The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) is responsible for providing the prime minister with the names of candidates to be diocesan bishops in the Church of England. The current rules are that the CNC must provide two names and place them in order of preference. Recent prime ministers have agreed to always submit the first name to the Queen. The second name is then only required if for some reason the first choice becomes unavailable.
But each of the two names must be supported by two-thirds of the CNC members. So if the CNC is able to agree on a first name, but not on a second it has to reconvene and start again, even though the second name is rarely required.
General Synod was therefore asked to amend its standing orders so that the Crown Nominations Commission
i) Submit one name to the Prime Minister, subject to the support of two thirds of the voting members of the Commission in a secret ballot; and
ii) May agree on a second name if they so wish, also subject to the support of two thirds of the voting members of the Commission in a secret ballot as a reserve candidate.
The submission of one name will not therefore be dependent in any way on the agreement of a second name.
Synod agreed to these changes yesterday afternoon and they will come into effect on 10 July 2019.
The first meeting to be affected by these changes will be next week. The CNC will be having its second meeting (the one at which the names are chosen) for the forthcoming vacancy at Hereford on 15/16 July 2019.
There is a paper explaining these changes in more detail: GS 2144.