The national context is set out in the Church Buildings Review, which reported in January 2016. It was chaired by the Rt Reverend Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester and Chair of the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division. It gives the parameters for this diocesan strategic review. The Review states that:
What is understood by ‘open for worship’ has evolved over time depending on local contexts and will need to evolve further for some buildings over the coming years. Legislation needs to facilitate this.
More generally, the overall legislative framework governing the use and management of church buildings needs to be simpler, less prescriptive and less burdensome for laity and clergy. There needs to be more flexibility to reflect the wide diversity of local situations.
Dioceses need to integrate thinking about their church buildings with their mission and ministry planning. Regular diocesan strategic reviews, taking account of diocesan and deanery plans, mission action plans and parish audits are important for ensuring that buildings issues are given their proper weight- neither dominating nor being overlooked or regarded as a specialist subject.