1. Displaying posters in libraries. Rules go
2. Data Protection Act. Should you register?  go
3. Copyright and Performing Rights. Are you paying the proper fees?  go
4. Refreshments and providing alcohol. go
5. Funding. You need the money go
6. Street Collections. You must have a Street Collecting Licence. go
7. Opening membership to under 18s. The Protection of Children Act 1999 go
8. Running a Workshop. Music, art, drama are all the same. go
9. Recruiting new members. Numbers are not enough. go

Displaying your poster or leaflet in Surrey Libraries

Your local library is a focal point for information about your community. These guidelines will help you understand the criteria the  library applies when deciding whether to display your poster or leaflet


"We do not have enough space within our libraries, entrance areas or grounds to display all the posters and leaflets we receive. This means:

  • we cannot guarantee to display your poster or leaflet
  • priority will be given to local events and services
  • we may not be able to display it for the length of time you would like, or where you would like
  • posters larger than A4 will be accepted at the discretion of the Library Manager
  • any posters or leaflets are displayed on the clear understanding that we do not endorse or recommend any non-Surrey County Council services, events or products displayed in its libraries
  • the Library Manager's decision is final. No ensuing discussion or correspondence will be entered into
  • if your poster or leaflet does not fit our criteria for display we may be able to include your details in our Community Information database. Please ask for details

NO! We are unable to accept:

  • any poster or leaflet which encourages support for a political party. This is due to legislation contained in the Local Government Act 1986
  • material of a campaigning nature
  • any poster or leaflet advertising commercial goods and services or private tuition
  • raffle tickets, petitions or collection boxes of any kind - either for money or other items (e.g. used stamps)

YES! Please ensure that your poster or leaflet:

  • is well produced
  • contains dear information
  • contains no out of date information

we are happy to accept displays of students' work when space permits. However, we cannot guarantee its safekeeping.
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Data Protection Act.

Should you register? what are your responsibilities?

The Information Commissioner ensures that organisations which process data, are doing so in line with the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The office keeps a list of registered Data Controllers. You will have a Data Controller, probably in the guise of Secretary. Should you register?

Most Clubs, Groups and Societies and individuals will be ‘Notification Exempt’. So don’t panic but also be aware of your responsibilites and where you could get into trouble. Also, don’t get the idea that if the information is not on a computer then everything is within the law because you would be wrong. Lists on paper still come under the Data Protection Act.

Chances are that you come under what is known as a ‘Not for Profit’ organisation where your data processing is for the maintenance of a membership list. Provided you keep basic information about such things as name and address then you should have no problem. However, if you include references to ethnic origin, details of partners then you could find yourself having to register. You also need the permission of your members to be included on a list but their membership of a body implies their consent. Don’t distribute your list willy-nilly; you could be invading somebody’s privacy. When a person leaves your body then you must remove their personal data after the relationship ends. If they give written consent to remain on your list then that is fine. If anybody thinks that you have breached the DPA in respect of themselves then their first action is to contact you. Should problems not be resolved then they can make a Request for Assessment.

You don’t have to Notify if processing is carried out for staff administration or for advertising, marketing and PR or accounts and records.

The eight principles of the DPA require that data be fairly and lawfully processed; processed for limited purposes; adequate, relevant and not excessive; accurate; not kept for longer than is necessary; processed in line with your rights; secure; and not transferred to countries without adequate protection

This is a brief introduction and the writer cannot be responsible for your decision. If you have any doubts then contact the Information Commissioners Office
or log-on to www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk  <- top


Copyright and performance of an author’s work.

Did you know that you just cannot get a group together to perform a work in copyright without paying a fee?

You probably know that you cannot buy one copy of say, a piece of music, and distribute photocopies. Did you know that there are some exceptions?

Any performance of copyright music, whether live or recorded, which takes place outside the home is regarded as a public performance and will usually require a licence from the Performing Rights Society. The PRS collects fee for the public performance of works and distributes money to its members - the writers and publishers of music.

The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society collects and distributes “mechanical” royalties which are generated by the recording of music onto many different formats.

PRS and MCPS have an operational alliance.

Licences are usually issued to the owner of the premises where the music is being  performed. A popular myth is that churches being places of religious worship, are exempt. This is untrue. A church is a concert venue just like any other.

If the venue does have a license then you must make your payment to them. They will pass on the payment to PRS. Typically, the fee is calculated at 4% of ticket takings. This comes out of your gross receipts; you cannot first deduct the cost of venue hire or fees paid to artistes.

If the venue does not have a license, then you as promoter are responsible for payment in respect of your society’s performance, if the programme
includes one or more works which are in copyright.

On occasions you might be invited to perform with another group. In this case you are not the promoter so you are not liable; fee payment is the responsibility of the other party.

All performances should be licensed regardless of whether or not there is a charge for admission.

There are various tariffs and what is charged depends upon the type of venue and the seating capacity. If you need to know more then visit the Performing Rights Web-site www.prs.co.uk

If you want to ensure that all of you fee obligations are met then consider joining Making Music www.makingmusic.org.uk. The procedure is to complete a Declaration Form, attach it to  your programme, then send it to Making Music. There has been a 30-day deadline but that and other requirements are under review.


You are limited in the number of photocopies you can make of a piece of material. It is possible to obtain a license for multiple copying of works. Go to Copyright Licensing Agency

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Sale of alcohol.

Do you include refreshments in your admission charge? If so, you might be breaking the law.

Apply for the correct license. The procedure is complicated but necessary in order to comply with the Licensing Act 2003.

Unless you have the appropriate license you are not permitted to sell alcohol. So if your ticket says ‘including refreshments’ then this would be construed as a sale. If the refreshment includes a glass of wine then this could mean trouble. Sale of alcohol requires you to have a license issued by the Local Authority.

There is nothing to stop you giving away refreshments. In other words if they are advertised ‘free’ or if your advertising simply says ‘Refreshments.’ then there should be no problem. However, you cannot get around the alcohol restriction by offering ‘your first glass of wine free, thereafter £1.50’.

The Licensing Act 2003 introduced a new regime which is administered by your Local Authority. The purpose of the Act extends beyond the sale of alcohol and now includes public entertainment, cinemas, theatres, late-night refreshment house and all-night cafés. Readers of this site will most likely be concerned with performances of concerts and shows in halls, churches and public places. Consequently this Advice for Groups section will concentrate on that aspect of the Act.

1. Premises selling to the public need a Designated Premises Supervisor and that person must have a Personal Licence. Typical premises are pubs.

2. Most non-profit clubs can apply for a Club Premises Certificate instead of a Personal Licence or Premises Licence as above. Typical premises are sports’ clubs, British Legion and working men’s clubs.

3. If your event will last for fewer than four days and attended by fewer that 499 people, you do not need the licences in 1 and 2 above. Your event is categorised as a Temporary Event for which you will need a Temporary Events Notice (TEN). See below about the application form which you will need to complete and the fees payable (currently £21).
 A TEN must be sent to the Council and to the Police at least 10 working days before the function. If the Police do not object, the function can then go ahead. Applicants are, however, requested to send in the Notice at least 28 days beforehand.

NB. You must must check your venue for the following.

  1. No premises may be used for temporary events on more than a total of 15 days in any calendar year.
  2. No premises (even public houses) may have more than 12 temporary events in any calendar Year.
  3. Anyone who does not hold a Personal Licence to sell liquor can only submit 5 notices in any single calendar year (Personal Licence holders are subject to a limit of 50 temporary events per calendar year but these would have to be spread over at least five different premises as each premises can only have 12 TEN's a year).
  4. There must be at least 24 hours before the next temporary event at the same premises if it is organised by the same person or his/her associate. So the same person(s) cannot run two consecutive temporary events without a break.

If you believe a Temporary Event Notice is appropriate, you can download the application forms here.
As Word document - P_TENupdate1105.doc
As Adobe Acrobat - P_TENupdate1105.pdf

Please do not accept what is written here as comprehensive or ‘gospel’. It is simply a guide as to what your responsibilities are in relation to the law. In practise, a lot depends upon the district in which you hold your performance. Some authorities are quite relaxed and sensible but the writer knows of some authorities who stick to the letter of the law. Contact your Local Authority before the event rather than afterwards.

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All groups need money. Where do get it?

There are many ways of raising money but you won’t get it unless you run your group in a business-like manner. So to get you started, consider first the following question.

Have you got a business plan?
“Er, what’s that?”

Sometimes when small arts or crafts organisations are asked for a "business plan", they feel anxious. "Why should we?" and "how can we?" are often the questions they ask. "We paint watercolours/put on plays/make videos/do embroidery/play music. We don't run a business."

The language of business is alien to many not-for-profit organisations. Whilst within the context of a commercial enterprise, profitability is the key, an arts organisation exists to do something different. Nevertheless, it will still need to make plans, however informal, to get things done and it will be accountable to its members as it carries out those plans. However, once public money (such as Arts Council or Regional Arts Board money) is involved, an organisation also becomes accountable to the funder and the public.

Making Music runs excellent Fund-raising seminars which are open to members and non-member for a very small fee.

The Voluntary Aids Network publishes Mapping The Future, a Guide to Business Planning.

If you are a member of Tandridge Arts then Katy Potter can give you advice.

The VAN Guide to Business Planning is designed to help you plan better and to make successful applications for funding. Designed for people in voluntary arts and other small organisations, the Guide will help you to understand the process of business planning and help you to write a plan which will be useful to you and fulfil the requirements of the funders.

It should be particularly useful for projects applying under the Arts Council England's Arts Capital Programme or the Regional Arts Boards' Regional Arts Lottery Programme (RALP).

It has been written in consultation with Arts Council England and the Regional Arts Boards and contains accurate, up to date information and advice.

Why do you need a business plan?

  • A business plan is one of the application requirements for two or three year projects under the Regional Arts Lottery Programme.
  • It is also a useful document for any organisation undertaking a capital development or a large or long term arts project.
  • In many ways the planning process is every bit as valuable to an organisation as the finished plan.

Mapping the Future is designed to help a very broad readership. Those who are creating a simple plan for a small scheme may not need to go through every step in the booklet.

You can download a pdf from www.vascotland.org.uk

Other sources of National Lottery funding

For general enquiries about National Lottery funding,
visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk or phone the National Lottery funding hotline on 0845 275 0000.

Awards for All
Phone: 0845 600 2040 www.awardsforall.org.uk

Community Fund
Phone: 0845 791 9191 www.community-fund.org.uk

Film Council
Phone: 020 7861 7861 www.filmcouncil.org.uk

Heritage Lottery Fund
Phone: 020 7591 6000 www.hlf.org.uk

Millennium Commission
Phone: 0800 06801 2000 www.millennium.gov.uk

(National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)
Phone: 020 7645 9500 www.nesta.org.uk

New Opportunities Fund
Phone: 0845 000 0121 www.nof.org.uk

Sport England
Phone: 020 7273 1500 www.sportengland.org

UK Sport
Phone: 020 7211 5100 www.uksport.gov.uk

Youth Music
Phone: 020 7902 1060 www.youthmusic.org.uk


Street Collections

Without the requisite permission, you could be breaking the law by begging.

Guidelines on Street Collecting

Collecting donations for a charity in the street or 'can-rattling' is a very familiar form of charity fund-raising. It can produce effective results and if well organised can help increase the profile of the organisation.

There are basically three types of street collection

1. those done door-to-door.
2. those where collectors stand on pitches in shopping streets

3. those where collectors stand in or visit individual commercial premises, such as supermarkets or pubs.

Street collections, known as public charitable collections, are regulated by law. To undertake the first two types, you must first seek the permission of the local authority.

It is illegal in this country to hold a Street Collection to collect money or to sell articles for the benefit of charitable or other purposes without obtaining a Street Collection Licence (aka Street Collection Permit) from the Council if that collection is to be held 'in a street or public place'. A 'public place' is a 'place where the public has access'.

Permits for Street Collections are granted by the Local Authority under the provisions of the Police, Factories etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 and governed by the Home Office Model Street Collections Regulations.

If the collection is to be made in the street, the council will need to know where you intend to 'pitch' and give you relevant permission for that location.  It is often assumed that collections which are held in shop doorways or car parks do not need an Street Collection Licence because they are being held on 'privately owned land'. This is not true. The issue of a Street Collection Licence does no entitle the holder to collect in private or business premises without the consent of the management. For example, if your chosen pitch is say, in the precinct of a supermarket and hence on private property, you will need the supermarket's permission as well.

Collections which are to be held in conjunction with carnival processions, bed pushing, standing displays, vehicles etc. require the co-operation of the Police as well. It does not suffice to obtain a Street Collection Licence only. It is your responsibility to contact the police.

No promoter, collector or person who is otherwise connected with a collection shall allow a person under the age of 16 years to act as a collector.

The use of animals in conjunction with street collections is not permitted. However, concessions might be made for guide dogs.

The sale of articles, magazines etc., in a public place for charitable purposes constitutes a street collection for which a permit would be required.

Deductions for travel expenses to and from the place of collection are NOT normally allowed.

Collecting tins should not have an open top like a bucket has. They must be sealed and numbered. The collector must remain static; not roam and solicit donations. At the end of the collection, the boxes should be opened and the contents counted by somebody who was not a collector.

In accordance with Regulations, it is necessary for a Form of Statement (certified by an accountant) to be submitted to the licensing authority within one month of the date of the collection.

Permit holders are required to publish, at their own expense, an account of the collection proceeds in a newspaper which circulates within the locality of the collection. A copy of the advertisement should then be sent to the council with the form of statement. Sometimes a newspaper will publish the details as a 'Letter to the Editor' free of charge.  The Council would require a copy of this published letter. There is an exception. Where the collected sum is below a certain figure, some local councils do not require publication in a newspaper.

If you are not a member of the Organisation for which you are proposing to collect, you must first obtain from them, approval to your holding a collection on their behalf. Written confirmation from the Organisation to this effect must accompany the completed application form.

These are guidlines which do not apply in every local authority area. Similarly, the requirements of some authorities might be more stringent. So before you do anything, contact you local council. They will be very helpful; they wouldn't want the bother of proceeding against an offender.

A final tip. Start your plans early, particularly if there is a pitch you fancy. The council will 'book' you into a location if it is available but in many areas, priority is given to such bodies as British Legion, Round Table and Rotary.

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The Protection of Children Act 1999

Opening membership to children who are under the age of 18.

Opening membership of your club or society to the under eighteens must be considered very carefully. The area is a potential minefield which needs careful navigation in order to attract the membership you need and keep within the law. The Protection of Children Act 1999 as it affects Groups must be observed and also earlier laws.

Your group is advised to establish a policy and define responsibilities and designate people for the safe-care of the children. You will need at least two members (allowing for absence) who will have to be checked by Criminal Records Bureau. Before accepting a child, parents would be required to give their permission and sign a written agreement.

If you are in Surrey, contact The Surrey Area Child Protection Committee would be involved. Contact them on

You might also have to satisfy the Charity Commissioners. check their site www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

An abbreviated publication on the subject is available on

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Running a Workshop.

Music, art or drama, it’s all the same in principle.

Thinking about runnning a Workshop? Then start now. Success depends upon planning well in advance. Whether it be for music, painting, arts & crafts, the same principles apply. For this example, we are taking a choral workshop. The steps to take are these.

Define your objectives.

Why do you want a  workshop? There has to be a good reason because it will determine how you plan and organise it and how much it will cost!.

This could be

  • for the general enjoyment of members and outsiders.
  • recruitment of new members.
  • to raise technical standards
  • to increase confidence and motivation.
  • a publicity opportunity.
  • to prepare for a concert or exhibition.
  • to provide training for like-minded people by an expert teacher, coach or conductor.
  • Do you plan to make a profit, a loss or break-even?


No one person can put together the whole event so form a small committee comprising the following.

1. A Secretary/Administrator. Must ...

  • be able to type and have access to office tools eg. computer, printer, photocopier.
  • Have a telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Know the subject and have musical contacts within the area.

2. On-the-day Co-ordinator. Must ...

  • be somebody who is not taking part in the workshop. It is not possible to organise people (particularly latecomers) if the co-ordinator is anxious about missing any of the workshop.
  • know the venue, caretakers, rules etc. Organising the venue cannot be left to the day of the event.

3. Publicity manager. Must ...

  • know about publicity,
  • know the subject,
  • have experience and skills to deal with press, radio, TV etc.
  • be able to plan a publicity campaign, not just produce ad hoc items.

4.Treasurer. Must ...

  • know how to produce a budget,
  • be able to keep a running record of income and expenditure
  • produce a final financial statement.

You now have a Committee so what’s next?

Now, this is fine to set up the committee but somebody still has to write out the whole plan for the committee members to follow.  This 'somebody' is probably the Workshop Secretary/Administrator. If the Intention is agreed then the method of achieving it has to be drawn up in detail.

Who is going to conduct the workshop?

  • Will you have to engage somebody? What will the cost be? Write a simple contract.

Where will it be held?

  • Consider parking, toilets, disabled access.
  • Make sure the size is adequate to accommodate the participants in comfort. Is the site suitable for registration?
  • Will refreshments be served and should arrangements be made to eat packed lunches?
  • Provide an adequate number of rooms for sectional rehearsals.
  • Do you need a piano or organ? Ensure the piano will be tuned. Arrange this in good time so that is ‘right’ on the day.
  • Will local alcohol or entertainment licenses be required?
  • What are the Fire Regulations?
  • Write a simple contract. The venue will possibly ask you to sign theirs.

The repertoire.

  • Choose the music carefully so as to attract the audience which you want. Make sure that the choice is suited to the voices and what you want to learn and rehearse. Will there be a public performance and is the repertoire suitable? Is there to be an admission charge?
  • Will you provide scores? If so, source well in advance. The popular works are always on demand from the libraries and you might have to book 12 months ahead. Will you make scores available to participants before the event? If so then make arrangements for hire charges, deposits and delivery and return. It is usually a good idea to give singers the chance to prepare in advance.

Communications and publicity.

  • Plan well in advance. Work out what you are offering; repertoire, conductor (with biography), date, time, place, cost. Answer the question 'What's in it for me?'.
  • The method; brochure and application form, posters, press advertisements, PR, web-site, local TV and radio. Distribute to music groups in your area, schools (if appropriate), libraries, local concert venues. Try to pinpoint names in groups or else you will become lost in their junk-mail.
  • Remember that printing takes time and that is the last stage after design and artwork. Also be aware that some copy dates for publications will be three months in advance of the publication date. Also check the cover date against the publication date. Some magazines will appear at the end of the month, others will have a publication date which is possibly two months in advance of the cover date.
  • Publicise your forthcoming events on the day and hand out your corporate brochure.
  • Ensure you have adequate signage in the venue so that the day runs smoothly. Don't leave it to the participants to seek to discover where they should go.
  • Have one point of contact on all matters as they affect the outside world. Make that person's name clear.

Day of reckoning.

What did it cost? Check against budget and make sure creditors are paid. Agree who signs the cheques. Did you make a financial profit or loss? Were the results as you expected? Did you gain any publicity? Do you win any new singers? In short, evaluate against your objectives. Finally ask yourself whether you would do it again!

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Recruiting new members

Simply to increase the numbers is rarely a good answer because you might end up with people who are unsuitable for your group.


Recruiting new members.

The principles of recruitment apply to all groups although what follows refers mainly to choirs.

Why do you want to recruit new members? Simply to increase the numbers is rarely a good answer because you might end up with people who are unsuitable for your group.

Do you need them to boost your financial income? This does not necessarily mean that you need performers but rather, sponsors, friends, patrons and audience.

Do you need to increase the number of  singers? Define the target for the total size of your choir. This is very important because you don't want to attract more performers than you need. For example, if you need to fill a vacancy in a string quartet , two applicants would make you into a quintet which is probably what you don't want!

Write down what you are now and what you want to be - and by when. For example,

  • small chamber choir performing Tudor music and madrigals. Immediate replacements of 2 retiring tenors
  • male-voice choir performing barbershop.
    Increase size from 12 to 16 over one year.
  • full choir performing major works of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn and Mozart. Maintain 80-90 members on a continuing basis.
  • small choir wishing to sing big works.
    Expand its capability over a three-years period.

Decide your NEEDS.

Do you need to fill vacancies in certain sections? Be precise about the numbers you need then take on only what and who you require.

What is your target audience? Imagine that you are the Sales Manager.

1. You might be appealing to new singers who are either new to singing or haven't sung since school or University. They will need to know how a society operates.
2. You might be appealing to existing singers who are thinking about a change, or considering an additional choir.

Make a list of what you offer.

  • How many concerts do you have in a year?
  • Is there a social side?
  • Where do you perform?
  • What is your repertoire?
  • What is the experience of your conductor and what does he offer?
  • How do the interested go about trying you out?
  • How much will it cost and what is the consequent value?

Does the applicant meet your requirements? Now imagine that you are the Senior Buyer! Does the applicant measure up with the following?

  • Experience and expertise. Ability to sing solos.
  • Regular attendance at rehearsals
  • Obligations related to publicity and purchase/sale of concert tickets.
  • Ability to pay subscription and other costs.
  • Acceptance of initial and periodical auditioning. Make it clear why you audition.
  • Who decides an applicant's suitability?

It is not the purpose of this section to advise on publicity but remember that your efforts will come to nothing unless you tell people what you need and what you have to offer.

What do you do with all those new singers queuing at you door?

  • Establish a procedure for receiving them at rehearsals.
  • Appoint a person to welcome them at their first appearance. This is usually the chairman.
  • Assign them a 'friend' in their section who will look after them, show them the ropes and answer any queries.
  • Introduce them to the conductor. Apart from being a matter of courtesy, the conductor needs to know what the new face is singing!
  • Don't put the prospect under pressure. It is no good if they don't tell you what they really think and simply do not reappear after the first term. Perhaps another choir will suit them better. So be generous with leaflets and information about other choirs which can be a gateway to the regional artistic community.

If you define your objectives clearly, then everything you do to achieve them will follow easily.

VERY important is to have an 'exit strategy'. If you don't like new or existing performers, decide a process for getting rid of them.

Finally, here is a bit of advice to all choir members from Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of Making Music. "How about getting every single member of our societies to declare that they will never in any circumstances utter the dreaded words 'YOU CAN'T SIT THERE.....' ?"



These notes are for guidance only. The writer cannot be held responsible for decisions based solely on this content. If in doubt, seek advice.

Active Groups