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Diocese of Chester The PCC as a charity George Colville Director of Finance The PCC is a charity Excepted from registration In other respects just like a registered charity PCC members are charity trustees PCC Governing Documents the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956

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Diocese of Chester

The PCC as a charity

George Colville

Director of Finance


The PCC is a charity

  • Excepted from registration
  • In other respects
  • just like a registered charity

PCC members are charity trustees


PCC Governing Documents

  • the Parochial Church Councils
  • (Powers) Measure 1956
  • the Church Representation Rules

“promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical”


Charity law brief history

  • Statute of Elizabeth 1601
  • -Charities Act 1993
  • Charities Act 2006

Charitable purposes

  • Since 2006 Act -13 descriptions of charitable purposes
  • Some new ones
  • Public Benefit
  • Advancement of religion for the public benefit

Charity’s Act 2006

  • So what has changed?
  • For PCCs very little
  • -Public benefit test
  • -Thresholds/ Small trusts
  • Registration starts >£100k


  • Leaflet produced by Church
  • and Charity Commission
  • Ensure compliance
  • Duty of Prudence
  • Duty of Care
report and accounts
Report and Accounts
  • Values of openness transparency and accountability
  • Important to communicate with donors and community
  • About 12,000 PCCs with aggregate annual income of over £0.75 billion.
report and accounts9
Report and Accounts
  • Accruals limit now £250,000
  • Audit £500,000
  • R&P accounts
    • Trustees Annual report
    • Independent examiners report
    • Receipts and Payment Account(s)
    • Statement of assets and liabilities
  • Unrestricted,
  • Restricted,
  • Endowment
  • Must comply with donor wishes
  • Watch appeal literature
  • New procedures for small/outdated
internal control
Internal Control
  • “Church treasurer stole cash to treat husband”
  • “Church's treasurer stole £88,000”
  • “Treasurer stole from church and pre-school”
internal control12
Internal Control
  • Put in place standard controls
    • Dual cheque signatories
    • No blank cheques signed
    • Significant cash counted in presence of more than one person
    • Contracts signed by more than one person
  • For protection of Treasurer/ Churchwardens as well as protection of PCC
  • Look at Charity Commission Checklist CC8
  • Trustee duty to spend money given to them within a reasonable time
  • Hold reserves only if in charity’s best interest
    • What For? How much?
  • Reserve policy Charity Commission CC19
don t forget other law
Don’t forget other law
  • Health and Safety
  • Employment law
  • CRB
  • If in doubt seek advice
  • Practical Church Management James Behrens


PCC members are entitled to meet the PCC’s liabilities out of its resources.

Gross failure to act in accordance with their legal responsibilities as trustees

Will probably find there is already some cover in PCC insurance policy


Private Benefit

PCC members can receive payment for services provided to the PCC, if a certain procedure is followed.

PCC members cannot become employees of the PCC unless the Charity Commission gives permission.



You can delegate tasks – not responsibility

Take it seriously

Act together and try to ensure decisions are taken as a body. Avoid dominant trustees, or leaving task to one of number.

MOST IMPORTANTLY - Remember what the PCC is for


Public Benefit

  • acts of public worship open to all
  • provision of sacred space for personal reflection and contemplation

Public Benefit

  • pastoral work, including visiting the sick and bereaved
  • teaching Christianity through sermons, courses and small groups.

Public Benefit


Public Opinion

'Charitable status is not decided on the basis of popularity. I am well aware that, if we held a charity version of the X Factor, some of the most pioneering and innovative work done by charities would not necessarily be successful in winning the public vote.'


Public Benefit

Remember it is the


of religion for the public benefit that is Charitable


Regulator, Registrar, Adviser

To increase charities’ efficiency and effectiveness and public confidence and trust in them.


Dame Suzi Leather

Chair Charity Commission

Church of England Newspaper

“There are 25,000 charities on the register set up for the purpose of advancing religion, and they provide our communities with a wealth of charitable activity…



counselling the bereaved and

helping the homeless

to providing places of worship and promoting ethical and moral codes.


The benefit delivered by these charities is the very stuff of charity and no regulator in its right mind would want to discourage this.”


So how should we see the Charity Commission

Take them seriously

BUT no need to fear if acting appropriately


  • Register of Charities
  • Updates of Charity matters
  • General advice
  • -CC3 The Essential Trustee
  • CC8 Internal Controls
  • CC10 Hallmarks of an Effective Charity


  • PCCs >£100k
  • Others in future
    • Building projects
    • If limit is reduced
    • Voluntary registration


1. Preparation - gathering the necessary data for registration

2. Opening a User Account

3. Entering details about your PCC, about what it does, and about the Trustees.

4. Checking that the data is correct, and then submitting it to the Charity Commission electronically.

5. Returning to the Commission a signed Trustee Declaration.

process overview
Process overview


Read through the Guide, print out Trusteedetails sheets, get the Accounts.

Get Trustee Details

sheets completed

It is suggested that these are done at a

PCC meeting with those PCC Members

that are there – this will allow questions

to be answered.

Then follow up with PCC members who

were not present.

Complete and sign

Trustee Declaration

Complete OLAR process

and submit to Commission

Send Trustee Declaration

with cover sheet



  • Stick to standard wording
  • Follow advice in the leaflet
  • Legal advisers have checked
  • Charity Commission have agreed
  • Ring me or Nigel if questions


  • What Changes?
  • Not much
  • Annual return
  • Copy of accounts
  • Quote registered charity number

Parish resources Website


Diocese of Chester

01244 681973