Skip to content

Annual Parish Returns and Accounts

Guidance on the returns a parish needs to make each year, as well as how to prepare the required documents.

Every PCC should make these submissions every year. This is the timetable for 2024:

  • Statistics for Mission – deadline extended to 17 March
  • Church Electoral Roll – 31 May
  • Annual Report and Accounts – 28 June (or within 28 days of the Annual Parochial Church Meeting)
  • Return of Parish Finance – 28 June
  • Energy Footprint Tool – 31 July
  • Annual Return to the Charity Commission – 31 October (only applies to PCCs which are registered with the Charity Commission)

There are more details about each of these returns below.

Statistics for Mission

We are currently asking parishes to submit the data for 2023 before 17 March  2024 so that we can chart a picture of church activity across the Diocese in 2023.

Our own ‘Living Christ’s Story’ programme for transformation of the way we share and use our God-given gifts and resources is drawing heavily on statistics like these, so it’s vital for our work right here in the Diocese that the information is as accurate and complete as possible.

The benefit of Statistics for Mission doesn’t just feed in to planning at Diocesan or national level. Your own parish figures can tell a story that only you on the ground can really understand and interpret, and you can access your parish Statistics for Mission dashboard at any time at Remember though that if you have more than one church in your parish, the dashboard won’t give a true picture until all the data is updated online.

  • Download the ‘Statistics for Mission 2023 Form’ (in Word or PDF) and read the detailed instructions included on the form itself – they answer many common questions and will help you to enter accurate and consistent data, so it’s well worth reading them carefully.
  • The online system is currently open for you to enter your statistics. As with the 2022 figures a year ago, you are asked about ‘Church at Home’ again, since many churches are continuing the online provision launched during the pandemic.
  • The Usual Sunday Attendance (USA) figure is now requested once again, after a couple of years’ absence while a ‘usual’ Sunday was a rare thing.
  • Where the national form asks for numbers for ‘Fresh Expressions’ [of church], this includes the activities that we in the Diocese of York tend now to call ‘New Worshipping Communities’. If your parish includes one of these – whether or not it’s associated with the Mustard Seed or Multiply projects – please could you ensure the relevant numbers are included in this national ‘Fresh Expressions’ category?
  • You may notice that your October count may include unusual or one-off services that attracted a number of visitors (a harvest celebration, perhaps; a large Christening, or a significant anniversary or festival); please mention this in the ‘comments’ that can be added to submissions. People are sometimes concerned that the numbers don’t present a ‘typical’ picture, and we’d like to understand too.
  • If you’re counting people in a group of (probably rural) churches where you know that a number of people move from one church in the group to another depending on service patterns, you can add comments to this effect too; alternatively, if it’s easier, you can collect figures at group level, but please explain in the comments that this is what you’ve done – and remember you will still need to enter Electoral Roll and Occasional Offices numbers by individual church or parish.

If you need more clarification or help, do contact the Diocesan Finance and Data team at or 01904 699500.  While your return is entered online, a downloadable PDF copy of the form is available here to help you compile and keep your own record of your returns. Thank you for your patience, and for taking the time to help us all understand the national picture of the church as the nation and the world continue to recover from the Covid pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I gain access to the CofE online Parish Returns System?

You can login at If you don’t already have a login you can register for an account by contacting Becky Hepworth on 01904 699500. Once you have a user account you will be able to access the user guide which has a list of FAQs.

When will the online form be available?

What should we include in ‘Church at Home’?

As with the previous October Count, the Church at Home question is focused on worship services, therefore online house groups, youth clubs, Alpha courses, and social events etc should not be included there. There is a comment box should you wish to share with us anything else, aside from services, you have been offering remotely to your congregation.

How do I count Church at Home attendance?

You may be using a number of different ways to engage with people at home, for example YouTube or Facebook. Both platforms offer some viewing numbers and these will give you some indication as to how large your audience is. We’ve not asked for viewing figures directly as these figures are very variable dependent on how the platform is used and for how long and will require some adjustment. For more information on counting ‘Church at Home’ please see this Church of England web page on counting attendance.

How do I report numbers of people participating in a service live streamed from church in October?

A service live streamed from church in October will be recorded on the form in two places. Those attending in the church building will be counted in the “in person” October count section. Those watching from home via the live stream will be recorded in the “Church at Home” section.

What do I record for Advent and Christmas?

The question on the form is based on the 2019 question so captures “in person” attendance (indoors or outdoors). We will not ask for additional data on those joining in online or through other “Church at Home” means.

How do I estimate my ‘Worshipping Community’?

This measure is for your regular worshipping community at the end of year, including both those who attend regularly in person and/or through ‘Church at Home’. For more information on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for worshipping community estimation, please refer to the very useful instructions around question 9 on the Statistics for Mission form. For even more information about worshipping communities, please download this Church of England information sheet on Worshipping Communities.

Church Electoral Roll

Your Parish Electoral Roll is one of the foundations of our Synodical Governance system.

(b) Send one copy of the completed certificate to your Deanery Synod Secretary. You can find details of those in leadership across your deanery by visiting the Deanery page.

(c) Send one copy of the completed certificate to the Secretary of the York Diocesan Synod, The Diocese of York, Amy Johnson Way, Clifton Moor, York YO30 4XT, or by email to

It is important that we receive completed forms because, as well as being used to gain an accurate picture of church membership across the diocese, the numbers on Electoral Rolls are used to calculate the number of representatives your parish or deanery can elect to Deanery, Diocesan, and General Synods. Elections will be held to Deanery Synods in 2023 and the numbers recorded on Electoral Roll forms this year will be used to calculate the lay representation on the next Synod.

Annual Report and Accounts

The Annual Report and Accounts must be submitted to the Diocesan Office within 28 days of the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) which must normally be held between 1 January and 31 May – this means accounts for the year ended 31 December 2023 should be submitted to the Diocesan Office no later than 28 June 2024. This is as set out in Rule M1 (1) of the Church Representation Rules.

Please email the completed Annual Report, Accounts and Budget to  

The Annual Accounts submission must include:

  • the accounts themselves
  • the Trustees’ Annual Report and the Independent Examination as reviewed by the APCM (this will require involvement of all PCC members)

Please include a copy of the coming year’s budget for information.

You will find helpful advice, resources and examples in the following downloads:

If you have any queries on any of the above please do contact the Diocesan Finance Team ( or your Deanery Financial Adviser.

Return of Parish Finance

The Return of Parish Finance is a data gathering tool used by the national Church of England which facilitates the monitoring of financial trends across the church nationally.  Like the Statistics for Mission this data also feeds into our own ‘Living Christ’s Story’ programme.

The Return of Parish Finance is completed with data taken from the independently examined or audited financial statements that will have been approved by the PCC after the financial year-end.  It should be easy to complete once the annual accounts have been finalised. Please note that all parishes should complete their annual accounts as well as submitting a Return of Parish Finance.

You are asked for the 2023 Return of Parish Finance by 28th June 2024 (to allow parishes sufficient time to prepare the figures from the independently examined or audited financial statements that will have been approved by the PCC).

The Return of Parish Finance is submitted using the Church of England Online Parish Returns System at If you don’t already have access to the online returns system or if you’ve forgotten your log in details, please contact Becky Hepworth ( at the diocesan office.

The Forms (which include guidance notes) are available to download below. Please read the guidance notes as they will be of help in entering the correct data. We suggest that to ease the process of completing the form on screen, you complete the relevant form for your own reference before you make your online submission.

Energy Footprint Tool

General Synod voted in February 2020 for the whole of the Church of England to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.  The vote recognised that responding to the climate crisis is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation and achieve a just world.  On the Church of England’s Routemap to Net Zero Carbon by 2030, the first milestone for churches in 2023 is to start using the Energy Footprint Tool if you haven’t already.

The Energy Footprint Tool allows all churches around the country to enter their utility bills and find out their ‘carbon footprint’ based on the energy used to heat and light your buildings.  It is accessed via the Online Parish Returns System at If you don’t already have access to the online returns system or if you’ve forgotten your log in details, please contact Becky Hepworth ( at the diocesan office.

The deadline for entries to be included in national statistics is the end of July 2024 and you will need your 2023 electricity and gas/oil bills to hand in order to be able to complete your return.  

The Energy Footprint Tool is helping to build a national picture of the national Church of England’s progress towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030. It also allows you locally to know where you are starting from and how much progress you are making.  Having this information to hand may also help your parish to apply for grant funding to support projects which are focussed on reducing its carbon footprint.

Annual PCC Reporting to the Charity Commission

All PCCs are Charities and therefore must comply with charity law: those with aggregated annual income over £100,000 must register with the Charity Commission and file accounts with them within 10 months of the financial year end (i.e. 31 October each year).

A PCC is ‘excepted’ from registration if its annual aggregated income is £100,000 or less.

Submission of accounts to the Charity Commission is completed online via their website:

In addition to filing your annual return and accounts with the Charity Commission, please also send a copy of the accounts to the Diocesan Finance Team via