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Recruiting new committee members


Angieblue
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Hi,

I have been manager of our Pre-school for 25 years this year. We have gone from a parish hall run playgroup to a very busy pre-school who 8 years ago were lucky enough to be invited to operate in a purpose built fabulous area onsite at our local main feeder school. We are very busy, however the cuts in our funding by our LA have really hit us hard and for a while this year I was unsure whether we would survive, but fingers crossed we may be okay.

Since I started many moons ago, we have had a committee. Over the last 10 years we have had the same chairperson and 4 committee members who for 8 of those years have been amazing and supportive and everything we would wish for. However, it has been evident over the last  2 years that their interest has waned, as their children have grown up and they have other interests, who can blame them? Meetings are only held if I badger them and I write minutes etc . We are struggling to recruit new members and especially a chair. I am quite concerned about our situation but also feel irritated by it as to why it should this be my responsibility to recruit a committee. Does anyone else have a problem with recruiting committee members and do you have any suggestions? 

Final query, is there an easier way to complete EY2 registration forms? One new committee member I pestered to join us has had great difficulty? 

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Hello Angieblue

 

Welcome!! I am in a very similar situation to you- started off as a committee member of the preschool I am now Manager of and have been for nearly 25 years.

We operate from an extremely large church hall but only have to pack away/unpack on a Friday & Monday. 5 years ago we extended on a Mon, Tues & Weds to all day and really thats what has kept us afloat.

Committee: 10 years ago we had 10/12 members- now I have 3! Chair (whose child left last Sept) Treasurer (whose 3rd child starts with us this Sept) and a Sec (whose child is leaving in July) We had the Chair and one parent turn up at last years AGM- I suspect the same will happen this year. They all work full time and really just lend their names to us. I now just email them anything I need them to 'legally' agree to and write up some minutes. I know we are operating illegally according to our constitution-  -but if we were to operate as we should then we would not be opening tomorrow. I'm sure we are not the only group to be operating like this - we had an Ofsted inspection last year and although she checked who our committee were and that they were known to them- she obviously didnt know what our constitution says. 

I dont really know what do about this situation, couple of years ago we threatened to close and that got us a few more committee- but ofsted made it so darned complicated to register committee with them- that I lost 3 -who gave up! 

Like you- I really dont see why it should be my responsibility to find and recruit new committee members- it annoys me greatly. I toyed with the idea of my Deputy and I becoming committee members - wont really make much difference as between us we do everything and make all the decisions anyway- but our constitution does not allow this and would need changing first. That in itself would be no mean feat and quite frankly I just dont have the energy to do it!

 I know we will have a Chair next year as my Treasurer will take over but as for the other roles- who knows.

Sorry- none of this is of any help to you is it 

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We now operate as a limited company registered as a not for profit charity. We therefore have trustees not committee and the way we operate with them is slightly different and therefore seems to have helped

Firstly we have a chair and  deputy and a secretary to take notes on the meetings...we can operate legally on this alone and one of them could be a member of staff (although we do have more)

secondly their liability is greatly reduced  (to £5 each in our case!)

Thirdly we hold a meeting once a term as they are they to discuss the strategic planning for the group not the day to day stuff

Fourthly....I have changed my attitude to the business ...myself and my administrator run it ! I am the manager and it is my responsibility to sort things out and then I use the trustees as a back up if I need them they commit to do 2 years minimum and in return they get training in business /management and meetings in a practical way. As a trustee they can put this on their cv as they hold a position of responsibility etc and of course they are volunteering for a charity,,,,some companies now pay their staff to do this!!!!!

 

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Thank you both for your replies.

It is so frustrating, the EY2 form is complicated before you even start. I am quite sure Ofsted are aware of the issues we face but choose to ignore it. 

I have invited the chair in on Wednesday to have a heart to heart with her and ask her to sort these issues out for me before she leaves in July.  

To be honest, myself and my supervisor and deputy run the Pre-school completely without any support from anyone, I currently just ask the chair to meet with me and she writes our meetings up.

We also have held the last 3 AGM's with just myself, the chair and one other. I am happy to carry on as we are but I am worried that if Ofsted find out we will be RI, which is why I want to try and tighten things up.   

Another setting has also changed to a Limited Company but to be honest if we can't recruit Committee members we probably haven't a cat in hells chance of recruiting trustees. 

Thank you both again

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Sounds just like us, and yes like you it does worry me that one year Ofsted will realize we only have 2/3 committee and tell someone who cares (like CC). For some reason during the inspection before last the inspector said to me "so tell me, as well as yourself, who else is on your committee" I truly have no idea where she had got the idea that I was on the committee- I had never put that down anywhere but I glossed over that and named those that were and luckily they were all known to Ofsted. However that is my biggest concern at an inspection and again like you-I'm more than happy to carry on like this in fact I think my deputy and I do it rather well. We have a thriving group, large waiting list, are full for September and an extremely healthy bank balance but there is always that little niggling concern. 

We have thought about the Limited company but as you say- if we cannot recruit committee members, then really I dont know how we will recruit trustees.

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It's hard work! I feel for both the manager/staff and the parents that join the committee to be honest.

We are a limited company so our 'committee' are the trustees....but we still call ourselves a committee and meet once a term.

I am the chair currently and am standing down this year. I've been involved for 4 years and ready for the break. We do have 8 on our committee but it's only myself and the treasurer that do anything and I'm worn out with it all. Plus my children will both be at school and I need to get back to some paid work.

Worried about finding a replacement for myself as it's quite daunting once you realise what you are responsible for but I'll do my best and if I can't I'll try not to feel guilty or guilt tripped to stay on board.

I'd like to think I work well with our manager as a team. She runs the setting and knows I'm there if needed. Staff know reporting procedures and even though we have had a few niggles it's not been a total disaster. I got through an Ofsted :-)

EY2s a total pain. I've put our issues on the other thread . I'm sick of the problems with them and we will lose members over it!. They just don't realise how difficult they make things for both settings and trustees.

Sending you lots of luck

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I'm in a similar situation.  I've been the chair since 2014, but have been trying to step down since last year.  There's only 4 of us, so we are operating against our constitution, I am planning on adding the manager and deputy to the committee at the next meeting, but then our parents with children only number 2, so we're still not operating within the rules!

The LA have said I can't step down unless I have a replacement and have suggested changing to a CIO, but as others have said we just can't get members.  So i'm really looking for alternatives?  Is there any - can we change to a business, but keep the charity status without the need to keep trying to find parents who aren't interested?  Or have the manager and deputy running things without needing to have a committee?

We are due an inspection any day, so am concerned that the committee side of things will potentially give us a RI which isn't fair on the playgroup as a whole.

With regard to the EY2's, it was such a pain with people ticking the wrong things and it getting stuck in the system, I wrote an idiots guide to completing it to give to new committee members, to be honest it didn't make much difference , so I ended up going in and sitting there with them and doing it o.O

Thanks.

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3 hours ago, minsterplaygroup said:

The LA have said I can't step down unless I have a replacement

Somebody on here may be far better qualified to comment on this BUT I would say that to the best of my knowledge this is utter rubbish.  Committee members can step down whenever they chose. It is a voluntary role and a unpaid one at that!   It might be a a major inconvenience and upsetting for the playgroup but you do not have to be blackmailed into staying!!  I am really shocked to read this.  No wonder we all have issues recruiting.....

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I can really agree and sympathise with so many of you, I do feel a sense of relief though that we aren't the only ones running this way.

We are a small setting of 2 members of staff and basically scrape by with a committee each year but it honestly is getting harder and harder and the only way I can get them to come on board is basically in name only.  We've had our constitution changed to just 3 members (chair, secretary and treasurer).  My "husband" is the treasurer (me) and I really do all the roles.  I don't panic so much about committee meetings and minutes of meetings (nobody has EVER asked to see them.....) because everyone is busy and can't make many meetings.  Like Lynned55 we used to have about 15 comm members, those days are long gone.  Personally, I think since parents have stopped paying they just don't seemed to care.  In the old days, pre-funding, parents wanted to be involved, they wanted to know what was going on.  Sadly, year on year they are using us more as a drop off point to get to the gym, costa etc.  Sad, but true in my experience.

Like you all, I always worry about "breaking the rules" but at Ofsted inspections I've only ever been asked to show a Committee Single Central Record.  They have never asked me about the inner runnings of the committee/meetings etc.  PSLA certainly never ask anything.  So I keep on running everything the same, doing everything, never reaching the end of the to-do list, and praying that I get to retirement (sadly, still a very long way off ha ha!) before it all goes wrong and someone asks for the minutes of a meeting held in 1987.......

 

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If you are a registered charity you will need trustees/directors (but you might only need a couple!!)

If anyone is having issues and is in the vicinity of Windsor and maidenhead I would be happy to stand as a member of a committee/trustee! …..

perhaps we could all support each other and offer help to other setting...creating centres of excellence between us:)

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15 hours ago, finleysmaid said:

If you are a registered charity you will need trustees/directors (but you might only need a couple!!)

If anyone is having issues and is in the vicinity of Windsor and maidenhead I would be happy to stand as a member of a committee/trustee! …..

perhaps we could all support each other and offer help to other setting...creating centres of excellence between us:)

You're such a hero! What a great idea!

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17 hours ago, finleysmaid said:

If you are a registered charity you will need trustees/directors (but you might only need a couple!!)

If anyone is having issues and is in the vicinity of Windsor and maidenhead I would be happy to stand as a member of a committee/trustee! …..

perhaps we could all support each other and offer help to other setting...creating centres of excellence between us:)

What a lovely gesture, thank you.  Would you consider relocating?! :D

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On 09/05/2019 at 17:21, finleysmaid said:

If you are a registered charity you will need trustees/directors (but you might only need a couple!!)

If anyone is having issues and is in the vicinity of Windsor and maidenhead I would be happy to stand as a member of a committee/trustee! …..

perhaps we could all support each other and offer help to other setting...creating centres of excellence between us:)

Would you fancy a move to beautiful Cornwall?!😉

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1 hour ago, zigzag said:

Would you fancy a move to beautiful Cornwall?!😉

Always!:D

I have friends who run a company and are always down there I envy them ! You're very lucky:D Having been brought up in guernsey I long for a view of the sea and i'm about as far away as you can get now:( 

You should all stop tempting me...I have wanderlust at the moment:(

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On 10/05/2019 at 19:42, finleysmaid said:

Always!:D

I have friends who run a company and are always down there I envy them ! You're very lucky:D Having been brought up in guernsey I long for a view of the sea and i'm about as far away as you can get now:( 

You should all stop tempting me...I have wanderlust at the moment:(

Would these pictures from today tempt you? 😉

9791F93B-BB42-4A6B-B259-862A4B572312.jpeg

F2160AC0-82D0-4F33-870D-CE7D843F24E0.jpeg

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On 01/05/2019 at 19:43, lynned55 said:

the inspector said to me "so tell me, as well as yourself, who else is on your committee" I truly have no idea where she had got the idea that I was on the committee- I had never put that down anywhere but I glossed over that and named those that were and luckily they were all known to Ofsted.

When all this having to be on the committee to be the NP I phoned Ofsted to ask what I had to do to stay as NP and was told nothing as you are already a committee member ....OK i’ll take that

I’ve also been Manager for 25+ yrs and do all committee roles, Chairs come and go but I’ve been lucky enough to name the treasures i’ve worked with on one hand but my latest of 6 yrs is about to finish and I do not see any replacement on the horizon :-( 

I have 7 members at the moment which is a good number (we also have a few ‘friends of the committee who can be called on to help out at fundraisers but don’t want to get involved with the whole committee thing), we had 15 once and that was a hopeless situation, half would turn up to one meeting then the other half to the next and far too many different opinions.

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13 hours ago, zigzag said:

Would these pictures from today tempt you? 😉

9791F93B-BB42-4A6B-B259-862A4B572312.jpeg

F2160AC0-82D0-4F33-870D-CE7D843F24E0.jpeg

I am desperately hiding these photos from Finley and Digby or I will be dragged to the beach asap.....both are somewhat fond of the beach!!!! unfortunately Digby had decided that when he goes he must bark LOUDLY for the WHOLE walk. so you may not want us as it will disturb the peace!

Have always wanted to take the dogs on a barge holiday but my daughter is sure they would jump out! I love the look out pose, nothing better than wind in your ears:D

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎27‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 09:13, finleysmaid said:

We now operate as a limited company registered as a not for profit charity. We therefore have trustees not committee and the way we operate with them is slightly different and therefore seems to have helped

Firstly we have a chair and  deputy and a secretary to take notes on the meetings...we can operate legally on this alone and one of them could be a member of staff (although we do have more)

secondly their liability is greatly reduced  (to £5 each in our case!)

Thirdly we hold a meeting once a term as they are they to discuss the strategic planning for the group not the day to day stuff

Fourthly....I have changed my attitude to the business ...myself and my administrator run it ! I am the manager and it is my responsibility to sort things out and then I use the trustees as a back up if I need them they commit to do 2 years minimum and in return they get training in business /management and meetings in a practical way. As a trustee they can put this on their cv as they hold a position of responsibility etc and of course they are volunteering for a charity,,,,some companies now pay their staff to do this!!!!!

 

Hi, we are already a registered charity pre school and currently operate as a parent committee run in theory lol, but in practice it is myself and our early years manager that manages all the day to day running, planning etc...am interested really in how you changed to a limited company but still registered as a not for profit charity, was it an easy process to do and how do you go about changing as this could be something we would be interested in doing if it reduces our need for parent committee members lol.  Thanks

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20 hours ago, ladybirds1991 said:

Hi, we are already a registered charity pre school and currently operate as a parent committee run in theory lol, but in practice it is myself and our early years manager that manages all the day to day running, planning etc...am interested really in how you changed to a limited company but still registered as a not for profit charity, was it an easy process to do and how do you go about changing as this could be something we would be interested in doing if it reduces our need for parent committee members lol.  Thanks

You need to register with companies house and the trustees/directors need to do some money laundering checks. Ofsted also need to be informed. We actually did this through our accountant as we were dealing with a new lease etc at the same time. I suspect the info is on the companies house website.

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Our manager and staff run the setting. The committee couldn't do it as we wouldn't have a clue! I do try and offer support where needed though and meet regularly to discuss anything that needs addressing.

Even though we are a Limited Company (by guarantee) we also report to rhe charity commison and run to a PLA constitution that states we must operate with a committee who are the companies director's/trustees.

So we are named as Directors with Companies House and Trustees with Charity Commission. We need 5 members minimum to include the chair/secretary/treasurer. This could reduce to 3 if it got desperate.

 

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10 hours ago, C1403 said:

Our manager and staff run the setting. The committee couldn't do it as we wouldn't have a clue! I do try and offer support where needed though and meet regularly to discuss anything that needs addressing.

Even though we are a Limited Company (by guarantee) we also report to rhe charity commison and run to a PLA constitution that states we must operate with a committee who are the companies director's/trustees.

So we are named as Directors with Companies House and Trustees with Charity Commission. We need 5 members minimum to include the chair/secretary/treasurer. This could reduce to 3 if it got desperate.

 

you don't need to run to the PSLA constitution once you become a limited company. You do need to set up a set of 'articles ' which is a less onerous set of guidelines as to how the company works. You could choose to use the constitution if you would like to ...but why would you! Your directors role is a 'higher' level than your trustees role. You set your own minimum amount of people but there are recommendations. (we are also set up the same...we are not for profit, charitable ltd company )

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On 29/05/2019 at 08:13, finleysmaid said:

you don't need to run to the PSLA constitution once you become a limited company. You do need to set up a set of 'articles ' which is a less onerous set of guidelines as to how the company works. You could choose to use the constitution if you would like to ...but why would you! Your directors role is a 'higher' level than your trustees role. You set your own minimum amount of people but there are recommendations. (we are also set up the same...we are not for profit, charitable ltd company )

Interesting!. Our articles are the PLA constitution. I didn't realise we could have our own 'version'. The company became LTD in 2008 so obviously we've just inherited whatever was set up.

My time as chair is coming to an end so I don't think it's something I can deal with or handle right now. But whoever does take over I can advise them.

I assume CH and CC need to agree to the change of articles. However what about the PLA? Do they insist on theirs being used if you're a member.

Out of interest what do your articles stipulate if you're set up the same way?

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Thanks. How would we even go about setting up our own articles? 

I feel this may be too much headache for me after a difficult few years. But if I can leave with some info to pass on I'd be happy with that.

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On 05/06/2019 at 19:27, finleysmaid said:

i'll go and check the info I have ..sorry in the office stuff!

Thanks. Don't go to too much effort. Just wondering really how we could make things a little easier. 

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