When a vacancy arises the Charity Commission Scheme states that it must be widely and publicly advertised within the Parish. This must provide information about where further details may be obtained, how to express interest in becoming a beneficiary of the charity and a closing date for the return of application forms. The trustees may only make appointments from formal applications received following the publication of such a Notice of Vacancy. This is to assure transparency in the appointment procedure. The trustees do not maintain a waiting list of applicants since vacancies arise so infrequently; there have been just six vacancies between 1993 and 2021.
The trustees have sole authority for offering appointments to applicants who meet the several criteria set down in the 1752 Deed enacted by Margaret and Mary Pole. Where there are more qualifying candidates than there are vacancies available, the trustees will offer an appointment to the most deserving case(s) put to them. Their decision is final and no correspondence with third parties to their decision will be entertained. Any one decision to make an appointment does not establish a precedent for future appointments.
In assessing applications, the trustees must give priority to: those poor persons already living in the Parish viz. now the United Benefice of Barlborough & Clowne and who profess the religion of the Established Church of England. The founding deed makes repeated reference to qualifying beneficiaries as ‘poor persons‘. It therefore follows that anyone having significant equity in property and/or financial resources in excess of their day-by-day needs, cannot be considered qualified to gain additional benefits from the assets of the charity through its subsidised accommodation. Similarly, if an appointed resident’s financial status were to improve significantly, for example as a result of inheritance, the trustees are empowered to ask them to vacate their accommodation in favour of another, more deserving person. Where more than one qualifying person is deemed to be a deserving candidate, priority must be given to the older of: spinsters; bachelors; widows; widowers; a married man and woman, in that order. All qualifying criteria are Protected Characteristics within the Equality Act 2010 and may not be challenged in law on grounds of discrimination.
Applicants offered an appointment to become an almshouse resident will be expected to sign acceptance of a Residency Agreement before being granted access to the property. The Agreement sets out the terms and conditions of appointment as an almshouse resident. Having signed the Agreement and continued promptly to make payments of the Weekly Maintenance Contributions, which from time to time are determined by the trustees, an appointee may expect to remain a resident for the whole time that they continue to satisfy the qualifying criteria and observe the terms and conditions of the charity’s Residency Agreement.