Structure, governance and management

Since the middle of the eighteenth century (1747) this Charity has responded to the needs of “poor clergy” serving in what has now become the Diocese of Chelmsford.

Our day-to-day work is entrusted to a small group of voluntary officers who deal with emergency and compassionate grants as and when a qualifying need comes to their attention. They also administer the payment of grants triggered by altered circumstances such as the birth of a child, the death of a partner,

children’s various educational milestones, retirement from stipendiary ministry, and so on.

All three officers have been members of the clergy, but this is by no means a requirement.

Objects of the Charity

The Objects of the Charity (as agreed by the Charity Commission in February 2020) are to make payments towards the relief of poverty and financial hardship or disadvantage, under one or more of the following heads:

Grants to meet exceptional expenditure occasioned by sickness, accident, or domestic crisis;

Grants to relieve financial hardship related to household and family expenditure; for the benefit of

  1. those persons serving in the Diocese of Chelmsford who shall, for the time being be: beneficed clergy, or hold an Episcopal licence to any public ministry, or hold an Episcopal grant of permission to officiate;
  2. those persons formerly within category (1) above who have not subsequently been admitted to a pensionable ministerial office in the Church of England (other than in the diocese of Chelmsford) nor engaged in regular public ministry as a member of any other religious body to the preclusion of their capacity to accept an invitation to undertake such a ministry in the Church of England;
  3. dependents of persons currently in category (1) or (2) above;
  4. surviving dependents of deceased persons who at the time of their death were in category (i) or (ii) above and who continue to be in demonstrable need of ongoing support.

Governance of the Charity

Following a review of our Governance, and with the approval of the Charity Commission, our Governors who acted in the year have, from 1st April 2018 became trustees who have reviewed our activities on a quarterly basis. A formal meeting of trustees is held every September to approve the accounts for the previous financial year (1st April to 31st March). The AGM, in early October each year, doubles as an open meeting with our local representatives – ideally two from each Deanery, one a member of the clergy and the other a lay person, who help us by encouraging local support and alerting the officers to potential beneficiaries.  We receive reports, adopt the accounts and, after a time of group work hear feedback from the Deaneries and have a general discussion on the work of the Charity.

The Trustees

The trustee body is made up of

  • The Bishop of Chelmsford (President of the Charity) and the three Area Bishops of Barking, Bradwell and Colchester
  • The Archdeacons of Barking, Harlow, West Ham, Chelmsford, Southend, Colchester and Stansted
  • Two representatives of each episcopal area, one clerical, one lay, appointed by the Area Bishops
  • The three officers of the charity

The Officers

Currently there are three honorary Officers: a Treasurer, a Secretary, and an Assistant Secretary. They are appointed by and hold office “during the pleasure” of the trustee body, as confirmed in a letter of authority from the President of the Charity. They receive no payment or honorarium; however, reasonable expenses are reimbursed according to an agreed scale.

It is vital for all the officers to relate well to each another, given the need for flexibility in the discharge of functions (i.e. they ensure seamless continuity by covering for one another in the event of unavoidable absences). The officers maintain regular contact by email and telephone. They meet four times a year to formally acknowledge recent actions and to review forthcoming requirements as per an established yearly cycle of activities.

These meetings also provide an opportunity for the Officers to discuss a wide range of matters concerning the effectiveness of the Charity so that any areas of concern may be brought to the attention of the Governors.

The role of Treasurer

Following the resignation of the previous treasurer on July 31st, 2020, some of the duties are being carried out by accounts for a fee, while other duties have been shared among the trustees, as follows

Bought in services from Community 360 

  • Keeping up-to-date records of financial transactions using Sage software currently owned by the charity
  • Analysing the donations made by individuals and by PCCs (by deanery) compared with recent years. (NB. The records are currently held on Sage software which is programmed to keep this analysis up to date)
  • Analysing grants made, and especially the summer round of grants, making comparisons with recent years
  • Preparing reports for trustee meetings (four times a year), including
    • Interim accounts
    • Outturn report
    • Latest analysis of donations and grants
  • Preparing the annual report and annual accounts for the AGM (in early October each year)
  • Claiming Gift Aid

Other tasks, shared out among the trustees

  • Paying out grants once due process has been followed, and reporting to the accountant
  • Banking donations sent by cheque, and reporting to the accountant 
    • Donations from PCCs or individuals
    • Collections made at special services (e.g. induction, licensing, or confirmation services)
  • Donations given by BACS. These are kept under review using online banking; and reporting to the accountant
  • Receiving notifications from Bishopscourt of appointments, retirements and deaths (this is currently the secretary)
  • Encouraging PCCs to make a collection for the Charity at a special service (e.g. an institution)
  • Encouraging donations from parishes by sharing an analysis of donations when compared to previous years,
  • Preparing an annual budget for the trustees’ consideration 
  • Decisions on whether a grant should be made, where this has been delegated by the trustees to the officers of the Charity

The role of Secretary

The chief responsibility of the Secretary is to support the Governors in discharging their various responsibilities for administration and management of the Charity. Working in co-operation with the other officers, office holders and supporters of the LMDC Charity.

The Secretary is directly responsible for:

  1. Ensuring that meetings (of both trustees and officers) are effectively organised and minuted (NB the Assistant Secretary minutes the Officers’ meetings);
  2. Ensuring that the annual operational cycle of the Charity is maintained and appropriate records maintained (especially with regard to both the business and domestic arrangements for the AGM);
  3. Upholding any legal requirements such as those based on the governing documents and the wider requirements of current charity law such as those relating to GDPR, transparency and compliance, plus issues of risk management and continuity planning;
  4. Securing expeditious handling of all communications and correspondence. These can include
    • calls for help or guidance 
    • welcome letters to clergy moving into or within the diocese,
    • thank-you letters in response to major donations,
    • contributing narrative sections to the Annual Report prepared by the Treasurer,
    • drafting, publishing and distributing a ‘popular’ version of the statutory Annual Report, 
    • maintaining contact with local representatives of the Charity in each Rural/Area Deanery,
    • acting as electronic postmaster and webmaster for the Charity.

The role of Assistant Secretary

The chief responsibility of the Assistant Secretary is to manage the process by which our “summer round” of grants (for children; birth; school uniform clothing; higher education; educational trips; and interview visits to colleges) is paid to those who qualify. This involves:

  1. Recommending (to the officer group) the size and scope of these annual grants and their associated means-tested thresholds, in the light of financial guidance from the Treasurer;
  2. Preparing and distributing application forms, including information regarding size and scope of grants as determined by the officer group;
  3. Processing completed application forms and resolving anomalies (in consultation with fellow officers when necessary);
  4. Preparing a final officer-approved list of grants for payment by the Treasurer;
  5. Monitoring feedback from beneficiaries and bringing any appropriate recommendations for future changes or adjustments to the attention of the Governors at their Annual Court of Audit.

In addition, the Assistant Secretary minutes the meetings of the officers and provides ad hoc cover for the Secretary of the Charity.