DAC – Procedure

The following is a summary of the procedures.

  • The applicant, who must be one of the persons described in the Constitution,Volume II, Section 4.2, rule 8, must put on prominent public display, in the vicinity of the church, a notice of his/her intention to petition the Diocesan Court for a faculty. S/he must send a copy of the notice to the DAC Secretary and must allow the notice to be displayed for at least 28 days.The DAC Secretary will advise as to which notices have to be published in local newspapers.  S/he will send details of relevant proposed works to CADW, the local planning authority and the statutory amenity societies where the church is listed or lies in a conservation area.
  • After the twenty-eight days have elapsed, the applicant must send a petition to the DAC Secretary with the form of enquiry answered (form 3), a certificate that the notice has been displayed, a statement from the Incumbent and churchwardens saying whether or not they object to the petition, a copy of any relevant resolution by the parochial church council, particulars of professional advisers and evidence of adequate insurance against any risks which might arise out of the execution of the proposed works.
  • The DAC Secretary then sends copies of these documents to the DAC.
  • The DAC sends a copy of the relevant minute to the petition. If the bishop has any views he can express them through the archdeacon.
  • The DAC Secretary sends copies of the petition and the other documents and’advices’ to the Representative Body where the title or insurance of the church is affected or the disposal of contents is proposed.
    S/he then sends the documents to the Diocesan Chancellor who will either grant the faculty or issue a citation requiring any objections to be made within fourteen days of the publication of the citation. If there are no notices of opposition the Chancellor may then grant the faculty. If there are notices of opposition the Chancellor will fix a date for a hearing.If s/he thinks it appropriate s/he may invite the parties to submit written representations, and if they agree, the matter can be considered without a hearing. Those who lodge notices of opposition may be required to deposit money or execute a bond as security for costs.
  • The Chancellor then either grants or refuses the faculty.
  • If a faculty is granted the Incumbent and churchwardens must, when the works have been done, send a certificate to that effect to the Registrar (form 9).
  • There are appeal provisions noted in the forms where the applicant wishes to have the Chancellor’s decision considered by the Provincial Court.


No faculty is required for the erection of a gravestone if it is erected in accordance with the Churchyard Regulations (see the Constitution, Volume II, Section 2). For gravestones outside the regulations, the faculty procedure must be followed. CADW has promoted the listing of many tombs and churchyard features in their own right. At this time a separate listed building, or conservation area, consent application must be made to the local planning authority in respect of any works which might significantly affect the character of such items.

Time Limits

The rules provide time limits for various steps in the process. They have been kept as short as practicable, to avoid unnecessary delay in dealing with petitions. If however there is difficulty in meeting a time limit, the Chancellor has a general discretion to lengthen the time. If that is desired, an application should be made to him before the time limit in the rules expires.

The ecclesiastical exemption

The National Assembly for Wales, through CADW, compiles lists of buildings of special, architectural or historic interest and creates Conservation Areas. No person is allowed to execute works or the demolition of a listed building or for its alteration or extension in any manner which would affect its character as a building of such interest without the authorisation of the local planning authority or the National Assembly for Wales. However, listed building and / or Conservation Area consent is not required in respect of any church building vested in the Representative Body which is for the time being used for ecclesiastical purposes. Similar provisions apply in conservation areas. This is known as “the Ecclesiastical Exemption”. The Church will keep this exemption only if it observes a code of practice that has been laid down by the State. The Governing Body has resolved that the Church should adopt the code to enable the Ecclesiastical Exemption to be retained, and the Faculty Rules have been designed to conform with the code of practice. If the exemption were to be lost the Church would be severely disadvantaged because:

  • Its ability to order its form of worship or to adapt its buildings to changing conditions would be more restricted.
  • The Church would have to follow the listed building or conservation area consents procedure in addition to the faculty process, which would involve it in the additional expense of time, money and resources.

Enforcement of the Rules

The Faculty Rules are legally enforceable by the Representative Body in the civil courts. A successful legal action would result in the person wrongfully carrying out works to a church having to pay to rectify the situation. Breaches of the Rules could result in the Church in Wales losing the Ecclesiastical Exemption. Further, breaches of the Rules may result in the Representative Body withholding from parishes grants for churches.

  • Some points frequently not understood:
    • A faculty does not provide permission to dispose of anything. This permission must be sought from the Property Committee of the Representative Body.
    • There are no longer any “minor faculties” or “archdeacons’ certificates”.
    • The DAC gives advice: it does not decide whether a faculty is to be granted.
    • The Rules are not only an internal matter for the church. If the Rules are not followed the Church in Wales could lose the Ecclesiastical Exemption.

Seeking Advice

The primary function of the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) is to give the Diocesan Chancellor advice on any faculty application he must decide. Parochial Church Councils should note the much wider role of the DAC as set out in the Constitution, Volume II, Section 4.2, Second Schedule, part II. In particular, parishes are recommended to discuss proposals for changes to their church with the DAC before incurring heavy professional fees and other costs with the faculty application.

Contact the DAC secretary to discuss your plans.

When PCCs receive a Historic Buildings Grant from Cadw they enter into a contract with Cadw. This contract, detailed in the offer letter, obliges PCCs to consult Cadw over any future works undertaken within 10 years of the grant being paid. This consultation is in addition to and separate from the faculty process and is primarily so that Cadw can ensure that nothing happens in the future to the building that could undermine the grant aided works. It should be emphasised that grant of a faculty does not over-ride the need to consult Cadw if grant has been given previously. Should works be undertaken without their approval, Cadw may seek the return of previously given grant aid.

Grant Aiding Bodies

Clicking on ‘Grants‘ at the top of this page will give you information about a service which offers sound advice about maintaining, refurbishing, re-ordering or even extending your church. It will also give you access to a comprehensive database of grants from over 8,000 potential sources.

The Heritage Lottery Fund may also provide grant assistance if an application has previously been made by the parish to CADW. The Annexe to the HLF booklet Repair Grants for Places of Worship in Wales 2003-2005 provides the current guidelines. This information can also be accessed by going to http://www.hlf.org.uk/English/InYourArea/Wales
Heritage Lottery Fund,
Suite 5a,
Hodge House,
Guildhall Place,
Cardiff CF10 1DY
Tel: 029 2034 3413 Fax: 029 2034 3427

Grant aid may also be available from a number of other sources, including the Property Committee or the Diocesan Churches and Pastoral Committee. Lists of such bodies are available from the Diocesan Secretary or Diocesan Stewardship officer or the Representative Body. It is important to enquire whether the grant giving body’s rules allow the payments of grants retrospectively, if the parish wishes to proceed with the work before the grant is confirmed. In the case of the Heritage Lottery Fund, it may also be appropriate to discuss the ethics of making an application with the PCC before it is made.