The Archbishops' Council is a part of the governance structures of the Church of England. Its headquarters are at Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ.
The Council was created in 1999 to provide a central executive body to co-ordinate and lead the work of the Church. This was a partial implementation of the recommendations of the report "Working Together as One Body" produced by Michael Turnbull (then Bishop of Durham) in 1994.
Objectives and objects
The Council describes its objectives as:
- enhancing the Church's mission by:
- promoting spiritual and numerical growth,
- enabling and supporting the worshipping Church and encouraging and promoting new ways of being Church, and
- engaging with issues of social justice and environmental stewardship
- sustaining and advance the Church's work in education, lifelong learning and discipleship;
- enabling the Church to select, train and resource the right people, both ordained and lay, to carry out public ministry and encouraging lay people in their vocation to the world; and
- encouraging the maintenance and development of the inherited fabric of Church buildings for worship and service to the community.
And its objects as:
- giving a clear strategic sense of direction to the national work of the Church of England, within an overall vision set by the House of Bishops and informed by an understanding of the Church's opportunities, needs and resources;
- encouraging and resourcing the Church in parishes and dioceses;
- promoting close collaborative working between the Church's national bodies, including through the management of a number of common services (Communications, Human Resources, IT etc.);
- supporting the Archbishops with their diverse ministries and responsibilities; and engaging confidently with Government and other bodies.
Legal status and membership
The Archbishops' Council was established by the National Institutions Measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1998. It has its own legal identity and is, in addition, a charity.
The Council is made up of:
- the Archbishop of Canterbury,
- the Archbishop of York,
- the Prolocutors of the Convocations of Canterbury and York,
- the chairman and vice-chairman of the House of Laity of the General Synod,
- two bishops elected by the House of Bishops of the General Synod,
- two members of the clergy elected by the House of Clergy of the General Synod,
- two lay people elected by the House of Laity,
- one of the Church Estates Commissioners,
- up to six other people jointly appointed by the two Archbishops, with the consent of the General Synod. These appointees have a non-executive role and currently include:
- Philip Fletcher (Chair, Ofwat),
- Mark Russell (Chief Executive, Church Army),
- Andrew Britton (former Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research),
- Mary Chapman (former Chief Executive, Chartered Management Institute),
- Rosalyn Murphy (priest-in-charge, St Thomas's, Blackpool),
- Rebecca Swinson (former Chair, Church of England Youth Council)
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are the joint Presidents of the Council, but the Archbishop of Canterbury normally chairs its meetings.
The Council is one of the "National Church Institutions"; the others include the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the General Synod.
Committees and staff
The work of the Council is assisted by a number of committees:
- Mission and Public Affairs Council (including the Hospital Chaplaincies Council)
- Board of Education
- Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns
- Council for Christian Unity
- Central Council for the Care of Churches
- Committees of the Ministry Division
- Committee for Ministry of and among Deaf and Disabled People
- Deployment, Recruitment and Conditions of Service Committee
- Theological Education and Training Committee
- Vocation, Recruitment and Selection Committee
- Finance Committee
- Audit Committee
In 2006, the Council employed about 250 staff. The senior posts include:
- Secretary-General to the Council and the General Synod
- Chief Education Officer
- Director of Mission & Public Affairs
- Head of Cathedral and Church Buildings
- Director of Ministry
- Director of Human Resources
- Head of Legal Office and Chief Legal Adviser to the General Synod
- Clerk to the Synod and Director of Central Secretariat
The members of the Council are also members and directors of the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. Technically, the Board of Finance is a separate legal entity, however all major decisions are taken by members of the Council in their capacity as the directors of the Board.
In 2006, the Council had a budget of approximately £61 million, principally derived from the Church Commissioners (about £32 million) and contributions from each of the dioceses (£24.5 million).
Spending in that year included grants to the dioceses (£31 million), training clergy (both funding for colleges and allowances for individuals in residential training - £10 million), grants to organisation such as Churches Together, the Church Urban Fund and the World Council of Churches (£2.2 million), and housing assistance for retired clergy (£2.8 million).