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					  Somerset County Council – Children & Young People’s Directorate
(Partnerships) Interim Guidance on use of SCC premises and minibuses
                 by private sector companies 13.8.2010

This interim guidance is issued in order to clarify the circumstances in which it is
acceptable for private sector companies to benefit from the use of SCC-owned premises
and minibuses.

Changes in the landscape of work with children, young people and communities have
seen a rapid and marked growth in the number of private sector organisations delivering
work with young people. These range from large national companies to small scale
partnerships and individuals, while their delivery includes service provision on behalf of the
local authority, charitably funded and locally commissioned in response to young people’s
needs.

Definition of private sector

For the purposes of this document, the term ‘private sector’ includes for-profit companies,
limited liability partnerships, self-employed contractors and sole traders. If in doubt, details
of the governance and legal status of an organisation should be sought. Unless the
constitution or articles of incorporation clearly show a charitable or not-for-profit basis, it
should be assumed to be in the private sector.

SCC-owned buildings

Somerset County Council owns and manages a number youth (and community) centres
and children’s centres. These have quite rightly come to be seen and used as resources
for the communities they serve, and are managed on this basis by local staff teams.
Where private sector organisations wish to use an SCC-owned building in relation to the
delivery of services for children and young people, it is for local managers to decide
whether it is an appropriate use of the building, and fits with Somerset County Council’s
purpose and values. Charges for use of SCC premises in these situations are for local
managers to agree, but efforts should be made to ensure the cost to private sector
organisations reflects comparable commercial premises costs. It is important to avoid
Somerset County Council subsidising the profit of a commercial organisation.

Buildings and service provision are covered by SCC’s public liability and employer’s
liability insurance when it’s staff and volunteers are present, and buildings are covered for
claims arising from the authority’s negligence. Any organisation using a building must be
responsible for its own public and employer’s liability insurance, whether or not any
payment is made for the hire.

Where joint work takes place with another organisation, there should be some form of
written agreement showing who is responsible for what.

It should be remembered that in the eyes of the public, it is often impossible to separate
the building from the delivery within it. Thus a poor quality service provided by an
independent group from an SCC building may have a negative impact on the authority’s
image and public confidence in it. It is therefore important that booking procedures and
hire agreements make clear the responsibilities of the hirer to ensure a responsible use of



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the building which is considerate to close neighbours and the wider community, and is
compatible with SCC’s purpose and values.

SCC-owned minibuses

Somerset County Council provides and insures minibuses for use in connection with the
business of SCC, and use in connection with the business of any voluntary, charitable or
welfare group, whilst on hire or loan from the authority.

It is possible for a private sector organisation to use an SCC minibus in circumstances
where:
      Joint work is being undertaken with SCC staff and the agreement covering this
        states that the minibus will be available and insured for use during the project, and
        is part of the authority’s ‘in kind’ contribution to the project; or,
      A private sector organisation’s services are procured on behalf of SCC and the
        partnership agreement, contract or service level agreement states that an identified
        minibus will be available and insured as part of the resources available from SCC in
        support of the service delivery

SCC insurance does not cover use of minibuses by private sector organisations while
engaged in activity on their own behalf. It is not possible for SCC minibuses to be hired
and insured under a third party’s policy, even when this activity is funded by the local
authority.

Examples of where a private sector group can use an SCC minibus:
    A school commissions the delivery of an activity programme for pupils and the use
     of the school minibus is specifically included in the contract for the work
    In partnership work between a Local Service Team and a private sector
     organisation where the agreement includes use of the LST or other defined SCC
     minibus for the duration of the project

Examples of where a private sector organisation cannot use an SCC minibus:
    A school commissions the delivery of an activity programme and the private
     provider asks to use a minibus from another school, the Local Service Team or
     other SCC service
    A private provider charges young people for access to an activity programme and
     wants to use a school, Local Service Team or other SCC service minibus
    A private provider works with the local community to raise money to fund a summer
     residential and wants to use a school, Local Service Team or other SCC service
     minibus

Somerset County Council operates minibuses under Section 19 permits, which require that
they must not be used with a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity which is itself
carried on for profit. A private provider’s use of a minibus could be seen as incidental to an
activity which is carried on for profit (the provision of services to young people), therefore it
is important that written agreements for joint and commissioned work clearly state where
and under what circumstances a Somerset County Council minibus can be used.


Elisabeth Piecha Strategic Lead for Integrated Youth Services
Jeff Brown       Youth Services Manager


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