Complaints & Feedback

We welcome feedback through which we can identify what works well and areas for learning. We know there may be times when we do not meet our own high standards. Should this happen, we would like to hear about it, and to have the opportunity to respond to the situation efficiently and to put measures in place to stop it from happening again.

For safeguarding related concerns, please click here>>

Make a complaint or a compliment

Complaints & Feedback Policy

1. Purpose of this policy

1.1     The highest standards of conduct and behaviour are expected from all Chapter members, staff, volunteers and members of any cathedral committees and advisory councils.  We know there may be times when we do not meet our own high standards. Should this happen we want to hear about it, deal with the situation as quickly as possible and put measures in place to stop it happening again.

1.2     The Chapter views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or the organisation making the complaint.

1.3     The Chapter is also keen on collating feedback received both positive and negative as these are good indicators on what is working well and areas for improvement.

2. Our Complaint’s philosophy is to:
  • Provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • Maintain a record of all complaints, which will be reviewed on a regular basis to elicit any trends for areas of improvement
  • Publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • Make sure everyone at our Cathedral knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • Make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • Make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired, and reconciliation explored
3. Making this policy publicly available

3.1     This policy can be found on the cathedral’s website, so members of the public can find it easily should they wish to make a complaint.

3.2.     A link is available on the website that details how to make a complaint with a dedicated email inbox for these.

3.2     A hard copy will also be provided to any person on request at the cathedral’s office.

4. What is a complaint for the purposes of this policy?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of the cathedral, its operations and its mission and ministry or about an action, or lack of action, by the staff, clergy, Chapter members, members of committees of Chapter [and advisory councils], contractors or volunteers that requires a formal response.

5. What complaints are not included in this policy?

5.1     This policy does not relate to:

  1. Complaints from staff, who should refer to the relevant processes in the employee handbook;
  2. Complaints from volunteers, who should refer to the relevant process in the volunteer handbook; and
  3. Complaints relating to safeguarding, which should be referred directly to a member of the Cathedral’s Safeguarding Support Team, or the Cathedral Safeguarding Adviser or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. Details can be found on the cathedral’s website and various flyers around the Cathedral.

5.2     As a general rule, the cathedral will not respond:

  1. To complaints that do not relate directly to something that the cathedral has done or been involved in;
  2. When the complaint has already been responded to and has been reviewed through the process in section 9 below;
  3. When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email. In this instance we can choose whether it is necessary for us to reply or not.
6. How to make a complaint or provide feedback

6.1     You can contact us in whichever way is most convenient to you and we will respond to you via the same method unless instructed otherwise.

6.2     Written complaints should be sent by e-mail at or letter to the

Cathedral’s Complaints Administrator

Chichester Cathedral

The Royal Chantry

Cathedral Cloisters


West Sussex

PO19 1PX

6.3     Should your complaint be about the Complaints Administrator (CA) then the complaint should be directed in writing to the Communar at the above address or by email at:

6.4     Please include your name, address and contact telephone number in your email or letter so that we can get back in touch with you easily. The cathedral cannot respond to complaints made anonymously, but we will investigate anonymous complaints and use the information provided to improve in any way we can.

6.5     Where a complaint is incoherent or illegible the CA will contact the complainant, where possible, to request that the complaint be provided in a legible format or to clarify the complaint. Where a legible or coherent version of the complaint is not provided, the complaint will not be able to be progressed.

6.6     Verbal complaints may be made by telephone or in person to any of the cathedral’s staff at the cathedral. If the complainant remains dissatisfied, then this is escalated to the CA, who will investigate and provide a formal written response to the complainant.

6.7     Complaints received by telephone or in person shall be recorded in the Complaints Log, even in instances where the complaint has been resolved. The person who receives a telephone or in person complaint should:

  1. Be non-judgmental and write down the facts of the complaint;
  2. Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number;
  3. Note down the relationship of the complainant to the cathedral;
  4. The person receiving the complaint should initially try to understand the issue and resolve it if possible, if not:
  • Tell the complainant that the cathedral has a complaints policy and direct them to it;
  • Explain to the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take; and
  • Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send in a written account by post or by email, so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
7. What we will do when we receive a complaint

7.1     We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days of receiving it. The acknowledgement will explain who is dealing with your complaint and when you can expect a response.

7.2     We will do our best to investigate and respond fully and conclusively to all complaints within twenty working days of a complaint being received. Sometimes a complaint is more complex and so it will take us longer to investigate it. Where this happens, we will send you a progress report and let you know when you can expect to receive a final response.

7.3     We will handle any complaints received with sensitivity and in compliance with the Chapter’s privacy policy and the law.  

7.4     The Chapter may decide not to respond to a complainant, or to cease to respond to a complainant, where it is considered appropriate and proportionate to do so on the basis that a complainant:

(a)      Is being deliberately abusive, prejudiced or offensive; and/or

(b)      Is harassing a member of staff, volunteer or office holder at the cathedral.

Where the Chapter makes such a decision:

(a)     Where possible, the investigation into the complaint made should continue, in accordance with section 7 below; and

(b)     A letter must be sent to the complainant within 5 working days to inform them of the Chapter’s decision and it should inform the complainant whether the complaint raised is being investigated by the Chapter.

8. How will complaints be progressed and resolved?

8.1     Wherever possible, we will look to resolve your complaint amicably and with pastoral care and sensitivity.

8.2     The CA will assign a senior employee as appropriate, to investigate any complaint received (the Investigator). The Investigator must not be someone who is personally involved in the events complained about.

8.3     The Investigator will make all necessary and appropriate enquiries to establish the substance of the complaint and note any attempts already made to resolve the matter informally. Where possible, members of staff will be informed of a complaint made about them or any actions for which they were responsible. The Chapter has a duty of care to staff complained about as well as to complainants and so the Investigator should ensure, where possible, that the person about whom a complaint has been made has an opportunity to respond to the concerns raised by the complainant.

8.4     At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator must provide a written report to the CA.  The CA may involve the Communar and/or the Dean where the complaint is of a serious nature.  Complaints of a Safeguarding nature will be dealt with in accordance with the Cathedral’s Safeguarding policy. Similarly, complaints of a whistleblowing nature will be dealt with in accordance with the Cathedral’s Whistleblowing Policy.

9. How will we inform you about the outcome of your complaint?

9.1     Once the CA receives the Investigator’s report, an Outcome Letter will be issued to the complainant.  

9.2     If your complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the Outcome Letter will normally include an apology, acknowledge where things have gone wrong and explain whether any actions will be taken as a result of the investigation into your complaint. However, the Outcome Letter will not include personal employment information about any member of staff or any personal information about a Chapter member, committee member or any volunteer.

9.3     The Outcome Letter will also include information on how you can seek a review if you are unhappy with how your complaint has been investigated or handled by the cathedral.

10. What if you are unhappy with how your complaint has been investigated or handled by the cathedral?

10.1   If, after receiving the Outcome Letter, you are unhappy with how your complaint has been investigated or handled by the cathedral, you can refer your complaint for review in accordance with the process and timescales set out in the Outcome Letter. 

10.2      If you request a review within the timescales set out in your Outcome Letter, the Dean will appoint an independent Chapter member or fellow member of the senior staff team as appropriate who has not been involved in the first stage (the Reviewer) to conduct a review. The Reviewer will consider any paperwork relating to the complaint and its investigation, as well as the Investigator’s report and the Outcome Letter and consider whether your complaint has been properly investigated and handled by the cathedral. The Reviewer will provide a written report to the CA and the Dean, and a Review Outcome Letter will be sent to you. Reviews will normally take up to 28 days to complete.

11. What if you are still not happy with how your complaint has been investigated or handled by the cathedral following a Review?

11.1   We hope we are able to resolve your complaint in an honest, open and satisfactory way. However, if you are still unhappy then you can write, either by letter or email, to either of our regulators:

  1. The Church Commissioners at:  

Please name the cathedral, outline the details of the complaint and explain why you have not been satisfied with the response.

  1. The Charity Commission at: 

PO Box 211


L20 7YX

11.2   Before you write to the Charity Commission, you should check your complaint is one which the Charity Commission will look into.As stated in the Charity Commission’s guidance on complaints about charities, its involvement in relation to complaints about a charity is limited to issues that pose a serious risk of significant harm to that charity’s beneficiaries, assets, services or reputation.

12. Monitoring and learning from complaints / feedback

12.1   The Senior Management Team will regularly review the complaints received by the cathedral and their outcomes, to identify any trends or wider learning.  This includes the collation of compliments and feedback received in interacting with our community and also in the course of investigating a complaint.

12.2    The CA should report to the Chapter at each meeting after any complaints have been received on the number and nature of any complaints received and the outcome of those complaints, including whether they have led to a change in services, policies or procedures. If a complaint raises serious concerns, the CA should bring it to the Communar and the Dean’s attention, without delay.

12.3    The CA must keep a secure record of the complaints received, the report of the Investigator setting out the reasons for their decisions and copies of Outcome Letters.

13. Records of your complaint

We will retain a record of your complaint for 6 years after the last contact with you about the complaint. We will then destroy all records of the complaint securely. You can read more about how we look after your records and your rights as a data subject in our Privacy Policy, which is available on our website or upon request.