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Getting our works done

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Dec, 2019 03:44 PM

A new online faculty system, extra staff and plans to delegate some of the decisions on what works can be carried out in churches will simplify and speed up the process of getting works done in our Diocese.

That was the message given by the new Chair of our Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), which provides advice to parishes, the Diocesan Chancellor and the Archdeacons in relation to church buildings and other places of worship, their contents and churchyards.

The DAC plays an important role in advising on faculty matters, which is the Church's equivalent of Listed Building Consent. [UPDATE]*

The Revd Richard Curtis, who became Chair over the summer said that the DAC has now moved to using the national Online Faculty System rather than a paper-based system.

Click here for the new Online Faculty System

Speaking to representatives from all over the Diocese at our November Synod, Richard said:

"This allows all involved with church buildings to see how an application is progressing and keeps all the relevant documentation in the same place. It will also be much easier to check that all the documentation is in place before Faculty applications go to a DAC meeting."

Richard said he was aware that the old paper-based system along with staff retirements in the DAC office had led to a backlog of applications and frustration in many parishes, but he said this was being dealt with.

Richard told Synod that he and our DAC Secretary, Sarah Baines, have also had meetings with other DACs, the Registry and the Chancellor (who makes the ultimate decision on the granting of faculties), looking at what is current good practice in other dioceses. He also said there was good news on the staffing front:

"At the moment the DAC office is staffed by Sarah Baines, who took up her office early in the summer. Sarah is going to be joined by 2 additional officers who will start at the end of January. As the new team forms there will be more capacity for the officers of the DAC to develop the work of the DAC and the DAC looks forward to being able to put on training events and surgeries to help people with the Online Faculty System."

Richard reported to Synod about 2 changes that will help the work of parishes and the DAC as we care for our built heritage.

"From 1st April next year, Lists A and B will be getting longer. List A is those items of general maintenance that need no permission. List B are items that, following appropriate consultation, the Archdeacons can authorise.

"The second change in legislation is that DACs can now delegate some of the routine work of the DAC to the officers of the DAC. The Chancellor is still the final decision maker, so there is no decrease of scrutiny in the process. But the DAC are looking at how this change in legislation can help make the Faculty process more efficient."

Richard said he was looking forward to 2020, the new capacity within the DAC team from the end of January 2020, and how the Online Faculty System and delegated powers will help everyone involved with the Faculty system.

"Further into the future as the digital archive of Faculty work builds up over the years to come this will also help parishes and DACs continue with their work of developing their mission and ministry through their built heritage."

Parishes can find these new lists by searching for 'GS 2137' online. For parishes who are planning work to their churches it might be worth checking to see how the new lists can be a positive help after 1st April 2020!

Click here for the new Online Faculty System

*UPDATE: If works are also liable for planning permission, then civil planning permission is also required.

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