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Special Committees - Insurance and Risk

Council holds various insurances, this section gives the committee an overview of those insurances and how they relate to the committee, the facility and the users of that facility The committee must immediately notify their Council contact officer as soon as they become aware of any claim or potential claim for compensation for personal injury or property damage.

If notification of a claim is received either in writing or verbally committees must:
• Not admit responsibility for any incident or make any other comments about the incident, as admission of liability can void Council's insurance policy.
• Provide a written claim or details of a verbal claim to the Council contact officer.

Completing a risk assessment

A risk assessment register is available on the Templates page.

Step 1: Identify the risks

Note down a comprehensive list of risks that could arise from the committee's activities.

Identifying the risks involves thinking about all the possible causes of injuries, illness or property damage by walking around the facility and talking to members and volunteers. Previous records of incidents may also be check to identify problem areas.

Potential sources of risk for committees include:
• An unsafe work environment for committee members and other volunteers
• Breach of duty of care to the public
• Acts of nature
• Use of contractors
• Events/hiring out the facilities
• Purchasing of plant and equipment
• Degradation of the environment
• Lack of fraud prevention controls
• Poor governance.

Step 2: Identify who could suffer injury, illness or property damage

Consider committee members, other volunteers and anyone entering or using the facility.

Step 3: Prioritise and record the risks

Prioritise and record the risks according to:
• How likely it is that an injury, illness or property damage will occur.
• How serious will an injury, illness or property damage be if it occurred

A risk assessment form template is provided in the templates section of this document.

Step 4: Take steps to remove or control the risks

Health and safety legislation requires that risks must be removed or controlled “as far as reasonably practicable” having regard to:
• the likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned eventuating,
• the degree of harm that would result if the hazard or risk eventuated,
• what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk and any ways of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk,
• the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce the hazard or risk,
• the cost of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk.

Risks must be controlled in the following order of priority from the most effective and reliable to the least effective and reliable:
1. Eliminate the hazard or risk. This involves taking action to eliminate a hazard (which eliminates all of its associated risks).
2. If hazards or risks cannot be eliminated, risks may be reduced by taking action to change the risk. This can involve substituting the risk with a lesser one, engineering measures or changes to systems of work to achieve reductions, or isolating the hazard or risk from people.
3. If hazards or risks cannot be eliminated or changed to reduce them, action can be taken to reduce people’s exposure to the hazard or risk. This can involve administrative actions, provision of instruction and procedures, or the use of personal protective equipment.

Note: If there is an immediate risk to health or safety, the process/activity in question must be stopped immediately until measures are taken to remove the immediate risk.

Committee members and other volunteers must be informed about the risks and associated controls.

Step 5: Monitoring and review

Review the committees risk assessment and control measures and check for new risks at least annually to make sure it is up-to-date.

Personal accident insurance coverage for committee members and volunteers

Committee members are covered under Council's Personal Accident Policy whilst acting for and on behalf of Council within the scope of their duties outlined in their instrument of delegation. Therefore, it is important that committees keep their membership details up to date and ensure that they advise Council of any changes so that members can be properly appointed by Council. Otherwise committee members may not be covered by the insurance.

Volunteers of committees are also covered under Council's Personal Accident Insurances while undertaking work with the knowledge and approval of the committee. Therefore, it is important to keep records of committee approved volunteers, minutes of committee decisions, the dates and times that the volunteer worked and the work undertaken.

A Volunteer Registration form is available on the Templates page.

Property insurance

Council insures all Council-owned buildings and contents. All claims for property damage should be directed to the committee’s Council contact officer.

Public liability insurance

Committees have a duty of care to anyone entering or using the facility. Public Liability Insurance covers those cases where a committee fails in its duty of care and a member of the public suffers injuries or their property is damaged when using or visiting the facility. This only applies if the committee is acting for and on behalf of Council in accordance with its instrument of delegation. If committees are not acting within the terms outlined in the instrument of delegation this insurance may not apply.

Public Liability is not limited to the physical boundaries of the facility. A fundraising stall elsewhere for example could give rise to a claim for injury from a pedestrian tripping or for food poisoning. Therefore, committees must maintain strict compliance with the delegated functions and powers of their instrument of delegation to ensure coverage by Council’s Public Liability Insurance.

Public liability insurance for facilities on Council land

Public liability claims arising out of a committee's management of facilities on Council land are covered under Council's Public Liability Insurance policy. Other volunteers of Council committees managing facilities on Council land are also covered under Council's Public Liability insurance while they are undertaking work with the knowledge and approval of the committee. For this reason, it is important to keep records of committee approved volunteers, the dates and times that the volunteer worked and the work undertaken. A Volunteer Registration form is available on the Templates page.

Note: Council and DELWP’s public liability insurance policies do not cover third party users of facilities. Therefore it is imperative that all organisations or groups (such as sporting clubs) that operate seasonally or have annual and ongoing use of a facility have their own public liability insurance. Committees should ensure that such a policy adequately covers all of the third party’s activities at the facility including any functions or events that they run. The Council contact officer is available for assistance with this if required.


Public liability insurance for facilities on Crown Land reserves

Public liability claims arising out of a committee's management of facilities on Crown Land are covered under the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Public Liability Insurance Policy.

Other volunteers working for committees managing facilities on Crown Land Reserves are also covered under DELWP’s Public Liability insurance while they are undertaking work with the knowledge and approval of the committee. For this reason, it is important to keep records of committee approved volunteers, the dates and times that the volunteer worked and the work undertaken.

A Volunteer Registration form is available on the Templates page.

Public liability insurance for seasonal users

Seasonal users must be the holder of a current Public Liability Insurance Policy in respect of their activities providing cover for an amount of at least $10 million. The seasonal user must provide a Certificate of Currency stating the level of cover, the period of cover and details of any exclusion clauses, as part of the hire agreement.

Public liability insurance for casual hirers

Council has a Public Liability Insurance Policy that covers non-commercial casual hirers of Council owned or controlled facilities for small scale standalone events when the hirer does not have their own insurance cover. The insurance is for all casual, ad hoc and regular hirers of Council owned or controlled facilities provided the use occurs no more than 52 times per annum (per hirer). Cover is only provided to the hirer whilst hiring the premises and is not provided to any other parties that may be involved in the hire activity (for example a band engaged for a wedding reception). It is up to the hirer to ensure these other parties have their own public liability insurance in place.

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 to Council each November.

There is no coverage available to commercial entities that hire the facility and charge admission or derive other monetary gain from the actual hire activity. Commercial entities deriving monetary gain from the hire activity must provide their own insurance. However, commercial entities can be covered by Council’s insurance for small scale standalone hire activities where there is no monetary gain derived from the actual hire activity. Similarly, not for profit entities can also be covered when charging for fund raising purposes only.

The hirer’s Public Liability Insurance cannot be used for hires involving:
• Sporting activities.
• Music concerts.
• High risk activities.
• Festivals - There is no coverage available where the hire is part of a broader festival. The festival organisers are required to have their own Public Liability Insurance covering these festivals. They may be able to access cover via the Community Insurance Website: www.communityinsurance.net.au

If in doubt as to whether a hirer or the hire activity can be covered, please discuss it with the Council contact officer.

What is the Hirer automatically covered for?

The hirer’s policy provides indemnity to the hirer against all sums which they become legally liable to pay by way of compensation resulting from an occurrence which arises from their negligence whilst hiring the premises.
The hire activity is limited to a maximum period of five (5) consecutive days. Coverage for longer periods may be available and should be referred to the Council contact officer. An additional premium may be required by the insurer for longer periods.

What may be covered if approved in advance by the Insurer?

The following activities cannot be automatically covered under this arrangement and must be cleared in advance with the insurer via the Council contact officer:
• Hires that will involve attendance of more than 1,000 people.
• Hire periods of 5 consecutive days or more.
• Events held on Council roads that have been closed with Council’s approval.

These may be subject to an additional premium as determined by the insurer. All events of this significance should be referred to the Council contact officer, who may pass it to Council’s Events Officer for action.

What is not covered under the hirer’s public liability insurance?

The following is not covered under the hirer’s public liability insurance policy:
• Any other parties involved in the hire activity
• Participation risk in sporting activities
• Amusements (children's rides, animal rides, amusement rides and devices, inflatable recreation equipment)
• Grandstands
• Sub-contractors
• Security personnel
• Physical abuse
• Terrorism risks
• Electronic data
• Fireworks
• Illegal activities

What is the process for Casual Hirers Public Liability Insurance?

The committee must establish whether the hirer has public liability insurance that covers the proposed activity. If they do, a copy of the Certificate of Currency must be obtained and filed with the other hire documents. The hirer’s insurance is able to be offered if they do not have their own public liability insurance and they meet the eligibility requirements.

Note: The hire must not proceed if the hirer has no cover and they are ineligible for Hirers Insurance or unwilling to take it out.

A hire agreement must clearly state that cover is required under the hirers Policy for each hire. The hire agreement must make it clear that the hirer has no other public liability insurance in place and that cover is required.

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 Council’s Hirer Insurance must be informed that there is an excess on the policy that the hirer must pay in the event of a claim (currently $250).

Claims by casual users of facilities

If a casual user of a facility, such as a person using the tennis court who is not part of a club, is injured they may lodge a claim with Council, DELWP and/or possibly the Tennis Club and the success of any claim will depend on whether the duty of care to them was breached and by whom, i.e.
• If Council or the committee failed in their duty of care to them resulting in the injury, then Council may be held liable.
• If the Tennis Club failed in their duty of care to them resulting in the injury, then the Tennis Club may be held liable.
• If DELWP failed in their duty of care to them resulting in the injury, then DELWP may be held liable; or
• A combination of the above.

Food safety

Notification of intention to sell food

Any group, including a committee, holding a cake stall, sausage sizzle, fete or similar event is required to contact Council to obtain a permit or provide appropriate notification. For more information see the fact sheet “Guide to Food Safety Regulation for Community Groups’ from the Victorian Department of Health.

It is recommended that the committee remind users of the facility that they need to discuss the sale of food with Council’s Environmental Health Officer to obtain the correct Permit.

The table below may be useful in determining if Food Act registration is required.

Catering regulations and food permit requirements

Type of function Sale of food Food preparation Food permit required?
Private Party (Guests not paying to attend function) No Food prepared at home No
Private Party (Guests not paying to attend function) No Food prepared in Hall by persons other than Registered Caterer No
Private Party (Guests not paying to attend function) No Registered Caterer No
Private Party (Guests paying to attend function) Yes Food prepared in Hall by persons other than Registered Caterer Yes
Private Party (Guests paying to attend function) Yes Registered Caterer No
Public Event (Open to all members of the public) Yes Food prepared in Hall by persons other than Registered Caterer Yes
Public Event (Open to all members of the public) Yes Registered Caterer Yes
Corporate Events (Functions for invited guests only) No Registered Caterer No

Safe food handling

Committee and facility users are required to carry out safe food handling practices. For more information refer to the ‘Your Guide to Food Safety’ guide that is available from the Victorian Department of Health.

Council’s Healthy Environment Unit can provide committees with food safety posters to display at their facility.

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