THE appointment of a future Secretary General of the
Archbishops' Council and Synod, and Clerk to the Synod, will no
longer have to wait until a Synod meeting to be confirmed, after
the Synod amended two of its standing orders.
In future, the appointment to such posts will be deemed to be
confirmed by the Synod unless 40 members indicate that the
appointment should be subject to a debate in the Synod.
Tom Sutcliffe (Southwark) moved a series of
amendments seeking to reduce the number of members who had to
request a debate to five, ten, and 20; but each of these was
"I consider George Carey's reforms of General Synod to have led
to an increase in managerialism and the blatant manipulation of,
for instance, the previously reliable assumptions we could make
about how private members' motions . . . would be dealt with," he
"The Carey era has taken us way back to pre-Civil War days in
terms of the powers of bishops and archbishops, on all of whom
immense extra responsibilities are now routinely laid, regardless
of whether they have the ability or the time."
John Spence (Archbishops' Council), who chairs the
Finance Committee, opposed the amendment. "If we are going to get
people to do jobs to best effect, we want the best people. These
people are not hanging like ripe apples on trees waiting to be
plucked: we are in competition to get them."
He said that, in a recent recruitment process, "three-quarters
of the shortlist withdrew because of other offers or
He said that the recruitment procedures required to obtain the
best candidate "argues against any sort of synodical process"; but,
he said, "far from tolerating Synod, those of us who are lay people
on the Archbishops' Council recognise and welcome the supremacy of
Synod, and the absolute necessity of having some sort of process
Geoffrey Tattersall QC
(Manchester), a member of the Standing Orders Committee, argued
that 40 members was less than ten per cent of the Synod, and that
even 20 members was "probably too low, because it needs to be quite
a high hurdle".
The Synod rejected all of Mr Sutcliffe's amendments, and
approved the changes to standing orders as proposed by the Standing