Group Leaders Guidance

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1 Group Leaders Guidance In providing this guidance MKU3A considers it will help with the role of established Group Leaders and provide some written support and information for running the group. If you have any suggestions for improvements please contact the Current Groups Coordinator with them. Contents: Group Guidelines External a. Beds Plus Forum information b. National U3A Reference Documents Forms These are listed separately in About Us/Admin of the website MKU3A Accident Report Form MKU3A Group Attendance Record MKU3A Group Finance Return - Basic for 0.50 subscription returns MKU3A Group Finance Return Extra for halls, tutors and local expenditure MKU3A Equipment Asset List currently under review MK Council Code of Conduct (for user of sheltered housing) Group Specific Forms Issued as required Third Age Trust (TAT) Venue Risk Assessment Check List TAT Walk Leader Check List MKU3A External Tutor Contact Details Page 1 of 7

2 Responsibilities of the Group Leader Are you a tutor, a facilitator, a coordinator, a leader, or a convenor? These are the most often used titles in U3A and the choice is only important in so far as they tend to indicate a function. A tutor is usually expected to teach, a facilitator to provide, a coordinator has expectations that the group members will take an active role, and the group members expect a leader to take the initiative. The term Group Convenor is used in More Time to Learn to describe all leadership models. No one person should have to carry the load of running an Interest Group. Ideally the group should have regular planning meetings to decide their programme and share out the preparation tasks. As many members as possible should participate in preparation for the session and the session themselves. If people are nervous this can be done in pairs or threes and need only be a five or ten minute contribution. Whatever you decide to call yourself within the group, the important thing is that you and the group arrive at a clear and shared understanding of how you intend to be and what you intend to do, because the chances are that you will be all of these some of the time. The title we use in MKU3A to cover all these roles is Group Leader. The Group Leader is the point of contact for members and potential new members of the group. Information relevant to the group from the Committee and from the Third Age Trust (TAT) will be sent to the leader for dissemination to the members. The Group Leader may delegate some of the responsibilities set out below to members of the group, but should ensure that they are all covered. Organising the Group Activities This might include facilitating a planning session with the group, booking a speaker or tutor, ensuring that the correct equipment and venue is available, keeping a record of sessions, facilitating a discussion or, if you take a teaching role, planning the sessions. Keeping a Register It is important that records of attendance by group members are recorded for each meeting, also visitors and, if meetings are held in sheltered housing, any residents attending. This is needed to keep track of finances and it would be needed in case of fire to take a roll-call after evacuation. A Group Attendance Record can be downloaded from the MKU3A website. Contact details for each member can be kept on the register or on a separate list. If you set up a group please use the Blind Copy (Bcc) box for the group addresses. Multiple shared addresses can encourage spam and malware. Group Finances Page 2 of 7

3 Groups are to be self-funding. Groups normally raise funds through a member s session fee to cover the standard fee to MKU3A and all operating costs including the hire of halls and speaker/tutors fees. Funds are also raised through raffles, external grants and donations. The session fee set by the group and any essential short term funding support to be agreed with the Treasurer. Financial support is available to a group at start up or where replacement equipment or facilities are required that cannot be met from Group Funds. All Funds generated by a Group net of the agreed MKU3A standard fee belong to the Group and are ring fenced when held by the MKU3A Treasurer. By agreement, Groups can have a bank paying in book and, if necessary, a debit card for essential local payments. Simple local records are to be maintained of all receipts, payments and funds held by the Group and a summary made to the MKU3A Treasurer on the Group Finance Return-Basic for those groups collecting only the 0.50 subscription. Groups collecting monies for hall hire, tutors or other expenditure should use the Group Finance Return-Extra Expenditure, both of which can be downloaded from the website. These returns are submitted monthly, quarterly or half yearly by agreement with the MKU3A Treasurer. Contributions to refreshments, when the meeting is held in a member s home, do not need to be included. Hiring of Halls - All booking arrangements for halls are to be arranged by the Group Leader and these arrangements must be in the name of the MKU3A. All invoices to be submitted to the Treasurer or ed to Where appropriate it is useful to have a Group Treasurer supporting the Group Leader. If in any doubt about financial arrangements within the Group please consult the MKU3A Treasurer. Membership Checking New Members New members can visit a group twice before joining MKU3A. At the end of their second meeting, the Group Leader should ask them to contact the office to obtain a Membership Application and Direct Debit form if they don t already have one alternatively these can be downloaded from the website In due course ask to see their membership card and record their membership number and expiry date on your register. Membership Checking It is important that all members of the group are current MKU3A members. Please ask to see membership cards and as with new members to the group, record the membership number and expiry date. Renewals If there is anyone in the group whose membership has not been renewed or membership has expired, it should in private, be explained to that person that it is against MKU3A rules for anyone to attend whose membership has lapsed and request them to renew their membership before attending further sessions. Members whose membership lapses will required to go on a waiting list to rejoin the group should the group be full. Page 3 of 7

4 Venues Groups meet in members homes, at the meeting room at Kingston, in sheltered housing, outdoors and in a variety of paid venues according to availability and the needs of the group. Any potential change of venue should be discussed with the Current Groups Coordinator, particularly if a contract for payment is to be made. Groups at Kingston meeting room should enter their meeting times and dates in the diary in the entrance lobby and cancel any meetings that have been booked but subsequently not needed, as the room is shared by all users of the building. Members homes and the communal lounges of local authority sheltered housing are kindly made available to us at no cost and residents must obviously be respected. Many groups give a small present such as chocolates or flowers to the residents at Christmas with monies for this collected during the year. The Code of Conduct for Users of Communal Lounges, which has been issued by the Council, is available on the website Group Leaders should keep the Warden advised of dates of meetings. The subs of groups meeting in paid venues, including private sheltered housing, should cover the amount of their rent. It is very important that the Treasurer is advised of all meeting dates, so that they can be checked against invoices. If a meeting is cancelled, please let the venue manager, the Treasurer and Current Groups Coordinator know at the earliest possibility, as payment of rent might not be required. The New Groups and Current Groups Coordinator in conjunction with the Treasurer will assess all premises used by MKU3A for suitability and provide any records of these to the Group Leader Equipment and Assets A list of equipment kept at Kingston for use by groups is included on the website. If a group wishes to borrow any items they must be booked out in the folder in the store-room or via the Office Manager and booked back in noting the return date and the name of the person returning them. An Assets Register is kept for insurance purposes and to monitor items that might need renewing. Any items held by groups, whether funded centrally or by the group, should be notified to the Office Manager for inclusion on the Asset Register. If the group needs equipment, either to be kept within the group or at Kingston, please put a request with an estimate of the cost to the Committee via the Current Groups Coordinator before incurring any cost. Please indicate if the equipment would be of use to other groups as well. The office at Kingston also has facilities for copying and printing of documents that are available to Group Leaders. Contact the Office Manager to arrange a visit to the office to be made aware of the equipment available and how it can be accessed. Page 4 of 7

5 Website Each group has its own page on the MKU3A website and it is up to the Group Leader to keep this interesting and up to date through the Webmaster. It is an important tool for letting potential members and the wider community know what we do. Most of the forms and information that are needed to administer the group can be found on the About Us Admin section of the website. Group Leaders without access to the website can contact the Office Manager and the relevant forms required can be sent to you or ask a member of the group with internet access to download a copy. Magazine The MKU3A publishes a magazine, The Third Way, every two months. This is a very valuable vehicle for letting other members know about the activities of the group through short reports on what has been happening and publicity for future events, especially those where the group would like to attract a wider audience. Before submitting copy you might find it useful to talk first to the Editor about, length, content and illustration (if any). Because of space restrictions or other reasons your copy may not appear exactly as it has been written. Group Capacity for Growth Venue size and equipment required can be a constriction on the capacity to increase membership of the group. However to ensure best use to all of the benefits of membership of MKU3A these should not be considered a restriction on the capacity for groups to increase their membership or for further groups to be set up. The New Groups Coordinator and the Current Groups Coordinator are the support for this either by working with the Group Leader to develop a second group or to develop the skills of others to start a new group. Should the group be considered full for any of the above reasons, persons telephoning or ing with regard joining the group should have their details taken and this information be sent to the Current Groups Coordinator, with records kept. Expressions of interest with regard new groups can be/are included in The Third Way on a regular basis. These are then taken forward by the New Groups Coordinator. Accidents and Insurance Fortunately accidents are rare in U3A activities, but they do sometimes happen. In any emergency the safety of the Group Leader and members of the group is paramount and Group Leaders must take any action required to ensure that it stays paramount. As soon as possible after an incident it is important that the Group Leader completes an Accident Report Form to cover yourself and any injured person or property even if the incident is a minor one. Keep a copy for the group records and send the original to the Current Groups Coordinator. Page 5 of 7

6 The U3A insurance covers all members of U3A for third party liability; that is if you cause damage to another person or property, although not for personal accident cover. The documents are available in the About Us Admin section on the website. Health and Safety Law H&S Law does not generally apply to individual volunteers (although the common law may do so). However as a voluntary organisation MKU3A needs to consider the law if persons could be hurt by the activities of MKU3A groups. The policies and guidance that are available in the About Us Admin section of the website should therefore be noted with Group Leaders considering the activities of the group, the location of the meeting and take action accordingly. For some groups such as the walking group and those that meet in people s homes specific guidance is available. These will be issued accordingly. The national U3A website provides Advice Sheets in the Members section on various topics such as Walking Group Risk Assessment check lists and Accessibility for Disabled Members. For groups arranging external events such as walking, theatre visits and to places of interest it is considered good practice for members to make available to the person organising the event In Case of Emergency (I.C.E) details. This can either be noted on the booking form and the list taken on the day or members provided with I.C.E. cards which they complete and can carry with them (a supply of these is available through the office). If assistance is required in adopting these policy and guidance please contact the Current Groups Coordinator. The New Groups Coordinator will support new Group Leaders in this task. Paid Tutors External tutors are only engaged and paid when the skills or knowledge required is not available from within the group or when necessary for health and safety. Such tutors must be self-employed to avoid U3A liability for tax and insurance etc. They must also have their own substantial public liability insurance. Before a tutor is engaged by the group the Current Groups Coordinator should be notified. A formal letter will be sent to the tutor to ensure compliance with these requirements. The Current Groups Coordinator will complete an annual check on the insurance cover. The session fees of the group must be sufficient to cover the cost of the tutor. These should be sent to the Treasurer, who will pay the tutor for the dates specified. Meetings of Group Leaders As a Group Leader invitation will be sent for periodic meetings with other Group Leaders and members of the Committee, where information and ideas can be shared. This is an important and very useful forum to find out what other groups are doing and to influence the forward planning of MKU3A. It also acts as one of the communication channels between you, the group and the Committee. In the event of being unable to attend such a meeting the deputy or a member of the group is welcome to attend on the group s behalf. Page 6 of 7

7 Handing Over to a New Group Leader It is good to encourage some members of the group to help with the running of the group and to be ready to take over when you wish to stand down. Please make them aware of this guidance and where it can be found. Also hand on the document More Time to Learn and any other materials/documents used to run the group. If it is possible to arrange a handover meeting this is likely to prove helpful and should include the Current Groups Coordinator. If this is not possible please ensure the Current Groups Coordinator is informed to enable contact details for the group to be updated External Links Beds, Bucks Forum Representatives from the U3As within Buckingham, Bedford and Luton area meet three times a year to share ideas and good practice. The Chair of each of the nine U3As involved chair the meetings (February, May and September) for one year. At most meetings a workshop of special interest runs alongside and reports back to the main meeting. National U3A Reference Documents The national website contains a vast amount of useful information to help local U3A and their groups. Documents include Going Forward , outlining the strategy for the next three years, the Annual Report and Accounts , More Time to Learn, which sets out the Aims, Obligations and Definitions of the U3A and can be a resource for Trustees, Group Leaders and members. Advice sheets on a range of topics, access to National Interest Group Advisers and the Resource Centre online catalogue which has listed a collection of non-book material available for all U3A groups to borrow free of charge, except the cost of return postage. There are DVDs, CDs, videos, slides and audiocassettes available in many subject areas. These are all available in the members section of the website Page 7 of 7

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