Two senior members of the Catholic Church’s National Office for Professional Standards have joined the team at Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, focusing on providing support and advice to Church leaders and entities in the vital areas of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Narelle McMahon and Tom Bagot have been seconded to the CPSL team.

Ms Sheree Limbrick, CPSL CEO said Narelle and Tom are an important addition to the CPSL team.

“Narelle and Tom bring to CPSL a wealth of experience working with Church entities and advising on best practice and procedure for protecting children.

“With these two new staff members we will continue pushing forward with the drafting of our standards and consulting with a wide range of stakeholders about the standards and audit processes, which is very much at the centre of our work at the moment,” Ms Limbrick said.

Kate Eversteyn, Director of Safeguarding, welcomed Narelle and Tom to the team saying together they bring more than 60 years of experience working in child protection and education fields.

“Both have worked across many works of the Church, providing advice, technical expertise and support in the area of child protection and safeguarding.

“They will be involved in our current Australia-wide consultation on the details of draft CPSL Standards and potential audit and assurance framework.

“They will also be supporting the development of the draft standards and guidance material and continuing to provide advice and support to Church authorities,” Ms Eversteyn said.

CPSL has been established by the leadership of the Australian Catholic Church in the wake of Royal Commission revelations of institutional failure in the management and response to child sexual abuse claims in Catholic organisations including schools, parishes and homes.

CPSL will develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities. It represents a new, national Church approach to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people.

CPSL expects to be releasing the first draft of its new standards in the coming months. They will be based extensively on the Royal Commission’s findings in relation to making institutions child safe (Vol 6).

Tom Bagot: Dip Law, Grad Dip LP, MLLR, MEd (Admin & RE), BEd

Tom has 30 years of leadership experience looking after and protecting children, particularly the more vulnerable in schools. In middle management and as Principal he listened and worked with children, families and staff to develop practices supported by policies around the wellbeing of children with a specific focus on protection from bullying and harassment, in particular cyber bullying.

More recently as a Protection and Prevention Officer, Safeguarding Coordinator and Solicitor, Tom is undertaking a systemic and strategic approach. This encompasses the interpretation of national statutes and evaluation of current and developing practices within and external to Australia. Crucially, including the recommendations as identified by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Taking these learnings, he reviews and evaluates safeguarding children and vulnerable adult policies and procedures across many organisations.

Tom has worked with Dioceses and Religious Institutes to identify standards and further develop safeguarding frameworks for children and vulnerable adults including developing training to support the implementation of standards. He sees this as being one of the most crucial aspects of the whole process since it is only through ongoing education and ownership that organisational cultures will truly ensure children and vulnerable adults are protected.

Narelle McMahon: B.Ed., Dip. Teach, Cert. RE, Cert. Corporate Investigations

Narelle McMahon has worked professionally with children for over 35 years, as an educator and child protection specialist.

Narelle worked as Child Protection Officer for the Catholic Education Office, Sydney, from 2007-2012. This role included educating and supporting the school leadership of 150 schools on best practice in child safety; policy development; risk management and legislative compliance. Narelle had management and oversight of complex Child Protection investigations. She was a member of several NSW State consultative committees on Child Protection.

Since 2012 Narelle has held the role of National Protection and Prevention Officer with the National Committee for Professional Standards (A Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops and Catholic Religious Australia.) In this role, Narelle has provided policy advice, support and education in child protection to Catholic Church leaders and their representatives across Australia.

Narelle has developed strong national and international child protection networks, including with other denominations, government and non-government agencies. Since 2012, Narelle has been the Catholic Church’s representative on the National Council of Churches’ Safe Church Network. Narelle is also a member of the Australian Catholic Church’s World Youth Day Organising Committee where she provides advice on risk management strategies.

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