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General Synod digest: news in brief

16 July 2021

Work to be requested on Synodical code of conduct

THE chair of the business committee, Robert Hammond, introducing the Committee’s report, said that the Synod was “out of step with other public legislative bodies in not having an enforceable code of conduct”. The Business Committee would ask its successor for the next quinquennium “to begin a process of consultation with Synod members . . . so that Synod can start to design, on a collaborative basis, the kind of code of conduct it would like to see, and will be willing to comply with in any eventual legislation”,

 

See of Sheffield motion withdrawn

EARLY during proceedings on Friday, David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) said that he had decided to withdraw his private member’s motion expressing concern about the implications for mutual flourishing of the withdrawal of Bishop Philip North from his nomination to the see of Sheffield. The motion, which had been proposed in March 2017, had been scheduled for debate on Monday. He had been petitioned by Bishop North and the man nominated in his stead, Dr Pete Wilcox.

 

Changes regarding cathedral canons

THE Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Jo Kelly-Moore (Canterbury), introduced a composite amendment to the Ecclesiastical Officers (Terms of Service) Regulations, tidying up after the 2021 Cathedrals Measure, in the main shifting responsibility for various aspects of the work of residentiary canons to cathedral deans rather than diocesan bishops. These include agreements over leave, training, and sick notes. It also encompassed elements of salary sacrifice, i.e. the swapping of stipend for a benefit in kind. The Synod voted by 261-11, with four recorded abstentions.

 

Standing Orders amended

AMENDMENTS to the Standing Orders were made on Saturday afternoon. Geoffrey Tattersall (Manchester) introduced the report, which expressed particular concern that “legislative business should not become the preserve of enthusiasts or experts” and a lack of engagement revealed in low voting figures. An amendment from David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) aimed to ensure that meetings at the revision-committee stage could not proceed unless elected members were present and in the majority. After a debate, the amendment fell by 139-115, with 18 recorded abstentions. A motion to record members’ attendance was carried by 254-4, with seven recorded abstentions. A further amendment from Mr Lamming to ensure that all members could see written answers to Questions was carried by 252-14, with five recorded abstentions.

 

Chair of the Finance Committee

A FORMAL request was submitted to the Synod to extend the period on which John Spence could serve on the Archbishops’ Council for a further two years. The Archbishop of York said that Mr Spence chaired the Council’s Finance Committee with “care, vision and insight”. A succession of Synod members praised Mr Spence, though Jayne Ozanne (Oxford) and the Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) questioned inconsistency with other Synod discussions about sticking to terms of office to bring in fresh insights and improve diversity. Gavin Oldham (Oxford) countered by saying that the Church could lose genuine expertise. The two-year extension was approved by 200-7, with 23 recorded abstentions.

 

New auditors approved

THE Synod voted by 184-5, with eight recorded abstentions, to appoint Crowe UK LLP to replace BDO, external auditor’s for the Church’s accounts since 2008. Crowe also audit the Pensions Board and the National Society. They had been recommended because of quality, not cost, the Synod was assured.

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