Complaining about a minister, deacon or office bearer

If you are complaining about a Church of Scotland minister, deacon or office bearer then your first step is to contact your local Presbytery Clerk.

Find the Presbytery Clerk for your local area

If you are complaining about your Presbytery Clerk then the above list contains alternative contacts for each Clerk.

Please call or email the Presbytery Clerk (or alternative contact) to discuss your complaint before proceeding to the more formal steps noted below.

Formal notification

If the matter is to be taken further, then you will need to write to the Clerk (either by letter or email) setting out the following:

  • Your contact details (and whether you are a Church member or office bearer).
  • Details of the person you are complaining about.
  • The nature of your complaint.
  • Specific details of the circumstances (including, where possible, names of individuals, places, dates etc).

The Presbytery Clerk can assist you with this.

Upon receipt of your written complaint, the Presbytery Clerk will acknowledge this in writing within seven days .

All information which you supply in connection with your complaint will be treated sensitively and as far as possible will be treated confidentially.

Dealing with a complaint

Here is the process for how your complaint should be dealt with:

  • The Presbytery Clerk will send your written complaint to the Convener of the Presbytery's Complaints Committee.
  • A meeting of that Committee will then be called to consider the complaint.
  • Following this meeting, one member of the Committee will contact you to discuss your complaint and if appropriate, to arrange to meet with you.
  • The Complaints Committee will also forward a copy of the complaint to the respondent (the subject of the complaint). The Committee may similarly meet with the respondent.
  • The Committee shall make such enquiries as it considers appropriate and may hold more than one meeting separately with you, the complainer, and with the respondent. If it considers this to be appropriate and both parties consent, the Committee may facilitate a mediated meeting between you and the respondent.

The Committee will endeavour to provide you with an initial response on your complaint within a period of 20 working days from when it first considered the complaint.

The outcome

Upon the completion of its enquiries, the Committee will hope to have achieved one of the following outcomes (although this list is not exhaustive):

  • You as complainer are satisfied that the matters raised in the complaint have been resolved;
  • You as complainer and the respondent have reached a mutual agreement that the matter need go no further;
  • You as complainer and the respondent agree that the matter may be referred to mediation;
  • The Committee will make a recommendation to Presbytery that the respondent be given an instruction or advice as to his or her future conduct,
  • The complaint has been dropped or dismissed, or
  • The complaint having been dealt with, the matter is, despite no agreement having been reached, nonetheless concluded.

If you have any questions about this process please get in touch with your local Presbytery Clerk.