We propose to consult widely to identify actionable measures to reduce stress impacts within the current legal framework. The tools of the Sheldon Hub are readily available for this purpose.
The legal fabric of CDM has not made provision for:
- accountability for how the CDM process is implemented (it is possible to appeal against the determination or penalty, but there is no ombudsman role for when the process itself is badly implemented - the bishop is accountable to no-one for how s/he runs the case).
- Collecting data to research long-term outcomes (there is no systematic recording of the impact of CDM on physical or mental health, debt, marriage and family life, spiritual health, vocation, or future ministry).
It is not necessary to wait for a change in the law to make improvements to how the existing Measure is operated. A voluntary code of practice could be written and all dioceses invited to publicly sign up to it and publicly report on implementation progress. Such a code might include areas such as
- creating a national 'your rights under CDM' document
- ensure all Respondents are notified of their rights as soon as a case is a possiblity
- improving training for those offering pastoral care under the terms of the Measure
- improving training of those handling cases to reduce stress/harms from poor practice
- publicising peer support options such as the Sheldon Hub forums
- more detailed reporting and publication of case handling metrics, including timescales
- structured pro-active follow up support after the conclusion of cases for all outcomes
- pastoral support during prohibition and clear pathways back into ministry afterwards
- ensuring adequate time and financial resources to run procedures that are just
We are proposing a four-pronged approach to action on CDM
Education & Support
Provide and signpost help, advice and support for CDM respondents now ... read more