Monday, 7 October 2013

Bishops' working costs for 2012

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs for 2012 have been published today, along with this press release.

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs Published

The 2012 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.

The costs of their offices and the work of the bishops for 2012 was £20.0 million compared to a cost of £19.5 million in 2011, an annual increase of 2.5%.

This figure includes the work of the two Archbishops and the 113 bishops in the Church of England - 44 diocesan (leading) bishops and 69 suffragan (deputy) and fulltime assistant bishops, including area bishops and provincial episcopal visitors.

Included within the 2012 figure is approximately £2.8 million for legal costs during the year. House running costs for all bishops as a total was just over 750,000.

An annual block grant is made by the Church Commissioners to diocesan bishops to cover the bishops’ stipends, staff and working costs. The bishops determine how their funding is used. The Commissioners’ Board of Governors agreed to increase funding for the Archbishops by 2 per cent and for the bishops by 4 per cent, year on year for the 2011-2013 triennium.

Bishops’ office and working costs for the year ended 31 December 2012 are published on the Church of England website at:

The media have been sent this additional Note to Editors.

  • The report includes a 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.

Costs for earlier years are available here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 7 October 2013 at 1:18pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | statistics

Any commercial or indeed any other large organisation would quickly trim down its management structure if it were like that of the Church of England.

We are grossly over managed and have far too many bishops, all of whom of course, including the flying ones, are frightfully busy by extension of Parkinson's law. There are frequent reductions in the number of clergy everywhere including infamously in the Diocese of Southwark but never any reductions in the number of bishops.

At a cost of £20 million pounds p.a. the only people who are rejoicing are the clerical outfitters!

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 7 October 2013 at 9:18pm BST

"At a cost of £20 million pounds p.a. the only people who are rejoicing are the clerical outfitters!" Concerned Anglican

Don't forget the lawyers!

An extraordinary £2.7m has been spent in the last two years on (according to Note 9) "Charges for work connected with clergy discipline cases". That's not far off the figure for the basic stipends of all the diocesan bishops put together!

In context, the figures for 2010 and 2009 were 'only' £533k and £292k respectively.

It would be helpful if the report gave *some* indication of where and upon what this mountain of money has been spent - or perhaps its writers rely on the fact that hardly anyone bothers to read this sort of thing in detail.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 11:34am BST

From behind her/his nom de plume, CA grumbled about C of E "management structure".

I don't think we have such a beastie. What we have is a structure for engaging in mission and ministry at both parish and diocesan level. Be assured/relieved that I spend a pretty small amount of my time on the management of an organisation. I spend a lot of time preaching, teaching, affirming, learning, worshipping, encouraging, suggesting, researching...

To equate episcopacy with management is a pretty basic ecclesiological error.

Posted by: David Walker on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 5:45pm BST

With respect, I suggest the Church of England is actually under-managed. Modern management thinking suggests a "span of control" of between 6 and 8. Typically in Southwark a deanery has some 15 incumbents, who "report to" an Area Dean - but the Area Dean has his/her own parish to run also! So each Archdeacon has to manage some 50 clergy, with intermittent help from the Area Bishop. Under this system, any 1 individual priest is provided with wholly inadequate supervision, encouragement and, yes, management. No commercial organisation would leave it's people to sink or swim in such cavalier fashion.

Posted by: Jamie Wood on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 9:32pm BST

Make as many as possible bishops, like the Anglican Church of North America, and resolve the problem at a stroke!

Posted by: Observer on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 11:27pm BST

"To equate episcopacy with management is a pretty basic ecclesiological error." - David Walker -

I agree with Bishop David, that his indeed is the mission remit for Bishops in the Church. However, sadly, management of business would seem to be the more frequent pre-occupation of many of them.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 11:28pm BST

I realise I'm getting a little off-topic here, but just an observation on the point made about "wholly inadequate supervision..."

I'm not an incumbent at present, but have been in authorised ministry as a Church Army Officer, and, presently, Assistant Curate. Right from the beginning of my CA training, we were encouraged to find and develop our own support networks in addition to those provided through 'structures'. Which is what I have done. I have a spiritual director, whom I meet with regularly. I have contact with friends from Church Army days. I network with colleagues from theological college, as we go through the experience of curacy together. I have the support of curate colleagues in my Diocese. When I do become an incumbent for the first time, I anticipate looking for a 'work consultant,' as well as maintaining existing support that is already in place.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that we clergy are adults, and if we're not getting the support we need, then it shouldn't be a case of being left to 'sink or swim' - we actually need to take responsibility for what we need - and if it's not provided through official structures, then to find it ourselves.

Posted by: Chris Routledge on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 12:06pm BST

With a decreasing flock.. maybe the numbers of bishops should be halved and dioceses amalgamated as in the Church of Ireland.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 12:35pm BST

Too many or too few bishops? Too much or little management? The debate goes on.

If we agree that (a) clergy don't have a meaningful enough relationship with bishops because there are too few of them per parish, and (b) some management and admin is unnecessarily duplicated in 43 dioceses, surely the answer is to have more layers in the cake? Have suffragan bishops at, say, current archdeaconry level (mitred archdeacons?) and bump admin and back room functions up to an expanded number of provinces, or even nationally.

I know it wouldn't happen because it threatens to hollow out dioceses of their power. To change that would be too much to stomach, even if in a world of improved transport and communication it makes decreasing sense for 43 dioceses to exist as worlds unto themselves.

That is the kind of radical idea that might have come out of the Yorkshire re-organisation, but didn't.

Posted by: Samuel Denyer on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 4:26pm BST

These costs need to be pulled back. Declining congregations obviously don't mean lower costs. Congregations need to be told

Posted by: Joseph Golightly on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 6:37pm BST

Two years ago when I was on a fact-finding trip to England, the thing that astonished me was not how many bishops there are, but how many people were on diocesan staff. The Diocese of Chelmsford appeared to have dozens of people working in its Synod Office. Ditto for Peterborough Diocese. Here in Edmonton we have I think eight, of whom five or six are full time. One of my previous dioceses, the Arctic, which is geographically the largest in the world, had three.

I also note that in most of the Anglican world, episcopal expenses are paid out of the diocesan budget, and so must be approved by either a diocesan executive council or a diocesan synod (depending on how often the latter meets - some dioceses in Canada only have them every second or third year).

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Wednesday, 9 October 2013 at 8:17pm BST

Chris Routledge:

"What I'm saying, I guess, is that we clergy are adults, and if we're not getting the support we need, then it shouldn't be a case of being left to 'sink or swim' - we actually need to take responsibility for what we need - and if it's not provided through official structures, then to find it ourselves."

Surely that *is* leaving you to sink or swim? If you do all that, you're swimming....

Posted by: primroseleague on Thursday, 10 October 2013 at 10:04am BST

Yes there is nothing new about this discussion or the emphatic tone of some opinions voiced. But if anyone claims to know what numbers of bishops, clergy, diocesan staff, budgets are actually appropriate in an organisation living by faith and not by sight and seeking to manage its life through a critical stage in its ministry and mission I tend not to believe them. My own work takes me into quite a few dioceses at different levels of ministry and planning. I don't know any that are complacent about money or staffing levels or idealistic about what is appropriate. Discerning the appropriate response is another matter of course.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Friday, 11 October 2013 at 2:45pm BST

Twenty million pounds - how. many parish priests would that pay for? If each stipendiary priest costs £60,000 annually doesn't that work out at 333 extra parish priests? Perhaps it is now time for other areas to follow the example of Leeds and consider amalgamation to save costs. Truro could return to Exeter, Portsmouth to Winchester and Newcastle to Durham.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 11 October 2013 at 6:01pm BST

Not sure how you get £60k per stipendiary priest David. I thought it was £22k stipend and £10k for housing? (Although that doesn't take into account National Insurance and pension.)

Posted by: Tristan on Saturday, 12 October 2013 at 3:51pm BST

Tristan, your estimate of the cost of a vicar is approximately half of my £60,000 estimate. That would double the number of stipendiary priests £20,000,0000 would pay for from 333 to 666 - how devilish is that?

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 7:45am BST
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