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Crown Nominations Commission – a Report for General Synod

The central members of the Crown Nominations Commission have prepared this report on their work: GS Misc 1147. Amongst the topics covered are

  • interviews, which the members find to be “essential to their work”,
  • legal issues, ie the CNC is bound by the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, and
  • training, which will now be extended from the central members to the diocesan representatives.

One thing that is not mentioned in the report is the use of substitutes when central members are unable to attend, and the effect this has on the work of the CNC. A question was asked about this in November 2014 (reproduced below the fold) and the answer revealed that substitutes are quite common. What it does not say is that several substitutes can be used for a particular vacancy. For instance it appears from Annex A to the question that at the CNC for St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 2014 there were substitutes for four of the six central members. It is also common for one of the archbishops to send a substitute, as did the Archbishop of York in this case.

Question at General Synod 17 November 2014

2. Mr Adrian Greenwood (Southwark) asked the Chair of the Crown Nominations Commission:
(a) What procedures are followed when one or more of the ‘central six’ members (elected by General Synod) of the CNC are not able to attend meetings concerning a particular vacancy;
(b) how are ‘substitutes’ identified and who chooses them;
(c) since the start of the current quinquennium, on how many occasions have individual members of the ‘central six’ not been able to be present and have therefore been replaced by a ‘substitute’; and
(d) are attendance records kept and can they be published?

The Archbishop of York replied: When one of the six central members cannot be present, Standing Order SO122 provides for the Chair of the House concerned to nominate a member of the same House as a deputy at the meetings of the Commission for the particular vacancy. I understand that they endeavour to replace the absent member on a ‘like for like’ basis as far as it is possible. Since November 2010 the Commission has considered 18 vacancies (including Southwell and Nottingham) of which nine have had substitutes for one or more central members. Records are kept for the membership of the Commission and I will arrange for these to be put up on the notice board. (See Annex A at the end of this document). It may be that you need to make reference to this document. We have been particularly busy at the moment. Again, we are really trying to work hard and get through because a lot of vacancies appear at one time and the timetable sometimes makes it very difficult for the central members to be there at all the Crown Nomination Commission meetings that the Standing Order allows for substitutes. But the list is going to be put on the notice board so that you can see who has actually been attending those meetings.

[Annex A can be found on pages 147-153 of this document.]

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Anthony Archer

GS Misc 1147 is to be welcomed, not least as it is a rare example of the CNC demonstrating some accountability. However, its content is somewhat anodyne, as might have been expected. While it strongly endorses the use of interviews as part of the discernment process, it does not attempt to show how the CNC makes the critical decision as to whom to interview. The first Oxford CNC clearly invited, say, four candidates and none commanded the required two-thirds majority of CNC members (not CNC members voting). That is a waste of people’s time and lives. I have put a… Read more »