The faculty procedure, even for the most straightforward case, is likely to take up to 3 months. Parishes are advised to allow plenty of time to achieve their plans. Details of the DAC meeting dates for the current year are available at DAC Meetings 2016 and cases for consideration should be with the DAC Secretary by not later than 7 days before the date indicated for each meeting. The Committee may ask for further information or for clarification of points, or for other reasons adjourn the matter before reaching a decision. Attention is drawn to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (“FJR 2015”), and in particular to section 4.2 which sets out the information the DAC will require before an initial application for the DAC’s advice can be given formal consideration.

It can often be very helpful for parishes to consult with the relevant Amenity Societies either before or during the consultation process with the DAC, and in many cases this is now required by Schedule 2 of FJR 2015. This will enable the views of the Amenity Societies concerned to be taken into account, and their expertise can often be very helpful. Consultation with the Societies is normally required before the Chancellor can consider the faculty petition, so early consultation can help to avoid delays later on in the process.

Once the DAC has considered the application, assuming that it has all the information which it needs, the papers are returned to the Diocesan Registrar, who then invites the applicants to submit a formal petition. It usually takes between a week and ten days for this stage from the date of the DAC meeting, depending on the volume of business dealt with at the DAC. The petitioners then need to allow at least 28 days for the display of notices of the proposed works before returning the petition to the Registry. Notice of many faculty petitions is also now required to be given on the Diocesan website (see Diocese of Norwich) and this notice will also be displayed for a minimum of 28 days to enable representations to be submitted in connection with proposed works.

If consultation with relevant Amenity Societies is required, but has not yet taken place, the Registrar will direct that the parish should obtain the views of the Amenity Society or Societies before the papers go to the Chancellor. This consultation can take place during the 28 day period whilst the public notices are displayed, but it can sometimes take longer for the Societies to respond, so consultation earlier in the process can help to avoid delay at this stage. Early consultation can also enable the advice and views of the Amenity Societies to be taken into account – they will frequently have very helpful expertise available to enable parishes to make the best of their proposals.

It may also be necessary to consult with the Church Buildings Council in cases where the church or its contents are of particular significance (Section 9.6 of FJR 2015 ) and consultation may be directed by the Chancellor if this would be helpful. Section 9.8 of FJR 2015 sets out the procedure for consultation with the Church Buildings Council, making it clear that the CBC normally has 21 days to respond when approached.

Once the Registrar has received the petition back, the papers are sent on to the Chancellor (or, for some minor matters, to the relevant Archdeacon), and if the petition is granted, it is possible that the Faculty can then be issued within a week or so. If a faculty is granted, the Registrar provides the parish with its copy and instructions about the action which then has to be taken, including returning the certificate of the completion of works when the work is completed.

A faculty permitting works to be undertaken will normally be valid for 12 months, but the Chancellor may specify a shoretr or longer period. Where the parish thinks that the works will take longer, an extended faculty may be sought, but this should be made clear in the application and the Chancellor will normally be pleased to grant a faculty allowing longer for the works to be completed.