By Adrian Middeldorp
The Chancery of the Diocese of Parramatta is renewing its focus on service delivery to parishes through the establishment of a dedicated Parish Support Team. The team comprises staff from various departments across the Chancery: Finance, Administration (including Human Resources), Safeguarding and Professional Standards, Property and Communications, and aims to offer specialised services to parishes.
The establishment of the team came out of the Pastoral Initiatives of Faith in Our Future, 2014-2018 Diocesan Pastoral Plan, whereby actions to be undertaken included:
“A comprehensive review and restructure of the Chancery will be undertaken to achieve a renewed focus on ‘service delivery’ to stakeholders and best practice in administration and communication”. (150)
Geoff Officer, Chief of Operations and Finance for the Diocese of Parramatta, believes that the Chancery has an imperative to serve its parishes, and that this team will renew this focus.
“Service delivery to our parishes is a vital role for all Chancery staff and this team has been given the mandate to provide solutions for the parishes in an efficient manner,” he said.
“By helping the parishes, we are enabling them to better serve the people of God in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Other dioceses have support teams, but they are often separate units – the members of this unit belong in different departments but come together to meet, so they can provide timely responses.”
A key part of the initiative will be the roll-out of an online ticketing system that will monitor and track queries within the Chancery as they arise to ensure that matters are dealt with comprehensively. However, it is the human interaction that is the priority for Geoff.
“Our online systems and methods are just tools for the team, what matters is that the Parish Support Team sees the work of Christ within the human interactions and practical support and advice they provide to the parishes,” he said.
“When clergy and staff from the parishes call the Chancery, the Parish Support Team now has clear timeframes to respond to their queries. The team is also working with service providers to provide different business solutions to parishes and to leverage greater buying power to help decrease costs.”