Managing the building and its services

Everything from the role of committee members, insurance, health and safety matters and equal opportunities to licensing, marketing and employing staff.

Community First can provide support, advice and information on a variety of building management issues from the role of committee members, insurance, health and safety matters and equal opportunities to licensing, marketing and employing staff. If we don't know the answer to your management enquiry we can signpost you to someone that does. Here are two checklists on running your hall safely and effectively running management committees.

Running your hall safely

1. Appoint a management committee member as your Health and Safety officer. Equip them with ACRE Village Hall Leaflets No's 15, 20 and 37 and Village Hall Health Check form. Get them to do monthly checks. Have Health and Safety as a standing agenda item. Rotate the job every year, if possible, given that it is burdensome.

2. Keep an up to date written Risk Assessment for your Building.
Check it’s still accurate every 6 months. Remember to review it if you change the building or its equipment in any way.

3. Make sure your Hire Agreement gives you maximum protection and every hirers completes the form.
See ACRE Model Hire Agreement

4. Get your fire extinguishers and fire alarm system checked annually.

5. Have your portable electrical appliances.
Anything with a plug on it - “PAT” tested regularly; annually is recommended.

6. Be sure you don’t have asbestos in your building and take the right steps if you have. See ACRE Village Hall Leaflet No 14

7. If you have a cleaner, make them your first line of defence.
Include reporting problems in their job description and give them positive feedback when they do. See ACRE Village Hall Leaflet No 22

8. Remember that Health and Safety issues may be different for different kinds of use.
See ACRE Village Hall Leaflets No 21 Overnight Accommodation and No 22 Children and Young People

9. Remember that hygiene is your responsibility.
Toilets and kitchens must be on the regular inspection list See ACRE Village Hall Leaflet No 20

10. Have clear notices in plain English.
For every obvious and unobvious danger and every rule you need users of the building to follow. Check regularly that they are still in place and relevant.

11. Check regularly for anything hall users may have moved or changed that may have undermined your safety rules.

12. If you have a Health and Safety issue that your leaflets don’t seem to cover, get advice, and record that you have done so. Talk to us at Community First 01684 312734.

13. Creating a FREE generic email address for your Community Building.
One of the key elements in running a successful community building is having the means to receive communications efficiently. Without this, your Community Building may lose potential income:-

  • from individuals who may wish to hire your venue,
  • by missing out on new and current funding opportunities,
  • advice /information on regulations and energy saving advice etc

We strongly recommend that you consider setting up a FREE generic email address for your community building.

Top Tips for running an effective management committee

Understand and exercise your Rights and Responsibilities as a Committee

  • See ACRE Information Leaflet No 17 Trustees Rights and Responsibilities
  • See ACRE Information Leaflet No 22 Village Halls as Employers

But don’t panic when you have read about all the responsibilities. Contact us and we can guide you to a range of documents which will help you keep to the rules.

  • Give new members a proper induction.

Joining a committee can be a frightening and mystifying experience. Give new members mentors on the committee they can go to with questions See ACRE Information Leaflet No 17.

  • Don’t push people to take on more than they are willing to.Let people take on small scale specialist roles if that’s what they have to give. Use your power to co-opt members to get specialists onto committees to meet particular needs.
  • Rotate jobs. People are more likely to step up for jobs if they know they can step down after a set period.
  • Divide up roles where possible. This is so no one has too much to carry. Look at all the things the key postholders do and see what others could take on.
  • Always run meetings to time. Meetings that go on for more than 1 ½ to 2 hours are likely to make bad decisions and put people off future attendance.
  • Find the right place for your meetings. You will get better attendance and make better decisions if you are warm, comfortable and thirst free.
  • Find the right time for your meetings. Remember that people who aren’t there can’t tell you that it’s because they can never make the time you always choose. Be prepared to be flexible.
  • Make sure everyone is “in the loop”. Beware of missing out people not on email or decisions getting made by informal groups within the committee. People who feel left out will drop out.
  • Remember you all share the responsibility. It’s not just the Chair who carries the can. Don’t say “what are you going to do?” Say “what are we going to do.?”
  • And finally....... Don't ask people to join! It is often the case that there are people out there who would help but don't feel able to make the heavy commitment of becoming full members of the committee. Ask these people to do one-off time limited jobs for the committee. If this involves running public events co-opt them onto the committee just for the event itself so that they are covered by your public liability insurance.