Advice for Group Conveners

  Setting up a group
 
Each group has a convener who is largely free to run the group as they wish, within the principles of the u3a and any local CEDu3a guidance
 
  A joint group with other u3as may be set up if, for example, a group is otherwise not viable. The specific approval of each u3a’s Committee is required
 
  There are no fixed terms. A group decides what breaks it wants for holidays
 
  The Group convener should maintain an up-to-date email address group list, preferably using the Beacon members management system

  The purpose of the list is to inform and remind group members of the dates, times and venues (if relevant) of group meetings or organised events
 
  Group meetings

The convener should:
 
  confirm that new recruits are paid-up CEDu3a members by asking to see proof of membership
 
  allow a CEDu3a member to come to only one meeting without proof of membership. If a membership has not been renewed, there is a 2-month grace period during which the member is still covered by the u3a insurance
 
  keep a register of attendance, in case of an insurance claim
 
  record any incidents & report them to the CEDu3a secretary (secretary@cedu3a.org.uk)
 
▷ Download the incident report form
 
  ensure that any walk or similar event is reconnoitred in advance and risks assessed
 
  on outings or walks be aware of members’ health and capabilities
 
  maintain a list of contact numbers of all participants
 
  ensure that the information on the Group page of the CEDu3a website is timely and regularly reviewed and updated
 
  reserve the right to remove members from the group if they fail to attend meetings on a regular basis, particularly when there is a waiting list
 
  Risk assessment
 
The convener should undertake a risk assessment which takes into account current government guidance on COVID-19. The National u3a and CEDu3a have devised a number of downloadable risk assessment templates appropriate to the various group activities
 
▷ u3a general risk assessment checklist
▷ u3a general outdoor risk assessment checklist
▷ CEDu3a risk assessment checklist for meetings in members’ homes
▷ u3a risk assessment checklist for workshop activities
▷ CEDu3a walk leader risk assessment checklist
 
  Data protection
 
The convener should:
 
  ensure that members personal data should only be used for CEDu3a purposes, and should not be disclosed to third parties unless permission has been sought and given
 
  send group emails using the blind copy (bcc) feature
 
  seek permission to publish photographs of members on any page of the CEDu3a website
 
  ensure that any photographs published on the CEDu3a website do not infringe copyright law
 
  Insurance
 
CEDu3a activities are fully insured
 
  A non-member who teaches a group must have public liability insurance
 
  Car sharing : the driver’s own insurance ought and should cover this (i.e. it’s normally covered in one’s comprehensive car insurance). CEDu3a’s public liability insurance does not cover it.
 
  Payments and expenses
 
It is CEDu3a policy not to employ external tutors for groups unless there are special circumstances
 
  Where required the convener may claim set-up costs of £50.00 (to be agreed in advance by the Groups’ Co-ordinator, and running costs of up to £75.00 annually to include
 
  There is provision for employing /paying external tutors (professional coaches, experts, trainers) for groups under special circumstances only.
 
  The convener must ensure that they obtain documentary evidence from any tutors, etc. of public liability insurance and that they are registered with HMRC as self-employed and receipts obtained for any purchases
 
  Expenses incurred by groups, e.g. hiring play scripts. reimbursement for travelling expenses (additional costs after using Freedom Pass and Senior Rail Card), undertaken for walking and other groups for the purposes of recces
 
  All such expenditure must agreed by the Groups’ Co-ordinator before costs are incurred
 
  Zoom. Zoom’s 45 minute limited basic account is free. Reimbursement for the cost of a Zoom Monthly Pro Account must be agreed in advance by the Group Co-ordinator.
 
  All approved expenditure, invoices and receipts should be submitted via the Treasurer.
 
  ‘Consumable’ materials that individual members use or ‘own’ on a personal basis such as pencils, paper, fabric for crafts are not eligible for refunds
 
  Expenditure outside these guidelines may be considered on request by the Executive Committee
 
  The convener is entitled to accept a recommended donation of 50p per member for refreshments offered in their home
 
  Room hire
 
The general principle is that group meetings should usually take place in members’ homes
 
  Circumstances may however dictate that some groups need to meet in an external venue, for example for sport and some other activities where specialist facilities are required or where space, ease of access and other considerations limit use of members’ homes
 
  Approval for ‘one off’ or regular meetings in external venues should be sought from the Groups Coordinator
 
  Bookings are made directly with the venue and invoices submitted via the Treasurer
 
  A list of external venues used by groups is available here. Expect to pay £10-£20 per hour.
 
  Beacon
 
CEDu3a uses Beacon, the u3a movement’s integrated membership, groups, finance and mailing system, and strongly recommends that the convener uses its group functions.
 
▷ How to use Beacon
 
  Problems
 
The convener is advised to discuss any problems with the CEDu3a Groups Organiser. As in any body of people, there may be disagreements and questionable behaviour. This may involve managing and following up difficult or inappropriate contributions or comments. This can be difficult, especially if they are made a group that invites controversy (like current affairs). Establish ground rules, be aware of potential strains as soon as they arise, and try to deflect them. In addition the CEDu3a has a grievance procedure.

  Support
 
Support tasks within our Groups Team are shared between Groups Organiser John Hemingway and Groups Co-ordinator Diana Pavey. These include finding conveners for and establishing new groups, and providing support for existing groups.
 
▷ Find out more about Support

Updated February 2022