Dealing with complaints

The Diocese of Norwich and Norwich Cathedral recognise that from time to time complaints will arise. Our aim is to have a process that is simple to use and understand. This document should be read in conjunction with our Diocesan policy Dignity in Ministry - the prevention of bullying and harassment, available from the Diocesan website or those listed below.

The process is based on the following:

  • There should be no difference in the principles that apply to the approach between clergy, readers, authorised lay ministers, lay people or paid officials
  • The process should be fair and just
  • Where it is appropriate, the possibility of reconciliation should be explored
  • There should be the possibility of correcting any errors which may be made
  • Wherever possible the aim is to resolve complaints locally rather than centrally, and informally rather than formally
  • If other complaints processes apply, for example allegations that may be considered under the Clergy Discipline Measure, the person complaining will be directed accordingly

Approaches:

The informal approach:

  • Think about what would resolve your concern
  • Consider sharing your complaint with the person concerned if this is appropriate
  • Ask a friend to support you
  • If you need further assistance in taking your complaint forward or if you are not satisfied, then ask the parish priest, a churchwarden or a member of the PCC
  • Most matters can and should be resolved informally and locally.

The formal approach:

  • Matters of serious concern should be referred to the Bishop’s Chaplain or Cathedral Chapter Steward
  • In the first instance it will be for the Bishop’s Chaplain or Cathedral Chapter Steward to decide whether this is a matter that might be better considered locally
  • The Bishop’s Chaplain or Cathedral Chapter Steward might suggest an approach which may require an independent review of a local decision, further reconciliation or progress to one of the specialist formal complaints processes.

Contact points

And for matters relating specifically to the Cathedral:

Please note:

  • If you are concerned about a Safeguarding matter then contact the Bishop's Adviser for Safeguarding, Sue Brice on 07958 377079 or sue.brice@dioceseofnorwich.org
  • It should be recognised that in some instances people will take positions where the matter cannot be resolved. However the aim should be to ensure that the process respects those involved and is just in providing an active concern to those who are vulnerable, marginalised or oppressed.
  • It is not normally possible to consider anonymous complaints.
  • It is not normally just or possible to consider complaints where the complainant does not want their name or details of the complaint to be identified to the respondent, although this may not apply to Safeguarding complaints.