Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bishops’ office and working costs published

Bishops’ office and working costs published

19 December 2012
Bishops’ office and working costs published

The 2011 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England are published today. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001. Bishops’ office and working costs were previously published as a total figure. The latest report reflects the recently introduced block grant funding to support bishops’ ministry.

Total expenditure by and on behalf of bishops in 2011 totalled £17,013,912 (2010 £15,983,479) including an increase of £782,216 in legal costs incurred.

Bishops’ office and working costs for the year ended 31 December 2011.


The report includes a full description of the important role played by bishops locally, regionally and nationally.

The 113 diocesan and suffragan bishops of the Church of England institute and support the ministry of all clergy and lay ministers in their dioceses, as well as providing pastoral support to them. Each diocesan bishop has ultimate oversight of several hundred clergy, Readers and lay workers and of a diocesan budget and portfolio of assets. In addition to diocesan responsibilities, such as ordinations and diocesan festivals, and engaging with the communities which they serve, bishops often chair or serve on national and international Church boards and councils, as well as large charities, special commissions or public inquiries. They are involved in the growing work towards visible unity with other denominations both nationally and internationally and in work with other faiths.

Twenty-six diocesan bishops sit in the House of Lords: at least one is present every day and others will attend according to the subjects under debate that day. The Bishop of Sodor & Man sits in the Tynwald.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 11:26am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

The main increase in expenditure is under 'Legal Costs' which increased massively from £533k in 2010 to £1.3m in 2011. These costs are not shown against any particular dioceses and are lumped in with "Other costs applicable to all Bishops". The only hint towards what all this additional money has been spent on is under 'Note 9' which states:

" Charges for work connected with clergy discipline cases do not fall within
the retainers for bishops’ legal officers and the Commissioners therefore
meet the whole or part of these legal costs.
 Includes other legal fees e.g. fees on consecration, on election and
confirmation and/or on enthronement."

So, unless anyone had a particularly lavish enthronement last year, these costs would appear to be in connection with disciplinary cases. But where, which ones and why so much?

I'm happy to be corrected if I've misread something in the accounts but, to me, the expenditure on legal fees lacks transparency and needs more detail.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 7:47pm GMT

The cost of bishops has increased...but are they good value? Some frugal bishops among the spendthrifts, too. Would anyone care to work out a ratio of cost to number of parishioners in the bishop's respective diocese/episcopal area?

Posted by: Tim Moore on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:52pm GMT

Is this extra expenditure possibly the result of the Chichester Visitation?

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 7:55am GMT

How many front line parish priests would £17,013,912 pay for?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 at 8:35am GMT
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