Decision details

SACRE - Approval of Constitution 2023-24

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To consider the report of outlining the proposed changes to the constitution of SACRE


(i)  Recommendation to confirm membership status of Southampton City Mission in Group A; and

(ii)  Subsequent to the decision of recommendation (i) above to approve the revised SACRE constitution attached at Appendix 1.

Reasons for the decision:

1.  Another member of Group A has challenged the inclusion of Southampton City Mission (SCM) as member of Group A under “Christian Denominations” on the basis that this may lead to an over-representation/inequality of Christian Denominations within SACRE.

2.  There were no responses from any members of SACRE to this challenge, either positive or negative, and a decision from Cabinet is sought on their ongoing membership accordingly.

3.  The test for Group A is ‘a member that represents Christian denominations and other religions and their denominations who will appropriately reflect the principal religious traditions in the area.’  This can include an organisation representing multiple or collective recognised Christian denominations.

4.  SCM’s position is that it does not represent the individual churches that form part of SCM.  They are a charitable organisation that is of Christian denomination.  The work carried out in schools by SCM is to support the delivery of religious education.  The charitable objects include the advancement of education. The staff and volunteers who work with schools come from a broad range of denominations of Christianity.

5.  Data available from the school information systems attached at Appendix 2 indicates that the parents of 31,578 children took part in the census:

  10,073 had no religion (31.9%)

  10,663 are of Christian denomination (33.7%)

  5,298 religions other than Christianity (16.8%)

6.  The SACRE constitution document attached at Appendix 1 has been significantly revised to align with the format recommended in guidance from the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE)

7.  The key changes to the constitution are:

Paragraph 2.6 – to review the SACRE constitution every four years.  There is no change to the annual review of membership.

Paragraph 3.1.3 – the ability to nominate a standing substitute member.

8.  Subject to the decision of the Cabinet on recommendation (i) SACRE members unanimously supported adoption the revised constitution without any other changes to the membership.

Alternative options considered:

Options for consideration are:

a)  SCM remain in Group A as currently listed (full membership) – no change.

b)  SCM become co-opted members.


Option a) provides a right to vote in Group A. Option b) does not.

Report author: Katherine Lewis

Publication date: 16/01/2024

Date of decision: 16/01/2024

Decided at meeting: 16/01/2024 - Cabinet

Effective from: 25/01/2024

Accompanying Documents: