As a PCC member, you will no doubt come across the implications of what’s known as Faculty Jurisdiction. This generally relates to consecrated land and buildings which means most churches and churchyards. With regard to churches, the safest starting point is to bear in mind that certain categories of alteration to churches and their furnishings are unlawful unless they have the prior authority of a faculty granted by the Chancellor in the consistory court. Faculty jurisdiction exists to preserve the integrity of churches, many of which are listed buildings of significant heritage value, and to ensure conformity with the doctrine and practice of the Church of England.
In practice, there are various levels of permission associated with different kinds of activities. For example, permission for the light pruning of trees can be granted using a simpler route than that required for the removal of pews. Advice on matters concerning permissions is available from the Archdeacon or the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee). The DAC pages includes details of how to contact its officers.
Nowadays, all applications for works are initiated through the OFS (Online Faculty System); Our DAC has produced guidance for using the OFS. The information provided by the applicant is received by the DAC who respond with advice and/or requests for additional information.
In summary, the permission required for works will fall into one of the following categories: -
- ‘List A’ = No permission required (but there may be obligations to make records)
- ‘List B’ = Requires consultation with the Archdeacon
- ‘Additional matters’ = Orders which supplement LIST A and B
- ‘Faculty’ = This is permission given by the Chancellor
The full list of works covered by List A, List B and Additional Matters, together with information on Interim Faculties for urgent works and schemes for temporary, minor re-orderings can be found on the Permissions for Works page.