1. Trustees’ financial responsibilities
The trustees of West Pennine Villages U3A are responsible for:
- Safeguarding the assets of the charity.
- Identifying and managing the risk of loss, waste theft or fraud.
- Ensuring the financial reporting is robust and of adequate quality.
- Keeping financial records in accordance with the governing document and relevant legislation (e.g., Charities Acts, Companies Acts etc).
- Preparing Annual Accounts in accordance with the governing document and relevant legislation.
- The accounts should show a true and fair view of the affairs of the U3A.
Trustees are jointly responsible for keeping full financial records. These include those of the U3A and all the interest groups, sub-groups etc. where appropriate. A copy of this policy will be given to all trustees on their election/appointment to the committee and made available to members on the website.
The policy will be kept under review and revised as necessary. The annual review should reflect changes to working practice which have developed or been adopted since the last review.
2.1. Bank accounts
- All bank accounts are in the name of West Pennine Villages U3A and operated by the trustees.
- New accounts may only be opened by a decision of the trustees, which must be minuted.
- Changes to the bank mandate may only be made by a decision of the trustees, which must be minuted.
- The authorised signatories are the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer and/or any other trustee appointed by the committee. This responsibility cannot be delegated.
- Two signatories must sign all cheques.
- The signatories are responsible for examining the cheque for accuracy and completeness.
- The signatories are responsible for examining the payment documentation (purchase invoice etc.) prior to signing the cheque or authorising an internet transfer.
- All bank statements must be sent to the Treasurer directly.
- Blank cheques will never be issued.
- Blank cheques will never be signed by one signatory for a second to complete later.
- If practical two people should be involved in counting cash receipts.
2.2. Online banking
Where online operation of the bank accounts is in place only trustees approved by the committee will have access to this facility. The security of the online system is in line with the arrangements offered by Natwest and PayPal and in accordance with the mandated approval limits.
The Treasurer is permitted to make online payments without prior reference to the other signatories. Whenever an online payment exceeding £50 is made the Treasurer must report this payment to the other signatories.
2.3. Payment by bank cards
Payment using West Pennine Villages U3A debit cards should be approved by the Treasurer prior to use. All such payments must be supported by an invoice or receipt made out to West Pennine Villages U3A.
2.4. Personal debit or credit cards
The use of personal debit or credit cards for interest group activities should be actively managed. Permission must be sought from the Treasurer and/or the committee where a group feels that there is no other viable way to make payments.
Prior approval must be given by the committee for equipment and other items to be purchased for the use of West Pennine Villages U3A or specific interest groups. In these circumstances, it may be appropriate for a member to purchase the equipment themselves and then claim the cost as a personal expense claim.
3. Group finances
Interest groups are expected to be self–financing and may collect such sums of money as the group members and leadership agree necessary to undertake their activities. The group funds belong to the U3A. Groups are permitted to make any reasonable expenditure deemed necessary by the group members and the group convenor. Purchases involving significant amounts must first be authorised by the Treasurer and/or the committee. The Treasurer, Group Coordinator and Group Convenor(s) should agree what records they need to keep of the group’s transactions in order to:
- Allow the Treasurer to keep accurate accounts for presentation to the AGM, for discussion with the trustees and to meet regulatory requirements.
- Allow the group members to understand how their monies are being managed.
- Maintain transparency and trust for all concerned.
- Minimise the risk of error and potential loss of funds.
3.1. Allow group leaders to maintain cash floats and receipts
Group Convenors should retain a small float to cover the day to day operating costs of their group. This amount, usually £10, will be agreed with the Treasurer
The process for the handover of cash and cheques to be paid into West Pennine Villages U3A bank account will be determined by the committee. The receipt process should be adequate to protect the interests of U3A members, group leaders, the U3A and any individual receiving or paying monies on behalf of the U3A. This is of particular importance where cash is involved.
The committee will inform relevant group leaders as to the approved process for paying for expenses other than out of pocket expenses deducted from interest groups meetings income.
3.3. Social activities
- Members must reimburse the u3a in full for event, entry or other tickets purchased on their behalf prior to attending the event
- Appropriate payment methods including:
- bank transfer (preferred)
- Members must inform the organiser if they are subsequently unable to attend the event
- Members should be informed of West Pennine Villages U3A refund policy below
- The organiser of an event must not benefit from any discount (e.g., a free place) offered by the organisation providing the event. The value of free places must be shared equally among all participants in the event.
3.4 Ticket purchase for events
Where the U3A purchases tickets for an event on behalf of members the organiser must ensure all members wishing to attend have paid the full ticket cost to the U3A prior to the U3A purchasing tickets. Examples of such events are theatre trips, garden visits, social evenings involving meals etc.
Event organisers should note if tickets are purchased without first collecting members money in the event of the member not attending the organiser, and not the U3A, will be responsible for any loss incurred. Exceptions to this rule may be agreed by the Treasurer to a total value of £500 per event. Above this value the purchase must be agreed by the committee or tickets only purchased on behalf of members who have paid in full.
When an organiser receives cash from a member to protect the interests of both the member and organiser a written receipt should be given. The U3A will provide organisers with receipt books.
3.5 Ticket refunds
The trustees should ensure a fair and equitable policy on refunds for ticketed events to protect the interests of event participants, group leaders, organisers and the U3A. Examples of such events are theatre trips and social outings. To obtain a refund a member should:
- Inform the organiser as to why the member is unable to attend
- In the event of being unable to attend an event the ticket may be passed to another U3A member. The cost being a private matter between those members
- Provided the U3A does not incur a financial loss a full refund for non-attendance will be given
- If the U3A is able to obtain a full or partial refund this will be passed to the member
- If the U3A incurs a financial loss no refund will be possible
3.6 Payments to other charities
In line with charity law, a U3A cannot raise funds for another charity that does not have similar charitable objectives. West Pennine Villages U3A will make payments to speakers who have indicated they intend to donate their fee to a specific charity but not direct to their nominated charity.
4. Expenses policy
Out of pocket expenses incurred by volunteers who are involved with running the U3A will be reimbursed. Expense claims must be submitted with receipts. Expense claims will be authorised by the committee and no committee member should authorise their own claim. Expenses will include, with committee approval, attendance at the Trust’s AGM and Conference or national/regional workshops.
Expense claims should reflect the cheapest travel option available. Travel by car will be reimbursed at the current HMRC approved rate for the actual mileage travelled. Car parking and congestion charges can be reclaimed (with receipts) but parking or other fines will not be allowed.
Overnight accommodation will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and will need the prior agreement of the executive committee.
5. Membership fees and membership of more than one U3A
The membership fee is reviewed on an annual basis. West Pennine Villages U3A is committed to keeping the membership subscription as low as possible to ensure the U3A remains accessible to all members.
For U3A members who can evidence membership of another U3A, West Pennine Villages U3A will offer a reduced membership fee.
6. Asset register
An asset register is maintained by the Treasurer which records all assets held including their initial purchase price, date of purchase, estimated nominal value and location.
It should be noted that under a receipts and payments reporting system, all assets are fully written off against receipts in the year of purchase. The register is reviewed annually.
West Pennine Villages U3A should maintain an adequate level of reserves to allow the U3A to operate for 12 months. While annual operating costs are generally low the trustees feel it prudent to maintain the reserves detailed below:
To cover annual operating costs and contingencies £1000
To cover annual fees payable to the National U3A:
- Beacon fees* (£1.00p) per member
- Membership Subscriptions** (£4.00) per member
- Total U3A National Fees as above £5.00*** per member
- Third Age Matters magazine based on the previous year’s uptake. For the current financial year this is 75 members @£4.00 per magazine. For accrual purposes this cost is calculated by diving the total cost by the total membership number
* Beacon fees are payable per member to U3A National Head Office
** Membership Subscriptions are payable per member to U3A National Head Office
*** For accounting ease, the figure is rounded to £8.00
In common with all other U3As West Pennine Villages U3A is obliged to pay the above fees to the National U3A annually on April 1st. These fees are collected as part of the Members Subscription to West Pennine Villages U3A, accrued through the year and ring-fenced to ensure the monies are available when due. Social account activities are excluded from these figure as they are high cost, for example theatre visits and days out, and are entirely self-financing.
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