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Ideas sought for cutting red tape

27 October 2011

by Ed Beavan

A NEW group with the task of finding ways to reduce red tape for clergy and PCCs has been set up by the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops.

The task group, which is seeking suggestions of ways in which bureaucracy can be reduced, is not just an attempt to cut “papers and processes”, but is “about the amount of time that clergy, PCC members and others have to spend in meetings”, a spokesman for the Church of England said.

The task group is part of the “Going for Growth” agenda set up by the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops in the document Challenges for the New Quinquennium, debated at General Synod in February.

The Church House spokesman said that two areas that were “bound to be scrutinised” by the group were whether the Church Representation Rules were too prescriptive about the size of PCCs, the frequency of their meetings, and arrangements in multi-parish benefices; and whether there were ways, particularly in relation to unlisted churches, of streamlining the faculty process.

The Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Fittall, said that this was “potentially a very wide canvas”.

To help to focus the work, he said, the group was “keen to receive suggestions about areas that might benefit from simplification, together with practical ideas about how that might be achieved”.

An initial assessment of credible options, including those that require legislation, will be drawn up within 12 months.

The members of the task group are the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Wilmott; Canon Robert Cotton, Rector of Holy Trinity and St Mary’s, Guildford; Andrew Britton, who chairs the Archbishops’ Council’s Finance Committee; and Mary Chapman, former CEO of the Chartered Management Institute.

To submit suggestions for the task group, email task.group@churchofengland.org or write to Nicholas Hills, Church House, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3AZ, by 9 December.

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