Permissions and how to apply

A parish church is for everyone in the community that it serves, for both current and future generations.

Many different groups and people have an interest in what happens there. Church of England churches and churchyards benefit from exemption from the secular system of listed building control via the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order 2010. However, we only have exemption as long as we maintain our own, equivalent heritage protection system.

For parish churches this is the faculty system, as set out by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. The permissions process is designed to enable parishes to make changes to their church buildings to enable mission and outreach, whilst conserving the architectural and historical significance of these special places. A full, and surprisingly consumable, guide to every aspect of the faculty jurisdiction can be found in Changing Churches by Charles Mynors.

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Meet the people involved in the permissions process

There are a number of people who are involved along various stages of the faculty process...

The Church Buildings team

Your first port of call will be a member of the Church Buildings team, who will be able to answer any initial enquiries, providing advice on all matters relating to the church and churchyard, their contents and their care, as well as the permission process.

From your first contact with us, you will be assigned a member of the team to be your case officer, and they will support you from conception to completion of your project, reviewing documents, guiding you through the stages of consulting the DAC Committee and any other consultees, referring the scheme to the DAC and its members and advisors on your behalf, and possibly visiting the church to discuss the proposals.

Headshot of Carolyn JupeCarolyn Jupe

Casework Supervisor

Carolyn is your first point of contact for any enquiries you may have with regards to the status of your applications. She joined the team in 2020 having been PA to the Bishop of Dorchester for 14 years. Carolyn loves the diversity of your different questions, making every day different and interesting.


Headshot of Liz KitchLiz Kitch

Head of Church Buildings

Liz has a degree in Architectural Technology and a post-graduate degree in Historic Building Conservation. She is a member of the Church Buildings Council and full member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. Having worked in the diocese since 2016, Liz is passionate about finding the best ways to support churches through the permissions process and ensure the long-term sustainability of our church buildings.


Headshot of Sophie HammondSophie Hammond

Church Buildings Officer

Sophie studied History of Art with and holds a Master’s in Building Conservation from Oxford Brookes. She has been working for the DAC since 2010 and is passionate about helping parishes find the sensitive and high-quality design solutions for meeting their needs.


Headshot of Jennie SchilligJennie Schillig

Church Buildings Officer

Jennie studied geology and geophysics and has an MSc in Building Conservation. Having worked for 20 years in an ecclesiastical architecture practice before joining the team in November 2018, Jennie brings her extensive technical conservation expertise to the team.


Headshot of Hannah RobertsonHannah Robertson

Church Buildings Officer

Hannah studied interior design and has an interest in churchyards. She brings technical architectural expertise in buildings to the team.



Headshot of Emily JacksonEmily Jackson

Church Buildings Officer

Emily is a Chartered Building Surveyor who has previously worked for a large heritage charity and holds a Masters degree from the University of York in Historic Building Conservation. Emily brings expertise in the maintenance of historic buildings to the team.


Headshot of Debbie PerryDebbie Perry

Casework Coordinator




Maggie Metaliaj

Pastoral Secretary


The pastoral secretary, works closely with the archdeacons, area teams, deaneries and parishes involved, oversees the formal aspects involved with pastoral reorganisation for the diocese.

The Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC)
The DAC is a statutory requirement and every diocese must have one. The DAC members and advisors, as specialists in their various fields, consider applications for faculty permission and advise the Diocesan Chancellor on each application. They are volunteers who give their time freely and generously to help further the mission of the church.

The DAC aims to pass on knowledge and experience gained over many years by others in similar situations. You can find out about the members of the DAC and the governance of the committee on the DAC webpage.

Archdeaconry teams
Your Archdeacon is also able to offer help and advice, and in the case of minor matters which do not require a faculty and can be permitted under List B, the Archdeacon will consider and determine your application.
The Diocesan Registry
The Diocesan Registry conducts the legal review of your faculty application once the DAC has reviewed the practical matters.
Helen Lambourne

Diocesan Registry Clerk

Helen is your first port of call at the Diocesan Registry and will be able to give initial advice regarding the later stages of your faculty application once the DAC has provided its advice.

01865 297 208 | Email

Darren Oliver

Diocesan Registrar

The Diocesan Registrar is appointed by the bishop and plays a key role in the faculty system, having been given key roles and duties under the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015.

Darren is an ecclesiastical, property and charity solicitor with particular expertise in matters relating to consecrated churchyards, churches and the faculty jurisdiction. As Registrar of the Diocese of Oxford and Deputy Registrar of the Diocese of Chichester, he specialises in giving advice to Church of England bodies on governance and constitutional matters and is able offer informal advice to parties in faculty proceedings and prospective applicants. He is a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, the firm who act as the Diocesan Registry.

01865 297 210 | Email

The Diocesan Chancellor and the Consistory Court
The consistory court is the court of the bishop of each diocese, presided over by the Chancellor, and considers any application for faculty permission. Any matters for the attention of the Chancellor must be directed to the Diocesan Registry.

The Chancellor has various powers and duties under the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 and deals with all faculty matters except those delegated to the Archdeacon (List B). Most of the Chancellor’s work on faculty matters is dealt with on paper, hearings are only held very rarely.

His Honour Judge David Hodge QC (1974, Law) is the Chancellor for the Diocese of Oxford.

What permission do I need and how do I apply

List A items (Work which can be undertaken without further permission from the DAC)
If the work you are proposing can be found on this list and the specified conditions met, no further permission is required from the DAC. If it does not, you will need to check the List B List. If the work proposed cannot be found on either list it is likely to require faculty permission. Please log all List A work on the online faculty system.
List B items (Work which can be undertaken with permission from the Archdeacon via the DAC and online faculty system)
If the work you are proposing can be found on this list and the specified conditions met you can apply, following the orange instructions at the top of the application, using the online faculty system. Please ensure you upload as much information as possible to your application within the ‘supporting documents and images’ tab before submitting the application to the DAC. Information necessary varies depending on the work but is likely to include the following:-
  • Close up and context photos
  • Plan of area
  • Quote
  • Description/Specification of work
  • Any reports from specialists
  • Product information
  • Annotated photos of any wiring/cable routes

The more information you can provide before making an application or enquiry, the quicker we will be able to provide advice. Important information and helpful tips on applying for List B permission are available here.

If the work proposed cannot be found on either List A or List B it is likely to require faculty permission.

Faculty Permission
If the work you are proposing cannot be found on either List A or List B it is likely to require a faculty. You must apply using the online faculty system following the instructions highlighted in orange at the top of the page. Please ensure you upload as much information as possible to your application within the ‘supporting documents and images’ tab before submitting the application to the DAC. Information necessary varies depending on the work but is likely to include the following:-
  • Close up and context photos
  • Plan of area
  • Quote
  • Description/Specification of work
  • Any reports from specialists
  • Product information
  • Annotated photos of any wiring/cable routes
  • Supportive PCC minute

Important information and helpful tips on applying for faculty permission are available here

Online Faculty System

This is used to log ‘List A’ work and to apply for ‘List B’ and ‘Faculty’ permissions. You will need to register to use this service. Frequently asked questions, together with user manuals for this system can be found here - Within each application you will find a helpful orange section at the top which ‘walks you through’ each individual application. If you are having difficulty with this system please email us.

Major work requiring Faculty – i.e. Reordering, New Facilities etc.
The first stage in the process is for the parish to complete a Statement of Need and Statement of Significance. The church architect will also need to be involved. Please take the time to watch this short video from Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust on how to start a project, how to work with an architect and creating a feasibility study. Once you have provided drafts of the statements of need and significance to the DAC we will consider whether a DAC visit to the parish is necessary. There are two types of DAC site visit Early Stage and Delegation. An early stage visit is an opportunity for your DAC case officer to get to know the church building and the project team to better understand how they can help you. They will ask about how the parish currently use the building, how they would like to use the building, and what changes the parish think are needed in order to achieve this. A visit by a delegation of the DAC is usually made after any major faculty application is submitted to the DAC for consideration.
The DAC are unable to provide fundraising advice but you will find guidance and useful links on our website.
Contractors and Specialists
The DAC are not able to make recommendations or keep up to date lists of specialists working in the diocese. Often, your QI architect will be able to make suggestions or you can contact nearby parishes who have completed similar projects. You could also check these registers:-

The Institute of Conservation Register - Icon Find a Conservator 

The Building Conservation Directory - The Building Conservation Directory

The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting - NICEIC Contractor Search

The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers - NAPIT Member Search

Guidelines for Electrical Installations and Maintenance in Churches
Full guidance is set out below or you can download it here.

Health and Safety legislation (Electricity at Work Regulations 1989) says that every electrical installation must be properly maintained. Churches are important places and special care needs to be taken when carrying out any electrical works. Electrical installations must not only be safe and compliant with current regulations but they should also respect the historic character and fabric of the church.

Church insurers may recommend that electrical wiring should be inspected and tested to ensure it is safe every five years so it makes sense to commission an Electrical Installation Condition Report at the same time as the quinquennial inspection.

  • When carrying out any electrical works connected to the mains supply at your church It is important to employ contractors who are members of one of the following trade associations:

    An NICEIC contractor (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) - The electrician must be registered for commercial and industrial work, and not just domestic or Part P work.

    A Full member of the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association)

    A Full Member of NAPIT (The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers) without a ‘Limited Scope membership’

    You should always check that contractors hold valid insurance documents – both Public Liability cover (min £5,000,000) and Professional Indemnity insurance if their work includes an element of design.

  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) should never be used with dimmer switches. Not only will they not perform well (although they may appear fine at first) but because this presents a serious fire risk.
  • Your church architect should be involved in the planning of all wiring routes, including surface mounted cables and conduits, and the proposed locations of new electrical equipment such as light fittings, power outlets or PA speakers. They should advise on the location and type of fixings used.
  • The use of uPVC trunking is not permitted under any circumstances. Neatly clipped wiring with fixings into mortar joints is far less obtrusive and can be painted to blend in with the background.
  • Fixing into stone should only be made into the mortar joints between stones rather than the stones themselves, and fixings onto decorative carving and mouldings should be avoided. Use of pattress plates or battens to enable this should be considered if direct fixing into mortar joints is difficult.
  • Fixing into historic plaster should be avoided, but if it is necessary, then care must be taken to ensure that the fixings do not penetrate wall paintings. In such cases, it may be necessary to seek specialist advice to identify whether wall paintings are present.
  • Cables should be routed in such a way that minimises their visual impact on the interior of the church. Internal corners, wall plates, string courses and other architectural features should be used to enable cable runs to be disguised or hidden.
  • PA speakers, light fittings or any other equipment should not be fixed to sensitive fabric nor should they obscure important detail or detract from the character of the church.
  • The careful choice of finish for wiring and equipment can help reduce its visual impact. Where possible wiring should be painted out to match the background colour. Where the wiring is vulnerable to accidental damage then the use of MICC or MICV (sheathed), or FP200 Gold cable should be considered.
  • Consideration should be given to access for ongoing maintenance of equipment and fire safety. For example, by not locating heat generating equipment (halogen spotlights etc) near timber or flammable fabric or locating the electronic drivers of LED light fittings remotely rather than having them as an integral unit. The driver will fail long before the LED light fitting and to have it easily accessible will lower the cost of ongoing maintenance.
  • When re-lamping or reviewing existing lighting installations LED lamps and fittings should be employed. If dimming is required ensure that the appropriate drivers and lamps are installed.

Further advice is contained in the Church Buildings Council guidance publication.


In this section...

Detailed breakdowns of the permissions processes are below, organised by category.

Caring for our churchyards

Guidance on the permission process for work involving noticeboards, benches, walls, lychgates, bird boxes, cycle stands, defibrillators, flagpoles, paths, trenches and gardens of remembrance.


Guidance on heating church buildings in the Diocese of Oxford, mindful of the climate emergency.


Guidance on the permission process for installing, cleaning, repairing and testing monuments whether you are applying from a parish or you are a private petitioner or external body. You will also find the Churchyard Regulations here.

Work to Trees

How to apply for all work to trees in your churchyard.

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