Permissions for works to churches and churchyards are governed by the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022, which came into effect on 1st July 2022. This updated legislation accordingly sees changes to how online applications submitted via the Online Faculty System (OFS) are applied for and processed.
A central intention of the amended Rules is to better guide parishes through the faculty application process. To support this, the OFS has been revised, and all new applications from 1st July 2022 have new screens reflecting the updated Rules and to encourage close working with the Lichfield Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).
Key changes to the OFS are:
- Each new case is treated as an informal application, for the informal (pre-application) advice of the DAC, with the incremental release of the necessary forms up to the point of a formal application
- External formal consultation with other statutory bodies (e.g. Historic England and the National Amenity Societies) has been moved to earlier in the process, before the DAC issues its own formal (statutory) advice
- Consultees can record their formal advice direct within the system, and the public notices section allows public access to the application documents, including the petition, via the OFS (compliant with UK GDPR)
- Parishes and the DAC are required to have 'due regard' to guidance on net zero carbon issued by the Church of England's Church Buildings Council (CBC), for those proposals where it applies
At the start of a new faculty application, the parish is asked to complete a summary description of the proposed works, the standard information form, and the early parts of the petition form. The DAC Secretary will review these and advise on the next steps according to what is specifically needed.
The second stage requires submission of Statements of Significance and Needs, if a listed church building. This process is intended to save parishes providing more information than is needed. Advice on the required supporting documents will also be given in all cases.
When submitted via the OFS at this stage, the application will receive the informal (pre-application) advice of the DAC. An informal application gives parishes the opportunity to receive feedback and guidance from the DAC on a proposal. Informal advice can also be offered before undertaking a DAC site visit, to best inform the visit.
Please note that an application for formal (statutory) advice submitted by a DAC agenda closing date (submission date) may be considered at a subsequent meeting due to the requirement for an in-between period (up to 42 days) of external formal consultation with other statutory bodies via the OFS.
Submission stage summary
|Forms/documents||Submission stage||Advice format|
|Summary description of proposed works|
|Standard information (Form 1A)|
|Petition details (parts of Form 3A)|
|↓||Initial DAC review||DAC Secretary|
|Statement of Significance (if applicable)|
|Statement of Needs (if applicable)|
|↓||Informal DAC advice||DAC meeting or delegated authority|
|External formal consultation (if applicable)|
|↓||Formal DAC advice||DAC meeting or delegated authority|
Please note: Following receipt of formal DAC advice, applications proceed to the petition, public notice, and faculty determination stages via the OFS (administered by the Diocesan Registry, not the DAC Office)
In order the best facilitate the above process, the Lichfield DAC Delegated Authority Policy was updated at the 26th May 2022 DAC meeting to broaden the use of delegated authority, and includes faculty applications for both informal (pre-application) advice and formal (statutory) advice.
The delegated authority faculty procedure permits a 'minor' faculty 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, speeding the process. Applications are administered on a rolling programme rather than through the meeting schedule.
- For further information, please see the delegated authority policy and procedure
Key user manuals, with step-by-step instructions, relating to the revised OFS – and the submission stages above – include:
- Starting a faculty application
- Completing faculty forms for DAC advice
- Uploading supporting documents and images
- Complete guide to the OFS
If you have any queries regarding the faculty application process, please contact:
Giles Standing, DAC Secretary
01543 622540 email@example.com