Transparency of the House of Bishops

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in York from 5 to 9 July 2024. In addition to the Order of Business, a number of GS Misc papers are now online, and have been provided for information but not for debate in Synod. An earlier meeting considered the  Clergy Discipline Commission Annual Report 2024 (GS Misc 1386); below is a summary of the recommendations from another of these papers, Transparency of the work of the House of Bishops (GS Misc 1387). The interim report looks at the work of the Transparency Group and sets out the steps the House of Bishops has approved to be undertaken to increase transparency.

Recommendation 1:
Minutes of all meetings of the House of Bishops should be published on the relevant section of the Church of England website once they have been approved at the subsequent meeting. These should be minutes rather than transcripts.

Recommendation 2:
The House of Bishops will adopt a “maximum transparency” approach so that the analysis and information that the House has had to make decisions will be made available. In particular formal legal advice from the Legal Office or written advice from the Faith and Order Commission and other such groups should be provided to the General Synod as an annex to the relevant GS paper. The agenda for each House of Bishops meeting will be published with the circulation of papers. Papers to the House of Bishops should continue not to be published.

Recommendation 3:
The House of Bishops should continue to meet without public attendance, and should amend its standing orders to be honest that it is doing so, removing the fiction of public participation in Standing Order 13.

Recommendation 4:
The House of Bishops will propose changes to Canon H 3 and potentially other legislation to provide for acting diocesan bishops to vote at meetings of the House and General Synod. In advance of that chairs might ask acting diocesan bishops informally to indicate how they would have voted were they eligible to vote.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Transparency of the House of Bishops" in Law & Religion UK, 24 June 2024,

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