Our Safeguarding Officer’s contact details can be found in the Members’ Section
The Gwent Bach Choir (GBC) is a Registered Charity, composed of between 60 and 80 volunteer choir members. Officers and Committee Members are elected and others co-opted to serve on the committee as required. Rehearsals are run by our self-employed Musical Director or a substitute on occasion, with a self-employed accompanist. From time to time the Choir organises events such as concerts, choral workshops and social events for members and their partners.
The GBC does not promote itself as an activity suitable for children or adults at risk and the current requirement is that members are at least 18. Most choir members are independent adults and it is only rarely that an adult at risk joins, rehearses and performs with us. We do acknowledge that occasionally some existing members may become frail through age, illness or accident and continue to sing with us. Choir rehearsals and performances are group activities, and there is no requirement for a member of the choir to be alone with another member of any age. The Choir is aware that children and adults at risk may attend their concerts as members of the audience, or attend social functions hosted by the Choir and it is the responsibility of the parent, guardian or carer to ensure adequate supervision. However The GBC recognises the need to safeguard any vulnerable members or people attending concerts and the Committee has therefore agreed the following Safeguarding Policy.
The GBC believes that a child or adult at risk should never experience abuse of any kind and is committed to safeguarding the well-being of all involved with the Choir and protect them from harm. It recognises that it is not our role to decide whether or not a person has been abused, but it is our responsibility to report any complaints to the appropriate external agency.
In developing this policy, The GBC has taken input from the national amateur music performance association Making Music and the NSPCC.
This policy applies to all members, volunteers and self-employed persons taking part in GBC activities.
The purpose of this policy is to provide members, volunteers and self-employed persons with the overarching principles that guide our approach to the protection of all vulnerable people.
This policy recognises vulnerable people as:
- Children up to the age of 16 or young people aged 16-18.
- Adults aged over 18 at risk as defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. This policy also recognises risk is determined by the activity an adult is taking part in and not solely on the personal characteristics or circumstances of the adult; as such any adult can be at risk, and the risk can be temporary.
The involvement of the Choir with vulnerable people might include, but is not limited to:
- Members of the group who attend rehearsals and concerts
- Relatives and friends of members who attend concerts in a volunteering capacity
- Relatives and friends of members who attend social events
- Audience members at public concerts
This policy aims to:
- Protect children, young people and adults at risk who are members of or are attending events organised by The Gwent Bach Choir.
- Ensure that safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk is a primary consideration when The Gwent Bach Choir undertakes any activity, event or project.
Designated Safeguarding Person
There shall be a designated safeguarding person who is DBS checked to whom all queries and concerns regarding safeguarding should be referred. The person is also expected to keep a permanent confidential record of all concerns raised. They shall ensure that the safeguarding policy is published on the choir website and that it is drawn to the attention of members at the beginning of each season.
There is currently no requirement for a DBS check on members, volunteers or self-employed persons involved with the choir. The reason being that membership is open to adults only and there is no requirement for one-to-one activities.
The requirement or not for DBS checks will be reviewed on an annual basis with the Safeguarding Policy.
Procedures for raising safeguarding concerns and incidents of abuse
Choir members are expected to speak to the designated person if they see or hear anything that they feel could be putting another member or person involved with the Choir at risk. If the designated person is not available, the Chairman should be approached. If anyone is made aware of an issue they should
- Sensitively inform the person involved that they cannot keep the issue a secret but that this matter will be disclosed only to those who need to know about it.
- Listen carefully.
- Avoid asking leading or closed questions.
- Write down what has been said, as far as possible in the words used by the person involved with date and time and any names mentioned.
- Tell the person what they are going to do next (in the first instance, report the matter to the Designated Person for safeguarding)
Procedures for dealing with concerns and incidents of abuse
The designated person (or person reported to in their absence) will first make a decision based on the immediacy of the concern and the following factors:
- If the vulnerable person is in immediate danger or needs emergency medical attention – call the police and/or ambulance service.
- If the person at the centre of the allegation is working with vulnerable persons at the current time – remove them, in a sensitive manner, from direct contact with vulnerable people and follow the procedures below.
If neither of the above applies the named person will:
- Make a note of the concerns reported to them.
- Speak with committee members, excluding any who are involved in the incident, to decide how to handle the reported abuse.
- Escalate the report by either raising concerns with the police or local authority social care department or carrying out an internal investigation.
- Where cases are escalated the committee will cooperate with the police or local authority in dealing with the reported incident.
Where an internal investigation takes place the committee will:
- Inform all parties involved of the reported abuse as soon as possible.
- Inform the family/guardians of the person reported as having been abused, of the incident.
- Arrange separate meetings with both parties within 10 days of the reported incident. A joint meeting may be arranged if appropriate.
- Both parties should be given the chance to bring a friend or representative to the meeting.
- Meetings will be attended by the named safeguarding officer and at least one other committee member.
- All parties will also be invited to submit a written statement in advance of the meeting.
- Once meetings have taken place the committee will decide on next steps and communicate them to all parties in writing within 5 days. The next step will be either:
- Escalate the incident to the relevant authority.
- Further investigation – with established procedures and timelines to work towards a resolution.
- A decision or resolution.
Any person having a complaint with either the raising of or dealing with concerns should convey their complaint, in writing, to the Chair of the Committee as soon as possible.
The Officers and Committee will review the policy annually.
Accepted by committee, 14 March 2023.
FIRE PROCEDURE FOR REHEARSALS
- If you discover a fire, sound the nearest alarm button by breaking the glass point. Glass points are situated near exit doors.
- Leave the premises by the nearest fire exit. In the Priory room, the fire exits are the double doors.
- The Musical Director to ensure that the fire doors to outside are opened and cleared.
- Assemble in choir sections (sops., altos, etc.) in the car park.
- Section reps take a roll call.
- Section reps to confirm to the Chairperson or, in their absence, Secretary or Treasurer, that all members are evacuated safely.
- Do not endanger yourself or others by stopping to gather personal possessions.
- If it is safe to do so, the three choir trustees should check that the rehearsal room, kitchen and toilets have all been vacated.
- The tea ladies should call the fire brigade on 999.
- Only use a fire extinguisher if the exit is blocked by fire, and in that case, read the brief instructions first. It is permissible to use a fire extinguisher without training only in these circumstances.
DO NOT attempt to fight the fire unless you have had specific training in the use of fire extinguishers and it is safe to do so.
ENSURE YOU FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE AS IT COULD SAVE LIVES, INCLUDING YOURS.
Health and Safety
Introduction and Scope
Gwent Bach Choir is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for all those involved in the activities it organises and is informed by the health and safety regulations 1993, amended 2002.
- This includes but is not limited to; members, staff (including freelance), volunteers and members of the public.
- This includes but is not limited to; rehearsals, performances and fundraising events.
- Overall responsibility for health and safety sits with the Committee of the Gwent Bach Choir
Statements of general policy
Gwent Bach Choir will seek to prevent accidents and cases of ill-health by managing the health and safety at events and activities it organises.
Actions to be taken: relevant risk assessments to be completed for events and activities. Where regular venues are used the risk assessment will be reviewed by the committee on an annual basis or sooner if required.
- Gwent Bach Choir will provide clear instructions to ensure that all those connected with the choir are able to do their work in a healthy and safe manner.
Actions to be taken: tasks performed by members, volunteers and self-employed contractors to be risk assessed and appropriate instruction to be provided. Volunteers should self select as capable and advised to read the risk assessment and any links highlighted in that.
Members are encouraged to stay away from rehearsals if they are unwell.
The Committee will review health and safety policy annually and ensure the most recent policy is published on the website. Section reps must know the choir’s health and safety policies and procedures.
Actions to be taken: members, volunteers and self-employed contactors to be reminded at the AGM about the health and safety risk assessment and directed to the website, where it is displayed.
Any concerns about health and safety should be addressed to the committee, who will investigate the complaint and take appropriate action.
- Gwent Bach Choir will implement emergency procedures – evacuation in case of fire or other significant incident.
Actions to be taken: ensure at least one individual is responsible for knowing fire procedures for hired venues and for communicating them to those present. A laminated copy of fire instructions will be displayed at every rehearsal.
Gwent Bach Choir will maintain safe and healthy conditions for the safe storage of equipment.
Actions to be taken: ensure satisfactory health and safety conditions at hired venues and for hired equipment. Ensure that any equipment owned by the Choir will be stored safely.
The stage manager to assume responsibility for health and safety.
- The Choir will ensure they are aware of First Aid procedures, kits and equipment at hired venues.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the committee of the Gwent Bach Choir.
Membership is open to adults over the age of 18 who have some musical experience, have been accepted by the committee and who pay their subs regularly and on time. Prospective members may attend a preliminary rehearsal to confirm their interest.
In order to sing in any concert, members must have attended at least 70% of rehearsals and undertaken considerable work at home learning the music. Acceptance to sing at a concert is at the discretion of the Musical Director.
The choir will accept a maximum of 80 members comprising up to 25 sopranos , 25 altos, 30 tenors and basses.
Prospective members will be invited to join a waiting list if any section is full and will be invited to join in order of application.
New members will be accepted to join the choir 3 times a year when rehearsals for the next concert begin, and will pay the appropriate subs for the remainder of the financial year. Once rehearsals are under way, no further new members will be accepted. The choir does not accept temporary members, with the exception of ‘bumps’ on the day of the concert.
Conflict of Interest
Gwent Bach Choir is committed to fairness and lack of bias in all its dealings.
All contracts for work or the provision of services within and for the benefit of the choir shall be based on merit alone after considering all tenders and applications. No contract shall be awarded without inviting other applications or considering other services available.
Where an applicant is related to or known to a committee member, that member shall not take part in relevant discussion nor vote on their appointment. Where an applicant is recommended by or known to a choir member, the committee must ensure that other options are also considered.
No choir member or their families may benefit personally from the provision of services to the choir, except in the form of appropriate remuneration for work done.
Wherever possible use the BACS system for payments.
If a cheque has to be used it must have 2 signatories. The three trustees are nominated signatories.
The Treasurer to inform the Committee of planned expenditure and obtain minuted approval before making significant one-off BACS payments.
The Treasurer can authorise
- payments of less than £100 against invoices for appropriate purchases.
- repeat payments for subscriptions, insurance etc
- regular payments for rehearsal costs
- transactions between current and deposit accounts
Transaction of more than £100 must be pre-approved by the committee.
The librarian should inform the committee of her intention to hire music and give a rough estimate of the cost in her report to the committee before the choir embarks on new music.
The Treasurer must keep the Committee informed about changes to regular and repeat payments.
The Treasurer must report to every Committee Meeting on the current position of the Choirs finances.
Cash should be banked regularly and not allowed to accumulate with any Member.
Receipts in the card reader account should be transferred to the choir’s current account within one month.
The financial software and electronic financial records shall be backed up regularly to USB storage kept securely by another trustee.
The Treasurer to maintain a full audit trail for financial transactions.
The financial accounts shall be audited or examined to the extent required by legislation or if there is no such requirement scrutinized by a person who is independent of the committee and then submitted to the members at the Annual General Meeting.
Copies of invoices, bank statements and any other relevant financial information must be retained for 6 years following the end of the current tax year.
There shall be at least one person other than the Treasurer able to operate the accounts if required by exceptional circumstances.
Committee members can claim reasonable expenses e.g. for printing, postage, gift cards etc.
Claims to be submitted to the Treasurer with invoices.
Expenses greater than £20 require prior approval from the Committee.
The choir shall keep a reserve of £20,000.
£10,000 which came originally from a legacy to the society where the annual income was to be applied to the hiring of professional musicians for concert performances. It is now incorporated into the unrestricted general purposes account.
£10,000 which is the average cost of a large concert.
Gwent Bach Choir collects and stores contact details and some financial information about members and others involved with the choir. This policy is to ensure that we do so in a safe way and that we comply with the General Data Protection Regulations…, as is required by law.
The choir collects and stores only relevant data for the purposes of
- keeping members and other interested people informed about rehearsals, concerts, news, social events and other items of interest.
- recording payment of subscriptions.
- publishing members’ names on concert programmes.
In addition, the choir’s website contains cookies which collect anonymous data for statistical purposes.
On occasion, photographs are taken and stored and may be displayed, all with the individual’s permission.
The committee of Gwent Bach Choir is responsible for data security and any queries may be directed to them.
- Members are asked to sign a consent form every year before their data is collected or stored.
- The committee ensures that all information is up to date.
- Electronic data is stored in password-protected files.
- Physical data is stored securely.
- No personal data is shared with outside bodies.
- All choir emails are sent BCC.
- No details will be shared with other members outside the committee without the member’s specific consent.
- If data storage devices are lost, stolen or disposed of unsafely, all members will be informed and asked to change their details as far as possible. Every effort will be made to avoid this happening.
- The committee will review all stored data every year, once signed membership forms have been received. Data stored will include that in physical form, on committee members’ computers, and in third party (“cloud”) services.
- Out of date data will be removed securely.
- In cases where there is a statutory requirement to retain data (e.g. for Gift Aid or in accounting and bank records or in the minutes of committee and trustee meetings or for tax and insurance), this requirement will be respected and security ensured.
- Members present should be informed before any photographs are taken, and given the option not to be included.