Derwent Brass are members of Brass Bands England (BBE) and the pandemic months have allowed some time out of the band room to get up to speed on membership benefits and other back office improvements.
BandSafe' - an industry leading selection of tools, training and resources to help manage a band in a way that safeguards all its members from harm, as well as protecting the group from possible reputational damage. The thought process is that a safer group will create a healthy atmosphere for all and should have the added benefit of increased membership, developing younger players and forging stronger community links.
It is made up of several elements:
- BandSafe Audit: a review of all band policies, processes and requirements to ensure the band are in line with the standards developed in partnership by the NSPCC and BBE.
- Mandatory BandSafe Training: also developed in partnership with the NSPCC, this 3.5-hour workshop is tailored to the challenges we might face as a band.
- BBE-held BOPA: once BandSafe approved, the band can use a BBE-held BOPA (Body of Persons Approval) which negates the need to enter into all the admin associated with Child Performance Licensing.
The band's committee set about a full document, process and policy review to ensure we have everything in place that is required of the BandSafe audit to demonstrate complete compliance. Further, two of the band's welfare officers (Rachel Beckett and Jennifer Marsden) completed the mandatory course from which the feedback was very positive.
Speaking with Sam Fisher, the recently appointed Safeguarding Officer at Brass Bands England, it transpires that they train roughly 450 delegates per year since the initiative was launched, which no doubt has made a substantial positive impact in brass band welfare across the country which can only be applauded. Further, of the 430 member organisations (note that some organisations may have several bands within them) 80 are fully eligble for BandSafe status and are actively using the BOPA.
Whilst we don't currently have a requirement for a BOPA (none of our members are 'children'), what we do have a requirement for is the security that we have everything in place and can offer a fully compliant and well managed environment for any prosepctive young and other musicians.
However, being Derwent Brass, and wanting to be at the forefront of everything we do, we decided to take all this a step further with a new 'digital member handbook' - or rather anything other than a traditional handbook! Using the kanban style app based web platform 'Trello' we set about developing a new interface which puts all our new and revised policies, processes, assets, forms, insurance information, resources and so on at the finger tips of our members, who can access this information 24/7 via the web or mobile application. Whilst we have had an online 'members section' for several years, this has taken things one step further, offering something truely dynamic and we look forward to further integrations with the band's calendar and such like in the future.
"New members have always been impressed by the band's printed 'Welcome Pack' and its online 'Members Section' - indeed we pride ourselves on being organised and onboarding people in the right way from the get-go. The only problem is that printed copies can easily end up anywhere and become easily outdated.
In the business world companies are making strides to 'digital handbooks' and of course many utilise sharepoint and intranet style sites too. Offering this solution for our members is a professional and overall time-saving solution and I expect we will reap the reward of this initial time investment for months and years to come." (Chris Leonard, Band Manager)
If you are another organiaiton wondering how best to approach a review like this, compliance, and moving to a digital world, drop us an email: [email protected] - we'll always help where we can.