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Ministers of Religion

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to page 89 of the report, The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering International Terrorism, published in March 2009 and the development of a set of standards and a recruitment framework for all chaplains engaged in public service, what criteria will be used to select chaplains; who will select the chaplains; and what role the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board will play in the development of the set of standards and recruitment framework. (270451)

Following a tendering process in August 2008, Faith Matters were awarded the contract to pilot a draft framework of standards and recruitment process for public institutions to use when engaging Muslim chaplains, developed by The Experience Corps. Pilots will be undertaken in a number of public institutions, including prisons, hospitals and police forces.

Pilot sites will be selected by Faith Matters, based on public institutions which will be looking to engage a Muslim chaplain within the next couple of months, and willing to follow, or be assessed against, the recruitment process and use the framework of standards to assess candidates' suitability for the post.

As the framework of standards and recruitment process documents have already been developed by The Experience Corps, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) have not played a role in developing these.

Faith Matters' evaluation of the pilots will incorporate the views of relevant officials within participating institutions, as well as wider stakeholder consultation with imams, other faith leaders, chaplains, and officials from other Government Departments and relevant associated agencies. Individuals who take part in MINAB may feed into the evaluation of the pilots as part of the wider stakeholder consultation.