The faculty procedure, even for the most straightforward case, is likely to take up to three months.
Parishes are advised to allow plenty of time to achieve their plans. Details of the DAC meeting dates for the current year will be available and cases for consideration should be with the DAC Secretary by not later than seven days before the date indicated for each meeting. The Committee may ask for further information or for clarification of points, or for other reasons adjourn the matter before reaching a decision.
It can often be very helpful for parishes to consult with the relevant Amenity Societies either before or during the consultation process with the DAC, and in many cases this is required by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. This will enable the views of the Amenity Societies concerned to be taken into account, and their expertise can often be very helpful. Consultation with the Societies is normally required before the Chancellor can consider the faculty petition, so early consultation can help to avoid delays later on in the process.
Once the DAC has considered the application, assuming that it has all the information which it needs, the papers are returned to the Diocesan Registrar, who then invites the applicants to submit a formal petition. It usually takes between a week and ten days for this stage from the date of the DAC meeting, depending on the volume of business dealt with at the DAC. The petitioners then need to allow at least 28 days for the display of notices of the proposed works before returning the petition to the Registry. Notice of many faculty petitions is also now required to be given on the diocesan website and this notice will also be displayed for a minimum of 28 days to enable representations to be submitted in connection with proposed works.
If consultation with relevant Amenity Societies is required, but has not yet taken place, the Registrar will direct that the parish should obtain the views of the Amenity Society or Societies before the papers go to the Chancellor. This consultation can take place during the 28 day period whilst the public notices are displayed, but it can sometimes take longer for the Societies to respond, so consultation earlier in the process can help to avoid delay at this stage. Early consultation can also enable the advice and views of the Amenity Societies to be taken into account – they will frequently have very helpful expertise available to enable parishes to make the best of their proposals.
The Faculty Jurisdiction (Amendment) Rules 2019, which came into force on April 1, 2020 made substantial changes requiring in certain cases consultation and advice prior to the commencement of Faculty Proceedings and widened the remit of the Church Buildings Counsel in mandatory consultations. The relevant change made it compulsory to consult the CBC where the works or proposals involved an extension to the building to such an extent as would be likely to result in substantial harm to its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest or to its setting (Rule 4.6 [b] as amended).
Once the completed application has been submitted to the Registrar, the application is send on to the Chancellor for review. If the Petition is granted it is possible that the Faculty can be issued within 14 days, and a certificate will be sent to the applicants by the Registry Clerk. If the Chancellor makes any determination regarding further information that is required, or if the consultations are not complete, then this part of the process can take much longer. The Chancellor may order that an amenity society be given Special Notice regarding the proceedings if they have raised any objections and this would give them 28 days to make final representations. The Registry Clerk will advise accordingly about any issues that arise.
A faculty permitting works to be undertaken will normally be valid for 12 months, but the Chancellor may specify a shorter or longer period. Where the parish thinks that the works will take longer, an extended faculty may be sought, but this should be made clear in the application and the Chancellor will normally be pleased to grant a faculty allowing longer for the works to be completed.