Comments: Church of England Financial Overview 2004-13

This report is an interesting innovation and a very positive step forward, but I couldn't see any reference to the work of the Church in Education and Schools. Maybe that belongs separately, but a national record of that work could be revealing and challenging too.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 11:41pm GMT

There have been at least 2 or 3 previous editions of this report. I believe Westminster aims to update it every three years. As it involves collating data from well over 10,000 different accounts, and stripping out the contra-entries, it is not a trivial exercise.

The report aims to consolidate the accounts of clearly CofE organisations, who all are in some measure accountable to General Synod. It does of course minister through many other organisations, usually through chaplaincies (schools, hospitals, prisons, armed services), missionary societies (CMS etc) or social work (Children's Society). But these are all independent of GS, and generally the "Church" element of their activities (eg chaplains' pay) is not analysed in these external organisations accounts.

Posted by Ian Clark at Sunday, 15 November 2015 at 4:55pm GMT

Ian - every diocese has a Board of Education (DBE) and there are national institutions doing work in this area too. The reason we could do with an account is that the amount of work and money involved is currently invisible, and politically important in the current education debate. I am an accountant myself and know how difficult the consolidation exercise must be for the existing figures.

There are Church Commissioners appointed by General Synod, it is true, but (per CC 2014 Accounts) "The Church Commissioners for England are a statutory body created in 1948 by the Church Commissioners Measure 1947. The Measure sets out how the Commissioners are governed. The Commissioners are a charity registered in England and Wales (registration number 1140097) under the Charities Act 2011." and being and independent charity it is not strictly true that they are accountable to General Synod.

DBEs have close relationships with Diocesan Synods, the Church of England has an Education Office and there is the National Society too - all of which play some strategic role in the church, spend church money and bear the church name. There are statutory trusts and multifarious trusts of land involved as well. Indeed the Roman Catholic Church has been talking about the amount of school land held in their church trusts which is potentially at risk with the current education bill. Actually the Education Bill could usefully have been on the General Synod agenda, but because our structures separate Education, as you have observed, it doesn't get the time that fees for marriages and funerals get. And we don't integrate education into more general thinking about the scope of the work we do.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Sunday, 22 November 2015 at 4:55pm GMT
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