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 members (apart from the ex-officio Archdeacons) are expert volunteers for the diocese.
For information on the nature and scope of the role, please consult at an early stage the 'Members' section of the DAC members and advisers web page. This outlines the constitution of the DAC, the functions of the role of DAC member, and lists the current members.
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 member, 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). Many of the principles are also applicable to DAC members.
In line with that guidance, and in relation specifically to DAC site visits (below), members should avoid protracted discussions with the parish of a detailed technical nature (this is properly the role of a paid consultant). It is also not part of your duties to draw up detailed schemes or to recommend a particular contractor for a project.
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), or if such a case appears on the DAC meeting agenda.
In accordance with the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure Code of Practice 1993:
Members of DACs are not delegates or representatives of either the body which appointed them or any other body which was consulted about their appointment, although they are encouraged to report back to those bodies and to keep them interested in and informed of the Committee's activities. Members must exercise an independent judgement on each matter before them, must declare any interest and withdraw from the discussion in appropriate cases, and must exercise reasonable care and (in the case of professional people) reasonable professional skill and judgement.
DAC members are insured for errors and omissions under the provisions of the Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance (LDBF).
It is requested that DAC members respond to casework consultations and site visit requests within 10 office working days, if possible.
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 member 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.
Attending DAC meetings
The DAC meets 6 times a year, by online conferencing or in person at St Mary's House in Lichfield. Members will receive an online poll ahead of each meeting asking about their availability for that meeting.
The dates of DAC meetings are set annually and are provided to members at the beginning of each year.
It is expected that members attend the meetings as this is a core part of the role. Where not possible for individual meetings, apologies should be recorded through the online poll in advance.
In-person meetings are held in the Reeve Room at St Mary's House, the diocesan office, in Lichfield (as located on Google Maps). The Reeve Room is equipped with Wi-Fi and has toilet facilities. Refreshments (tea/coffee and biscuits) are provided at meetings.
Due to pressures on parking, the diocese cannot now, unfortunately, offer car parking within the grounds of St Mary's House to meeting attendees.
For this reason it is recommended that DAC members park in one of the nearby local car parks in Lichfield.
Accessing the Reeve Room
Please do not try to access the Reeve Room via the front door to St Mary's House (as the buildings are separate).
Instead, as a guide, from the grounds of St Mary's House please walk left down Dam Street (as seen on Google Street View), and then take the first left turn down Reeve Lane (NB do not walk as far as Minster Pool on your right or you will have missed the turn).
Enter via the first set of large metal gates, and the Reeve Room will be on your left. Upon arrival and departure, members are required to sign in/out through the Reeve Room fire book (rather than at St Mary's House reception).
Attending DAC site visits
The DAC undertakes site visits to churches and churchyards in the diocese. The date and time of each site visit will be co-ordinated via an online poll by the DAC officers, who will liaise with various DAC and PCC attendees prior to the visit.
The DAC visitors will need to look around the building at the areas under consideration. Members are requested to inform the DAC officers 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.
DAC members can claim expenses for travel incurred while undertaking their role, e.g. attending DAC meetings or 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.
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 email@example.com
Helen Cook, Assistant DAC Secretary
01543 221155 firstname.lastname@example.org
How to contact the DAC Chair
The Revd Preb Pat Hawkins, DAC Chair
email@example.com (for contact by DAC members only)