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These are some notes about the choices for a sustainable future for the Tree Warden Network on Wirral,

These options were resolved at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM,) on Thursday 27th July 2023, with option 2 selected. There were not sufficient numbers putting themselves forward for the committee, which the Tree Council advised made the local network unviable.

Consideration of options for Wirral Tree Warden Network

Option 1 – WTWN remains a Charitable Unincorporated Association as per the Constitution which was adopted on the 15th day of July 2017 If this is the option chosen, then there are actions that need to be taken: ● The Executive Committee shall consist of not less than 6 members nor more than 10 members, these members having been elected at an AGM. There should be an elected Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. ● The Executive Committee may in addition appoint not more than 2 co-opted members. TTC recommend that an Officer from Wirral Council, for example Nicola or someone from her team is one of the co-opted members to maintain close working relationships with the local authority. Nicola and her team at Wirral Council have offered much support to the group, with training, meeting room space, training, etc. and this support should be harnessed by the Wirral Tree Warden Network. ● The group should register with the Charity Commission, (an example would be Surrey Tree Warden Network, who are also a Charitable Unincorporated Association in association with The Tree Council). ● The new Executive Committee should hold regular meetings as they are responsible for running the Network, appointing and managing Tree Warden volunteers within the Network. ● Other members of the executive Committee can support this work by helping with responsibility for the website, newsletters and promotion of the group, as well as helping with organising events and activities ● Ensure that all appropriate insurance remains in place for Committee members, as well as for volunteer TWs and public liability for holding community events. Remember that those who sit on the Executive Committee are legally responsible for the members of this Network, and should therefore have appropriate insurance to cover their liability in this role. ● Maintain a GDPR compliant Database of members, with a clear privacy policy and elect a member of the Executive Committee to be the responsible names person for managing the database of volunteer Tree Wardens. ● The Executive Committee is responsible for ensuring required and appropriate policies and procedures are in place including membership policy, financial policy, safeguarding policy and health and safety policy, and privacy policy. ● The Executive Committee is responsible for the annual Membership fee to The Tree Council’s TW Scheme (currently £175/year), although some networks get support with this from their local authority, and perhaps this is something that can be considered in discussion with Nicola and her team. ● Appoint a TW Coordinator from the Committee, usually this is the Chair or the Secretary but could be anyone on the Committee- this person is the main contact with The Tree Council and with TW volunteers. ● Prepare a regular training programme for Tree Warden volunteers, Tree Council training modules are there to help, ● Prepare a regular activities and project programme for the TW volunteers in consultation with and support of the members. ● Work positively with Wirral Council, remaining on the Advisory Group for the Tree Strategy, and be open to other opportunities for joint working and partnership ● Have an appropriate bank account for the Network, as outlined in the Constitution. • (1) The funds of the Charity, including all donations contributions and bequests, shall be paid into an account operated by the Executive Committee in the name of the Charity at such bank as the Executive Committee shall from time to time decide. All cheques drawn on the account must be signed by at least two members of the Executive Committee.

Option 2- Close the Current Network and The Tree Council set up a new Network with Wirral Council, through Nicola and her team ● The Tree Council has vast experience of setting up networks within Local Authorities and can offer reassurance that model that can work rather well. Wirral Council, through Nicola and her team are keen to support TWs in Wirral and ensure that the Network has a future should remaining an Independent Network not be viable. ● Wirral Council would take on responsibility for running the Network, recruiting and managing volunteer TWs, and supporting TW volunteers with their activities and training. ● The Tree Council propose that all existing TWs are moved over to the new Network, subject to approval by Wirral Council and any volunteering or safeguarding policies that need to be followed. ● Wirral Council would be responsible for covering the health and safety of volunteers including insurance and safeguarding. ● Wirral Council would be responsible for annual membership to The Tree Council’s TW Scheme. ● The Tree Warden Coordinator would usually be an officer from the local authority responsible for the TW Network, but there is no reason a volunteer from the group couldn’t be appointed by the local authority in this role working closely with officers at the council. ● A training programme alongside a list of activities and projects should be planned between the TW Coordinator and the volunteers - and again use TTC training materials as needed. The Tree Council suggest that a small core group of Tree Warden volunteers could be invited to join a small working group led by the new Coordinator at Wirral Council to help plan and organise volunteer training and events. ● The Tree Council are positive that if Wirral Tree Wardens are embedded in Nicola’s team, then TWs have an even greater opportunity, than they already do, to be fully engaged with the delivery of the Tree Strategy, as well as an opportunity to get involved in other plans, policies and strategies at the council including for example Nature Recovery plans. Wirral Tree Wardens already have a place on the Advisory Group for the Tree Strategy and there is no reason this should stop going forward if the Network is set up in the local authority. In fact at The Tree Council, we encourage local authority coordinatorsto engage their volunteer Tree Wardens with consultations on plans and policies that are connected to the treescape, including giving them a voice within the local authority in relation to tree and hedgerow protection, and for TW volunteers to work positively with their local authority and Tree Warden Coordinator. ● There would be no need for a separate Network bank account as the local authority would be responsible for income and expenditure related to the Tree Warden Network. A possible downside is that local authorities cannot apply for as wider a range of charitable grants as can voluntary groups, but the good news is that The Tree Council’s Community Grants are open to all Tree Warden Networks including those set up in Local Authorities, who are usually exempt from applying for our grants

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