Diocese of Chichester

Permission to Officiate (PTO) is the way in which clergy, who are not incumbents or licensed by The Bishop, are authorised to exercise their ministry as deacons and priests. Many of those holding Permission to Officiate have retired from licensed ministry. Others are licensed in another diocese or are for some reason currently without an ecclesiastical office.

Many PTO clergy help regularly in their home parishes or enable ministry to be provided during vacancies, clergy holidays, and other absences.

The grant (and removal) of PTO is at The Bishop’s discretion and does not carry the particular rights and responsibilities of licensed ministry. It is not renewed automatically upon expiry.

Those with PTO can minister in any parish within the Diocese, but only at the invitation of the Incumbent/Priest in Charge or, during a Vacancy, the Rural Dean. The law prevents ministry without such permission.(Some PTO may be issued with specific parameters in which the minister can work, but this will be discussed between the minister and The Bishop).

How do I apply for PTO?

If you are seeking PTO, either for the first time, or as a renewal of your existing permission, please complete one of the forms below:

If you are applying for your first PTO with Chichester, and you have not held a licence or PTO with us before, you will need to complete a ‘PTO External Application’.

If you have held a licence or PTO with Chichester previously, you will need to complete a ‘PTO Internal Application’.

Once completed, please send your form via email or post to:

The Revd Dr Paul Nash
The Palace
Canon Lane
West Sussex
PO19 1PY

Email: PTO@chichester.anglican.org

Telephone : 01243 782 161

Once we receive your form, The Bishop will be asked to give his initial approval to your application.We will then proceed with the necessary actions in order to start the application process for the PTO certificate.

You will be asked to give details of your Safeguarding Training and you will be asked to contact Safeguarding to apply for your DBS certificate. From 1st January 2022, DBS Certificates will be valid for 3 years instead of 5 years. Your PTO Certificate will therefore also expire at the same time as your DBS.

If you are applying to Chichester from outside the Diocese, we will need to contact your former/current Diocese for a reference known as a Current Clergy Status Letter.

Upon satisfactory receipt of all supporting documents, the PTO will be prepared for formal authorisation by The Bishop.Once it has been issued, the form will be sent to your Rural Dean to be issued to you.

You will need to make sure that if you wish to reapply for PTO, you do so in good time, and do not book services, post your PTO expiry date, at which you would preside until your new PTO has been issued.


The Diocese is committed to the highest levels of safeguarding. All PTO clergy are required to have completed Church of England C3 Leadership Clergy Safeguarding training (Levels C1 and C2) within the last three years, or be booked onto a forthcoming training session. Details of upcoming safeguarding training events can be found here.

The policy of the House of Bishops is that those who hold PTO must have a current DBS. These must be renewed at 3 year intervals and your PTO term will run concurrently with your DBS. Please contact Kim Nash for further information.

If you are new to the Diocese, your current Bishop will be asked to provide a commendation (in the form of an episcopal reference and clergy current status letter).

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