The Diocese of Bristol participated in a peer review process in November 2016.
Peer review is part of Renewal and Reform whereby a review team visits a diocese’s senior leadership team to “hold up a mirror” to the Diocese’s work.
The purpose of peer review is to help ensure mutual accountability over how resources are being used; to facilitate shared learning between dioceses about their plans for mission, evangelism and discipleship; ultimately to strengthen a diocese’s mission and finance.
The process seeks to combine the principles of good stewardship, accountability and transparency to strengthen communion within the Church through the application of the gifts of leadership, wisdom and administration.
A group of around 50 peer reviewers who have been selected and trained from dioceses across the Church of England have been carrying out these reviews. Bristol’s peer review team consisted of an independent chair with a senior professional background, an area Bishop and a Diocesan Secretary. They had prepared by reviewing a range of papers, including a detailed self-assessment prepared by the Diocese, and conducting telephone interviews with different people in the Diocese.
As a result of a day’s meeting with members of the Bishop’s Staff and team leaders in the Diocesan Support Services, the peer review team wrote a report for the diocesan leadership team to which they subsequently provided a response. The Bishop’s Council has considered and endorsed the report and its response.
The following is a summary of the report and response:
The diocesan peer review is an ongoing process and the Diocese of Bristol expects to participate again in late 2018.
The peer review process, the Bishop’s Staff Team’s participation in the Strategic Learning Community (a three year programme with five other dioceses to share learning, provide accountability and develop practice) and the independent Safeguarding Audit in February 2017 have all provided invaluable opportunities for constructive feedback within the community of the Church of England.
The learning, accountability and development provided will, we pray, help further our practice, stewardship, vision and priorities in the years ahead.
A full summary of the peer review report and diocesan response has now been provided to Diocesan Synod and can be read here.
More information about Renewal and Reform as well as peer reviews can be found on the Church of England website.