Do you need a faculty?

An introduction by the DAC Secretary to the new Rules which came into effect on 1 January 2016

Entirely new Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 came into effect on 1 January 2016 as the definitive, legal faculty system for controlling work to churches.  Their overriding objective is to simplify the system by speeding up the process, reducing expense, applying proportionate control and ensuring national consistency. 

These new Rules include a nationally-agreed core standard for works not requiring a faculty.  This is much more broad than the previous "Minor Works" provisions and is as follows:

  • The A List - no need for faculty or any diocesan authorisation
  • The B List - no need for faculty provided that you obtain prior Archdeacon authorisation

There is no financial threshold to work covered by the A and B lists.  Consequently, the £7,500 "Minor Works" threshold ceased to apply after 31 December 2015.

The new Rules clearly set out the legal requirements for consultation.  This includes a new requirement to consult local planning authorities about significant work inside churches.  However, it is important to remember that this is consultation only: local authorities have no statutory power of veto for work inside churches.  Their power of veto, under the local planning system, concerns only external work to churches and churchyards.

Further guidance is available from Churchcare including specific guidance for work to trees.

In conjunction with the Online Faculty System, the new Rules are a quantum leap forward in making things better and simpler whilst continuing to safeguard the church buildings in our care.