Statement of Policies

  1. Introduction
  2. Governance
  3. Financial management
  4. Generating income
  5. Risk management
  6. Data Protection
  7. Premises management
  8. Equal opportunities
  9. Environment

1. Introduction

These are the current policies adopted by the Trustees with a view to achieving the Object of Milverton Victoria Rooms (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Charity’). The Object is set out in Paragraph 3(1) of the Scheme approved by the Charity Commissioners on 19 November 1985 (the Approved Scheme) as follows:

“The Object of the Charity shall be the provision and maintenance of a village hall for the use of the inhabitants of the Parish of Milverton without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, including use for meetings, lectures and classes, and for other forms of recreation and leisure-time occupation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.”

The Trustees will review the policies contained in this Statement no less frequently than annually.

2. Governance

2.1 Appointment of Trustees

Paragraphs 4 to 7 of the Approved Scheme provide for the appointment of Charity Trustees. Up to 8 Trustees may be elected from the Parish, together with one representative from each of the 10 local groups named for that purpose in the Approved Scheme, as subsequently amended. In addition, the Trustees themselves have power to co-opt up to 3 further Trustees. The Charity Trustees constitute the Management Committee.

The Charity’s financial and reporting year runs from 1 October to 30 September. The Annual General Meeting, at which Trustees are appointed or re-appointed, will be held no later than the 15 January in the following calendar year. The AGM is open to the public and, in accordance with paragraph 23(4) of the Approved Scheme, at least 14 days public notice of the meeting will be given. Notice will be given in the December issue of the Parish Magazine.

Vacancies for Trustees elected from the Parish will be advertised in the same issue of the Magazine and on the website and will also be announced at the AGM. In the event that there are more candidates than vacancies, the Trustees will determine those to be elected by secret ballot.

No later than 28 days before the AGM, each local group regularly sending a representative to serve as a Trustee will be asked whether they wish their current representative to serve for a further 12 months and, if not, whether they wish to nominate a new representative.

2.2 Election of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and other Officers

Paragraph 16 of the Approved Scheme requires the Trustees to elect a Chairman at the first meeting in each year after the AGM. A Vice-Chairman may also be elected. By virtue of paragraph 19, the Trustees may make Rules for the conduct of their meetings as a management committee, which may include provision for the appointment of an auditor, treasurer and such other unpaid officers as may be necessary.

The Trustees will exercise their power to elect a Vice-Chairman of the Management Committee immediately following the election of the Chairman.

Immediately after the election of the Vice-Chairman, the Trustees will elect the following Officers from among their number:

  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Bookings Secretary
  • Events Co-ordinator
  • Insurance Officer

The Trustees will also appoint an Independent Examiner of the accounts of the Charity. The person appointed will not also hold office as a Trustee.

2.3 Responsibilities of Trustees

The Trustees recognise that it is their responsibility to:

  • act within the Approved Scheme and the law – being aware of the provisions of the Scheme and those of the relevant law
  • act in the best interest of the Charity – considering what is best for the Charity and its beneficiaries and avoiding bringing it into disrepute
  • manage conflicts of interest effectively – registering, declaring and resolving conflicts of interest and, in particular, making no personal material gain unless specifically authorised to do so
  • respect confidentiality – understanding what confidentiality means in practice for the Management Committee and the individuals involved with it
  • have a sound and up-to-date knowledge of the Charity and its environment – understanding how the Charity works and the wider context within which it operates
  • attend meetings and other appointments or give apologies – considering other ways of engaging with the Charity if regularly unable to attend Trustee meetings
  • prepare fully for meetings-reading papers, querying anything that is not understood and thinking through issues in good time before meetings
  • actively engage in discussion, debate and voting in meetings – contributing positively, listening carefully, challenging sensitively and avoiding conflict
  • act jointly and accept a majority decision – making decisions collectively, standing by them and not acting individually unless specifically authorised to do so
  • work considerately and respectfully with all – respecting diversity and different roles and boundaries and avoiding giving offence

2.4 Annual Report of the Trustees

Paragraph 23(6) of the Approved Scheme requires the Trustees to present to the AGM an annual report for the preceding year. The reporting year is from 1 October to 30 September in the following calendar year. The Trustees will consider for approval a draft report at a meeting of the Management Committee held no later than 28 days before the date of the AGM. Sufficient copies of the annual report will be available at the AGM for members of the public. Following the AGM, the annual report will be displayed in the Victoria Rooms in a place where it can conveniently be read by users of the premises and published on any website used by the Charity to publicise its activities.

3. Financial Management

3.1 General

The Trustees will manage the assets of the Charity in accordance with the Approved Scheme. Financial records will be kept to ensure that the Charity meets its obligations under charity, revenue and the general law.

It is the strategy of the Trustees to manage the Charity’s revenue budget on a self-financing basis.

3.2 Expenditure procedure

All expenditure must be authorised by the Management Committee, save that the:

  • Chairman may, in his or her discretion, authorise expenditure up to £100 on any one occasion, provided that the total amount so authorised in any one financial year does not exceed £200
  • Secretary will be allocated an imprest of £20 to cover expenses incurred in discharging the functions of that office

All items of expenditure must be supported by original invoices or other documentation.

Cheques must be fully completed before being signed by an authorised signatory. Blank cheques should never be signed. No cheque should be signed in the absence of the proper documentation.

3.3 Income procedure

All income should be paid into the bank without delay. Cash must be counted by the person collecting it, placed in an envelope with a note of the amount collected, the name of the collector and the date and handed to the Treasurer.

3.4 Accounts

The Treasurer will present a brief financial report to every meeting of the Management Committee, the form and content to be decided by the Trustees.

Paragraph 23(6) of the Approved Scheme requires the Trustees to present to the AGM accounts for the preceding year ended 30 September. The Trustees will consider for approval draft accounts at a meeting of the Management Committee held no later than 28 days before the date of the AGM. The approved accounts will then be submitted to the Independent Examiner for verification prior to the AGM at which they are to be presented. Sufficient copies of the accounts will be available at the AGM for members of the public. Following the AGM, the accounts will be displayed in the Victoria Rooms in a place where they can conveniently be read by users of the premises and published on any website used by the Charity to publicise its activities.

3.5 Banking

The funds of the Charity will be held in one or more accounts in the Charity’s name at such banks and on such terms as the Trustees may determine. All cheques and transfer documents require the signatures of at least two Trustees authorised in that behalf by the Management Committee.

3.6 Cash reserves

The Trustees will hold a sum of not less than £10,000 in the Bank in reserve for unforeseen expenditure, such as building maintenance or the urgent replacement or repair of fixtures, fittings, furniture or equipment.It is the policy of the Trustees to maintain unrestricted reserves of between 100 and 150 percent of the Charity’s annual revenue budget expenditure.

In the event of a need for major works, costing in excess of the cash reserves held, the Trustees will undertake fund-raising and/or make one or more grant applications with the object of meeting the cost in full.

4. Generating income

4.1 Fund-raising

The Trustees will appoint an Events Co-ordinator from among their number to ensure that effective use is made of the Charity’s fund-raising capacity. The Events Co-ordinator will chair a Fund-raising Sub-Committee consisting of such Trustees as the Management Committee may appoint. The Fund-raising Sub-Committee will meet at least twice a year to plan and manage the Charity’s fund-raising effort, reporting to the Management Committee as necessary.

4.2 Hire charges and deposits

The Trustees will approve, publish and keep under review a Schedule of Charges for the hire of the premises. These charges will be no higher than the Trustees consider necessary to achieve the Object of the Charity. The Schedule will make provision for a Parish resident rate, a higher non-Parish resident rate and a commercial rate.

The Parish resident rate is payable:

  • where the hirer is resident within the Parish of Milverton and is not hiring the premises for business purposes
  • where the event or function is substantially for the benefit of Parish residents and is not a commercial hiring

The Trustees consider it reasonable that commercial hirers (ie those hiring the village hall for business purposes) should pay hire charges at a rate of not less than 50 percent above the non-Parish resident rate.

Where a prospective hirer seeks to hire the premises for two or more consecutive days and is not a commercial hirer, hire charges may, exceptionally, be reduced at the discretion of the Bookings Secretary.

Hire charges must be paid on the hirer returning a completed booking form in the case of a single booking or when the hirer receives an invoice in the case of a multiple booking. Notice of any cancellation of a booking must be given to the Bookings Secretary not less than one calendar month before the booked date. Where shorter notice is given, the Trustees consider it reasonable to charge the full hire rate, save in exceptional circumstances.

The Bookings Secretary has discretion to require a breakages and damage deposit at the time of booking. Such a deposit is refundable, save where the Trustees decide that all or part of the sum deposited needs to be retained to defray costs incurred by the Charity by way of replacements, repairs or cleaning arising from the hirer’s use of the premises.

4.3 Licensing

The Trustees, in their capacity as the Management Committee of the Victoria Rooms, will continue to hold the following licences:

  • a premises licence issued by Somerset West and Taunton Council (previously Taunton Deane Borough Council)
  • a lottery licence issued by Somerset West and Taunton Council (previously Taunton Deane Borough Council)
  • a combined PRS/PPL music licence

The Trustees will take every reasonable step to protect these licences, recognising their value in generating income for the Charity. In particular, the Trustees will, through their Conditions of Hire, Bar Rules and otherwise, ensure that hirers and users of the Victoria Rooms are aware of their legal obligations under these licences.

5. Risk management

5.1 Insurance

Paragraph 20 of the Approved Scheme requires the Trustees to insure the Victoria Rooms and the furniture and effects therein to their full value against fire and other usual risks and also to insure against risks arising out of the ownership of property and the employment of persons.

The Trustees will insure and keep insured the building and its contents to their full replacement value and will consider the need for a professional valuation of the same annually. The Trustees will take out public liability insurance to a value of not less than £5,000,000 and employer’s liability insurance to a value of not less than £10,000,000. The Trustees will also insure to cover the cost of legal assistance.

5.2 Conditions of hire

The Trustees will adopt, publish and thereafter keep under review the conditions to be observed by hirers of the Victoria Rooms. The Conditions of Hire will be designed to:

  • minimise any risk to persons using the premises
  • protect the assets of the Charity by minimising any risk of damage to the building and its fixtures, fittings and contents
  • protect the Trustees from liability for breaches of the law by hirers
  • provide relevant information for hirers

In particular, the Conditions of Hire will:

  • set out the fire precautions to be observed by hirers of the premises and contain a requirement that sufficient stewards be made available by hirers to ensure that those precautions are observed
  • make clear the capacity of the building in various configurations and contain a requirement that the relevant capacity must not be exceeded
  • identify the locations of the mains gas, electricity and water cut-offs
  • regulate the use of portable electrical appliances brought on to the premises
  • require that accidents on the premises be recorded and identify the location of the first aid box and accident report book require that hirers organising public activities and events for children and vulnerable adults ensure that suitably qualified, fit and proper persons are present
  • require that hirers comply with relevant food safety legislation and good kitchen practice
  • contain provision for the grant of permission to hirers to sell or supply alcohol under the Management Committee’s premises licence and, by reference to its Bar Rules or otherwise, regulate such sale or supply
  • prohibit smoking on the premises

5.3 Health and safety

The Trustees will ensure that:

  • gas appliances and portable electrical appliances used on the premises are tested annually by a duly qualified person
  • the mains electrical installation is tested annually by a duly qualified person
  • a fire safety risk assessment is conducted annually
  • fire fighting appliances are inspected annually under contract with the supplier
  • the fire alarm is tested regularly and defects remedied
  • the emergency lighting system is tested regularly and defects remedied
  • that other regular maintenance checks are conducted, defects remedied and equipment deemed unsafe or unfit for purpose taken out of service
  • that arrangements are made for the building and its contents to be cleaned regularly, that the quality of the cleaning is inspected periodically and that any defects are remedied

5.4 Children and vulnerable adults

As a general principle, it is undesirable for Trustees and volunteers acting on behalf of the Trustees to have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults unless they have received appropriate training. The Trustees will take seriously any allegation of abuse or inappropriate behaviour towards a child or vulnerable adult and will deal with it speedily and appropriately.

The Trustees will endeavour to keep the premises safe for use by children and vulnerable adults. The Trustees recognise that a higher standard of safety is required where the Victoria Rooms are used by small children, those who cannot read safety notices and physically disabled adults.

Any organisation or individual hiring the premises for the purpose of activities for which Ofsted registration is required will be required to produce evidence of their registration, together with their Child Protection Policy, on booking. Hirers are expected to use safe recruitment processes to appoint staff, including volunteers, who will be working with children or vulnerable adults.

6. Data Protection

6.1 General principles

The Trustees recognise the obligations of the Management Committee as a ‘data controller’ under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulations to protect ‘personal data’ (information relating to an identified or identifiable person, including photographs). In discharging their functions, the Trustees will observe the eight data protection principles set out in the Act. These require that personal data:

  1. Shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless the ‘data subject’ (the individual whose personal data is held) has consented to the processing or the processing is for contractual or other legal purposes.
  2. Shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and shall not be processed in any manner incompatible with those purposes.
  3. Shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to those purposes.
  4. Shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  5. Shall not be kept for longer than is necessary.
  6. Shall be processed in accordance with the rights of ‘data subjects’ under the Act.
  7. Shall be kept secure by the ‘data controller’, who must take appropriate technical and other measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing or accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal information.
  8. Shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of ‘data subjects’ in relation to the processing of personal information.

6.2 Use of personal data

The Trustees will use personal data for the purposes of managing the village hall, its bookings and its finances, marketing and running events at the hall and general fund-raising activities. For the most part, such data will be confined to the contact details (names, postal and email addresses and telephone numbers) of hirers and potential hirers, contractors, Trustees and other volunteers, although the dates of birth of Trustees are also required purely for Charity Commission purposes and are held exclusively by the Chairman of the Management Committee. For the avoidance of any doubt, the Trustees will seek the consent of ‘data subjects’ for use of their data for these purposes.

The Trustees will not use personal data for any purposes other than those outlined above without the express written consent of the ‘data subject’, save in the unlikely event that they are required to do so by law. The Trustees envisage that there may be circumstances in which they may be asked to share personal data with other non-commercial groups and organisations benefitting the residents of the Parish of Milverton. In the event that such circumstances arise, the Trustees will also seek the written consent of those whose personal data they hold.

An individual may withdraw either or both these consents at any time.

Where it is intended to take photographs and/or video footage at an event organised by the Trustees, they will ensure that those attending are made aware of that intention by an appropriate means, for example, by posting notices on the premises and/or printing information on tickets. Persons attending will be made aware of their right to be excluded from photographs or video footage. Under no circumstances will photographs or video footage of persons under 18 be taken without express parental consent in writing.

6.3 Storage and security of personal data

The Trustees hold personal data electronically on computers and mobile devices and in manual files, lists and other paper records. Data held electronically will be password protected, while paper files and other paper-based records will be kept in a secure location.

Access to personal data held by the Management Committee will be restricted to Trustees and to other volunteers authorised by the Management Committee.The Trustees will ensure that laptop computers and other portable electronic devices (including mobile telephones) and paper files and other paper-based records are not left insecure or unattended and, if carried in a vehicle, are kept out of sight. Under no circumstances will electronic devices or paper records containing personal data be kept in a motor vehicle overnight.

Personal information will not be given out on the telephone if there is any doubt about the caller’s identity. In those circumstances, the Trustees will require the caller to make their enquiry in writing.

The Trustees will consider whether any personal data contained in email messages – whether incoming or outgoing – needs to be retained. If retention is required, the relevant message should either be stored in a separate folder or printed and stored securely as a ‘hard copy’ with the electronic version deleted. Email messages containing personal data that do not need to be retained should be deleted from all folders (including the ‘deleted items’ or ‘trash’ folder).

When sending emails addressed to more than one individual, the Trustees will ensure that every person to whom the message is being copied has consented to their email address being disclosed to the other recipients. Where there is any doubt, the ‘blind copy’ facility will be used.

Personal data held for accounts purposes will be retained by the Treasurer for 7 years. Data held for other purposes will be kept for no longer than is necessary for those purposes (unless the Trustees’ insurers require otherwise). This means, for example, that the Bookings Secretary is likely to continue to hold the personal data of regular hirers for so long as they remain regular users of the village hall. On the other hand, the personal data of individuals making hiring enquiries will be destroyed as soon as it becomes apparent that they are not, in the event, seeking to enter into a hiring agreement.

The Trustees will provide an accident record book that is compliant with current data protection legislation.This will be checked regularly by the Secretary to the Management Committee.

6.4 Rights of data subjects

Individuals have a right to make a request to the Trustees in order to find out whether the Management Committee holds their personal data and, if so, where it is held, the purposes for which it is used, to have it corrected if it is wrong, to prevent any use which is causing them damage or distress, to stop marketing information being sent to them or to have their data erased from the Committee’s records. Such a request must be addressed in writing to the Chairman of the Management Committee. The Trustees are obliged to deal with the request within 30 days, but will first require photographic evidence of the identity of the individual making the request, such as a driving licence or passport, together with documentary confirmation of their current postal address, such as a recent utility bill.

7. Premises management

The Trustees will use their best endeavours to ensure that the premises are at all times safe and fit for purpose as a village hall and will make arrangements designed to ensure that the building and its contents are cleaned regularly, that routine maintenance is undertaken and that any necessary repairs and refurbishments are carried out without delay.

The Trustees will ensure, so far as is practicable, that the Victorian character of the building is taken into account when considering any alterations or the installation or replacement of any fixtures or fittings.

The Trustees will ensure that the building is left secure while unoccupied. Regular hirers will be issued with a set of keys. Occasional hirers will be required to collect a set of keys from and return them to the Bookings Secretary at the end of their period of hiring.

The Trustees will not permit the posting of notices and advertisements on the external walls of the building, save those which relate to events which are to take place at the Victoria Rooms. The adjacent noticeboard has been provided for other notices and advertisements. The posting of advertisements, notices or other material inside the building is not permitted, save as authorised by the Trustees.

The Trustees have no objection to occasional parking on the forecourt of the Victoria Rooms. Longer term parking is not, however, permitted without the authority of one or more Trustees.

8. Equal opportunities

The Trustees will discharge their obligations as such without discrimination, direct or indirect, against any person on the grounds of their ethnicity, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, political affiliation, disability or age, save where discrimination on the grounds of disability or age can be objectively justified.

Any complaint of discrimination will be taken seriously and will be dealt with speedily and appropriately.

9. Environment

The Trustees will ensure that the activities of the Charity are undertaken with due regard for the need to conserve and protect the environment. In particular, the Trustees will seek to:

  • make the most efficient use of energy, endeavouring to use the minimum quantities of energy possible in accordance with the safe and efficient operation of its heating, lighting, plant and machinery and, from time to time, reviewing its energy sources, energy using appliances and energy efficiency with a view to causing the least environmental impact
  • minimise and, where possible, eliminate all forms of pollution, using biodegradable chemicals where practicable and minimising use of solvents and lead-based paints
  • use the minimum quantities of water possible, seeking to eliminate excessive or unnecessary use and minimising leakage
  • avoid waste and encourage the appropriate conservation, re-use and recycling of materials
  • assess and minimise the potential environmental impact of any building projects, including the adoption of designs and methods of construction which make best use of resources, including using building materials from sustainable sources.