Complaints policy statement

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 Helen’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.

This complaints procedure is for those who are unhappy about matters for which the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is responsible that have affected them. Prior to using this formal procedure the PCC encourages an informal approach to the staff 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 Bible study leader or staff member known to you.

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.

  • Whistleblowing

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 Maidstone, 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.

  • Your employment or volunteering

If you are an employee or have a formal volunteer agreement (eg associates), 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 Operations Manager using the contact details below. The Operations Manager will ensure that 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. The Operations Manager will immediately record receipt of your complaint in a secure log.

How your complaint will be dealt with

The Operations Manager will write to you or send you an email to confirm receipt of your complaint within 7 days of its receipt and arrange for it to be considered by the PCC’s Staffing sub-committee. If your complaint refers to particular individuals who are members of the Staffing sub-committee it will meet without them being present. In some circumstances the Operations Manager may respond directly to your complaint without involving the Staffing sub-committee. The reasons for doing so would be outlined in their response.

The PCC’s Staffing sub-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 Staffing sub-committee may appoint one or more persons to look into the matter on its behalf but it will be the Staffing sub-committee that makes any decisions. The Staffing sub-committee and any such appointed persons will treat the matter confidentially.

The Staffing sub-committee 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 by the committee.

The Operations Manager or Chair of the committee will write to you with the conclusions from the PCC Staffing sub-committee’s review and reasons for that 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 the review will be dealt with impartially by one of the churchwardens not involved in the previous investigation. The Operations Manager or churchwarden will write you 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 London or the Charity Commission.

Operations Manager

St Helens Church Office, Great St Helens, London, EC3A 6AT

[email protected]