Finance and Property policy: Property management policy

Information that will help you manage your property

Property and other assets (except Scotland)

Land and buildings owned freehold by, or leased to, any unit or area of Girlguiding, must be held in the name of trustees. Girlguiding units and areas are encouraged to use The Guide Association Trust Corporation as sole trustee to hold their property, but local trustees may be appointed instead (although if a local trustee retires, moves away or unfortunately dies, a new trustee must be appointed in their place).

If local trustees are to be used to hold property, up to four individuals can act as local trustees under a Declaration of Trust and in this capacity are known as 'holding trustees'. They are not themselves 'charity trustees' responsible for the management of the charity in the form of the unit or area, nor are they responsible for the management of the property if it has been delegated to a property or local management committee.

Local trustees must hold property in accordance with the Association's standard form of trust deed. All property must be held for the direct benefit of the unit or area concerned. The only exception is property gifted or historically held on trust that does not comply with this.

Local trustees must execute a Declaration of Trust in accordance with the Association's standard trust deed (available on request from the Legal Department by emailing [email protected]).

Trust Corporation

The Guide Association Trust Corporation is:

  • incorporated as a charitable company limited by guarantee
  • registered as a charity
  • operated by the Association as a service to its membership.

It acts as sole trustee and holds freehold or leasehold land and buildings (except in Scotland) and investments on behalf of Girlguiding units and areas. It also holds property jointly for Girlguiding units at all levels and scout groups. The Guide Association Trust Corporation currently holds over 600 properties on behalf of guide units and areas.

It is important to note that the Guide Association Trust Corporation merely acts as a custodian trustee in holding legal title to property on behalf of Girlguiding units and areas. It does not have any decision making powers and is not responsible for the management or administration of the property. This remains the responsibility of the Girlguiding unit or area usually through a management committee and includes responsibility for insuring, repairing and maintaining the property.

The Guide Association Trust Corporation holds property in accordance with its trust deed of 1938 (available on request by emailing [email protected]).

Further details of The Guide Association Trust Corporation’s property holding and ancillary legal support services are set out in the paper An Introduction to the Trust Corporation.

To find out if your property is currently held by The Guide Association Trust Corporation or if you wish The Guide Association Trust Corporation to act as a trustee in holding your guide property, please contact the Legal Department by completing and returning the Preliminary Legal Enquiry form to [email protected].

Investments

Investments (other than working funds) belonging to a unit or area must be held by:

  • local trustees, or
  • The Guide Association Trust Corporation, which offers a limited investment holding service.

We recommend that investment transactions are made with the advice of a stockbroker or other licensed adviser. The Guide Association Trust Corporation offers a service to guiding areas at all levels that wish to invest in either cash investments (by way of a pooled cash deposit account with NatWest) or stock market investments (managed by CCLA, a specialist charity investment provider). Please contact [email protected] for further details of the investment service.

Cash and investments are held by The Guide Association Trust Corporation as custodian trustee only and it offers no investment advice and has no decision making powers. Decisions regarding withdrawals or further investments are dealt with at the direction of the unit or area concerned. 

Property and other assets in Scotland

Land or buildings

Any land or buildings owned or leased to any unit, District, Division or County should be held in the names of the following appointment holders as ex officio trustees:

  • the County Commissioner
  • the County Secretary
  • a Division Commissioner, an appropriate District Commissioner, or the Chairman of the appropriate Local Association or Friends of Guiding. Advice on property ownership or leasing is available through the offices of Girlguiding Scotland.

Cash and investments

Cash reserves (other than working funds) and investments held by a Scottish unit or area should be held by the relevant trustees, on behalf of that unit or area. These trustees should be appropriate appointed members (see above), regardless of whether or not the unit or area is a charity, and the accounts or investments should, in addition to the names of the trustees, have them described as trustees for that particular unit or area.

Scottish charity legislation also requires that, when making investments, trustees should:

  • consider the suitability of the proposed investments
  • consider whether they need to obtain appropriate advice on their power to invest, or whether investments should be changed
  • if they decide advice is required, obtain it from someone who they believe has the ability, practical experience and appropriate qualifications to provide proper advice.

Where land, buildings or other assets are owned by a unit or any other part of Girlguiding Scotland that is a Scottish charity, there is an obligation on the trustees to ensure that the assets are used for guiding activities, meeting the unit or area's charitable purpose.

 

Local Management Committees

A Local Management Committee (LMC) should be formed to deal with the day-to-day management and administration of the land or buildings for which it has responsibility.

An LMC must have a formal written constitution that is registered at Country or Region Offices. A draft constitution can be obtained from Country and Region Offices.

It is also important to note that the LMC is not a charity in its own right and members of a property or LMC are not 'charity trustees' merely by virtue of being a member of the LMC. The LMC is simply a sub-committee of the Girlguiding unit or area which is the relevant charity for the purposes of registering with the Charities Commission. Find out more about Charitable Status.

Insurance

The LMC must ensure that the building(s) are insured for the full rebuilding cost and that the cover is reviewed annually. The interest of The Guide Association Trust Corporation or local trustees must be noted on the insurance policy. In the case of Scottish properties the interest of the trustees of heritable property should be noted.

With leasehold property the provisions of the lease generally govern insurance requirements.

The Association's Public Liability policy covers all guiding land and buildings against personal injury and other public liability claims. It is not necessary to arrange independent cover.

However, the Association's insurance policies do not cover property belonging to a unit or area for fire, theft or any other risk.

It is the responsibility of the appropriate Leader, Commissioner or LMC to ensure that all property and equipment is adequately covered by an All Risks policy. Girlguiding's Insurance Service has a bespoke facility with Unity Insurance Services who are able to provide such property and equipment insurance policies.

Joint property

Property owned jointly with The Scout Association must be held by trustees, preferably The Guide Association Trust Corporation or The Scout Association Trust Corporation.

The Guide Association Trust Corporation holds joint property in accordance with its joint trust deed of 1975. This provides for the appointment of a Joint Committee and the basis of a constitution for that Joint Committee (the 1975 joint trust deed is available on request from the Legal Department at [email protected]).

Advice on the ownership of joint properties in Scotland should be obtained from the offices of Girlguiding Scotland.

Sponsored units

Unless the sponsoring agreement requires otherwise, sponsored units should hold land and buildings in the names of:

  • The Guide Association Trust Corporation or local trustees, or
  • in Scotland, the appropriate appointment holders as trustees (see Scotland, above).

Hiring and letting of guiding premises

All hiring's and lettings of guiding premises, however brief, should involve a written agreement with the hirer or tenant.

Guiding equipment

Equipment belonging to a unit does not normally need to be held by trustees, except where the title to the equipment needs to be registered, eg motor vehicles. In this case the Association's standard trust deed should be executed by the person, or persons, in whose name the vehicle is registered. This trust deed is not applicable in Scotland.

Details of the trust deed can be obtained from [email protected]  Advice on the ownership of equipment in Scotland is available from the offices of Girlguiding Scotland.

Equipment belonging to a unit or area is not covered by Girlguiding's insurance. It is the responsibility of the unit or area to take out an All Risks policy to cover any equipment. Girlguiding's Insurance Service has a bespoke facility with Unity Insurance Services who are able to provide such property and equipment insurance policies.

Published: 8 September 2016