Diocesan Advisory Committee
The Lichfield Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) is a statutory body which provides advice and guidance to parishes on the conservation, alteration and appropriate development of church buildings and churchyards. The DAC also advises parishes on suitably qualified and experienced professionals to undertake quinquennial inspection (QI) surveys of churches in the diocese.
The functions of the DAC are governed by the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018.
Further information can be found on the DAC landing page of this website.
Your role as a diocesan volunteer
All DAC advisers are expert volunteers for the diocese.
For information on the nature and scope of the role, please consult at an early stage the 'Advisers' section of the DAC members and advisers web page. This outlines the functions of the role of DAC adviser, and lists the current advisers.
Six months after you begin volunteering, there will be an opportunity for both you and the diocese to review the situation, raise any issues, and decide whether to continue.
Code of conduct
When undertaking the role of DAC adviser, including interacting with colleagues or the public, whether via email, social media, online conferencing or in person, you should conduct yourself appropriately as a representative of the DAC and the diocese. It is expected that you retain a professional manner and are respectful of others.
The Church of England has published A Brief Guide to the Role of DAC Advisers (2022), which guidance should be consulted by all DAC advisers.
In line with that guidance, and in relation specifically to adviser site visits (below), advisers should avoid protracted discussions with the parish of a detailed technical nature (this is properly the role of a paid consultant).
Advisers may, if they think it appropriate, give informal advice to parishes in broad terms, but it is not part of your duties to draw up detailed schemes or to recommend a particular contractor for a project. Nor is it part of the DAC adviser's role to oversee projects.
Conflicts of interest
The Church of England has published A Note for DAC Members and Advisers Regarding Conflicts of Interest (2022).
In line with that guidance, please alert the relevant DAC officer if you are consulted on casework which specifically relates to a person or building where you have had a close professional or commercial connection (e.g. a former work colleague or a competitive tender not awarded).
DAC advisers are insured for errors and omissions under the provisions of the Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance (LDBF).
It is requested that DAC advisers respond to casework consultations and site visit requests within 10 office working days, if possible (not including making the visit itself).
If you know that you will be unavailable for longer than this period at any one time (e.g. for health reasons or a holiday), please inform the DAC Office. This will enable the officers to better manage departmental casework and avoid contacting you unnecessarily.
Online working and IT
The role of DAC adviser involves online working and the use of IT.
Volunteers are expected to provide their own IT equipment and to ensure that they use this in a healthy and safe way e.g. siting at the correct height etc. A workstation risk assessment template can be supplied by the DAC Office on request.
Before commencing your role, you will be asked to register for the Online Faculty System (OFS). You should also have access to Zoom, Microsoft Office (or compatible equivalent), and Google Forms. There are free editions of all these suites, available from the software publishers' websites.
Undertaking adviser site visits
DAC advisers (apart from architects) undertake site visits to churches and churchyards in the diocese. These visits constitute adviser site visits, made by an individual, as distinct from DAC site visits, made as a group. Adviser site visits operate on a rolling programme, by appointment through the DAC Office (not through the adviser direct).
Please note that not all parish enquiries or applications require an adviser site visit. Some qualifying requests may be offered an online conference call (e.g. via Zoom) in place of a visit, where applicable.
The DAC adviser will require access to the church and any specific parts of the building to which the proposal relates (e.g. bell chamber). The parish contact who requested the site visit (or another church officer, by prior agreement) should meet the DAC adviser on site and provide key access. Advisers are requested to inform the parish if they have any special access or health and safety requirements, prior to a visit.
Further information can be found on the site visits web page.
Attending adviser site visits may sometimes involve lone working, though we would ask that you avoid this if possible. When attending a site visit, it is recommended that you arrange to meet representatives of the parish on arrival and take part in the visit together.
If being in a lone-working situation is unavoidable, please take the time beforehand to identify any hazards, assess the risks, and put measures in place to avoid or control these. This is especially important if you have health concerns or live alone.
Measures could include:
- Ensuring you have a charged mobile phone with you when attending visits
- Visiting during daylight hours (particularly in winter months)
- Letting friends/family, as well as the DAC Office, know in advance when and where you will be attending a site visit
- Arranging to check in with a family member or friend, or the DAC Office, at an agreed time after the visit (DAC officers are only available during their working hours)
Please let the DAC Office know as soon as possible if you experience any problems on a visit or have concerns.
DAC advisers can claim expenses for travel incurred while undertaking their role, e.g. attending site visits. The mileage rate for diocesan volunteers is £0.45 per mile. The cost of car parking, train tickets or other fares can also be claimed – please note that copies of tickets/receipts must be provided.
To claim, please download and complete a Lichfield DAC Travel Expenses Claim Form, and return it, with any accompanying receipts (scanned or photographed), to the DAC Office by email. Please note that the diocese requires that expense claims must be made within three months of the expense being incurred in order to be reimbursed.
It is recommended that DAC advisers should attend appropriate conferences and study days, particularly those which enable them to meet and share knowledge with other advisers and those with specialist knowledge.
Volunteers can claim back the cost of attending specialist conferences relevant to their role (e.g. the annual Diocesan Organ Advisers' Conference), subject to the agreement of the DAC Secretary. Please confirm your attendance and the associated costs with the DAC Secretary in advance of the event.
Questions or problems
If you have any questions or concerns about your role, or experience problems, please contact the DAC officers for help and support in the first instance. If necessary, the issue can then be elevated to involve the DAC Chair.
Resigning as a volunteer
If the time comes when you wish to resign as a volunteer, we ask that you first let the DAC Office know via email, giving at least one month's notice, if at all possible. This will enable us to make arrangements to cover your role.
How to contact the DAC officers
Giles Standing, DAC Secretary
01543 221152 firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Cook, Assistant DAC Secretary
01543 221155 email@example.com
How to contact the DAC Chair
The Revd Preb Pat Hawkins, DAC Chair
firstname.lastname@example.org (for contact by DAC advisers only)