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New Member Applications Standard Operating Procedure – SOP 1

New Member Applications Standard Operating Procedure – SOP 1

Standard Operating Procedures are designed to be shared with members and new member applicants in the interests of transparency

Key definitions:

Site / Centre:A single location housing animals, or a group of locations housing animals but under common management. These may or may not be owned by the rescue.
Foster Carer:Typically a domestic home providing temporary care for an animal, or small number of animals. The animals may be housed in the home, or in purpose built facilities on private property. If a foster home is under the management of a specific site / centre of an organisation, it is not always essential to be separately assessed, but the process for selection and management of foster homes will be assessed.
SAWC:ADCH’s Standards and Animal Welfare Committee, which has delegated authority from the Trustees to make decisions on Membership.


Further guidance can be obtained from ADCH staff ([email protected])

1. After reading the eligibility criteria and guidance on the website, prospective Members either complete and submit their application online or request an application form which may be emailed or posted to the Standards and Operations Officer.

2. Prospective Members will need to provide details of two existing ADCH Members who would be willing to endorse their application. Where this is not possible, prospective Members should provide details of two professional referees e.g. vet, local authority.

3. Prospective Members will be provided with the ADCH Minimum Welfare and Operational Standards and asked to self-assess against these. The application form asks about the result of their self-assessment.

4. Relevant accompanying documents should be uploaded to the web form or attached to the email/postal application form.  Accompanying documents will include:

a. A copy of the organisation’s constitution

b. Two years of accounts. Where accounts are not available, such as for newly formed organisations, recent bank      statements for all bank accounts of the prospective Member should be submitted. Recently formed organisations who do not have two years of accounts will still be considered but may be assessed again after two years.

5. The Standards and Operations Officer will:-

a. check and acknowledge receipt of the application form and supporting information, advising that they will be contacted in the near future with regard to the next steps, or request any further information if needed.

b. contact referees to ensure they are happy to endorse the application.

c. email all Trustees with basic information about the organisation, requesting that Trustees notify any concerns within 10 days. Where no concerns are raised the Standards and Operations Officer will progress the application.

d. add the rescue to the list of applications received in the last 30 days on the members only part of the website. Existing members will have the opportunity to provide confidential comments to SAWC. SAWC will maintain objectivity and consider any comments received with care and transparency.

6. Where possible, the assessment will be carried out within 6-8 weeks of receipt of references. However in circumstances outside of ADCH’s control (including restrictions caused by disease outbreak) this may not be possible, and assessors will be asked to complete new member assessments in their area as a priority over routine assessments of existing members in order to reduce waiting time to as little as practicable. If ADCH cannot assign assessors to you within 6-8 weeks, we will keep you informed. Applicants are asked to cooperate with setting a date for their assessment, and should have agreed a date within 6 weeks of the initial introduction. If this is not possible for any reason the applicant should advise ADCH, who will decide at their discretion whether or not to continue with the application. If the applicant does not facilitate the agreement of an assessment date within 6 weeks, the application shall be terminated.

When carrying out assessments, Assessors are acting for and representing the views of ADCH,  and not their employer (if applicable). Applicants and assessors will be made aware of ADCH’s risk assessment for carrying out onsite risk assessments available here.

7. Within 7 days of the visit, the assessors will submit the following to [email protected] either:

a. A completed Assessment Form and a completed Assessment and Recommendations Report, highlighting any areas that scored less than two, or

b. A fully completed online Assessment Form submission.

8. The prospective member’s plans to resolve areas scoring less than two must be included in the assessment paperwork (in complex cases requiring significant facility rebuild, an application may be placed on hold pending further details).

9. A copy of the completed assessment form, where used, but not the Assessment and Recommendations Report, will be sent to the applicant by the assessors. The online submission will be submitted to the rescue automatically with no further action needed.

10. The reports and relevant documents are submitted to SAWC for approval by email or discussion and decision at their next Committee meeting.

11. SAWC can either approve or decline applications for membership or, in some cases, an application may be referred to the Board of Trustees for a decision.

12. If accepted the Standards and Operations Officer confirms ADCH’s decision to the applicant in writing.

13. If the applicant is accepted, the Bookkeeper issues an invoice for the membership fee, according to the current fee schedule and on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the membership year.

14. Admittance to membership may be temporarily paused where an assessment concludes that an applicant needs to carry out some work in order to meet the Minimum Welfare and Operational Standards. This will be at the discretion of SAWC. Once the changes have taken place, the applicant is asked to submit evidence (such as photographs), and membership can then begin as above.

15. For new member applicants with multiple sites, please refer to SOP 4 for additional steps in the assessment process.

16. If the application is to be declined, SOP 7 applies.