Applications for affiliation are considered from individuals without a current group, or from a team or individual with a group in another area, or from a majority of an existing group team in that area.
A spreadsheet should be used to log the dates of start and completion of each major step. The details of the application are listed. If there is more than one application for an area they should generally be dealt with in the order of receipt by NGT of a completed application form.
If the enquiry is from outside the UK a standard rejection letter is sent and the details of the application filed in NGT and/or info@ mailboxes in appropriately labelled folders.
The caseworker assigned to process an application should:
- Check reuse groups already operating in the area -
- If there is an active Freegle group a standard response is sent informing the applicant that the area is already covered.
- If there is a Freegle group within the area that would be split by the new application the caseworker refers the applicant to the appropriate group's owner.
- The caseworker can consider whether to approach an existing non-Freegle group to see whether they wish to affiliate instead of starting a new Freegle group. To do this, the majority of the group’s volunteers must agree, have the right to the group’s membership list, agree to work to Freegle’s Best Practice and mandatory requirements, and move within a timetable given by the caseworker.
- Consider the area the new proposed new group will cover using Freegle Affiliated Group Area Guidelines.
- Consider the proposed name of a new group, using Freegle Affiliated Group Name and Logo Guidelines.
- Inform existing Freegle groups of the proposed new group and applicant via a notice or email announcement on Modtools, Discourse or other agreed method. A time frame for response will be given (not less than 48 hours) with no obligation to chase replies, although comments based on local knowledge may be considered at any time before approval.
- Consider the suitability of an applicant.
Has the applicant:
- A history of spamming or of extensive multigroup joining, other than having had a hacked account or for Freegle national work requirements.
- An internet history showing them to be intolerant e.g. making offensive comments on gender, sexuality, disability, religion etc.
- A convincing commitment and motivation to taking on this community and no recent indications to the contrary.
- Ensured that the mandatory rules of Freegle are being implemented if they already run a community.
- Acted in ways that could, on the balance of probability, likely bring the name of Freegle into disrepute.
Recommendations for Approval
The caseworker creates a file to include:
- The application form
- Relevant correspondence, or a summary of that, with local groups/other relevant parties
- Research into the geographical area, population, name, keeping to basic information unless wider knowledge is felt required.
- The final recommendation
Poll for new group applications:
- Poll on whether it is in the best interests of the community and Freegle to affiliate and appoint the new volunteer/team taking into the above considerations.
- If the poll, by a simple majority of those voting, doesn’t agree to the appointment, the community will not be affiliated until further discussions have taken place and a new poll is run.
- If the decision is to not affiliate the group the caseworker will inform the applicant as soon as possible.
- Ultimately, if no consensus is reached, a recommendation can be given to the Board that the application is rejected, and the Board will make a decision. The applicant will be advised of the decision and the reason, and also that they have the right to use the Freegle Complaints Procedure.
On Handover of the Community
- All volunteers involved in the community will be advised and encouraged to follow Best Practice. Although not mandatory these are nationally agreed recommended ways of working to achieve the best outcomes for volunteers and members.
- New volunteers to Freegle taking on a community must have a Mentor as backup on their community for 6 months.
- Experienced Freegle volunteers taking on a community must have a Mentor as backup on their community until they have an experienced and/or active backup volunteer who can regularly moderate, unless no Mentor is available.
- The Mentor, unless the volunteer(s) request otherwise, should not actively moderate unless messages are being left unmoderated for periods of 24 hours or more.
- If the Mentor is removed as a volunteer without having appropriate backup arrangements in place, it will be grounds for automatic addition of a backup by the Board or possible disaffiliation.
- The group may at its sole discretion ask the Mentors for the Mentor to be replaced subject to availability.
The Complaints Procedure offers a mediation or appeals process for applicants and/or Freegle volunteers who are unhappy with NGT, Mentor or Board decisions.
At the time of affiliation, the group's owners will be asked to confirm they will hand over the group to Freegle if they no longer wish to run it or give Mentors details of any new owners they have appointed.
Arrange Group Launch
Appoint a member of the team to act as Group Launch Coordinator. That NGT member introduces themselves to the applicant and existing group owner (if applicable) and explains the next steps.
a. New Group Launch Procedure
- Create a new Freegle group.
- Promote the applicant to Owner status.
- Communicate with the mentoring team to assign a mentor if applicable.
- Provide the applicant with basic moderating and Freegle Direct and Social Networks instructions.
- Introduce the applicant to their assigned mentor.
b. Group Move or Merger Procedure
- Provide a questionnaire to confirm the move or merger is agreeable to the enquiring reuse group’s moderating team.
- Agree the new Freegle group name.
- Create a pointer group if required.
- Provide Admin templates and move or merger information.
- Provide the applicant with any applicable Freegle instructions and support information.
- Offer and arrange the services of a Mentor if wanted.
c. Implement Group Support arrangements and notifications
- Notify firstname.lastname@example.org with pre-launch, pre-move or merger information.
- Request logos from email@example.com (if applicable)
- Communicate with Freegle Direct support to add Freegle Direct and Social Networks (if applicable).
- Publish the group on www.ilovefreegle.org/groups.
- Request 100 business cards.
- Arrange an invite to FreegleUKCentral
- Notify the Board, info@, support@, media@, volunteers@ and Central of new group
Special Interest Groups
These groups are intended to cover such examples as specific workplaces, schools or groups for specialist items. Consultation/notification will follow the same procedures as above. Also:
1. Freegle private in-house organisational groups are subject to the same procedures as other specialist group applications.
2. All specialist groups (closed and otherwise) must allow Volunteers from the local group(s) to be members if they wish in the interests of promoting community links.
3. Closed, private affiliated groups should have a representative for Freegle nationally as a member of the group . NGT will help to find a suitable volunteer to represent Freegle nationally on any closed groups. This may be a local volunteer but may also be a member of the Mentor or NGT teams if a volunteer can't be found. NGT will keep a list of who is representing Freegle on each closed group.
Types considered so far:
- Glastonbury Festival
- Boating Community
- Scout Group
- Disability Aids
- Noticeboard based Micro Group
- Closed work based Groups
- University Groups
If there is disagreement between NGT and a neighbouring group, NGT may consult with the Development Working Group and/or Freegle UK Central Group. NGT will make the final decision. The Complaints Procedure can offer a mediation or appeals process for applicants and/or Freegle volunteers who are unhappy with NGT decisions.