Is your PCC seeking advice on church heating, lighting, electrics, audio-visual, telecoms, or CCTV?
- The following DAC-approved information and guidance is intended to support parishes when making requests for DAC advice on the above proposals
- It outlines the national and diocesan frameworks for DAC volunteer service provision – indicating what help is, and may not be, available via the DAC
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
DAC members and advisers
The DAC members and advisers have a wide range of knowledge in a variety of specialist fields, including church architecture, archaeology, bells, clocks, organs, heating, lighting, audio-visual, telecoms and trees.
As a body, the DAC offers informal (pre-application) advice to parishes on proposals in the early stages of development, and subsequently gives formal (statutory) advice on faculty applications to the Diocesan Chancellor. It is the Chancellor, rather than the DAC, who grants faculty permission.
Further information can be found on the DAC members and advisers web page
All DAC members (apart from the ex-officio Archdeacons) and all DAC advisers are expert volunteers for the diocese. It is requested that this is borne in mind by PCCs when seeking advice from the DAC and its members, and particularly from specialist DAC advisers at an individual level, in order to mutually manage expectations of service provision (i.e. availability and timescales).
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.
Guidance on the national and diocesan frameworks for DAC volunteer service provision, specifically in relation to DAC advisers, follows below.
Advisers have a positive role to play in the DAC advice system and their voluntary contribution is much appreciated. With careful observation of good practice they can help both parishes and DACs... Their position and role need to be clearly defined for the benefit of the parishes and the DAC.
A Brief Guide to the Role of DAC Advisers (2022)
In accordance with the Church of England guide (above), the role of the DAC is to advise the Diocesan Chancellor on all matters relating to the care and conservation of churches. The primary role of DAC advisers is to give advice to the DAC on matters requiring particular specialist knowledge, to help it fulfil this role.
The adviser will advise the DAC on matters related to their specialist knowledge, and keep the DAC informed of aspects of applications and requests for advice that have direct bearing on their subject area. The DAC Secretary or Assistant DAC Secretary will be the usual conduit for channelling advice.
Prior to seeking DAC advice, it is requested that PCCs carefully note the following restrictions in service provision, highlighted in the national guidance:
- The DAC adviser should avoid protracted discussions with the parish of a detailed technical nature (this is properly the role of a paid consultant, who should carry the relevant professional insurance)
- Advisers may, if they think it appropriate, give informal advice to parishes in broad terms, but it is not part of their duties to draw up detailed schemes or to recommend a particular contractor for a project
- It is not part of the DAC adviser's role to oversee projects (that is the role of a paid consultant)
- Advisers should not give detailed specifications for schemes or expect practitioners to quote for them
In relation to DAC adviser site visits to churches and churchyards, such visits are always made on behalf of the DAC and usually at the request of the DAC (or the relevant adviser).
It is understandable that some advisers may want to be involved in the early stages of a scheme but this should not be used as a way of giving consultancy to the parish.
Advisers should always report back to the DAC, not to the parish. The DAC's written advice (by email or as a site visit report) will be sent to the parish copying in the DAC Office, or delivered by the DAC Office to the parish direct.
In addition to the national framework detailed above, the Lichfield DAC approved a diocesan framework for DAC volunteer service provision, specifically in relation to DAC advisers, at the July 2023 DAC meeting, as follows.
Prior to seeking DAC advice, it is requested that PCCs also carefully note the following potential limitations in service provision, at the diocesan level:
- Priority may be required to be given to complex schemes and/or those affecting listed church buildings, over more minor proposals or those relating to unlisted buildings (and church halls) – please note that the parish will still need to apply for the appropriate level of permission in all cases
- Due to demand, where advice is sought on heating proposals, PCCs are requested to first submit a completed copy of the Church of England heating checklist (editable Word file) to the DAC Office
- As volunteers, advisers may be unavailable to assist the DAC or PCCs for periods of time, possibly at short notice. The DAC Office will endeavour to provide cover should this occur
In relation to DAC adviser site visits to churches and churchyards:
- 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
- Where a site visit, or online conference call, occurs, an adviser report might not always need to be issued. The resultant advice may be offered more expediently or conveniently in the form of a summary email (copied to the DAC Office)
- Advisers should not visit the same church more than once, in quick succession, in order that they have sufficient capacity to fulfil visit requests to other churches