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Chapter 4: Westminster Abbey


1. Westminster Abbey is a large and complex institution, situated in the heart of the capital where the spheres of Crown and Parliament visibly meet. Its physical location, with direct and immediate access across a busy road from the Houses of Parliament, and its history and associations, give it a unique but also a vulnerable position. It is the burial place of kings and statesmen, and of great men and women, and the setting for royal and national occasions. Some of these have recently been shared with St. Paul's Cathedral, but St. Paul's is in a very different location, and it is also the seat of the diocesan. Outside the Abbey one can regularly see political demonstrations on one side and television cameras on the other as the politician of the day is interviewed. Public interest in such an institution is unremitting and much is reasonably demanded. A recent book comments that 'nowhere else, perhaps, with the exception of St. Paul's, is the sense of the Church as 'Established' so inescapable'.(13) In addition to the Abbey's exposed location, this undoubtedly places a great strain on the Dean and Chapter. We have been saddened by the unpleasantness of the campaign of criticism which continues to be directed at the Abbey since the events of 1998. Yet the Abbey has a unique and powerful role in that it is also able to tap enormous reserves of popular feeling, as was shown at the funeral of Princess Diana. It is undoubtedly regarded in many quarters effectively as a national shrine. But that does not mean that it is only viewed as a monument. On the contrary, its enormous symbolic value gives it the power to express and indeed lead national sentiment.


2. Westminster Abbey is the employer of approximately two hundred staff and draws on two-hundred and eighty volunteers in addition. In 1999 it was fourth in visitor numbers, at 1,268,215, in the list of historic properties charging for admission.(14) In 1999-2000 its expected annual income from all sources including visitor charges was in excess of 8.7m.(15) This is from its own sources, for the Abbey receives no public money. It is open for regular services on every day of the year and in addition it holds a large number of special services through the year, often of national, Commonwealth or international importance; others, especially memorial services and Parliamentary occasions, are also held at St. Margaret's, Westminster. St. Margaret's, the Speaker's Church, was originally built by the monks for public worship and has been formally part of the Abbey since 1972. One of the Canons is Rector of St. Margaret's and is also responsible for conducting prayers in the House of Commons and for the services at the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. Wreath-laying and memorial ceremonies are also a regular part of the Abbey's life, as are exhibitions or displays for charitable and other organisations. The Abbey is the seat of coronations and is frequently used for royal funerals and royal or national celebrations. Finally, the Abbey has its own choir school, and retains its historic association with Westminster School.


3. Westminster Abbey defines its role and responsibilities as consisting first of worship, both as outlined above and in the witness of a major, world renowned Christian church, the life of which recalls and sustains the ethos of its pre-Reformation Benedictine tradition; then the guardianship of a large section of English (and British) history, and finally the stewardship of a building of international significance on a Grade I World Heritage Site which includes Parliament Square and the Palace of Westminster.


4. Maintaining the daily rhythm of worship and other services is the foremost responsibility of the Dean and Canons, together with the Minor Canons and musicians. Services may be attended by numbers ranging from 250 to 2000, of whom the greater part on any individual occasion is composed of visitors, very often from abroad, for whom this may be their sole experience of worship in the Abbey, or indeed of Anglican worship in general. Prayers are said on an hourly basis and there is a system of pastoral care for the visitors run by the Canon Steward, the Chaplain and Sacrist and the Pastoral Assistant, together with duty ministers, volunteers and others. The congregation at St. Margaret's numbers about 70. Estimates given to us as to the number of regular worshippers at the Abbey itself vary from a handful to about 200. These are in addition to the various categories of volunteers, choir parents and a wider group of friends and past associates who keep in touch and are reached through a mailing list. Not having diocesan links, the Abbey sees itself as fulfilling a national and international need in its ministry rather than a local one, and much time is taken by the clergy in the preparation for and conduct of the many special services. In the face of the very large numbers of visitors, the programme known as 'Recovering the Calm' was introduced in 1998 to recapture the Abbey as a prayerful and peaceful place. Not all the changes were readily accepted and our evidence suggests that there are those who are still unpersuaded of particular aspects of the policy. Nevertheless there seems no doubt that an initiative of some kind was necessary.
5. The Abbey is a collegiate church, and the College of St. Peter consists of the Dean and four residentiary Canons, together with seventeen other persons who are members ex officio, as well as twelve lay vicars and ten choristers. Before the dissolution in 1540 and briefly during the reign of Mary, until its constitution as a collegiate church by Elizabeth I in 1560, it was a Benedictine monastery, and the present Collegiate body can be defined as a community of priests and lay people worshipping and working together. In today's world such an ideal can seem inward-looking, but we are conscious that the Dean and Chapter are faced with the difficult task of maintaining the prayer and worship of the Abbey while at the same time endeavouring to meet the great demands that are placed on them in relation to the aims of outreach and active mission. Remembering the Abbey's Benedictine past in the saying of the daily office and in other ways is a valuable way of keeping those traditions in view.
6. In addition to its Parliamentary connection, the church of St. Margaret's, which became part of the Abbey in 1972 under the Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Westminster Act, provides the Abbey complex with the opportunity for a more intimate and personal ministry, which includes a ministry of healing and the possibility of adult confirmation. Three Priest Vicars assist the Rector in the regular services and in supplying the pastoral needs of the congregation. The fact that the Rector is one of the Canons, who is also Speaker's Chaplain and responsible for the services in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, underlines the connection between the Abbey and Parliament while giving to that connection a more domestic feel than would otherwise be the case. St. Margaret's is frequently used for Parliamentary memorial services, especially for members of the House of Lords.
7. Traditionally and legally the Abbey is subject to no diocesan or provincial authority. The Canons and other clergy are not licensed in the diocese other than by personal request, but are subject to the Dean as Ordinary. On certain occasions this independence can be seen graphically illustrated, in that within the Abbey the Dean takes precedence over both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, and a formal 'protest' is read when either makes his first visit. It is of course possible to follow such a custom without insisting on its formal significance, but there is no doubt that it can also seem unnecessary or even confrontational. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides at a coronation, and indeed on such an occasion the governance of the Abbey is formally handed over for the preparation and for the ceremony itself, but when all is over it is equally formally handed back to the Dean and Chapter, and the Abbey is highly conscious of its independence. Nor does the Abbey play a local role as such, although it has good relations with neighbouring Christian churches including Methodist Central Hall and Westminster Cathedral. It is St. Paul's Cathedral, not the Abbey, that is the great cathedral church of London. Thus the Abbey has no formal role within the national or local structures of the Church of England. On the other hand it possesses great potential for responding to specific national and social needs, whether in times of disaster or of celebration, and it has done so in the recent past in some very imaginative ways. The opportunities and the responsibilities inherent in the stewardship of such an important and beloved national institution are very great, and while the Abbey's independence gives it an incomparable position it also presents its clergy and those who serve it with direct and difficult challenges.
8. It is therefore a paradox that the Abbey stands apart from the Church as a whole, while at the same time occupying such a major and central role in national religious sentiment. Indeed, in the minds of many, it represents the national Church. Many visitors from overseas dioceses and organisations probably assume that the Abbey is the home of the Church of England. Furthermore although the same independence applies also to St. George's Chapel, Windsor, the Abbey's central position in the heart of the capital adjacent to the Houses of Parliament makes this situation particularly sensitive. It renders the Abbey anomalous in the eyes of some sections within the Church. The latter impression is further enhanced by the perception of the Abbey as an institution whose independence and wealth insulate it from the difficulties experienced by those less fortunate.
9. These are not in themselves reasons for attempting to change the Abbey's status. Perceptions of privilege can be managed by understanding why they arise and adopting a tactful and sensitive approach, and a technical independence from the Church as a whole and from local and diocesan life is completely compatible with actual contact and good relations. It is for the Dean and Chapter to resist the danger of becoming too much concerned with the Abbey and too little with the Church and the world outside. While recognising the heavy burden of special and regular services and events which they must manage, we are also conscious of the contemporary expectation of outreach and of sharing in these wider concerns.
10. There is indeed a strenuous programme of special services to be maintained. Special services are held in the Abbey throughout the year for a very wide range of organisations and commemorations. Some of these are national or royal events, but others may be much less formal. Special services may also be held for particular causes and groups such as Aids sufferers and their families and carers, or for the homeless. It is also much appreciated when the Abbey welcomes in church groups for services on a less formal basis. These events are an important part of the Abbey's worshipping life, and the special services can reach large numbers of people who might not usually attend a church. The particular atmosphere of the Abbey, with its sense of history and its national associations, makes it extremely impressive on occasions such as these. On the other hand they present any Dean and Chapter with the dilemma of balancing this demand with the wider needs of mission and social inclusion.
11. Music is an important part of the worship and mission of the Abbey, and represents a considerable investment: in 1999 expenditure on music at the Abbey and St. Margaret's comprised 14.7% of the total, higher than at many cathedrals. The standard of music in traditional cathedral style, both in the regular services and for special occasions, is by general consent very high. However it is not always traditional: in particular, the imaginative choice of music at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997 was widely appreciated. The Precentor is the head of the Musical Foundation, and works closely with the Organist and Headmaster of the Choir School; each of these is accountable to the Dean, although it is not entirely clear to us how this fits with the role of the Precentor as Head of the Musical Foundation. There are four organists (the Organist and Master of the Choristers, the Sub-Organist, the Assistant Organist and the Organ Scholar), twelve professional Lay Vicars as well as deputies, and a choir of thirty-eight boy choristers. For weekday special services there is also a professional mixed choir. A further ad hoc professional choir serves St. Margaret's, which has its own Organist and Director of Music. Boys from Westminster Under School and Westminster City School also participate. However the Abbey has not yet followed the initiative taken by several cathedrals in having girl choristers, and its choir school is the only one still confined to choristers alone, and therefore also to boys. The choir regularly broadcasts, makes recordings and goes on tour; since the events of 1998 and in connection with the appointment of a new Organist the Dean and Chapter have put in place formal arrangements to regulate and manage the contracts and fees arising from such activities.
12. The choir school is largely financed, and its finances managed, by the Dean and Chapter and its accounts are published with theirs. The annual cost is high, at about 500k. All boys are generously subsidised, and parents are asked to contribute only 20% of the actual cost in fees; grants and scholarships are also available which can cover the total amount. At present as we have said the school has only thirty-eight boys and is limited to choristers only. This raises questions as to the educational and social desirability of having a school of such small size and concentration, and it is the only remaining school of this kind in the UK (we note that the similar school associated with St. Thomas's, Fifth Avenue, New York is based on the Abbey model). There is no doubt that small specialised schools of this kind can pose particular risks, and serious consideration has been given within the last decade to enlarging the school to include other children, which would have meant finding other premises. This was rejected, for reasons which included the difficulties of physical location and travel in the area of Westminster, and a further investment of over a million pounds was made in 1995 for the complete refurbishment of the premises. Alternative solutions, according to which for example the choristers might have been educated at Westminster Under School, were felt likely to impose academic requirements which might be unrealistic and to render the selection more exclusive.
13. Despite the constraints of physical location and small size, and the considerable demands made on the boys, when an inspection was held in November 1999 by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) the overall result was positive. The boys were held to be ahead of their age group in the under-11 range and well ahead in the 11-13+ range; there were very good pastoral relationships and care for special needs and excellent use was made of the facilities available. The school is heavily oversubscribed and can afford to be selective; nevertheless the boys come from state primary schools as well as preparatory and pre-preparatory schools, even if overall they tend to be socially and economically advantaged. Staffing levels are generous and classes extremely small.
14. The school takes boys from 8 to 13, who are admitted after vocal and academic tests. They move on to a wide variety of independent schools, both boarding and day, very often with scholarships. The choir school has its own governing body, under the chairmanship of the Dean; the four Canons are also members, together with five lay members including a representative each for past and present parents. A sub-committee manages the day-to-day running, though the finances and salaries are a matter for the Dean and Chapter. The boys receive as wide an education as is possible in a school of this size, and bearing in mind the heavy requirements on choristers, and they are admitted according to talent, not social background. However they are likely to go on to major independent schools, and there is a concern that the present situation is inevitably somewhat elitist in effect if not in intention.
15. The Dean and Chapter also have a close historical relation with Westminster School, which worships in the Abbey on a regular weekly basis, and whose Headmaster and Under Master are members of the College. The relationship carries major responsibilities for the Dean and Chapter: the Dean is Chairman of the Governors for Westminster School and Westminster Under School, and two Canons sit on the Governing Body. The Dean and Chapter also appoint a Governor to Westminster City School (the Sub-Dean is presently Vice-Chairman) and to Queen Anne's School, Caversham, and they have had a historical connection with Greycoats' School. It would be very desirable if these connections could be further extended to schools in the maintained sector so as to reach out to a wider constituency and to include more girls, and if an active relationship could be developed with such schools. More widely, work with children and young people on a broader level would not be incompatible with the tradition and history of the Abbey.
16. A great ecclesiastical establishment such as the Abbey has an important educational potential. During its days as a Benedictine monastery, the Abbey was a considerable place of learning, sending large numbers of monks to study at Gloucester College in Oxford. Even when the monastery was briefly restored under Mary I in 1556 fourteen of its monks were Benedictines from Oxford. Besides its choir school and its connection with Westminster School the Abbey nowadays provides for education in various different ways, for example through the appointment of a Lector Theologiae with the specific task of enhancing the educational and theological mission of the Abbey through writing, lectures and other means, and by the lectures and seminars which already take place from time to time. The Abbey website is being further developed so as to provide information about all aspects of the Abbey's life, history and building; school and other groups are welcomed for study visits and the Librarian and Keeper of the Muniments (manuscripts) deal regularly with enquiries from the public. The Library, begun in 1591 and containing more than 14,000 pre-1801 items, is open to scholars and those interested for consultation.
17. At a fundamental level teaching is provided by preaching, and Abbey Lectures are another means by which the educational mission is exercised. However the Abbey is well placed to develop this wider educational role in further and more active ways, for example by promoting its Benedictine ideals more widely and by taking a more active and positive role in wider activities. Such further development would have the advantage of giving it a more positive link with the public at large. It would also be a way of fulfilling the wider duty of the Abbey in regard to teaching and evangelism.
18. Like cathedrals, the Abbey is in an excellent position to act as a centre of creativity. This may take the form of new compositions, new prayers and forms of liturgy and new artistic commissions. The Abbey can show its visitors the best of Anglican worship, not only in maintaining (and explaining) the regular offices but also in introducing them to creative developments in liturgy and music. In recent years it has commissioned a new mass by Judith Bingham, and we hope that more will be done along these lines. Vestments, frontals, icons and stained glass are all spheres where creative activity can be encouraged, and the unveiling of the new statues of contemporary martyrs on the west front was accompanied by a conference and concert with a new musical commission by Jonathan Harvey. The Innocent Victims' Memorial was unveiled by The Queen and dedicated in 1996. It is important that the Abbey should continue to develop this role as the patron of the arts at the highest possible level.
19. The Abbey is the place of national commemoration, and there have been reports on the monuments and memorials in the Abbey in 1855, 1891 and 1927, in response to increasing pressure on space. A call for funding for extra housing for them was included in an Appeal for the fabric mounted by Dean Ryle in 1920. The 1927 Sub-Commission advocated a new building, but this was not carried forward, no doubt because of the great difficulty in locating a possible site. Meanwhile decisions about memorials in Poets' Corner and Musicians' Aisle remain a prerogative of the Dean, and can still arouse considerable public interest.
20. The Abbey also fosters evangelism through its ministry to Parliament and the many staff and others who work in the Palace of Westminster (some ten thousand people hold passes). It has a ministry to its many visitors, and to its own large paid and volunteer staff and community, which is the responsibility of the Archdeacon (currently the Sub-Dean), with the Chaplain and Sacrist and Pastoral Assistant. Through St. Margaret's, the Dean and Chapter offer a healing ministry and the opportunity for adult confirmation. It also extends its mission through its relations with the twenty-four livings of which it holds the patronage. These and other relationships and examples of evangelism should be encouraged and developed as much as possible.
21. As well as the emphasis which the Abbey places on its witness to the nation, and to the world, it also serves other causes, for example by encouraging relationships with those who care for the homeless in London, and by working with the Central London Interfaith Refugee Network, both directly and through its charitable giving through collections, boxes and agreed donations, which in 1999-2000 amounted to some 100,000. We believe that further extension of this corporate service by the Abbey would enhance the public standing which it already holds.
22. Undoubtedly the worshippers at the Abbey are drawn mainly from visitors and from the congregations for special services, and estimates vary as to the extent to which there is a regular worshipping congregation. We accept that there may be difficulties in the way of establishing connections with local churches and local life in this particular area, the ceremonial heart of the capital. However, concentration on the visitors and on the wider national role puts the Abbey at risk of a certain alienation from church life and mission, and this risk is enhanced by the very grandeur of the building. Even without the direct diocesan link closer ties could be developed. Mission and evangelism must not give place to other considerations. Our evidence suggests that there are indeed individuals who would welcome a closer involvement in the worshipping life of the Abbey. Now that the new management structures and the programme of 'Recovering the Calm' are well in place we would like to see the encouragement of an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere towards individuals and groups who do want to worship at the Abbey on a regular basis, or who might be attracted into it. This should include a means of consultation with them when changes are contemplated.
23. The Abbey is conscious of the need for developed equal opportunity procedures in relation to its staff and volunteers, and monitors the numbers of staff appointed from ethnic minorities. Within the broader service which we advocate a special place should be given to matters of racial justice, social access and equal opportunity. It is of prime importance as part of the Christian message of the Kingdom, and the Abbey, with all the great diversity of its visitors, is in a privileged position from which to be seen to carry forth the social message of inclusion.

Guardianship and stewardship

24. The Dean and Chapter are the guardians of a long tradition, and the stewards of a unique and extraordinarily important building. Their first duty is worship, as we have seen, and the emphasis which they place on the pre-Reformation Benedictine tradition is a way of preserving the memory and the practice of inherent in that first duty, which embraces not only the daily offices and other services but also teaching and hospitality. They are also the stewards of their built heritage, and here too they bear witness to the Christian tradition and to their particular role within it. They are the guardians of royal tombs and of the memorials of great men and women in the national history. They differ from the clergy of cathedrals in that their witness is to a royal heritage and history, which did not involve being part of the organisation of a diocese or even, technically, of the wider church. But they share with them, especially in today's increased consciousness of 'heritage', not only the expectation of mission, teaching and evangelism in the widest sense, but also the duty of best practice and conformity to existing planning and regulatory mechanisms. The Abbey is also explicitly part of a Grade I World Heritage Site, which lays extra responsibilities upon it in this regard. An extensive Government review has recently taken place of policies and attitudes to the historic environment, and of the role of churches and cathedrals within it. Clearly the Abbey cannot stand aside from the aims and objectives which have been embraced in the course of such a review and which have a strong emphasis on education, access and mission.
25. It is a sign of its complex history and the mingling within that history of Church and state that within the Abbey, the Chapter House and the Pyx Chamber are Crown Property and under English Heritage guardianship, with separate entrance arrangements and a separate shop. Our evidence suggests that this can be an uneasy relationship, and the exact designation of areas as falling within one or the other authority, for example, that of the archaeology beneath these areas, is not straightforward. Current planning controls, and their equivalent under the ecclesiastical exemption, of which the nearest equivalent is the Care of Cathedrals Measure 1990 with its supplementary legislation, lay down stringent requirements, which include procedures for the treatment of archaeology and the detailed recording of all investigation. These requirements apply, for example, to St. Paul's Cathedral, but not to the Abbey. The Abbey has indeed been extremely successful, in that it was able to carry out and complete, in 1995, a very extensive programme of exterior restoration. In order to finance this very large project the then Westminster Abbey Trust was able to raise some 25m. The Abbey is also able to call upon another Trust to pay for further work that may be needed, and 204,000 was awarded for this purpose in 1999. This is likely to be repeated on a yearly basis for ongoing work on the roof over the next ten years. However, despite the devoted attention of Deans and Chapters and of distinguished members of the past and present fabric advisory committees it does not seem satisfactory that so sensitive a building as Westminster Abbey should remain for the most part outside the careful provisions of the secular planning and church heritage legislation, or that there should be any lack of clarity about constituent parts within it.
26. The Library and Muniments are precious assets well known to and studied by scholars and we are glad to see that access to them is promoted on the Abbey website.


27. Governance of the Abbey is by the Charter and Statutes of 1560, the latter not having formally received Elizabeth I's sign manual and therefore not being strictly good in law. The Charter and Statutes have subsequently been supplemented in a variety of ways, as listed in Appendix 1. The Abbey is also governed by historic custom: an internal 'Red Book', which also takes into account the various amendments to the original Charter, sets out much, if not all, of the custom. It was recommended in 1927 and 1951 that the 'custom' of the Abbey should be formally written down, but this has not been done. The view of the Legal Secretary expressed in 1996 and recorded in the present Red Book was that the existing Red Book could be drawn upon in case of a dispute, and that it would be sufficient if it were kept up to date and revised from time to time by the Dean and Chapter. However we have noted that the Red Book by no means covers all eventualities (it does not, for example, set out disciplinary procedures and it is not concerned with the great majority of the paid staff). It may not express all of the collective memory of the Abbey which is understood by the Dean and Chapter to be included in the customs. For the avoidance of possible confusion it would now surely be helpful if it did become the basis of a formal written record incorporating all the changes that have taken place in the regulation of the Abbey's governance since the foundation in 1560.
28. The governance of the Abbey is first and foremost under the Dean and Chapter, that is the four residentiary Canons, who constitute the corporate body of the Abbey. Over the years the number of Canons has been reduced, and the present number of four derives from the recommendation of the Cathedrals Commission of 1927. These are Crown appointments. The Canons are answerable to the Dean, who is Ordinary, and makes all other appointments, though in practice he does so in consultation with the Chapter in accordance with the Supplemental Charter of 1951. The Dean is Chair of the Worship Advisory Committee, the Fabric Advisory Commission and the Governing Bodies of Westminster School and the Choir School . He is also Dean to the Order of the Bath. Above the Dean is the Visitor, Her Majesty The Queen as already explained.
29. Despite the uncertain legal status of the Abbey's Statutes, it is generally accepted that they constitute the basis of the Dean's authority. However, the Statutes do not provide for an intermediary body between the Dean and the Visitor in case of dispute, and where there is an appeal to the Visitor from a member of the College, as happened recently, there is no provision for mediation or preliminary independent consideration of the matter. Thus both the Dean and the Visitor are left exposed.
30. Chapter meetings take place formally twice a month, and informal Chapters are also held from time to time. The Chapter prides itself on working by consensus, without formal votes, and no decisions are implemented until the minutes have been agreed and confirmed. No decisions taken in the Dean's absence can be implemented until he has given his approval.
31. The four residentiary Canons between them hold a number of statutory and non-statutory offices, such as Canon Steward, Canon Treasurer, Lector Theologiae and Rector of St. Margaret's. Appointments to these vary: the Sub-Dean is appointed by the Dean, the Archdeacon, Chronicler and Treasurer by the Dean and Chapter, the Steward is elected by the Dean and Chapter. Each has a range of responsibilities.
32. The College of St. Peter includes, besides the Dean and Chapter, twelve Lay Vicars and ten of the choristers; the other members are the Receiver General (who is also the Chapter Clerk), the Precentor, the Chaplain and Sacrist, the Organist, the High Steward and High Bailiff, the Registrar, the Auditor, the Legal Secretary, the Librarian, the Keeper of the Muniments, the Surveyor of the Fabric, the Headmaster of the Choir School, the Headmaster and Under Master of Westminster School, the Master of The Queen's Scholars and the Clerk of the Works. The College itself does not make decisions, which are reserved to the Dean and Chapter.

Management and organisation

33. The Abbey has some 200 paid staff, some of whom are members of the College. They include seven vergers under the Dean's Verger, six Queen's Almsmen, twenty-two Marshals under the Chief Marshal and sixteen cashiers under the Chief Cashier. The administration is headed by the Receiver General, who is also the Chapter Clerk, with four Assistant Receiver Generals, with defined responsibilities (Administration, Finance, Protocol, Communication). In comparison with other institutions, the Abbey is very well provided with professional staff at senior level, and their number has increased in recent years, particularly in connection with the programme of 'Recovering the Calm'. A major overhaul and modernisation of management structures has been underway and is still partly in progress, with new job descriptions and reporting lines. This necessarily also involves a process of staff education and training. Much has been achieved in these areas in a short time, and the changes are beginning to show their effect. Separate codes of discipline are in force for lay staff in general and for teachers in the Choir School.
34. Within the Chapter and the College, and among the higher posts of the paid staff, there has been a very considerable amount of change in recent years, and this has enabled existing structures to be reviewed. There is no doubt that the events of 1998 and the publicity which surrounded them have had a profound impact on the Abbey. However it needs to be emphasised that re-evaluation of its working structure was already underway, and this has continued. Change takes time and is usually unsettling, but the Abbey is already well along the road to clearer internal management structures, and this is much to be welcomed. The difficulty inherent in undertaking such a process in an institution like the Abbey cannot be emphasised enough, and the Dean and Chapter deserve credit both for realising that change was necessary and for their very considerable achievements in this direction.
35. As we have said, revenue from all sources at the Abbey and St. Margaret's, including visitor income and trading, currently approaches 9m annually, and good financial management is of increasing importance. Both income and expenditure, particularly the amount spent on management and administration, have grown significantly in recent years. A main feature has been, with the assistance of consultants, the overhaul of the control systems for financial and operational management and the introduction of new computer software and a programme of internal audit. These steps are designed to introduce tighter financial and management control throughout the Abbey's activities, and were clearly needed. We regard them as essential tools of good financial management. Despite increased expenditure on management and administration the Abbey has achieved a surplus in recent years, after taking into account investment gains.
36. The Abbey has an external Investment Committee with four lay experts which oversees and advises on investment policy, and a pensions scheme whose trustees meet on a regular basis. It does not have a finance committee as such, but the Auditor, who in addition to being a partner in the firm which audits the Abbey accounts is a member of the Collegiate Body, is available for advice throughout the year. Responsibility for finance and accounting lies with the Canon Treasurer who reports to the Dean and Chapter, who approve annual budgets and the annual report and financial statements (which are published), monitor outturn against budget through the year and approve capital expenditure.
37. All members of staff are accountable to the Dean, where appropriate through the relevant Assistant Receiver General and Receiver General. For some appointments 'head hunters' have been used, and legal advice is sought in connection with contracts and terms of employment. This is appropriate in an institution of this size.
38. Staff management is by reporting upwards and by regular discussion and consultation. The Receiver General holds a regular Lay Chapter, as well as meetings with groups of staff. The Dean also regularly talks to all staff and there is a weekly staff bulletin. The aim is for lateral as well as vertical communication. Again, this is a process still under development.
39. Good employment practices in accordance with current employment law are the Abbey's aim. Written contracts, job descriptions and procedures for evaluation and career development are part of this process. The Assistant Receiver General (Administration) is the Abbey's Personnel Officer. While there is a statutory difference between members of the College and other staff, the Abbey has also taken legal advice in drawing up contracts of employment for recently appointed members of the College such as the Receiver General and the Organist.
40. The longstanding system of relying on volunteer help has been reviewed with the aim of improving accountability and good practice. At the Abbey volunteers currently total 280, slightly more than the employed and paid staff. They exist in a variety of categories, including for example forty-nine honorary Stewards, many of whom devotedly travel some distance to serve the Abbey at its services, and forty-eight Abbey Assistants who work as 'information points' with the 108 members of the Guild of Guardians; there are also 27 bellringers, as well as guilds for sewing and of servers. There is no doubt that these men and women (servers now include boys and girls from Westminster School) together form a major resource and demonstrate a very high degree of attachment to the Abbey which deserves full appreciation and recognition. However volunteers need clear objectives and careful and sympathetic management, and the introduction of tighter practices can sometimes be a sensitive matter. Volunteers at the Abbey must now retire at 70, with not more than two years extension, and should be under 65 at the time of appointment; a revised system of training, assessment and accountability has been under development. The interaction between paid and volunteer staff must also be carefully managed, and attention given to the education and training of all staff. The Abbey is continuing to review the future of volunteer assistants, with a view to participating in the 'Heritage Volunteer Charter' published by the British Association of Friends of Museums (1997), and we also draw attention here to the suggestions made in Heritage and Renewal, chapter 9. Despite some misgivings felt by longstanding volunteers under the 'old' regime at the Abbey, we believe that the recent changes were a move in the right direction, and were necessary both in terms of conformity to practice elsewhere and in relation to the programme of 'Recovering the Calm'.
41. Unlike at St. George's Chapel, there is no Association of Friends at the Abbey, although this can be extremely useful to an institution.(16) We refer to what is said in para. 22 above and believe that the Abbey would benefit from having a structure which could draw on the goodwill and indeed love that is undoubtedly felt for it.
42. The Abbey's commercial activities (the Bookshop and Coffee Club) are conducted through Westminster Abbey Enterprises Ltd and the budgeted net income from trading in 1999 was about 926k. There is however need for improved facilities, and these activities are currently under review.


43. Westminster Abbey is one of the leading national tourist attractions, although in common with experience elsewhere a drop was experienced, with consequent fall in income, in the financial year ending 30 September 2000. In 1996 warnings were expressed that such activity was taking over the main purpose of the Abbey, and a programme known as 'Recovering the Calm' was formally introduced in 1998 under the control of one of the Assistant Receivers General as a way of managing the numbers. This was done only after extensive preparation and planning and with the advice of consultants. Charging for entrance to the Abbey was introduced in 1997 and is an integral part of 'Recovering the Calm', as well as the major source of yearly revenue. The implementation of the programme required an increase in floor staff (Vergers, Marshals, cashiers, and cleaners) and changes in their reporting structure, and our evidence suggests that it has been most felt at this level.
44. The management of the Abbey's many visitors is one of the greatest challenges faced by the Dean and Chapter. For example, while income from this source seems high, so is the necessary expenditure and the requirement for managing the necessary staff and volunteers, quite apart from the possible danger to the fabric of the regular passage through the building of so many people. The programme 'Recovering the Calm' was introduced as a way of making manageable what had become a near-impossible situation. A good deal of work has been done on the problems of tourism in cathedrals, for example by the English Tourist Board, and this subject is addressed in an excellent chapter in Heritage and Renewal,(17) although when that Report was produced Westminster Abbey had not yet begun to impose visitor charges. In our view the problems of Westminster Abbey in this regard are not essentially different from cathedrals such as Canterbury and York, or indeed from St. Paul's, although its location in close proximity to the Houses of Parliament may perhaps influence the particular tourists it attracts. There are many ways in which comparable institutions can exchange ideas and experiences so as to arrive at best practice in this matter, and there is lively discussion about the best way of addressing the issues which arise in relation to tourism in major places of worship, especially in relation to the balance between use and sightseeing.
45. The importance of tourists (or better, visitors), to the Abbey can thus be defined both in terms of teaching, evangelism and witness, and as a source of income. We have seen that the income received from visitors also necessitates a high degree of expenditure, and requires careful management of staff and especially of the volunteers who come into contact with them. Adequate training for these volunteers is crucial, and must encompass matters of health and safety, first aid and security as well as information and responsiveness. The requirement of teaching, evangelism and mission can be fulfilled in various ways, for example by the Visitor Centres which many cathedrals have now built, with adjacent restaurants, visitor facilities and information displays. The Dean and Chapter are conscious of this need but must work under severe constraints of location. Shops are also part of this outreach to visitors. Issues of access are also important, and institutions must now take steps to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. Finally, though of course not least in importance, a way must be found over and above the impact of the daily services, of communicating the spiritual meaning of the building and its religious and symbolic significance.
46. The Abbey provides for the pastoral care of its visitors by hourly prayer and by the availability of duty priests. Until recently these were assisted by two religious sisters, but the pastoral arrangements are currently under review, and one sister who has been seconded part-time to the Abbey is assisting with the assessment. In many cases visitors also need instruction and explanation, not just as tourists but as enquirers into the Christian faith and the Anglican tradition. The practical requirements inherent in the management of visitors must be balanced with a different kind of aim, that of educating them in the deeper meaning of the great institution which they are visiting. This is especially the case when so many of them are from countries without the Anglican tradition, but it is also important in view of the fact that many of the Abbey's visitors from within the UK are likely to come as tourists rather than as worshippers. Tourism, therefore, must be taken very seriously as being one of the main ways in today's society in which the Abbey can achieve the goals of social inclusion and increased access.
47. Monitoring of the origins, expectations and experience of visitors is an important part of their effective management, as well as a way of providing information which can help in the quest to make them welcome and increase their appreciation. It is necessary to reach out to visitors as well as to control them, and good information can be a great help in marketing what the Abbey has to offer.
48. Communication in a broader sense is the responsibility of one of the four Assistant Receivers General (appointed in 1998). The Abbey's website is a good example of how it can reach out to a wide public, but the message of modernisation and improved staff relations has yet to be conveyed. We have found that there is still an atmosphere of criticism and some cases misunderstanding surrounding the life of the Abbey. We believe that there is now a case for a more active promotion of the Abbey's activities in relation to teaching, evangelising and mission, and of the Abbey's role in the national religious life.


49. The events of 1998 have given rise to a sustained campaign of criticism of the Abbey, some of it extremely unpleasant in nature. Although this criticism is often ill-informed, it has undoubtedly had a damaging effect. We have also found that some who have been associated with the Abbey in the past have for various reasons come to feel estranged from it. However this criticism has obscured the major steps forward which have been taken in general management matters. There is a danger for those involved of retreating from the public eye into relatively safe territory. But it is apparent that much has been achieved in a short time of which the Abbey can justifiably be proud, and in our view there is a clear need now for it to proclaim its very considerable achievements. Indeed, it is now in a position to go further than this and to use its position of independence to concentrate on mission and evangelism and to reclaim a teaching and leadership role in moral and religious matters. We hope that its recent difficulties can now be allowed to rest. Westminster Abbey is one of the greatest institutions in the world and it is uniquely placed through its combination of centrality and independence to act as a beacon in modern society.

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