Consultation on quinquennial inspection of churches

On 10 October 2017, the Church Buildings Council issued the following information on a consultation on new draft guidance on the Quinquennial Inspection System. 


Consultation on the Quinquennial Inspection System

The Church Buildings Council has worked with dioceses and with external partners to produce new draft guidance on:

1) The commissioning of Quinquennial Inspection reports
2) A model scheme for dioceses
3) A new online template to be hosted on the Church Heritage Record

Responses are welcomed from all individuals and bodies concerned with the operation of this system. Please write or e-mail your response by the 31st December 2017 to Dr Joseph Elders , Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ.


Comment

ChurchCare explains

“Within the Church of England every church building must be inspected by an architect or chartered building surveyor approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) every five years.
This regular system of review is designed to ensure that church buildings are kept in good repair”.

The page gives links to further information.

Our post An end to quinquennial inspections? considered the Draft Inspection of Churches Measure, GS 2028 (Explanatory Memorandum, GS 2028x) and the introduction  a new legislative framework. This was given a First Consideration by General Synod on 9 July 2016; the debate was reported in the Church Times (£). General Synod member David Lamming’s useful Comment on the post is reproduced below:

“It is worth noting that the new draft guidance on “a model scheme for dioceses” follows the decision of the General Synod on 9 July 2016 (as reported in the Church Times…) not to approve the motion that would have committed the draft Inspection of Churches Measure for consideration for revision in committee, but rather (on a procedural motion proposed by Simon Butler), “to adjourn the debate until such time as the Business Committee would like to bring it back.” Clearly, there is no enthusiasm for bringing the draft Measure back to Synod.

The motion to adjourn followed an effective intervention in the debate by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he questioned its necessity:

“I am slightly cautious of this Measure. My instinct is very much with the earlier speaker who talked about the principle that things should be done at diocesan level unless they really have to be done nationally, and I have not yet heard much that convinces me of the necessity of this Measure and that it will significantly improve something that is not working. In fact, the Vicar-General made the point that this is one of the most outstandingly successful bits of legislation that we have. Therefore my first point is I have not yet heard something that convinces me that if it is not broke it needs mending.

It also seems to me that although there may be problems with inconsistency viewed from a national perspective, there is nothing particularly wrong with inconsistency between different areas of the country. The problems of church buildings in some areas are going to be very different from the problems in others. We need a very good reason for setting a series of national guidelines rather than relying on dioceses to use their sense and their knowledge in the local area. I am not against it; I am just cautious. I would like to hear a little more justification for the need for this before the Synod commits itself to the principles that are enshrined in this First Consideration.”

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Consultation on quinquennial inspection of churches" in Law & Religion UK, 11 October 2017, http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/10/11/consultation-on-quinquennial-inspection-of-churches/

2 thoughts on “Consultation on quinquennial inspection of churches

  1. It is worth noting that the new draft guidance on “a model scheme for dioceses” follows the decision of the General Synod on 9 July 2016 (as reported in the Church Times, to which you’ve helpfully provided the link) not to approve the motion that would have committed the draft Inspection of Churches Measure for consideration for revision in committee, but rather (on a procedural motion proposed by Simon Butler), “to adjourn the debate until such time as the Business Committee would like to bring it back.” Clearly, there is no enthusiasm for bringing the draft Measure back to Synod.

    The motion to adjourn followed an effective intervention in the debate by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he questioned its necessity:

    “I am slightly cautious of this Measure. My instinct is very much with the
    earlier speaker who talked about the principle that things should be done at diocesan
    level unless they really have to be done nationally, and I have not yet heard much that
    convinces me of the necessity of this Measure and that it will significantly improve
    something that is not working. In fact, the Vicar-General made the point that this is one
    of the most outstandingly successful bits of legislation that we have. Therefore my first
    point is I have not yet heard something that convinces me that if it is not broke it needs mending.

    It also seems to me that although there may be problems with inconsistency viewed from
    a national perspective, there is nothing particularly wrong with inconsistency between
    different areas of the country. The problems of church buildings in some areas are going
    to be very different from the problems in others. We need a very good reason for setting
    a series of national guidelines rather than relying on dioceses to use their sense and their knowledge in the local area. I am not against it; I am just cautious. I would like to hear a little more justification for the need for this before the Synod commits itself to the principles that are enshrined in this First Consideration.”

    If there needs to be (in Archbishop Justin’s words) “a very good reason for setting national guidelines”, it will be interesting to see the responses to the current consultation.

    • Many thanks David. I have incorporated your comments in the post to give them more prominence. It is very useful to have an insider’s view of Synod business. dp

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