Dear Colleagues,

Our next round of consultation sessions begins today and we are engaging with the Discussion Papers that were developed from our previous consultation events of October and November last year. The consultation sessions currently being conducted provide the opportunity to comment on the Discussion Papers. Issues identified as part of these sessions will flow back to the Steering Committee who will engage Focus Groups with a view towards developing a draft Position Paper, which will be distributed to stakeholders for further feedback in April.

We are now calling for expressions of interest to participate in the two Focus Groups we are convening to analyse the comments received during the March consultation sessions.

The aim of these Focus Groups is to take the feedback on the Discussion Papers and create a writing brief for a Position Paper which will present key aspects of the governance model being proposed.

Focus Group One – Wednesday 18 March 2020, 9 am to 3 pm – will consider the feedback on Discussion Paper 1 (Catholicity) and Discussion Paper 4 (Transfer of Assets and Liabilities). The Catholicity of schools and the management of assets and liabilities rely upon a strong partnership between the school and the wider parish, and the roles played by the parish priest and principal in that partnership. Regional colleges rely on similar partnerships, but often with a number of parishes.

Focus Group Two – Thursday 19 March 2020, 9 am to 3 pm – will consider the feedback on Discussion Paper 2 (Governance, Leadership and Management) and Discussion Paper 3 (Incorporation). A key driver in choosing a corporate structure is that it must be oriented towards preserving the best features of our schools in harmony with their Catholic mission, so it is imperative that the civil structure adopted is effective and safeguards the proper ecclesiastical role of those who have oversight of Catholic schools. It is essential that the civil entity sits within a governance structure which is consistent with canon law, and the mission and purpose of the Catholic school.

Composition and time commitment

We are anticipating that each Focus Group will have between six to eight members and will include at least one priest, and a primary and secondary principal. The time required is one day only.

Expression of interest

If you wish to express interest in joining a Focus Group, please complete the form at: https://tinyurl.com/EOI-focus-groups. Expressions of interest need to be lodged by 12 March, and the groups will be established to ensure diversity across regions and roles.

The Governance website https://governance.melbourne provides information and a medium for input and dialogue. As always, if you wish to provide additional feedback, please fill out a contact form on the site or email governance@cem.edu.au.

The Steering Committee