The District Reconciliation Group

Why a District Reconciliation Group?

The London District Reconciliation Group (DRG) was created with the purpose of providing a resource for Local Complaints Officers (LCO) to assist with the facilitation of complaint management and resolution.

 

The statement of principles in Standing Oder 1100 (3)(iii) makes it clear that ‘the possibility of reconciliation should be explored carefully in every case in which  that is appropriate’.

 

In cases that require it, the DRG is able to provide independent listeners or to signpost individuals  to other support that may be available and more appropriate.

How to make a referral to the DRG

All referrals to the DRG should go through Revd Dan Haylett (contact details via the District Directory).

 

Referrals to the DRG can be made either at the point where someone becomes area of a dispute which has the potential to escalate or at the point where a complaint has been made to the LCO. In all cases we encourage an early conversation with the DRG.

 

In every case the Circuit Superintendent should be informed before a referral is made.

 

The DRG Convenor will discuss the issues in confidence with the person making the referral, and decide whether or not the group could be usefully involved.

 

All parties to the dispute will need to be willing to participate.

 

At all times in the process, the requirements and regulations of the CPD take precedence in the handling of complaints.

The DRG Process

Two members of the DRG will be appointed to conduct a listening process.

 

They will meet separately with each person involved in the dispute, to hear their story

 

At this stage no decisions will be made, and no judgement will be offered.

 

If the two DRG members  feel it to be appropriate, they will offer a joint meeting  with the parties to the dispute to attempt to attempt to negotiate a possible way forward.

 

The outcome to the joint meeting could be one or more of the following options:

  • Giving the parties the information they need in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to make a formal complaint under Part 11 of Standing  Orders

  • Referring the parties to a registered mediator such as ‘Place for Hope’, or a local Community Mediation Service

  • Identifying  future support needs or monitoring processes, which will be provided at circuit level

  • An agreed plan for a way forward to reduce / end conflict. This will be written down and circulated to the parties concerned, the Superintendent, the DRG Convenor and any other relevant person as agreed by the parties.

Setting up a DRG listening process

  • The DRG holds a list of suitable venues with a confidential meeting room, reception staff to admit those attending, space for the parties to wait, etc

 

  • A member of the referring circuit must be responsible for the administration involved. This could be the Superintendent (LCO) or an appropriate person designated by her/him.

  • The administrator will need to:

    • Contact the parties to the dispute to confirm that they are willing to attend a meeting, and find out when they are available

    • Liase with the Convenor to check availability of the 2 DRG members.

    • Inform all the people involved of the date, time and venue

 

  • The initial listening process will involve a separate meeting with the two DRG members and each of the parties lasting around an hour. As part of this:

    • There will need to be at least 30 minutes between the meeting with each of the parties

    • There will need to be time afterwards for the DRG members to de-brief, reflect, pray, and offer peer supervision to each other.

 

  • If the DRG members feel it is appropriate to offer a joint meeting to the parties, either one of the DRG members, or the administrator will need to contact the parties separately to find out whether they would be willing to attend such a meeting.

 

  • If they are, the administrator will need to repeat the steps under point (4). The venue will need to have space for both parties to wait separately from each other.

DRG Membership

The DRG will meet at least twice in each Connexional Year to review referrals and any learning points arising, to reflect on the work of the group, and to offer supervision on issues which have emerged.

The DRG should consist of all those within the District who are qualified to be responsible for offering the listening process described, and are willing to be involved. As a minimum these persons should:

  • Have attended the Place of Hope ‘Growing through Conflict’ or ‘Bridge Builders’ training

  • Have considerable pastoral / listening skills

  • Have some training or significant experience in counselling or mediation

The DRG recommends that all Superintendents in the District should attend the ‘Growing through Conflict’ course, and that the course should be offered to staff, ministers and lay leaders in circuits.

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