Note: this policy is largely taken from the CofE’s Parish Resources website.
1. The PCC’s concerns and complaints policy is published on its website.
2. 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 raise a concern or even make a formal complaint. You may complain anonymously, though this may hinder our efforts to resolve it if we are not able to discuss it to find out more.
How to raise a concern or complaint
Safeguarding of Children or Vulnerable Adults: please in the first instance contact the Safeguarding Officer, Claire Tagg, via the church office; or the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer on 020 7939 9423 (office hours), 07982 279713 (out of hours). If you have immediate concerns about the safety of someone, please contact the police and your local authority Children or Adults Services.
The Rector or another member of church staff: please raise the matter with the Rector (unless about the Rector) or one of the Churchwardens, who can be contacted via the church office. If the matter remains unresolved you could contact the Archdeacon of Wandsworth. 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/sites/default/files/2017-10/makingcomplainta4.pdf
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.
Any other matter: please contact the PCC Secretary via the church office. If your complaint is about the PCC Secretary you can contact one of the Churchwardens or any other PCC member, again via the church office.
Note that for some concerns or complaints, the PCC may need to log or escalate the issue with another agency, e.g. the diocese, the Charity Commission or the police; the complainant will be consulted on this but the PCC will make the final decision.
You can raise a concern anonymously if you wish, for example by writing to the church office.
How to complain to the PCC
3. This complaints procedure is for those who are unhappy about matters for which they consider the PCC to be responsible. Prior to using this formal procedure the PCC encourages an informal approach to the Rector or a Churchwarden to see if the matter can be resolved in that way.
4. Complaints should be made in writing or by email to the PCC Secretary through the church office (see contact details on website), making clear this is a formal complaint. Please ensure any letter is marked “Private and Confidential”. The PCC Secretary will ensure that your complaint is:
- treated seriously;
- handled fairly without bias or discrimination;
- treated confidentially.
5. You should complain within 3 months of the event that you are complaining about. Unless complaining anonymously you need to set out:
- your full name and address;
- that this is a formal complaint;
- 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.
6. 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.
7. The PCC Secretary should immediately record receipt of a complaint in a log.
How your complaint will be dealt with
8. The PCC Secretary will write to you or send you an email to confirm receipt of your complaint within 10 working days of its receipt and arrange for it to be considered by the PCC’s Complaints Committee, which is the same as the PCC’s Management Committee. If your complaint refers to particular individuals who are members of the Complaints Committee it will meet without them present. The Complaints Committee may co-opt additional members (for example, the safeguarding officer) if it thinks appropriate.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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 8 weeks the after receipt of your complaint.
12. This will be the PCC’s final response to your complaint.
13. 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.