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 Issues | Ministry | Clergy Terms of Service

Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure

A review of Clergy Terms of Service was begun following a threat by the government to produce regulating clergy without security of tenure.

The Department of Trade and Industry discussion document Employment Status in relation to Statutory Employment Rights was produced in 2002. In response to this the Archbishops' Council decided it was necessary to conduct a review of Clergy Terms and a group was set up in December 2002.

The first report of the group was published in 2004 (GS1527). This looked at the status of clergy without security of tenure, as required by the Government. There was likely to be strong resistance to the idea of clergy becoming employees rather than office holders and in the end the proposal was to given clergy "common tenure", which is a new concept.

The second report was produced in 2005 (GS1564). The proposals in this report were entirely unnecessary as a response to the Government but a decision had been taken, somewhere, to take the opportunity provided to review terms of service for all clergy. The two key proposals were to remove clergy freehold of office by giving all clergy "common tenure".

In addition it was proposed to transfer all benefice property, which is currently vested in the incumbent of a a parish, to the Diocesan Board of Finance.

A further raft of proposals included establishing full-blown human resources deparments and procedures for dioceses and the introduction of a capability procedure for clergy.

There has been considerable opposition to almost all aspects of these proposals. In particular the General Synod rejected the proposal to transfer the church and churchyard from the benefice and later the related proposal to transfer parsonages.

Final Approval of the Measure is to be sought in July 2008 and if granted this will initiate the next round of the process including the production of Regulations and Codes of Practice but all the details will not in place for a few more years and therefore aspects of the Measure will be implemented separately.


  • Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure
  • Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations
  • Amending Canon No 29

Reports and Documents

Common Tenure. The impact of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure. Cross†Way article by David Phillips, issue 119, Winter 2011

The Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure. Cross†Way article by David Phillips, issue 113, Summer 2009

Should I transfer to Common Tenure? Cross†Way article by David Phillips, issue 113, Summer 2009

Regulations Final Approval - July 2009

Final Approval Stage July 2008 General Synod - further analysis.

Revision stage at the February 2008 Group of Sessions of the General Synod

Clergy Terms - David Phillips comments on the proposed Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure. Cross†Way article, issue 107, Winter 2008

Transfer of Parsoanges - Letter February 2008

Clergy Terms of Service - Feb 2008 report

Submission from Church Society Trust to the Revision Committee

Clergy Terms of Servcie - Feb 2007 report

Press Release 2 Feb 2007 - The £3.5 Billion Church Robbery

Clergy Terms of Service - July 2006 report

Clergy Terms of Service - Property - November 2005 report

Clergy Terms of Service - July 2005 report

News report February 2004

Employment Status of Clergy - briefing for the Evangelical Group of General Synod February 2003

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