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Faculty Permissions

Seeking permission for works, and the Online Faculty System

Catherine Copp

Secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC)

01904 699522

If you are planning to carry out maintenance, repairs, alterations or improvements to your church building, its contents or its churchyard you may need approval from your Archdeacon or full faculty authorisation from the Chancellor. The Faculty Jurisdiction Rules govern the Church of England’s faculty system nationwide and set out those works which can be undertaken without the need for any consultation (“List A” matters), with written approval from your Archdeacon (“List B” matters), or only under a Faculty issued by the Chancellor.

Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015

The full Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (as amended July 2022).

List A, List B and Additional Matters

Listed building consent, planning permission and faculties – which applies, and when

List A, List B, or Faculty?

List A and List B matters are generally items of maintenance, straightforward repairs, and some works to building contents, bells and trees. However, certain specific conditions must still be complied with to ensure best practice and high quality, and permission given by List A, List B or Faculty does not remove the need to consider any additional planning requirements which may be appropriate in some circumstances (eg Tree Preservation Orders, planning permission). There is a link above to List A and List B (including Additional Matters).

So, to decide which level of permission applies to the works you are planning, follow this 3-step process:

Step 1: Look carefully at List A. If the works you propose match exactly with a List A item, then you do not need any formal consent to carry them out (but take note of any specified conditions and please submit a List A Notification). If they don’t, then…

Step 2: Look carefully at List B. If the works you propose match exactly with a List B item, or if they fall within the scope of the Additional Matters Order made by the Chancellor (see below) then you will need written approval from your Archdeacon to carry them out (subject to any conditions which are specified, or imposed by your Archdeacon). Please submit a List B application; permission usually only takes a few days. If they don’t match a List B item, then…

Step 3: Works which are outside the scope of List A or List B will need a Faculty; see the Faculty Flowchart for an overview of the complete process. In most cases Faculty petitions will be considered at a DAC meeting and as the process includes a Public Notice period of 30 days it can take 2 to 3 months to receive your Faculty.

If you are still in doubt as to which level of permission applies to the works you propose, please seek advice from the DAC Secretary, Catherine Copp (but also note that if you make the wrong selection, it is not the end of the world – the DAC staff will help you get back on the right track).

Additional Matters Order

The Order, effective from 1st March 2023, provides for certain matters to be dealt with as if they were List B matters (requiring the Archdeacon’s approval) rather than requiring a full faculty; for example – exploratory works in advance of a faculty petition, the setting aside of an area in the churchyard for the burial of cremated remains, the creation of a community gardening project, the felling of tree which is not yet dangerous but is likely to become so. All these matters would previously have required a faculty petition, now you can start a List B application instead, selecting the option of “Additional Diocesan Matter”. The supporting information required will remain the same, but as there will be no Public Notice period, your application will be approved in days rather than weeks. There is a link above to List A and List B (including Additional Matters).

Emergencies – Interim Faculty

In cases of genuine emergency – i.e. damage causing significant ingress of water, structural instability or threat of physical injury – where the remedial works would normally require a faculty, the Chancellor may authorise urgent works under an Interim Faculty (an “emergency” faculty). Please consult the DAC Secretary, the Diocesan Registrar, or your Archdeacon for advice as to the procedure to be followed, and also see the Chancellor’s Practice Direction. The grant of an Interim Faculty must always be followed up by a full confirmatory petition in the usual way, including the display of Public Notices. This emergency procedure cannot be used to circumvent the usual faculty process.

Net Zero Carbon

As part of the Church of England’s commitment to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2030, the faculty rules were amended (from 1st July 2022) to help churches meet their carbon reduction targets. The new rules require churches to have due regard to the CBC’s advice on Net Zero Carbon for those proposals where it applies; that “net zero guidance” is set out here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/churchcare/net-zero-carbon-church under the heading ‘Faculty Changes (2022) and Key Guidance’. The ‘Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon for Churches’ is included in that guidance and this must be given due regard for all proposals, as it provides the context to show that the proposal is part of a wider understanding by your church of its route to net zero carbon. 

Most of the changes to Lists A and B will make it easier for churches to make adaptations such as insulating pipes, draft-proofing doors and windows, fitting new non fossil fuel boilers, electric pew heaters etc. to help worshippers feel warm and comfortable, whilst the installation of like-for-like fossil fuel boilers and new oil tanks will now be subject to a full faculty application. 

Please note – you are not prevented from having a fossil fuel boiler, but you do need to be able to justify such an installation in the light of the net zero guidance. As part of the faculty process, the DAC is also required to indicate to the Chancellor whether the committee finds the regard you have had to that guidance adequate or inadequate, so there really is no escaping it.

Online Faculty System

Use of the Online Faculty System is compulsory for the submission of all List A notifications, List B applications and Faculty petitions. If you have not already done so, your PCC should nominate someone who can register as an Applicant to use the system and submit applications on the PCC’s behalf. 

The guidance provided within the system (under the ‘Help’ tab) is comprehensive – the manuals contain clear instructions and screenshots, and the system is quite intuitive – but anyone experiencing difficulty should contact the DAC Secretary, Catherine Copp, or the DAC Administrative Assistant, Jess Galley.

Using the Online Faculty System – A Visual Guide

We have created a series of short videos (on YouTube) showing you how to access and use the Church of England’s Online Faculty System. To view the videos, click on the titles below:

Part 1: How to Register (5 mins)
Part 3: List A Notification (5 mins)
Part 5: Faculty Petition – Start (8 mins)
Part 7: Consultation (13 mins)
Part 9: Public Notices (5 mins)
Part 11: Temporary Minor Re-ordering (TMRO) Licence (6 mins)
Part 2: Getting Started (6 mins)
Part 4: List B Application (9 mins)
Part 6: Statements of Significance and Needs (10 mins)
Part 8: Notification of Advice (6 mins)
Part 10: Practical Completion (7 mins)

Statements of Significance and Need

The Church of England has prepared guidance on how to prepare Statements of Significance and Need and Part 6 of our video guide to the Online Faculty System (above) shows how they fit into the faculty process.

CBC Policy and Precedents

The Church Buildings Council (CBC) regularly issues updates of its Policy and Precedents document; You can download the latest edition (Jan 2024). This will give you some idea of what the CBC will or will not support by way of works to church buildings or churchyards.

Consulting the CBC, Historic England and the National Amenity Societies

If you are making changes to your building which will have an impact on the significance of the building as a whole or in part, its architecture, art, archaeology etc then you may have to consult the CBC, Historic England or one of the National Amenity Societies. To check if this applies to your proposed works, see the chart below.

Consulting CBC HE Amenity Societies

Faculty Public Notices

Rule 9.9 of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 provides that where a faculty petition concerns works which involve the demolition of a listed building, the alteration to or the extension of any part of a Grade I or II* listed building, or the exterior of a Grade II listed building to such an extent as would be likely to affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest; or demolition affecting the exterior of an unlisted building in a conservation area, then Public Notice of the proposed works must be given through the Diocesan website.

Application has been made to the Consistory Court of the Diocese of York for permission to carry out the works detailed below. A copy of the petition, plans and other documents relating to the works may be inspected by contacting the relevant Church noted below. You can also view these online – see the note at the bottom of this page.

If you wish to object to the proposed works, please direct your written objection to The Diocesan Registrar, Lupton Fawcett, Stamford House, Piccadilly, York, YO1 9PP. Objections must reach the Registrar on or before the deadline for individual submissions noted below, or the deadline stated on the Public Notice exhibited at the church (whichever is the later).

PARISH: CHURCH: GRADE:

PETITION:

Deadline for objections:

Public Notices – viewing online

You can read recent judgements of the Chancellor of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of York