The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is committed to its role which primarily includes “cooperation with the minister in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.” But there may be a time when you need to complain. This complaints procedure is for those who are unhappy about matters for which the PCC is responsible that have affected them. Prior to using this formal procedure the PCC encourages an informal approach to the Vicar or a Churchwarden to see if the matter can be resolved in that way.
But if your complaint is about:
Safeguarding of Children or Vulnerable Adults
please in the first instance refer to the SAFEGUARDING POLICY or contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser as listed on the Contact Us page [here].
The Vicar or another minister
please raise the matter with the Vicar. If the matter remains unresolved you could contact the Archdeacon as listed on the Contact Us page [here].
You may wish to read the leaflet “I have a complaint about misconduct by a member of the clergy – what can I do?” at https://www.churchofengland.org/media/1937470/makingcomplainta4.pdf
Bullying or Harassment (by adults)
you may find it helpful to consult the Diocesan policy on this at www.cofesuffolk.org//ministry-development-support/well-being-and-support
Your employment by the PCC
if you are a PCC employee please refer to and follow the grievance procedure provided for in your terms and conditions of employment.
Making a complaint to the PCC
Complaints should be made by email to the PCC Secretary listed on the Contact Us page [here]. The PCC Secretary will ensure that your complaint is:
handled fairly without bias or discrimination
You should complain within 3 months of the event that you are complaining about. You need to set out:
your full name and address
what you think went wrong and how it has affected you including enough details to show why you are aggrieved
what (if anything) you think the PCC should do to put it right
If someone else complains on your behalf, the PCC will need written confirmation from you saying that you agree for that person to act for you.
The PCC Secretary should immediately record receipt of a complaint in a log.
How your complaint will be dealt with
The PCC Secretary will write to you or send you an email to confirm receipt of your complaint within [X] days of its receipt and arrange for it to be considered by the PCC’s Complaints Committee. If your complaint refers to particular individuals who are members of the Complaints Committee it will meet without them being present.
The PCC’s Complaints Committee will look fairly into your complaint including seeking the views on the matter from any individuals, whether members of the PCC or otherwise, to which your complaint refers. The Complaints Committee may appoint one or more persons to look into the matter on its behalf but it will be the Complaints Committee that makes any decisions. The Complaints Committee and any such appointed persons will treat the matter confidentially.
The Complaints Committee may invite you to present your complaint to them. If so, you may attend with a friend / representative if you wish. The meeting should be held as informally as possible. The Chair will explain the purpose of the meeting, introduce the members and emphasise confidentiality. The meeting will be minuted by the Committee.
The PCC Secretary will write to you with the conclusions from the PCC Complaints Committee’s review and reasons for that outcome. The PCC Secretary will aim to respond to you in this way as soon as possible, and no longer than 6 weeks the after receipt of your complaint.
This will be the PCC’s final response to your complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied, you may wish to consider contacting the Charity Commission as while Parochial Church Councils are independent bodies they are charities and as such are regulated by the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission can be contacted either via their website https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity or by writing to them at Charity Commission First Contact, PO Box 1227, Liverpool L69 3UG.
FOR PCC CONSIDERATION:
In adopting this policy, the PCC will need to decide:
– Who will receive complaints? This would normally be the PCC Secretary or Parish Administrator.
– Who will review complaints? The PCC should nominate a Complaints Committee (this should have a list of names with reserves if necessary) at the first meeting after the APCM each year. It may be that the PCC decides that the Standing Committee should act as the Complaints Committee.
– the timescales that will apply to complaints made to your PCC.
The Policy and Procedure should be adapted accordingly, including the link to the Diocesan Bullying and Harassment policy in the blue box below. Having decided how to proceed the PCC will need to pass a resolution appointing the Complaints Committee, authorising it to act as such and requiring it to report back on its work.