About the CNC

What is the role of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC)?

The CNC selects the candidate that the Church wishes to nominate as the next diocesan bishop of a vacant diocese. This nomination is made to Her Majesty The Queen through the Prime Minister.

By the end of their term of office, the current Central Members of the CNC will have been involved in the nomination of 17 diocesan bishops.

Who are the members of the CNC?

  • The Archbishops of Canterbury and York – who chair the CNC for vacancies in their province
  • Six representatives (from the twelve Central Members) elected by General Synod
  • Six representatives elected by the vacant diocese’s Vacancy in See Committee
  • The Prime Minister’s and Archbishops’ Appointments Secretaries (who do not have a vote and who facilitate the process)

Each CNC is able to decide whether it would be useful to co-opt an additional advisory member to the CNC if it is considered that the perspectives, cultures and stories of the diocese are not fully represented in the membership of that Commission.

There are some differences in the composition of the CNC when it is considering vacancies in the Sees of Canterbury and York.

What do the Central Members of the CNC do?

Central Members have a number of responsibilities:

  • Serving on the Commission for vacant sees and working with the Archbishops, the elected diocesan representatives, any co-opted member and the Prime Minister’s and Archbishops’ Secretaries for Appointments to discern who might be being called to serve the Church of God and the Church of England in a particular diocese at a particular time
  • Paying particular attention to the needs of the whole Church of England and its aspirations for its mission and ministry in making nominations
  • Bringing continuity to the deliberations of the CNC by sharing learning about particular candidates and understanding of the issues facing diocesan bishops in their leadership over the period of service
  • Overseeing CNC process within the frameworks provided by Standing Orders and mindful of the need for prayerful discernment in the context of good selection process
  • Providing an annual report to General Synod on work conducted during the year
  • Tending to their life together as a group so that they can flourish in their work

How often does the CNC meet?

The frequency of meetings for appointments depends how many vacancies there are. The CNC will meet three times for each vacancy:

  • A Zoom meeting (up to two hours, usually in an evening) to explore the ministry of the next bishop and prepare the draft role description for the vacancy
  • A one-day meeting to finalise the role description for the vacany and to shortlist candidates
  • A two-day meeting to interview candidates

In addition to the Commission meeting to consider specific vacancies, the twelve Central Members will meet twice a year with the Archbishops and the Appointment Secretaries to discuss and review how the CNC is operating.

Do I need to attend every meeting of the CNC?

One of the benefits of having twelve Central Members elected as a pair means that the workload will be shared amongst more people. We hope that will make it easier for people with e.g. working or family commitments to serve as a Central Member. Some employers have arrangements for some form of “Public Service” leave which can often be used to attend CNC meetings.

Each pair will decide between themselves who will join the CNC for a particular vacancy. The same members will need to support a whole vacancy (i.e. attend all three meetings as described above) rather than ‘mixing and matching’ in one vacancy.

What if neither member of a pair can make the dates for a specific vacancy?

The Standing Orders enable one of the other elected members from the same House to serve instead, or if that is not possible, for the Chair of the House of Laity or Prolocutor to nominate a substitute member from General Synod.

What happens if one person of the pair has to stand down?

Under the Standing Order changes agreed by Synod in July 2021, if a Central Member resigns their membership or is no longer eligible (e.g. because they are no longer a member of General Synod), the remaining member of the pair continues alone for the remainder of the term of office.

If the surviving member is not able to make the dates of a specific vacancy, then a substitute member can still be appointed as described above.

Is training available to support new CNC members?

An induction for the twelve Central Members will be held on the 19 - 20 September 2022.

The changes to the Standing Orders agreed by General Synod in July 2021 following the recommendations of the “Responsible Representation” report means that there will be some significant changes in how the Central Members undertake their responsibilities. As an obvious example, twelve representatives rather than six will mean that keeping connections between meetings will be much more important. There will inevitably be some learning on the job, and support will be provided to enable the Central Members to flourish in their role.

What is the wider context in which nominations of bishops are made?

The Vision and Strategy for the Church of England gives a framework for the nomination of diocesan bishops, and the latest Statistics for Mission will provide information on the current context.

The Five Guiding Principles as set out in the House of Bishops Declaration on the Ministry of Women as Bishops and Priests as agreed by General Synod are also fundamental to the life of the CNC.