Leading governance expert appointed to new Catholic child protection watchdog

1 February 2018

One of Western Australia’s leading former public servants and administrators has been appointed to the Catholic Church’s new, independent, child protection standards setting, auditing and reporting organisation.

Dr Ruth Shean, the former WA Commissioner for Public Sector Standards with responsibility for oversight of legislative and regulatory standards in WA public sector, will join the board of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) from February 1, 2018.

CPSL has been established by the leadership of the Australian Catholic Church in the wake of Royal Commission revelations of institutional failure in the management and response to child sexual abuse claims within Catholic schools, parishes, homes and other Catholic organisations.

CPSL’s charter also extends to the protection of other vulnerable people who might come into contact with the Catholic Church, but in the short term the protection of children will be the priority as it develops, audits and reports on compliance with professional standards across Catholic entities.

CPSL represents a new national Church approach to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people.

Dr Shean said she is looking forward to playing an important role in helping strengthen child and vulnerable adult protections within the Catholic Church.

“CPSL is highly significant within the Catholic Church, and also more broadly across Australia. I am privileged to be part of this important work.

“I am confident that CPSL will place a new level of accountability and transparency on the protection of children and vulnerable adults throughout our nation.”

Dr Shean is the former Director General of the WA Government’s Department of Training and Workforce Development. Previous government CEO roles include Director General of the Disability Services Commission and Director General of the Department for Community Development.

She has extensive corporate experience within the non-government sectors including CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Association and has been on the governing councils of Curtin and Murdoch Universities.

The Chair of CPSL, The Hon Geoff Giudice, said Dr Shean comes to the Board with a wealth of experience involved in governance and leadership issues at the highest levels of government and in the non-profit sector.

“Dr Shean brings to the Board of CPSL her extensive experience and understanding of the vitally important governance and management issues that appropriate and effective child protection policies and procedures must be built on.

“She is an important addition to the CPSL board and will blend very well with our current Board Directors to provide expert guidance as we carry out the functions of CPSL.”

With thanks to CPSL.

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