Data is an incredibly important part of the toolkit that helps us understand and assess the progress of our parishes and the whole diocese's mission and vision. It is used at all levels across the diocese to evidence mission initiatives, set budgets and apply for funding and grants. Data also helps resources to be allocated fairly across the diocese.
The more complete and high quality the data, the better the information that can be derived from it and the better the decisions that can be made using it.
There are a number of data collection exercises which take place throughout the year - they are summarised below.
Timetable of data collection
Please click on the links below for further information
|January - March:||Statistics for Mission|
|March - May||Annual meeting returns:
|March - June||Return of Parish Finance|
|January - June||Energy Footprint Tool|
|October - November||Attendance and Income Surveys|
Statistics for Mission, unsurprisingly, asks for a range of data relating to the mission of your parish and how it has engaged with its congregants, visitors and community during the previous year.
Statistics for Mission data can actually be entered throughout the year, however the deadline for completion is January - this is usually extended to March if insufficient returns have been submitted.
Statistics for Mission data includes the attendance data collected in the previous year's attendance survey, so if your parish has submitted this in time, the attendance data will already be entered onto the system for you.
Statistics for Mission data is submitted via the online Parish Returns system. The person entering the data will require a login to access the system - please contact email@example.com if you do not have a login. You can view a PDF version of the questionnaire to help you understand what data is required.
Building on the changes brought in due to the pandemic, we will again be collecting annual meeting data (APCM pack) online. This year we will be able to collect all elements online, including churchwarden admissions forms.
To help you co-ordinate this data collection exercise, a list of tasks is provided below along with where you can find the relevant forms and information:
Once Churchwardens have been elected at your Annual Meeting, they will need sign a declaration form which states that they will discharge their duties faithfully and diligently and that they are not disqualified from being chosen.
Unlike previous years where the parish has had to acquire the signatures on a paper form, this year the elected Churchwardens will sign and submit their own online form which can be found on the diocesan website so please direct them to this page – they simply select the relevant archdeaconry and fill in the details on the form.
Confirmation of a successful submission will be sent to the email address provided on the form and can be forwarded to the PCC Secretary if required.
If, for any reason, the Churchwarden cannot complete the online form, a paper copy with prepaid envelope can be requested from your Archdeacon’s PA.
Churchwardens must still attend an Archdeacon's Visitation as this is when they are legally admitted into the office. The notice and dates for the 2022 visitations can be found here.
Confirmation of other key roles in the parish (PCC Secretary, Treasurer, Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Gift Aid Secretary, Deanery Synod representatives) will be done through the diocesan Contact Management System (CMS), via a process called a Place Audit.
Parishes have already designated a Data Co-ordinator who will be sent a link to the data we currently hold on the roles mentioned above at the beginning of April. They will then be able to confirm and/or update the details held on the system. A user guide can be accessed by clicking this link.
If you are unable to find the original link, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual safeguarding questionnaire is a straightforward online form which can be completed by following this link.
Electoral roll figures can be added to the 2022 Statistics for Mission return at https://parishreturns.churchofengland.org/ after Easter.
Annual report and financial statements
Digital copies should ideally be uploaded to the diocesan Dropbox, ensuring that the parish's accounts and Safeguarding Co-ordinator's report are included.
If you need to send paper copies, then please forward them for the attention of Daniel Bainbridge to Church House, 90 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2GH. If you require a prepaid envelope, please contact email@example.com
The Return of Parish Finance is a standardised format of your parish accounts. While this may seem like a duplication of effort, it is important that this data is provided so that the diocese and the Church of England nationally can analyse their overall financial positions.
The Return of Parish Finance is again collected via the Parish Returns online system. The person entering the data will require a login to access the system - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not have a login. You can view a PDF version of the questionnaire to help you understand what data is required.
Many church finance applications (e.g. Finance Co-ordinator, My Fund Accounting) can create the Return of Parish Finance directly from the data already in the system.
The Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) helps parishes to identify the carbon footprint of their buildings (both churches and other buildings such as halls or community centres) as well as their overall energy efficiency. Further details on how to enter the required data can be found in this EFT Instructions document and this short instructional video.
Data for the previous year is collected in the first half of the year so it can be analysed during the second half.
EFT data is again submitted via the online Parish Returns system. The person entering the data will require a login to access the system - please contact email@example.com if you do not have a login. You can view a PDF version of the questionnaire to help you understand what data is required.
These surveys both take place during October of each year.
The purpose of the attendance survey is to get an estimate of a parish's relative numerical strength, both in terms of its core congregants and also the parish's wider connection to its community. We therefore ask for a count of the parish's regular attendees (those who attend a worship service at least once a month) as well as the total attendance at each service (i.e. including occasional visitors from the wider community such as guests at baptism services or children and staff at school services).
Data collected in the Attendance Survey will be imported into the October attendance section of the Statistics for Mission return to avoid you having to enter the data twice.
The income survey is collected to get an estimate of the relative giving potential in parishes. The survey is anonymous and no one in the parish sees the completed forms as the count is performed by members of the deanery standing committee.
Each regular attendee (those who attend a worship service at least once a month) fills in an individual form, simply selecting one option from a number of income ranges - a sample form can be downloaded here. This form is then placed in a sealed box in the church. This box is then passed on to the deanery team for counting after the survey period has ended.