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Vacancy-in-see committees

13 July 2012

THE Synod, on Monday afternoon, resolved "that the Vacancy in See Committees Regulation 1993 (as amended in 2003, 2007 and 2008) be amended so as to ensure that Vacancy in See Committees have at least 21 members".

Introducing the motion from Bradford diocesan synod, Ian Fletcher (Bradford) said that it had been drawn up "to correct a perceived fault in the current Regulations". The coding of the Vacancy-in-See Committees Regulation was "in need of some additional colour".

Those involved in interpreting the regulations in Bradford before the appointment of the current Bishop had "failed to exercise options that might have been available to them": the committee numbered 14 core members, not the minimum of 18.

The background paper from the Secretary General had highlighted that the consequences of the electoral process were not considered when the Synod increased the number of members of the Crown Nominations Commission from four to six. This was "an omission that needs correction".

He suggested that "the membership should be decided by elec- tion and not by who contacts various proposers and seconders first."

There was an attempt to move to next business, and the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that the difficulty was particular to Bradford. "Don't cure Bradford's difficulty by curing a problem that doesn't exist."

Clive Scowen (London) and Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford) resisted the move. The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, acknowledged that Bradford "didn't do its job properly. That's a separate issue from one of principle: is there a case to answer? If so, let's debate it and deal with it." Debate continued.

The Revd Hugh Lee (Oxford) supported the Single Transferable Vote (STV), but asked for advice about how to improve it.

The Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Homes (Northern Universities) said that they were "quite bright up North", and, if they had not managed to grasp that they could have increased the membership to as many as 24, then the chances were that some other diocese might "make the same mistake". The change proposed had "no disadvantages", and "could help people. . . Let's just do it."

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