The purpose of this Code is to enhance the work and credibility of the Westbourne Community Trust (WCT), which is a Community Land Trust (CLT) and is drawn from the Code recommended by the National Community Land Trust Network.
One of the underlying drivers of CLTs is that local people have an ethos of public service and the skills to create solutions to local problems. CLTs are fundamentally agents of local communities and are not directly accountable to other outside organisations. The Code does not therefore follow the route of compliance required by government of organisations receiving significant sums of central government money. Instead it sets out the main standards that people in a CLT’s community and others might expect. It is then for CLTs to govern themselves and to introduce other techniques, such as external assessment and audit, if they so wish. As the sponsor of this Code, the National CLT Network will intervene as a last resort where a CLT was infringing the Code. It could also decide to publish the fact that a CLT was not meeting the relevant standard of good practice in the Code.
Westbourne Community Trust (WCT) Code of Conduct
1. The WCT is clear about the purpose of its work.
As a CLT, the WCT has a definition of the community it aims to serve1 and publicises it widely.
The WCT is clear that it provides its land, buildings, money and other resources for the benefit of its community. It is also clear that it provides these benefits in perpetuity. The WCT publicises these objectives widely.
As a CLT, WCT builds and holds its asset base, to enhance a sense of solidarity within its community, and to undertake further projects in future if it so wishes.
The WCT works in the interest of everyone in its community, irrespective of the backgrounds of individuals and whether or not they are members of the WCT2.
As well as promoting specific projects involving asset ownership, the WCT aims more generally to maximise the skills, social linkages and economic capacity of people in its community.
The WCT ensures that any profits are reinvested to finance further work that meets its objects.
2. The community and membership of the WCT
The WCT encourages all members of its community to become members of the CLT and to play an active part in its work.
The WCT reviews its membership once a year and regularly encourages people in the community to become members.
The WCT publishes an annual report and distributes it to people in its community
The WCT welcomes suggestions for action from people in the community throughout the year and provides feedback.
Once it owns property, the WCT will hold a meeting every year and will invite all individuals or households in the community to that meeting. The WCT encourages people at the meeting to highlight emerging local needs and to suggest solutions to these needs that the WCT might pursue. The WCT also takes account of the views of people unable to attend the meeting. Notes of such meetings are publicised.
3. The work of the WCT
The WCT assesses the needs of its community3 and develops proposals for projects that provide solutions to these needs.
As a CLT, WCT is open to providing land and buildings for a wide spectrum of uses and services in its community4.
The WCT pursues projects that have widespread support in the community5.
The WCT achieves a balance between standards and costs. It undertakes projects to good standards of design and specification while ensuring its projects are completed at reasonable cost and represent good value for money.
The WCT ensures that access for members of the community to its projects is fair and that any selection processes are open and transparent.
The WCT operates an active policy on equality of opportunity and diversity, and another on environmental sustainability.
The WCT works collaboratively with other CLTs.
4. Money and resources
The WCT seeks to engage a wide spectrum of people in its communities to provide funds for its schemes, and other resources such as professional skills, labour, land and buildings.
The WCT raises loans and grants on terms that enable it to give priority to meeting the interests of its local community6.
The WCT produces annual accounts and makes them widely available.
5. Board of Trustees
The Westbourne Community Trust is managed on behalf of its members by a Board of Trustees.
Board members work for public rather than personal benefit.
The WCT seeks to ensure that members of its Board are drawn from a wide cross section of its community and that no individual or group unduly influences the committee.
6. Reputation, behaviour and probity
The WCT seeks to enhance the reputation of all CLTs and does nothing to harm it.
The WCT accounts for its activities in an open manner and provides members of the local community with reasonable access to information.
The WCT avoids any suggestion of impropriety7. Its Board members act solely in a voluntary capacity in the best interest of the WCT and receive no payment except the reimbursement of reasonable expenses in line with their rules and recognised good practice in the CLT sector.
The WCT maintains a register of Board members’ interests. Where there is an actual or possible conflict of interest, the WCT decides whether this makes Board membership untenable for the individual concerned, whether the individual shall have no involvement in the matter or whether the matter can be managed by ensuring that his/her interests are declared and registered.
The WCT is aware that a conflict of interest arises if a Board member, his/her family members or close associates are connected with any organisation or person that can gain financially from a contract awarded by the WCT. The same applies to services and benefits in kind provided by the WCT8. The WCT’s Board members only receive benefits in kind from the WCT’s work that are available to all members of the community9.
The WCT has a robust system for dealing with complaints that is publicly available.
1 Some communities may be defined geographically and others may be defined as communities of interest
2 Subject to the facts that it will not always be possible to reconcile differing views in the community, or to work with those whose interests do not align with the ethos or objectives of the CLT.
3 Where possible, the WCT collects detailed evidence on the needs it aims to meet.
4 In many cases, it will only be practicable for the WCT to promote projects that meet one or two needs at a time, but it is important that the WCT remains open to meeting a variety of needs in its projects over the years.
5 Evidence of widespread support may follow community surveys or the production of a local or parish plan.
6 For example, the terms of funding for housing schemes should enable the WCT to give first priority in allocating homes to those in its community, ahead of nominees of housing authorities.
7 The WCT is aware that matters such as conflicts of interest and the acceptance of gifts and hospitality are particularly sensitive.
8 An example of such benefit in kind is preferential allocation for committee members, their families and associates to sub-market housing provided by the CLT.
9 Examples of such benefits are the services offered by a community shop or a sports field.