The Diocese of Durham expects a high level of integrity and service from our clergy and members of staff in line with our Christian ethos. However, we recognise than on some occasions we fall short of our standards, and in such circumstances we aim to learn from mistakes and to address behaviour which does not meet our standards. As a diocese, we will always try to help resolve any issues that arise in a church context.
If any concern or complaint is in relation to a safeguarding matter, you should contact Beth Miller, the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor, or your parish safeguarding officer. Contact details and advice around safeguarding can be found on our dedicated Safeguarding page.
If a problem or disagreement occurs within the parish, it is normally best to try to resolve the matter with those responsible or with whom you disagree in the first instance. If you feel the severity of the concern makes it inappropriate to do so, we have compiled the below advice to help you resolve it.
If the issue relates to the conduct of a member of the congregation, a PCC member, Churchwarden, or other local church officer, and you cannot resolve it directly with the person concerned, then we would advise you to take the following steps:
- speak to your Priest-in-Charge or another member of clergy, or the Churchwardens, who are the Bishop’s officers in the parish, to try and resolve the issue; and
- if you still have a serious unresolved concern and the local officers are unable to help, seek the advice of your Area Dean or Archdeacon.
If you have a complaint against a member of clergy who holds the Bishop’s Licence or Permission to Officiate, then please take the following steps:
- speak to your Churchwardens, who are the Bishop’s officers in the parish to help you resolve the issue; and
- if you still believe this matter to be unresolved, and you believe the minister has failed in a duty of their office or that their personal conduct is in some respect seriously wrong, there is a formal process for making a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure, CDM. Further details can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/legal-services/clergy-discipline. Please do be aware that the complaints under CDM measure are for serious matters about conduct or failure in duties and should be used as a last resort; if your concern is not considered to be sufficiently serious, or if you disagree with a member of clergy but it is not evident that they are clearly at fault, the CDM process is inappropriate. If, however, the matter is serious, this process is the mechanism available for making your complaint. You may wish to consult your Archdeacon first Archdeacon.firstname.lastname@example.org Archdeacon.email@example.com Archdeacon.of.Auckland@durham.anglican.org to ensure all other options have been considered before raising a formal complaint under the CDM process. S/he will be able to guide you through the process and maybe be able to advise you about its suitability in a specific case, although the choice about whether to proceed with a formal complaint would, of course, always be yours.
If you have a concern with other diocesan members, please follow the guidance below:
- If your complaint is regarding members of the DBF or Cuthbert House Staff, the complaint should be sent to the Diocesan Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org;
- If your complaint is regarding an External Contractor who is working on behalf of the Diocese, please send your complaint to the Head of Property & Facilities email@example.com;
- If you are a DBF member of staff, please refer to your Staff Handbook for the latest guidance in relation to raising a complaint or concern; or
Any type of complaint received into the Diocese will be acknowledged within five working days by an officer who will be charged with investigating your complaint further.
Please be assured that your complaint will be taken seriously and the diocese will always strive to offer the best advice and support to resolve any complaint.