Community Centre Handbook

Introduction

Running a Community Centre is like running a business.  There will be goods and services that require to be purchased and there will be income from groups and individuals using the Centre, from grants and perhaps from a Coffee Bar.

It is very important that the Management Committee make arrangements for the finances to be properly managed.

The Management Committee may employ a member of staff, for example a book-keeper, to manage the finances. This role may be taken on by the Treasurer or other Committee member. It is worth considering having different people involved in taking in money, recording amounts and preparing money for banking – not having just one person being held totally responsible.

However, it is the Management Committee that is ultimately responsible for the finances of the Association irrespective of how they operate on a day to day basis. Managing the finances of the Community Centre effectively is clearly in the best interests of the Association and the Management Committee would not be representing the interest of their members if they do not take practical steps to adequately manage their finances.

Whatever procedures the Management Committee decide upon, they should be followed consistently.  All income generated from groups and other sources must be recorded along with all the expenditure of income.  This will provide a clear trail of transactions for the Management Committee, as well as being an essential requirement for audit purposes.

A system should be set up so that two individuals require to authorise any expenditure.  This is why two signatories are required when writing cheques.

Connected person (eg family members) should not both sign the same cheque.

You should not sign a cheque that is made out in your name.

When money is banked it is not recorded as income.  That money should already have been recorded.  Banking money simply moves it from a cash account held in the Community centre to a bank account located at a bank.

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Development Grant Payments

Development grant payments are paid quarterly in advance.

The first quarter payment will be release in April.  It will be for £2,769.  That figure is your grant payment of £2,770 minus your annual rent which is £1.

The second, third and fourth quarter grant payments of £2,765 should be processed by the end of July, October and January respectively.

The total development grant is therefore £11,065 however only £11,064 is actually paid.

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Public and Employer’s Liability Insurance Payment

The Council will refund the cost, up to a maximum of £260 per annum, of a Community Centre Association’s Public and Employer’s Liability insurance cover.

In order to release the Council’s funding towards this public and employer’s liability insurance, the Management Committee of the Association should send the Community Centre Liaison Officer documentary evidence that details the insurance cover and the cost of this insurance.

Usually an invoice/receipt for payment will detail the costs and the covering letter or insurance certificate detailing the insurance will be adequate however you may need to include part of your insurance schedule to show that a cover of at least five million pounds is in place for public liability insurance and ten million pounds for employer’s liability insurance.  Electronic submissions are acceptable.

Arrangements will then be made to release the funds to cover the cost of this insurance directly into the Association’s bank account.  Please be aware that only the actual costs incurred will be released up to a maximum of £260 per annum.

The Council aim to release the funds within a calendar month but, depending on circumstances, on occasion it may take longer.

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Personal/Legal Liability Insurance Cover Payments

The Council will refund the cost, up to a maximum of £500 per annum, of a Community Centre Association’s personal/legal liability insurance cover.  This insurance cover is commonly referred to as indemnity insurance.

In order to release the Council’s funding towards this indemnity insurance, the Management Committee of the Association should send the Community Centre Liaison Officer documentary evidence that details the insurance cover and the cost of this insurance.

Usually an invoice/receipt for payment will detail the costs and the covering letter or insurance certificate detailing the insurance will be adequate, however please check that what is submitted details the type of insurance purchased along with the cost of the insurance.  Electronic submissions are acceptable.

Arrangements will then be made to release the funds to cover the cost of this insurance directly into the Association’s bank account.  Please be aware that only the actual costs incurred will be released up to a maximum of £500 per annum.

The Council aim to release the funds within a calendar month but, depending on circumstances, on occasion it may take longer.

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Other Insurance

While the Council will only contribute towards Public and Employer’s Liability Insurance and Personal/Legal Liability Insurance Cover Management Committees may wish to insure against other risks.

For instance Contents Insurance would provide cover in the event that your movable items were stolen or damaged in a fire. If you purchase your insurance through the Highland Council then they can add contents insurance to that policy.

If you have a minibus then you will require motor insurance, as motor insurance is required for all motor vehicle on the public highway.

Insurances can be provided for just about any risk!  If management committees are concerned about insurance cover they should in the first instance consider the risk they are concerned about, and what they would hope the insurance cover would provide.  They could then approach a reputable insurance company to see what policies will meet their needs.

Care should be taken not to double insure.  Some management committees have purchased indemnity insurance that has also included public and employer’s liability insurance. This has resulted in these associations have cover for public and employers liability with two insurance companies.   This would not invalidate any claim, but would complicate matters as two insurance companies are involved.  It would not result in an increased payment and may slow down the claim process considerably.  It also means that the Management Committee is paying for the same cover twice.

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Purchase of Phone and Broadband Services

The Management Agreement between Aberdeen City Council and Community Centre Associations stipulates that the Council will provide a phone line and a broadband service within a leased community centre.

Some Community Centre Associations have recognised that there are occasions when it may be preferential for them to contract phone and broadband services directly with a telecoms company.

Where this has been agreed, and facilitated, with the Council the cost that would be borne by the Council has been transferred as a payment to the Community Centre Association.

If you wish to arrange your telephone or broadband service directly with a telecoms company please contact the Community Centre Liaison Officer.

If you have already agreed, with the Council, to contract your telephone and broadband service directly with a telecoms company then in order to release the Council’s payment towards the cost of the service, the Management Committee of the Association should send the Community Centre Liaison Officer a recent bill detailing the service and the cost.  Please ensure the bill provides details of the phone number or Community Centre address of where the service is being provided along with details of the cost of this service.

The Council will make a payment of up to £216.00 per annum towards a broadband service and up to £121.80 per annum towards a phone service.  This is the cost that the Council currently pays for these services.

The Council aim to release the funds within a calendar month but, depending on circumstances, on occasion it may take longer.

Contracting directly with a telecoms company allows Associations:

  • to continue with their existing broadband service provider;
  • to choose a broadband service and speed that suits their needs;
  • to be able to deal directly with their broadband service provider to resolve any technical issues.

If you currently receive your broadband via the Council and would prefer to arrange your own broadband then please contact the Community Centre Liaison Officer, in the first instance.

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Recharge Invoicing

Certain bills may be paid by the council and recharged to tenants of the community centres.  These costs are typical telephone call costs and hygiene collection costs.

These bills cover a six month period from April to September and October to March.  They are issued shortly after the six month period they relate to once the information is available.

Please be aware that it is not possible for itemised billing to be provided for any telephone calls recharged in this way.

The Council are required to add VAT onto these invoices.

Management Committees should pay these invoices as they would any other bill.  The Community Centre Liaison Officer should be contacted if you have any queries.

There may be other one-off charges that require to be recharged to tenants.  This is likely to be when management committees have requested that the Council provides a service for them.  These will be discussed with management committees in advance and the process may vary, depending on the service.

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Sources of Funding

Aberdeen City Council is only one source of funding.  There are other funders both locally and nationally.

The Council’s Grants and funding page located at http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/community_life_leisure/grants_and_funding/grants_and_funding.asp has some useful information.

You can also access the Open 4 Community database through Aberdeen city council by registering at http://www.idoxopen4community.co.uk/aberdeencommunity/

This service will provide you with information on potential funders for your projects.

There is also Crowdfund Aberdeen for organisations across the city.  This funding initiative is to help groups realise their full potential and make great ideas happen by unlocking the potential of crowdfunding.

More information is available at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/aberdeen/crowdfund-aberdeen

Different funding organisations will all have different conditions of funding and many will have reporting requirements that you must adhere to, or risk having to return the funding.  It is therefore important that the Management Committee has approved all funding applications, at least in principle.

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Applying for funding

Before approaching a funder it is best to consider the specifics of what you need the funding for as well as how much money you require.  These are fairly standard questions but many organisations will approach a large number of funders in the hope of getting some funding, where it may be best to concentrate on a smaller number of funders who want to fund your type of activity.

Developing a project plan or business plan will assist in any fundraising that you wish to carry out.  Management Committees need to be aware that there may be certain sources of funding sponsorship that are incompatible with their activities.  For instance it would not be appropriate to accept sponsorship from a tobacco company to promote a children’s health event.  While this example is fairly straight forward others may not be and therefore please contact the Council if you have any queries regarding funding and sponsorship.

Support is available for management committees to develop a business plan to help them meet their objectives and obtain external funding.  A model business plan with notes is available here.

Advice and Support on funding bids and developing funding plans is also available from the local Third Sector Interface, Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO.)

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Following the Public Pound

Aberdeen City Council has a local code of practice called Funding External Bodies and “Following The Public Pound.”  This can be downloaded from http://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/documents/s50347/Funding%20External%20Bodies%20Following%20the%20Public%20Pound%20Appendix.pdf

As the Association receives funding from Aberdeen City Council this code of practice has to be followed.  The requirements are based upon the level of funding received by the Council from all sources, not just from the development grant.

A pro-forma to obtain the required information has been prepared and assistance will be provided to complete this.

The information in the pro-forma may be of use to Management Committees when preparing their annual report for their Annual General Meeting.

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