Are you responsible?

Author: Mr Robert Culyer

Published on: 10 June 2016

As members of the PCC, I wonder how many people know the history of PCCs, and what they are required to do?

Until the beginning of the 20th century the administration and finance of the parish were the legal responsibility of the Incumbent and Churchwardens. Parishioners had little say in the running of the church other than the electing of the Churchwardens.

In 1919 PCCs were introduced, and, since then, a number of Acts have defined and refined the composition, functions and rights of the PCC. The rules governing the PCC are set out in the Church Representation Rules. The PCC is a corporate body, a separate legal entity, and is separate from the members of the PCC.

The PCC is a charity by virtue of its objectives, namely the advancement of religion and making provision for public worship, and as a member of the PCC, you are a trustee of the charity.

All individuals on a PCC have, and must accept, ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of their PCC.

Responsibility includes:-

  • Ensuring compliance – both charity and church law
  • Duty of prudence – ensuring that the PCC remains solvent; that funds and assets are used wisely; and avoid undertaking activities that might place the PPC’s property, funds, assets or reputation at undue risk
  • Duty of care – as trustees you must exercise reasonable care and skill as trustees, using personal knowledge and experience to ensure that the PCC is well run and effi cient.

As a PCC you are:

  • collectively responsible for the maintenance of the church buildings and churchyard the employer of any paid workers
  • entitled to be consulted about major changes to forms of worship used in the parish and advised about the appointment of a new incumbent.

It is also expected that as a PCC you are consulted about any pastoral schemes affecting the parish. One important thing to note is that one or more members from the PCC should be a member of the Deanery Synod to act as a link between the parish and the wider structures of the church. PCC members are elected for a period of three years and then can stand for re-election.

I appreciate that time is limited but as a PCC you sometimes need a health check to ensure that you are operating as an effective body.

In the booklet produced by the Archbishops’ Council and Charity Commission they list seven marks of good governance to ensure that you are an effective PCC. I would recommend having a look at this check list and see how many of the boxes that you can tick.

Further bedtime reading can be found on the Parish Resources website, and in particular the eight page booklet entitled ‘Trusteeship… An Introduction for PCC Members’.

Download for free at or contact me for a copy on 01603 882326.

The author...

Mr Robert Culyer

Generous Giving Adviser Officer

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