Here to help
What is the DAC?
DAC stands for Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches, and every diocese in the Church of England is required to have one. The DAC is a statutory body established under the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991.
It exists as the advisory component of Ecclesiastical Exemption. This is the privilege enjoyed by the Church that means it’s exempt from having to apply for Listed Building Consent, as would be necessary for listed secular buildings. The great advantage of this system is that it considers the importance of a church’s Christian mission when assessing a proposal for works, rather than just the church’s architectural or historic significance.
The Committee is made up of its Chair, Vice-chair, members and advisers – all of whom are volunteers. The members include several clergy to advise on liturgy and mission, plus a number of specialist ecclesiastical and conservation architects, while the advisers are professional specialists in matters such as heating, lighting, audio-visual technology, archaeology, landscape, furnishing, stained glass, organs, turret clocks, bells and more.
In addition to the members and advisers, there are the DAC Secretary and the DAC Administrator. They run the Committee on a daily basis and organise its regular meetings and site visits; and should be a parish’s first point of contact.
What does the DAC do?
The Committee’s role is simply to give the Chancellor of the Diocese its opinion on the appropriateness of works being proposed by a parish which is applying for a faculty. In coming to its decision, it will discuss – amongst other things – the missional benefit of the proposal, its potential impact on the building’s historic fabric, and of course the quality of any design being put to them.
Works being proposed by a parish could be to the building or in the churchyard. They might include repairs, restoration, conservation, re-ordering – or even building something new. All such works would generally be considered at one of the Committee’s regular meetings – the larger proposals following a site visit by the Committee.
Lesser works that come under List B may not require DAC input, and are usually considered by the Secretary before being determined by the Archdeacon. List A matters require no consent, but do need please to be logged on the Online Faculty System.
The Committee’s opinion on a parish’s proposal is sent by the DAC Secretary to the Registrar (a solicitor) as a Notification of Advice, which is then passed to the Chancellor (a judge) who uses it to decide if a faculty should be granted.
The Committee does usually recommend parishes’ proposals for approval by the Chancellor, although it might first request more details about – or modifications to – the proposal. This is why it’s best for parishes to involve the Committee early on and request a visit, rather than submit worked-up plans straight away. Failure to do this can lead to extra expense in professional fees for a parish.
How does the DAC help parishes & how can parishes help the DAC?
The Committee will help parishes meet the changing demands of liturgy and the ever-growing need for wider use of their buildings. They’ll aim to do this in a way that will not be overly-injurious to the valuable historic fabric that’s so important both to the community’s identity and our national heritage. To achieve the latter, the Committee will require the parish to draft a Statement of Significance.
A Statement of Significance doesn’t need to be a work of great scholarship, but researching and writing it will enable the PCC’s project team to understand more fully their church building’s architectural and historic significance. This will help them come up with a plan that doesn’t damage or lose that significance for future generations: it might even be able to make more of it.
The parish will also be required to explain the justification for their proposed works, including any consultation with their congregation and wider parish or mission area. This should be presented in a Statement of Needs, and must be uploaded to the Online Faculty System along with the Statement of Significance when a faculty is applied for.
Faculty applications must also be accompanied by a PCC resolution as the Committee needs to be assured at an early stage that the PCC is indeed fully behind the proposal.
So, if you’re contemplating work to your church building, its contents, or the churchyard, do please get in contact with the DAC Secretary or DAC Administrator, or Church Buildings team, as early as possible. Once you’ve done some work on your Statements of Significance and Need, they’ll be happy to arrange a free-of-charge visit to discuss your plans and help advise you on the next steps and reduce the chance of delays to your project.
What happens to your application?
As explained, the DAC is an advisory committee. The final decision of whether a faculty is granted, or not, is made by the Chancellor. However, an application for a faculty on the Online Faculty System is first considered by the DAC, and they might:
- recommend it be approved by the Chancellor, or
- not recommend it be approved, or
- in certain cases, where the DAC members neither wish to support nor reject it, they may say they have no objection. When this happens, the DAC must give its reasons.
The application is then sent to the Diocesan Registrar to check all the relevant documents and any planning permissions are in place before sending it on to the Chancellor for a final decision.
As in the secular system, many proposals will first also require consultation with Historic England, the Church Buildings Council, or one of the national amenity societies, e.g. Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Georgian Group, Victorian Society or C20 Society – depending on the date of the parts of the church building potentially affected by the proposal. Should any of these bodies have concerns, they have six weeks in which to raise them.
The DAC committee meet to discuss faculty applications approximately nine times each year. The closing date for applications to be submitted on the Online Faculty System (OFS) is a week before the meeting is held. Please see the list below for meeting and application submission dates:
|Closing date for Applications||DAC meeting dates|
|8 May 23||16 May 23|
|12 June 23||20 June 23|
|10 July 23||18 July 23|
|4 September 23||12 September 23|
|9 October 23||17 October 23|
|20 November 23||28 November 23|
DAC Board Members and Advisers
|Christopher Barley |
Revd Peter Kay
Peter de Lange
|Bostwick||David||Dr||Furnishings & Imagery|
|Chamberlain||Malcolm||The Ven||Archdeacon S&R|
|Ellis||Timothy||The Right Revd||Liturgy & Fabric|
|Holden||Gary||Mr||Lighting & electrical works|
|Iqbal||Javaid||The Ven||Archdeacon of Doncaster|
|Kennard||Andrew||Mr||Landscape & Horticulture|
|Lange de||Peter||Mr||Heritage and Amenity Bodies|