Appointment of Chaplains and Pastoral Care Workers


Status of Policy: ACTIVE

Approved Date: 14 Mar 2018 Item 9.4.3

Review: 14 Mar 2023

Purpose of Policy

The purpose of this policy is to provide

  1. guidelines for the appointment of Chaplains and Pastoral Care Workers to Health Services under the authority of NSW Health, and

  2. clarity about how sections 7.1.1a, 7.1.1b and 7.1.1c of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee (CCAC) and NSW Health will be implemented.

Application and Scope

This policy applies to all who are affected by the scope of the agreement in the MOU. The MOU is between the CCAC and NSW Health. It therefore applies uniformly to all Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care services that both

  1. are subject to Member Organisations (MO) of the CCAC, and

  2. operate at any level within health services (HS) provided by any district or organisation within NSW Health.


Whenever a vacancy for a Chaplaincy or Pastoral Care service is identified by the CCAC the following procedure must be carried out. This is so that the CCAC is best able to ensure that the appointment of Chaplains and Pastoral Care Workers complies with the MOU between the CCAC and NSW Health.


In the implementation of this policy, the following procedure must be carried out. This is made up of

  1. a flow-chart of the process of appointment,

  2. a written description of the stages of the process outlined in the flow chart,

  3. a form that is to be followed in the implementation of the process,

  4. standardised letters and certificates that acknowledge stages in the process, and

  5. a register that records the endorsements and accreditations thus involved.

Flow Chart

The flow chart is attached.

Identification of Vacancy

The first stage in the appointment of a Chaplain or Pastoral Care Worker is the identification of a vacancy by the CCAC.

A vacancy is recognised when either

  1. NSW Health announces the availability of a new subsidy,

  2. An MO announces the availability of a new position,

  3. An existing position becomes vacant upon the resignation, dismissal, re-deployment or death of an incumbent.

It is recognised that there are a number of types of vacancy all of which may be existing, new and/or shared. These include

  1. subsidised vacancies,

  2. non-subsidised remunerated vacancies, and

  3. non-subsidised honorary or volunteer vacancies.

Vacancies may be

    1. for positions designated as Chaplain, Pastoral Care Worker and/or Pastoral Visitor/Volunteer,

    2. full-time, part-time or casual,

    3. designated to specific MOs, or

    4. open to all MOs.

For the CCAC to recognise a vacancy, an MO or NSW Health

  1. declares any type of vacancy,

  2. advises the CCAC in writing; and

  3. the CCAC advises its MOs of the vacancy and whether or not it is a designated to a particular MO or open to all MOs.

Nomination by Member Organisation

Upon the identification of a vacancy, the relevant MO or MOs are to

  1. follow their internal recruitment processes, and then

  2. advise CCAC of their nominated candidate.

If an MO is unable to nominate a suitable candidate within the time frame designated for the vacancy, it may apply in writing for an extension.

If the extension is granted the CCAC will advise the MO in writing.

If the extension is not sought for or not granted the vacancy will be referred to CCAC for review.

Evidence of Suitability

When nominating a candidate for a vacancy, an MO must provide evidence of suitability. This includes

  1. Certification by MO that the nominee has been properly assessed by them as a fit and proper person with respect to both competence and character.

  2. Evidence of Training and/or Qualifications

  • Evidence of compliance with CPE or equivalent.

  • This must include original JP certifications of copies relevant transcripts and testamurs.

  • These cannot be delivered to the CCAC electronically.

  • Written undertaking to complete required training and/or qualifications within time frame set by CCAC

Please note it is the MOs responsibility to ensure that training and statutory clearances are kept current. In this regard, the CCAC only provides a check at the time it is in the process of endorsing an MOs nominee as a candidate for a declared vacancy. This is essentially only a check of the completeness of the documents submitted by the MO.

In doing so the CCAC does not and cannot accept any liability for either

  1. the diligence exercised by an MO in their assessment of their nominee, or

  2. the quality or competence of the nominee.

A template letter for the nomination of a candidate is attached.

CCAC Assessment of Evidence

The CCAC will assess the completeness of the evidence of suitability provided by the MO for their nominee.

If the evidence is complete, the CCAC will endorse the nominee as a candidate for the vacancy. In doing so the CCAC

  1. accepts the MOs certification that the nominee is a fit and proper person,

  2. acknowledges the currency and authenticity of the training and statutory documents provided.

If the evidence is not complete the MO will be advised.

The MO may then request in writing an extension to either provide full documentation or another nominee within the time frame designated for the vacancy.

If the extension is granted the CCAC will advise the MO in writing.

If the extension is not sought for or not granted the vacancy will be referred to CCAC for review.

Endorsement of Candidacy

In the process of endorsement of a nominee the CCAC delegate will

  1. Advises the MO and the CCAC of outcome of the endorsement and

  2. registers the endorsement.

MO Presents Candidate documents to HS

Upon advice that their nominee is endorsed as a candidate for a vacancy, the MO presents candidate and documents to appropriate delegate/line manager of the HS who is responsible to the HS CEO for Pastoral Care/Liaison.

This person may be the Chaplain Coordinator only if the Chaplain Coordinator (CC) is a properly appointed HS employee or appointee.

HS Interviews Candidate

HS line manager conducts an interview with the CCAC endorsed candidate to assess the suitability of the candidate for the purposes of the HS.

If the HS line manager is not the CC, this may include the CC and/or a Chaplaincy team member.

If the CC is not a line manager the distinction of roles between the HS line manager and the CC must be carefully clarified as part of the interview. This should include but not be restricted to

  1. WHS liabilities,

  2. Risk Management,

  3. Chaplains do not report to CC

  4. Chaplains must work collaboratively and cooperatively with HS line manager, HS staff, each other and CC, and

  5. The communicative liaison role of the CC.

HS Decides on Appointment

If the HS accepts the candidate they will provide written advice to the MO of the acceptance of the candidate.

If the HS does not accept the candidate they will provide both a written advice to the MO of the non-acceptance of the candidate and a written justification for the non-acceptance.

The MO may then either

  1. request a review of the HS decision,

  2. request an extension from the CCAC to search for a new nominee, in which case the full process of nomination and candidacy must be followed through,

  3. withdraw from filling the vacancy, in which case the CCAC will re-identify the position as vacant, or

  4. if the position is one funded or otherwise established by the MO, cease to offer the position.

HS Accreditaton

HS provides appointee with relevant appointment/security clearance etc. documents. According to LHD policy and advises the MO that the Chaplain appointee now has HS accreditation.

If for any reason the HS withholds accreditation the matter becomes subject to CCAC review.

MO advises Candidate of Outcome

Upon being advised of the outcome of the HS interview, the MO provides is to provide the candidate with written advice of acceptance or non-acceptance.

In the case of non-acceptance, the MO may provide the candidate with the reasons given by the HS and advise the candidate of any actions that might follow.

In the case of acceptance, the MO may provide a letter of offer to candidate for Provisional Appointment at this stage. The provisional status will remain until all MO and HS induction processes are completed. The letter of offer shpuld contain

  1. a clear statement about the time by which all complete induction requirements are to be met, and

  2. a complete list of all the induction requirements that are to be met.

MO Introduces Chaplain to Chaplain Coordinator

If CC is not an HS employed line manager, the MO is to introduce the Chaplain appointee to the CC.

The MO must advise both the CCAC and the HS once this has taken place.

This may be unnecessary if CC is line manager and/or introductory/orientation processes have been met at HS Interview.

If this does not happen the Chaplain appointee cannot be accredited and the matter becomes subject to CCAC review.

Chaplain Completes Induction

The Chaplain appointee must complete the MO and HS induction processes as advised in their letter of appointment within the time frame set out in that letter. Completion of induction processes must be certified in writing and signed and dated by the appropriate MO and/or HS responsible officers.

MO Advises CCAC

Upon the completion of induction by the Chaplain appointee the MO provides full MO certification as Chaplain in relevant LHD and advises CCAC.

CCAC Registers Chaplain

Upon receiving advice of full certification by an MO the CCAC files copy of appointment form and sends certificate of registration to MO to be given to Chaplain.


The following checklists have been developed to assist the processes for appointment.

  1. Health Services Local Health District Personnel

  2. Member Organisation Procedures

  3. CCAC administrative processes


Chaplains and Pastoral Care Workers can not be entered into the register until they are

    1. Nominated and appointed by their Member Organisation,

    2. Endorsed by the CCAC, and

    3. Accredited by NSW Health Services

The register of Chaplains and Pastoral Care workers may be found here.

Source Documents

PDF versions of the documents as approved by the CCAC may be accessed as follows.

  1. Appointment of Chaplains Policy

  2. Appointment of Chaplains Flow Chart

  3. CCAC Procedural Checklist

  4. Member Organisations Procedural Checklist

  5. Health Services Local Health District Procedural Checklist

  6. Template letter for Member Organisation informing the CCAC of an nominee.