CPSL has now published four audit reports of Catholic Church entities. This figure does not nearly capture the number of interactions CPSL has had with Church entities who are progressively implementing the requirements of the Standards and are on their way towards an audit. The above infographic shows a simplified roadmap to an audit. Pre-planning for audits that were published in December 2019 began twelve months prior, and the publication of these reports are the culmination of a lot of work from both the Church entity and the CPSL audit team.

While the idea of initiating the audit process may seem daunting, in reality, beginning to engage with CPSL about implementing the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and the beginning the audit process can be broken down into manageable steps. This process involves a lot of communication with CPSL at early preparatory stages to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page in terms of what is expected to demonstrate compliance with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards and how the audit itself will be run.

The very first step on the road towards an audit is to get in contact with CPSL to discuss what an audit might look like for your entity. If your Catholic entity has not already done so, email info@cpsltd.org.au and our CEO Sheree Limbrick or Director of Compliance Tania Stegemann will be in touch to discuss what an audit schedule and process might look like for your entity.

While this is happening, personnel from your entity can attend CPSL training sessions - these sessions are designed to help Church Authorities and key safeguarding personnel understand the Standards in depth and commence pre-audit activities to strengthen safeguarding processes. Usually at the same time that entities attend CPSL training, safeguarding managers will be liaising with CPSL to complete what is known as the Schedule 2 - this provides important information to CPSL about the size, scale, scope, ministries and governance of your Church entity
. Once the Schedule 2 is submitted to CPSL, the CPSL team will follow up with the entity to understand the full range of its ministries and confirm the scope of the audit and the terms of the service agreement.

The next step is to sign the service agreement so that CPSL can begin scheduling audit fieldwork and schedule an opening meeting to get the audit underway.  How long audit fieldwork takes and how many sites are visited is dependent on the size of the entity: CPSL will audit a sample of 25% of 'sites'. Sites could refer to parishes when the entity being audited is a diocese; in the case of a religious institute, 'sites' may be a sample of the members of the Institute.

At the completion of the fieldwork, there will be a debrief meeting to provide initial feedback on the audit and alert the Church entity about any safeguarding issues requiring urgent remediation (identified by CPSL during fieldwork).  After the fieldwork is completed (usually between 15-30 days after the fieldwork), there will be a closing meeting.  Between the debrief and the closing meeting, the Church Authority is provided with a draft audit report and the closing meeting provides an opportunity for the Church entity to discuss the recommendations made by CPSL and prepare their management responses which are included in the final audit report. 

Finally, the audit report is ready to be published! CPSL publishes the report on our 
Church Reports page, which clearly states findings from the initial audit and actions taken by the Church entity following the debrief meeting but before the publication of the report. The report also clearly states management actions that have been agreed to by the Church entity to implement recommendations made by CPSL to strengthen child safeguarding in the entity.

See the Audit Framework page for more information.