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NOTES FROM TRAINING EVENING 6 NOVEMBER 2014

  1. Responsibilities of the Association Treasurer

Role includes in particular:

  • Monitoring, advising on & controlling expenditure
  • Keeping full records of income & expenditure
  • Preparing annual accounts & arranging audit
  • Ensuring value for money
  • Ensuring that payments properly due are made
  • Keeping committee advised of financial position

Advice to Treasurers:

  • Record everything as you go along (money in/out etc)
  • Bank cash promptly
  • Ensure records clear & up to date (and as simple as possible)
  • Keep all relevant documents
  • Pay bills promptly
  • Get receipts for everything
  • Ensure procedure in place for passing on bills to Treasurer
  • Never use personal bank account for association finance

Copies of ‘rent’ accounts are to be sent annually to Council

Annual payment made to BALGF is for:

  • Site rent (based on size x a standard rent per hectare) increased annually by RPI
  • BALGF Membership fee (per association)
  • Competition Levy (based on size of site – banded
  • Council Levy (amount per Ha as for site rent) – to cover historic cut from LBB allotments budget – associations agreed to spread it

Paid as single payment to BALGF & passed on the Council where required.

  1. Disputes & operation of the Grievance Procedure

Key advice for associations:

  • Every tenant must sign a tenancy agreement & be given terms of tenancy – otherwise occupation will not be subject to any terms & conditions.
  • Write note of all conversations where there is a dispute; confirm the content of the conversation with the other party where possible; write letters or emails on key issues; ask plotholder to confirm any complaint or issue in writing.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence.
  • Where possible, discuss in presence of a witness.
  • Early intervention in disputes usually helpful – offering to make the issue more formal sometimes deflates it.
  • Require evidence to support any accusations against plotholders, committee etc – do not accept hearsay.
  • Communication from site committee/secretary with all tenants is vital – e.g. newsletter, gate notice, email etc. to advertise decisions, inspections etc.

Grievance Procedure is logical set of steps – to be followed correctly and full records kept.

  1. Role & responsibilities of Management Committee
  • Should be clearly defined as part of the association’s constitution – see BALGF note on key provisions for constitutions
  • Act strictly in accordance with defined roles and the powers contained in terms of tenancy – do not exceed them
  • If additional powers are needed, seek authority from members (e.g. at AGM)
  • Good practice to obtain agreement of members to rent increases
  1. Use and content of BALGF web site 
  • Provide contact information (or means of contacting associations) for public – plot inquiries etc
  • Information for member associations
  • Publicity medium – events & lother info
  • Link to individual associations’ web sites

Full use of web site still not being made – has potential for far greater level of use

All associations to ensure web master (Tim Lund) has up to date information including email contact addresses.

  1. Tenancy agreements etc.

Tenancy Agreements: London-wide forum attended by LBB officer favoured having form of Tenancy Agreement (the signed agreement) with separate terms & conditions of tenancy which TA refers to.  This is the system used in Bromley.

Membership Rules: Some associations also have membership rules in addition to terms of tenancy.  These should be limited to rules of membership of the association (but might extend to general conduct on site).  Breach of these could then lead to termination of membership and then termination of tenancy under 83)(iii) of terms of tenancy.

Consider having ‘probationary’ tenancy for say 6 months for new tenants.