One of the ways the church can significantly reduce the risk of abuse occurring is to implement a sound selection procedure for child-related positions. This includes both paid positions and volunteer positions.
This selection procedure does not apply to:
- employees who are engaged in positions that are not child-related,
- employees of an approved organisation,
- ministers inducted in a pastoral charge,
- persons appointed by an Assembly committee of the church to a ministry position, or
- candidates for the ministry,
as these individuals are subject to an alternative selection procedure.
- the hours per week and the basis of employment (full-time, part-time or casual),
- the length of the contract (permanent or fixed-term),
- the applicable Award or other industrial instrument,
- the rate of pay, terms and conditions of employment,
- the probationary period,
- the job description, and in particular the child-related duties,
- the level of supervision required (i.e. what, if any, supervision will be provided, by whom and when), and
- the selection criteria (e.g. qualifications, experience etc)
At this point the supervising body determine how the position will be structured, and seek advice from the CPU if clarification is needed on any of the above.
- Where advertising is considered necessary, the supervising body will:
- Avoid inappropriate discrimination,
- Determine the means of advertising:
- word of mouth,
- registering with a job network,
- registering with a specialist recruitment agency, and/or
- advertising in newspapers and on the internet,
- Include in advertisements:
- details of the position,
- a brief description of the requirements,
- the basis of employment,
- the closing dates for applications,
- details of how to apply,
- the need for nomination of referees with full contact details,
- a requirement for a history of work, particularly working with children and/or young people, and
- that relevant employment screening will be required.
- Applications will always be in writing. An application form may be developed if necessary.Once all applications have been received a short list must be developed. This is done by comparing the details provided in the applications against the selection criteria established at step 1. These applicants can be contacted and interview times arranged after reference checks have been conducted.
- Reference checks should always be conducted prior to interview to allow you to ask questions clarifying any comments made by the referees. It also allows you to exclude someone from the short list if necessary. A copy of reference check documentation should be kept with the selection procedure material and initialled by the person conducting the procedure to indicate that it has been read and considered. Speak to at least two referees who have direct and recent experience of the applicant’s work with children, young people and their behaviour when holding a position of authority over others. Contact each referee listed on the application and make a written record of each contact. Show the date and method of the contact, the person making the contact as well as the person contacted, and a summary of the referee’s remarks. Where reference is made to experience in a church environment, contact each church in which the applicant has indicated prior experience in working with youth, and discuss the applicant’s suitability, ensuring that all comments are recorded and filed. Make a note of any areas you want to explore further during the interview.Reference checks may be conducted again, subsequent to interviews being completed, should further information be required about applicants. In particular, further interviews may be required if, as a result of any step during the recruitment or selection procedure, issues of concern have been raised with respect to the applicant either formally or informally. Any issues of concern must be investigated and in some cases an applicant may be required to attend at a further interview to address such issues. Applicants may also be asked to provide their authorisation to previous employers to release information contained in the applicant’s employee records to the church upon request by the church.
- Once a short list has been established and all reference checks have been conducted, the short listed applicants may be contacted and a time arranged for interview. All leaders, and those working directly with children and young people, require a current Working with Children Check verified by the CPU. At this stage you should ask the short listed applicants for permission to verify their Working with Children Check.
- During the interview, explore the person’s experience of working or contact with children or young people. Ask any questions about areas of interest raised during reference checks. Good interviews use open ended questions, such as “Can you tell me about a time when you…?”. Applicants should be encouraged to be specific about what they have done, rather than talk in general terms of “What I would do if…”. During the interview provide an outline of the terms and conditions of employment, including any probationary period that is to apply. Specifically ask the applicant to confirm that they have listed all of their previous employment and church involvement with any denomination. At the end of the interview give the applicant time to ask questions and then indicate what the next steps will be.
- Selection is then made on the basis of information gained from the interview, the application and the results of the screening procedure. All applicants should be assessed against the selection criteria established in step 1. Once the selection is made, the successful applicant can be advised. A letter of appointment and/or a contract of employment including, start date, time and place, terms and conditions of employment (including leave arrangements, hours of work, pay details, superannuation etc) and the duties of the position is provided. To accept the position the applicant should sign a copy of the letter of appointment and the contract of employment if provided. A copy is retained by the employer and the person appointed to the position.
- Once the position has been filled, the unsuccessful applicants can be advised. In New South Wales, if a person is denied a position on the basis of the Working with Children Check, the Commission for Children and Young people and the individual must be advised.
All leaders, and those working directly with children and young people, require a current Working with Children Check verified by the CPU.
If you work in NSW, you can apply for a Working with Children Check here. Once you have received your WWCC number fill out a registration form, and send this to Courtney Chan along with your clearance letter (email email@example.com or PO Box 2196, Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2012).
For other states, see the “Other forms and links” tab on this page or contact Courtney.
Don’t forget all leaders, and those working with children and young people, require Breaking the Silence training. More details here.