United Reformed Church
South Western Synod
Job Description - Trust & Property Officer
The South Western Synod of the United Reformed Church exists to support local United Reformed Churches in their life and mission. There are some 110 local churches in the area covered by the South Western (SW) Synod – covering an area from Cornwall through Devon, Somerset, Bristol and most of Wiltshire to north of Swindon.
A small office staff of 6-8 people based in central Taunton provide the core support for this work.
The Property and Trust Officer is a vital part of this team, working in the office, from home and out in the churches as appropriate.
The salary range is £40,000 - 50,000 pa for a 37.5 hour working week; part-time working is negotiable (pro-rata).
- Act as advisor to local churches in respect of all matters related to property and legal issues. This may entail site visits to local churches and/or connecting churches with professional advisors such as architects, surveyors and building managers.
- Operate on behalf of the SW Synod Trust (the legal incorporated body of the Synod) and in close cooperation with the solicitor and synod treasurer in all matters relating to the management, acquisition or disposal of Synod Trust properties
- Oversee significant work on properties held in trust by the Synod
- Manage properties directly on behalf of Synod, eg redundant churches, manses, the Synod office etc
- Act as Executive Secretary to the Property Committee, ensuring that all pertinent matters are brought before the committee for consideration. This involves preparing agendas in consultation with the convenor, writing up minutes of the committee, informing involved churches of the outcomes of property committee discussions
- Advise the Listed Buildings Advisory Committee (LBAC) on all matters concerning listed buildings
- Advise the Synod Trust on all matters relating to Property and Legal Issues in cooperation with the Synod Trust solicitor. Bring property and legal matters to the Synod Executive Committee as needed
- Ensure that appropriate legal controls are exercised over Permanent Endowments and funds arising from sale proceeds from Churches and manses
- Liaise with Synod Treasurer to ensure financial records are maintained and all relevant documentation for loans, grants, costs and receipts are provided to the Treasurer or bookkeeper (currently the Assistant Property and Trust Officer)
- Maintain the Property Guidelines section of the SW Synod website and communicate these to the local churches as relevant.
- Attend and advise the Synod Executive Committee on legal and property matters when necessary
- Attend Synod Trust Officers meetings
- Attend LBAC meetings
- Attend URC PLATO (Property Legal and Trust Officers) meetings (held for the URC denomination’s thirteen synods) and report back to the SW Synod Trust, Synod Executive or Property Committees as appropriate
- Attend Synod Meetings (twice a year, in March and October) in an advisory capacity
- Answer phone call and email enquiries from local churches.
The person appointed will have a good understanding of property and construction, and the legal and planning requirements of each. It would be desirable for them to have RICS or a similar professional qualification. They will need to have excellent communication skills – both written and oral – and a good understanding of the principles of finance and accounting. They will also need to be in sympathy with the mission of the United Reformed Church URC.
The new post-holder will have a significant period of overlapping with the current post-holder, in order to receive on the job training. This will allow the new post-holder to develop an understanding of how the URC operates and of relevant legal issues such as those relating to listed buildings, URC Trusts and Property, and the Acts of Parliament governing the URC.