As well as having a constitution that covers the rules of the group, it is also a good idea to have some written documents on three important matters:

  • equal opportunities
  • health and safety
  • protection of vulnerable people

In fact, if your Friends group is expecting to apply for grants, funders will ask for copies of policies covering these things.

It is very important that your Friends group’s policies and procedures are known and understood by everyone, so that good practice becomes part of every activity. If your group has a website or social media account, you may wish to make the policies available here so that they can be easily accessed and viewed.

The Parks Community UK website has some useful draft policies that your group may wish to adapt.

You may also choose to have a code of conduct for your group. This is nothing more than a common sense list of guidelines that describes the way individuals are expected to carry out their duties either as members of the committee or as general members of the group.

It enables the group to ask anyone who doesn’t keep to the code to leave a meeting or activity, or if the breach is persistent then to be voted off the group or committee.

It may be useful to refer to the code of conduct in the constitution. For example: ‘All members shall agree to abide by the group’s code of conduct and failure to do so will result in the member being asked to resign.’

When participating in …………………………. [name of Green Space Group] meetings and activities members agree to abide by the following code of conduct:

  • That all members can state their views, put forward their opinions and make suggestions without fear of personal ridicule, attack or interruption by others.
  • That all views will be listened to, but everyone has the right to disagree with another member’s viewpoint.
  • That everyone has the right to change his or her view.
  • That the use of jargon, offensive language or remarks is discouraged.
  • That an accurate set of minutes will be produced and circulated for each meeting.
  • That an agenda will be produced and circulated for each meeting.
  • That member’s will be informed of the approximate duration of the meeting.
  • That everyone has an equal right to vote on all decisions unless they have a vested interest.
  • That all vested interests will be declared prior to discussion.
  • That the chairperson has a casting vote and decides when a discussion has ended, and it is time to move on.