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.
In 2001, the House of Bishops stated that “the Church is required by God to foster relationships of the utmost integrity, truthfulness and trustworthiness”. However, sometimes relationships in the parish become strained. There may, for example, be tension between the incumbent and a member of the congregation or the curate, between a long-established Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) and a newly arrived clergy person, or indeed between any two individuals in the leadership team or the congregation. Alternatively, the difficulty could involve a member of the diocesan staff team.
Recognising that problems can sometimes arise does not undermine or debase the value of the community; it simply acknowledges our human frailty and is a first step in tackling and reducing problems, no matter how rare they are.
Mediation is a structured approach of face to face dialogue to enable people to address their conflicts with each other in a safe environment with an experienced third party – the mediator(s) – present. In the Diocese of Norwich, we have a mediation service led by Milee Brambleby.
For more information, please visit the mediation area on our website.
It is voluntary with people only taking part if they want to, and to be successful, participants must want it to work. The volunteer mediators give their time and skills for free, but it helps if parishes are able to provide an appropriate meeting space and if they can contribute to the travelling costs for the team.
Making a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about something that has gone wrong there are different processes for doing so.
If you have a complaint about a member of the diocesan (NDBF) staff team please see the process here: Complaints Policy NDBF Employees
If you have a complaint about the way a safeguarding matter has been handled please see the process here: Safeguarding Complaints Policy and Procedure
A complaint about a member of the clergy
We expect a high standard of integrity and service from all our clergy. Mostly that standard is met but occasionally individual clergy fall short of what is expected of them.
The process for complaints about clergy are currently under review. In the meantime, please contact the Bishop’s Chaplain: email@example.com
- The Bishop of Norwich’s Chaplain: The Revd Canon Sally Theakston
Bishop’s House, Norwich, NR3 1SB
01603 614172 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Chapter Steward: Mr Freddie van Till
The Chapter Office, 65 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DH
01603 218304 or email@example.com
For matters relating to the Chancellor or Deputy Chancellor, download the Ecclesiastical Judges Complaints Procedure.
- If you are concerned about a safeguarding matter then contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Sue Brice on 01603 882345 or firstname.lastname@example.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.