Bishops and Cathedral staff

The Bishoprics and Cathedrals department of the Church Commissioners supports the ministry of bishops by owning and maintaining diocesan bishops' houses and by funding the stipends and working costs - mainly secretarial and support staff salaries - of all serving bishops, diocesan and suffragan.

These obligations, and those in respect of cathedrals, came about because some of the Commissioners' investment assets derive from property that was originally part of the estates belonging to bishops and cathedral chapters.  

Some bishops' houses are historic properties such as Wells and Auckland Castle (Durham), including the two Archbishops' palaces at Lambeth and Bishopthorpe (York). But most have been bought or built more recently. A big replacement programme took place in the 1950s and others have followed. The task of ensuring that the properties work well as living, working and office space continues.

From 2008 bishops' working costs have been funded from 'global' budgets, designed to increase bishops' flexiblity over budgeting and spending decisions while ensuring overall cost control.

The department also manages the Commissioners' support for cathedral ministry, namely the payment of stipend for the dean and two full-time residentiary canons at each cathedral (apart from Christ Church Oxford), plus grants towards the administrative costs of some cathedrals. These grants are used mainly for lay staff salaries and vary in size according to the financial needs of the cathedral.

The department works to the authority of the Commissioners' Bishoprics and Cathedrals Committee and, in the case of managing the properties, the Assets Committee. Some policy decisions also fall to the Board.