Ministers, Candidates, Pastors, Chaplains and Lay People engaged in ministry in the Vic/Tas Synod are required to attend two Code of Ethics workshops (Ethical Ministry Refreshers) each year. The second refresher for 2021 is focused on confidentiality. Port Phillip East Presbytery is running the workshop twice in October. People can choose to attend on Thursday morning, October 21, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm, or Wednesday evening, October 27, 6.30 – 9.30 pm. If neither of these options suit, you can attend a workshop led by another Presbytery or by the Synod’s Culture of Safety team.
Register for one of the workshops on the Presbytery’s Eventbrite site.
Before attending, download and read the participant’s preparation and workshop material (including case studies), and the background reading material, “Confidentiality in the church” by D. Elizabeth Audette.
(a) Ministers shall not breach confidentiality. Confidentiality is not about secrecy. In the context of a pastoral relationship, it is an assurance that Ministers will not share written or spoken information about an individual with other people [except as indicated in (d) below], or use it for a purpose other than for which it was collected.
(b) In the processes of the church, there are also times when, because of its personal nature or its potential for misuse or harm, some information may be designated confidential, and is only intended for a particular audience such as a Synod in closed session, a board or local church council.
(c) In a pastoral relationship Ministers shall take care to discuss the nature and limits of their confidentiality with the other person.
(d) Information received in the context of a pastoral relationship shall remain confidential unless:
(i) the person gives permission for the particular disclosure; or
(ii) retaining such information would result in significant physical, emotional or sexual harm to another person or persons; or
(iii) required by law; or
(iv) disclosure is necessary to prevent financial loss to some other person due to fraud or other dishonesty or where undue hardship might result. (as stated in the Privacy Act 1988); or
(v) disclosure is required in accordance with the terms of placement/employment applicable in a particular appointment.
(e) Ministers should ensure the integrity of any records, particularly electronic records, by putting in place
appropriate security procedures.
(f) Confidentiality also requires that Ministers shall not seek to gain sensitive or confidential information to which they are not entitled or which would require another person to breach a confidence.
(g) Ministers shall share with the intended audiences information from Presbytery, Synod and Assembly (and
their agencies) that is meant to be disseminated.