West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA)

West Bergholt Allotment Association – Terms of Reference

1.  Background

  • West Bergholt Parish Council assumed responsibility of the New Allotments charity as the Sole Trustee, by the Inclosure Award of 2nd June 1865.
  • The New Allotments is a registered charity with the terms of the Trust set out in the Charity Commission Scheme, registered 3rd July 1969, Charity Number 219751.
  • The Parish Council, meeting as the Sole Trustee Committee, agreed to adopt the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA) Terms of Reference (TOR) at its meeting held on 26th February 2020 and has recorded the decision under Minute ref 7/P11 2019/20.
  • The Sole Trustee Committee will re-adopt these Terms of Reference annually or as deemed by the members of the Sole Trustee Committee. The Parish Council meeting as the Sole Trustee Committee will review them at its first meeting after the Annual General Meeting of the charity.
  • The Clerk will be nominated to be responsible for producing the Agenda and Minutes for the Sole Trustee Committee.
  • All serving Parish Councillors are appointed to the Sole Trustee Committee and will be responsible for the running of the allotments and charity and must ensure the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA) remains solvent. The Chair of the Parish Council will be the Chair of the Sole Trustee meetings.
  • The Parish Clerk is employed by the Parish Council to act as the Clerk, Secretary and as the Treasurer to the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA) and is responsible for the production of Agenda and Minutes for the Trust, the management of contracts and all policies pertaining to the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA). The responsibility will extend to the submission of the WBAA financials to the Charity Commission.     
  • The Sole Trustee Committee will seek to ensure the use by the inhabitants of the Parish without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, race or political, religious or other opinions when using the facilities the Trust provides.

2.  Membership of the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA).

  1. The West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA) Committee should consist of a maximum of eight members including a Chairperson & Secretary. No one individual shall hold more than one office at a time, other than in exceptional circumstances and in the interests of the Committee.
  2. Membership of the Committee should be open to allotment plot holders & to one representative of the Trust. An advert for membership will be placed on the Noticeboard at the start of the allotment year (October 1st).
  3. In the event of more than 8 membership nominations an election will be held by all allotment plot holders.
  4. The quorum of the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA) will be three members of the Association.
  5. All members of WBAA will have an equal vote with the majority vote deciding matters. In the event of a tie, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.
  6. The Chairman and Secretary of WBAA will be elected annually by the WBAA Committee.
  7. The WBAA Committee shall fill any vacancy that arises during the year by co-option and any appointed member shall have full voting powers.

3.  Procedures

  1. The WBAA will operate within the requirements of the Charities Commission and Charity Law and any adopted policies.
  2. The WBAA is accountable to the Sole Trustee Committee.
  3. The WBAA will submit all Minutes of meetings to the next appropriate meeting of the Sole Trustee Committee.
  4. The WBAA will submit a budget to the Sole Trustee Committee for the forthcoming financial year at the appropriate meeting in November, which should include a forecast of income and expenditure for ratification.
  5. An annual report on its activity will be published through the Annual Parish Meeting.

4.  Meetings

  1. The Parish Council, meeting in private as the Sole Trustee Committee, will meet at least two times a year or, as and when required. The Sole Trustee will discuss: the composition of the WBAA, policy matters, annual budget and charging policy/rates. These meetings will include the Chair of the WBAA.  The general public has no right of admission to these meetings.
  2. A schedule of at least four WBAA meetings a year shall be agreed at a meeting of the West Bergholt Allotment Association (WBAA). Additional meetings may be called, if required. Meetings will be held in accordance with the dates agreed by the Committee prior to the start of each year on the first Monday of the month unless notified differently.
  3. Meetings will be presided over by the WBAA Chair or if unavailable the Secretary.
  4. An agenda will be published at least 3 working days agreed prior to the meeting taking place.
  5. A special meeting of the WBAA may be summoned at the request of the Chair or the Secretary of the WBAA. At least 3 working days’ notice of meetings shall be given to members by written notices left at, or sent by post or e-mail, to the member’s last known address.  Notices of special meetings must include the matters to be discussed.
  6. Minutes of the meeting will be recorded, placed on the Allotment noticeboard and village website and sent to the Parish Clerk for distribution to Trust members.
  7. An Annual General Meeting for the charity will be held in April of each year. All inhabitants of the area of benefit aged 18 years and over are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM on any matter put forward by Resolution to amend the Scheme, and to hear the Chairman’s Annual Report and presentation of accounts by the Treasurer.

5.  The WBAA Functions

  1. To promote allotment gardening as a leisure pursuit which encourages health, wellbeing and community.
  2. To help new tenants cultivate and develop skills to maintain a plot to a high standard.
  3. Safeguard and promote the interests of plot holders.
  4. To avoid food waste by encouraging plot holders to place surplus produce on a Charity Stall for the public to acquire by donation, the money raised going to agreed beneficiaries.
  5. Endeavor to ensure that Allotment rules are adhered to by all plot holders.
  6. Consider the Environment in all actions taken.
  7. Arrange site meetings with plot holders, plot inspections, allocation of plots and assist the Parish Clerk in collection of allotment rents.
  8. Take responsibility where possible for the internal maintenance of the allotment site and WBAA structures. In the event this cannot be undertaken by the WBAA then the responsibility shall revert to the Trust.
  9. Ensure Health and Safety requirements are adhered to by volunteers on site including appropriate training on use of equipment and completion of relevant forms for Insurance protection.
  10. Completion of Risk Assessment forms to mitigate issues.
  11. Make recommendations to the Sole Trustee Committee on any investment considered appropriate for the allotment site.

6.  Finances

  1. The accounts of the WBAA must be kept in a separate account from those of the Parish Council and appropriate returns made to the Charity Commission. The Parish Clerk will produce a report of income and expenditure for each WBAA meeting. The charity accounts will be Audited or Independently Examined according to Charity Commission requirements and presented at the AGM of the charity in April of each year.  The charity’s financial year will end on 31st March.
  2. In addition to the independent examination of the accounts, the Trust will appoint independent auditors annually, who may be those as used by the Parish Council.
  3. Bank Account: All money received is to be paid into the New Allotments charity account held at Barclays Bank, or an appropriate bank nominated by the WBAA and Sole Trustee.
  4. Cheques for the payment of all accounts shall be signed by any two of five nominated Councillors signatories. Where internet banking is used, transactions will be checked at WBAA meeting, then reviewed and certified for payment by the RFO or the Chairman of the Trust when WBPC passes its transactions for online payment.
  5. A spending limit for running the Charity shall be agreed annually.
  6. The Trust will keep in reserves a sum that equals to three month’s budgeted expenditure, which will be agreed annually by the Trust.
  7. Copies of all VAT invoices for Services supplied to the WBAA are to be forwarded to the Sole Trustee committee to be processed appropriately by HMRC and the reclaimed revenue to be transferred to WBAA.
  8. The following Expenditure Guidance will apply to the WBAA.
    Items under £100 – require the pre-agreement by the Secretary or Chair of WBAA, subject to budget. Expense forms must be submitted to and countersigned by the Secretary.
    Items between £100 – £500 – require pre-agreement from the majority of the WBAA subject to budget.
    Items over £500 – require the financial agreement of the Trust following recommendation from the WBAA.
  9. Donations given to the WBAA surplus produce Charity Stall will be paid into the New Allotments charity account on a regular basis and the paying in books will be audited by the Parish Clerk.
  10. When a grant payment is to be made the WBAA Secretary or Chair will write to the Parish Clerk requesting a bank transfer to the beneficiaries.
  11. A receipt will be obtained from the beneficiaries for monies received and provided to the Parish Clerk.

7.  The WBAA Charity Stall Functions

  1. To provide plot holders and the community with an outlet to minimise waste of surplus produce and plants.
  2. To raise donations for local beneficiaries in West Bergholt.
  3. To promote goodwill between the Allotment plot holders and the community.
  4. To enable the community to acquire and enjoy locally sourced produce.
  5. The beneficiaries to receive donations from the WBAA on site Charity Stall shall be decided by the WBAA throughout the year and advised to the Trust. The beneficiaries will be published in the WBAA Committee meeting minutes.

8.  Model Code of Conduct

  1. Councillors are bound by the CBC Model Code of Conduct dated June 2012. Councillors and Non-Councillors of WBAA are bound by a duty to avoid a conflict of interest.  All members of WBAA must declare any conflict of interest they or any ‘connected person[1]’ may hold in a matter to be discussed by WBAA, e.g. award of a contract, etc. Having declared a conflict of interest, the member may participate in discussion, but will be asked to leave the meeting while the relevant matter is decided.

9.  Complaints

  1. Any complaints or disputes from Plot holders or members of the public will be directed in the first instance to the WBAA Committee and the Parish Clerk shall be made aware. If no resolution of the matter can be achieved, the matter should be referred to the Sole Trustee to resolve.

[1] The Charity Commission defines a ‘connected person’ as family, relatives or business partners of a trustee, as well as businesses in which a trustee has an interest through ownership or influence. The term includes a trustee’s spouse or unmarried or civil partner, children, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents, as well as businesses where a trustee or family member holds at least one-fifth of the shareholding or voting rights.

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