Congregation/Church Council Responsibilities
One of the many roles of your Church Council/Management Committee is to protect the Church, its members and church property.
Regulations of the Uniting Church in Australia – 4.4.1 and 4.4.4
Regulation 4.4.1 - Church Council shall be responsible for the management and administration of all property of the Church acquired or held for the use of the Congregation.
Regulation 4.4.4 - At least once in every year the Church Council shall review the following matters in respect of each property for which it is responsible:
(a) the state of repair and
(b) the adequacy of the insurance cover.
The Presbytery & Synod of South Australia utilises the services of an appointed insurance broker. Uniting Church Insurance Services continually seeks to ensures that a broad insurance program exists that will protect the assets, liabilities and approved activities of the Church and Congregations.
To protect the users of church property it is necessary to conduct regular checks to ensure that the buildings:
- are fitted with appropriate fire safety equipment and that these items are regularly serviced;
Church Councils should also be aware of:
- regulations regarding increased “duty of care” for people working with children, youth and vulnerable people; (Contact: Safe Church, Training and Development Officer)
- changes to the definition of a worker under the workers compensation legislation and how this may affect your church; (Contact: Human Resources Manager)
All children’s play equipment and play areas must comply with current statutory regulations. Equipment should be well maintained and the surrounding areas kept clean and tidy. Eg. Statutory regulation requires that any play equipment over 500mm in height requires soft fall.
There are stringent compliance requirements in relation to children’s spaces and play areas. Please refer to the link below for important information.
Playgroups & Crèches
If an independent Playgroup/Crèche is conducted on Uniting Church premises, a Certificate of Currency covering the Playgroup/Crèche organiser, must be provided to the church as evidence of Public Liability cover.
If the church itself is conducting a Playgroup/Crèche program using a venue belonging to someone else, a Certificate of Currency needs to be obtained from the property owner, as evidence of their Public Liability cover being in place.
i. Ministers’ Belongings
A minister’s personal household insurance policy does not usually cover items stored, or used away from their residence. Minister’s personal clothing and privately owned tools of trade* are covered under Synod insurance if housed in a Synod owned premises.
ii. Privately Owned Belongings (other than Ministers’)
Privately owned property stored on church premises is not covered by the church’s insurance policies unless specifically arranged with Insurance Services. It is important to understand that there is no automatic insurance cover for privately owned musical instruments left on church premises. Insurance Services will endorse your policy prior to an event if you ‘assume responsibility’ for private property which is to be left in, and used by, the church for an extended period of time.
Contract Works Policy
A Contract Works policy provides cover during building works for damage occurring to the works and also includes public liability cover for damage resulting from the works. Principals, Contractors and Sub-Contractors are included as part of the insured name to also provide them with cover. The Contract Works premium will depend on the total value of the building works for each section of cover. Individual contracts are to be declared as they occur.
Contact Property Department and Insurance Services to arrange cover prior to the commencement of the project.
Rebuilding and Alterations to Property
Church Council must formally endorse the intended project. Prior to entering into any contract for building alterations, additions or new projects above $10,000 or any project structural in nature, you must submit an “Application to Build” to Property Services for approval. Contact the Congregational Property Advisor for the relevant form.
The Congregational Property Advisor will liaise and support congregations regarding the planning and supervision of the building project (including insurance cover) for the term of the project.
Projects up to the value of $50,000 require the approval of both your Church Council and Property Services. Contacts in this price range can be formalised by the use of a “Minor Works Agreement” form.
All projects above $50,000 require a recognised building contract.
Generally, the contractor will arrange the insurance. Where it is determined that it is in the best interest for the Uniting Church to insure the project, the Building Contract needs to reflect that UCSA will insure the works and Insurance Services will arrange cover under the Uniting Church SA Contract Works policy accordingly. It is imperative that the party intended to be responsible for insuring the works (ie. ‘Contractor’ or ‘Owner’) is named where specified in the Building Contract.
All contractors are required to produce evidence of public liability insurance up to an agreed amount, but no less than $20,000,000 (unless otherwise agreed by Property Trust) prior to engagement.