Thinking Anglicans

Questions about senior recruitment

There were a number of questions raised at General Synod concerning two recent senior Church of England appointments. Earlier there had been two letters in the Church Times, first one about the appointment of the new Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, see here, and then a further letter (scroll down, from Mr John Brydon) concerning this, and also about the appointment of the new Third Church Estates Commissioner.

At Synod, four Questions were raised.

  • Two Questions concerned the appointment of the new Third Church Estates Commissioner.
  • Another two Questions related to the appointment of the new Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments.

The Church Times reported  in detail on all this: Archbishop quizzed about selection of Appointments Secretary. This article includes details of a supplementary question from Rebecca Chapman (see first letter above):

…She asked the Archbishop to confirm that “prior to appointing Mr Knott to this role, you were aware of the contents of the lawyer’s report sent to your office in April 2017, which explicitly lays out seven identified breaches of employment law perpetrated by Mr Stephen Knott when dealing with my return to work at Lambeth Palace following maternity leave, and whether or not you shared that information with the panel who approved Mr Knott for this role.”

After hearing Mrs Chapman’s question, the session’s chair, Debbie Buggs (London), said that it contained “imputation” and “shouldn’t be asked”. The Archbishop need not reply. This was later challenged by Jayne Ozanne (Oxford), to a “Hear, hear” and applause from the floor…

…The lawyer’s report, a private legal opinion prepared by a solicitor, Jane Stuart-Smith, has been seen by Church Times. It says: “Two days before Rebecca Chapman’s return to work she had no job, no office and there appeared to be no serious attempt to address the situation by her line managers. Rebecca Chapman made all the running and found a creative solution to a situation that was totally unacceptable.

“Lambeth Palace narrowly avoided a tribunal claim for sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and breach of the Part Time Workers regulations and breach of the Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations. Fortunately, the situation was resolved because she took the initiative.”

It does not name Mr Knott and the Church Times understands that while his duties included the administration of HR duties, he was not responsible for decisions taken. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “Rebecca Chapman was a valued employee who remained in post and later went on to leave her role at Lambeth Palace on good terms…

…Ms Stuart-Smith’s report was paid for by Mrs Chapman’s husband, who in a letter, also seen by the Church Times, informed the Archbishop that he would be providing a pot of £20,000 to enable access for staff at Lambeth Palace to legal employment advice and guidance if needed. Mrs Chapman confirmed on Tuesday that it had been used by staff.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ian Paul
3 months ago

This all points to some serious structural and organisational issues going wrong…

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Ian Paul
3 months ago

It also suggests that Lambeth doesn’t feel the need to comply with legislation?

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

That may be true Helen but taken as a whole the situation suggests that those who don’t care for Stephen Knott’s sexuality are looking for any reason to oppose and smear his appointment.

Ian Paul
Reply to  Helen King
3 months ago

…which is also deeply, deeply worrying. And as a member of AC, I have no influence…

Dan BD
3 months ago

Never mind the “pot”, Lambeth staff ought to be in a union! Unite has a Faithworkers’ Branch.

Ben R
Ben R
Reply to  Dan BD
3 months ago

They are eligible to join 3 separate unions all of which have official reps and recognition within the NCIs. This is made clear at staff induction and periodically. I don’t know how many take it up, my sense from the other NCIs is a pretty high number do.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
3 months ago

I need to take issue with the concerns about the appointment of the new ASA. It is a personal appointment of the archbishops and they clearly determined (as any other employing organisation is entitled to do) that the post could be filled internally; they ran a process which (unless there is any evidence to the contrary) was fair, and an appointment was made. End of.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anthony Archer
3 months ago

I would add that filling posts internally is often also the best way to keep costs under control.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
3 months ago

There is no such thing as a personal appointment in such employment matters. I assume what you actually mean is the two archbishops are the responsible managers in relation to a particular appointment. They are entirely subject to all aspects of employment law.

Archbishops enjoy no separate status before the law – thankfully

Last edited 3 months ago by Peter
Adrian
Adrian
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

Perhaps the two archbishops employ the individual in their corporate capacities, as bishops employ their chaplains in a corporate capacity?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Adrian
3 months ago

Not directed at you personally, but it rather seems that some commenting here did not read this, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reply, provided by the Editors above: “This is a staff position appointed by the Archbishops. A vacancy arose following a restructuring of the role as part of the Simpler NCIs/Transforming Effectiveness process. The recruitment was in line with current best practice for all vacant or significantly reshaped roles within the National Church Institutions during this change. The post was advertised internally across the National Church Institutions networks and open to all employees. Full details, including job description were publicly… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

Rowland. It’s not clear why you think the ABC answer adds anything to the discussion.

The central complaint is that the post was not open to the widest possible circle of candidates.

Nothing in the text you quote addresses that issue

Last edited 3 months ago by Peter
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Adrian
3 months ago

I am sure that is correct. Corporate and personal are quite distinct. The substantive point is that the questions about the appointment are perfectly valid

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Peter
3 months ago

I don’t pretend to understand where this discussion is leading, but from the C of E website page about NCIs, this:

“The NCIs are separate legal entities, but they are a common employer. The present arrangements were established under the National Institutions Measure 1998.”

The text of the Measure is easily found on HMG Legislation website (legislation.gov.uk : Church Measures 1998 No 1). It seems, at least to me, that your anxieties are answered by statute.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

People interpret statute to suit themselves.

It’s not a matter of anxiety and with respect is both obvious and important.

It should not have been an internal appointment.

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
3 months ago

I think I feel uncomfortable that Rebecca Chapman’s letter to the Church Times about the appointment of Stephen Knott which I read when it first appeared in the CT does not make any mention of the fact that she herself was previously an employee at Lambeth Palace, especially as she does describe herself as a member of General Synod. I was certainly not aware when I read the letter of this ‘personal’ element which only became apparent to me after the exchange at General Synod and the publication of the correspondence which TA refers to above. Not to have made… Read more »

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x