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Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners

The Community Fund awards grants to groups which help those at greatest disadvantage and which improve the life in the Community. All of the Community Fund's grants go to charities and other eligible voluntary and community organisations and the large majority of grants will go to registered charities in England and Wales or those recognised as charitable for tax purposes by the Inland Revenue in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The amounts committed under the Community Funds six current corporate priority areas, worked back to 1995–96, are detailed in the following table:

(1) how many complaints were made by clergy of bullying by more senior clergy in the last reporting year for which figures are available; [114124]

(2) what support the Church offers to clergy who find themselves to be victims of bullying; [114199]

(3) what recourse is available to victims of bullying in the church who (a) hold the freehold of benefice and (b) hold the bishop's licence. [114353]

No records are held centrally about complaints of bullying. The Clergy Discipline Measure, when it comes into effect, will provide a means of gathering some such information. In addition, a grievance procedure is being developed that will include provision for the grievance to be referred to an independent referee, and also an appeal procedure.Support is offered in dioceses by advisers in pastoral care and counselling, who are appointed by the Bishops to offer professional help to clergy with particular needs. Clergy who have freehold of office and clergy who hold a bishop's licence will, without distinction, shortly be able to use the grievance procedure or the Clergy Discipline Measure to seek redress against bullying.