A group of Trustees thought it would be useful to have a document which explains how BPCG aims to govern and make decisions. This paper has now been written and is published below. It is divided into 3 sections. Firstly, a 10 point explanation of our governance process. Secondly, a description of the charity’s objectives. Thirdly our volunteer agreement form. Please do have a good read through, and send any comments or questions about the document to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or bring them along to the Volunteer meeting on this Sunday 25th February at 2.30pm
As an additional note, it also might be helpful for you to know that in practical terms, some of the ways the trustees intend to achieve the open and consultative governance described in more formal language in the document are:
· A minimum of two trustees should attend our regular open meetings of volunteers and members. These take place monthly and alternate between a Thursday and a Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm. (There’s one coming up this Sunday…)
· Volunteers and members are encouraged to attend trustee meetings which take place every two months normally on a Wednesday at 6.30pm at different venues. Volunteers are allowed to speak at these meetings but they are not allowed to vote.
· This weekly email is circulated to all volunteers and members (currently nearly 400). The email contains links to minutes of trustee, volunteer and staff meetings as well as notifies of any upcoming meetings and significant news about the charity
Decision Making Governance at BPCG
- BPCG is a charity. The beneficiaries of the charity are local people and communities. The objects are stated below. These are detailed in the charity’s Articles of Association adopted when the charity was incorporated.
- The members of the charity are mainly people who have volunteered regularly in the current year.
- Stakeholders in the charity include Lambeth & Southwark, local schools and educational institutions, other local organisations, park users, garden visitors, donors and other charities. We are also bound by various legal agreements such as our lease and agreements made for the receipt of grants.
4. Each year at the AGM, members elect some of their number to serve as trustees. These trustees represent the members who elect them to take on the fiduciary duty to ensure that the charity adheres to its charitable objects and delivers to its beneficiaries. Elected trustees are the authority from which all decisions emanate.
5. Trustees do this by developing and approving policies and setting goals that will help the charity deliver its objectives in the long term. Trustees meet 6 times annually to adopt and review policies and goals. Charities must have trustees who agree to take on this legal duty. Trustee meetings are open to members who may speak but cannot vote.
6. The charity’s trustees also want the organisation to be consultative and to hear the views of all of its stakeholders. Trustees take account of differing views of their stakeholders when setting goals and adopting policies as well as considering the interest of all of the beneficiaries. Trustees try to ensure that any decisions they take will support the beneficiaries and have the consensus support of the charity’s stakeholders.
- Where funds permit Trustees appoint staff. The role of our staff is to develop and deliver an annual plan that will harness available resources, (mostly funds and volunteers), to ensure charitable objective are achieved in the current year and to progress the charity’s long-term goals. Trustees approve annual staff plans and budgets. Staff manage the delivery of their plan. Trustees delegate staff the authority to do this.
- In any annual plan there will be decisions that need to be made about issues that will impact the garden in the current year. Many decisions which are uncontroversial are made by staff with the support of their managers. Other decisions which may attract differing views or where members have indicated an interest in helping with the decision will be put into consultation.
- The main forum for this consultation is an open meeting of members and other volunteers. These meetings are staged to allow many different members and volunteers to attend. Any member may agenda an item for one of these meetings by letting a member of staff know. Members who are unable to attend a meeting may submit views on agenda items by any other available means. Meetings are minuted and these advisory minutes published widely. Trustees expect staff to achieve a broad consensus support for their decisions but these decisions are made finally by the staff with delegated authority of trustees.
- Where trustees wish to adopt policies or goals that have a significant impact on the operation of the site beyond the current year, in addition to broader consultation with stakeholders, they will present their plans to one or more volunteer meetings supported by staff. Trustees hope that members and volunteers will support their proposals, which will have been developed to deliver greater or broader benefits to the beneficiaries. Trustees and staff will work with members to achieve broad consensus for such proposals
The Charitable Objects of the charity are as follows.
2.1 To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of, and persons employed in or visiting the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark (hereinafter called the beneficiaries) and the neighbourhood thereof (hereinafter called the area of benefit) without distinction of sex or political, religious or other opinions, by associating the local authorities and/or voluntary organisations and inhabitants in a common effort to advance education and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and other leisure occupation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said in habitants, and particularly of those who have need of such facilities by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disablement, poverty or social and economic circumstances.
2.2 To provide knowledge and education in sustainable horticulture, local food growing, greener communities, and other subjects as may be of benefit to said communities.
2.3 To promote the mental and physical well-being of users, visitors and volunteers of Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses.
2.4 To promote and encourage biodiversity in the area of benefit.
We hope that your time at Brockwell Community Greenhouses will be enjoyable and enriching. This Agreement outlines your rights as a volunteer and our expectations of you. For more information, do read the volunteer handbook.
Your rights as a volunteer:
- To know what is expected of you
- To have clearly specified lines of support and supervision
- To be trained for the work you are asked to undertake
- To be shown appreciation
- To have safe working conditions
- To know what your rights and responsibilities are if something goes wrong
- To have a thorough induction on the work of BPCG and the volunteer role
- To be free from discrimination
- To confidentiality
- To experience personal development through participation
Our expectations of you as a volunteer:
- To be reliable
- To be honest
- To carry out tasks in accordance with the aims and values of the organisation
- To perform tasks within agreed guidelines to agreed standards
- To respect confidentiality
- To act with due care for your own safety and that of others
- To observe the organisation’s policies and procedures
- To be anti-discriminatory and promote equality of opportunity
- To ensure that all projects you work on are approved and overseen by the community gardener, or lead volunteer.
I have read and understood this Agreement. (A printed name or digital signature is fine if submitting online)