I was struck last week by the announcement that 3 councils in London were looking to merge their service delivery. They believe that they can save a lot of money by sharing staff and resources
Now I don’t know how realistic this is to achieve when you have large staffing providing services to hundreds of thousands of people.
But this got me thinking about the church. In the Diocese to which I belong (Southwark) we have 4 diocesan offices. We have the central one at Trinity House, two area bishops offices for Croydon and Kingston as well as the one for the Diocesan bishop.
Something like £1million is spent per year on Diocesan overheads and this excludes the cost of bishops and the Dean who are paid for centrally by the Church of England.
I have never understood why we can’t share more between dioceses.
None of the dioceses are particularly large – their turnover often in the £10-15 million pound range. I don’t really see why finance and press officers and some of the vaguer posts aren’t merged between local dioceses.
Why don’t we have one central office in London to cover the dioceses of London and Southwark to provide all the support required for the parishes. You could still have bishops and archdeacons and etc in small regional offices but having one central bureaucracy could cut building costs as well as staffing costs.
My sad guess is that although this has been discussed in the past it won’t happen as no one likes giving up their own machinery and support structures.
In the meantime the parishes (many of whom are struggling) will need to divert more of their resources to the centre than should be necessary.