Saturday, 14 January 2012


I had fun yesterday fighting jobsworth bureaucracy! The Church is trying to open a new bank account – I won’t bore you with the reason. Churches have had charitable status for some time but only recently have we had to register with the Charities Commission. The bank as part of its processes wants to check the trustees of the charity. This is a reasonable procedure for small charities: I work with a few that are quite genuine but have a small group of trustees and operate from someone’s house. Our trustees are the members of the PCC and the bank was querying that the names supplied in the application form (in excess of 20) didn’t quite tie in with the list on the Charities Commission web site: correctly so because the site is as at the time of the return whereas the current membership of the PCC is slightly different. I couldn’t see why  a slight variation in the names made us a significant risk to the bank and so I challenged them. I was told that they needed the exact list and this was an FSA requirement. It was suggested that an alternative would be for our accountant to verify the list of trustees. When I said that we don’t have an accountant but asked if the Bishop could verify the list I was met with a stunned silence – then denial unless the Bishop is FSA registered!

So I phoned the FSA. The nice man there did some research and confirmed that there is no FSA requirement for banks to validate the full list of trustees: it’s a purely commercial decision. I reported this to the bank who is still trying to sort itself out. I’ll let you know the outcome.

But it’s like ’elth ’n’ safety: blamed for everything and causes common sense to go out of the window. Surely an established Church of England parish that has been around in some form for hundreds of years and can provide at least 20 names of its trustees can be trusted!

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