Governance and management arrangements have been significantly reformed at Lincoln Cathedral in recent years, despite the challenges of Covid and the organisation is ready to become a registered charity, according to an independent report.

The former Bishop of Lincoln, The Right Reverend Christopher Lowson commissioned the report late last year, just prior to his retirement, to assess the cathedral’s readiness to register with the Charities Commission.

The decision to undertake the review followed the Church of England resolution to change the way cathedrals are governed under the new Cathedral Measure.

The review panel was led by The Rt Revd Graham James, former Bishop of Norwich and the panel included Sir William Fittall, former Secretary-General to the Archbishops’ Council; Lucinda Herklots, former Diocesan Secretary in Salisbury and a current lay member of Salisbury Cathedral Chapter; and Stuart Jones, the Diocesan Registrar of the Dioceses of London and Norwich.

The report praised the progress made at the cathedral and identified a number of positive improvements already made in staff development, finances, governance and management.

It concluded:

“The finances of the cathedral have been well managed through all the disruptions of the past couple of years. While an institution with such large ongoing fabric maintenance costs as Lincoln is never likely to feel financially secure, the balance sheet is in good shape.

“Many aspects of the Chapter’s current way of working seem to us to be impressive and entirely in line with the thinking that inspired the recent Synod legislation.

“We recommend, therefore, that Lincoln should take its place alongside other cathedrals in the process to become a registered charity.”

The panel outlined a number of recommendations that included some short-term focussed work on internal and external communications, the creation of a task group to oversee the review of some governance policies and to undertake the Due Diligence work needed for the Charities Commission including changes to the Constitution and Statutes.

The Acting Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Reverend Stephen Conway said he was delighted the report had been positive and welcomed the Cathedral’s readiness for charity status.

“It’s very gratifying to see the panel members recognise the excellent work that has already been done.” he said.

“The report has also provided us with a very helpful roadmap about the final steps needed to move forward with the transformation of the cathedral to a charity. I very much look forward to a bright future for the cathedral and for its continuation as a central part of the Lincolnshire community.”

The Very Reverend Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln, also welcomed the report and its positive affirmation of the work done to improve governance.

“There have been challenges modernising such an historic institution and I am delighted the report has identified the importance and scope of the changes already made,” she said.

“ Establishing a creative and mutually supportive relationship that will benefit the cathedral and diocese is very much at the heart of our work to support the bishop in mission.

Much dedication, commitment and hard work by lots of people at the cathedral and in chapter have gone into this transformation and I want to thank them for their support.

“There is still work to do but I am excited and positive about the opportunity to create a thriving cathedral which continues to be at the heart of this county for generations to come.”

You can read the summary of the report here: Lincoln Cathedral Review – Report Summary