Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Philip Mawer, The Church of England Archbishop's Council (PAP 9)

  My attention has been drawn to the reference to the Church of England Bishoprics in the consultation paper defining the scope of this enquiry. It may be helpful if I offer the following brief comments.

  The present arrangements for the appointment of diocesan bishops in the Church of England were agreed between Church and Stage in 1976. They embody a subtle balance int eh responsibilities of the Church on the one hand and the Crown, advised by the Prime Minister, on the other in respect of the making of these appointments.

  The role of the Prime Minister in the process has been debated by the General Synod on a number of occasions since 1976, and on each occasion the Synod has endorsed the existing arrangements. A further Debate, on a motion from the Diocese of Southwark again raising this issue, is expected to the completed in the Synod in July this year.

  The procedures followed within the current framework of understanding between Church and State were recently comprehensively reviewed by a group led by Baroness Perry of Southwark. The group, which was advised by Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and took evidence from Lord Nolan and others, sought to take account of best practice in the making of public appointments. Its recommendations—the thrust of which was endorsed by the general Synod in July last year—are currently being followed up. A copy of the report of the group is enclosed for your Committee's information.

  It would appear from the Committee's Consultation paper that the Church of England diocesan bishoprics are fairly peripheral to the main issues of concern to the Committee.

Philip Mawer

The Church of England Archbishops' Council

April 2002

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