The DAC is a statutory committee which provides advice at Diocesan level, especially to parishes, the Diocesan Chancellor and the Archdeacons in respect of church buildings and other places of worship, their contents and churchyards.
The duties of the Committee and its constitution are governed by the current Faculty Jurisdiction Measure and Rules. Faculty jurisdiction has been in place for more than two centuries, but became more regulated during the 20th century. The current Rules are comprehensive, and the faculty procedure and role of the DAC are well defined.
Members of the DAC are appointed by Bishop’s Council for their knowledge and expertise in the care and use of places of worship.
The Committee must consist of a Chair, the Archdeacons of the Diocese, and not fewer than twelve other members who between them have the necessary knowledge of the history, development and use of church buildings; knowledge of Church of England liturgy and worship; knowledge of architecture, archaeology, art and history; and experience of the care of historic buildings and their contents.
Currently, in addition to the Chair and three Archdeacons, the DAC membership comprises a number of Conservation architects, two conservation surveyors, a liturgical adviser, a lay member of Diocesan Synod, an organ adviser, an adviser on electrical and mechanical services, an adviser on church monuments, a member appointed after consultation with English Heritage, and a member appointed after consultation with the National Amenity Societies.
The DAC membership is supported in its role by a number of consultants, who can advise on specialist matters such as lightning protection, bells, works of art, stained glass, trees and archaeology.
The Committee plays an important role in advising on faculty matters, both informally, when giving advice to parishes on applications and formally when advising the Chancellor on petitions for faculty. It is important to remember that the DAC only acts in an advisory capacity; the final decision about a faculty petition is made by the Diocesan Chancellor.
The Committee or individual members may also advise the Archdeacons or Diocesan Chancellor about other matters which do not require a faculty.