Clergy Conduct Measure: update February 2024

Following the publication of the report by the Clergy Conduct Measure Implementation Group, Under Authority Revisited, on 10 July 2023 the General Synod of the Church of England voted in favour of the first steps to legislate for a Clergy Conduct Measure which will replace the Clergy Discipline Measure  2003. The papers before General Synod were:

Proposals for complaints are to be allocated into three different tracks, depending on seriousness: “Grievance”, “Allegation of misconduct” and “Allegation of serious misconduct”. An update (“the Paper”) was circulated with the papers for the forthcoming Group of Sessions for the meeting at Church House on 23 to 27 February 2024, and is summarized below.

The Paper provides a brief update on the work of the Steering Committee and the Revision Committee [2]. On the 27 November 2023 both Committees took the decision to bring the draft Measure back to Synod in July 2024: to allow the detailed work of the Revision Committee to continue and be fully completed; to allow the Rule Committee to consider draft indicative rules to be presented alongside the draft Measure at the revision stage; and to allow for further consultation on particular areas, including with survivors and Royal Peculiars [7].

The draft revised timetable for this work is: Report Stage and Revision in Synod July 2024; Final Drafting and Final Approval in Synod February 2025; Parliamentary Process and Royal Assent Spring 2025; Implementation Period & Training Spring – Winter 2025; the New Measure coming into operation, early 2026 [9].

Building on the consultation conducted by the CCM Implementation Group, the Steering Committee, in conjunction with the NST survivor engagement team, is to hold a further round of consultations with survivors over the next two months and prior to the finalisation of the Revision Committee report to Synod [13]. A fringe event for members of Synod to receive a more detailed update and ask questions will be held on Saturday the 24 February 2024 at 08:00am in the Harvey Goodwin Suite, Church House [14].

Clause 12: Regional panel of assessors: composition The panel of assessors for each region must include—(a) one person nominated by the Clergy Conduct Commission on the recommendation of the Dean of the Arches : the bishop of the diocese.

An amendment reduces the body of assessors to a smaller, more agile and professional body with the intention that that they will be trained appropriately for their role. A further amendment enables those operating as assessors to be paid a fee for their work, set by the Fees Advisory Commission.

Clause 15: Complaint: proper interest

This expands the list of those who have standing to bring a complaint to include the cathedral safeguarding officer.

Clause 19: Limitation periods

This amendment removes the limitation period of 12 months in cases where the cleric has self-referred into the system.

Clause 20: Referral of complaint

This amendment provides that where the complaint involves conduct towards a child or vulnerable adult the DSO becomes a party to the complaint.

A further amendment will ensure that the lead assessor has all the information they require to carry out their functions. This could include, for example, previous vexatious complaints made by the Complainant.

Clause 21: Allocation of complaint

This provides that, where on the face of it the conduct alleged would fall within the technical definition of misconduct under section 3, but the lead assessor considers it to be at the lowest end of seriousness, the complaint may be allocated as a grievance.

Clause 22: Grievance

This makes amendments to the statutory provisions concerning legal aid to allow a respondent to instruct a barrister without the services of a solicitor.

Clause 35: Penalties and administrative sanctions

This expands the clause to provide that decisions to impose a restriction order, or not as the case may be, must be recorded in writing (similar provisions will also apply to the operation of a suspension).
A restriction order will only operate for a period of three months, with a power to serve another notice.

Clause 50: Permission to appeal

This provides a power for the DSO to ask the President of Tribunals to a review the decision of a bishop not to impose a restriction order or suspension.

Clause 52: Duty to disclose convictions, arrests, cautions

This expands the list of occurrences that trigger the duty of disclosure to the bishop to include being interviewed under caution and also where the police apply an administrative disposal of a matter.

Clause 57: Contempt

This amendment provides for the sharing of findings of misconduct under the church process with an external organisation with which the cleric works (including on a voluntary basis) and also that a finding of misconduct by that external organisation may be treated as misconduct by the church for which a penalty or administration sanction can be imposed. For example, where the General Medical Council were to make finding of misconduct against a doctor who was also in Holy Orders.

Clause 67: Repeals

This sets out the approval and amendment provisions for the Code of Practice.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Clergy Conduct Measure: update February 2024" in Law & Religion UK, 14 February 2024,

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