Policies and Procedures
HALTWHISTLE WALKING FESTIVAL LIMITED
REGISTERED AT COMPANIES HOUSE
COMPANY NUMBER 7327783
REGISTERED WITH THE CHARITY COMMISSION
REGISTRATION NUMBER 1140045
- Company Objectives
- Safeguarding and Diversity
- Health and Safety
The Company was created in 2010 by a small group of Haltwhistle residents with the aim of encouraging visitors to come to the South Tyne valley to enjoy the health and social benefits of walking in small groups in the open countryside and, by doing so, to promote local attractions and the local economy. This is achieved through the organisation of "Walking Festivals" open to members of the public. Each Festival consists of several walks guided by local volunteers taking place over a number of days and graded to suit different levels of fitness and ability.
The physical benefits of walking are well known and a variation in lengths of walk and degree of difficulty provides a range of opportunities, from simple relaxation while enjoying the countryside to more strenuous routes for those seeking a challenge. The Company, by providing such diversity, aims to encourage people of all ages to take part.
The Company also seeks to improve the mental wellbeing of participants by encouraging social interaction during the walks and providing information on points of interest along the route. Creating an informal and friendly ambiance on the walks within a safe, managed environment is a key objective. The Company will provide an adequate number of volunteer guides, relevant to the group size, to enable ease of communication throughout the group.
However, the Company cannot know the abilities of every person who applies to take part in any of the walks and is dependent on the applicants themselves to determine their suitability to take part. The Company will provide comprehensive information in Festival publicity on each proposed walk to enable the public to make appropriate decisions.
Local businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry, will be encouraged to support the Festivals by association with the Company through advertising or sponsorship.
The Company will maintain programmes of First Aid and Leadership training, which will include instruction on the Company's Health and Safety procedures, for all volunteers taking part in the walks and encourage feedback from those volunteers to inform future development of the Festival content and the training of volunteers.
The Company will provide insurance to cover public liability for its Directors, volunteers and participants in pursuance of Company organised activities.
All walks will be designed to take place on public Rights of Way, Open Access Land or, where appropriate, on land where permission of the landowner/occupier has been granted.
Respect for the local environment, the local community and the Countryside Code will be integral to all walks. The Countryside Code - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
The management and conduct of the Company is governed by the Memorandum and Articles of Association originally registered at Companies House on 27th July 2010, as amended by special resolution of 10th January 2011, registered at Companies House on 18th January 2011.
The full text of the Articles is available on Companies House website. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house
In brief, the Company is a private limited company managed by, and all decisions in respect to company business taken by, duly appointed Directors. The number of Directors may vary but must always be a minimum of three and a maximum of ten.
The Directors meet regularly during the year at times agreed by them but a General meeting must be held annually. All current Directors must be informed of proposed meetings. The quorum for any meeting is three. The Directors of the Company at any given time are the Members of the Company. The Directors may appoint a Committee to oversee the running of the Festival.
The Directors are not paid nor do they receive any remuneration from the Company other than reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their responsibilities as Directors.
The Company owns no premises and any income generated must be applied only to the execution or promotion of its stated objectives.
The Company was granted charitable status on 25th January 2011.
Responsibility for the submission of financial and other returns to Companies House, the Charity Commission and HMRC lies with the Directors.
The Articles of Association allow for the Company to take out insurance to cover any liability by a Director incurred as an officer of the Company.
The Directors have decided to extend that cover to its volunteers and will take out and maintain an appropriate insurance policy.
The insurance company will expect all Directors and volunteers to know and follow the Company’s Health and Safety Policy, Diversity and Safeguarding Policy, Leadership Training procedures and First Aid Training so as to provide the best defence against potential liability claims.
The Company's primary objective is to extend the appreciation of the rural environment to the general public by providing safe and controlled access to the countryside in all its aspects.
Walks are planned through many different local environments; forests, farmlands, open moors, peat bogs and on ancient drover routes. All of these have their own special attractions but also their vulnerabilities. The Company will ensure that before any walk is started, the participants will be made aware of particular features which can be enjoyed and those where special care and consideration is required to minimise risk of damage to that environment.
The volunteer guides are all local people with intimate knowledge of the areas and are sensitive to the needs of the community and the land where walks are taking place.
In the Company's area of operation, farming is a major industry and livestock is an essential part of the environment. Walk Leaders are fully aware of the need to follow designated paths and ensure that gates are closed and to plan routes on Open Access Land. Because of the possibility of harassment of livestock, no dogs are permitted on the walks.
All proposed routes are subject to prior inspection by the volunteers and the potential for adverse effects on the environment is assessed and the area avoided if damage is deemed inevitable.
The output of the Company is entirely service based and it does not trade in any products. Procurement and disposal of items and packaging is not therefore an issue. However, should there be any specific occasions where the need arises, the Company will, as far as is reasonably possible, ensure that it complies with environmental laws or regulations in force at the time.
Haltwhistle Walking Festival Ltd aims to promote the pleasure of walking by organising and leading walks in the Haltwhistle area and takes its responsibilities for safeguarding those involved or affected extremely seriously. We have a duty of care to our volunteers and participants, and we recognise that our agents and members of the public are affected by our activities. We are committed to creating and maintaining a safe and positive environment and accept our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of anyone who participates in our events and activities, or is affected by them, in accordance with current legislation. It aims to be proportionate and appropriate to the level of risk involved. We will also commit to continuous development and review.
Further, the Company will not discriminate in any way against its volunteers or walk participants in respect of ethnicity, religion, age, ability or disability, gender reassignment, race, sexual orientation, marital or gender status.
Haltwhistle Walking Festival believes that everyone deserves the right to experience the joy of walking outdoors. We strive to be diverse, inclusive and accessible in how we offer and promote our activities. However, due to the nature of the events it organises, the Company cannot extend universal acceptance to participants under the age of eighteen or to those with a disability.
The Company requests that anyone wishing to book a place for a child under eighteen contacts us beforehand to discuss the suitability of a walk. Each request is considered individually. In all cases, the child must be accompanied by an adult who will supervise them and take full responsibility for them. We will, nevertheless, ensure that any children who do take part are treated with respect and that all reasonable measures are taken to ensure their safety.
The Company requests that anyone with a disability or additional needs makes contact before booking to discuss the suitability of a chosen walk. We cannot accommodate those with degrees of disability which would constitute a risk to the health and safety of themselves or other members of the group or would render it impossible to complete the walk. Every effort will be made to accommodate levels of disability, including the acceptance of carers as appropriate, where the Company considers it safe to do so but the Company reserves the right, and will delegate that right to its volunteers, to refuse to accept any participant onto a walk where it is considered that an unacceptable level of risk would ensue.
The directors and volunteers of Haltwhistle Walking Festival Ltd have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all and will act appropriately, reporting concerns arising from our activities to the relevant people or organisations.
The practices and procedures within this policy are based on legislation, in particular:
- The Care Act 2014
- The Children Act 1989
- The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012
- The Equality Act 2010
- The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- The Data Protection Act 1998
Safeguarding children means protecting children from abuse and maltreatment, preventing harm to children's health or development, and ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care.
Safeguarding adults means protecting the rights of adults to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons.
Children and young people: a child is anyone under the age of 18.
Adult: an adult is anyone aged 18 or over.
Adult at risk is a person aged 18 or over who has care and support needs, is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from the risk of abuse or neglect.
Adult in need of care and support is determined by a range of factors including personal characteristics, factors associated with their situation or environment and social factors.
Capacity means having the ability to make a decision about your own life on your own and is sometimes referred to as ‘mental capacity’. This can be affected either temporarily or permanently. Some people have the capacity to make simple decisions but not major ones, for example, financial.
The Company operates in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and is committed to protecting the privacy of those who join or seek information on the walks that are organised. The measures adopted to protect the data received, including storage and transfer of information, are reviewed regularly to maintain a high standard of protection.
The Company is both a controller and processor of data under the terms of the Act.
Any data collected is used solely for the purposes of organising, running or promoting Festivals in accordance with the Company's objectives. No data of a sensitive nature is collected. Access to data will be limited to a small number of individuals in the Company and will not be shared with third parties without the specific consent of the person providing it.
Data will be held for a limited period for the purpose of promoting future Festivals and will be securely stored.
In organising Festivals, the Company works closely with booking agents and this involves the transfer of data between the parties. The Company will liaise with any potential partner in this respect to ensure that their procedures comply with the requirements of the Company.
No data will be transferred to any company or business which does not meet the standards set by this policy.
Any person providing data to the Company has the right to request a copy of it, to request a correction of it and to request its destruction. The Company will comply with any such request within a reasonable time scale.
Data is provided by members of the public solely for the purposes of making a booking at a Festival organised by the Company and promoting subsequent events. The only personal data requested by the Company will be the name of the person making the booking, a telephone contact number, an email address and, optionally, a third party contact to comply with health and safety policy in the event of an incident affecting the participant.
Information on participants’ names, contact numbers and emergency contacts of each walk member is provided to the Walk Leader before the walk but will be returned to the Company on completion.
It will be made clear in the booking system that by confirming a booking the participant will be deemed to have agreed to the collection and storage of the information supplied.
Photographs taken by representatives of the Company before and during a walk can be used on the Company website as a record or to promote future events. The Company will not publish any images of participants who have requested exclusion from such images.
The Company cannot be responsible for images published by individual participants.
The Company recognises that the walks it organises carry an inherent risk, which will vary according to terrain, weather conditions (before and during the walk) and ability of the participants. Whilst all reasonable steps will be taken to minimise risk and to ensure the health and safety of both participants and Company volunteers, the Company has a right to expect participants to exercise personal responsibility in choosing which walks to join and their behaviour during the walk. In its booking information, the Company will therefore provide details of the route, its length, likely degree of difficulty and the amount of ascent/descent. Although not compulsory, every intending participant will be asked to provide a third party contact number to be used in case of emergency. In addition, participants are instructed to read the Things You Need To Know page and are informed that booking a place on a walk signifies that they have done so.
For every walk, the Company will designate one of its volunteers to be a Leader, and a number of others, depending on the group's size, to accompany the walk. The Leader will determine, during the pre-walk, which of the volunteers would assume the leadership role if the need should arise.
The Leader and other volunteers will walk the proposed route in advance of the Festival, noting potential hazards and places or situations which constitute a risk, and determine measures to be taken to avoid or minimise that risk. A Risk Assessment Form (appendix A) will be submitted to the Company Directors after each of these pre-walks. It is the Directors’ decision whether to proceed with, amend, or cancel the proposed walk.
At the beginning of every walk, the Leader will remind all participants of the walk details or anticipated difficulties and seek information from them on any health issues which may necessitate action during the walk (appendix b).
During the walk, one volunteer will always remain at the rear of the group. The Leader will maintain a pace which is comfortable for the whole group and continually monitor for signs of fatigue or difficulty, taking into account existing and expected weather conditions. One of the volunteers will carry a first aid kit and all volunteers will wear high visibility waistcoats.
The Walk Leader and Back Marker remain in contact by way of Walkie-Talkie radios.
The Company will, whenever appropriate, ensure that a car and driver is on standby should any incident occur which a Leader decides requires one or more participants to be taken off the walk before completion. However, if the location of a walk renders such provision impractical, the Company reserves the right not to provide this service. The Company will consider the circumstances of each walk and decide accordingly. If no cover is to be provided, this will be made clear in the information supplied on the walk description.
The car cover is provided to take walkers from a suitable point on the walk route back to their own vehicle or to a place where they can be met by family, friends, or an ambulance if necessary. It will not provide transport for unaccompanied walkers. If the person requiring the help has no companion on the walk, and the cover driver is alone, then one of the walk team will remain with the car driver until the situation is resolved.
A full report of the walk is to be made by the Leader and submitted to the Directors.
Any of the Company's volunteers present on a walk are required to have appropriate First Aid and Leadership training.
The Company’s First Aid training, based on situations likely to be encountered during a walk, will be given to all new volunteers and again at three year intervals. The training programme will be reviewed regularly to ensure it is compatible with current practice and relevant to the Company's activities.
All volunteers are expected to attend one of the leadership training events regularly organised by the Company. These will normally take place prior to each Festival but may be on an ad-hoc basis as deemed desirable by the Directors. Good leadership practice is documented in a handbook published by the Company which is given to all Walk Team Members. The Handbook is regularly updated to reflect current standards and expectations.
The training will also ensure that volunteers are aware, and follow, the Company's procedures and objectives, including Safeguarding.
In addition to the training sessions, the Company provides each volunteer with a handbook. Optional map and navigation skills training can be provided.
Some volunteers hold training and first aid certificates issued by other organisations. It is at the Directors’ discretion to accept these certificates in full or if additional training is required.
Over recent years, the development of digital technology has significantly increased the range of methods of communication available to the Company and the Company will make every effort to keep pace with new systems, adopting and adapting as appropriate to ensure that its volunteers and participants are provided with the latest information on the Company itself and on previous or forthcoming walks it organises.
The Company website will be the principal instrument of communication but, in recognition that internet service is not universally available, other methods will be used as required.
The Directors will make every effort to ensure that published information is up to date and accurate.
The importance of the various social media platforms in distributing and receiving information is recognised and official input, including responses to external posts, to these platforms will be controlled by an appointed Director of the Company and subject to approval by the other Directors. The Company will not pass on, repeat or forward inappropriate remarks made regarding the Company, its Directors or volunteers and may report incidents of this nature to the appropriate authorities.
The Company believes that social interaction on walks is an important element of the walk and volunteers will take part in and encourage informal communication throughout the walking group.
To improve our walks and organisation, walkers and volunteers will be encouraged to discuss with the walk leader during the walk, or submit via the website, any suggestions they may have on how to improve the experience of the day or the organisation of the Festival overall. Any comments or suggestions will be investigated and, if deemed appropriate, acted upon by the Company. All comments received will be treated in confidence by the Directors.