Complaining about the Safeguarding service

We work hard to offer the best possible service but know sometimes we may get things wrong.

So we welcome any complaint and take them all seriously. We know they can help us improve the service we offer to you and every parish.

Liverpool Diocese Safeguarding team acknowledge that the safety and wellbeing of individual children, young people and adults is the paramount consideration, and recognise the need for an effective challenge to the way we deliver our services.

We want to make it easy for you to complain and to have a process that is fair and just for all. So if things do go wrong then this page sets out

What a complaint is.

For this process, a complaint is your expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any part of the safeguarding service offered by the Diocese of Liverpool. 

You can complain if:

  1. diocesan officers, parishes or other organisations as part of the Diocese of Liverpool do not follow up any allegation of abuse according to our procedures
  2. we fail to follow our policies and procedures
  3. we fail to communicate properly to anyone legitimately involved in an investigation
  4. we fail to offer and maintain appropriate pastoral support
  5. this procedure is not a substitute for the Clergy Discipline Measure.


Making a complaint

We recognise that most complaints can be resolved informally through a conversation between the person who would otherwise wish to complain and the person they wish to complain about. We will always encourage you to consider, and if appropriate, try this informal process in the first instance. However, we know this is not always appropriate or possible. So we have a three-stage process which you can use for more formal complaints. 

Stage One: Complaint to the Assistant Diocesan Secretary

If you want to make a formal complaint your first step is to contact the Assistant Diocesan Secretary. You can do this by:-

Telephoning 0151 702 9722

or writing to  Assistant Diocesan Secretary
                     Diocese of Liverpool
                     St James House
                     Liverpool L1 7BY

If you make a telephone complaint then we will record the details in writing and share that with you to check that we have understood the issue(s) properly.

It will help us to help you if you can give us as much detail as possible about the complaint. Useful details include: – what happened; where and when it happened; who was involved; why you feel that you need to complain; what resolution you would be looking for. We will also need your contact details to keep you informed about the progress.

Once the Assistant Diocesan Secretary has received your complaint they will

  • acknowledge receipt within 2 working days
  • investigate it thoroughly and appropriately to establish facts and understand what efforts have been taken to resolve this informally
  • talk to you about your complaint to understand it in more detail
  • respond fully with their proposed resolution
  • offer a full response within 28 working days

A resolution can take many forms including, but not limited to,

  • a full apology for taking the action a complainant desires
  • a full apology and taking different action from the complainant’s suggestion
  • rejection of the complaint
  • attempts to find mediation

In every case, no matter the resolution, we will seek to learn from the complaint.

We hope that this will resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome then you can progress to the next stage You will need to inform the Assistant Diocesan Secretary of your desire to move to Stage Two within 10 working days.

Stage Two: Chair of the Independent Safeguarding Monitoring Group

If you wish to go to this stage then we will pass the details to the Chair of the Independent Safeguarding Monitoring Group. We will also ask you to give your reasons why you are unhappy with our initial response to help them make a judgement.

When they have received a complaint the Independent Chair will:-

  • Acknowledge receipt within five working days and set out how long they think it will take them to review the complaint and reach a judgement.
  • Review all the documents they have received and carry out any further investigations.

This may include:

  • further conversations with you  
  • discussions with the Assistant Diocesan Secretary over how they made their judgement  
  • conversations with anyone else involved in the process  
  • taking advice from national experts where necessary  
  • Respond fully, in writing, setting out their judgement on your complaint.

We aim to let you know the decision of the Independent Chair within 28 working days.. Again we hope that this resolves the matter to your satisfaction. If you are still not satisfied with our response you can go to the final stage of appeal. You will need to inform the Independent Chair within ten working days that you wish to go to appeal to the final stage.
Stage Three: Appeal to the Bishop’s Panel.

If you wish to appeal the decision then the Independent Chair will ask the Bishop of Liverpool to set up an appeal panel. The bishop will appoint three-panel members who haven’t been involved in any aspect of the case. The panel members will be members of the Diocesan Board of Finance – our most senior governance team.

Before going to appeal we will ask you to set out why you wish to appeal and why you feel that your complaint has not been treated adequately up to this point. The Panel will then be asked to review the case within 28 days of the request to appeal. They may wish to speak to you to hear your side of the story and make sure they understand your concerns.

When they have decided on an outcome they will contact you in writing with their judgement and their reasons for that judgement. Their decision will be final and at this point, our complaints process will end.


Learning from Complaints

We will always look to learn from complaints and will report to the Independent Safeguarding Monitoring Group the numbers and types of complaints as well as how they are resolved. This reporting will enable us to identify any areas where we can improve.

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Diocesan Secretary.
This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required  -  Adopted May 2018


If you think someone is at immediate risk of significant harm

If you have information about a safeguarding situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call 999.

If you do not think there is a risk of immediate danger but you are concerned that a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm you should approach your Local Safeguarding Children's Board or Local Safeguarding adult's board, follow this link for details of your Local safeguarding board, you must also contact our Safeguarding Team:

Andrew Holmes, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
07940 378139,

Michael Murphy, Deputy Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
07376 431466,

Karen Williams, Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser                                                                                                                                     
07983 360388,



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