The Diocesan Accounts Department fulfils a number of roles for the Diocese of Connor as well as a number of other church bodies.
Its principal role is to manage the resources of the diocese through budgets, reports and accounts together with controlling its banking and capital assets to enable the Diocesan Council and its committees to be as effective as possible in supporting and developing the church in the Diocese of Connor.
The great bulk of diocesan income is received through the General Fund assessment on all parishes. This is a complex mechanism designed to ensure that the cost of sustaining the diocese and its mission is shared proportionally – the stronger parishes contributing more than the weaker. The scheme is based on a rolling triennial assessment of the core income of each of the 94 units which make up the 74 parishes in the diocese.
The Department interacts with parishes at a number of levels and not just through the calculation and collection of the General Fund assessment. It transmits some of the directives and requirements of the central church in evident matters such as Safeguarding Trust, clergy pension charges, the setting of Diocesan stipend levels for each parish and locomotory expense allowances etc as well as dealing with less obvious things such as the Episcopacy Fund and Child Protection officers.
The Department acts as intermediary in the provision of Cover Duty for parishes affected by sickness or vacancy. It also advises and acts where the Diocesan Council wishes to assist parishes and projects though grant aid or other measures and plays a key role in allocating resources to the operating arms of the Vision Strategy.
A further recent role has been to assist in the negotiations between the church and the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland, a role which will continue beyond the final registration of all the parishes in the diocese.
Members of the Departmental staff are available to assist with particular issues in parishes and, whilst fully respecting the prerogatives of select vestries, are not infrequently asked to advise parishes struggling with financial and other concerns.
Parishioners may not be as familiar with some of the other activities of the Department, many of which impact parishes very directly through the management of the financial affairs of the Church of Ireland Trustees, the Down and Connor and Dromore Diocesan Board of Education and the Church of Ireland Orphans and Children Society for the Counties of Antrim and Down as well a host of smaller trusts and charities. It also manages the financial affairs of the Down and Dromore and Connor Joint Committee which operates Church of Ireland House on behalf of the two dioceses.
© Copyright The Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor 2017