Leckwith Droves Allotments Association

Self Management Consultation

The allotment association is considering the possibility of our allotment site becoming fully self managed. The matter was discussed at the AGM held on Sunday 29 September. No decision has been taken and the committee would like to hear the opinions of all allotment holders before we proceed any further.

 

Please read the document below and let us know what you think.

 
Leckwith Droves Allotment Association

Potential for Allotment Site Self-Management 

Information for all Members & Plot Holders  

 

Annual General Meeting 11.30am Sunday 29th September 2019

Background: 

Leckwith Droves Allotment Association Committee has become aware of the opportunity to become a fully self-managed Allotment site. 

More information is set out below for your consideration and will also be posted on our Website www.leckwithdrovesallotments.co.uk and to the members of the Facebook Group Leckwith Droves Allotments Association. Paper copies will also be available at the AGM.

A notice will also be placed in the Allotment Noticeboard to remind everyone where they can find the information and how they can contribute views and comment. 

Top Five Things You Should Know: 

  1. No decision has been taken.

  2. No decision will be taken without full information and consultation with member and non-member plot holders across the whole Leckwith Allotment Site.

  3. No decision will be taken without full information being made available and being consulted upon, presented and discussed at an Annual General Meeting (AGM), or if necessary and appropriate, further Extraordinary Meetings (EGMs) will be convened.

  4. Activity to date has been and continues to be ‘fact finding’ and assessment of pros and cons.

  5. Research is ongoing as of the date of the AGM 29 September 2019.

 

How to contribute your views:  

The Committee invites the constructive input of Members and non-Member Plot Holders. 

We are especially interested to hear constructive comment, whether for or against, and to hear from anyone who may have previous experience of self-managed sites elsewhere. 

It would be very useful to receive your contributions to this first stage of consideration by Friday 25th October 2019.   

Committee Chair Carole-Anne Davies is at Plot 39 & 37A most weekends or email her at cadavies21@icloud.com Site Secretary Steve Watkeys and other Committee members are usually on site at weekends or you can send an email to the Committee on the subject of Self-Management at leckwithdroves@gmail.co.uk 

Other members of the Committee may be available at different times of the week and when the Shop is open and we will post details on the Noticeboard after the AGM.

We welcome your views and will continue to keep you informed. Please keep an eye on the site Noticeboard, Website and Facebook Group. Thank you. 

Self-Management Potential – the Story so far: 

As news of this possibility has emerged again after some years of local management, the Committee has been researching it and gathering information to better inform itself and its Members. Informal exploratory meetings and discussion with a representative of Cardiff Council have taken place on two evenings. In addition, and with the Council’s assistance, we have researched self-management sites elsewhere in the UK to learn as much as possible. 

So far, the Leckwith Droves Allotment Association Committee has:

  • Kept the item of the agenda for all its meetings for monitoring and updating while the concept is being researched. 

  • Formed a sub-committee to carry out exploratory work (SW, CAD, MY)

  • Three informal exploratory meetings have been held with Cardiff Council – one with a local Councillor and two with Jon Maidment. A third meeting with Jon Maidment is scheduled for October.

  • Research across the UK facilitated by Jon Maidment via their public sector best practice sharing network has provided us with useful examples of self-management models and template agreements which are short, succinct documents. 

  • The Committee Chair has reviewed the current Leckwith Droves Local Management Agreement dated and entered into 1 April 2016, along with a copy of the Association Constitution. 

 

In addition, the following should be considered:

Current Arrangements – Leckwith Droves Allotment Committee Responsibility (Locally-Managed, Level 3)         

Leckwith Droves Allotment currently operates on a Locally Managed Level 3 basis as defined by Cardiff Council. This requires a constituted Committee and formal agreements. 

It requires operating strictly as an allotment site and that there is no trade or any other business than Allotment Association business e.g seeds, tools etc to Members. Responsibility includes maintaining cultivated plots, being a good neighbor and the day to day running, letting and waiting list management. 

We must hold an Annual General Meeting, keep, prepare and make available annual accounts; hold sufficient funds to operate and maintain balanced bank accounts. 

The Committee has the opportunity every 2yrs to decide whether to withdraw from the agreement. Throughout the year the Committee Observes and Performs all obligations as scheduled in detailed agreements between themselves and Cardiff Council.  

The Association receives from Cardiff Council approximately 58% of rental income in one single payment, usually on 1 May each year. Any carry over funds must have written consent. Council officers must be afforded full access for inspection or carry out works at any time. Termination of agreement by either party requires 12months notice.

Cardiff Council can give 3months notice should land be required for any purpose; Incl. building etc. It can give 1months notice if it appears the Association has materially not observed obligations and conditions.

Leckwith Droves Allotment Association Constitution

The Leckwith Droves Allotment is formerly constituted, and the constitution is fit for current purpose. Should the decision be taken, following full consultation, to move to full self-management, the constitution will be reviewed and if necessary, updated to correspond to a new management agreement.   

An update to the Allotment Rules for plot holders accompanies the agreements and are regularly updated.

 

What is the difference between being Locally Managed and Self-Managed? 

The current arrangements carry a lot of constitutional, financial and site  responsibility. However, whilst the Association Committee deals with day to day responsibilities and administration, it is unable to make direct decisions. This is still done by Cardiff Council – for example, dealing with ‘Clear or Quit’ cases.  

If Leckwith Droves became self-managed, responsibility would increase further  as the Association would have land and lease responsibilities as well as decision making, that would be even greater than the current arrangement.

Committee members would therefore have a great deal more responsibility. 

What would be needed for self-management to work for Leckwith Droves Allotment Association? 

  • A minimum level of income from rents in will need to be agreed.

  • Currently, if nothing changes, the existing arrangement could continue for a further 6 years at 58% of rental income. 

  • Any new self-management arrangement would certainly not be lower and should reflect increased responsibility as well as any cost increases associated with operating the site properly. 

  • The Association will therefore seek a much higher financial percentage income. This would need to be agreed with Cardiff Council, if there is support for self-management. 

  • A level of control of plot allocation, cultivation, clear or quit mechanisms will need to be in the full scope of the Association for there to be greater benefits from self-management. 

  • More detailed and jointly agreed mutual termination/land related agreements will be necessary.

  • It is likely that a part-time role will be needed, paid for from the percentage income, to support and administrate site management in the longer term.

  • Succession and development plans for an effective Committee and other structures for the long term will need to be developed – put simply we will need more people to join the Committee and play their part in managing and improving the site. 

 

What have we learned so far?

  • That Cardiff Council views the Leckwith Droves Association as an important test or pilot project for self-managed sites.

  • That whilst there is no indication at this time, it is not impossible to imagine, due to budget reductions that other sites will eventually become self-managed. 

  • That if done correctly, self-management could allow the site to be enhanced more quickly to the benefit of all Members and plot holders.  

  • That the agreements needed are straightforward and less complex that we first anticipated. 

 

Why are we asking for the views of Members and Plot Holders? 

The Leckwith Droves Allotment Association Committee is focused on enhancing the site for all Members and plot holders in the interest of great, enjoyable gardening and growing. 

We are all part of the allotment community and the wider community of garden and growing enthusiasts in the city. Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to thoughts and plans for the future. 

We know that not everyone will agree all of the time, but we do strive to make sound decisions in a collective way, for the benefit of the whole site and for everyone who loves gardening at Leckwith Droves. 

We look forward to hearing your views.

Thank you

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