Catholic Professional Standards Ltd (CPSL) has now published its 2018-19 Annual Report, marking three years of operation for the organisation.

CPSL was formed in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  CPSL has been tasked with developing robust safeguarding standards to effectively safeguard children and vulnerable adults who come into contact with the Catholic Church in Australia and auditing the compliance of Church entities in Australia with these safeguarding standards.

In May 2019 CPSL published the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (NCSS), Edition 1.

“2019 was a big year of milestones for CPSL, as this year’s annual report shows.  Publishing the NCSS, developing and rolling out a national training and development program for Church personnel to support implementation of the NCSS, and commencing safeguarding audits of Church entities against the NCSS has made this a huge year for us,” said CPSL CEO, Sheree Limbrick.

CPSL has so far published two safeguarding Audit Reports of Church entities in 2019 – the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga and the Diocese of Ballarat – and anticipates publishing a further two Audit Reports before the end of the year.

“We are frequently asked ‘who is engaging with CPSL?’, ‘how widespread is the take up of CPSL training and support?’ and ‘is the Church committed to improving their safeguarding practices?’.  As we come to the end of the first year of delivering training, with the NCSS published and audit activity underway, the Board of CPSL felt it was timely to begin releasing data about which entities are engaging with us.

“As of the end of November 2019, 54 per cent of identified Catholic entities in Australia (141 out of 262) – dioceses, eparchies, religious institutes, ministerial public juridic persons, associations of Christ’s faithful and other Catholic organisations - have formally engaged with CPSL.

“When the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) approved the Standards in May this year, they indicated an expectation that all Catholic entities across Australia are expected to implement the Standards, in line with community expectations that all institutions across Australia implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.  Safeguarding and upholding and celebrating the dignity and rights of all children are now rightfully becoming integral to the governance and operations of all types of organisations across the Church,” Ms Limbrick said.

A full list of Catholic entities in Australia who have engaged with CPSL in 2019 is now available in a Church Entity Engagement report on CPSL’s website.  The report outlines different forms of engagement with CPSL, including training attendance, commencing discussions regarding the scoping of an audit, and having an audit scheduled or completed.

“Turning our attention to 2020, CPSL will be focusing on integrating safeguarding standards for vulnerable adults into the second edition of the NCSS.  We will also be providing a wider range of training opportunities in 2020 – see our 2020 Training Calendar for more information.  We also look forward to exploring how we can implement mechanisms to hear and respond to the voices of children and survivors in our work.  This is a key priority for us”, Ms Limbrick said.

CPSL’s 2018/19 Annual Report is also available on the website here.

Church entity engagement data with CPSL is available on CPSL’s website here.

CPSL’s 2020 Training Calendar was published in November and available here.