All too often, a focus on data and statistics tips the Church into endless conversations about scarcity and spirals of decline instead of leading to a focus on Christ and on the good news. But data and statistics do give us an indication of what is happening in our wider society and also what is happening in the life of the Church in this season.
Historically we’ve collected lots of data. We’re now working on embedding a culture of joining up data from different sources and using that to inform our day-to-day work and strategic decision making. Our hope is that by linking data between different sources, we can provide richer datasets while also reducing the burden of collection on parishes.
We know that the overall picture of Church recovery post-pandemic is still quite fragile, and recovery is taking longer than anticipated. This section of the website is offered as a way of better understanding some of what’s working (and what’s not) to assist local decision making. You can explore this section of the site using the left-hand navigation (tap here on your mobile).
Data sources we use
Parish finance statistics are collected annually across all parishes in the Church of England. This information is generally collected via the Online Parish Returns System. Finance Statistics 2020 collected the most recent financial information, including income (both unrestricted and restricted, from giving, gift aid, hall rentals etc.), expenditure (staff, utilities, parish share etc) and giving.
Statistics for MissionThe annual Statistics for Mission return measures several different aspects of church life. It seeks to provide a broad picture of those key elements that are common to most churches. This information is generally entered on to the Online Parish Returns System (click here for help and advice if entering information for your parish).
Energy Footprint Tool
Energy data are collected annually from all church buildings within the Church of England via the Energy Footprint Tool and Energy Toolkit, which can be found on the Online Parish Returns System. Information is collected for all Church of England buildings (churches, schools, housing, cathedrals, offices, etc.).
Articles of Enquiry
Collected through the national online parish return system, the Archdeacons' Articles of Enquiry are asked at the discretion of the diocese.
Other data sources
Note that the following is for information only, these data sets are not published.
- CaseList – Excel list of DAC Cases;
- ChurchList – Excel list of churches with some DAC relevant information (incomplete) Including: District/UA, Area, Grade, Evidence of Bats, Churchyard status;
- Historic Data – Excel list of 12,300 past DAC cases going back to 1994;
- Quinquennial Inspections – Church, Inspector, Date inspected;
- Facultyonline.churchofengland.org – the Church equivalent of Planning Portal. Contains data for all faculties since 1 April 2020, used to track faculty documents;
- A Heritage Record contains: Address, Listing (and link to Historic England), Conservation Area, Date, OS Grid Reference, Local Authority, Building size, Architects, Renewables, Interior, Churchyard, Significance;
- Property – data about the c. 1,000 properties the diocese owns (and +238 properties the diocese used to own);
- Finance Exchequer – 20 years of past data including Management and Statutory Accounts Suppliers, Customers, Salaries, General Ledger Records of Payment of Parish Share by Parish.
- National census;
- Detailed parish deprivation statistics based on the 2019 English indices of deprivation produced by ONS and modelled onto our ecclesiastical boundaries by the national research and statistics team;
- Fundraising information from suppliers of digital giving devices on numbers licenced and money raised;
- Information from Parish Buying – for example, suppliers of carbon efficient fuel through parish buying.
In this section...
Our annual look at different aspects of church life.
A look at the latest Census data based on ecclesiastical deanery boundaries.
Information and insight from one-off or irregular data collection.