Site Reps Role
SITE REP. Role Description
The Site Representative is a plot holder elected by the plot holders of their site to represent them to the Council and to play a part in the management of the site for the Council, they are essentially providing a degree of self management to the service. They are effectively the bridge between the plot holders and the Council. It can be a rewarding job, but can also be quite a complex position to be in.
On the one hand you are representing the plot holders but on the other you are making sure those same plot holders are keeping to the rules and managing their plots sufficiently. It helps to remember that Site Reps are representing all of the plot holders on a site. Problems like spreading weed seeds, people hogging taps in summer or antisocial fires can be a problem for many other plot holders. So really, Site Reps are representing the interests of the plot holders as a whole.
The Site Rep role seems to have gotten a reputation for being a somewhat punitive role, but that is not what it is supposed to be. The best Site Reps are helpful and encouraging to their plot holders and have a big part to play in creating a friendly community on sites. It’s a role that requires good people skills as, in the main that is what they do; they work with and help the plot holders as well as help maintain the site.
Up until recently, the Site Reps were appointed by the Council Allotments Officer, but during the Allotment Strategy process it was decided that seeing as they were there to represent plot holders they should all actually be elected by their plot holders.
The Site Reps role (2019)
What is the role of the site representative?
The Site Representative is a plot holder elected by the plot holders of their site to represent them to the Council and to play a part in the management of the site for the Council.
Site Reps take care of the letting process.
They are free to arrange how they do this according to their own preferred method, but usually there are two letting sessions a year, one in autumn and one in spring. The Site Representative will receive the current waiting list and a vacant plot list from the Council. They will then make sure the vacant plots are in a state which is ready to be let. If they are not they will alert the Council as to what needs to be done in readiness for letting. (Strimming / Rubbish removal etc)
They will contact the potential new tenants, arrange for them to visit the site (usually in a group) and show them around the vacant allotment plots. They will offer the tenant a choice of plot and size, either a half plot or a full plot if available. They then sign-up new tenants and co-workers and give out keys in return for a deposit.
Site Reps overlook the Site Infrastructure
They keep an eye on the infrastructure of the site and pass information to the council on issues relating to the running of the allotment site, issues such as site security and ensuring there is a working water supply without leaks.
Site Reps carry out a Site Inspection
Site Reps carry out a site inspection at the start of the growing year and identify plots which are not being used sufficiently. They look out for plots which are largely uncultivated or have too many pernicious weeds, plots which have accumulated rubbish or have a dangerous structure. They also look out for plots which have large trees or hedges especially if they are a problem for neighbours. They can investigate if there are reasons for any of these issues, for instance ill health and make concessions in that case.
They then make a list which they pass to the allotment officer. The allotment officer will make another inspection later to see if the issues have been rectified and if they haven’t he will send notification letters. The allotment office itself is responsible for further actions.
Attend Meetings and help create a sense of Community on site.
Site Representatives are encouraged to attend BHAF Site Rep meetings, no more than 4 a year, where they can raise issues, gain support and keep up to date with developments. They should also try and foster a friendly supportive community on site, and promote the aims of the 2014 allotment strategy.
Site Representatives will have their plot fee waived as a small thank you for their work, they will also be receiving Council Staff benefits.
This description can be downloaded and printed out from the link below
An overview of what the roles entails was also agreed as below by Site Reps at a series of workshops hosted by ‘Food Matters’. in 2016
Site Reps are responsible for
- Organising the letting of vacant plots to those residents who have registered their interest on the Council waiting list, ensuring this process is carried out fairly and with regard to the needs and preferences of all.
- Following the standards and systems agreed for the service, managing confidential information with integrity, and using effective record-keeping and communication with all parties involved.
- Providing advice, support and encouragement to tenants, and participating in the annual inspection process, ensuring tenants are aware of their responsibilities, and supporting those tenants where illness or personal circumstances have affected their capacity to fulfil their contractual commitments.
- Playing a positive role in resolving disputes and avoiding conflict wherever possible, participating in training and refresher workshop when offered, to ensure that all tenants are supported and advised with equal, sensitive and consistent respect.
- Engaging in the implementation of the agreed Allotment Service strategy, and communicating regularly and effectively with the Allotment Officer and with the Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation to maintain positive and effective relationships which work for everyone.
- Monitoring the need for repairs and rubbish collections and representing the site to ensure it is maintained to an appropriate standard, safe for tenants and visitors, while minimising waste and over-use of resources.
- Promoting the importance of allotments through building a sense of community and empowerment for all tenants, and developing shared initiatives such as social events, open days, and projects on site or jointly with other sites, or with local interest groups and wildlife organisations.
- Maintaining awareness of proposals and plans which may impact on allotments and their immediate environment, and encouraging effective management of wildlife and biodiversity, including avoiding inappropriate use of chemicals, and discouraging excessive clearance of trees and habitats.
- Attending BHAF Forum, Site Rep Workshops, and other meetings, providing input to consultations and debates, and supporting and participating in the work of the BHAF Committee as part of a City wide network providing and sharing information, expertise and knowledge across all allotment sites.
Site Representatives provide a key communication link between tenants, co-workers and the Allotment Officer, ensuring that a helpful, fair and consistent service can be maintained on all sites across the City.