In this article, we provide a number of sample policy documents that are often required by greenspace and parks Friends Groups. Click on the relevent button for the policy document you need. We hope they are helpful.
All draft policies are reproduced with the kind permission of NESTA the UK’s Innovation agency for social good.
Equality and Diversity Policy
[Your Friends Group] is committed to being an organisation in which everyone is included and valued and which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
- Policy Statement
We at [Your Friends Group] are committed to achieving an organisation in which everyone, whatever their socio-economic or personal characteristics, feels included and valued, and which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, disability, religious beliefs, economic status, age or sexual orientation. This Policy aims to remove unfair and discriminatory practices within the organisation and to encourage full contribution from its diverse community. [Your Friends Group] is committed to actively opposing all forms of discrimination.
[Your Friends Group] also aims to ensure that all the activities which we organise are open and accessible to all. [Your Friends Group] believes that all our Members and all park users are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity, and to feel included and valued.
- Objectives of this Policy
- To reduce, stop and prevent all forms of discrimination.
- To encourage practices and ways of interacting with people that make everyone involved with [Your Friends Group] feel included and valued.
- Designated Officer for Equality and Diversity
The Chair of [Your Friends Group]
- Definition of Discrimination
Discrimination is unequal or differential treatment which leads to one person being treated more orless favourably than others are, or would be, treated in the same or similar circumstances on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, disability, religion, economic status, age, sexual orientation. Discrimination may be direct or indirect.
- What is inclusion?
5.1. When we refer to people feeling included, we mean that they feel a sense of belonging and a sense of feeling respected and valued for who they are. All in positions of responsibility within [Your Friends Group] will work on improving its ways of working and its methods and styles of interaction so that everyone involved with our organisation feels they belongand feels engaged and connected to the extent that they want to be.
5.2. Inclusion is a universal human right whose aim is to embrace all people, irrespective of their socio-economic and personal characteristics. It is about valuing and welcoming all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity to all and removing both discrimination and other barriers to involvement.
5.3. Work towards inclusion must be pro-active, involves and understands that everyone has something to contribute and everyone needs to feel welcomed, comfortable and valued for the contributions they do make.
- Responsibility for the Implementation of this Policy
The active commitment and co-operation of those involved with [Your Friends Group] is essential for the success of this Policy. However, the ultimate responsibility for achieving the objectives of this Policy, and for ensuring compliance with relevant Legislation and Codes of Practice, lies with the elected Officers. [Your Friends Group] Officers and Organisers of its working groups are expected to set a leading example in following this Policy and to encourage all Members to abide by this policy.
All Members of [Your Friends Group] are encouraged to act in a way that does not subject any other Members or park users to direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, economic status, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, disability, religion, age or sexual orientation.
- Acting on Discriminatory Behaviour
Any issues, concerns or specific allegations of discriminatory behaviour should be initially directed to the Chair, and if unresolved may be brought up at the following general meeting.
- The Extent of the Policy
- [Your Friends Group] will work pro-actively to apply the provisions and spirit of this policy in their day-to-day activities and interactions with everyone involved with the organisation. [Your Friends Group] seeks to ensure that any sub-contractors, agents, etc act in accordance with this Policy, but accepts no liability for the actions of sub-contractors and agents.
Child Protection Policy
A child is defined by The Children Act, 1989 as a person under the age of 18, and this is the meaning used throughout this policy.
- Statement of Purpose
- This Child Protection Policy stresses the fact that we in [Your Friends Group]are determined to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect from harm all children who participate in any [Your Friends Group] activities.
- This policy establishes the organisation’s position, role and responsibilities and clarifies what we expect from everybody involved within [Your Friends Group]. It highlights the importance placed by [Your Friends Group]on the protection of children at all times. Every child who participates in any [Your Friends Group] activity should be able to participate in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in this organisation. We recognise however, that child abuse is a very emotive and difficult subject. It is important to understand the feelings involved but not to allow them to interfere with our judgement about any action to be taken.
- [Your Friends Group] recognises its responsibility to take reasonable steps to safeguard the welfare of all children by protecting them from physical, financial, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect and bullying. We are committed to meeting our obligations to ensure that children taking part in [Your Friends Group] activities are provided with the highest standards of care.
- We recognise that for children, high self esteem, confidence, supportive friends and good communication with trusted adults aids prevention. With this in mind, we will always endeavour to:
- Establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure.
- Ensure that children know that there are adults around on any project who they can approach when worried or in difficulty.
- [Your Friends Group] will ensure that:
- The welfare of the child is paramount
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
- All Members working with [Your Friends Group] have a responsibility to report concerns to the person designated as responsible for Child Protection or the Chair.
- Key Principles
2.1 As a voluntary and co-operative organisation, Members of [Your Friends Group] are not expected to take on parental responsibility for other people’s children, and [Your Friends Group] will organise activities which encourage children and their parents to take part together.
In addition to this, [Your Friends Group]will take responsibility for:
- Respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of children taking part in our activities.
- Ensuring that all Members organising [Your Friends Group] activities adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children from abuse and abide by the procedures outlined within this document.
- Responding to any allegations appropriately.
- Regularly reviewing the policy.
- Promoting Good Practice
3.1 Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, arouses strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
3.2. Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school, sporting, leisure and recreational environments. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with children in order to harm them.
3.3 There are some people in this organisation that, at some time, will have regular contact with children and may be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection.
- Good Child Protection Practice
- Always work in an open environment where possible, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication
- Treat all children equally with respect and dignity
- Always put the welfare of each child first.
Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with service users. Physical contact with children should be limited to appropriate touching needed either to guide their movements during tuition, e.g. to aid positioning of hands on a guitar or to reassure them when they are ill or injured. Generally, the only safe place to touch appropriately is on the arm or shoulders.
All Members should maintain a strictly appropriate relationship with children who attend [Your Friends Group] activities. It is not appropriate to seek to develop relationships beyond this by, for example, arranging to meet a child away from an activity to further a friendship with that child.
- Build balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
- Be an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of children.
- Give enthusiastic, constructive feedback rather than negative criticism
- Recognise the developmental needs and capacity of children
- Keep written records of any injuries that occur, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Physical Restraint
5.1 There may be very rare occasions when Members find they need to use reasonable physical intervention to restrain children, for their own safety or the safety of others. Whenever such an incident occurs, the Child Protection Officer or Chairmust be informed immediately and the incident recorded in the Incident Book kept in the Hub office. Restraint should only be used as a last resort, and then only the minimum force needed to prevent harm should be applied.
- Monitoring and Review:
6.1 This policy should be considered alongside other related policies of [Your Friends Group]
6.2 It will be reviewed after one year, or sooner if there is a major incident.
Financial Rules & Management
A copy of these rules will be available to everyone who joins the Friends.
- The whole group through its monthly general meetings acts as the management committee. The group elects three officers, a Chair, a Secretary and Treasurer at the Annual General Meeting.
- The whole group informs the Officers who then administer the decisions of the group.
- The group and its officers as a whole are responsible for ensuring that it is well managed and that we look after our income properly and put it to best use.
We will keep appropriate financial records, including:
- computerised spreadsheet/cash book recording all the transactions in the bank account(s), which will include any cash received
- Print-outs in date order will be kept in a ring-binder or other file also containing.
- bank statements and cheque book
- details of all funds received
- invoices and other receipts for all payments
Our financial year ends on March 31st
- We will draw up accounts at the end of the financial year and have them examined by a suitable person who is independent of the group. The annual accounts will be presented to the Annual General Meeting for approval with a report from the treasurer.
- We will report and discuss any financial matters at quarterly meetings of the Friends showing cash received, payments, remaining funds and any expected future receipts and payments.
2. Bank account(s)
- We have a current cheque account with [Bank Name] in the name of [Your Friends Group]
- Any bank transactions will go through our current account. If we pay money into any other account, it will be as a transfer from the current account.
- At least three members of the management committee will be signatories to the accounts, one of which will be the Treasurer. Signatories will be agreed at the AGM
- Any withdrawals or transfers between accounts will be signed by two of the signatories. We expect that one of these will be the treasurer. If not, we will give the treasurer full details of the payment.
- We will ask the bank to provide statements every month and will check the statements against our account book.
- If we receive cash as donation we will issue a receipt and keep a copy.
- If we receive cash at events, two members of the group will count up the cash, make a note of the total and sign for it.
- Details of cash received will be entered in the cashbook.
- We shall bank all cash received – we will not use it for cash payments. We expect that cash over £100 will be banked within a week.
- We will record details of cheques received in the cash book and bank the cheques within one month.
- The treasurer will keep files of paperwork relating to the cheques (e.g. grant award letters or copies of receipts issued by the group).
4. Buying goods and services
- Any purchases or expenditure will be agreed in advance at Friends monthly meetings, either as shown in project budgets or discussed, or agreed by Chair’s action. The treasurer will keep a file of all the paperwork and check all invoices before making payments.
5. Payments by cheque, direct debit, bank transfer or ATM card
- We will not sign a cheque without paperwork to support the payment.
- We will not authorise payments by direct debit or by bank transfer (BACS) without paperwork to support the payment.
- Two signatories are required on each cheque. We expect that one of these will be the treasurer. If not, we will give the treasurer full details of the payment.
- All other payments (including BACS, debit card payments, standing orders and direct debits) must be signed for in advance on a payment form. The ‘payment form’ will include the following details: payee; date; amount; type of payment (e.g. BACS, standing order); and space for two signatures.
- We will never sign a blank cheque.
- Cheque stubs will be completed at the time of payment.
We will record details of payment on the paperwork:
- cheque number / type of payment
- who signed the cheque / payment form
- We shall write details of all cheque payments in the cash book.
6. Petty Cash
Any petty cash system will:
- Keep a small float of £30 for small payments such as fares, tea, coffee, materials. We will keep the float separate from incoming cash and draw cash from the bank to make up the float.
- Cash withdrawals from the bank account by cheque will require two signatories
- Payments above £20.00 will be made by cheque
- We will record payments on a petty cash slip and keep receipts
- We will enter in the petty cash book the amount of cash drawn from the bank and details of payments
7. Staff Wages.
When required we will comply with all PAYE and NI regulations.
[Your Friends Group] will ensure that its activities minimise harm to and are as beneficial to the environment as possible.
The purpose of this policy is to examine the practices of our organisation, to identify any which are potentially harmful to the environment, to agree on actions to address them, and to ensure that those actions are carried out. It will also demonstrate to the wider community our commitment to protect the environment in a responsible manner and to work in an efficient, environmentally friendly and therefore sustainable way.
[Your Friends Group] needs to be environmentally sensitive and considerate of the environment, and we have identified the following areas which we need to consider
- Creation and disposal of Waste
- Use of Energy
- Use of Water (and other Natural Resources)
- Use of the Park Landscape
- Purchase and use of particular products
Within each of these areas, we have identified various specific issues and actions to address them:
- Minimise waste and recycle more
This group will seek to minimise the amount of waste that we generate and also try to promote re-use recycling and composting wherever possible. We will make every effort to:
- minimise printing of documents, print documents double-sided and reduce font size etc to minimise number of sheets of paper used where possible
- recycle as much of our waste as possible, including by composting
- Use less energy
This group will respond to the national need to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions to help combat global climate change. It will seek to minimise energy use in every area of its activities including heating and lighting.Examples of this could be:
- We should use artificial lighting only when necessary and remember to turn everything off at the end of meetings
- We should not overfill the kettle when making drinks at meetings and events
- Reduce water use
We will reduce water usage and waste where possible
- Sustainable land management
In its management of land, this group will seek to reduce harm on, and take opportunities to enhance, wildlife and the natural environment.We will make every effort to:
- reduce or eliminate the use of artificial chemicals used on the land that can build up and harm wildlife and pollute local waterways
- try to use local native species to encourage local wildlife when doing new planting
- use compost we have made ourselves or obtained from a local source rather than peat-based compost
- compost any weeds or clippings
- Consider the environment when deciding what products we purchase
- buy recycled products where possible
- buy local produce, or products that are environmentally friendly or from sustainable sources
- buy products which are not over-packaged and where packaging is biodegradable or recyclable
- Encourage group members to travel to meetings or events by public transport, bike or on foot, or to share lifts wherever possible
Raising environmental awareness
This group will try to ensure that all of its members are familiar with this policy and get the opportunity to find out more about environmental sustainability issues and that they have the opportunity to voice any concerns which they might have about our practice or that of the Council. We will also make it our aim to raise environmental awareness amongst all park users through both example and educational work.
Health and Safety Policy
A paper copy of this Health and Safety Policy will be kept in a file in the Hub Office with other [Your Friends Group] policies and documents, and electronic copies will be kept on a computer in the Hub Office, so they can be accessed by any member who needs them.
Contents of this Health and Safety Policy
- The Purpose of this Policy
2.1 [Your Friends Group] Officers
2.2 Members Responsible for organising specific Activities
2.3 All Members taking part in Activities
- General Arrangements
3.1 Risk Assessment
- Tools and other Equipment
4.2 Safe Use
1. The Purpose of this Policy
[Your Friends Group] aims to maintain a safe environment for everyone taking part in collective activities and will encourage an atmosphere where everyone works together to ensure that everything has been done to prevent avoidable accidents and protect people from getting hurt.
This policy sets out the procedures by which [Your Friends Group] will do its best to ensure everyone’s Health and Safety when taking part in specific and relevant [Your Friends Group] activities.
2.1 [Your Friends Group] Officers
The overall and final responsibility for Health and Safety lies with the [Your Friends Group] Officers, who must
- ensure that [Your Friends Group] has adequate cover under Public Liability insurance
- ensure that appropriate information and/or training is available to members taking on responsibilities to foster the awareness of health, safety and welfare issues.
2.2 Members Responsible for organising specific Activities
Overall responsibility for Health and Safety of a specific and relevant [Your Friends Group] Activity lies with the Member organising it, who must
- ensure that Risk Assessments and other appropriate procedures have been carried out before the Activity starts
- ensure that the Activity is carried out according to appropriate procedures
- ensure that appropriate records are completed and stored so they can be referred to in future
2.3 Members taking part in Activities
All Members taking part in Activities must
- take reasonable care of themselves and others
- report any hazard or unsafe practices to the Member responsible for the Activity
3. General Arrangements
3.1 Risk Assessment
- will be carried out for specific [Your Friends Group] activities where necessary; this includes activities like workdays or public events, but not meetings.
- generic risk assessments will be created for each particular kind of activity and made available for the organiser of a specific activity
- for each significant new event/activity a separate risk assessment will be done, recorded and stored for future reference
- risk assessments will be reviewed annually
- The person responsible for taking charge in an emergency during a [Your Friends Group] activity is the person organising the activity
- Appropriate First Aid training will be signposted to active Members where possible. We will aim to have a trained First Aider present during activities where this is appropriate. First Aiders will undertake regular refresher training
- First Aid boxes are available in the Office (including a small kit suitable for Activities) and the Cafe. Additional trained First Aiders may also be available in the.
- Should any accident occur, the [Your Friends Group] Accident Record Book should be completed by the person responsible for the activity
4. Tools and other Equipment and Materials
- All Tools etc belonging to [Your Friends Group] will be stored securely (currently in Hub Plant Room and [Your Friends Group] Storage Container in Freedom Road). Tools can be accessed by delegated reps using keys available in theoffice.
- Whoever has taken the tools out is responsible for their safe use and return. If tools are lost or damaged, this must be reported to an Officer
4.2 Safe Use
- The organiser of any [Your Friends Group] Activity is responsible for checking that [Your Friends Group] tools and equipment are safe to use and are used and returned correctly.
- The organiser of a [Your Friends Group] Activity is not responsible for personal tools etc. used by any Member as part of that activity.
[Your Friends Group]recognise the value of involving volunteers and are committed to the promotion of volunteering and to involving volunteers in our work. This Volunteer Policy explains [Your Friends Group] processes for involving and supporting volunteers.
A Volunteer is defined as someone who commits time and energy for the benefit of others, who does so freely, through personal choice and without expectation of financial reward, except for reimbursement -when available – of actual out of pocket expenses.
[Your Friends Group] is run collectively, entirely by volunteers, and as such, volunteering as a principle is central to our mission. We recognise that volunteers make an essential contribution to our work, helping us to achieve our core aims and objectives. At the same time, we are committed to making volunteering with [Your Friends Group] worthwhile and enjoyable, so that Members who volunteer feel valued and involved.
[Your Friends Group] will not use volunteers to replace or undermine the position of paid Parks staff. Our work as Members of [Your Friends Group] is intended to complement and support the activities of paid Parks staff.
Where possible and appropriate, [Your Friends Group] will arrange or signpost training for active Members relevant to their work or activities
Members will be covered by [Your Friends Group] insurance policy whilst carrying out work for [Your Friends Group].
This policy forms part of [Your Friends Group] Policies and will be reviewed annually by Members.