Organisation and governance

The Church Commissioners are accountable to the General Synod, Parliament and the Charity Commission. Annual reports are submitted to General Synod and Parliament and we answer questions about our work in both places. 

Our work is governed by the Church Commissioners Measure 1947 (as amended).

Who are the Church Commissioners?

The 33 Church Commissioners are:

  • the Archbishops of Canterbury and York;
  • 3 Church Estates Commissioners appointed either by the Crown or the Archbishop of Canterbury.  They represent the Church Commissioners in the General Synod and (Second Commissioner) in Parliament;
  • 11 people elected from General Synod: four bishops, three clergy, four lay people;
  • 2 cathedral deans;
  • 9 people appointed by the Crown and the Archbishops;
  • 6 holders of State office: the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord President of the Council, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the House of Lords.

Overall policy is directed by the Board of Governors, of which all Commissioners except the six State office holders are members. The Board is supported by five committees and a professional staff team.

The Commissioners directly employ around 160 administrative staff some of whom provide services (e.g. I.T., Finance and Office services) to the other central Church bodies.  Under these shared service arrangements we also receive legal, HR and internal audit services.


  • The Assets Committee directs asset management and investment policy, assisted by securities and property sub-groups;
  • The Bishoprics & Cathedrals Committee is responsible for bishops' staffing and working costs, diocesan bishops' housing and grants towards cathedrals' lay staff costs;
  • The Church Buildings (Uses & Disposals) Committee is responsible for deciding the future of closed churches;
  • The Pastoral Committee is responsible for parish boundary reorganisation, parsonages and glebe (church land or property which historically formed part of the individual clergyman's living but is now administered by the diocese for the benefit of all the clergy);
  • The Audit & Risk Committee oversees the audit of the annual account, internal financial controls, in-house risk management and links with external auditors.

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