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How Should We Fund Resources For Our Leader?


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Hi, I'm pondering the issue of how we fund resources and whether we can improve this (I'm chair).

 

At the moment, we have given our leader the go ahead to buy anything up to £50 without asking, and to check with the committee if it's more than that. For instance, we're just looking into investing in a laptop for the setting.

 

It occurs to me, though, that we're encouraging her to buy lots of little things, rather than to think longer term. Also, I think it smacks a bit of her having to 'ask permission' when really it should be her telling us what is needed. My idea was that if we gave her a budget for each term, she could spend what she needed and then save up for bigger items over the year. That way we put the responsibility in her hands, and we know how much will be spent in total.

 

What does everyone do?

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Our leader has a £10 limit without putting it to the committee. Any big items are bought with their consent, especially the treasurers or fund raised for seperatly. They do have a list of things they would like to have but day to day esentials take precedence and these come out of a termly budget of around £50.

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I think with a committee run group it's important that they keep a reasonably tight rein over the expenses. Several items up to £50 could add up to quite a lot of money, and if times are lean then you won't necessarily have the money to cover these outgoings. When I was playleader I could buy essential items such as stationary and arts and crafts resources. Also smaller items providing they were relatively inexpensive and within reason! However, everything else had to be put to the committee first.

 

The important thing is that whatever items you do spend money on are worth it. This should be decided upon, not on a whim (i.e. Oh look, don't they look nice, lets get some for playgroup!) but after careful consideration. I would think about what resources I might already have and whether there are obvious gaps in the provision, the cost, the practicality of it (storage and how easy to get out and use), the usefulness and learning opportunities (some resources are very limited so end up getting little use but may cost an awful lot of money!) and how durable they are. Some things are just not made for continuous use by a lot of children and end up breaking quite quickly. If staff have considered all those things and decided they really do need a particular thing, then this should be supported by the committee and a decision whether you have the money immediately or need to find a way of raising the money can then be made. During my time at playgroup we applied for several grants from various sources and were quite successful in obtaining the money needed without having to dip into our own funds. :o

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This should be decided upon, not on a whim (i.e. Oh look, don't they look nice, lets get some for playgroup!) but after careful consideration.

So that's where I've been going wrong then Beau! :( I'm fortunate in that I don't have a committee to worry about, so if I want to buy something I can. And often do... :o

 

However I think Beau's advice is good as always - the committee is in charge of making sure the group is financially viable and if there is no ceiling on the number of times your leader can spend £50 you could soon find yourselves wondering where all the money has gone! If you gave her a budget to spend as she wishes there would be nothing stopping her from buying all manner of unsuitable things.

 

This might sound harsh but you need to come up with some kind of procedure which doesn't rely on trust to work effectively - don't think about personalities but consider what the job functions are and what responsibilties each person has. I think it is fine for supervisors to be able to buy the everyday essentials the group needs like sand or paper etc, but for anything larger I think the committee need to be involved in making the decision, for all the reasons Beau gives. A budget sounds like a good idea - but does your leader actually have the time to monitor it and report back to the committee on what she is spending it on?

 

I hear what you say about it seeming as if the supervisor has to ask for permission to buy things, but in a way that's how it should be - the committee would be responsible for any debts that are incurred and may not be happy to delegate authority in this way.

 

Good luck with getting it sorted - you do seem to be getting stuck in and are working hard to get sorted. You're very proactive and its great to hear something positive about committees on here. Is your halo shining particularly brightly today? xD

 

Maz

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we had a weekly float for incidentals... which included food, drinks etc, occasional buys, sand weekly materials etc. Ours was £30.00 per week but often only a little was spent, others more.

 

Larger or equipment was suggested to the committee by the leader.. usually in consultation with the rest of the staff. If a bargain was found leader caould would ask the treasurer who would often give Ok for larger items which I could then buy, sometimes it was paint paper etc, others equipment we needed like new book case or easel being 2 I remember asking for. But it helps being fully aware of the accounts, know where they stood, and could ask for items if we could afford them.

 

We also had the inevitable wish list... and committee would often buy an item from that when we had funds.

 

Think it is a case of staff being able to ask and make the suggestions and wants while committe decide if it is affordable.

 

Perhaps a little extra lea way for when she finds bargains, I often bought book bargains or others when I found them knowing they would be refunded.

 

Inge

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Thanks for everyone's replies which are really helpful.

 

The thing that I thought was that actually having a clear budget might mean she spends less, or she spends in a more targetted way, if that makes sense? In a secondary school (I'm an ex secondary teacher), each department would have a budget and they would need to work out what should go into what area.

 

So, at the start of the year you'd look at which areas needed a bigger spend, and be able to invest in larger items.

 

Anyway, thanks again for the input on this, I will keep pondering.

 

I know it's not the same for everyone, but our pre-school seems to be very good at raising money and hoarding it (good I know for our long term future) and not so good at investing it!

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If there is money available, I would ask her if there was an area of the setting she feels needs developing, or would benefit from developing, give her a suggested mount to spend and then ask her and the team to come back with the suggestions, In this way staff have input and committee can approve the amount.

 

In this way all will have some input into developing the setting, Dare I say it could come from the dreaded SEF which could highlight areas which need developing.

 

The setting i just left has doen this, and so far ahd a revamp of role play area, music, and more ways fro childrens self selection of toys. I had done the painting area, book corner , mark making and quiet area before I left.

 

Inge

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i think inge has the right idea - encourage her to look at each area and think how she could develop it - and how much it would cost - you could that way redevelop the whole room over a period of time.

input from th rest of the staff is helpful as they might see/think of things that the lead doesnt.

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I am from a committee run group and I would be very happy if the committee gave me a termly budget to buy resources from. I would explain that it is not a spending target but a way of ensuring money is spent appropriately. That way the leader could be informed about the state of the finances of the group by letting her know how much is available for resources and she could be encouraged to consider the longer term spending plans too. Actually looking back it is almost exactly the reasons you are thinking of introducing the budget! Perhaps explain it like you did in your original post and see what she thinks!

 

If it was me I would expect to get the termly budget and then would look at what resources might need replacing/renewing for the coming term ie is the paint running out, etc and then draw up a list of items I felt were needed. If resource levels were good it might be he asks to keep x amount aside for incidental items that might be needed to support developing childrens' interests as they arise, or to build up a pot of money to fund a longer term goal. I am a big believer also in spending fundraised money on the children whose parents helped to fundraise, where ever possible.

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Thanks for the additional thoughts.

 

I don't dare tell you how much they have in the reserve, okay we might sometimes be running at a very slight loss because of numbers, but I suspect that an investment in the setting would encourage more children to join us. As you say spend the money on the children of the parents who helped fundraise it!

 

We have identified that ICT needs investment, but our local authority apparently is about to pump some money into this, so we're not sure whether to proceed or wait.

 

We've also just spent some money on a new garden area.

 

Thanks,

Sue.

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I know of a few groups who lost out on ICT money because hard fundraised money was spent on it , and hence groups without it head more! seemed a bit unfair, same on grants for outside area development,

 

I would put aside money for the ICT with perhaps a action plan to say what you would do, this would also help to use or claim a grant for this, and then budget the rest for areas in need of development/ updating. Keeping of course enough for a redundancy fund.. In our setting with long term staff this amounted to quite a large reserve needed.

 

we too tried to spend so parents saw the money raised being used, as much as possible.

 

Inge

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We too make sure we have enough in a separate account to pay staff 3 months redundancy.

 

From September until Easter each year, not much is spent on resources only emergency items.

Then in the summer term when funding is at it's highest and we have done most of our fundraising for the academic year, all the staff take home a resource cataogue to make a wish list and it's then given to the committee for them to agree/disagree. We look at resources that may have broken and need replacing or popular resources that could be added to as our priority. We also ask parents for any suggestions of what they would like to see at playgroup.

Budgets given to the leader have varied with each Committee depending on how 'tighter rein' they like to have!

 

We also put a wish list on our newsletter asking for donations of cheaper items that parents may willingly put into their weekly shopping trolley - believe it or not it works!

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