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Chair of Finance Committee and Chapter Member Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral Chapter is seeking a colleague as Chapter Member and Chair of the Finance Committee to join them and the wider team in developing the Cathedral’s life as a place of worship and service, a heritage site of remarkable beauty, and a globally recognised destination for pilgrims and visitors.

  • Location: Wells Cathedral Offices, BA5 2UE
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 10th June

Who we are

Wells Cathedral

Set in the medieval heart of England’s smallest city, Wells is the earliest English Cathedral built in the Gothic style. The Cathedral has an international reputation and is the recipient of several Tourism Excellence Awards.

Known as England’s most poetic Cathedral, Wells has deservedly gained an enviable reputation for its lovingly maintained Gothic architecture, its world-class music, and its ministry of welcome to some 300,000 visitors each year as well as the 150,000 or so people, drawn from local, national, and international audiences, who come to the Cathedral for services, concerts, lectures and a wide range of other special events and activities.

Underpinning the life, worship and ministry of the Cathedral is a multi-faceted organisation where much is achieved with modest resources. The work of the Cathedral is sustained by around 75 staff, many of whom are part-time, and some 370 volunteers. They oversee and deliver a broad and diverse tapestry of activities which includes a world class choir, a works and estates department, a team of virgers, a library and archives team, a programme of education, learning and outreach, finance, HR, governance and administration functions, volunteer management and trading companies.

Funds to support the Cathedral as a place of worship and mission (involving maintaining our buildings, supporting those in liturgical roles, clergy, musicians and lay staff, and enabling the Cathedral buildings to be open to all every day of the year) come from a variety of sources.

These include congregational giving, legacies, income from visitors, sums generated by trading activities, income from investments and property, donations from fundraising appeals by individuals, trusts, and foundations, as well as through the generous support of the Friends of Wells Cathedral, the Wells Cathedral Preservation Trust, The Cathedral Trust and the Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust.

It costs £4,500 a day to keep the Cathedral open and our ongoing financial health is dependent upon the continued diversification and growth of all our income streams as well as careful control of costs and sensible investment in our infrastructure.

The Chapter body is the custodian of the Cathedral and its precincts, and we are dedicated to the care and conservation of these wonderful assets, so they may enrich lives for centuries to come.

Further information can be found below:

As a non-executive member of Chapter and trustee, your role will be critical to the leadership of the Cathedral.

Information on the current members of Chapter can be found here – The Cathedral Chapter – Wells Cathedral

Our new Dean, the Revd Canon Toby Wright, will be starting his ministry with us in June as will our new Precentor, the Revd Tim Stevens.

About the role

As a member of Cathedral Chapter, the Chair of the Finance Committee will work strategically to support Chapter in ensuring good financial oversight and will work closely with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer to enable the effective financial management of the Cathedral. This will include developing a financial plan to align with any revised strategy, overseeing effective governance, budget planning, information management and reporting. In addition, this role has oversight of the Cathedral’s investment portfolio.

The Chapter is the Board of Trustees for the Cathedral, a registered charity, and has the ultimate responsibility for directing and overseeing its affairs – as a place of worship and a community of service, as a significant building and a heritage site of remarkable beauty, as a venue for events and as a globally recognised destination for pilgrims and visitors.

Members of Chapter come from a variety of backgrounds and seek to work collegially in their leadership and responsibilities as they take forward the ministry and mission of a Cathedral which has been servicing Wells and the County of Somerset for almost 850 years.

The objects of the Chapter are:

a) to advance the Christian religion in accordance with the faith and practice of the Church of England, in particular by furthering the mission of the Church of England;

b) to care for and conserve the fabric and structure of the Cathedral Church building;

c) to advance any other charitable purposes which are ancillary to the furtherance of the purpose referred to in sub-paragraph (a) or (b).

The Cathedrals Measure and the Cathedral Constitution

The Cathedrals Measure 1999 , the Care of Cathedrals Measure 2011 and  the Cathedrals Measure 2021 are the principle pieces of legislation which govern the life of Cathedrals. In addition, each cathedral has its own constitution and statutes.

Membership

The Cathedral Constitution allows for between 8 – 12 members of Chapter. The Dean and Residentiary Canons are executive members. The Dean is the Chair of Chapter.

There is a senior non-executive member (SNEM) who is a lay person appointed by the Bishop. The Archdeacon of Wells, currently Acting Dean, is a residentiary canon but is also a non-executive member of Chapter.

Non-executive members will be communicant members of the Church of England, or of a church with which it is in communion. Further information is set out in the Cathedrals Measure 2021 and from Rule 83(2) of the Church Representation Rules. For any further clarification on these points, or should you have a query, please get in touch with Rebekah Abbott.

Meetings and time commitment

This is likely to be 1 -2 days per week in the first few months, with the likelihood that this would taper off to 1 day per week thereafter.

Presently, Chapter meets 11 times each year within a working day in Wells (with no meeting in August) in the last week of each month, currently on a Thursday. Meetings do include an opportunity to worship together. When the new Cathedral leadership team is more established, it is envisaged that Chapter will streamline the number of meetings and when they are held — the constitution specifies at least four meetings a year.

The Finance Committee itself meets six times a year.

Chapter members are also needed to serve on sub-committees and task groups. There are regular opportunities for ‘away time’ for a more reflective space.

Services

Members of Chapter are involved in the public worshipping life of the Cathedral and are invited to robe and process in key services during the year. These include the celebration of our foundation (St Andrews Day), the Legal Service, installations of prebends and fellow chapter members and services around Christmas, Epiphany and Easter.

Members are also welcome to join the regular congregations if they wish.

Who we are looking for

With considerable background in finance as either an executive leader or leader of a specialist finance function, the next Chair of the Finance Committee and Chapter Member will be committed to working with the other members of Chapter as they develop the strategy and plans to bring the mission and vision of the Cathedral to life.

They will understand the role of good governance and shared leadership in a complex organisation and will be able to contribute to the wider agenda of the Cathedral as well as lead on finance.

They will have wisdom and kindness in their leadership and enjoy motivating and developing the team around them. People from all areas of the organisation will find them approachable as they stretch thinking and share ideas.

They will be committed to learning and growing with other members of Chapter and personally as the Cathedral develops into its newly established charity status.

The ability to untangle complex figures and interpret them to others who may not be financially minded is key in this role. A strong financial background is essential, together with the ability to challenge and assimilate views to operate collegially whilst being mindful of the Cathedral environment and governance requirements.

Non-executive members of Chapter will be communicant members of the Church of England, or of a church with which it is in communion. Further information is set out in the Cathedrals Measure 2021  and from Rule 83(2) of the Church Representation Rules*. For any further clarification on these points, or should you have a query, please get in touch with Rebekah Abbott.

*83(2) In these Rules, ‘actual communicant’ means a person –

(a) who has received Communion according to the use of the Church of England or a Church in communion with it at least three times during the 12 months preceding the date of the person becoming a member of a body the eligibility for membership of which depends on a person being an actual communicant, and

(b) who either is confirmed or ready and desirous of being confirmed or is receiving Communion as referred to in paragraph 1(b) of Canon B 15A (communicant members of other Churches subscribing to doctrine of Holy Trinity).


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Philippa Fabry | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

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Welcome from the Acting Dean

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in serving on the Chapter (governing body) of Wells Cathedral as a non-executive member. We are seeking a non-executive member to serve on the Chapter and also, as Chair of the Finance Committee.

We hope that you will consider applying and that this information pack provides the information you need to inform your decision.

Wells Cathedral is a very special place indeed and seeks to serve the city, the county of Somerset and the Diocese of Bath and Wells spiritually, economically, and socially — playing a full part in activities for the common good. It has a rich and unique heritage and yet is active and relevant in today’s world.

We aspire to be a beacon of hope, inclusive and welcoming, open to all and above all a place of prayer and reflection, serving the community and, as a centre of worship and mission, the Bishop and the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The Cathedral is at an exciting point in its governance, as on 30th November 2023, the Cathedral adopted its new Constitution and Statutes and very recently became a registered charity with the Charity Commission (no 1207269).

We see governance as a mechanism to ensure that we fulfil all that is expected of us effectively and efficiently and to enable best practice in the care of the people who work with and for the Cathedral, our finances, and our fabric.

As part of the changes, the Cathedral has recently reviewed its values and is revisiting its mission and strategic priorities as this will help direct our work in 2024 and beyond.

We are very much looking forward to the arrival of the Dean designate, the Revd Canon Toby Wright, who will be installed in the Cathedral on 16th June 2024 and to continuing to build a new leadership team to take the mission of the Cathedral forward.

We have every reason to be excited for the future, and we are energized by the challenges we face.

If you would like to be a part of our future and help the Chapter and the wider Cathedral achieve its priorities and aspirations, we would be delighted to hear from you.

The Venerable Anne Gell
Acting Dean of Wells, Archdeacon of Wells and Residentiary Canon

About Wells Cathedral

With an average of three services per day and over 300,00 visitors per year, Wells Cathedral is a purposeful, busy and thriving hub of activity. Focused on the needs of its congregation and visitors, Wells Cathedral’s primary purpose is worship, acting as a focal point for worship across the county of Somerset and the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The Cathedral welcomes many from across the diocese for large diocesan services such as ordinations and celebrations or for the transition days for local schools at the end of the summer term. It is also a focus for county services, and for services of national significance, for example, surrounding the coronation of King Charles.

Wells Cathedral hosts many visitors for a multitude of other reasons, including the wealth of concerts, events, festivals, shows and displays taking place in the Cathedral and its estate every year.

Underpinning the life, worship and ministry of the Cathedral is a multi-faceted organisation where a lot is achieved with modest resources. The work of the Cathedral is sustained by around 75 staff, many of whom are part-time, and some 370 volunteers.

They oversee and deliver a broad and diverse tapestry of activities, which includes a world-class choir, a works and estates department, a team of virgers, a library and archives team, a programme of education, learning and outreach, finance, HR, governance and administration functions, volunteer management and trading companies.

Heritage and capital projects

Wells Cathedral’s buildings themselves are awe-inspiring and beautiful, drawing many visitors annually to its wealth of buildings and grounds. Key to the life of the Cathedral is the continuous task of maintenance, preservation, and restoration projects of the fabric of the building and estates.

The recently restored Clock is one such example of this. Costing £142,000 to fully restore, it now has fully working mechanical actions to be enjoyed both inside and outside the North Transept, symbolising the multi-faceted vision required of the leadership at Wells.

Other forthcoming projects include the restoration of the organ, and the next natural phases of conservation of the great West Front and the beautiful stained-glass windows in the Lady Chapel.

Musical life

Music is an essential part of the Cathedral community and is something for which the Cathedral is internationally recognised.

Overseen by the Precentor, the Cathedral Music Department works closely with Wells Cathedral School (one of four Government-funded specialist music schools in the UK), which educates all the Cathedral choristers.

Central to the aim of the Cathedral is to provide a musical education for talented children – irrespective of parental means – and an opportunity for the broader community to engage with music for both physical and mental well-being. The benefits to the community and potential Choristers are innumerable. Through this vision, the Cathedral will enable the next generation of high-calibre singers needed to secure the future of Cathedral music.

Wells Cathedral Choir is renowned for the breadth and depth of its musical repertoire, the quality of its choral music as a key part of the liturgy, and its wider contribution to the commissioning of new music. With the financial assistance of the Cathedral Commissions Scheme (established in 2006), the Choir has premiered works by some of today’s finest composers. Other Choirs associated with Wells Cathedral include the Chamber Choir, the Oratorio Society, the Youth Choir, and Song Squad.

A new Assistant Director of Music starts in April 2024, and a new Director of Music starts in September 2024, building on already excellent work the current team has been doing over the last couple of years.

Events and outreach

While music has a crucial role to play in our outreach, from the immensely popular Carols by Candlelight concert series in December to the primary and secondary school outreach days packed with music tuition, the Cathedral also provides a focal point for the region more generally. This service to the community is offered through popular installations such as Peace Doves, the exhibition of artworks in conjunction with local charities such as Charis Refugees, the Wells Community Day, or large-scale commercial venue hire, for instance. Central to our outreach is also our educational work with schools and families, as well as the various tours, both general and specialist, that are available for booking as events thanks to the immense expertise and generosity of our volunteering community.

Finances

Funds to support the Cathedral as a place of worship and mission (involving maintaining our buildings, supporting those in liturgical roles, clergy, musicians and lay staff, and enabling the Cathedral buildings to be open to all every day of the year) come from a variety of sources. These include congregational giving, legacies, income from visitors, sums generated by trading activities, income from investments and property, donations from fundraising appeals by individuals, trusts and foundations, as well as through the generous support of the Friends of Wells Cathedral, the Wells Cathedral Preservation Trust, The Cathedral Trust and the Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust.

  • It costs £4,500 a day to keep the Cathedral open and our ongoing financial health is dependent upon the continued diversification and growth of all our income streams as well as careful control of costs and sensible investment in our infrastructure.

Values and strategy

As with all charities, Wells Cathedral has faced many challenges over the last few years, and we are still doing so.

With the new governance measures in place and a refreshed Chapter body, it was time to review our strategy and values; to discern with the Cathedral community and the Diocese, what we are called to do and, crucially, how we choose to do it.

After a lengthy period of listening to staff, volunteers, congregation, Diocese and other key stakeholders, the Cathedral values have been launched, and there is an invitation for all to reflect on how the values may be inhabited and lived.

Chapter has also adopted its key themes for 2024. A fully formed strategy will await the new Dean’s input and will shape 2025 and beyond.

It is such an exciting time to be part of Wells Cathedral and, working together as a community, a huge opportunity to make a positive difference.

The Cathedral values are to be:

  • Welcoming: to be welcoming – offering an inclusive and hospitable welcome to all.
  • Caring: to be caring – serving our own community and the wider communities across the Diocese and County with compassion and love.
  • Respectful: to be respectful – treating others with respect and openness, acting with integrity and inspiring trust in all we do.

The key themes for 2024 are:

  • To be a community of worship, witness and service for the people of Wells and the wider diocese.
  • To cherish and invest in our assets – people and buildings.
  • To develop our outreach through enhancing the visitor experience, providing opportunities for learning and contributing to the common good.
  • To ensure we have the financial sustainability to underpin these aspirations.

Accessibility information

We understand that different members of the community have different access needs and have made some modifications to the way we do business to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities. We offer the following amenities:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.

Further information:

The offices are currently within a medieval building but there is step free access to the current workspace, meeting room and WC.

The relatively small number of employees means that there are no current EDI statistics or workplace initiatives.

Wells Cathedral and Transatlantic slavery

As part of its commitment to EDI, the Chapter of Wells has led the way into the investigation of the Cathedral’s historic links to the transatlantic slave trade and British slavery in the Caribbean. The Chapter wants to understand this part of the Cathedral’s history, which is always in danger of being hidden or denied, and any legacies (financial, social, spiritual or otherwise) that still endure into its present as a consequence of this history.

In 2023, speakers from Britain and the Caribbean came together in Wells for a fantastic conference day attracting 135 adults and sixth formers from across the country and abroad. Talks shared the findings of research focused on Wells and its links to transatlantic slavery. The Wells and Transatlantic Slavery network continues to work closely with the Somerset African Caribbean Network in ongoing schools’ work and study events.

More about this can be found here.

Safeguarding

Wells Cathedral is committed to the safeguarding and protection of children, young people and adults. We carefully select, train, and support all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with Safer Recruitment principles.

This means that we:

• Ensure that our recruitment and selection processes are inclusive, fair, consistent, and transparent.

• Take all reasonable steps to prevent those who might harm children or adults from taking up, in our Cathedral, positions of respect, responsibility or authority where they are trusted by others.

• Adhere to safer recruitment legislation, guidance, and standards.

Further information can be found in the Safeguarding area of the Cathedral website. 

Members of Chapter need an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Check (DBS) and they will also need to complete a Confidential Declaration Form as part of the recruitment process. This form is strictly confidential and, except under compulsion of law, will be seen only by those involved in the recruitment/appointment process and, when appropriate, the nominated safeguarding lead or someone acting in a similar role/position. All forms will be kept securely in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation within the Data Protection Act 2018.

Full safeguarding training will be provided which you will be required to attend.

Diversity

We are committed to growing in diversity and inclusion and seek to reflect this in Chapter. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.


For further information or to organise a conversation, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Philippa Fabry | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071

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    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Wells Cathedral – Chair of Finance Committee and Chapter Member” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Philippa Fabry | philippa@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07772 902071

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.

    Timetable

    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 10th June 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 20th June 2024 (TBC)
    First stage interviews: Tuesday 25th & Thursday 27th June 2024
    Informal discussion: (virtual) Tuesday 9th July 2024
    Panel interviews: Friday 12th July 2024


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    Peridot and Wells Cathedral, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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