The Parish of St Mary the Virgin, Ringmer
1.1 A complaint is a written or verbal expression
of dissatisfaction or disquiet about an action, or lack of action by a
person acting on behalf of the church, or about the policies and
procedures of the church.
1.2 When the complaint is made by someone who is
within the parish, whether paid (for instance, paid youth workers and
administrators) or holding unremunerated office (for instance,
children’s work leaders, servers), it is usually referred to as a
1.3 A complaint or a grievance may include an
allegation that a person
has behaved in an unacceptable way.
2.1 A policy on the handling of complaints is
2.1.1 To protect the interests of all church users
2.1.2 To improve the quality of services we provide
by responding to
the views and needs of people affected
2.1.3 To enable church users and visitors to propose improvements to
our ways of working
2.1.4 To protect our minister and church members
2.1.5 To provide a means of monitoring our performance.
3 Complaints against the clergy
3.1 Complaints and grievances against clergy are handled through the
Clergy Discipline Measure. Complaints or grievances against clergy
should be addressed to the archdeacon or the area bishop.
4 Complaints of harm to children or vulnerable adults
3.2 Complaints and grievances against licensed or commissioned
ministers (Readers,) are handled through a separate Diocesan procedure.
These complaints or grievances should be addressed to the incumbent of
4.1 If a complaint or grievance relates to or includes an allegation
that a child or adult who may be vulnerable has been harmed or is at
risk of harm, or that an adult or another child may have caused harm to
a child or adult who may be vulnerable, it must be responded to through
the Diocesan and Charity Commission procedures for handling allegations
5.1 The aim always, when responding to complaints and grievances, is to
enable them to be resolved informally, speedily and fairly by
discussion, problem solving, mediation and negotiation. Problems should
therefore usually be brought direct to the person(s) deemed responsible
for the area of dissatisfaction or disquiet, and will hopefully be
resolved in this way. A written note should be kept of the steps taken
to resolve the complaint informally.
5.2 If the person bringing it is not satisfied with the outcome at the
problem-solving stage, s/he may then invoke this formal procedure.
6 Formal procedure for complaints and grievances
6.1 Stage 1
6.1.1 A complaint should be submitted in writing to a churchwarden of
the parish (who is not him or herself the subject of the complaint).
6.1.2 A grievance should be submitted in writing to the person to whom
the person bringing the grievance is accountable; this will be the
direct line manager of a paid employee, or the person responsible for
co-ordinating the work of a volunteer. If, however, the person who is
accountable is the subject of the grievance, the grievance should be
taken to a churchwarden.
6.1.3 The person bringing the complaint has the opportunity to state
his or her case; and to be represented, if they wish at any meeting, by
a friend or other supporter.
6.1.4 The churchwarden (if a complaint) or line manager (if a
grievance) will meet with the complainant to listen to and note the
facts of the complaint or grievance. S/he will then give to the subject
of the complaint or grievance the facts relating to it. The
churchwarden/ line manager will then interview the subject of the
complaint or grievance, who may also be represented by a friend or
other supporter if they wish, to listen to their response to the
complaint or grievance brought against them. The churchwarden/line
manager may then interview any other relevant parties.
6.1.5 The churchwarden/line manager then draws conclusions and informs
the complainant and the subject of the complaint or grievance of the
outcome, ideally within two weeks of the complaint or grievance being
6.2 Stage 2
6.2.1 If the reply given at stage 1 does not satisfactorily resolve the
complaint or grievance, the reason(s) for this together with details of
the complaint or grievance should be put in writing to a churchwarden,
who will take the case to the PCC. The PCC will form a panel of three
of its members who have not been involved in the process before.
6.2.2 The panel will establish why the complainant continues to feel
aggrieved, and receive all the documentation from the previous
investigation at Stage 1. The panel will then meet with the complainant
and his/her supporter, the subject of the complaint or grievance and
his/her supporter, and the churchwarden or line manager who
investigated the complaint at the first stage. Witnesses may be called.
6.2.3 The panel members will then sit alone to form a judgement and
make a decision about the complaint or grievance. They will inform the
complainant and the subject of the complaint or grievance of the
outcome, ideally within a month of the stage 2 complaint being made.
6.2.4 The decision of the panel representing the PCC will be final.
7 Disciplinary procedure.
7.1 As a result of an investigation into a complaint or a grievance, it
may be necessary to address the matter through a disciplinary procedure.
8 Record of complaint
8.1 All formal complaints (both stage 1 and stage 2) should be recorded
in the appropriate file which is kept in a known safe place. Details
should include the nature of the complaint and the date received, the
process followed and the action taken and the outcomes including
9 Charity Commission
9.1 Where we have exhausted all avenues, should the complainant still
be dissatisfied they may contact the Charity Commission as follows:
10 Construction and application of the policy
10.1 Queries on the construction and application of the policy should
be directed in the first instance to the PCC Secretary.
11. Policy review This Complaints Policy Statement will be
reviewed every 3 years to ensure continuing appropriateness.
Agreed by the PCC - 18th July 2016