Do you have a complaint?
God’s word compels us to love and care for all people and to treat them with dignity and respect whether they are a member of the public or part of the church family. Everyone working or volunteering at St Stephen's is committed to reflecting God’s character in maintaining and upholding Biblical standards of integrity and love in the work we do. But there may be a time when you need to complain.
The information below is for those who are unhappy about matters for which the St Stephen's Prenton Parochial Church Council (PCC) is responsible that have affected them. Prior to using this formal procedure the PCC encourages an informal approach to any staff or PCC member or volunteer directly, to see if the matter can be resolved in that way (cf Matthew 18). Feedback is very much welcomed within the church, so we would encourage you to make use of regular channels of communication, for example speaking to a leader you know on a Sunday or in the context of a mid-week small group.
But if your complaint is about:
Safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults
If the complaint involves an allegation or disclosure of abuse against a child or vulnerable adult, whether present or historic, please follow our safeguarding policy. More information can be found on our safeguarding page.
If the complaint is about serious malpractice or wrongdoing that is in the wider public interest (for example, a criminal offence or a breach of a legal duty), you can follow the complaints policy below or you may prefer to contact the Bishop of Chester, the Police or a whistleblowing charity, such as Public Concern at Work. Those raising legitimate concerns of this nature are protected by law and will never be victimised for making such a report.
If you are an employee, please refer to the grievance policy within your contract or agreement for detail about how to raise a complaint.
Making a complaint to the PCC
If informal resolution is not possible or practicable then complaints should be made in writing or by email to the Vicar, Churchwardens or other PCC member using the contact details below. We are all committed to ensuring your complaint is:
- treated seriously
- handled fairly without bias or discrimination
- treated confidentially.
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. A receipt of your complaint will be recorded in a secure log.
How your complaint will be dealt with
The Vicar or a churchwarden will get in touch to confirm receipt of your complaint within 7 days of its receipt and arrange for it to be considered by the PCC, or the Standing Committee if a faster response requires this. If your complaint refers directly to the Vicar, a churchwarden or any other member of the PCC or Standing Committee, will meet without them being present. In some circumstances your complaint may be addressed without involving the council or committee.
The PCC 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 PCC may appoint one or more persons to look into the matter on its behalf but it will be the PCC or Standing Committee that makes any decisions, and will treat the matter confidentially.
The PCC or Standing Comiittee may invite you to present your complaint to them. If so, you may attend with a friend / representative if you wish. The Chair of the meeting will explain the purpose of the meeting, introduce the members and emphasise confidentiality. The meeting will be held as informally as is appropriate and will be minuted.
The Chair of the PCC or Standing Committee will write to you with the conclusions from the review and explain any outcome. They 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.
Review of complaints
If the complaint has not been resolved to your satisfaction you may request a review of the decision. Requests for review should be made in writing and where practically possible, the review will be dealt impartially by a churchwarden, PCC or Standing Committee member not involved in the initial investigation. The reviewer will write a response within 4 weeks of your request for review. This will be the PCC’s final response to your complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied, you may wish to consider contacting the Diocese of Chester or the Charity Commission.
Contact details for making a complaint
St Stephen's Church Office, 11 Prenton Lane, Birkenhead, CH42 8LA