Section A. Ministry

A19. Common Tenure


The introduction of Common Tenure, on 31 January 2011, was a change to the way in which clergy and stipendiary lay workers will hold their Ecclesiastical Offices.

Until then, clergy could have very different terms of service to each other, for example between Priests in Charge and Incumbents. The new legislation changed this; it is part of a framework of terms of service that brings security, clarity, and the opportunity for people to work together to encourage and support the clergy's ministry. It also brings the same framework to support stipendiary licensed lay workers.

Under Common Tenure, clergy and licensed stipendiary lay workers are provided with a Statement of Particulars and a Role Description setting out a broad framework of expectations. Rights under Common Tenure include a formal grievance procedure, a capability procedure, and office holdersshould have a Ministerial Development Review at least every two years. Our diocesan Ministerial Development Review scheme (see Paper A2) encourages the selection of a Lay Consultant from the approved diocesan list in the intervening year.

Many clergy moved to Common Tenure automatically. The exceptions are clergy with freehold office who will move onto Common Tenure when they next take up a new position or sooner if they choose. Unless they opt in before, Rectors in team ministries will need to move onto Common Tenure before their current fixed term expires in order to remain in the same office.

There’s a Common Tenure section on the Church of England website.

The legislation for Common Tenure includes:

  • The Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009
  • The Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations 2009

both of which, together with any updates, can be found via the Common Tenure web link above.

January 2015