Charities have a range of Governing Documents. As Parochial Church Councils (PCCs) are charities, they are governed by two pieces of Church of England legislation, called Measures. These are:
The Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 as amended
- This defines the principal function, or purpose, of the PCC as "promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church". You can find the full text of the PCC Powers Measure in its currently amended form on the Statute Law Database by clicking here
The Church Representation Rules (contained in Schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969 as amended)
PCC Accountability: The Charities Act 2011 and the PCC
The 5th Edition of PCC Accountability (incoporating SORP 2015) was published by Church House Publishing in February 2017.
- Order the new edition of PCC Accountability from Church House Publishing
- Order the new PCC Accountability for Kindle
- View the publication online
Introduction to Charity Accounting
Charities have a major impact on our society by funding or supporting community work that otherwise, if outside the sphere of government responsibility, would not happen! So it is easy to see why governments are interested in all charities. They want to ensure that money given to charities is spent on the charity's aims and not wasted, so that people will keep giving.
To achieve this aim successive UK governments have been developing charity law for more than 400 years. They have made charity trustees more and more responsible for the work and finances of the charity. The members of the PCC are charity trustees. The Charities Act (2011) defines charities as organisations that aim to provide 'public benefit' in one or more charitable areas or 'purposes'. It has also reinforced the Charity Commission's legal powers to be able to support and regulate charities.
The Charity Commission created the Charities SORP ('Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice'), to give us clear guidelines on what information to keep and what reports to produce to meet our legal obligations. The Church of England has adopted the SORP as its standard basis for annual financial reporting by parishes, so that now we can provide the same information to both the government (for the general public) and the wider Church.
What does this mean for you as a parish?
As PCC members we are the charity trustees of the parish. We therefore need to understand what money is coming into the church, how we are spending it and why. In order to give a clear account of how the money has been received and spent, each parish has to produce the reports required by law.
These accounts and reports help us to tell people how their money supports the mission of the church. They will also help us to show that the money given to us for running the parish or for specific aims such as youth or building work was used for those purposes. As PCC members we are responsible for the money, how it is looked after and for providing clear information about all of the money that belongs to the church.
Accounts training and templates