Bright Sparks Pre School

A committee (members can be referred to as Trustees) is a group of people who ensure that an organisation fulfils all its legal obligations and operates efficiently and according to their constitution. As a governing body, they will need to have a shared vision of what the organisation is about and what its end goals might be. The committee is responsible for the overall management and organisation of the setting.
  • Most committees have a core group of people who have specific roles and responsibilities in addition to those of a general committee member – Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
  • Committees can vary in size but need to have enough members to carry out necessary tasks; too many members can result in the committee being unmanageable and ineffective. If using the Pre-School Learning Alliance model constitution 2008 please note that 60% of committee members should be parents unless special arrangements are made through the PsLA national centre.
  • Committees will usually meet not less than six times a year and when making decisions has to meet its quorum, (this refers to the minimum number of committee members needed at a meeting, usually four members, or one third of the total committee members). They will also ensure that an AGM (in a membership organisation) is called.
  • The committee has the power to create and adapt aims and objectives for the group, and to make policy decisions designed to assist with achieving these aims. If the aims and objectives have already been established, then each committee member must know what they are and understand what they mean.
  • Committee members work with the Manager / Leader to develop a good working relationship to ensure that the legal requirements and childcare arrangements have suitable aims and objectives.
  • The committee is responsible for recruitment, staff training, development, paying salaries and managing contracts of employment.
  • The committee can delegate certain responsibilities to staff and should allow them to undertake these delegated duties without over interference. However, it is the responsibility of the committee to support, guide and lead the staff team.
  • The committee creates fair personnel and employment policies that meet legal requirements; these protect the organisation and those that work within it. The committee is responsible for monitoring activities to ensure that policies reflect practice.
  • Productive meetings are held where organisational issues are dealt with efficiently. It has regular appraisals, self-assessments and development plans.

Reasons to prevent you becoming a Trustee / Committee member

You cannot become a Trustee if you are:
  • Under 18 years of age (unless the Charity is a registered company)
  • Disqualified under section 72 of the Charities Act 1993, because for example, you are an undischarged bankrupt or have an unspent conviction for an offence of dishonesty or deception
  • A paid member of staff can be elected onto the committee but with conditions attached (see model constitution 2008)

Legal Obligations

Statutory and common law obligations, which exist in law, must be met by all organisations; it is the committee’s responsibility as the employer to keep up to date with any changes in legislation, as you are not formally informed.
  • Contracts of employment and employment legislation
  • Equal opportunities legislation
  • Income tax, national insurance, VAT and /or other taxes
  • Lease, license or tenancy agreements for premises
  • Health and safety legislation (including Environmental Health)
  • Insurance requirements
  • Financial record keeping and information, fund raising, grants and awards, bank accounts, loans and overdrafts
  • Service agreements or contracts for work undertaken
  • Data protection legislation (2007)
  • Charity law (if relevant)
  • Companies Acts (if registered)
  • Flexible Working rights (2009)
  • Corporate Manslaughter Bill (2007)
  • Equality and human rights (2007)
  • Minimum statutory holiday entitlement increases (2007)
  • Ban on Smoking in the workplace (2007)
  • Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations (2007)
  • Maternity leave increases (2007)
  • Statutory sickness pay (2009)
  • Data (in addition to the Pupil registration regulations 2006)(for further information see Employment in Early Years Settings 2007 PsLA)
Being part of committee can be both enjoyable and rewarding, individuals bring with them various skills, talents, expertise and ideas that can be used to enhance the group. In return, opportunities to develop new skills in areas such as management, marketing and recruitment can be gained.