Thinking Anglicans

Prime Minister announces Appointments Secretary

Press release from the Prime Minister. The Anglican interest is in the second paragraph.

Prime Minister announces Appointments Secretary
The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Richard Tilbrook to be his Appointments Secretary.

Published 13 August 2020
From: Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Richard Tilbrook to be his Appointments Secretary following the retirement of Edward Chaplin CMG OBE at the end of last year.

Mr Tilbrook will work with the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary on the consultations for diocesan bishop and Crown deanery appointments, attending meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission as appropriate.

Mrs Helen Dimmock in the Cabinet Office remains responsible for parochial appointments where the Crown or Lord Chancellor is patron.

Mr Tilbrook is Clerk to the Privy Council and has been acting as the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary since January, having previously served as Deputy Appointments Secretary. His earlier civil service career was spent at the Government Communications Headquarters, in the Department for International Development and in the Cabinet Office, where he oversaw the operation of the honours system for a number of years. He is also responsible for advising the Prime Minister on the appointment of Lord-Lieutenants.

Mr Tilbrook is a communicant Anglican, worshipping at St Andrew’s, Naunton, in the Diocese of Gloucester. A classicist, he is an alumnus of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and the Royal Grammar School, Guildford.

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peter kettle
peter kettle
1 month ago

I wonder if he is a member of Nobody’s Friends?

Anon
Anon
1 month ago
Reply to  peter kettle

Given his career background he will obviously do a thoroughly professional job. However the optics are these: older white male, BCP, public school, Cambridge, classicist…

Peter Bostock
Peter Bostock
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

To be fair, his school, my school for a brief time, was a state Grammar School until 1977. The other things are true but as an older white male Cambridge theologian I am unwilling to criticise!

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

When I was a boy, growing up in a pub, whisky and gin were dispensed through the optics, so I’m a little lost by the reference, but do you hope that we would be encouraged or dejected by your list? I’m pleased by some of the items and indifferent to the others.

peter kettle
peter kettle
1 month ago
Reply to  Toby Forward

Nobody’s Friends: a private dining club (based at Lambeth, I think) of Very Significant People; if you are invited to join you have to make some sort of initiatory speech justifying why you are Nobody’s Friend. I first read about it in the biography of George Bell by Ronald Jasper published in 1967. It has recently been mentioned (including posts on here, I think,) in connection with people who might have met in this context when processes were going on regarding child abuse business in the Church.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
1 month ago
Reply to  peter kettle

Thank you. My reply, as indicated by the content, was to Peter Bostock. I’m not a fan of guilt by association, though.

DAVID CRAIG
DAVID CRAIG
1 month ago
Reply to  peter kettle

Now Peter!

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Surely the involvement of government officials in the appointment of bishops is outdated. The scrapping of the system is long overdue.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Not sure Paul…he may bring to notice people who the Abps appointment secretary might ( deliberately?) overlook.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul,
I guess this is a concomitant of access of a bishop, in time, to the bench in the House of Lords, and all tied up with ‘issues’ of church-and-monarchy-and-parliament to which people went to the stake.There’s a lot at stake still- weddings, church schools, coronations, the place of the CofE in ‘public life’ … Be careful what you wish for.
Even antidisestablishmentarianism has been superseded

I dare say that other TAs may contribute some supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness. Best wishes.

Nigel LLoyd
Nigel LLoyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Convention has it that we can never be free of such involvement, if appointing someone as bishop means that they might well have a seat in the House of Lords. Scrap the House of Lords and the need for involvement by the Government fades away.

Charles Read
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

They are involved because bishops potentially sit in the House of Lords and are appointed by the Queen. My experience of PM’s advisors is that they actually have the Church’s interests at heart and are very astute.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Charles Read

Why on earth should bishops sit in the House of Lords?

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

With the present Archbishop of Canterbury we have in post, it is even more important that we have the added safeguard of the involvement of the Prime Minister, and his advisor who is a good communicant Anglican. Whether folk like it or not, many of us are grateful that we are the established Church of England. With the Queen as our Governor.

Fr John Emlyn

David Emmott
David Emmott
1 month ago

I’m not quite sure what ‘safeguard’ the present Prime Minister offers to balance the advice of the present ABC. Both of them are arguably inept, but only the former is an obvious rogue. Disestablish now!

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago

What does this guy actually do? Is he just a postbox between the C of E and 10 Downing Street? Or does he have any real influence on appointments?

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

Given the political nature (in church terms) of the appointments that will be made, the detailed description of Mr Tillbrook’s religious affiliation seems slightly at odds with the rules about civil servants keeping their political views to themselves.

Neil Patterson
Neil Patterson
1 month ago

Mr Tilbrook has in fact already deputised for his predecessor on some CNCs, including Hereford last year which I was on. Like the better-known Caroline Boddington, the PM’s Appointments Secretary undertakes the pre-CNC vacancy visit to the diocese, and functions as a non-voting member of the CNC. I don’t think it is a breach of the CNC confidentiality to say that he was for us a much-appreciated asset to the process.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

The Prime Minister (a middle-aged, straight, cis white man) chooses a middle-aged, probably-straight, cis white man as Appointments Secretary to assist the CNC appointment process which recently selected a middle-aged, straight, cis white man as Archbishop of York to serve alongside another middle-aged, straight, cis white man who is Archbishop of Canterbury.

I suspect many middle-aged, straight, cis white men will see nothing wrong with this.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Those who see nothing wrong with the present system might also ponder on whether it is appropriate for an unrepentant adulterer and divorced Prime Minister to be involved at all in the selection of bishops.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/07/boris-johnson-wife-affair-tories-party-cheat-liar

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Since the decision of Gordon Brown in July 2007, shortly after becoming prime minister, in future to accept the first choice of the Crown Nominations Commission and simply to pass the name on to the Queen (the second name being only a ‘reserve’ in case, for any reason, the first choice cannot be appointed, or declines appointment, as happened in 2017 when Bishop Philip North withdrew acceptance of his nomination to the see of Sheffield), the Prime Minister has no involvement in the selection of bishops. Thus, also, the influence that the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary could exercise over the… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

Like Mr Tilbrook and coincidentally his predecessor Mr Chaplin, I am an alumnus of Queens’ College Cambridge – same vintage precisely as Mr Chaplin whom I remember well: very tall, very bright (first in Oriental Languages IIRC), very urbane, quite charming, clearly a diplomat from the moment of conception. Those like us who matriculated in 1969 were all men – but that’s not our fault. I don’t know Mr Tilbrook. I am an elderly (70), straight (whatever that means, for I think we’re all on a spectrum), cis (whatever that means this week as opposed to last), white (whatever that… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Tim
Tim
1 month ago

Being of a slightly later vintage than Stanley Monkhouse, and also a member of Queens’ College, I can say that I am delighted to hear of Richard Tilbrook’s appointment.

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

What does best mean? Because all too often middle-aged, straight, cis, white men use it to mean what someone like them has achieved.

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

In fact, it is in the public domain that Richard Tilbrook (Queens 1980) married Dr Paul Roberts (Downing 1980) in December 2017.

See bottom left of page 2 here
https://issuu.com/queenscollegecam/docs/queens__bridge_autumn_2018_-_online

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

Thank you. I looked but couldn’t find. Good to see.

Dennis
Dennis
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

bottom left corner of page 2.

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