Cathedrals Working Group

The Cathedrals Working Group report has now been updated and finalised following the consultation period which took place at the beginning of the year. We would like to thank anyone that took time out to answer this survey on behalf of themselves or a larger body.

In general, the proposals were met with wide support, but there were some key themes that arose as a result of the consultation that needed further reflection and discussion. The consultation summary therefore shows the detail of the responses and also lists these key themes, the CWG’s response to them and highlights the amendments or changes made as a result within the report itself.

We very much value all responses received which is why we want to make this analysis and our responses as transparent as possible.

You can download the full report and consultation summary here:

Read the recent press release on the report. 

Please note that the name of the National Cathedrals Co-Ordinating Group in GS 2101A and GS 2101B has now been finalised to the Cathedrals Support Group.

Next steps and General Synod

We had over 300 responses to our consultation which have been analysed and discussed as a group twice since the end of the consultation process. Alongside the online consultation we conducted two fringe meetings at the General Synod session in February with Bishops and General Synod members, as well as a meeting with Residentiary Canons in April. We subsequently reflected on the consultation feedback with some of the National Church Institutions and external stakeholders before finalising the report.

The final report was presented to the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops at their recent meetings and gained their endorsement.

General Synod will hear a presentation followed by a debate on the report at the next General Synod at 10.15am on Tuesday 10 July. The presentation will be from the Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Vice Chair of the Working Group. The Bishop of Worcester will then present the following motion for debate on behalf of the House of Bishops:

That this Synod:

  1. welcome the recommendations in the Report of the Cathedrals Working Group (GS 2101A);
  2. request the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward a draft Measure for First Consideration at the February 2019 group of sessions to give effect to the recommendations that involve legislative change; and

call on all concerned, including bishops, cathedrals and the National Church Institutions, to give effect to the recommendations that do not involve legislative change as soon as practically possible.

Long term plans

Some of the recommendations requiring no legislative change may be implemented as soon as practically possible and we are encouraging cathedrals to do so. Other recommendations will need to come into legislative effect during the coming years.

We value the feedback we have received from all those who responded to the consultation. We appreciate that some of the recommendations will need further decision-making processes before they can be fully taken forward. The Archbishops Council has endorsed the Third Church Estates Commissioner, Eve Poole, to oversee the national co-ordination for the implementation, of those recommendations that fall within the remit of the Boards and Committees of the National Church Institutions (NCI’s) and their officers. The Cathedral Support Group will work in partnership with the Deans, the Association of English Cathedrals and the Cathedral Administration and Finance Association over the next 18 months and will report its activity to the Archbishops Council throughout this timeframe. A longer-term follow-up plan will be developed towards the end of this period.

Background to the report 

The Cathedrals Working Group was set up in response to a request made by the Bishop of Peterborough in his January 2017 Visitation Charge on Peterborough Cathedral. The Bishop asked that the Archbishops’ Council look carefully at how the current legislation governing cathedrals is operating, and whether any improvements could be made. The draft report is the result of this.

The report reviews and provides recommendations on 6 themes:

  • Mission and Ecclesiology
  • Governance
  • Leadership and Management
  • Finance
  • Buildings
  • Safeguarding
View down the aisle at Derby Cathedral during service Diocese of Derby


Chair: Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney

Vice-Chair: Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of York

  • Mrs Julie Dziegiel, member of General Synod (Oxford) and of the Archbishops' Council Finance Committee
  • Andrew Holroyd OBE, Executive Chairman, Jackson Canter Solicitors, Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral
  • Carl Hughes, Member of the General Synod and the Archbishops' Council Finance Committee; led the Visitation of Peterborough Cathedral on behalf of the Bishop of Peterborough; vice chairman of the Southwark Diocesan Board of Finance
  • Richard Oldfield, Chairman, Oldfield Partners, Chair of Canterbury Cathedral Council
  • Baroness Maeve Sherlock OBE
  • Jennie Page CBE, Former Vice Chair of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England, Vice Chair, Church Buildings Council, Chair of Southwark Cathedral Council
  • Dr Fiona Spiers, former Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber, Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Rt Hon Jack Straw
  • Rt Revd Tim Stevens, former Bishop of Leicester

Terms of Reference

The Cathedrals Working Group has been established by the Archbishops in response to the request from the Bishop of Peterborough in his Visitation Charge "to look at whether the current Cathedrals Measure is adequate, and to consider revising it".

The Working Group will therefore review the sufficiency of the Cathedrals Measure in relation to governance structures in cathedrals, with particular reference to:

  • Financial management
  • Major buildings projects
  • Safeguarding
  • Accountability, oversight and scrutiny

The Working Group will also review:

  • Leadership capacity, including training and development needs for Deans and Chapters
  • The relationship of cathedral governance structures to other key partners, especially the Diocesan Bishop, Diocese and Church Commissioners
  • The planning, execution, communication and implementation of Cathedral Visitation