Here are some issues which affect the smooth running of choral societies and other groups.
1. Displaying posters in libraries. Rules
Displaying your poster or leaflet in libraries
Your local library is a focal point for information about your community. These guidelines will help you understand the criteria the library applies when deciding whether to display your poster or leaflet
"We do not have enough space within our libraries, entrance areas or grounds to display all the posters and leaflets we receive. This means:
Data Protection Act.
Should you register? what are your responsibilities?
The Information Commissioner ensures that organisations which process data, are doing so in line with the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The office keeps a list of registered Data Controllers. You will have a Data Controller, probably in the guise of Secretary. Should you register?
Most Clubs, Groups and Societies and individuals will be “Notification Exempt”. So don’t panic but also be aware of your responsibilities and where you could get into trouble. Also, don’t get the idea that if the information is not on a computer then everything is within the law because you would be wrong. Lists on paper still come under the Data Protection Act.
Chances are that you come under what is known as a “Not for Profit” organisation where your data processing is for the maintenance of a membership list. Provided you keep basic information about such things as name and address then you should have no problem. However, if you include references to ethnic origin, details of partners then you could find yourself having to register. You also need the permission of your members to be included on a list but their membership of a body implies their consent. Don’t distribute your list willy-nilly; you could be invading somebody’s privacy. When a person leaves your body then you must remove their personal data after the relationship ends. If they give written consent to remain on your list then that is fine. If anybody thinks that you have breached the DPA in respect of themselves then their first action is to contact you. Should problems not be resolved then they can make a Request for Assessment.
You do not have to Notify if processing is carried out for staff administration or for advertising, marketing and PR or accounts and records.
Copyright and performance of an author’s work.
Did you know that you cannot just get a group together to perform a work in copyright without paying a fee?
You probably know that you cannot buy one copy of say, a piece of music, and distribute photocopies. Did you know that there are some exceptions?
Any performance of copyright music, whether live or recorded, which takes place outside the home is regarded as a public performance and will usually require a licence from the Performing Rights Society. The PRS collects fee for the public performance of works and distributes money to its members - the writers and publishers of music.
The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society collects and distributes ‘mechanical’ royalties which are generated by the recording of music onto many different formats.
PRS and MCPS have an operational alliance.
Licences are usually issued to the owner of the premises where the music is being performed. A popular myth is that churches being places of religious worship, are exempt. This is untrue. A church is a concert venue just like any other.
If the venue does have a license then you must make your payment to them. They will pass on the payment to PRS. Typically, the fee is calculated at 4% of ticket takings. This comes out of your gross receipts; you cannot first deduct the cost of venue hire or fees paid to artistes.
On occasions you might be invited to perform with another group. In this case you are not the promoter so you are not liable; fee payment is the responsibility of the other party.
All performances should be licensed regardless of whether or not there is a charge for admission.
If you want to ensure that all of your fee obligations are met then consider joining Making Music.
Photocopying is illegal unless you have a licence. You are limited in the number of photocopies you can make of a piece of material. It is possible to obtain a license for multiple copying of works.
“Yeah, but none of this applies to us because we sing in a church.” WRONG!
Most churches will have a licence authorisng them to sing and perform concerts but this is determined by the type of license which they have bought (not free). Do not assume that you are covered for PRS, copyright, copying etc. ASK! Look here for information on the licenses available. Christian Copyright Licensing International. For a start you should download the Fact File here.
Sale of alcohol.
Do you include refreshments in your admission charge? If so, you might be breaking the law.
Apply for the correct license. The procedure is complicated but necessary in order to comply with the Licensing Act 2003.
Unless you have the appropriate license you are not permitted to sell alcohol. So if your ticket says “including refreshments” then this would be construed as a sale. If the refreshment includes a glass of wine then this could mean trouble.
Sale of alcohol requires you to have a license issued by the Local Authority.
The Licensing Act 2003 introduced a new regime which is administered by your Local Authority. The purpose of the Act extends beyond the sale of alcohol and now includes public entertainment, cinemas, theatres, late-night refreshment house and all-night cafés. Readers of this site will most likely be concerned with performances of concerts and shows in halls, churches and public places. Consequently this Advice for Groups section will concentrate on that aspect of the Act.
1. Premises selling to the public need a Designated Premises Supervisor and that person must have a Personal Licence. Typical premises are pubs.
2. Most non-profit clubs can apply for a Club Premises Certificate instead of a Personal Licence or Premises Licence as above. Typical premises are sports’ clubs, British Legion and working men’s clubs.
3. If your event will last for fewer than four days and attended by fewer that 499 people, you do not need the licences in 1 and 2 above. Your event is categorised as a Temporary Event for which you will need a Temporary Events Notice (TEN). See below about the application form which you will need to complete and the fees payable .
A TEN must be sent to the Council and to the Police at least 10 working days before the function. If the Police do not object, the function can then go ahead. Applicants are, however, requested to send in the Notice at least 28 days beforehand.
If you believe a Temporary Event Notice is appropriate, you can download the application forms from your Local Government Authority.
Please do not accept what is written here as comprehensive or ‘as gospel’. It is simply a guide as to what your responsibilities are in relation to the law. In practise, a lot depends upon the district in which you hold your performance. Some authorities are quite relaxed and sensible but the writer knows of some authorities who stick to the letter of the law. Contact your Local Authority before the event rather than afterwards. <- top
All groups need money.
There are many ways of raising money but you won’t get it unless you run your group in a businesslike manner. So to get you started, consider first the following question.
Have you got a business plan? “Er, what’s that?”
Sometimes when small arts or crafts organisations are asked for a "business plan", they feel anxious. "Why should we?" and "how can we?" are often the questions they ask. "We paint watercolours/put on plays/make videos/do embroidery/play music. We don't run a business."
The language of business is alien to many not-for-profit organisations. Whilst within the context of a commercial enterprise, profitability is the key, an arts organisation exists to do something different. Nevertheless, it will still need to make plans, however informal, to get things done and it will be accountable to its members as it carries out those plans. However, once public money (such as Arts Council or Regional Arts Board money) is involved, an organisation also becomes accountable to the funder and the public.
Making Music runs excellent Fund-raising seminars which are open to members and non-member for a very small fee.
The VAN Guide to Business Planning is designed to help you plan better and to make successful applications for funding. Designed for people in voluntary arts and other small organisations, the Guide will help you to understand the process of business planning and help you to write a plan which will be useful to you and fulfil the requirements of the funders. See here Voluntary Arts
It should be particularly useful for projects applying under the Arts Council England's Arts Capital Programme or the Regional Arts Boards' Regional Arts Lottery Programme (RALP).
Why do you need a business plan?
A business plan is one of the application requirements for two or three year projects under the Regional Arts Lottery Programme. It is also a useful document for any organisation undertaking a capital development or a large or long term arts project.
In many ways the planning process is every bit as valuable to an organisation as the finished plan.
Without the requisite permission, you could be breaking the law by begging
Guidelines on Street Collecting
Collecting donations for a charity in the street or 'can-rattling' is a very familiar form of charity fund-raising. It can produce effective results and if well organised can help increase the profile of the organisation.
There are basically three types of street collection
Street collections, known as public charitable collections, are regulated by law. To undertake the first two types, you must first seek the permission of the local authority.
It is illegal in this country to hold a Street Collection to collect money or to sell articles for the benefit of charitable or other purposes without obtaining a Street Collection Licence (aka Street Collection Permit) from the Council if that collection is to be held 'in a street or public place'. A 'public place' is a 'place where the public has access'.
Permits for Street Collections are granted by the Local Authority under the provisions of the Police, Factories etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 and governed by the Home Office Model Street Collections Regulations.
If the collection is to be made in the street, the council will need to know where you intend to 'pitch' and give you relevant permission for that location.Â It is often assumed that collections which are held in shop doorways or car parks do not need an Street Collection Licence because they are being held on 'privately owned land'. This is not true. The issue of a Street Collection Licence does no entitle the holder to collect in private or business premises without the consent of the management. For example, if your chosen pitch is say, in the precinct of a supermarket and hence on private property, you will need the supermarket's permission as well.
Collections which are to be held in conjunction with carnival processions, bed pushing, standing displays, vehicles etc. require the co-operation of the Police as well. It does not suffice to obtain a Street Collection Licence only. It is your responsibility to contact the police.
The sale of articles, magazines etc., in a public place for charitable purposes constitutes a street collection for which a permit would be required.
Deductions for travel expenses to and from the place of collection are NOT normally allowed.
Collecting tins should not have an open top like a bucket has. They must be sealed and numbered. The collector must remain static; not roam and solicit donations. At the end of the collection, the boxes should be opened and the contents counted by somebody who was not a collector.
In accordance with Regulations, it is necessary for a Form of Statement (certified by an accountant) to be submitted to the licensing authority within one month of the date of the collection.
Permit holders are required to publish, at their own expense, an account of the collection proceeds in a newspaper which circulates within the locality of the collection. A copy of the advertisement should then be sent to the council with the form of statement. Sometimes a newspaper will publish the details as a 'Letter to the Editor' free of charge.Â The Council would require a copy of this published letter. There is an exception. Where the collected sum is below a certain figure, some local councils do not require publication in a newspaper.
If you are not a member of the Organisation for which you are proposing to collect, you must first obtain from them, approval to your holding a collection on their behalf. Written confirmation from the Organisation to this effect must accompany the completed application form.
These are guidlines which do not apply in every local authority area. Similarly, the requirements of some authorities might be more stringent. So before you do anything, contact you local council. They will be very helpful; they wouldn't want the bother of proceeding against an offender.
A final tip. Start your plans early, particularly if there is a pitch you fancy. The council will 'book' you into a location if it is available but in many areas, priority is given to such bodies as British Legion, Round Table and Rotary.
The Protection of Children Act 1999
Opening membership to children who are under the age of 18.
Opening membership of your club or society to the under eighteens must be considered very carefully. The area is a potential minefield which needs careful navigation in order to attract the membership you need and keep within the law. The Protection of Children Act 1999 as it affects Groups must be observed and also earlier laws.
Your group is advised to establish a policy and define responsibilities and designate people for the safe-care of the children. You will need at least two members (allowing for absence) who will have to be checked by Criminal Records Bureau. Before accepting a child, parents would be required to give their permission and sign a written agreement.
If you are in Surrey, contact The Surrey Area Child Protection Committee would be involved. Contact them on www.surrey.gov.uk
Running a Workshop
Music, art or drama, it’s all the same in principle.
Thinking about running a Workshop? Then start now. Success depends upon planning well in advance. Whether it be for music, painting, arts & crafts, the same principles apply. For this example, we are taking a choral workshop. The steps to take are these.
Define your objectives.
This could be
Do you plan to make a profit, a loss or break-even?
No one person can put together the whole event so form a small committee comprising the following.
1. A Secretary/Administrator. Must ...
2. On-the-day Co-ordinator. Must ...
3. Publicity manager. Must ...
4. Treasurer. Must ...
You now have a Committee so what’s next?
Who is going to conduct the workshop?
Where will it be held?
Will refreshments be served and should arrangements be made to eat packed lunches?
Provide an adequate number of rooms for sectional rehearsals.
Will local alcohol or entertainment licenses be required?
Write a simple contract. The venue will possibly ask you to sign theirs.
5. The repertoire.
Will you provide scores? If so, source well in advance. The popular works are always on demand from the libraries and you might have to book 12 months ahead. Will you make scores available to participants before the event? If so then make arrangements for hire charges, deposits and delivery and return. It is usually a good idea to give singers the chance to prepare in advance.
6. Communications and publicity.
Remember that printing takes time and that is the last stage after design and artwork. Also be aware that some copy dates for publications will be three months in advance of the publication date. Also check the cover date against the publication date. Some magazines will appear at the end of the month, others will have a publication date which is possibly two months in advance of the cover date.
Publicise your forthcoming events on the day and hand out your corporate brochure.
7. Day of reckoning.
Recruiting new members
Simply to increase the numbers is rarely a good answer because you might end up with people who are unsuitable for your group.
Recruiting new members.
The principles of recruitment apply to all groups although what follows refers mainly to choirs.
Why do you want to recruit new members? Simply to increase the numbers is rarely a good answer because you might end up with people who are unsuitable for your group.
Do you need them to boost your financial income? This does not necessarily mean that you need performers but rather, sponsors, friends, patrons and audience.
Do you need to increase the number of singers? Define the target for the total size of your choir. This is very important because you don't want to attract more performers than you need. For example, if you need to fill a vacancy in a string quartet , two applicants would make you into a quintet which is probably what you don't want!
Write down what you are now and what you want to be - and by when. For example,
Decide your NEEDS.
Make a list of what you offer.
Does the applicant meet your requirements? Now imagine that you are the Senior Buyer! Does the applicant measure up with the following?
Who decides an applicant's suitability?
What do you do with all those new singers queuing at you door?
VERY important is to have an 'exit strategy'. If you don't like new or existing performers, decide a process for getting rid of them.
When should you start recruitment?
Firstly, you should work towards establishing and maintaining a presence. In other words, you must promote your CORPORATE IDENTITY. People must be told who you are. This includes potential audiences, prospective members, your local community but don't forget your primary audience; your members. Don't just do this when you are advertising a performance.
Secondly, you should define a policy for recruiting. Only then can you consider how to to advertise what you have to offer.
What methods should you use to recruit new members?
Here are some of the methods you should consider.
1. A Workshop open to all-comers. This is fine provided people come! Remember that you are asking them to pay for entry which can be considerable. They might have other costs such as travel and food. This means that you are limiting your appeal to those who can afford it. This might not be where potential members lie. You are also asking people to devote a whole day of their time.
Where will you find new members?
When is the best time to recruit?
Advertising and Public Relations
Make sure you are listed on these web-sites
Finally, here is a bit of advice to all choir members from Robin Osterley, formerly Chief Executive of Making Music. "How about getting every single member of our societies to declare that they will never in any circumstances utter the dreaded words 'YOU CAN'T SIT THERE.....' ?"
Do you need Insurance?
Suppose somebody has an accident. Would you want to be personally liable?
If you organise events or rehearsals you will almost certainly need Public Liability Insurance to protect your members and the general public. Do not assume that the venue owner has insurance to meet public and employers’ liability, trustee indemnity, event cancellation, damage to property and loss of money. PLI is not yet a legal requirement for voluntary groups but it might be compulsory if you are a Registered Charity. Check with the Charity Commissioners.
Imagine somebody claiming to have been poisoned by your refreshments.
Concert Check List
Have you remembered everything or worse still, have you forgotten anything?
Here is an Event Check Sheet. It is called that because not everything is a concert. For example a Come and Sing Day or Scratch Concert or a Workshop need just as much planning. After the initial planning comes the detail. Most important is to use this to evaluate the success of you gig.