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.
- 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
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy Statement
On 5 October 2022, the Bishop's Council approved the new diocesan-wide Equality, Diversity & Inclusion policy and implementation plan which came into effect on 1st January 2023.
The Diocese is made up of people with a wide variety of theologies and understandings. The Diocesan Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy sets out our commitment to work within what is currently permitted by the Church of England to be an organisation that is as diverse, equal, and inclusive as we can make it.
We are committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to creating a supportive and inclusive environment where each person in all their unique differences feels a sense of belonging and can flourish, irrespective of physical appearance, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic background, academic ability, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Diocese of Oxford believes that a church is the community of God’s people and recognises that all people are of equal importance in the eyes of God. We are committed to the principles and practices of equality – fairly and consistently treating each person according to their diverse needs and valuing our differences whilst recognising that sometimes we must treat people differently, for example, to accommodate a disability or to meet occupational requirements for a position.
Our diocesan vision and values are at the heart of everything we do in ministry and employment, alongside our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, within the theological imperative: do justice, walk humbly, have mercy.
We will not discriminate or treat any individual less favourably on the grounds of sex, gender reassignment, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. We will challenge discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
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, harassment or victimisation in employment and in the context of their work based on nine protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity.
The Act offers protection against discrimination. Discrimination means treating a person unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics. This is unlawful discrimination when based on protected characteristics. Discrimination can occur in the following forms:
This occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another, not on the merits, but on the grounds of a protected characteristic they have. For example, overlooking a job applicant because of their gender or sexuality. It includes both associative discrimination and perceptive discrimination.
This occurs when a practice, policy or rule applies to everyone in the same way 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 only if it can be shown that it 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 an individual is treated unfairly or has suffered a detriment because they 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.
Here in the Diocese of Oxford, our aim is:
- For everyone to feel that they belong and are valued for who they are and what they contribute.
We commit ourselves to:
- Treat people fairly and with dignity and respect;
- Create a working environment that promotes dignity and respect for everyone;
- Ensure equality of opportunity for learning and development is promoted for everyone;
- Challenge discrimination including unconscious bias and microaggression;
- Ensure all can flourish and reach their full potential and will respond positively to different needs and circumstances;
- Ensure that the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded within our recruitment, appointment and people management processes;
- Encourage anyone who feels they have been subject to discrimination to raise their concerns so we can apply corrective measures.
As a diocese, we commit to our equality, diversity and inclusion implementation plan that accompanies this policy so that we:
- Take seriously and deal with situations where anyone has breached the policy;
- Meet our legal obligations;
- Minimise the risk of discrimination by taking appropriate steps in our recruitment, selection, and management/supervision of employees, officeholders and volunteers;
- Have a zero-tolerance response to discrimination.
It is the responsibility of all officeholders on common tenure and those on freehold, Clergy with Permission to Officiate (PtO), Licenced Lay Ministers (LLMs), ODBE/ODBF employees and volunteers, Senior clergy (Area Deans, Archdeacons, Associate Archdeacons, Area Bishops and Diocesan Bishop) with pastoral responsibility for the clergy within the diocese to abide by and promote this policy.
If you believe you have been subject to discrimination under this Policy, then you are encouraged to raise the matter with your line manager or supervising minister.
Allegations regarding potential breaches of this Policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the appropriate procedure (Grievance Procedure or the Dignity and Respect in Ministry and at Work Policy and Procedure).
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).