New faculty rules come into effect from April 1, 2020. This is the first substantial change since the 2015 rules that introduced the lists of works that could be done without faculty – and some after confirmation by the archdeacon that a faculty is not needed.

The new rules add to both List A (works that can be done without permission) and List B (works that the archdeacon must confirm do not need a faculty).

There will be more routine repair and maintenance works that will not need a faculty.

Bike racks

The range of items in the list is increased and a distinction made between listed and unlisted buildings, where appropriate. Matters to encourage better use of energy are moved into the lists, and providing bike racks is introduced for the first time.

One intention of the new rules is to see churches better supported through the faculty process.

For churches with far-reaching proposals that will change the character of a listed building, wide consultation remains necessary. However, it has been made earlier in the process so that parishes will have the benefit of the advice before the DAC issues its notification of advice. This regularises a working practice that has already become establishes in many dioceses.

Online system revised

To support this, the Online Faculty System has been revised and all new applications from April 1 will have new screens reflecting the new rules, and to encourage close working with the DAC.

The main change that experienced users will notice is at the start of a new faculty application. The first engagement will ask only two questions – form 1 and a description of the project. The DAC will review this and advise the next steps according to what is really needed. This is intended to encourage close engagement and save a church providing more that is needed.

Current rules

All applications started on or before 31 March will follow the current rules, and the online system will automatically identify these and continue to process them as at present.

The text of the new rules is here and updated guidance for parishes on the new rules is here. The flowchart can be downloaded as a stand-along document from here.