This is in response to suggestions that the existing procedure is not fit for purpose because of
- Difficulties in obtaining accurate, substantiated information about clergy performance
- The length of time the procedure takes
- The way that some clergy have been able to frustrate and delay the procedure.
Most clergy carry out their ministry to a high standard, and, where they fall short, are willing to co-operate with efforts to help them improve. The capability procedure is for that very small minority of clergy who are not carrying out their ministry to an acceptable standard, where attempts to deal with the situation without using a procedure have not been successful.
Capability is about ongoing underperformance not disciplinary issues arising from an act of misconduct or a mechanism for dealing with pastoral breakdown. The primary purpose of the procedure is to enable improvement rather than to remove someone from office, although that may sometimes be the outcome. The procedure involves: assessing performance, pointing out where improvement is required, and giving help and opportunity to improve, seeing whether there has been any improvement, and, only when all else fails, removing someone from office.
We have put together some proposals about how the procedure can be made more effective. This will involve trying to be fair both to clergy whose capability is under question, and to parishes where a priest is not providing an adequate ministry. Before we bring proposals to the Synod, we want to hear the views of the whole Church – including clergy, bishops and archdeacons, diocesan staff, churchwardens and others - on our proposals, which will include some additional legal powers for the bishop. Responses to this consultation will help us to ensure that the right checks and balances are put in place, for example, in the form of guidance to which the Bishop is required to have regard. If you would like to respond, please read the briefing note and then fill in the form below by the end of August.
June 2018 - Consultation made available for completion on the Church of England website
July 2018 - Fringe meeting at Synod
End August - Deadline for responses to consultation
November 2018 - RACSC considers responses to consultation and makes recommendations to Archbishops’ Council
2019 - Work on drafting new procedure, additional legislation and additional material
February 2020 - Synod gives initial consideration to amending legislation with the other draft material being provided in the form of illustrative drafts.
An assembly of clergy and non-clergy church members to discuss and debate church matters. They can meet as a deanery, a diocese or a General Synod.
A general term for the work of the church in worship, mission and pastoral care.
A senior member of the clergy responsible for an area called an archdeaconry. They share the pastoral care of the clergy and do much practical, legal and administrative work.