Training and education

Diocesan Leadership
Professional Development Program

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its response, the requirement for diocesan leadership to attend 10 units of professional development has been suspended for 2020. However, ongoing professional development is an essential component of ensuring that our agencies and ministries continue to develop as safe ministries for children, vulnerable people, staff and leadership. Given this, we have been working with the presenters who were engaged to provide face-to-face training to develop their sessions into online modules. We are happy to announce that the first two online modules have now been scheduled to occur over the next two months and we encourage you to participate in any sessions that you consider would be valuable to you and/or your ministry.

The diocese has organised for the below sessions to be run via Zoom. Please find further information on each session and a registration form below.


Responding to High Risk Behaviours in Adults with Claire Pirola


Tuesday 13 October, 12:30pm–4pm

This session provides an opportunity for participants to further their understanding in how a safe environment for children, other vulnerable people and workers relies on establishing and maintaining adherence to professional boundaries. In order to prevent harm due to inappropriate adult behaviour it is important to intervene early when high risk behaviour is first identified. This module is aimed to support leaders to identify and respond to early indicators of high risk behaviours displayed by adults employees and volunteers. Early responses enable workers to have greatest success in addressing errors and changing unintentional poor behaviour, and it reduces the risk of the high risk behaviours leading to more serious conduct, allegations, investigations and harm for those in our care including our employees and volunteers. This session addresses the challenge to leaders when “good people” behave badly.

Claire Pirola has worked as a lawyer for the last 20 years in child protection, employment law and complaints management and holds qualifications in both social welfare and law. She has held senior roles in the public sector and not-for-profit workplaces where she has led teams to respond to complex employment relations matters, professional standards and child safety challenges. Claire is regularly called upon to consult with a broad range of organisations on matters relating to policy and legislative changes, advising on reforming systems and practices, for improved safety for vulnerable people. This has included working with organisations on the implementation of reforms arising from two NSW Royal Commissions. She holds governance experience from her appointments on, or advising of, a number of boards in the not-for-profit sector over the last 20 years. Her most recent role was Head of the Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and in 2020 she has returned to private practice.

Working with Vulnerable Adults with Cathy McClellan


Wednesday 11 November, 1pm–3pm

This session provides a forum for participants to explore, discuss and develop strategies in order to ensure that we can best serve a community with diverse needs, capacities and qualities. This module equips attendees with the skills of how they, and their workplace, can create a safe and supportive environment to engage with vulnerable people.

Cathy McClellan has worked in the child protection field for over 30 years in government and non-government roles. Cathy has a degree in social sciences, masters in social policy and a Master of Social work (PQ). She also has qualifications in workplace training and assessment (Certificate 4) and a qualification in mediation. She started in child protection as a child sexual assault counsellor for a non-government agency and moved to the Department of Family and Community Services and was there for approximately 18 years. She worked there as a caseworker, casework specialist and team leader. She has also worked in NSW Health as a clinical consultant in violence abuse and neglect and Community Services Victoria. She has taught a community service course at NSW TAFE in for nine years and at NSW University for five years in the social work course in child protection. For the past 13 years, Cathy has worked in Catholic Education for the dioceses of Parramatta, Sydney and Broken Bay. She has strong commitment and belief in keeping children safe and caring for their wellbeing.


To register for a diocesan leadership session(s), please complete the online registration form below. Details of the Zoom link will be forwarded to 2 days prior to the session(s). If you have any questions, please email [email protected], or call (02) 4222 2428.

If you need to cancel your enrolment for any reasons, please email [email protected]