Read a copy of the report from the Resourcing the Future Task Force, which recommended the changes now being put in place. The report was debated in General Synod alongside other aspects of Renewal & Reform in February 2016.
The Archbishops' Council and the House of Bishops have agreed that all of this funding will, from 2017, be distributed for investment in the spiritual and numerical growth of the Church. The current formula-based funding for ministry and mission in dioceses will be replaced, and instead:
- 50% of the funds available will be distributed to just over half of dioceses as Lowest Income Communities Funding to support and develop mission in low-income communities; and
- 50% will be available for all dioceses as Strategic Development Funding for investment in new growth opportunities across the country.
The support for Low Income Communities will not be distributed directly to parishes, but will target funds on dioceses to give them some extra capacity for the strategic reallocation of funds to support the Church's mission in low-income communities. The funds will be distributed by a formula which seeks to take account of which dioceses have the greatest number of people living in the lowest income communities, and whose residents have an income below the national average.
As a result of the changes, some dioceses will see changes in the amount of funding they are allocated by formula. For those dioceses receiving less formula funding, Transitional Funding will be available over a ten-year period to ensure that mission in the most deprived communities is protected. In addition, a one-off sum of Restructuring Funding will also be provided to help those dioceses to adapt to the changes.
The allocation method begins by assessing the average income of the residents of each diocese. A diocese whose residents have an income below the national average will receive funding for mission in the poorest communities.
Some dioceses have more extremes of wealth than others, which makes the redistribution of resources more difficult, especially for those dioceses with residents who have below average incomes. The allocation method therefore modifies the average income figure by taking account of income deprivation. This is done by counting all the people who are reliant on the government for a basic income. If two dioceses have similar average income figures, the one with more people in income deprivation is deemed to need more national funding. The method also ensures that every income deprived individual counts in the calculation, no matter how small or large the pocket of deprivation.
The allocation method then scales dioceses according to their population. This means that individuals are treated equally regardless of where they live or their proximity to a church building, religious affiliation, age, or any other factor. These factors are then combined so that funding is distributed in relation to a diocese's population and its average income, as modified by the number of people in income deprivation. Funding is only given to those dioceses with below average incomes (modified by income deprivation) in order to target this relatively small amount of funding (which represents only about 2% of the Church's total expenditure) on dioceses most needing assistance to support mission in the poorest communities.
25 dioceses receive Lowest Income Communities Funding and have been notified of the amounts they will receive over the next three years, 2017-19.
Strategic Development Funding aims to support major change projects which fit with dioceses' strategic plans and which will lead to a significant difference to their mission and financial strength. Decisions on applications are made by the Strategic Investment Board.
Strategic Development Funding involves a two-stage application process: a short, first stage to assess what is proposed and the extent to which it is consistent with the diocese's wider strategy. There are currently two funding rounds a year, with applications being submitted in April and October. If a diocese is invited forward, they prepare a detailed project plan. The Strategic Investment Board then makes the final decision on the grant.