A call for evidence has been issued to inform a wide-ranging review of how the UK Government engages with faith groups in England.

People of faith from across the England are invited to respond to the review, which is already underway. The Government is particularly keen to hear from those with leadership roles within their faith community and individuals who work in the public sector, whether that is the civil service, education, healthcare or any other relevant sector. 

The call for evidence is available to complete online through this form and can be done anonymously if that is preferred. 

The survey includes a range of questions, most of which are optional, and provides an opportunity to express your view on the record of the Government on engaging with faith. Some questions are straightforward, for example asking the respondent to rate how well the Government understands people of faith and how well it engages with them. Other questions provide an opportunity to offer substantive comments. Some of the questions address specific aspects of faith engagement with public life (military and prison chaplaincy, for instance), so do not answer these unless you have specific experience or expertise.

This is an opportunity for evangelical Christians to raise concerns with government about how they are engaged with and understood, and also to highlight areas where there is positive engagement and how this could be more widespread. 

The Evangelical Alliance will be responding to this call for evidence, but we want to encourage responses from across England. We want the Government to hear from those in positions of leadership – inside and outside the church – and those with everyday experience of engaging with local and national government and the very many public bodies that affect our daily lives. 

If you have specific examples you would like the Evangelical Alliance to consider in our response, please email me at d.​webster@​eauk.​org

This is an opportunity for evangelical Christians to raise concerns with government about how they are engaged with and understood

Guide to completing the call for evidence

The structure of the call for evidence means that you can only see the questions by navigating through the form. Therefore, we are providing a brief summary of the topics to help you prepare your answers before you complete the form. We’re not telling you what you should say in response to these questions, but this guide should assist you before you begin.

Question 1: Data consent

Questions 2 – 5: Information about how you categorise your own faith identity – in question 5 you may wish to specify if you consider yourself an evangelical Christian.

Impact of faith on society

Question 6: In your opinion, are Faith and Religion overall positive things for society? (Scale of 0 – 10)

Question 7: Further comments on question 6

This is an opportunity for you to have your say about the value of Christianity to society. We would encourage you to share specific examples of how Christians and churches contribute to the good of your local community. You do not have to answer on behalf of all faiths, or even all Christians, but demonstrate what you know to be happening where you live.

Question 8: During the COVID-19 pandemic are you aware of a faith organisation or religious community which has supported your neighbourhood through running a community project or offering support? (Simple yes/no/don’t know answer)

Government engagement with people of faith

Question 9: Do you feel Government engages meaningfully with people of faith? (Scale of 0 – 10)

Question 10: Do you think Government understands people of faith? (Scale of 0 – 10)

Question 11: An opportunity for further comments on your answers to questions 9& 10.

This is an opportunity for you to reflect on the Government’s engagement with people of faith. If you have personal experience that will inform your answer this will be most helpful, but also feel free to share other examples that demonstrate how engagement with and understanding of Christians works well, and where it could be improved. The closer you are to these examples the better, so if it is a situation in your local church this is better to share than something you’ve read about in the media. 

Question 12: Could the Charity Commission do more to support registered faith charities? (Simple yes/no/don’t know answer)

Freedom of religion 

Following an explanation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which sets the right to freedom of religion, question 13 asks:

Do you feel that freedom of religion or belief is under threat in the UK today? (Options of yes/no/don’t know/​prefer not to say)

Question 14: Do you currently hold, or have you held, a formal position as a faith leader within a place of worship or a faith-based charity? (Options of yes/​no/​prefer not to say/​NA)

Faith literacy

Question 15: Do you feel confident that local and national governments and public servants have a good understanding of different faiths, religious practices and issues? (Options of yes/no/don’t know/​prefer not to say)

Education

Question 16: More than a third of all state-funded schools and academies are faith-based. Do you think that faith-based schools are good for society? (Options of yes/no/don’t know/​prefer not to say)

Military service chaplaincy

Question 17: Do you currently, or have you ever, served within the British Military? (Options of yes/​no/​prefer not to say)

Prison chaplaincy

Question 18: Do you have any personal or professional experience of the criminal justice system? (Options of yes/​no/​prefer not to say)

Definitions of religion, belief and faith

Questions 19 – 22: The review suggests definitions of the three terms and then question 19 asks whether you agree with each in turn, and questions 20 – 22 provide an opportunity for further comment on these definitions. 

Feel free to provide comments on the proposed definitions if you have them, but there is no requirement to do so. 

Final comments

Question 23 provides an opportunity for any final and further comments. 

This final question is a chance for you to add any other comments that you haven’t had a chance to raise throughout the survey. There is no need to repeat points that you have already made in some of the other answers, but you could summarise your view of how the Government engages with people of faith and how this engagement could be improved.