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Special Committees - Facility hire

The Committee has been appointed to manage a Council facility that is for the use and enjoyment of the community. To cover the cost of the use of the facility users pay a hire fee. It is important that all hirers of the facility enter into a written hire agreement. This section includes hire agreements, terms and conditions of hire, public liability insurance, user fees and occupational health and safety.

Hire agreements

All hirers must enter into a hire agreement for all casual, short-term, long-term or seasonal use. The hire agreement includes terms and conditions of hire, information about the facility, emergency procedures and cancellation conditions. An example is provided on the Templates page.

This means even regular users, such as football or cricket clubs, must have a user agreement with the committee. If a written hire agreement is not in place, neither the committee nor the facility is covered by insurance.

Seasonal agreements are most easily managed on an annual basis. Council’s contact officers can provide assistance with hire or seasonal agreements.

Public liability insurance

All organisations or individuals hiring the facility must provide evidence that they have current public liability insurance cover, or evidence that their use is covered by another organisation’s public liability insurance. The committee is responsible for ensuring that they obtain a current copy of the certificate of currency for the hire records.

If the hirer is conducting activities that are not for commercial gain then they may purchase coverage through Council or the committee. One fee applies for up to 52 occasions per year and cannot be used for activities that are for commercial gain, sporting activities, rock/pop concerts, high risk activities or festivals.

Committees must charge hirers the current fee as set by Council’s Budget for the Hirers Public Liability Insurance to use the facilities and provide the hirer with a receipt showing the Public Liability Insurance payment. The Hirers Insurance fee can be retained by the committee but there must be a record kept of the name of the hirer, the dates of hire and estimated attendance numbers as evidence in the event of a claim.

Each hirer utilising this scheme must be informed that there is an excess on the policy that the hirer must pay in the event of a claim (currently $250) and the Policy excluded activities. The committee must immediately notify the Council contact officer as soon as they become aware of any insurance or potential insurance claim against any Policy.

Council purchases this insurance on behalf of committees on an annual basis based on the estimated number of casual bookings over the year that would require cover. Therefore committees must include the total amount collected for Hirer’s Insurance as part of their Annual Return.

Setting user fees

The committee has the power to set its own fees and charges for use of the facility. Fees should be reviewed at the end of the financial year and updated to meet any rising costs.

Most committees have a fee schedule that includes different fees for:
• Seasonal users, such as sporting clubs;
• Regular users, such as local community groups;
• School groups and not for profit organisations;
• One-off private users;
• Business users.

Fees for use of the facility should aim to cover the cost of operating the facility for the duration of the booking. The committee should consider utilities, cleaning and maintenance costs, the cost of disposables, and waste disposal when setting user fees.

It is also important that fees are affordable for community groups and regular users, so that the facility provides maximum benefit to the community.

It is reasonable for the committee to set different fees for community groups compared to private or commercial users. It is also reasonable for a committee to require a bond to be paid, especially for private, one-off users.

The committee may reduce or waive fees in special circumstances for fundraising events or events of significance, such as an ANZAC Day commemoration ceremony.

Induction for hirers

Committees must provide hirers with an induction to the facility the first time they use it. The induction should include:
• The capacity of the venue;
• Keys and security arrangements;
• The location of light switches and how to use the switchboard;
• Equipment available for them to use;
• Operation of heating and cooling;
• The location of fire exits, first aid kit, extinguishers, and evacuation procedures;
• Who to call is there is a problem;
• Any known safety issues;
• Cleaning arrangements (e.g. immediately cleaning up spills and at the completion of the function);
• What the hirer needs to do when they’ve finished with the facility (e.g. locking up, switching lights off etc).

This information can also be provided as part of the hire agreement.

Booking during fire season and on Code Red Days

During the fire season the committee must be aware of fire danger ratings. If a Code Red day is declared for the North Central district on the day of a booking, the facility must be closed and the booking postponed or cancelled. It is the committee’s responsibility to monitor the fire danger rating and notify the hirer if the booking must be cancelled.

Council will contact the committee if the facility is required as an Emergency Relief or Recovery Centre. The committee should then contact hirers to cancel all bookings, if committee members are able to do so and are not impacted by the emergency. This condition should be included in the booking form for hirers.

Committees should be aware that some facilities are designated as Neighbourhood Safer Places and may be used by the community without notice when an emergency is impacting the township.

Committees’ should remind facility hirers of their obligation to plan for the safety of attendees during an emergency. Organisers of large events should complete an Emergency Management Plan. Direct hirers to Council’s Event Guide and Application Kit for more information.

The CFA’s Guidelines for Conducting Small Events and Gathering in High Fire Risk Locations provide more information on running events during the fire danger period (typically October to May).

Occupational health and safety

Council and its committees have a legal obligation under health and safety legislation to maintain a healthy and safe environment for committee members, volunteer workers, contractors and anyone entering or using the facilities.

Committees have a duty of care to all of these people not to expose them to risks to their health or safety. Committees should do everything reasonable to provide information, instruction, training and supervision to their volunteers so they can work safely without harming themselves, other volunteers, clients, visitors or passers-by.

Examples of ways in which committees can fulfil these duties are:
• Regularly inspecting and maintaining facilities and equipment in accordance with these procedures;
• Actively supervising volunteers;
• Informing Council of any health and safety issues and incidents as soon as possible;
• Cooperating with Council's Buildings Officer to comply with the building Essential Safety Services requirements and ensuring that fire fighting equipment is regularly tested;
• Displaying emergency procedures including the location of fire exits, fire fighting equipment and safe outside assembly points;
• Providing and maintaining first aid facilities;
• Signing or removing from use potential hazards or hazardous equipment.

Signs may be necessary to advise members of the public of physical dangers. Care should be taken to ensure the placement of signs is appropriate to the hazard and that they are maintained and are legible. Signs should comply with the relevant Australian Standards. Pictogram signs which can be understood by people unable to read English should be used wherever possible.

Reporting incidents

Committees are responsible for reporting all incidents to Council which involve actual or potential harm to persons or property. Timely reporting of incidents is a crucial step in arranging an adequate response and for the proactive prevention of future incidents. Reporting incidents helps provide a safe environment for users of facilities. Reporting incidents to Council also prevents the committee members from being prosecuted for failing to report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe, as required by health and safety legislation.

In all cases where someone has been injured or property has been damaged the committee must:Render assistance if safe to do so > do not disrupt or clean the site > take photos of the location if possible > notify the committee contact officer as soon as possible

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