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Tuesday 16 December 2014

13 key points from the @c_of_e 's Green Report (with page no. refs) on #Talent Management -

A quick reminder of how the report was 1st revealed

The 12/12/14 Church Times reported on what it described as an "unpublished" CofE report on "talent management".  

The article quoted a spokeperson as saying 

"Details will be published next month" 

(although given the structure of the article's paragraph this might be referring to either the report or the implementation plan). 

I blogged about what the article said & included links to others posts on 13/12/14.   My impression from tweets from people on my 2800 strong CofE twitter list is that a lot of the initial reaction to the Report was not positive.

It's possible that the Church Times article revealed the report's contents earlier than CofE HQ intended. That might explain why  - despite signing the report off -  Justin Welby has now (16/12)  issued a response.  Plus on the CofE website there is now (16/12) A Note from the Bishop of Ely on “The Green Report”

The Archbishops have been silent in public on it even though they challenged the review

" to be sufficiently radical and imaginative in response to new contexts" (p3) 

AND the report recommended that 

"It is important for the Archbishops to lead the communication to the broader Church regarding why changes are required at this point in time"

I read the report yesterday - as thanks to Thinking Anglicans I found a copy of it on their website. The full title is "Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans:A New Approach".  Lots of people refer to it as the Green report (after Lord Green who chaired the Steering Committee).

Almost at the foot of this posts are links to other people's posts on the Talent Report

And at the very foot of this post are links to my summarises of the recent January 2015 CofE reports and other related CofE posts on stats/conferences/etc. etc

So here goes with the summary .....


1) The intention - to develop clergy of exceptional leadership potential

2) Investment needed - of £2.1m 2014/16 plus £0.8m p.a. in 2017 & thereafter

3) Theology and context - some headlines of the thinking:

- "We intend to form clergy who integrate and demonstrate strategic and spiritual gifts";

- "Without the visible resilience of the body corporate, the Church, the name of Jesus dies on the nation’s lips";

- "Generous and visible servants of Jesus" and "radical and ambitious as holy people";   

- "We are advocating the embrace of credible risk as an integral part of our adventure in Christ"

4) A new Talent Development Programme - "Talent Pool" aimed at up to 150 people 

5) Leadership Characteristics of Bishops & Deans - described under headings like: Common Good; Re-shaping Ministry; and Leading Growth

6) Mandatory Induction Process for diocesan & suffragan bishops - replacing a voluntary one

7) New induction programme for deansreplacing the current ad hoc arrangements

8) 36 diocesan bishops to complete a modular development programme - in 2015/16

9) Mini MBA programme in 2015/16 for 60 individuals - targeted primarily at deans

10) New Contributing to the Common Good Programme - in 2015/16 for 54 individuals (bishops or deans)

11) Suffragan bishops role - may have implications for future programmes design

12) Standardised MDR process - for senior clergy across the Church with more objectivity, transparency and detail

13 ) Alignment of criteria for ordination, development of priests in their 1st years of ministry and talent identification


1) The intention - is to develop clergy of exceptional leadership potential to make a significant impact in every area of the Church’s endeavour AND to be more open to the emergence of leaders from a wider variety of backgrounds and range of skills than is currently predictable (p5)

2) Investment required for the new approach - £2.1m 2014/16 plus £0.8m p.a. in 2017 & thereafter (p3)

3) Theological exploration of principles and context - is set on pages 4-9 of the report.  I have picked out a couple of themes to give a sense of some of the issues covered.

Spiritual and Strategic

"We intend to form clergy who integrate and demonstrate strategic and spiritual gifts" (p6)

"Being spiritual and strategic go together in witness and action ...... organisational flourishing is as necessary a springboard as active mission. Without the visible resilience of the body corporate, the Church, the name of Jesus dies on the nation’s lips". (p7)

Generous and visible servants of Jesus, radical and ambitious as holy people

"The Church’s ordained leaders are called to be generous and visible servants of Jesus Christ who enable abundant living in individuals, Church and community by making Christ known.  They are called to be radical and ambitious as holy people who are single-minded in their desire to ensure that their leadership serves the building of the kingdom of God (p7)

Embracing credible risk as an integral part of our adventure in Christ.

"We are advocating the embrace of credible risk as an integral part of our adventure in Christ. We are proposing a radical step change in our development of leaders who can shape and articulate a compelling vision and who are skilled and robust enough to create spaces of safe uncertainty in which the Kingdom grows. (p7)

"The Faith and Order Commission’s document on leadership speaks of ‘faithful improvisation’ as a key characteristic of Christian leadership. This is exactly what this plan promotes." (p5)

Professional clergy - sociological realities and transcendent values and principles

 'Profession' in a clergy context is both a group of people who operate according to conventions and practices developed by the group; and on the other, a group that professes a set of transcendent values and principles which derive from a theology of vocation (p5)

4) A new Talent Development Programme  - aimed at up to 150 people who have demonstrated exceptional performance AND potential over a sustained period of time to undertake key strategic leadership roles for Gospel, Kingdom and Church impact in the future. (p16). Average duration of membership will be 5 years. After the start up around 30 individuals a year will become alumni as they leave the pool (p17). P20 &21 have more detail on what happens in each of the 5 years.

Identifying Candidates for the talent pool  - is done as part of an annual review held by each diocesan bishop (p18). In doing so they consider the types of potential indicators in the lower half of the diagram below (also see p29, 30 & 31).  

The annual review meeting will categorise high potential individuals in terms of: a) Early Promise - 'ones to watch'; b) Exceptional Potential; c) Ready Now for Episcopal Ministry.

Applying to be in the talent pool - once candidates are identified and agree to apply, then their diocesan bishop completes a nomination statement including a detailed, evidence based report (p18).  The candidate also completes a form including a self-appraisal of strengths and development needs, their perspective on the fit with talent programme, references and recent MDR (p19)

Selecting which candidates should be invited to a discernment panel - the Development and Appointments Group (DAG) considers the documentation to ensure nominations are of consistent calibre across the dioceses.  DAC filter out nominations where the documentation provided does not demonstrate sustained evidence of exceptional potential. DAG will ensure decisions at this stage are moderated across its’ membership.(p19) and agrees to progress a candidate to the Discernment Panel.

Discernment Panel - Candidates attend for 1 day with a series of assessments, and interviews to evaluate their suitability.  Assessors at the panel will be appointed by the Archbishops, and include a mix of lay and ordained individuals drawn from across the diversity of the Church of England. (p19).  Assessors will advise the Archbishops, via DAG, which individuals should be offered a place on the programme and provide a written feedback report for all individuals who participate in a selection panel, highlighting key strengths and development areas. (p20)

After the Talent Pool - Over time an alumni network (overseen by DAG) will develop as individuals complete the programme.  This will be supported by resource from the senior appointments and development teams and there will be invitations to relevant meetings and specific development events designed for the network. (p21)

5) Leadership Characteristics - Bishops & Deans  (p10)

6) Mandatory Induction Process for diocesan and suffragan bishops - So a change from the current voluntary individual focussed approach to a mandatory process "that examines key organisational and mission areas in depth, both locally and nationally."  Within a year of appointment all bishops and deans will attend a guided spiritual retreat. (p15)

7) New induction programme for deans - replacing the current ad hoc arrangements.  This also includes a recommendation that newly appointed suffragan bishops and deans should be allocated a mentor  (p15). 

8) 36 diocesan bishops to complete a modular development programme in 2015/16 (p10) - covering 3 modules as described in the diagram above (and further in p12 & 13).  "Initially, diocesan bishops will be the priority participants on the first leadership programme. The expectation is that suffragan bishops and deans will be drawn into full participation in the whole programme". (p6).

9) Mini MBA programme in 2015/16 for 60 individuals targeted primarily at deans (p11) - but also open to bishops and possibly archdeacons – egs of content include: finance; building high performance teams; a field trip to a see how a non-Church heritage sites is run (p13)

10) New Contributing to the Common Good Programme in 2015/16 for 54 individuals (bishops or deans) (p11) - egs of content includes: advanced communications skills training, including the digital media; Case Studies on successful partnering with secular bodies (p13)

11) Suffragan bishops role and the programmes set out in the Green report  - the leadership lens of the Green report project has underlined the complexity of the suffragan role.  A Dioceses Commission symposium in October 2014, developed in conjunction with FAOC and DAG, may stimulate further work in this area which will have implications for future programme design.(p24).   

12) Standardised MDR process for senior clergy across the Church with more objectivity, transparency and detail - performance management should provide the foundation for talent management and leadership development activity. (p23)  "Currently there is some difference in focus between Lambeth and Bishopthorpe and future work will be required to establish a common vision for the scheme and to ensure that a re-designed Archbishops’ MDR Scheme is aligned with the new leadership characteristics" (p25)

13) Alignment of criteria for ordination, development of priests in their 1st years of ministry and talent identification - there is an obvious overlap between the criteria for each of these.  They are not yet fully aligned and more work will be required between the Wash House and Ministry Division. (p23)

Other's posts/resources on this subject - in date order

Paul Handley in the Church Times - the original article  (12/12)

The report itself (sated September 2104) - on the Thinking Anglicans website (12/12 - and on the CofE site 16/12)

Senior Church Leadership A Resource for Reflection - found via Thinking Anglicans (date unknown  - but the Green report refers to it)

artsy honker - cofe throwing money at the wrong problem (12/12)

rachell mann - these are not the leaders you are looking for (12/12)

martyn percy - are these the leaders that we really want? (12/12)

richard murphy - Should the Church of England really be taking a lead from Lord Stephen Green? (13/12)

me - why can't they publish it before January? (13/12)

michael sadgrove - The Next Generation of Church Leaders: thoughts on the Green Report (14/12)

andrew lightbrown - An open letter to Lord Green et al (14/12)

archdruid eilleen - infecting the church with mangerialism (15/12)

archbishop cranmer - cofe to spend £2m on new approach to leadership (15/12)

ian paul - should bishops come from a 'talent pool' ?' (15/12)

ruth gledhill - Can business training solve CofE's 'toxic' leadership problem? (15/12)

victhevicar - C of E to groom talent for top jobs: Leading Growth (16/12)

justin welby - a response (16/12)

bishop of ely - a note  (16/12)

pete wilcox - a reflection from a member of the group (16/12)

Theore0 - fallen angels & slippery slopes (6/1/15)

opinionated vicar - in praise of the green report (7/1/15)

Related CofE Posts

CofE Discerning & nurturing paper - with Green Report attached - from January 2015

Church Commissioners' funds and inter-generational equity - from January 2015

CofE Resourcing the Future - from January 2015

CofE Resourcing Ministerial Education - from January 2015

CofE Simplification paper - from January 2015

CofE Developing Discipleship paper - from January 2015

“In Each Generation” : A programme for reform and renewal - from January 2015

The Green Report - on CofE talent management - from December 2014

CofE typos in services - a compilation of a @OurCofE twitter hashtag - from December 2014

CofE 2013 mission stats - from November 2014

Household of faith conference - one of several posts summarising - from July 2014

CofE Strategies - one of several posts summarising - from June/July 2014

Role of church in society conference - from June 2014

CofE church growth research conference - from January 2014


  1. This is not change: all that is proposed is formalised, expensive window-dressing. The clue is in the way that "after identifying candidates will be invited to apply" to be in the talent pool: identified by whom? according to what criteria? This is not innovation or improvement, all it proposes is setting in stone the current system of nudges, winks and buggins-turn. As for talent or matching gifts to a particular diocese, forget it: the memorable description of the CCA giving an opportunity to "chuck dead cats over your neighbour's wall" will still hold good.
    And the suggestion of an MBA for clergy (syllabus TBA) is laughable.
    This report is the establishment trying to dress-up and justify what unjustifiable at a cost of over £2m for starters and then ongoing of £0.8m per year - and I expect both those figures to be well under what the real cost will be.
    This is displacement activity on a grand scale: the pews are emptying, the church if riven with factions but hey, lets rearrange the deck-chairs and claim an innovative 'spirit-led' change even as our particular titanic sinks beneath the waves.

  2. Good Morning Anonymous - a couple of quick points on some of the issues you raise

    - section 4 of my post summarises what I think the report says about selection in terms of who does it and using what criteria

    - I think CofE HQ were caught out by a) the Church Times article & b) the strength of sentiment against what that article reported the Green report as saying (I say this because the Church Times article came out on 12/12 - and amongst other things said the report wouldn't be published till January - it then took till 16/12 for archbishops/bishops to formally comment and release the report on the CofE site