Briefing: Report from Clergy Conduct Measure Implementation Group

July 1, 2022

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The 2003 Clergy Discipline Measure was a great improvement, but it is overdue for revision. The CDM was designed to deal with misconduct of the utmost seriousness, but has failed to keep up with changing base. The Group believe that the CDM is too rigid and does not respond appropriately to different levels of misconduct and complaint. The Measure or Rules will not provide a strict procedure for the resolution of grievances. A grievance process can help identify issues of capability, but it is not intended to replace formal capability procedures.

The Code of Practice would require each bishop to have a dedicated person to receive and process complaints. The Clergy Discipline Commission is a body that advises General Synod on discipline. The President of Tribunals (or deputy) makes the decision. The report will recommend an outcome for the case, and the bishop must implement it. A tribunal chair and the Dean of the Arches can ban a person from bringing further complaints.

Legal Aid Commission administers charitable funds and must be careful to ensure that money is available for clergy who need legal advice. The OFI&T and the Clergy Discipline Commission will need to be properly resourced. Regular training will be essential to secure confidence in the system and a uniformity of approach.