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Are you really sure ? General lessons from the peer reviews in 2016

We have studied all of the reports from last year’s 22 peer review meetings to identify the common themes, the issues which several panels of peer reviewers highlighted.

Sending 22 reviewer panels to 22 dioceses yielded 22 sets of suggestions. But some suggestions came up several times and I’ve listed these below as eight questions. There are few surprises on the list and it may be tempting to race through it and say ‘I knew all that’. But ask yourself: are you really sure your diocese has got to grips with each issue?”

After looking at the suggestions made by peer reviewers in the 22 review reports from 2016, and grouping the suggestions, here are eight questions which capture the most-commonly raised topics. We expand on the first four; we’ll cover the other four soon.

  1. Where is your delivery plan?
  2. Have you got enough strategic capacity to deliver your plan?
  3. How can you build and maintain excellent communication with your parishes?
  4. What do you need to do to ensure your finances are sustainable, this year and into the medium term?
  5. How are you going to re-think the way you deploy your clergy?
  6. What are you going to do to encourage, facilitate and drive church planting and other fresh expressions of Church?
  7. What more can you do to increase the pipeline of ordained and lay vocations?
  8. How can you make mission and growth flourish through Church of England schools?

We’ll look at the latter four of these questions next month, but here we expand on the first four by looking in more detail at the suggestions made by reviewers.

Where is your delivery plan?

  • which names this year’s absolute priorities
  • which allocates resources to support the change you want
  • which aligns your functional work towards achieving the plan
  • which has been developed/tested with those who can enable (or de-rail) change, e.g. deaneries
  • which includes how you will monitor progress and who will unblock blockages

Have you got enough strategic capacity to deliver your plan?

Strategic capacity is

  • capacity to help you think strategically
  • capacity to help you plan carefully
  • capacity to keep you focused on your priorities as you implement your plans

How can you build and maintain excellent communication with parishes?

  • Describe, repeat and keep repeating your message; you probably haven’t reached more than half of your audience

What do you need to do to ensure your finances are sustainable, this year and into the medium term

This might include

  • increasing income from parishes
  • improving stewardship and individual giving
  • improving their medium/long term financial planning
  • improving their financial sustainability immediately or after national funding changes or when SDF programmes finish
  • changing their parish share system

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