National Hedgelaying Society

National Hedgelaying Society Policy Statement

1. Aims and Objectives

The aims of the National Hedgelaying Society are to promote a greater understanding and knowledge of the traditional craft of hedgelaying, encourage the development of hedgerow management skills through training and competition and encourage the conservation and positive management of hedgerows.

2. Public Benefit

2.1 What we do!

The National Hedge Laying Society (NHLS) is dedicated to keeping alive the Skills and Craftsmanship traditionally used in the conservation of hedgerows. These skills have been used for Hundreds if not Thousands of years.

2.2 Heritage

Hedgerows are a quintessential part of the British Countryside, recognised worldwide as a feature of our heritage. It is essential that these heritage features are correctly maintained for the benefit of future generations.

2.3 Historical Craftsmanship

The tradition of hedgelaying has been known for many hundreds of years. There is archaeological evidence that it may date back to at least 2,000 BC. The hedgelaying carried out today would be instantly recognised by our ancestors; the only thing which has changed is that for commercial purposes we used powered saws (chainsaws), although the hand tools used are the same design as those used centuries ago.

2.4 Nature Conservation

Hedgerows are an essential habitat for much of the wildlife in the UK. To maintain this habitat in good condition especially for some of our endangered species it is essential that the hedges are maintained to a high standard. Mechanical hedge flailing will in the longer term be detrimental to the hedge as a wildlife habitat. All our ancient hedges that remain have in the past been layed and have survived for that reason.

2.5 Training Young People

The NHLS provides grants and organises training (particularly for young people) to encourage them to take up the skill and pursue it either as part of a profession or as a volunteer with one of the many conservation groups throughout the country.

2.6 Volunteering

Many of our members give their time freely to work with Volunteering and conservation groups throughout the UK.

2.7 Education

The Society attends many agricultural and country shows where we hold exhibitions to provide the public with information and educational demonstrations and literature to help them understand the need for this important form of conservation. We also work with a number of Agricultural Colleges to ensure that the countries future farmers understand and appreciate the need for managing hedgerows correctly.

2.8 Children and Vulnerable people

We operate a service in which approved members of the society give opportunities to Children and Vulnerable adults to “have a go” in a healthy, outdoor and safe environment.

2.9 Public Service

To give assurances to the public who need to employ the services of a skilled Hedge Layer, we operate an “Accreditation” scheme. Professional hedgelayers who sell their services can apply for accreditation and have to undergo a test which is judged by other professional hedgelayers. Accredited professionals are then able to trade showing that they have been accredited by the NHLS.

2.10 Competitions

In order to maintain the standards of skill and craftsmanship we encourage and support many of the local hedgelaying competitions which are run throughout the country. In addition we run each year a “National Championship” in which competitors from all over the UK compete for the coveted title of National Champion.

2.11 Art

Although hedge Laying has traditional “styles” throughout the UK it is also an “Art Form” in which each craftsman works to produce a hedge which is his or her interpretation of that style. Hedges are judged not only on the technicalities of laying but also on the appearance of the finished hedge.

3. Risk Management

The Society holds that promotion of safe working practice is an important part of its ethos, and will encourage and promote such practice in all its activities. In particular we will insist on the highest standards of safety for members and the public. Where necessary, advice will be obtained from professional independent advisors. Members who fail to meet the standards required will be censured.

4. Investment Policy

The society has substantial funding some of which is invested in Charity Commission approved funds. The Trustees regularly review the investments in order to maximise benefit, and will employ financial advisers when considered appropriate.

Our current policy is to retain a reserve of at least equal to two years anticipated commitments.

5. Children & Vulnerable Persons Policy

Wherever we work with Children or Vulnerable people we comply with any statutory or voluntary requirements of the organisations we are collaborating with. No person working on behalf of the society will ever be left alone with a child or vulnerable person.

6. Conflict of Interest

Because the society is made up of people from all walks of life with a common interest in Hedge Laying, it is essential that anyone holding a position of responsibility or office within the organisation declares any conflict of interest with any activity they undertake.

7. Discipline and Complaints Policy

7.1 The Society has a membership of highly skilled craftsman as well as enthusiastic volunteers with a keen interest in Hedge Laying. It is imperative that members treat each other with due respect. The following principals define the context of our Disciplinary and Complaints procedures. These principals are backed up by procedure which form part of the Societies Standing Orders which are from time to time revised.

7.2 Members

Conduct likely to bring the National Hedgelaying Society into disrepute.

Any inappropriate action by a member working on behalf of the society where members of the public are present.

Conduct likely to offend one or more members.

Any action or communication by a member concerning another member which may be Harassing, or Abusive.

7.3 Public Complaints

Complaints from the public about the National Hedgelaying Society or the behaviour of any of its members.

8. Payment Policy

It is the policy of the Society to pay promptly any contractual payments agreed and authorised by the society. There will never be unnecessary delay and where there may be genuine cases of hardship the society will endeavour to facilitate payment early.

9. Data Protection

Although exempt from registration the Society complies with all legislation to protect information held about its members. We will not divulge any information about a member to any third party without authority from that member. Only relevant information will be shown on the Societies web pages for members who are Office holders or have paid to have their services advertised. A member will be provided with a copy of the information we hold about them on receipt of a written request showing the Membership Number, Name, and Address once we are satisfied that it is a bona fide application.

August 2016