Memorandum by the Methodist Church
The Methodist Church would like to submit the
following brief evidence to the Treasury Committee's Inquiry into
the 2001 Census.
During the census we had a number of enquiries
from Methodist ministers who had difficulties in completing the
The problems arose from the unusual employment
status of Methodist ministers. They are self-employed, but come
under the authority of the Methodist Church's governing body,
the annual Conference, and are incorporated into the Church's
The particular questions with which we had difficulty
Question 26How many people work for your
employer at the place where you work?
Ministers are self-employed, so the answer could
be one plus any lay workers who are based at their church. However,
they are officially stationed not to churches but to Circuits
(roughly equivalent to an Anglican Deanery) where they will work
with a number of ministerial colleagues who are also technically
self-employed, and lay people who are employees of local Methodist
churches. Finally they work alongside 1950 other ministers or
deacons as part of the organisation which is the Methodist Church.
Any of these answers could logically apply.
Question 29Do you supervise any other employees?
Again ministers are self-employed, but work
within a structure where Circuit Superintendents have responsibility
within that circuit, and District Chairs have responsibility for
ministers within that District (roughly equivalent to a Diocese).
Question 32What is the full name of the
organisation you work for in your main job?
Is this the name of the local church, circuit,
or the Methodist Church nationally?
Clearly it makes sense for all Methodist ministers
to answer the census questions consistently, so we took a view
on each of these questions and suggested answers to ministers
who approached us. However, we were unable to be certain that
we had correctly interpreted the intentions of the Office of National
We cannot believe that our ministers are the
only people in this complex position. In future years we hope
that the ONS might be able to offer advice over interpretation
to large organisations such as churches in advance of the census.
I hope that this information will be helpful.
30 October 2001