Job Description

Job Title
Diocesan Secretary

Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance (ODBF)


Line Manager
Bishop of Oxford and the Chair of ODBF

Accountable To
Bishop of Oxford and the Chair of ODBF as well as the Bishop’s Council and the Diocesan Synod acting as secretary to each of these bodies.

Responsible For
Director of Mission; Director of Finance; Director of Glebe and Buildings; Director of Human Resources; Director of Communications; Pastoral and Committee Secretary; PA to Diocesan Secretary

The Diocesan Secretary is also the contract manager for: The Diocesan Registrar and the Chancellor and works closely with the Diocesan Director of Education.

Church House Oxford, Langford Locks, Langford Lane,
Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1GF

ODBF’s Christian vision, ethos and principles underpin all aspects of the way the Board runs. The post-holder must be committed to the ODBF’s principles and values as well as support the diocesan Common Vision process (insert link to Common Vision narrative in this pack and website)

Job Purpose

The Diocesan Secretary is the chief operating officer for the Diocese and the principal strategic adviser to the Diocesan Bishop and member of his senior team. His or her role is to enable the mission of God and the work of Church of England parishes, schools and chaplaincies across the Diocese of Oxford through visible and credible leadership. The key task and challenge in the next ten years will be to share in developing and in leading the implementation of the Diocesan Common Vision in central services through effective organisational structures and strategic deployment of financial, human and property resources.

Principal Accountabilities

STRATEGY AND POLICY (35%) - Under the direction of the Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop’s Council, to contribute to the development and implementation of strategy, policy and practices that are in line with Diocesan Common Vision framework, current company legislative framework and relevant ecclesiastical legislation as well as reflect best practice and national Church of England guidance

ORGANISATION AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT (35%) - To lead and develop the executive function of the Diocese demonstrating and delivering excellence, accountability and compliance in all diocesan services through structures that are fit for purpose and effective deployment and management of the diocesan resources that support mission for a more Christ-like Church and its growth

GOVERNANCE AND STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT (10%) - To provide leadership in the management of diocesan relationships and overall governance of the Diocese ensuring that the vision, aspirations and values of the Diocese are ‘lived out’ in all operational activity

LINE MANAGEMENT (15%) - To lead and enable the Heads of Department Group who through their departments, support and enact the agreed diocesan strategy and vision which aids the mission and ministry of the Church

To undertake wider agreed tasks that support the work of the Diocese (5%)

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Strategy and Policy

  • To engage with the life of the diocese in visionary and creative ways and to be responsible for delivering agreed change to transform the life and mission of the church in the Diocese of Oxford
  • To facilitate and participate in the development of strategy with the Bishop and his Staff, the SMG, Bishop’s Council and Diocesan Synod other appropriate groups
  • To be involved with others in the formulation of policy within and between Boards, Committees and Councils, ensuring the integration of different areas of work, advising and challenging as appropriate, so that they align with diocesan strategy
  • To oversee and co-ordinate, as appropriate, the implementation of policy across a broad range of central functions and ensure that the implementation of agreed plans is efficient and effective through leadership of the Heads of Departments group.
  • With the Diocesan Bishop to be responsible for planning and organising the work of the Senior Management Group to reflect strategic priorities
  • Keeping up-to-date with Church of England remuneration policy for clergy and licensed lay workers, to drive and ensure implementation of the diocesan policy on stipends, housing and pension so that they remain in line with the national trends
  • Working closely with the Diocesan Bishop and others, to ensure that:
    • the diocese has appropriate and effective safeguarding policies and procedures in place; and
    • the senior management group are able to implement fully the Safeguarding Policy across all areas of work; and
    • that the Bishop’s Council are immediately advised of any major causes of safeguarding concerns; and
    • the diocese, through its structures, routinely evaluates the quality and impact of safeguarding activities ensuring transparency; and
    • a learning culture across the organisation enables improvements to safeguarding policies, procedures and practices.
  • To work closely and meet regularly with the Diocesan Director of Education (DDE) to ensure the Diocesan vision and priorities are reflected in the strategic plans and operational activities of the Diocesan Board of Education
  • To ensure that diocesan policies are well understood in parishes and deaneries throughout the Diocese and that the needs and aspirations of parishes and deaneries are well understood in Diocesan Boards, Committees and Councils and throughout Church House
  • To consult with the Diocesan Registrar and to work closely with him as appropriate on legal aspects of diocesan policy and related issues

2. Financial Management and Organisational Development

Financial Management

  • Working closely with the Chair of the Board of Finance and Director of Finance, to ensure the diocese’s financial viability and maximise business efficiency of the diocese. This includes: the preparation and submission of annual budget proposals and the provision of progress reports and relevant management information to the Diocesan Synod, Boards, Committees and members of staff.
  • To be responsible for maximising the business efficiency of the diocese through oversight of the practical day to day management of business in Church House Oxford and effective and appropriate delegation of tasks.
  • To have overall net budget responsibility of £24 million and to ensure the robust monitoring of diocesan expenditure against budget including the management of investments and assets yield good returns for supporting mission and ministry
  • Working with others, to develop, communicate and review a credible Parish Share Scheme and through the Finance team ensure regular financial consultations and its effective management of the scheme
  • To ensuring effective communication of diocesan priorities and financial policy across the diocese maintaining and building the confidence of parishes and other stakeholders through effective and personal engagement
  • Ensuring that trusts and fund restrictions are followed - both for DBF and custodian assets.

Organisation Development

  • To lead the continual development of the diocese by ensuring organisational structures and systems are fit for the digital era to enable business efficiency through open communication whilst complying with the data protection and health and safety legislation.
  • In conjunction with the Director of Human Resources, Human Resources Panel (HRP) and Heads of Department Group, where relevant:
    • to lead and implement organization development processes that addresses issues such as organisation design, change management and succession planning to ensure productivity and staff retention.
    • to ensure any change management programme involves and engages workforce and other stakeholders modelling our diocesan values.
    • to support effective workforce engagement and involvement through effective communication and feedback tools and working collaboratively with staff representatives
    • to providing leadership in promoting Christian ethos, equality and diversity as part of the culture of the organisation
    • to promote dignity at work through various channel, participating as required in any staff grievance and disciplinary procedures including
    • to oversee the provision of pensions for lay staff working closely and advising the pension subcommittee in line with diocesan priorities
  • To inform the Bishop’s Council of diocesan and/ or national developments of significant impact that jeopardize the achievement of its strategic objectives and provide strategic recommendations
  • To consider, and where appropriate, propose and develop new ideas and plans, in particular with regard to future deployment of the Diocese’s resources
  • To promote a culture that ensures cross-departmental working and recognises that parishes and deaneries are at the heart of the work of the Diocese.

Clergy Terms of Service

  • In conjunction with Bishop’s staff as well as with HR, Finance and Glebe and Buildings Directors, to support the effective deployment of clergy across the diocese through strategically planning and providing:
  • high-quality housing stock;
  • finances that enable effective pastoral interventions
  • counselling and other professional services;
  • support to clergy spouses through a skilled Bishop’s visitors
  • access to diocesan funds in cases of financial hardship

3. Governance and Stakeholder Management


  • To ensure that all channels of governance of the diocese are configured to optimise the effectiveness of the mission in the diocese.
  • To act as secretary to a number of bodies and committees in the Diocese as outlined in Appendix 1
  • To provide support, information and professional advice to the Chairs of these boards and committees enabling them to carry out their duties as trustees in compliance with statutory duties of ecclesiastical, company and charity law and other legislation as relevant.
  • Through proactive leadership and the Diocesan Secretary’s administrative team, to oversee and ensure smooth running of Diocesan Synod and the Bishop’s Council/ Standing Committee of the ODBF, including elections, management of the electoral roll, meetings and executive actions arising out of decisions made at meetings.
  • To manage the implementation of decisions made by Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council including being part of working groups as required and to monitor and report on status and effectiveness of completed projects, initiatives and decisions.
  • To act as a source of expert advice on constitutional matters for Bishop’s Council, the Board of Finance and departmental heads, and to be the official point of contact with outside advisors and specialists.
  • To oversee the triennial elections to the Diocesan Synod and the different Boards and Councils, interim vacancies and the quinquennial elections to the General Synod
  • To monitor and where appropriate engage with the work of General Synod, liaising with national colleagues - e.g. synodical elections, business from General Synod and attendance at Inter Diocesan Secretaries Forum.
  • To ensure a business sustainability process including a risk register is developed and reviewed annually with the Bishop and directors

Relationship Development

  • To develop and maintain healthy relationships with key personnel within the diocese, its deaneries and parishes as well as the Cathedral, so as to widen ownership of the shared vision of the Diocese, including the implementation of agreed policies and practices.
  • To foster and promote collaborative working relationships between the diocese and the officers of the National Church Institutions and other dioceses
  • To lead and encouraging collaboration between the Diocese and other churches and organisations (both faith-based and secular) throughout the Diocese, thus contributing to the reputation of the Diocese of Oxford as a model Christian partner for God’s Kingdom

4. Line Management

  • To recruit, select and manage the Heads of Department (HOD’s) and other specialist roles across the diocese ensuring the new recruit are a good fit with the diocesan values and culture
  • To lead Heads of Departments as a group ensuring timely and within budget delivery and diocesan strategic priorities
  • To work closely and coach HoDs individually, as needed, in their key responsibilities, ensuring each director has established a clear set of collective and individual objectives for their respective teams, agreed with their Board or Council, and is accountable for an agreed financial budget
  • To undertake performance management for all direct reports using the diocese’s annual review processes and enable any learning activities that derive from them
  • To enable all reportees to reach their full potential by enabling them to take ownership of their areas of specialism and be accountable for the decisions taken.

5. Other Duties

  • To maintain an awareness of Church of England national policy and directives
  • To liaise with other Dioceses and Church House, Westminster as relevant to the development of more effective administration in the diocese and in the Church of England generally.
  • To represent the Diocese effectively at national church level and play an active role in regional Diocesan Secretary Meetings and the annual gathering of Diocesan Secretaries.
  • To be responsible for Diocesan insurance matters.
  • To take a proactive approach to continuous professional and personal development
  • To participate in the ODBF performance management processes
  • To undertake such other reasonable duties and tasks as requested from time to time by the Bishop.
  • Data Protection - Diocesan Secretary is the Data Protection Officer for:
    • Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance
    • Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance Life Assurance Scheme
    • Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme
    • Oxford Diocesan Education Services
  • Immigration Legislation - Right of work in the UK
    • The Diocesan Secretary is the named person for the Home Office Immigration service



  • The Oxford Diocese consists of 622 parishes and 813 churches and has approximately 380 stipendiary clergy and over 500 self-stipendiary, ordained local ministers and licensed lay ministers with around 60 salaried staff. ODBF has around £304M fixed assets of which £241M are tangible fixed assets (mostly property), £126M of investments (including glebe property) and free reserves of £6M.
  • The annual expenditure budget of the Diocesan Synod is £25M and capital expenditure is around £4M.
  • The Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE) manages around £5M of school buildings and other projects with the support of services from ODBF.
  • ODBF is a charitable company limited by guarantee with subsidiaries, related and connected companies and charities. One of these is DT(O)L, the Diocesan Trust Company, which is trustee for over 870 parishes and other trusts.


  • Direct line management of 8 members of staff and as Secretary to the ODBF, overall responsibility for c.100 members of staff employed by the Board of Finance


  • Organisation of work - providing strategic leadership and setting and managing the priorities of the management team
  • Financial - according to the levels of sign off outlined in Appendix 2
  • Authorisation of trust funds, particularly in relation to clergy welfare and financial assistance for clergy and their families
  • Staffing - the Diocesan Secretary has overall responsibility for ensuring that disciplinary and grievance issues, are dealt in accordance with the ODBF procedures
  • Authorising expenditure (within budgets agreed) for ODBF central posts and sign formal contracts on behalf of the Board including contracts of employment

Contact with Others


  • Diocesan Synod members
  • Bishop’s Council members
  • Chairs and Members all Boards & Committees
  • Bishops and Archdeacons
  • Diocesan Director of Education
  • Heads of Departments
  • All other Diocesan officers and staff
  • Diocesan clergy
  • Lay Chairs
  • PCC Secretaries
  • Diocesan Registrar
  • Chancellor
  • Dean of Christ Church Cathedral
  • Chair, CEO, and Board members of Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST)
  • Chair, CEO, and Board members of Oxford Diocese Buckingham Schools Trust (ODBST)


  • Diocesan Secretaries from all dioceses
  • Archbishops’ Council and other National Church Institutions as appropriate
  • Leaders of various Trusts and Charitable Organisations linked to the Diocese
  • Charity Commission Officials
  • Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Companies providing Professional Services to the ODBF
  • Leaders of Theological Colleges and religious communities in the Diocese

Boards, Councils, Committees - Diocesan Secretary Roles

Diocesan Synod Secretary
Bishop’s Council/Standing Committee ODBF Secretary and Company Secretary
Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance Company Secretary
Planning and Budget In attendance
Human Resources Panel In attendance
Glebe Secretary
Buildings Secretary
Board of Mission Secretary
Board of Education Director/ member
ODES Company Secretary
PIWM Right to attend
Diocesan Trustees Secretary
Bishop’s Staff Meeting Member
Agenda Sub Committee Member

The Diocesan Secretary has oversight for all Diocesan companies and any subsidiaries as identified in the table above.


The current main duties and responsibilities of this post are outlined in this job description. The list is not meant to be exhaustive. The need for flexibility, shared accountability and team working is required. The post-holder is expected to carry out any other related duties that are within the employee's skills and abilities, commensurate with the post’s banding and whenever reasonably instructed.

It is the practice of the Diocese of Oxford to review job descriptions annually to ensure that they relate to the role as then being performed or to incorporate whatever reasonable changes that have occurred over time or are being proposed. This review will be carried out by the line manager in consultation with the post-holder before any changes are implemented. The post-holder is expected to participate fully in such discussions and implementation.

To Top