On 1 April 2020, The Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2019 came into effect. This was the first substantial change since the 2015 rules that introduced the lists of works that could be done without faculty, some after confirmation by the Archdeacon that a faculty is not needed.
The list of works not requiring a faculty have been expanded 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 via the Online Faculty System
The new rules add to both List A (works that can be done without permission) and List B (works that the Archdeacon must confirm do not need a faculty). There are now more routine, repair and maintenance works that will not need faculty. The range of items in the list has increased and a distinction made between listed and unlisted buildings where appropriate. Matters to encourage better use of energy have moved into the lists, and providing bike racks was introduced for the first time.
One intention of the new rules is to see churches better supported through the faculty process. For churches with far-reaching proposals that will change the character of a listed building wide consultation remains necessary. However, this has been moved to earlier in the process so that parishes will have the benefit of the advice before the DAC issues its notification of advice. This regularises a working practice already become established in Chester diocese.
To support the new rules, the Online Faculty System has been revised and all new applications from 1 April have new screens reflecting the new rules and encouraging closer working with the DAC. The main change that experienced users will notice is at the start of a new faculty application. The first engagement will ask only two questions – for standard information and a description of the project. The DAC will review this and advise the next steps according to what is really needed. This is intended to encourage close engagement and save a church providing more than is needed.
All applications started on or before 31 March will follow the current rules, and the online system will automatically identify these and continue to process them as at present.
Further guidance is available from the DAC office and Churchcare