Revised April 2018
This Compliance Policy is intended to clarify the responsibilities of the Valley FM Broadcasters Association Inc’s Board and members, especially those who broadcast, by making explicit the compliance obligation requirements fir rules, regulations and legislation.
The most important component of compliance is record-keeping. If Valley FM is efficient in keeping accurate and current records then reporting requirements to regulatory bodies is made easy. More importantly, as many people come and go at community radio stations accurate and continuous record keeping ensures that new people are able to meet Valley FM’s continuing compliance obligations. Good record keeping also plays a major role in establishing transparency and maintaining good corporate governance.
Good record keeping begins with the Valley FM Board which plays a pivotal role in setting the standards of document control and management and ensures that all people abide by them. The Board also has responsibility to keep clear and concise records of all decisions taken in managing the radio station including documented minutes of all meetings with supporting reports/documents attached and housed in a specific folders both in hard copy and electronically. Up-to-date policies, procedures and membership registers must be documented and maintained in the same manner.
All formal Valley FM documents are required to have version control e.g. each document has a footer which gives the following information:
- Name of document
- Date created
- Date last reviewed
- Date of next review (if known/applicable e.g. current best practice requires all policies and procedures to be reviewed every two to three years, at a minimum). Licensure requirements are dictated by the relevant legislation e.g. ACNC governance annually, ACMA broadcast licence three years for five year re-licensure). A Valley FM document control register exists that lists all critical organisational documents and the relevant dates for historical review as well as when next due.
Financial record keeping is extremely important to the efficient operation of Valley FM. The Board Treasurer is responsible for the financial management of Valley FM and has the responsibility to create and maintain financial records including the following:
- Bank statements
- Periodic income expenditure statements/balance sheets
- Paid bills, receipts and cheque requisitions as well as outstanding bills
- A current asset register including all instructions, warranties and guarantees
- A receipt/cash book which documents all money received on behalf of Valley FM including petty cash if applicable
- Insurance policies and related historical documents
- Lease documents
- Funding and sponsorship agreements
- Book Keeping records
- Annual financial statements, and
- Goods and Services Tax (GST), Business Activity Statements (BAS) and Australian Tax Office (ATO) records/statements.
The elected Valley FM Secretary also record-keeping responsibilities including the creation, maintenance and management of Valley FM’s:
- Constitution and annual reports
- Proceedings/records of all Board and volunteer member meetings including Annual General and Special General Meeting (AGM/SGM) including elections, appointment of office bearers etc.
- Membership register for each financial year with historical records of previous years and previous presenters, and
- Annual membership renewals distribution and processing and entering details into a year-specific Valley FM Member Register plus all documents/forms relating to new memberships. This includes transferring any membership monies to the Treasurer for banking.
Broadcasting Licence and Codes of Practice
Managing and operating Valley FM involves having to comply with a complex network of Commonwealth and Territory legislation. The regulatory bodies and documents/legislation include, among others, the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) which governs Valley FM’s broadcasting licence and its performance against the CBAA Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) to name a few.
As Valley FM is a permanently licensed community radio broadcaster, it must complete a licence renewal every five years. ACMA reminds Valley FM to renew its licence well before the license’s expiration. The due date for the submission of the licence renewal application is exactly 12 months prior to the expiration of the licence. For Valley FM this means that its licence is due to expire on the 1 July 2020, therefore Valley FM’s licence-renewal application is due on the 1 July 2019.
Once the Valley FM renewal application is received by ACMA they conduct an assessment and investigation of the licence that may take up to 12 months. The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 allows that, in deciding whether to renew Valley FM’s licence, ACMA can take into account the same matters that it took into account when allocating the licence in the first place and for any subsequent re-licensure.
The ACMA/CBAA Cades of Practice specify what Valley FM must establish to manage any complaint that might be received either from any listener, member of the public to the station or enforcement agency e.g. ACMA or the complaint is made via ACMA. A complaint is defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction made to a supplier in relation to its telco products and services” .
If Valley FM receives a complaint about a code matter, it must, by law, provide a response within 60 days. Valley FM is required to make every reasonable effort to resolve a complaint, except where it is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith. Clause 7.3 of the Radio Code includes a provision for Valley FM to advise the complainant in writing that that person has the right to refer the complaint to ACMA if that person is dissatisfied with Valley FM’s response.
It is therefore in Valley FM’s interest to resolve any complaint so that it does not escalate to ACMA. If a complaint is escalated to ACMA, Valley FM would be required to thoroughly address the issues and provide evidence to support its claims. For the Valley FM policy in regard to complaints refer to the Valley FM Complaints Management Policy.
Valley FM has a primary responsibility for ensuring that the material that is broadcast meets community standards as well as licence conditions set out in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. For example, community radio stations are subject to a licence condition that prohibits broadcasting tobacco advertisements. The main responsibility for ensuring Valley FM’s radio programs reflect community standards rests with the station itself by complying with the community radio Codes of Practice.
Valley FM is required to closely monitor what is on air. Logging what goes to air is part of station record-keeping and these records must be retained for a specified period in order to be licence complaint. Similarly, a log of technical faults must be maintained within the radio station with fault reports available for volunteers to complete and submit for resolution.
Sponsorship on Community Radio
Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 Valley FM is subject to a licence condition that prevents it from broadcasting advertisements. However, community broadcasting licensees may broadcast a range of announcements and other promotional material that are not classified as advertising under this Act. ACMA has published Sponsorship Guidelines (2008) that are available to advise community broadcasting licensees on relevant compliance requirements.
Understanding the difference between permitted promotional material and advertisements is important because failure to comply will breach a licence condition which carries with it the possibility of serious penalties as mentioned above.
Music and Copyright
Records are required to calculate a percentage of Valley FM’S income that is the basis of Valley FM’s annual copyright payment to APRA. For further information specific to copyright obligations relating to Valley FM please refer to the Valley FM Policy Media/Community Broadcast Law, May 2018.
Access to files containing data essential to meeting compliance obligations must be stored in the Office of Valley FM. All documents are the property of Valley FM Broadcasters Association and must be maintained and stored in the filing systems on station premises at all times in either hard copy or electronically with appropriate back up.
The Board is responsible for the development, implementation, operation and review of this policy. Compliance with the policy is also the responsibility of all Board Members. Refer to Appendix A: Major Valley FM Broadcasting Compliance Obligations
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act (Cwth 2012)
Charities Act (Cwth 2013)
Broadcasting Services Act (Cwth 1992 as amended 2002)
Associations Incorporation Act (ACT 1991)
Fair Trading Act (ACT 1992)
Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, Governance Standards (2013)
Australian Communications and Media Authority, Codes of Practice and Compliance Australian Broadcasting Compliance and Enforcement (2017)
Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice (2016)
Community Media Training Organisation, Compliance (2017).
Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, Not For Profit Law
Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, Charity Reporting