Monday, 2 February 2004

CofE guidance on regulations

The Archbishops’ Council published guidance for dioceses, parishes and places of worship in November 2003.

This can be found in a Word file titled Implementation of the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 on the website of the National Society for Religious Education, not the most obvious place for dioceses, parishes and places of worship to look. You can download the Word file here. Alternatively the full text is reproduced here as a web page for easier reading.

The introduction says:

“The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 outlaw discrimination in employment and vocational training on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion or belief and come into force on 1st and 2nd December 2003 respectively.
There is much in these regulations that is of central interest and some things that need to be clarified by case law (e.g. the definition of a religion or an ethos). The Council has prepared this advice for dioceses, parishes and places of worship as a general guide to the new regulations and in the hope that it will assist those concerned with employment decisions in thinking through their implications. It is not an attempt to be comprehensive nor is it designed to provide definitive legal advice.”

In addition, and as explained in the guidance document, the Council has prepared two further documents, which are available only as pdf files of about 200K each, downloadable from:

Ethos audit for Christian organisations from Faithworks and the Archbishops’ Council

Ethos audit for churches and Christian projects from Faithworks and the Archbishops’ Council

The foreword to them says that these guides provide some help with applying the requirements of the law e.g. in recruitment processes, writing job descriptions etc and gives examples of it in practical situations. See below for more.

All the original documents are here.
They also include a separate document giving specific advice to church schools. This is in Word format and can be downloaded here

UPDATE 4 FEB 2004
The documents listed above (well, not the schools-specific one) are now also available from this page on the CofE website itself. Cause and effect?

The foreword also discusses the topic of Christian ethos:

“The second half of this foreword gives some pointers about:

  • Anglican ethos
  • the ethos of your own Christian organisation
  • how this relates to the recruitment of Christians from other Christian traditions
  • Guide to Christian ethos

As stated in the paper from the Archbishops’ Council, the legislation says that if an employer wishes to advertise for, select, employ or promote, in our case, a Christian in preference to another equally qualified candidate who is not a Christian, the employer must be able to justify the decision. In the first instance, such an employer must have a Christian ethos.

Ethos is the distinctive identity of an organisation. It captures the shared motivation of those who belong to it. As a piece of guidance for the whole of the Christian sector, this guide refers generally to Christian ethos rather then the ethos of any one specific denomination.

  • Anglican ethos

Clearly, Anglicanism has its own identity and ethos which flow from the basic tenets of being an Anglican. These tenets are set out on the Church of England website www.cofe.anglican.org, see what it means to be an Anglican. When you come to develop your own ethos and values statement or to work through a recruitment process, you may wish to consider these tenets together with the advice provided in this guide, in order to help you create a more customised approach.

  • Ethos of your own church/place of worship or Christian project

Hopefully, this guide will help you in thinking generally about Christian ethos and the Church of England website together with other Anglican material will assist you in designing a more tailored approach. However, the key purpose for developing an ethos statement is to describe the unique character and shared motivation of any group of people and, therefore, it is vital that your ethos statement describes who you are as a church, place of worship or Christian project. It is important that your documentation reflects the characteristics and values of your environment.

  • The recruitment of Christians from other Christian traditions

A key purpose of this guide is to help you recruit a Christian, where appropriate, fairly within the requirements of the law. There will be occasions, for example in the recruitment of a cleric, when it is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the role, to specify the recruitment of an Anglican. There will be other recruitment situations where this will not be the case. Where it is necessary to specify the recruitment of an Anglican, it will be important to demonstrate the reasons so that any potential allegations of discrimination can be avoided. In these situations, reference to the Anglican ethos will be helpful.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 2 February 2004 at 12:00 AM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Employment Equality