church Training Agreement during 2006 and 2007.
These benchmarks are designed to:
- Set a high and consistent standard in safe ministry training across the Anglican Church of Australia and
- Facilitate mutual recognition of training between Dioceses.
Safe Ministry Training Benchmarks - approved by the General Synod Standing Committee, November 2011 (SC2011\2\32)
A Process for the Comprehensive Psychological Assessment of Candidates for Ordination - report presented to the Standing Committee, November 2012
Curriculum for Training of Members of Professional Standards Committees and Boards
Curriculum for Training of Members of Professional Standards, Committees and Boards - Approved by the General Synod Standing Committee, May 2014 (SC2014/1/28)
Sharing of Information
Statement of Principles for Sharing of Information between the Directors of Professional Standards - approved by the General Synod Standing Committee, May 2016 (SC2016/1/31)
Making Our Church Safe: A Programme For Action - June 2004 - Report of the Child Protection Committee
Making Our Church Safe: A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2007
Making Our Church Safe: A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2010
Making Our Church Safe: A Progress Report and Recommendations for Action - General Synod 2014
Form For Recording Child Sexual Abuse Information
The Standing Committee by Resolution 2009/3/037 noted and resolved:
That the Professional Standards Directors' Network has approved and agreed to use the attached form for recording child sexual abuse information.
Professional Standards Case Summary Form
Reporting Historical Child Sexual Abuse
The Standing Committee by resolution SC2012/1/37 recommended Reporting Historical Child Sexual Abuse to the Police as a resource for dioceses for their consideration.
Mr Garth Blake SC (Chair)|
Ms Helen Carrig
Ms Dianne Shay
Mr Michael Shand QC
Ms Nicola Lock
Ms Audrey Mills
The Rt Rev'd Dr Gregory Anderson
Ms Marilyn Redlich
The Reverend Canon Timothy Spencer