Parochial fees are fees set by the General Synod and Parliament for certain occasional offices conducted by the Church. The fees are listed on a Fees Table for each year. Parochial fees are legally payable and split between the DBF and the PCC. If there are no ‘extras’, the parochial fee for the relevant service is the fee that should be charged. A portion of each fee belongs to the DBF and serves as a means by which the diocese can pay adequate stipends and pensions to clergy. It makes a significant contribution to keeping Parish Share request levels down. No Church of England minister should be retaining any fees.
Parochial fees are statutory fees. The amounts detailed on the Table of Parochial Fees are set by the Archbishops’ Council and are payable when the service takes place. Fees are likely to increase on the 1 January each year and this must be explained to a couple or a family making a booking in the church. You cannot agree to hold the statutory fees at the current level. Travel expenses, postage expenses or any other expenses should not be deducted from the amount detailed on the table.
Further information on parochial fees can be found in the Bishops' Guidelines, which are available as a download at the bottom of this page.
Please note: -
- No fee is payable in respect of a funeral or burial of a stillborn infant or for the funeral or burial of a person dying within eighteen years of birth.
- Funeral directors have been instructed to make payments to the Parish Church Council (PCC)/benefice where the funeral took place. Once the fee has been received by the PCC/benefice, it should then be apportioned accordingly between the PCC and the DBF (and retired minister if applicable). Fees for services at the crematorium will also be handled through the PCC/benefice.
- Fees for weddings and monuments are also to be apportioned through the PCC/benefice. Banns and certificate fees are to remain with the PCC.
- There is an element for the PCC to retain for services at the crematorium.
Bishops' Staff has agreed: -
- to continue the current apportionment to retired ministers of two thirds. There are some rounding issues; please see the Quick Reference Guide to the Table of Parochial Fees for the correct apportionments.
- that the casual duty fee for a visiting minister (with PTO) is £37.00 per service in 2023. Please see the Bishops’ Guidelines for further information about visiting ministers.
A Vacancy Claim Form, for payment to clergy/Readers for assistance and/or travelling expenses during a vacancy, is available to download below.
Fees should be handled through a PCC or benefice bank account. Treasurers who handle fees on behalf of the clergy are asked to ensure that fees are remitted promptly.
2023 Parochial fees background from the Church of England
The framework for setting parochial fees for 2020-2024 is set out in The Parochial Fees and Scheduled Matters Amending Order 2019 (legislation.gov.uk). In summary this results in parochial fees increasing on 1 January each year in line with the annual CPI increase in the previous August, rounded up to the nearest £1. For 2023 this figure was 9.9%.
Given the financial challenges including the high level of inflation and cost of living pressures, at its December 2022 meeting the Archbishops’ Council were asked to consider if this 9.9% increase remained appropriate.
The Archbishops’ Council agreed the recommendation of its Finance Committee that General Synod should be asked to consider a draft Amending Fees Order which would have a headline increase of 5% (rounded up to the nearest pound) rather than 9.9% resulting from the August 2022 CPI increase. This has now been approved by General Synod adn is effectived from March 2023. Download the Church of England Parochial Fees Order explanatory note for further information.
What does that mean for our diocese and our parochial fees?
January and February 2023
As a diocese, we took the decision to prepare two tables for our parishes for these months:-
- A table with the National Church figures as was first published.
- A table showing parochial fees reduced to the 5% increase that was proposed and (has now been agreed). Where possible the DBF fee element was adjusted, meaning that the DBF is agreeing to waive its fees payable in accordance with the Bishops' Guidelines.
We recommend using the second DBF proposal table for these two reporting months, as it reflects the motion that was passed in February 2023. When calculating these fees at the beginning of 2023, we sought to adjust the DBF element and not the PCC element as the fee table is a legal document we could not make that decision on behalf of our PCCs.
You will note that the coding for our fees on our form for January/Feburary 2023 includes two versions of the codes to reflect the two different tables. As a PCC it is your decision as to which table to use, but please make it clear when you are submitting returns.
March to December 2023
Following general Synod in February 2023, and the passing of the appropriate law, parochial fees are in line with the table for January/February and a separate fee table is available as a download below.