LETSystem Trust Policy Statement

Version 1.01



This Policy Statement forms a schedule to the Trust Deed establishing the Trust. Beneficiaries and Potential Beneficiaries should be aware that the Trustees may alter the Policy Statement from time to time and should ensure that this document is the one currently in force. The document in force shall be deemed to be that scheduled to the Trust Deed at any given time. Where terms used in this document are defined in the Trust Deed they are to be treated as having the meanings given to them in the Trust Deed.

1. Aims



The aim of the Trust is to facilitate the propagation of LETSystems in a manageable way. This is to be achieved through

(a) clarity of material and

(b) compatibility of actions within the fundamental values and characteristics of LETSystems.


2. Values

In summary, the values to be upheld by Beneficiaries are:

- acknowledgement - of the contribution made by others

- freedom I will, freedom I won't - if you don't like it, you can always start your own Trust etc.

- respect - mind your own business - meet your obligations -lead, follow, or get out of the way

- "only connect' - relationship, communication, protocol

- create community wherever possible.


3. Beneficiary conduct and criteria for admission

Beneficiaries have the use of Trust property subject to the conditions included in this Policy Statement. Some uses are proscribed, others allowable and recommended, some undefined. The emphasis is on the beneficiaries as a group. Beneficiaries must respect each other's activities and work in a mutually supportive, contributive manner.


To this end, each potential Beneficiary is required to:

a) complete a training/induction programme recognised by the Trustees;

b) adhere to and promote Trust policy as outlined in this Policy Statement;

c) sign a Beneficiary Agreement; and

d) have the signed Beneficiary Agreement form counter-signed by two Beneficiaries.

Once at least two LETSystem development groups have been established and are recognised by the Trustees, one of the co-signing Beneficiaries should be a participant in one such LETSystem development group in which the candidate also participates (i.e. they have both entered into the same LETShare agreements) and the other co-signing Beneficiary should be a participant in another such LETSystem development group . So long as only one LETSystem development group is recognised by the Trustees, no such restriction will apply and both co-signatories may be participants in the same LETSystem development group which the Trustees recognise.


4. Guiding Philosophy

The approach used in LETSystem development should reflect the LETSystem design criteria. The Trust is therefore concerned both with what is being done and with how it is being done.


General directions for LETSystem development are indicated in the LETSystem Design Manual (referred to as "the Manual") (Section 5.3 in particular) and by the aims and values noted above. Whilst diversity and innovation are welcomed and encouraged, the activities of those involved in the development of LETSystems should echo the LETSystem design principles and should originate from community, personal and practical considerations.


5. Community Considerations

Those Beneficiaries who are involved in LETSystem development are members of a global LETSystem development community. As part of this community, they make a commitment to uphold certain values and to conform to agreed working methods. They must integrate their LETSystem development work with the LETSystem development work of others in that community in ways outlined in the Manual, Section 5.


In return they can expect support and co-operation from others in that community.


Because there is only one LETSystem design, the implementation of LETSystems can be a single, definable project. It is therefore possible for there to be a single, world-wide community working on that project. This community is desirable from an ethical perspective - to create community wherever possible - and also from a practical perspective - to use resources in the most effective way.


All Beneficiaries agree to uphold the values outlined in section 2 of this document. This means:

Beneficiaries will work together to ensure that mechanisms are in place to support each other in carrying out these commitments e.g. electronic bulletin boards, mediation facilities, etc.


In order for the community to able to work coherently, Beneficiaries agree to work progressively toward the establishment of the LETSystem development initiatives outlined in the Manual, Section 5. Where beneficiaries propose an approach not currently in the Manual, they should discuss their proposals with other Beneficiaries and then offer them for evaluation. If, after evaluation, the new proposals are widely acceptable to the Trust, they will be formally adopted and included in an updated version of Section 5 of the Manual. They are then available for use throughout the development community.

At the time of writing, Section 5 of the Manual focuses on the establishment of regional development initiatives. Participation in all such initiatives is to be open and inclusive, e.g. operating through a properly accounted and structured LETShare - see Manual Section 2.3. Development groups will operate according to the basic values expressed above in Section 2 of this Policy Statement.

Beneficiaries whose development work is based in other than geographic regions should carry out their LETSystem activities in ways which further the aims of the Trust. Such activities include:

6. Personal Considerations

There are distinct ways of working which express individuality and experimentation. Some of these will fit into the Trust framework and may be adopted by its Beneficiaries.


Anyone who wants to be a Beneficiary of the Trust presumably expects to gain some personal benefit from the process. If you are a beneficiary the other beneficiaries may ask you what you are going to contribute in return for these personal benefits. The answer is that your activities must fit into the general community framework. Communities have their tolerance levels to diversity, go beyond these limits and the community begins to break up.

Personal involvement

LETSystem development is a co-operative activity and as such it is important to ensure that the various parts do not threaten the viability of the whole. The Trustees retain a stewardship role in ensuring that the parts work well together.

Beneficiaries can be involved in any or all of the following:

Development work can be carried out:

Private work

Beneficiaries may provide contracted services to a LETSystem Development Initiative ("LDI") or other agency, negotiating the contracts themselves, and keeping the proceeds. These services include consultancy and training (although the latter be subject to regulation by a college or colleges of LETSystem trainers).


In acknowledgement of the commonwealth, beneficiaries must ensure that:

It is expected that Beneficiaries will develop policies regarding disclosure of private interests and conflict resolution.


7. Practical Considerations



LETSystem development must be financially viable. This is to allow wide participation, free from external interference (such as that often exhibited by grant funding agencies). Any proposals for LETSystem Development must therefore demonstrate their self-funding potential.


Contribution to Community (CtC) is proposed as a suitable method of funding. Because it is a protocol (as opposed to an entry fee), it will secure funds for development whilst pre-empting an entry fee price war. It has the added advantage of upholding the cost-of-service ethic through donor-directed gifting of surpluses.

Beneficiaries should acknowledge and to be supportive of each others' activities in building up the commonwealth. This encourages personal commitment and helps to avoid burn-out. In order to enable the equitable distribution of rewards, there is a need for rigorous internal accounting (a similar need to that of the acknowledgements within a LETSystem). A practical way to achieve this is by using a LETShare (see Manual, Section 2.3).


In order for there to be coherent, decentralised LETSystem development activity, it is necessary for there to be a core of readily available, authoritative material. The Manual is the first point of reference for all those engaged in LETSystem development activities. It represents the design authority of the commonwealth as a whole, as opposed to the particular authority of any person or persons.


This means that material in the Manual must be kept up to date (see Section 9 below). All Beneficiaries agree to follow the approaches laid down in the Manual. Informed development of the material by Beneficiaries encourages mutual learning and understanding. It also minimises the amount of decision-making to be carried out by Trustees.

By encouraging co-operation rather than competition, we gain the practical benefits of using resources more effectively, through the sharing of materials and procedures.


8. Implications for business plans (and community funding)

A specific aim of the Trust is that LETSystem development is to be self-funding (cost-of-service again), leading to viability and self-sustainability in the medium term, which means:

Specific figures for reasonable costs and the level of caps are given in the LETSystem Design Manual, Versions 1.3 and following. Plans acceptable to the Trust are published in Sections 5 and 6.

Other options are welcome, as long as they are consistent with this core material and practice.

It is not anticipated that development strategies and approaches will ever be totally defined, although general directions have been indicated in the LETSystem Design Manual (Section 5.3 in particular) and by the aims and values noted above. There is still room for diversity and innovation. Nevertheless, the Trust will maintain a list of activities which are unacceptable, to guide those who are making suggestions for novel and improved approaches.


Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

The pursuit of these and other proscribed activities could result in subsequent withdrawal of beneficiary status. The Trustees decision on proscribed approaches is to be final. The Trustees will also judge the suitability and consistency of proposals for emerging approaches taken up by beneficiaries.


9. Use, Revision and Adoption of Trust Materials


Beneficiaries may make Trust property available to others at cost of distribution only.

Beneficiaries are invited to become involved in the updating and augmentation of Trust property.

Reliance on the common core of material suggests the existence of an editorial panel to advise the Trustees on the acceptance of updates and new material. Presentation and design of material is another key area. Here the assistance of a visual identity panel will be valuable.

Trustees and Beneficiaries shall work together to produce a formal adoption process, including clear statements of rules of usage and a system of version control.


10. Functions that are supplied independently to LETSystem account-holders

Services other than account recording and stewardship may be supplied to account holders. These services can apply across several systems simultaneously.


independent directory

remit: on-going, subject to changes over time


independent brokerage of trades:

remit: ongoing, subject to changes over time


These functions may be performed in one of the following ways:


- volunteered (i.e. sponsored by an individual or organisation)

- contracted - no individual is obliged to pay for the service

- carried out by the LDI


Refer also to The LETSystem Design Manual, Versions 1.3 and later.


11. Further specification

For further specification of any of the above, and other terminology, refer also to The LETSystem Design Manual, Versions 1.3 and later. Separate elaborations of various sections of this Policy Statement will be available in the form of a Commentary which will also be updated from time to time.


This version of the Policy Statement was approved by the Trustees on 3 June 1997, as Schedule 3 to the Trust Deed. Version 1.0 prepared for Trust by Chris Knight, Angus Soutar, Fraser How and Les Moore. Version 1.01 prepared for electronic publishing April 1999 and November 2001.