Thinking Anglicans

Clergy Discipline Measure revision

The Church of England’s CDM Working Group published a progress report last Friday. The group proposes that there should be a new measure rather than revision of the current measure. It also proposes a number of interim changes that do not require primary legislation. Consultation meetings are being held this week and next; details of how to join are in the report.

The accompanying press release is copied below the fold.

Also on Friday the Ecclesiastical Law Society announced a further public consultation on the Measure. Responses, to be submitted by 20 December 2020, are welcome from non-members.

Church of England press release

Working Group on the Clergy Discipline Measure – progress report
04/12/2020

The Church of England’s CDM Working Group has today published a progress report acknowledging the hurt experienced by many under the CDM process, and recommending that the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 is replaced with a new piece of legislation.

The detailed document from the Working Group acknowledges the recent findings of the Sheldon Report which details the hurt that many people, specifically respondent clergy, have spoken about experiencing as a result of the functioning of the Measure.

The Working Group also heard from many individuals and groups who have faced issues with the Measure when trying to initiate Complaints against clergy particularly relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

The report outlines a number of interim measures to address these issues which will be in place while the new legislation is developed.

The proposed new legislation will include three main proposals for change which are outlined in the document and are now being put out for consultation.

The report provides a formal update of the Group’s work and is a resource for use at the upcoming national consultations.

The Bishop at Lambeth, Tim Thornton, Chair of the Working Group said: “This is a really important piece of work which we began last year with the need for reform further highlighted in last month’s IICSA report. The Group was unanimous in its aim that the Measure must be replaced. On behalf of the Group I would like to thank all those who have been brave enough to share their experiences with us, I know this has not been easy but it has been a vital part of informing our recommendations as we move forward.”

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Alan Sharpe
Alan Sharpe
10 months ago

 “This is a really important piece of work which we began last year with the need for reform further highlighted in last month’s IICSA report” says the Lambeth enforcer and ‘MBA for Bishops’ supremo, who is key to promoting the management culture in the Church of England. So why has an announcement been made that submissions need to be in by 20th December? Is Lambeth, knowing how exhausted clergy are, and how pressed their diaries will be for the next three weeks, trying to do its usual routine of bypassing any consultative process and imposing its own narrative of what… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
10 months ago

Well there are some assumptions there. The CofE simply isn’t organised to deal with a “professionalised” clergy, and the major restructuring required is not (yet?) on the agenda. Once again we see suggestions of tinkering with pieces of a complex organisation without anyone ever taking a view of the big picture or reflecting on the cultural embededness of the aspects which are being changed (attempted?) by administrative means. And that is quite apart from the deep theological/ecclesiological questions which are inevitably involved here, and are barely named.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
10 months ago

Alan Sharpe’s point is interesting, specifically as it impacts the IICSA report, because (unless I’m imagining it – and someone will correct me if I am) wasn’t there some disquiet around the role of Bishop Thornton on the fringes of the NST and conflict of interest over his involvement in settling compensation claims within the last 12 months? It might have been on Stephen Parsons’s blog. But, as I say, I may have remembered that inaccurately, and if so an advanced apology is offered. If I am remembering correctly, how can it be that someone, over whom a question mark… Read more »

Stephen Parsons
Stephen Parsons
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
10 months ago

Gilo wrote a piece for Surviving Church last August. In it he suggested that +Tim Thornton was himself the subject of a complaint by 7 abuse survivors and a letter was written calling on him to resign from certain safeguarding responsibilities. I cannot recall the details. Gilo is meticulous about his reporting so I had no reason to doubt him on this point. Surviving Church cannot afford to carry unsubstantiated hearsay and I checked it up at the time. http://survivingchurch.org/2020/08/28/the-bigger-the-mitre-the-larger-the-parachute/

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Stephen Parsons
10 months ago

Thank you, Stephen. That’s reassuring and helpful – and at least justifies the question that asks if Bishop Thornton is an entirely objective person to lead on the reform of CDM.

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
10 months ago

I would have liked to see more open questions in the questionnaire. Most of them beg the answer Yes or No. But it also suggests to me that the solutions to the issues in the current CDM have already been decided and this is to buy in agreement rather than being open to other, maybe better, solutions.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Mary Hancock
10 months ago

The format also allows “yes but” answers to be characterised as “yes”

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