Self management advice papers

While the material on this page was written for the allotment societies of the London Borough of Barnet, it might also be of interest to other councils and other federations of allotment societies. It contains resources to help allotment societies successfully take on the total management of their allotment sites long term.

Most of the papers listed below are reviewed and revised, where necessary, at least every three years. Links to other sites contained within the papers are checked more frequently. Where this is done the month and year of the revision is given for each paper – for example as (11/2016) which indicates that the paper was last revised in November 2016.


The Council of the London Borough of Barnet decided to move its allotment estate, one of the largest in London, into self management so that each site is managed by an allotment society of which all the allotment plot tenants are members. Each society is responsible for all management including setting and collecting the rent, determining the rules for tenants, and maintaining all elements of the site, including for the first time the infrastructure of roads, trees, fences and water pipes.

Each of 37 societies holds one or more 38 year leases, possibly the longest ever offered by any Council on an allotment site. This long lease gives the societies the strongest incentive to do the long term planning to keep their societies strong and their sites well maintained and popular. It also gives them the security necessary to attract grants to make improvements to their sites.

The first allotment site was handed over in February 2012 and by the end of 2013 all had been handed over with the leases back dated to 1 April 2013. At the beginning of April 2012 the Barnet Allotment Federation (BAF) appointed Andrew Brown on a part time contract to assist the societies prepare themselves to successfully manage their sites. His appointment was funded by the London Borough of Barnet through a grant until May 2014. His role was to:

  1. Engage with the allotment societies to assist them with those issues which are relevant to each individual society.
  2. Produce generic advice relevant to self management of all the allotment sites. That advice can be accessed from the links below.

In October 2014, with nearly all the leases signed and with the societies well on the road to sustainable self management, BAF produced a report setting out how the move to self management was made and describing some of the difficulties and lessons learned. It also includes a description and statistical presentation of the progress made by the societies in preparing themselves to undertake self management, and the challenges still facing them. This report, Allotment Self Management – The Barnet Process, can be accessed here.

 

The papers are grouped below as follows:

 

Self management

Schedule of Self Management Tools and Advice – A paper listing all current management advice  including e-mail advice not on this web page

Self Management Checklist – A paper setting out the things to do for allotment societies June 2013.

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Lease

This section contains:

  • copies of the model lease that was agreed following negotiations between the Federation and the London Borough of Barnet
  • explanatory notes for the model lease
  • copies of model schedules that are not included in the model lease
  • guidance on registering the lease at the Land Registry and the necessary forms
  • guidance on registering changes of trustees and addresses at the Land Registry

Model Leases

The Council’s new lease is available in two versions, one for unincorporated associations and one for Industrial and Provident Societies. The differences are purely technical and the two lease types are the same in substance. There is some scope for modifying the lease to take account of site specific issues.

Registering the Lease

A paper showing how to register your new lease at the Land Registry which you are required to do by law. The paper explains which of the following valuation reports you should submit with your application.

Changing Trustees and Addresses

A paper (7/2017) on the necessary procedures to be followed by unincorporated associations wishing to change the trustees named in their site leases, and by all societies wishing to otify the Land Registry of changes to contact addresses.

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Governance

Constitutions

BAF has produced two model constitutions, for unincorporated and incorporated societies, with explanatory notes, which it recommends for all allotment societies. They contain those items which the Council’s lease requires.

Managing Meetings

A paper (7/2017) on the planning, paperwork and recording of allotment society meetings

Role Descriptions

A paper (7/2017) of model role descriptions for the committee, its members and its officers.

Risk Management

A paper (7/2017) on the analysis and management of risks to allotment societies. The three following papers address in greater depth particular aspects of risk management.

Tree Management for Safety

A paper (7/2017) showing how societies can safely manage their trees.

Asbestos Management

A paper (7/2017) showing how societies can safely manage asbestos cement with links to HSE information.

Insurance

A paper (9/2013) of advice, sources and comparisons following changes in the insurance industry.

Data Management

A paper (7/2017) showing how societies can easily comply with the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Complaints Procedure

A paper (7/2017) showing how to handle complaints in a way which complies with the lease.

Annual Work Plan

A paper (7/2017) showing how to plan the routine activities of managing your society and site so that nothing gets forgotten

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Managing money

Routine Money Management

A paper (7/2017) showing how allotment societies can manage their everyday money matters.

Strategic Financial Management

A paper (7/2017) showing how societies can strategically plan their operations and the financing of them.

Long Term Financial Planning Tool

An MS Excel spreadsheet to enable the planning necessary for allotment infrastructure replacement. Please note that there are two versions of this tool and you should download the one which suits your version of MS Excel.

Long Term Financial Planning Tool for MS Excel 2003 or earlier with .xls file suffix
Long Term Financial Planning Tool for MS Excel 2007 or later with .xlsx file suffix

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Raising money

Grant Fund Raising

A paper (7/2017) setting a general approach to your organisation’s strategy as a foundation for successful grant fund raising, together with some specific sources of grants and where to get more information.

Allotment Management Policies for Grant Applications

A paper (7/2017) with sample policies showing how societies can produce written policies when required to support grant applications.

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Tenants

Letting Allotment Plots

A paper (7/2017) describing ways to manage the marketing of plots, waiting lists, joint tenancies and non-cultivation.

Tenancy Agreements and Rules

A paper (7/2017) showing how societies can produce a tenancy agreement with appropriate terms and conditions which comply with the new lease.

Problems with Tenants

A paper (7/2017) describing the problems which tenants can cause and how to deal with them including the powers of societies, warnings and terminations, managing complaints and the legal duty to act fairly.

Private Gates

A paper (7/2017) of advice on the management of private gates.

A Sample Handbook

Three papers showing the 2013 Finchley Horticultural Society’s handbook for plot holders and incorporating amended rules which take into account the Council’s new self management lease conditions.

FHS Tenant Handbook 2013 Designers Notes
FHS Tenant Handbook 2013 PDF for E-Mail
FHS Tenant Handbook 2013 Text in Word

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Site management

Site Safety

A paper (7/2017) describing how to identify and manage common allotment risks, where to go for further information and some suggestions for safety officers and first aid boxes.

Organising Work

A paper (11/2016) showing how to get things done, whether by contractors or volunteers

Site Entrances, Signs and Communications

A paper (7/2017) showing how to say the right things to the right people in the right way

Sources of Supply and Useful Information

A paper listing suppliers of goods and services recommended by allotment societies in Barnet, together with some useful information including an appendix on security.

This paper was written in 2012 and hence some of the information it contains is out of date, but it has been left here as part of the historical record of self management. The listing has been updated and other suppliers added and may now be found in the goods and services page of the website.

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Advice

National Allotment Society (NAS) offers practical advice on running a site and allotment gardening. They have advice on allotment legislation and law and a short list of sources of grant funds.

The Allotments Regeneration Initiative (ARI and now part of NAS) offers a wealth of practical advice on everything to do with the management of allotment sites including fund raising advice and sources of grant funds.

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