You are here . on the pale blue dot

Blog notes

Anonymous comments for publication must include a pseudonym.

They should be 'on topic' and not involve third parties.
If pseudonyms are linked to commercial sites comments will be removed as spam.
The blog owner is unable to ‘unfollow’ Followers.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Discretionary funds

Original design: Faizan Dawood
Discretionary Funds [Guidance from the Church of England] 

Care for those in need is an essential feature of Christian discipleship and an important part of the Church’s work. At the same time this work needs to be effectively managed. In the past people in need have turned to the clergy for help from Discretionary Funds. This role for the clergy is no longer appropriate.
It is important that there should be the closest possible working relationship between the Church and other agencies (Social Care Services etc.) in responding to calls for help. At national level there is great concern for the safety of the clergy and there is need to be aware of the danger if clergy are seen as dispensers of cash. 
Inevitably with discretionary funds there is need for confidentiality (usually between incumbent and churchwardens), but in these days of much closer scrutiny by Charity Commissioners, Inland Revenue, etc. There is increasing need for openness. The greater the degree of confidentiality, the greater is the suspicion of the possibility of misappropriation. 
For the above reason any Incumbent’s Discretionary Fund should cease forthwith and should be replaced by a system of discretionary help provided on a non-cash basis as recommended in “Clergy security: A Discussion Paper”, issued by the Advisory Board for Ministry. Every effort will be made to work in partnership with Social Services or other appropriate agencies. 
If the PCC decides that there could be circumstances when financial contributions from the PCC funds could be deemed appropriate, clear procedures need to be in place for authorising such payments. It should be clearly understood that no payments of this kind can be authorised by any single person. Any discretionary payment needs to be authorised in writing by at least two of a nominated group of people who should then not sign the cheque for the payment they have authorised. For audit purposes a receipt should be obtained in all cases and this should be filed with the signed authorisation for the payment and a photocopy of the completed cheque. Such payments in total should be included in the annual Statement of Financial Activity (“SOFA”).

The following paragraph is all I can find for the Church in Wales:

The PCC’s responsibilities are not limited to the eight areas set out above (see here). Specific mention is made (Chapter IVC section 8(4)) that, with the exception of Special Trusts and the Incumbent’s discretionary fund, parish finance should be under the control of the PCC. The PCC is a channel of communication between the parishioners and the Bishop.

One anonymous diocesan commentator under the previous entry, subsequently using the pen name Lawabiding complained "Whether it's moaning about Women, Bishops, Assistant Bishops, those who try and drag the church into the 21st Century, Ancient Briton and its followers always have some kind of axe to grind." 

It seems to me and to other commentators that there is a legitimate axe to grind here. This is not only for transparency but for the protection of clergy. If the bishops really want to drag the Church of Wales into the 21st century they should at least get their priorities right and follow the example of the Church of England. 

The amounts are not trivial. According commentators the Llandaff Diocesan Accounts show a grand total of £243,511 for the years from 2005 to 2013:

Year   Mission Fund    Discretionary Fund    Total
2005  £ 6,488              £ 11,985                     £ 18,473
2006  £ 3,911              £ 12,202                     £ 16,113
2007  £ 3,791              £ 17,556                     £ 21,347
2008  £ 6,077              £ 18,083                     £ 24,160
2009  £12,976             £ 18,627                     £ 31,603
2010  £12,922             £ 18,720                     £ 31,642
2011  £11,461             £ 19,095                     £ 30,556
2012  £15,196             £ 19,095                     £ 34,291
2013  £16,231             £ 19,095                     £ 35,326

This is not to suggest that funds have been misappropriated, rather it is the case that, as the Church of England recognised some time ago, "This role for the clergy is no longer appropriate". Meanwhile the long suffering parishioners are asked to give more!


  1. Common sense and best practice.
    Lawabiding may think it's "bitchy" but doesn't appear to dispute the figures.

    Keep following the money.

  2. Is there a date of publication for the guidance quoted above please AB?
    I'm wondering just how far His ++Darkness is behind the times.

    1. The document I used shows '2012' on page 3. Sorry I can't do better than that. Perhaps another reader can help please.

    2. Ancient Briton, you quote the figure of £243.511, for Llandaf Bishops Discretionary Fund for the period of 2005 - 2011.A period of 6 years in total.

      Again I direct you to the unlawful proceedings of the Provincial Court of the Church in Wales held at Caernarfon in 1997 where £250.000 was squandered in one week alone and rising to £305.000 within 12 months, (Scandal and Offence. Google).

      There has never been a breakdown of what and who were paid out of the coffers. Only that of the defendant, the former vicar of Benllech, whose defence of £70.000 was paid for by the Board of Finance. 'How great thou art' Barry boy, 'How great thou art'.

      We know nothing of the acknowledged financial maintenance of their principle witness covering a period of 12 months and possibly more. The monies spent on a team of private investigators and their hotel expenses at the Anglesey Arms Hotel Menai Bridge. The media, in particular two corrupt journalists, Mathew Mervyn Jones and now the obsolete Rowland Howard. The hired private security guards, (or bouncers for better word) present within HMC buildings at Caernarfon and the private security afforded to their principal witness, to ensure that she turned up in the first instance.

      Then there is the lucrative fees and expenses paid to a Deputy High Court Judge and two judicial office holders from Swansea moonlighting during law term. Furthermore, since perjury in kangaroo proceedings becomes an act of fraud, what of the offer made by 'Barry-Vonbangher' to the then vicars wife, prior to a much celebrated but fraudulent and false affidavit. All this, acted out within the public domain, and more, during the reign of 'Vonbangher'.

      The Charity Commissioners at the time who claimed that they were given the final figure only, maintained it would be the Church in Wales' responsibility to provide the breakdown. Pigs will fly Ancient Briton, pigs will fly.

      One could easily have been forgiven for thinking that we were witnessing a murder trial, only it was plainly obvious that here was just another event of Meistr Vonbangher saving his own skin.

      Roll on 2020. Bet you cant wait lads?

    3. Thank you AB, 2012 it seems to be.
      Consider this.

      'He served as a parish priest in Newport and Llanmartin, later becoming Chaplain at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire.In 2000, he was appointed Chaplain to the Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams. Cameron was appointed as Director of Ecumenical Affairs by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in 2003, becoming Deputy Secretary General in 2004. He was Secretary to the Lambeth Commission that wrote the Windsor Report. In this role, he was described by The Times as "the top canon lawyer who helps run the headquarters of the worldwide Anglican Communion", and it was also said of him that "although his name is not widely known outside the church, he is arguably the most influential clergyman behind the scenes within it". His work for reconciliation in the Anglican Communion led to the award of an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Episcopal Divinity School, Massachusetts. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow in Canon Law at Cardiff University. He was awarded the Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 27 March 2009.'

      It is inconceivable that +Gregory would not have known about the C of E Guidance on Discretionary Funds (after all we know the Church moves at a snails pace and the drawing up and approval of them would have taken years).

      And yet, in the same year the C of E guidance is issued, +Gregory appears to have done the exact opposite to the guidelines and established a Bishop's 'discretionary' fund of £16,135 in St Asaph where none previously seems to have existed!

      In what universe could this be justified?

  3. Church of England diocesan bishops generally have discretionary funds, but on a much smaller scale (typically £5,000 a year) which is provided and managed by their diocesan board of finance.

    1. Llandaff Pelican1 July 2014 at 09:02

      And... to further amplify Caerdydd's point... they are presented for annual audit and appear in the diocesan annual report and accounts. I know of at least one bishop who notifies HMRC of payments from his. In other words, there is full and transparent accountability. Are Byzantine Barry's band of compliant poodles now getting it?

    2. Quotes below from 'Lawabiding' on the previous thread.


      Does s/he fail to see the irony in s/he having also become a 'keyboard warrior'?

      <<1) The Archbishop's Discretionary fund. If you are all so concerned about exactly where the money has gone, why not contact Llys Esgob and ask for information? That would probably involve saying who you are, so I would imagine it won't be a popular choice. >>

      Who produces the accounts which are the subject of this debate?
      Llys Esgob?
      No, they are produced by the Llandaff Diocesan Board of Finance, the responsibility for the expenditure of Diocesan money lies with the DBF and therefore the questions are quite properly directed at the DBF.
      The facile attempt to deflect scrutiny away from the Llandaff DBF to Llys Esgob tell us that the questions posted on this blog are hitting the bullseye.
      I wonder if 'Lawabding' would be so bullish if Martin Shipton were to start making telephone enquiries about ++Bazza's £35k per annum 'discretionary' fund?

      'Lawabiding' seems to be as ignorant of the principles of checks, balances, receipts, book-keeping audit trails and best practice as s/he is of Matthew's Gospel.

      Keep following the money indeed!

    3. Of course it won't be a popular choice: anyone who asks will face a ton of ordure being heaped upon his head. That's how a corrupt system works - threaten those who ask questions, and all is kept quiet.

    4. The longer this goes on, the more suspicious it is all becoming. If there is nothing to hide, then a press statement explaining that the CinW signs up to best-corporate financial practice and governance, plus the publication of the discretionary accounts held by each of the diocesan bishops, would close the matter down. However, the silence is deafening. Can these bishops be relied upon to be custodians of the assets we have entrusted to them? Remember, those monies come from the hard earned cash we put into the offertory plate each week. The time to call for resignations is fast approaching.

    5. Cheering for Bill1 July 2014 at 13:48

      Remember how Rev Bill Barlow was treated by the despot last year?
      Hauled up in front of His ++Nastiness for a dressing down with Rev Roger Dixon as a witness.
      Bill's crime?
      Telling the truth without giving Bazza a chance to massage and manipulate it.

    6. Joseph Golightly1 July 2014 at 18:12

      £5000 is immaterial in the accounts of a diocese. Highly unlikely to get a mention in my opinion. If you want to know where £5000 has gone I would suggest that is taking your eyes off the real situation.

    7. The figures are all relative, and it is the manner in which they are managed which is important. You forget Joseph Golightly that the CinW is very small, the whole province has a membership which is smaller than one of your former English dioceses, such as Southwark. So £5000 is a lot to us. No doubt a spare £5k would be regarded as a princely sum by your Ordinariate group!

    8. Joseph, if it was only £5k I might be tempted to agree with you concerning the amount, but the principle still remains that ALL monies should be clearly accounted for regardless of the sums involved.

      Sadly, with less than 30,000 attendees at Church each Sunday, the province of Wales in its entirety is the size of a large English diocese.

      I was astonished at the figures when they first appeared on this blog and have checked them for myself. On the face of it, it appears that from 2005 to 2013 His ++Darkness got through £243,511 in "discretionary" spending (plus a further £71,958 under the heading "miscellaneous").
      That's an average of £27,057 "discretionary" and £7,995 "miscellaneous" every year in the Llandaff Diocese alone.
      For 2012 in Llandaff, the Bishop's Mission Fund was £15,196, Bishop's Discretionary Fund was £19,095 and the "Miscellaneous" amount was £36,834. Total £71,125.
      In Llandaff alone for just 1 year!
      2013 was not quite as profligate but bad enough.
      Bishop's Mission Fund £16,231, Bishop's Discretionary Fund £19,095 and "Miscellaneous" £8,949. Total £44,275. Again, in Llandaff alone, just for 1 year.

      With these sums of money available to him ++Bazza could have prevented an Assistant Organist and 6 singers being put on the dole, but the reality is that the people of Llandaff Diocese have no idea what the money was spent on, or if indeed it was spent at all.

      For all anyone knows ++Bazza could be sitting on a fund of hundreds of thousands of pounds that he has squirrelled away during his time in Llandaff.

      Since Peter Atkins seems unwilling to answer the questions posed to him about these matters (and the Llandaff Diocese Easter Offerings lies published in the press), one wonders if Rowena Small will last any longer in ++Bazza's realm than Janet Henderson?

    9. Llandaff Pelican2 July 2014 at 13:59

      Ms Small, like Janet Henderson before, is coming from the Cambridge Theological Federation. I wonder if the two of them have had a fireside chat about Byzantine Barry yet? If they haven't, they should arrange it quickly before the Pickford's van arrives, the contents are unpacked in Cardiff, and it's all too late... If Ms Small has a shred of integrity, and there's good reason to believe she has, she will not tolerate the shenanigans in Llys Esgob for very long.

    10. Oh dear, another lady from outside charmed by His Darkness and wooed into his dysfunctional diocese! I wonder how long it will be until she releases that she’s been sold a pup? The press statement says that she will be moving to Bridgend, and is looking forward to walking or cycling to work. An insider, high up in the Diocesan Office commented that could be a long walk because His Darkness wants to move the Office into Cardiff and have his High Command situated in one central bunker. (Would that be an eco bunker?, Ed.) Perhaps at long last we are seeing the Fall of Berlin being played out in ‘Llandaffhausen Unterwelten’?

  4. @Teilo – ‘Common sense and best practice’ are indeed the watch-words that govern the working lives of those who receive and spend public money. Corporate governance, transparency, probity, accountability and evidence-based procedures are the way of modern management structures. All of these attributes are woefully absent when it comes to examining the bishop’s discretionary fund.
    Again I raise the same five questions regarding this secret fund (and those also held by the other CinW diocesan bishops).
    1) Where does the money come from?
    2) Where are the published audited accounts?
    3) Who administers the fund?
    4) Who has access to the fund’s monies?
    5) What has the fund been used for?
    It has just struck me that those five questions are very similar to the five questions the late Tony Benn used to ask of those in power.
    1) What power have you got?
    2) Where did you get it from?
    3) In whose interest do you exercise it?
    4) To whom are you accountable?
    5) How can we get rid of you?

    1. Collectively, the discretionary funds held by the 6 bishops of the Church in Wales could easily amount to over a million pounds,and all unaccountable and secret. Think of your local authority, or a bunch of politicians, being involved in such a scam and fraud.

      Time to wake up, smell the coffee, and 'Hang Them High'.

  5. 1662 published on the earlier thread the some interesting details found in the Swansea & Brecon DBF accounts:
    Bishop's Bishop's
    Expenses Fund
    2007 0 11,000
    2008 10,548 11,330
    2009 1,488 11,785
    2010 1,181 12,000
    2011 979 12,000
    2012 0 12,000
    Totals 14,196 70,115

    Grand Total £ 84,311

    Now readers, here's the interesting bit.

    On October 23rd 2013 the following press release appeared on the RB website
    "Putting your money where your conscience is" is the theme of a conference chaired by the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon this weekend.
    Finance: What’s Faith Got To Do With It? will focus on the real value of money and the ethics of how and where we invest it. The free event on Saturday (Oct 26) is organised by the Church in Wales with Fair Trade Wales, the international fair trade finance organisation, Shared Interest, Cardiff Business School and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR). Five panellists, one from each organisation, will explore the issues in a debate chaired by Bishop John Davies. Bishop John said, “Investment is a hugely important part of the stewardship of the resources of the Church in Wales because the returns on our investments play a large part in enabling the Church to function. However, it can’t be investment in just any way, shape or form and simply for the best return – we believe that all our investments must be ethical and we have an Investment Policy which sets high standards for us and our investment fund managers. Investing ethically doesn’t just mean avoiding companies we disapprove of. We can use the influence our investments give us to ask difficult and probing questions and to press companies to raise their standards. Just as we want our direct spending to do the most good possible, so we want our investments and the power they give us to reflect our Christian principles of care for the wellbeing of people and of the environment, at home and abroad.”

    So +John, here's the £84k question to you.
    On what did you spend the money?
    Will you answer the "difficult and probing questions" when we press you to "raise" your "standards"?

    Then some prescient words from the Rev Carol Wardman, the Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society no less (you'll love this one readers!).
    "“Follow the money” advised the sinister informant in All the President’s Men; and so the implications of the Watergate burglary were laid bare when reporters Woodward and Bernstein traced the flow of cash. And funnily enough, the link between where the money goes and what the true motives are, had already been noticed some 2000 years before. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” observed Jesus, advising his followers to examine their wallets as well as their consciences. So what do you spend your money on? Do you have a weakness for the latest techno-gismos, or fancy a flash car? Do you find that simply walking past a department store causes tops or shoes to leap into your arms? Are you unlikely to begrudge spending on your children’s education, whether it’s a prestigious pre-school or music lessons or baling out the post-university debt? Or do you reckon that you can’t beat a well-maintained property as an investment, and put most of your treasure into your home?"

    Why then do Peter Atkins and his anonymous stooge "Lawabiding" not like people on this blog following the advice of +John? And why does +John not practise what he preaches on the RB website?

  6. Well done Simple Simon – that’s three out of the six Bench Sitters with some interesting questions to answer about the management of their secret, unaudited “discretionary funds”. Can anyone find anything on the other three Bench Sitters? Not for the first time we may get a “full house” of hypocrisy. Follow the money!!!

  7. As requested Malcolm, here's the figures for the Monmouth Diocese.
    The amounts appear in their accounts under the heading "Bishop's Mission and General Fund".
    2007 £0
    2008 £6,000
    2009 £6,000
    2010 £6,000
    2011 £6,000
    2012 £6,000
    2013 accounts not yet published but I think you can all see the pattern here!
    In fairness to +Richard, he was only consecrated in September 2013 as reported at

    However, it will be interesting to see how he responds to these revelations in light of the advice offered to him by the preacher that day.

    If being "right in the middle of it and also right at the edge.” doesn't include telling His ++Darkness that all these "discretionary" funds must stop and be closed immediately, then he should resign too.

    That's 4 out of 6.



    The Church of England can do it. Even the Episcopal Church can do it. Proper regulation of discretionary funds is essential for the protection of clergy to avoid rumour and speculation.

    1. Not to mention opportunities for fraud.

  9. It appears that there are no Bishop's "discretionary" funds listed in the accounts for 2008-2012 available to the bishops of Bangor and St. David's, or at the very least, none that I could identify.
    As before, I would be grateful if someone else could verify this.
    Following on from AB's reporting the C of E guidance notes above, I also had a quick look at the 2013 accounts for the Dioceses of Hereford and Bath & Wells and they seemed to be untainted by such archaic arrangements.

    1. Could 'Beleaguered of Bangor' possibly shed any more light on the arrangements in place for episcopal "discretionary" spending in that part of the province please?

    2. Ancient Briton, the findings of your commentators certainly demonstrate that the Governing Body of the CinW is failing to hold the bishops to account. Is there provision under the Constitution for a member of the GB to request an extra-ordinary meeting of the GB? Such an EGM ought to: first, seek clarification as to how these unaudited episcopal discretionary funds work; and second, to propose that similar structures and procedures are put in place as exist in the CofE for managing diocesan and episcopal finances and making these funds transparent? The time has come to hold the Bench of Bishops to account.

    3. I understand your concern Malcolm but I would not favour such a route even if it were possible purely on the grounds of cost.
      This situation should be resolved by clergy taking matters into their own hands for their own protection by putting the matter before the Governing Body for resolution. That is its purpose, not a body to rubber stamp decisions of the Bench. Even the former Bishop of Oxford recognised this problem in the review his team carried out for the Archbishop in Recommendation 1 of the Church in Wales Review.

    4. If it is reliant on the clergy taking action then nothing is going happen. They are not a unified group with a common intent. They are easily divided and neutralised by the bishops. Many of them do not have freehold, so as priests-in-charge they can easily be silenced or moved. An alarming number are on part time arrangements, where half of their income comes from parish work and the other half is derived from a provincial or diocesan appointment. So if they upset their bishop they can loose their income with very little redress. Add to the melting pot those who have been bought off with canonries, archdeaconries and deaneries, plus those about to retire, then that fearsome array of clergy, to whom we look to engineer a rear guard action against the Bench, looks rather impotent and insignificant. But hope springs eternal! Perhaps, just perhaps, a few of them might be spurred into action?

    5. Beleaguered of Bangor4 July 2014 at 09:23

      Does the Bishop of Bangor know whether he has a discretionary fund? If he does, it is probably being administered on his behalf by the Dean. All I know is that he was on S4C giving a pathetic account of why there are falling numbers of clergy in this part of the world, while conveniently forgetting to mention that, on his watch, seven fluent (or near-fluent) Welsh-speaking clergy (that 20% of the stipendiary pool), all under the age of 45, have made a swift exit to the Church of England. As he is presiding over such significant decline, perhaps he doesn't need a discretionary fund!

    6. Sadly I have to agree with you Malcolm but I dared to hope that in the whole Province of Wales at least two or three maybe prepared to gather together at least for their own protection.

      Even sadder is the fact that this situation has festered for so long that the Church in Wales has become a virtual dictatorship supported in many cases by clergy who have had reverse Damascus revelations forced upon them.

      Yet again the laity may have to take the lead through their PCCs and put a motion to GB. If we have an expert reader who would like to draft one for publication here perhaps some will adopt it.

  10. Whilst I agree with you in principle AB, you and I both know such a path would likely meet at least three obstacles, all as a result of ++Bazza's medieval patronage system.
    First, as with the members of the bench, it might be a minority of the clergy who 1, have their own houses in order and 2, be willing to display sufficient backbone to stand up to His ++Darkness (plus three other C in W bishop's who appear to be up to something similar albeit to lesser extents). I would encourage Llandaff Pelican and Vicar in the Vale to start such a process as they have their houses in order, but how many of their colleagues in Llandaff Diocese do not?
    Second, assuming that clergy in sufficient numbers were forthcoming and willing to openly put their heads above the parapet, how likely would the Governing Body be to take any meaningful stand against the dark Lord? He seems to have packed the GB full of poodles who will pass virtually anything he proposes on the nod.
    Third, the other trustees listed in the annual accounts of Llandaff DBF might well be also be implicated in the sense of not questioning the "discretionary" funds and failing to put an end to it themselves.
    In line with 1662's posting above on July 1st, it also inconceiveable that ++Bazza's Ass Bishop would not have known about the C of E guidance but look whose name is number 2 in the list of Llandaff DBF trustees.
    And number 5 on the list is Peggy the chartered accountant!

    A far more effective route would be formal complaints to the Charity Commissioner and HMRC.
    I am looking into the possibilities for both.

    1. >>how likely would the Governing Body be to take any meaningful stand against the dark Lord?<<

      Given the thrust of this entry [snip: At national level there is great concern for the safety of the clergy and there is need to be aware of the danger if clergy are seen as dispensers of cash.
      Inevitably with discretionary funds there is need for confidentiality (usually between incumbent and churchwardens), but in these days of much closer scrutiny by Charity Commissioners, Inland Revenue, etc. There is increasing need for openness. The greater the degree of confidentiality, the greater is the suspicion of the possibility of misappropriation] it is difficult to see what defence the dark lord could have without implying that he had something to hide.
      If he and his bench sitters have any sense they will be working flat out to take the lead but the signs to date are not encouraging..

    2. Llandaff Pewster4 July 2014 at 13:16

      Therein lies another problem AB.
      It is not the the bungle of Bishops leading, it is the contributors to this blog.
      ++Bazza will not at all like being led, pushed or held to account for anything, but especially losing his personal access to large amounts of money, the spending of which seems to effectively be unscrutinised.

      The deafening silence from the 4 bishops and their Diocesan Secretaries speaks volumes and while it continues any inference drawn could only be negative.

      Since your blog has attracted almost as many viewings in less than 1 week as the total number of communicants at Llandaff Cathedral for the first 4 months of this year, worthy of mention is that on the newly published "music" schedule (another Llandaff joke) there is a Parish confirmation listed for Thursday 17th July.
      This presents an ideal opportunity to those attending to demonstrate their disapproval of ++Bazza's unaccountable "discretionary" funds and unaccountable spending.
      I encourage them to withhold their collection monies altogether that evening and giving double to the Cathedral on the following Sunday morning.
      I'm sure our Cathedral needs the money more than His ++Darkness does!

    3. A few more interesting figures Llandaff Pewster.
      After the "Llandaff Cathedral - Sneak" entry the AncientBriton blog received over 2,500 hits before the next entry. That has now risen to over 6,000.
      Diocesan staff objected to the entry claiming that the event had been a "great success". Looking at the linked video I see there have been just 353 viewings.

    4. Quite so AB.
      But don't forget that probably half of those 353 viewings were readers of your blog watching it to judge for themselves the veracity of the claim the day was a great "success".
      I must have watched it at least a dozen times in my attempts to provide your readers with as accurate a count as possible of those attending the 'Sneak a Peek' day.

  11. Llandaff Pelican5 July 2014 at 09:45

    Thanks for the Nudge, Episkopos. I am happy to facilitate the tabling of a proposal at the PCC that such collections are only contributed to audited funds, and the PCC secretary can write to Byzantine Barry to convey the Council's decision. As you can tell, we do things the Anglican way in this parish - by consensus!A simple resolution along the lines of 'That this Council resolves, for the furthering of the mission of the Church in Wales in the Diocese of Llandaff, within a framework of full accountability, that collections at confirmations and institutions in this parish will, after expenses have been defrayed, be donated only to those accounts which are the subject of annual audit and publication.'

    That's the easy bit! The more taxing question is: who else is willing to join the train? As you might imagine, a solo action like this will simply solicit one of those bad tempered 8.55am phone calls from The Green (he can't do much else, apart from make life difficult in other ways). But bullying is best confronted in numbers. The other factor is that, unless parish clergy are willing to support this in sufficient numbers, it will not get on to PCC agendas. On the other hand, even if a dozen of us did this and, somehow, a journalist got wind of the fact... well, that could make a difference. I wonder who will handle the press enquiries at 39 Cathedral Road?

    1. Llandaff Pewster6 July 2014 at 22:16

      Perhaps your colleague 'Vicar in the Vale' would be willing to join the train from the outset?
      This could be like the Magnificent Seven. Then there were two!
      If memory serves, it only took 23 clergy to sign a letter demanding an investigation into the rumours and allegations of Carl Cooper conducting an affair with his Chaplain for the two of them to resign in shame shortly thereafter.
      Assuming the viewing numbers for this blog are a reliable measure, this story is being followed by many hundreds of people. Without exception, everyone with whom I have discussed the subject of His Darkness' 'discretionary' funds and spending are truly appalled and I have heard +Bazza described as 'the most despised man in the Church in Wales' more times than I can count.

      I imagine (and hope most sincerely!) that there are many more than 2 clergy in this Diocese who are already doing the right thing in your Parishes. I believe this story will develop a momentum all of its own very quickly indeed. After all, which clergy in the Llandaff Diocese would be willing to have their own reputations tainted by refusing to support the call for the introduction of proper guidelines (like the C of E ones quoted above) and best practice? The public at large and the few remaining pew sitters will soon work it out for themselves.
      +Swansea & Brecon must be feeling a right prat now for pontificating on October 23rd last year on financial ethics and "Putting your money where your conscience is".
      Perhaps another good place to start would be to ask Rev Carol Wardman, (+John's Adviser for Church and Society) to make a public statement about her position on "discretionary" funds and remind her of her own advice-to "follow the money".

      Even if just one of you did as you suggest Llandaff Pelican, I think Martin Shipton at The Western Mail would be interested to know about it.

      "Evil surely triumphs where good men do nothing"-Edmund Burke.

  12. The Charity Commission is the best route. They investigated the (Anglican) Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament when its officers attempted to take £1m with them when they joined the Ordinariate, and made them return every penny.

    1. The Charity Commissioners were able to intervene in the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament case because the Confraternity is a registered charity. Commissioners would have no authority to investigate the secret, unaudited, discretionary funds allegedly operated by His Darkness and his brother Bench Sitters if those funds are not registered charities. This, I understand, is the case.

    2. Even if this is so I can not imagine that the Charity Commissioners would tolerate a registered charity operating undisclosed accounts alongside those which are properly audited and published. That is exactly the kind of thing which the Commission exists to regulate.

    3. Insider, I think the point 1549 is making is that if the so called 'discretionary funds' operated by the Bench Sitters are not under the auspices of a registered charity then the Charity Commissions have no jurisdiction to act. If monies were flowing from a registered charity into an unaudited, private 'discretionary' account then there may be questions to ask of that charity. However, if cash is flying off an offertory plate at a confirmation or ordination straight into the 'discretionary' fund then there may be no redress to the Charity Commissioners.
      Does anyone know what happened to the cash on the plate at the recent ordination at Llandaff Cathedral? As previous commentators have written, 'Follow the money!!!'
      Still no answers from His Darkness' office or the Diocesan Finance Board to our legitimate concerns as to how and where our hard earned cash is spent?
      I understand from a Chapter insider that His Darkness is currently away on a cruise, so no doubt he is considering his reply to our genuine concerns.

    4. The Charity Commission is not restricted to oversight of registered charities:

      "Some charities are not subject to regulation by or registration with the Charity Commission, because they are already regulated by another body, and are known as exempt charities. Most exempt charities are listed in Schedule 3 to the Charities Act 2011, but some charities are made exempt by other acts. However exempt charities must still comply with charity law and may approach the Charity Commission for advice.

      Some charities are 'excepted' from charity registration. This just means they don't have to register or submit annual returns, but are in all other respects subject to regulation by the Charity Commission. A charity is excepted if its income is £100,000 or less and it is in one of the following groups: churches and chapels belonging to certain Christian denominations; charities that provide premises for some types of schools; Scout and Guide groups; and charitable service funds of the armed forces.

      In addition, if a charity's income is below the normal threshold for registration (£5,000), then it is not required to be registered with the Charity Commission. Nevertheless it remains subject to regulation by the Charity Commission in all other respects."

      Make a complaint and see what happens!

    5. @Insider, I stand corrected! For those who want to get the ball rolling here is another link of interest

  13. So last month's begging letter from ++Bazza's golf caddy might have fallen on deaf ears.
    In this month's edition of The Bell there's no news of the promised "consultation" on the sticky subject of the choir, the "financial challenges" or any response to the request to "increase what you offer week by week". But unfortunately, according to a footnote, the kitchen is up the creek now too.

    Has no-one suggested to the Capon that he should try tapping up His ++Darkness for a handout from the "discretionary" funds he confiscates at confirmation and ordination services?
    Llandaff is ++Bazza's "Cathedra" after all.

    1. Unfortunately I foresee a couple of flaws in your cunning plan 1662.
      1. The caddy would need the grit to raise the touchy subject of the "discretionary" funds with the Dark Lord. One hears he's in a terrible rage over his alleged little scam coming to light, the figures being broadcast and (not least due to the failure of his Diocesan Secretary to meet the challenge of coming clean on the subject) them being widely discussed among the pew-sitters who are reportedly becoming less gullible by the day.

      2. If he made a contribution to the choir/financial challenges/kitchen appeal(s), the Dark Lord would be admitting to the existence and availability of his "discretionary" funds. The begging letters from other worthy causes would start and before he knew it, Bazza wouldn't be able to indulge his passion for jollies to Canada, the US, Hong Kong or Sweden.

      Meanwhile, +Gregory, +John and +Richard and their Diocesan Secretaries are strangely quiet. You'd think with his interest in ethical finances splashed all over the press last October +John would want to get his teeth into a good story to underline his credentials in such things.

  14. It seems other churches have gone through similar difficulties.
    I carried out a google search with the words "archbishop's discretionary funds" and among other things found

    This is quite a long read but a very interesting one. The parallels are uncanny.
    Of particular interest to me were these remarks.

    "As the OCA moves deeper into the exposure of financial scandal two things seem probable:
    1. For some clergy and laity reaction to the news that there is a scandal will be to deny its existence.
    2. For those who deny the existence of the scandal, evidence of it will be greeted by a vicious attack on those who present that evidence."

    The responses from Peter Atkins' anonymous "Lawabiding" colleague in the Llandaff DBF certainly fit.

  15. Llandaff Pewster8 July 2014 at 13:49

    Here's another one.

    "In order to balance the budget, the Council also removed the following: the bishop's discretionary fund grant,".

  16. Challenge to the Bishops of Wales8 July 2014 at 22:55

    Mrs Morrell is likely to be in a spin with His ++Darkness away on a cruise until next week. In the meantime, the smart money on the Cathedral green is that the bully boy will be trying to get his bishops to issue a unified collegiate statement that "we're all in this together boys".
    However that's not really true.
    +St. David's and +Bangor don't appear to have any questions to answer and therefore why would they nail their flags to Barry's sinking ship?
    +Monmouth could be forgiven for any problems with his DBF accounts (because he has only recently been installed and inherited the problem) as long he disbands his Bishops Mission and General Fund immediately.
    +Swansea and Brecon needs to produce £84k worth of receipts or a cash balance, particularly in view of his published statements about ethical investments in October 2013.
    +Gregory has a bigger problem in that he needs to explain why he introduced a "discretionary" fund in 2012 at the same time as the C of E published guidance notes indicating such funds should be abolished.
    Either he has to produce receipts with a cash balance or he should resign.

    And the final problem is Llandaff.
    The Ass Bishop is also likely to have known about the C of E guidance (as he, like +Gregory came from the CofE) and his position is also potentially untenable.

    If the Bishops of Wales have any integrity they will issue individual statements in Barry's absence without delay.

    1. @Challenge to the Bishops of Wales – I hold out very little hope for any action on this. His Darkness and the Bench Sitters will face this down because they regard themselves as invincible. They will be confident that there will not be a challenge from the clergy because the Review has exposed less than best financial practice amongst the way they take fees for calling banns, conducting weddings and officiating at funerals. (I was at a funeral only last week when the undertaker popped up at the end of the service with a fist full of cheques personally made out to the priest and others involved. The priest giggled and made light of the fact that the cheque was going straight into his account and not the parish books – the parish whose facilities he had used to conduct the funeral. The sooner the Review’s recommendations on that little scam are implemented the better.) So rather than just reporting the bishops to the Charity Commissioners, it is the whole CinW which should be investigated.

    2. Fees for certain services have always been paid to the clergy (not to the parish or to the diocese) and are their property. (The Church of England recently decided to change the law so that it could appropriate this source of income for the Diocesan Board of Finance). The clergy are office-holders, not employees of the parish or the diocese. No doubt the CinW will likewise find a way to get its hands on the money, leaving the clergy poorer than ever.

    3. @Anglicanus - the findings of the Review were quite clear that this practice must end, and that officiating at a wedding or funeral is not an extra but part of what is expected of a clergyman. As for the employment status of the clergy - that is long over due for reform.

    4. 1549 Don't take away what few shreds of independence the clergy still possess - if they cease to be office-holders in their own right, and become employees of the bishops, they will soon be looking wistfully at the greater joys across the border in the CofE - and planning an exodus of biblical proportions.

  17. Ship-to-Shore-Message8 July 2014 at 23:11

    A relative is enjoying a cruise holiday. Guess who has been spotted as the cruise chaplain? None other than His Darkness! Apparently after Holy Communion last Sunday His Darkness was seen making for the collection plate. My relative quipped, ‘Oh, the discretionary fund extends to the high seas does it?’ None too impressed, a rather miffed, ‘B****r off!’ was the reply!

    1. Captain Pugwash9 July 2014 at 09:58

      Ho, ho, ho! That is priceless!!!

    2. Roger (not the cabin boy)9 July 2014 at 11:42


      "This is not normally a paid position, but rather a working vacation in which the clergymen render their services for the opportunity to cruise. Generally the cruise lines assign clergy as cruise chaplains with free passage. Considered passengers, the clergy couples have a room assigned to them and all the amenities provided for passengers. They are responsible for their own transportation to the embarkation port and will not receive remuneration. However, they are richly rewarded because in addition to travel they also share in the joy of ministry. Meeting and ministering to people aboard ship is priceless."

      That word "priceless" is appearing on here almost as often as ++Bazza's favourite word "discretionary"!

    3. Ship-to-Shore-Message9 July 2014 at 12:55

      According to my relative on-board ship, last night was the cruise fancy dress party. The costumier had dressed His Darkness as Captain Black-Beard-the-Pirate. An open treasure chest was an accoutrement to the outfit. During the evening some wag who is a tax lawyer left his business card in the treasure chest with ‘Discretionary fund??!’ scribbled on the back of the card!

    4. Llandaff Pelican9 July 2014 at 17:55

      Will Byzantine Barry be declaring this on his tax return as either a 'benefit in kind' or a non-cash emolument?

    5. Lux et Veritas9 July 2014 at 23:37

      Llandaff Pelican, if you Google "Cruise Archbishop Barry Morgan", guess what comes up.
      His ++Darkness is on a cruise alright, but it's not a holiday.
      ++Bazza is moonlighting for Swan Hellenic as a guest speaker!
      (see the link
      Treasures of the British Isles, 01 to 14 July 2014.
      "THE MOST REVD DR BARRY MORGAN is Bishop of Llandaff and Archbishop of Wales, having previously been Bishop of Bangor. He read History at London and Theology at Cambridge. He has published a number of articles and books, his latest being a study of the work of R S Thomas. He is currently Pro Chancellor of the University of Wales."

      Has the Church in Wales given him permission to work for another employer?

      What other member of clergy in Wales would be allowed to abandon their flock to take two weeks working elsewhere?

      Is His ++Darkness directing any fees he gets for his speaking to his "discretionary" account too?

    6. It took me a while to find it, but here's the link to the Swan Hellenic brochure confirming the above.

      Turn to page 46 for the details.

      If Anna Morrell needs to get hold of her boss, here's where she'll be able to find him.
      Jul 10 Liverpool, England 8.00am 10.00pm
      Jul 11 Holyhead, Wales 7.00am 2.00pm
      Jul 12 Isles of Scilly, England 9.00am 9.00pm
      Jul 13 Falmouth, England 6.00am 5.00pm
      Jul 14 Sark†, Channel Islands 8.00am 2.00pm
      Jul 15 Portsmouth, England 8.00am

      But he's not the only one up to this cunning stunt.
      According to the following brochure, the Bishops of Wakefield and Norwich will be guest speakers on cruises in 2015.
      Maybe the C of E is not quite as squeaky clean after all?
      Can our friend "James" and his C of E bishop friends elaborate on this please?

    7. Have I understood the situation correctly?

      The Archbishop and +Swansea & Brecon pontificate in public about bankers bonuses, ethical investments etc whilst encouraging the little old ladies and widows to increase their weekly giving.
      Meantime, ++Barry arranges for Swan Hellenic to use him, his post and title as a sales & marketing tool in their brochures to attract paying customers on board in return for which he and his wife get a free two-week cruise (that would cost the normal pew-sitters a MINIMUM of £2,700-EACH!) during which he is also being paid fees as a part of the on-board entertainment for the paying punters?

      Is that about it?
      This all seems very seedy to say the least!
      Ancient Briton, perhaps the theme for your next thread/story could be
      "Yet More Embarrassing Questions For The Archbishop Of Wales"?

    8. Llandaff Pewster10 July 2014 at 15:45

      Lest Ye Forget.
      ++Bazza's call of 8th October 2013 to support the Christian Aid campaign against tax dodgers!
      The smiling face of Darth ++Insidious above the placard he's holding which states
      "Give Tax Dodgers Nowhere To Hide".

    9. His Darkness’ rank hypocrisy knows no bounds! The link provided by Llandaff Pewster to the article on the CinW website, with the photograph of His Darkness holding the ‘Give Tax Dodgers Nowhere to Hide’ placard, contains a wonderful quotation from His Darkness saying that he, ‘is supporting Christian Aid’s campaign for greater tax transparency to help uncover “phantom firms”.’ Well, Your Darkness, let’s have some transparency about your own ‘discretionary fund’ before you starting pointing the finger at others. It seems that the high seas are not wide enough to hide from the readers of Ancient Briton! Still no statement from Mrs Morrell? Nothing from Peter Atkins? And a deafening silence from the other episcopal hypocrites, +Swanse & Brecon and +St Asaph, who also have secret, unaudited slush funds but are quick to criticise bankers’ bonuses?

    10. I wonder how the staff in the office of the Llandaff Diocesan Board of Finance are all feeling about the revelations of His ++Disgrace moonlighting on a cruise ship while they are all toiling away in Bridgend?
      Anonymous "Lawabiding" doesn't seem so quick to jump to ++Bazza's defence now!
      Does s/he still think it's "between him, his conscience and God"?

    11. Blast-from-the-Past!!!10 July 2014 at 22:02

      Oh, what a wonderful irony that this coming Sunday His Darkness the Lord High Admiral will be cruising on the high seas on the Good Ship ‘Discretionary’ because it’s Sea Sunday! Well then m’ship mates I suggest that when the sun drops below the yard arm that you all pour yourselves a hefty rum pansy and drink a toast to His Darkness!

    12. Now, Llandaffmen all, whoever you may be
      If you want to rise to the top of the tree
      If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool
      Be careful to be guided by this golden rule
      Stick close to your desks and never go to sea
      And you all may be Rulers of the Barry's Navy

    13. Ship-to-Shore-Message11 July 2014 at 07:47

      My relative on-board ship reported that last night, as Grand Chaplain (Anglican-ish [!]) to the Cruise, His Darkness was invited to dine at the Captain’s table. Initially he felt at home thinking that he was the guest of honour. Unfortunately the archiepiscopal ego was severely ‘holed below the water line’ when it became apparent that the guest of honour was a retired Commodore. Worst was to follow – the cruise liner Captain had previously served under the old Commodore when both had been seconded to… guess where? NATO headquarters! The Commodore (who must have been tipped off over about His Darkness’ anti-NATO stance) spent the entire evening ribbing His Darkness. Such fun!

    14. Does sufficient cause for concern yet exist that His ++Darkness might be a student of the Peggy the Pilot Jackson school of accountancy and alleged method of "The taxman will never know"?
      Martin Shipton may be reporting next week that HMRC arranged a "Welcome Home ++Bazza" reception at 8am in Portsmouth on July 15th.

    15. This is the first time I have ever been invited to contribute to a blog. But all reasonable requests considered! My bishop friend is rather busy preparing for general Synod, but did point me in the direction of something called 'Common Tenure' which is, in effect, the conditions of service for C of E clergy. I am not sure if this is identical to what you have in Wales? Anyway, there is one 'entitlement' listed, viz: 'an entitlement to spend time on certain public duties other than the duties of the office, with the matter being determined by the bishop if there is any dispute.' So who determines your Archbishop's entitlement to be a Swan Hellenic Chaplain? It seems we are back to that old chestnut again - ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE TOP (or lack of it). In my experience, there is nothing more calculated to provoke resentment among the hard working foot soldiers.

    16. I see that the list of clergy and other 'entertainers' includes ++Barry's accomplice Professor Lord (Richard) Harries of Pentregarth, "an Emeritus Gresham Professor and an Honorary Professor of Theology". Also the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres KCVO DD FSA among others.

    17. Thank you James, quite so.
      But do you happen to know how "certain public duties" are defined?
      And how could anyone raise a concern that might lead to a dispute for a Bishop to determine if the details of any such trip are kept concealed?
      The Swan Hellenic brochures seem to cover an 18 month period so details for each cruise would need to be planned anything up to 2 years in advance to appear in the brochures. I don't think it unreasonable to assume therefore that His ++Darkness has been planning his 'trip' and keeping it under wraps for perhaps 3 years!
      If ++Canterbury planned to undertake a 2 week cruise as a ship's chaplain & guest speaker under the heading of "certain public duties", would it be announced and, if any dispute arose, who would deal with it in the C of E?
      Would you happen to know what if any 'Guidance' does the C of E have for such trips in terms of PAYE, NI, benefits in kind, tax returns etc?

      You seem to have realised that "Standards in Public Life" don't appear to apply to the Archbishop of Wales.
      I seriously doubt that it will have even crossed his mind that using his title and position to obtain a free trip (way beyond the financial means of the vast majority of his flock) might be an issue, or that his second job might come to the attention of the long suffering Llandaff pew-sitters.

    18. Lux et Veritas11 July 2014 at 13:47

      There have been no Provincial Press Releases since July 1.
      Is Mrs Morrell's time, to the exclusion of all else, is being spent to trying to defend the indefensible?

    19. Llandaff Pelican11 July 2014 at 15:38

      I'm told she's been told to keep a low profile until it all blows over. Classic Byzantine Barry tactic: ignore the media, they'll go away, and we can get on with life much as we always have done.

      The Welsh-speakers among you will recall the old saying (much used by our grandparents) that, when we unexpectedly come in to some money, 'The Ship Has Come Home'! How apt for BB's life on the ocean-wave.

      By the way, I recall a bit of a rumpus some years ago about the Bishop of London being on a Swan Hellenic junket (admittedly as part of sabbatical leave). But at least he had informed his diocese what he was doing and where he would be.

    20. Form a different thread posted earlier this year on April 29th by Impeach the Bishop Now!!!

      "Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said today at a lecture in Rome,
      ‘What we hear over and over again, is that people want and expect utter honesty from the Church. Our people want to hear about it first from us and not from the media.’
      Now that is a very powerful message that His Darkness would do well to heed.
      Let’s emphasise part of that again.

      His ++Disgrace clearly wasn't listening.

  18. Llandaff Pewster11 July 2014 at 11:42

    Clergy contacts confirm they are aware Martin Shipton is onto the stories of the various Bishop's "discretionary" funds, the C of E guidance and +Bazza's moonlighting on cruise ships.

    Ideal opportunity for Llandaff Pelican, Vicar in the Vale and others to do act.
    Forget the RB, the GB, the DBF, the PCC.
    Express your opinions of ++Bazza's behaviour, on or off the record.
    Western Mail Newsdesk-02920 243607

    Meanwhile, how about a competition for next week's most apt and amusing headlines?
    "Collections For Cruises"?
    "Money for Minerva Maritime Mission"?

  19. Here is a very interesting read about unaudited accounts and discretionary funds from 1994/1995.

    Church, Identity, and Change: Theology and Denominational ...
    David A. Roozen, ‎James R. Nieman - 2005 - ‎Religion
    The Presiding Bishop's Discretionary Fund, which had been excluded from audit during the Cooke tenure, was returned to the annual auditing process.

    Start at page 228 and continue for 10 or 11 pages.

    Some fascinating insights about "Silos" that may ring a few bells in Llandaff.

  20. 17 years behind the times13 July 2014 at 21:19

    Discretionary Fund Guidelines
    The following guidelines were ratified by the Diocesan Council on December 10, 1997.

    Supporting information: Recently there have been problems throughout the Episcopal Church with the use of discretionary funds primarily due to a lack of control and accountability. Such problems have occurred in the Diocese of Newark. Many clergy and vestries/executive committees have taken steps to prevent such problems in the future. It would be helpful and supportive of these efforts to establish diocesan guidelines for the use of discretionary funds.

    These guidelines have been developed based upon the National Church's Manual for Business Affairs plus material developed by the Diocese of Rochester. The guidelines have been discussed with the executive committee of the Newark Clergy Association and the Clergy Ethics Committee. They had been sent to every rector/vicar, warden and treasurer for comment and were discussed at the November 15, 1997 Treasurer's Workshop.
    Resource Date: Dec 10, 1997

  21. A Church in Wales has received a legacy of £2.6m from a former parishioner:

    How long before Barry gets his hands on it?

    Place your bets....

    1. It's spreading outwards - already the diocese has snaffled it!

      How long before it reaches the archiepiscopal coffers?