Dear Colleagues

There has been an enormous amount of work undertaken on the school governance project over the course of this term. The Steering Committee approved the Position Paper at its last meeting and Archbishop Peter has now accepted the recommendations. With these approvals in place, we are now moving out of the design phase of the project and into the implementation phase.

We are well-progressed with the implementation of the first five recommendations in the Position Paper. The Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd (MACS) Constitution has been approved, including the Statement of Mission, MACS is now being registered as a company and an interim board is being established.

We have also commenced the implementation of the remaining recommendations. Jim Miles, as Executive Director (elect) of MACS, has begun developing a strategic plan, operating model and management team for the new company. The Working Together in Mission charter has been drafted and uploaded to the Governance website for feedback (more details below). Development of a comprehensive policies and procedures framework, including authorities and delegations, is in the design phase (more details below) and the agreements between parishes and MACS to transition schools to the new entity are being finalised.

Ongoing engagement

Thank you for the very strong and generous engagement in our consultative processes and the rich feedback you have provided so far. We appreciate this, especially given the many other challenges you have faced this term with the extra demands that have been placed on your schools by COVID-19 restrictions.

We have begun engaging with parish priests and canonical administrators regarding the School Transition Agreements and the Right to Use Land and Buildings Agreements that are necessary for the transition of schools to MACS. Archbishop Peter has written to all parish priests with information about these agreements and the process that lies ahead for their completion.

A request for information (RFI) process has also begun, with information sessions held this week to advise principals and business managers on how to complete their RFI form to provide information that is necessary as MACS assumes responsibility for schools.

We will be engaging in significant consultation with principals in the coming months as we develop policies, procedures and delegations. This will include policies and procedures regarding the School Advisory Council, expanding on what is outlined in Working Together in Mission.

Working Together in Mission

The Working Together in Mission charter articulates the roles and responsibilities of those in key leadership positions in parishes and schools – particularly clergy, principals and those associated with School Advisory Councils. Working Together in Mission therefore is about mission and leadership, and is a foundational document as schools transition to MACS. This is because Working Together in Mission outlines the collaboration and right relationships that lie at the heart of the capacity for parishes and schools to realise their shared mission. The quality of the relationships between parish priests, principals and the wider school and parish community will, in large measure, shape what is achieved by schools when it comes to realising their Catholic mission.

As we begin this new journey together, we ask for your feedback as we seek the richest possible insights from the many of you who currently lead our schools and parishes, and for whom the journey will continue in new forms as schools transition to MACS. An opportunity to give feedback by 24 September on the Working Together in Mission charter is available via email: governance@cem.edu.au.

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