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Home Parishes Finance Finance Returns and Statistics Who uses the Returns and the information from them?

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Who uses the Returns and the information from them?

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Oct, 2013 10:10 AM

Some parishes find the completion of the Returns useful for their own purposes; the information, when collected over a period of years, can give a useful insight into the continuing life of the parish.  Many diocesan offices regularly use information extracted from the Returns.  The figures, usually aggregated as diocesan totals, are used extensively by central church organisations and ecumenical bodies; and are largely published in Church Statistics*.

They are used annually to assess emerging mission opportunities; for clergy deployment; allocations of new deacons; stipend support allocations; to monitor charitable giving; and to present a broad picture of the Church’s finances.  For example, it is recognised that parishes are facing increased financial pressures, and if the Church nationally is to argue the case for government help (e.g. VAT relief on repairs) then a clear picture of how the expenditure is split over the various categories is needed.  Figures for giving (e.g. tax-efficient planned giving by gift aid; collections; legacies/bequests; and special appeals) are always very important, especially in the context of how the Church stewards its resources.

*The annual publication Church Statistics and publication The Charities Act 2011 and the PCC 4th edition (£10.99 plus p+p) may be obtained from Church House Bookshop - visit: or call telephone number 020 7898 1300.  Church Statistics may also be downloaded from the Church of England website at:

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