The nature and variety of roles that clergy occupy outside of the Church of England (e.g. as school governors, hospital chaplains or as employers or employees in preordination secular employment) has given experience of best practice in resourcing and recruitment. At the same time, the rapid changes in the deployment of clergy sometimes create insecurities.
It is essential that these anxieties and insecurities are addressed by offering creative and innovative yet effective and fair ways of recruiting, selecting and appointing clergy in our diocese.
The diocese adheres to the Church of England good practice guidance appointment of the parochial clergy and curates, prepared by the Terms of Service Implementation Panel and approved by the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops in February 2013 and updated by the Remuneration and Conditions of Service Committee in February 2015. It provides an overview to all parties involved in the appointment, making reference to the law governing the appointment of incumbents, whilst the general principles also apply to clergy appointments.
It advises on:
- The law (the legislation you are bound by);
- The roles of those with responsibility for appointments;
- The process;
- Tools (statement of needs, role description and person specification);
- Searching for applicants;
- The offer process;
- Licensing or institution and induction;
- Settling in;
- Six-month review;
- Ministerial development review (MDR) and continuing ministerial development (CMD).
The full guidance on clergy appointments document can be located here. The diocese has produced an information pack that explains the process from start to finish, along with a suite of standard letters, forms to assist the bishops’ and archdeacons' secretaries with effective administration of the appointment process. These are available to all those who are involved with the appointment process within the diocese and can be located on the Diocese of Oxford R drive. Access is restricted to those who have the requirement. R:StoreSenior StaffClergy HRApplication Forms for Clergy and related Guidance Notes.
If you are looking for your next role, you may contact your area bishop office for more specific information and an application form.
Role Descriptions and Person Specifications
All clergy should have a role description. It is a technical document and a fundamental part of the appointments process that details a role at the time of writing. It describes what the role holder is required to do to carry out the role effectively and can be used for a variety of purposes:
- To provide a clear description of the role for applicants and those involved in the appointments process;
- To clarify roles and responsibilities for existing role holders;
- To inform training and development needs;
- To inform ministerial development review.
The person specification is the document that describes the skills, knowledge and experience, personal attributes/qualities, education and training that a person will need to have or be able to acquire in order to perform well in the role. The Diocese of Oxford has produced its own useful guidance and recommended process for developing role descriptions and person specifications:
- Role description template and examples of person specification
- Guidelines for drawing up a benefice profile (August 2017)
- Guidance for role descriptions whole text (August 2017)
- Appendix A: Recommended process for developing role descriptions
Ministerial Working Arrangements
All clergy holding a licence in the diocese who are non-stipendiary are required to have a Ministerial Working Agreement instead of a role description. The Diocese of Oxford has produced its own guidance notes for both self-supporting ministers and House for Duty (HfD) ministers in support roles:
- Ministerial Working Agreement for House for Duty (HfD) ministers in support roles
- Ministerial Working Agreement for self-supporting ministers
On 10 November 2010, the Diocesan Synod accepted a briefing by the Bishop of Buckingham in light of the more recent changes in equal opportunities legislation, more specifically the Equality Act 2010. The Bishop's Council/Standing Committee remains committed to good equal opportunities practice and valuing diversity.
Following a review in 2009, the Bishop's Council/Standing Committee adopted the Wood Sheppard principles, which have been widely taken on in the public and private sectors. The Wood Sheppard principles are now the standard measurement of equal opportunities. The theological imperative is clear: do justice, walk humbly, have mercy.
Wood Sheppard Principles
(As revised in 2003 by the Racial Equality in Employment partnership)
- Adopt and value ethnic diversity as a cornerstone of human resource policies, which is reflected in the workforce.
- Declare an intention to reflect at all levels in the workforce the ethnic diversity found within the local community.
- Create and implement an effective and practical race equality policy incorporated within the overall business plan and owned by the entire organisation.
- Monitor EOP performance against targets and improve over time.
- Use fair and transparent recruitment and selection processes.
- Make access to comprehensive training opportunities available to all employees irrespective of the level of entry and/or the qualifications held at the time of entry into the organisation.
- Assign a senior management EO champion to enable all line managers to design and maintain their own EO action plans in line with the overall business plan.
- Building on a base of compliance with statutory regulations on discrimination, develop a culture and processes that make racial and religious harassment or discrimination a serious offence within the organisation.
- Publish an annual profile by ethnic origin, gender and grade within the organisation in relation to the Annual Report.
- Make one board member responsible for overseeing EOP monitoring and actively seek an appropriately qualified ethnic minority board member.
As before, the Bishop’s Council/Standing Committee looks to all staff and members of councils, boards, committees or groups appointed by or on their behalf (whether paid or voluntary) to abide by and to promote this policy. They commend this policy to all other bodies associated with or supported by the Diocese of Oxford, including deaneries and parishes, and, in so far as it lies within their power, will ensure that it is accepted and implemented throughout their sphere of influence.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) came into force in October 2010. It harmonises and replaces previous legislation protecting people from discrimination in the context of their work. The nine characteristics protected under this legislation are:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity.
The Act offers protection against the following types of discrimination:
This occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic which they have. It includes both associative discrimination and perceptive discrimination.
This occurs when a condition, rule, policy or practice is applied across the board but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic – for example, an office is advertised on the basis that it is only open to those with a driving licence, which places disabled people at a particular disadvantage. Indirect discrimination can be justified if it can be shown that is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This means that the employer must act reasonably and should be able to show that he or she has considered less discriminatory alternatives.
Harassment is unwanted conduct, related to a protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. It applies to all protected characteristics except marriage/civil partnership and pregnancy/maternity.
This occurs when a person is treated unfairly because he or she has made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Act.
The application of the Act to clergy offices is complex because the legal categories of workers dealt with by the Act are tailored to the secular sphere and do not reflect the particular characteristics of some ecclesiastical offices.
Diocesan Equality Statement (Clergy)
Here in the Diocese of Oxford, we believe that:
- All clergy and their ministries, irrespective of status and background, bring invaluable skills and experiences that enable the diocese to achieve its vision of Living Faith for the future;
- Openness and transparency in the process of appointment, from the moment a vacancy occurs to someone starting in the post, is key to success, no matter what ‘style’ patronage offers;
- Every member of the clergy deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
We commit ourselves to:
- Develop recruitment and selection systems; policies and procedures that promote fairness and equality of opportunity;
- Ensure that parishes are trained so that they carry out the recruitment processes with confidence and pride;
- Create training and development opportunities for all involved in the appointment process, without unfair discrimination within our resources, and offer support on recruitment by recruitment basis;
- Apart from specific exemptions conferred by the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 and the Equality Act 2010, ensure that there is no discrimination where any of the characteristics specified cannot be shown to be a requirement of the job or office concerned;
- Take positive action to ensure equality of opportunity and of treatment on the matters specified across the diocese.
The Bishop of Oxford and his senior staff team, guided by the advice of the director of human resources, will lead the implementation of this policy and monitor progress against our commitments.
It is the responsibility of all clergy, both stipendiary and self-supporting, to abide by and to promote this policy, and any grievance or other matter relating to it should be taken up in the first instance with the appropriate member of the Bishop Staff Team or the director of human resources.
Ministerial Development Review (MDR) Handbook
Here at the Diocese of Oxford, we have our own MDR scheme. Full information about this, including its purpose, requirements for participation, process and copies of the relevant forms, can be found within the MDR Handbook.
Provisions for IME (Part 2)
Clergy completing their initial training following ordination (IME Part 2) are required to participate in a development programme specifically targeted for their needs, to supplement the training support provided by their training incumbents. The process for those in initial training (IME Part 2) Information about the annual training programme will be provided by the diocese, to trainees and their incumbents.
Advice will be given about the creation of ministry development folders (MDF) of training, to assist with the process of quality assurance and assessment prior to the completion of title curacies. Please visit the dedicated pages on the Diocese of Oxford website where you can learn in detail about the programme of learning, processes and resources.
Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD)
The purpose of continuing ministerial development (CMD) is to strengthen and deepen a lifelong learning culture within each diocese. Good practice in both provision and participation are ultimately evidenced in spiritual and numerical growth, with the Church's ministers more fully engaged in God's mission themselves in the variety of roles they have been licensed to as public representative ministers, and better able to stimulate and enable the whole Church to respond to its call. Read the guidelines in full.
Under the terms of common tenure, the bishop is required to make arrangements for CMD and have regard to any guidance issued by the Archbishops' Council. The office holder is required to participate in arrangements approved for CMD by the diocesan area bishops.
Clergy who choose to retain their freehold and do not move over to common tenure are not required to participate in CMD but are encouraged to do so. Further details are available via the ministry development pages of the Church of England website, where you can learn more about the vision for making the continuing ministerial development of Church of England ministers a reality and the resources available.
Details regarding planning, current events and programmes and how they can be financed are available via the CMD pages of the diocesan website.
Extra Support for Ministry Development
Extra support is available to all clergy to help them in their professional and personal development. These include a number of national charities. Details of these can be located on the Church of England website (scroll down and click on the financial heading).