A grievance or complaint may be referred to the Bishop to seek Diocesan intervention and resolution.

It can be referred by the Incumbent, an assisting person, the relevant Assistant Bishop (or the Archdeacon of Newcastle) or any party to the conflict.

A grievance or conflict should be referred, when the grievance or conflict:

  • is with the Incumbent or local church leader
  • has escalated beyond the capacity of an assisting person (or Incumbent) to resolve the substantive and or relational issues
  • requires the input and assistance of an independent advisor

The Bishop will determine the best person(s) to assist the parties towards resolution. The parties involved need to be advised that, as the process progresses, they remain free to seek help from outside the Diocese if they feel the conflict is not being resolved. The Diocese commits to a prayerful case-by-case approach to each matter.


Upon receiving a request to assist with addressing a grievance or a conflict, the Bishop (or a person appointed by the Bishop) will make an initial assessment of the situation. This may include a review of correspondence, and holding briefing meetings with the parties to:

  • understand the history and status of the conflict/grievance
  • ascertain their willingness to address the grievance or conflict
  • determine each person’s conflict resolution style and preferences regarding an ideal
  • pathway for resolution
  • make judgements as to the intensity level of conflict
  • determine the substantive issues.

The Bishop (or the person appointed by the Bishop) may also seek advice, including consulting with a relevant professional as part of this assessment.

The Bishop or the person appointed by the Bishop must refer any professional standards matter to the Director of Professional Standards.

Options Report

The Bishop or a person appointed by the Bishop may arrange for an Options Report to be prepared. This Report must include an outline of key issues, the type of conflict, the options for resolution and the preferred pathway. The report will contain a recommended course of action.

The recommendation must also give due consideration to the resources required for the recommended pathway.

Possible pathways that may be recommended include, but are not limited to:

  • dismissal of the complaint/grievance
  • resolution facilitation.
  • counselling
  • conciliation
  • mediation
  • arbitration
  • use of the Ministry Issues Procedures in the Clerical Ministry Ordinance 2009.

This may include communication to indirectly affected persons if appropriate.

Consideration by the Bishop

The Bishop will consider any Options Report together with any other advice or submissions made by key stakeholders.

The Bishop shall determine the resolution pathway that will be employed for this grievance/complaint.

Unless the Bishop determines otherwise, the cost for preparing any report and the cost of implementing the resolution pathway must be met by the parish in which the grievance/complaint is raised.


The resolution pathway is implemented.

During the implementation, the Bishop may make, amend or modify decisions. Any decision by the Bishop will be communicated to all parties.

Ongoing monitoring

The Bishop, or a person appointed by the Bishop, in negotiation with the parties, is to check on the wellbeing of all parties to the grievance/complaint until the Bishop is satisfied that the solutions that have been employed are working.

This may include communication to indirectly affected persons if appropriate.

If this process is not successful the Bishop may seek external assistance and advice leading to a formal determination by the Bishop.

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Policy Updated – 5 July 2020

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