Frequently Asked Questions
Various questions that the finance department have been asked.
Does the PCC have a Registered Charity Number? Church of England Parish Church Council's (PCC's) are charities, and are subject to UK charity law and have all the benefits of charitable status. PCC's with income greater than £100,000 per annum are required to register with the Charity Commission. PCC's with income less than £100,000 per annum are excepted from the requirement to register under Section 3(5) of the Charities Act 1993 by the Charities (Exception from Registration and Accounts) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No. 180) as amended by The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No. 1598), 2007(SI 2007 No.2665). The exception from the requirement to register with the Charity Commissioners means that PCC's with income under £100,000 pa will not have a Registered Charity Number. The exception for charities with income under £100,000 will remain in place at least until 2012. Parishes can not quote the Diocesan Board of Finance's Registered Charity number.
What is the approximate cost of a member of the clergy in Chester Diocese? It depends on the member of the clergy, and what is included in the calculation. The cost to the Diocesan Board of Finance is approximately £42,000 per annum (2009 figures) to cover stipends, national insurance, pension contributions, housing maintenance, and training costs. This excludes both the purchase cost of the house, any improvements to the house and any notional rental value. It also does not take account of fees received from the member of the clergy. In addition to DBF costs, PCCs incur expenditure in paying expenses.
Why has the parish share been increasing so rapidly? Over the last 10 years Chester DBF has had a major reduction in financial support from the Church Commissioners, as the funds have been redirected towards more needy Dioceses. There are no longer any selective allocations from the Church Commissioners. In addition the cost of clergy is rising. One of the most significant items being the establishment of a funded pension scheme in 1997, and more recent increases in stipends and pension contribution rates. More recently some parishes have had higher rises as the new parish share system has been phased in.
Do you have any advice on computer accounts software? Many PCCs operate manual records, and for many PCCs this is perfectly adequate. For small PCCs they may wish to use spreadsheet packages such as Microsoft Excel, MS Works or the free OpenOffice. Larger PCCs are more likely to need specific accounting software. A number of low cost packages exist that are adaptable for PCC needs. A Package specifically designed for Charities and PCCs is available from Data Developments called Finance Co-ordinator (formally Cashcall). Choose the solution most appropriate to your parish needs.
What should we consider when employing a lay worker in the parish? Employment can be a very complex area. In particular PCCs should consider:- Contracts of employment, the Inland Revenue and PAYE, National Insurance, the National Minimum Wage, Stakeholder pensions, Health and safety, Child Protection issues. The Human Resources department may be able to provide to assistance in some of these areas. You may also need to seek professional advice elsewhere.
Can we have a paid lay worker on the PCC? Members of the PCC are charity trustees. Charity law presumes against the payment of charity trustees. If a PCC intends to pay a member of the PCC anything other than normal expenses they should seek advice from the Charity Commission.
What does a new treasurer need to know? Have a look at the information on this page and the links page. Most importantly feel free to give us a ring as things come up. Some of the finance department are currently or have been parish treasurers, and will be happy to talk things through. You may also want to contact your local Deanery treasurer or Deanery Finance Contact.
Other questions? Give the finance department at Church House a ring or send us an email