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Diocesan Office Closure

The decision has been made to close the Diocesan Office with immediate effect. This follows the closure of the Bishop Woodford House Retreat Centre last week (13 March 2020). This is in response to the Government’s announcement to propose additional measures to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

What this means for staff

Employees of the Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (The ‘Ely’ Office) and Bishop Woodford House Retreat and Conference Centre have been instructed to work from home until further notice. They have also been told to cancel all face-to-face meetings, including those to be held offsite.

Should you need to contact a member of staff, please can we ask that you do so by email in the first instance. Staff contact details can be found on the Diocesan website here -

What this means for visitors and those booked onto training courses or stays at the Retreat centre

The Diocesan Offices and Retreat Centre are closed until further notice. If you have booked onto a course in the comings weeks, due to be held at one of these locations, please assume it has been cancelled.

Those who have booked onto a face-to-face course, arranged by either the Safeguarding Team or the Mission and Ministry team, to be held at either the Diocesan offices or elsewhere, will receive an email confirmation of their course booking status.

Those who have bookings with the Retreat and Conference Centre will be contacted by the Centre directly to confirm any booking cancellations. Please note however that at this time the Retreat and Conference Centre is closed and so please assume your booking has been cancelled. Do not come to the Retreat Centre if you are in any doubt of the booking status.

Should you not have heard from a Diocesan Office or Retreat Centre member of staff, please always act in accordance from advice from Public Health England. If in any doubt, assume your course or booking has been cancelled until further notice and please always follow Government health advice.

What contingency plans has the Diocesan office made?

Firstly, all essential business functions will continue without interruption. Preparations have been made over the past weeks to mitigate for the eventuality of having to close the Diocesan office and Retreat Centre.

The first step was to ensure that all staff were able to work from their own homes. This ensured that they could access their emails, the Diocesan database and the Diocesan servers. We also ensured staff with access to specialised software (such as the Finance team), were able to test this process to ensure business could continue as usual – bills, stipends and salaries will continue to be paid!

Within individual teams and between the various Heads of Department, measures have also been put in place to ensure colleagues can easily communicate with one another – something one would often take for granted when working in the same building.

Staff have been instructed to inform their ‘external’ colleagues of any changes or cancellations to meetings as a result of the change to the working conditions, so as to mitigate for any inconvenience caused.

Access to office landlines will of course be impacted. Staff will ensure however that appropriate answerphone messages or call-diverts are put in place to help address this. Conference call arrangements will be organised for those meetings essential to supporting Diocesan business.

Similarly, staff will have restricted access to printers and mail and the types of office facilities one would expect, so best efforts will be made to allow for this, while asking for your understanding that there will be changes and some likely delays to typical working patterns.


You will appreciate this is a fluid and changing situation. We shall continue to act in accordance with advice from Public Health England and so these arrangements may be in place for some days, or even many weeks.

While every effort has been made to ensure colleagues are able to work from home and business, as far as possible, will be able to continue as normal, it is inevitable that there will be some impact. Many of our staff are parents and grandparents and in the event schools close or family members need additional care and support, we must expect staff availability to be restricted. It is only proper for us to support this and show our understanding.

As circumstances change, we shall endeavour to update our working arrangements, so please keep an eye on the website for any further notifications.

Thank you for your patience during this time.



Paul Evans

Diocesan Secretary

Diocese of Ely

Page last updated: Tuesday 17th March 2020 10:18 AM
First published on: 17th March 2020
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