It shall be the duty of the minister and churchwardens, if any alterations, additions, removals, or repairs are proposed to be made in the fabric, ornaments, or furniture of the church, to obtain the faculty or licence... before proceeding to execute the same.
Canons of the Church of England
Permissions for works to churches and churchyards are governed by the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022, which came into effect in July 2022. These Rules amend and extend the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 that commenced in January 2016 as part of the national faculty simplification process.
- The 2022 Rules have been designed to ensure that they work in step with churches trying to reach net zero carbon (by 2030). Nearly all the changes will make it easier for churches to make environmentally-friendly adaptations
The amended Rules include two updated lists, List A and List B, which have been substantially revised and expanded to contain more works that may be undertaken without a faculty (subject to 'specified conditions'), specifically to help churches meet carbon-reduction targets. These lists apply in all dioceses of the Church of England.
A supplementary list, the Additional Matters Order, by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield was published in January 2021, which contains works in addition to the national Lists A and B that may also be undertaken without a faculty (subject to conditions). The Diocesan Chancellor has also published a second Additional Matters Order, which allows for the installation of internet access equipment without a faculty (subject to conditions).
If the works that a parish wishes to undertake are not specifically mentioned in List A or List B, or the Additional Matters Orders, then a faculty is required.
Further details on the national permissions framework, including the amended Rules, can be found below, and in the 'How we manage our buildings' section of the Church of England website.
No permission required
Works in List A of the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022 can be undertaken by an 'authorised person', that is acting on behalf of the minister and churchwardens (or, in a vacancy, the churchwardens only).
List A matters may be carried out without diocesan consultation or written permission, subject to all of the 'specified conditions' for that particular matter in the list. It is important that these conditions are adhered to.
- List A can be consulted in full – the 'specified conditions' are located in the right-hand column
Minor works permission
- Before starting a List B or Additional Matter application, please see the diocesan guidance on the List B and Additional Matter application process
List B permission is applied for through an online application via the Online Faculty System (OFS).
Please do not request permission from the Archdeacon direct, as List B approval can only be granted through the OFS.
Works in List B of the Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2022 can be undertaken by an 'authorised person', that is acting on behalf of the minister and churchwardens (or, in a vacancy, the churchwardens only). The Assistant DAC Secretary will seek the advice of a DAC adviser on the submitted application before the Archdeacon issues the Archdeacon's Notice (written permission).
List B applications are subject to all of the 'specified conditions' for that particular matter in the list. The Archdeacon may make a List B matter subject to additional conditions to reflect advice received, or request a faculty for a List B matter if they think fit.
- List B can be consulted in full (below List A on the linked page) – the 'specified conditions' are located in the right-hand column
Additional Matter permission is applied for through an online application via the Online Faculty System (OFS), described as an 'Additional Diocesan matter' at the bottom of the List B selection screen.
Please do not request permission from the Archdeacon direct, as Additional Matter approval can only be granted through the OFS.
The process for making and approving an Additional Matter application is the same as List B above.
Works in the Additional Matters Order for the Diocese of Lichfield supplement the national Lists A and B.
- View the Additional Matters Order
The Diocesan Chancellor has published a further Additional Matters Order, which allows for the installation of internet access equipment (subject to conditions).
- View the second Additional Matters Order
Temporary minor re-ordering
Temporary minor re-ordering (TMRO) permission is applied for through an online application via the Online Faculty System (OFS).
Please do not request permission from the Archdeacon direct, as TMRO approval can only be granted through the OFS.
Proposals for schemes of temporary minor re-ordering (e.g. removal and storage of a limited number of pews) require the Archdeacon's permission. An Archdeacon's Licence (written permission) for temporary minor re-ordering can be issued to the minister and PCC for a specified period of up to 24 months, but cannot be granted when a parish is in vacancy. A faculty can subsequently be applied for to make the temporary arrangement permanent.
For further advice, please see the following Diocesan Registry guidance note.
- Before starting a faculty application, please see the diocesan guidance on the faculty application process
Faculty permission is applied for through an online application via the Online Faculty System (OFS).
If the works that a parish wishes to undertake are not specifically mentioned in List A or List B, or the Additional Matters Order, then a faculty is required. Faculty applications are considered by the Lichfield Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) at one of its regular meetings – please note the agenda closing dates (submission dates) for these meetings. Alternatively, a 'minor' faculty application may be processed through the delegated authority faculty procedure, administered on a rolling programme rather than through the meeting schedule.
As a body, the DAC offers informal (pre-application) advice to parishes on proposals in the early stages of development, and subsequently gives formal (statutory) advice on faculty applications to the Diocesan Chancellor. It is the Chancellor, rather than the DAC, who grants faculty permission.
Interim faculty (emergency works)
Interim faculty permission is applied for through the emergency works procedure, not via the Online Faculty System (OFS).
An interim faculty allows works normally requiring a faculty to be undertaken without waiting for the full procedures of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules to be applied. An interim faculty is usually only granted where there is insufficient time available for those processes to be followed.
It is available only in an emergency where the works proposed are unavoidable and the works proposed are the minimum necessary to prevent a situation from worsening. It is not designed to 'speed up' or bypass the faculty process.
Confirmatory faculty (unauthorised works)
If a parish has undertaken unauthorised works, either without a faculty or having departed from the approved details (e.g. plans or specification) or conditions of a faculty, then a confirmatory faculty must be sought by the parish.
This is the case also for unauthorised List B or Additional Matter works as there is no such retrospective permission. In such circumstances, please contact Phil Collins, Diocesan Registry Assistant (below).
|Permission type||Application forms||Supporting documents||External consultation||Public notice|
|List B/Additional Matter||✓||✓||–||–|
|Temporary minor re-ordering||✓||✓||–||–|
|Faculty||✓||✓||✓ (if applicable)||✓|
|Confirmatory faculty||✓||✓||✓ (if applicable)||✓|
Please note: Neither the grant of a faculty nor notification that a faculty is not required removes any requirement for planning permission or other statutory consent. These may be required for external alterations to churches or to structures within the churchyard, or to the churchyard itself, including its boundary and/or trees. In such cases, the PCC must check with the Local Planning Authority whether planning permission or other consent is needed.
If you have any queries regarding permission types, please contact the respective case officer:
List B and Additional Matters:
Helen Cook, Assistant DAC Secretary
01543 221155 firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty (except interim/confirmatory):
Giles Standing, DAC Secretary
01543 221152 email@example.com
Interim faculty and confirmatory faculty:
Phil Collins, Diocesan Registry Assistant
01902 702033 firstname.lastname@example.org