The Church of England has instituted a searchable online database containing basic information for all clergy within the church who hold a bishop’s licence to officiate (PTO).
The announcement of the database was made in a press statement from 12 May.
“The Register is an important development in strengthening safeguarding in the Church and was a recommendation in the 2017 Gibb Report which looked into the Church’s handling of allegations against the late Bishop Peter Ball.
“Having a single, reliable, up to date register will enable clergy, churchwardens, and members of the public to check the bona fides of all clergy with licence or permission to officiate.
“The National Register shows an individual’s title and name, how they are engaged with the Church of England (current post/licence) and the diocese, area or benefice to which they are licensed. The Register does not include contact, biographical or historical information.
“At the time of launch, the National Register includes those who are ordained, expanding to include lay ministry in due course.
William Nye, Secretary General for the Archbishops’ Council, said:
“Before now, PTO and licence details were held in each diocese but not published nationally. From today, the public can search the register to verify whether someone has PTO or licence to hold office, in much the same way as you can search for a qualified medical professional on the national medical directory.
“The register will be updated on a daily basis and so we encourage all active clergy to check their details and contact their diocesan office if their details need updating.
“Establishing the National Register has been a large and complex undertaking and has only been made possible thanks to colleagues in each diocese and the National Church Institutions working together over the past two years to achieve this major step forward. I would like to offer my thanks to everyone involved for their hard work and collaboration, particularly given the challenges of Covid-19, and also to clergy for their cooperation in making the creation of the register possible.”
The National Register contains information about thousands of clergy. If anyone on the Register believes that an element of their entry is not correct, they should contact their diocesan office or email the People System team.
The Register is part of a wider programme of work to bring people data, systems and processes together across the Church of England. The information presented in the National Register is held in a people system which will, in time, also hold a range of data on lay staff of Church bodies, including the National Church Institutions. As such it contains standard demographic questions, which are optional, for all users. As well as being the data source for the National Register, the people system will also manage the payment of clergy stipends.