The term Pastoral Assistant is a generic term that can be expressed in a variety of titles and the scope of such ministry and training expected differs widely. The ministry is one that provides administrative and pastoral responsibility in the local church. A number of parishes across the country, though only one or two currently in Coventry diocese, fund the post. In some cases it is appropriate for ordinands or those exploring their ministry, who will complete the role for one year.
There is discussion, begun recently, as to whether there should be authorisation for Pastoral Assistants or other lay ministries. The present arrangement allows for maximum flexibility but those who argue for national authorisation and a national ministry category for Pastoral Assistants cite the need for transferability of ministry. With the pursuit for national authorisation there comes a proposal for a nationally recognised qualification.