A change in ecclesiastical legislation, granting delegated authority from DACs, came into effect in March 2019. This has the potential to make a significant contribution to the work of DACs, enabling more effective use of DAC time and a swifter response to parishes (subject to capacity). The Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 2018, section 12, provides powers for a DAC to delegate matters to its officers.
The Lichfield DAC Delegated Authority Policy was updated at the October 2023 DAC meeting to broaden the use of delegated authority, and includes faculty applications for both informal (pre-application) advice and formal (statutory) advice, as well as applications for DAC advice on prospective quinquennial inspectors.
Delegated authority is used in the Diocese of Lichfield in the case of 'minor' faculties (i.e. those that do not affect the character of a listed church as a building of special architectural or historic interest), which applications would previously have been considered by the full DAC.
- The delegated authority faculty procedure permits an application to be delegated to a DAC member or adviser to recommend the case on behalf of the Committee, not requiring it to go to a DAC meeting
- Applications are administered on a rolling programme rather than through the meeting schedule
- Cases subsequently proceed to the petition, 28-day public notice, and faculty determination stages (as standard)
In all delegated authority faculty cases, the DAC officer will obtain the written advice, through consultation, of the DAC member or adviser that they deem most applicable. Applications which are dealt with by delegated authority are noted in the agenda of the subsequent DAC meeting.
The agreed criteria for a 'major' faculty case, which must be considered by the full DAC, and to which delegated authority is not applicable, are:
- Reorderings and new facilities in relation to a listed or unlisted church building
- Extensive alterations (structural or liturgical) which affect the character of a listed church building
- Conservation, alteration or disposal of an article of special historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest
- Landscaping in relation to a listed or unlisted church building
Please note that delegated authority is a procedure and not a permission type, and therefore cannot be directly requested or applied for. Instead, the DAC officers will validate and process qualifying applications, upon submission by parishes in the ordinary way, and inform the applicants of this intention by email.