Oldham Council Heritage, Libraries and Arts (HLA) - Room Hire Policy

Guidelines for the use and hire of private and/or event spaces within the Heritage, Libraries and Arts estate.

Fees and Charges

1.1 Which Spaces are Available for Hire:

1.1.1. There are numerous hireable spaces within the Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham premises, ranging from small meeting rooms to large performance spaces.

1.1.2. Our 11 HLA branch libraries offer various small to medium meeting room spaces and/or event space areas in the public areas of these libraries. Please visit and/or contact your local library for more information. To encourage borough-wide offers, and in alignment with the community-hub remit of branch libraries, these are available (subject to manager confirmation) free of charge for:

  • Any activity benefiting the local community
  • Any activity that is not-for-profit

1.1.3 In principle, branch library rooms are not hired, they can only be booked by eligible parties. Some co-located services, in buildings with branch libraries, do have hireable spaces that might be of interest, for example, Failsworth Town Hall and Chadderton Wellbeing Centre. Individual specific requests will be considered by senior management on a case-by-case basis.

1.1.4 Subject to availability and manager confirmation, external services, organisations, and individuals may also use public library spaces for their events/activities at Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham. We offer several options for this:

  • A Co-Working space in the BIPC (Business and Intellectual Property Centre)
  • Large tables for group crafts/activities
  • Various smaller tables and varied seating options
  • Performance spaces in our foyer and children’s library

1.1.5 Oldham HLA rooms and spaces are used for a wide range of in-house and supported events and activities throughout the year and are subject to peak usage periods, such as during school holidays. Please note that this may affect availability.

1.1.6 Bookings for the following peak usage spaces:

  • Performance Space
  • Galleries
  • Education suite
  • Creator Space

Are subject to an HLA staff consultation step (usually conducted via email), that seeks to identify any conflicts of interest, that must be carried out before the first instance of the event and at each subsequent review for rolling bookings.

1.2 Hire Fees

1.2.1 All closed room settings within Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham are subject to a hire fee for external services, organisations and individuals wishing to use these. This fee contributes towards the running costs of the available spaces and supports the ongoing availability of these community assets.

1.2.2 Hire Fee rates are determined according to various contributing factors:

  • The capacity of the room.
  • The equipment and furnishings available in the room.
  • Any additional overheads incurred by room usage.

1.2.3 Room hire fees are applied for whole hours only. There are no part-hour rates. For example, if a room is required for one and a half hours, the fee will be calculated for a two-hour booking. Any part of an hour, of any duration, will be charged as a whole hour.

1.2.4 There are concession rates available for eligible organisations and very occasionally waivers may apply (see section 2. Concessions and Waivers). Where these are not applicable, we encourage organisations to consider two alternative options to a closed room hire at Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham:

  • Public library spaces within Oldham Library
  • Branch Library locations (see section 1.1.2 for more details)

1.2.5 Higher rates of hire fee will apply for evening bookings, due to the inflated overheads and conflicts of interest with in-house programming applicable.

1.2.6 Standard Room Hire fees will be automatically calculated using the information contained in Event Spaces and Meeting Room Information and administrated by the HLA Business Support Officers.

1.3 Additional Room Hire Charges

1.3.1 Some HLA spaces offer additional hireable equipment and/or charged services, including refreshments and technical equipment. For a full list of available Room Hire Add-Ons. Catering arrangements must be agreed with Oldham HLA in advance of your booking. If you are bringing in food for your event, you will be required to submit evidence of health and hygiene standards and public liability insurance from your caterer. If you would like to book catering, please contact Oldham HLA for further information. Charges will depend on requirements.

1.3.2 If a room is vacated late, an additional charge for an additional hour, at the room hire rate applicable, may be applied.

1.3.3 If the room is left in a poor condition that does not reflect the state in which the room was found, a cleaning charge may be applied, at a rate of £15/hour rounded up to the nearest whole hour, for the time taken to return the room back to a fit state.

Concessions and Waivers

2.1 Concessionary Rates

2.1.1 Concessionary rates are set at 50% of the full hire charge.

2.1.2 Concessionary rates do not apply to Additional Hireable Equipment/Services, but only to the room hire rates.

2.1.3 Concessionary rates are available for Room Hire to the following organisations:

  • Registered Charities (with registered charity numbers)
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs)
  • Community Interest Company (CIC)
  • NHS
  • Oldham Council

If you think that your organisation may qualify for charitable incorporation and you would like support attaining this status, please contact Action Together:


2.1.4 Room Hire concessionary rates will be subject to proof of eligibility and administrated by the HLA Business Support Officers.

2.2 Waivers

2.2.1 Room Hire Fees are waived for Room Bookings by HLA staff members using the rooms to develop or deliver HLA offers.

2.2.2 Room Hire Fees are waived for Room Bookings by Lifelong Learning staff members (in accordance with the conditions of our building share).

2.2.3 Room Hire Fees are waived for Room Bookings for the Oldham Central Family Hub using the rooms to develop or deliver family hub offers.

2.2.4 Room Hire Fees may be waived for an event that does not meet the criteria of 2.2.1.

2.2.3, but does fulfils ALL the following eligibility criteria:

  • Free at the point of access to the public
  • Being delivered in partnership with Oldham HLA, by which is meant that Oldham HLA is acknowledged as a co-organiser of the event and all outcome data is shared with Oldham HLA.
  • Not a Block Booking (see Section 4- Block Bookings)
  • Includes a delivery element that makes it unsuitable for an open area event, such as the requirement for privacy or the use of delicate or limited resources that require carefully controlled participant numbers.

2.2.5 Room Hire fee waivers will be applied with executive decision from an HLA Senior Officer and administrated by the Business Support Officers.

2.2.6 Room Hire fee waivers must be reviewed on a regular basis proportionate to frequency (for example annually for a monthly recurring event and termly for a weekly recurring event).

2.2.7 Room Hire fee waivers are subject to an HLA staff consultation step (usually conducted via email), that seeks to identify any conflicts of interest, that must be carried out before the first instance of the event and at each subsequent review for 
rolling bookings.

2.2.8 Waivers do not automatically apply to Additional Hireable Equipment/Services, but only to the room hire rates. Waivers for Additional Hireable Equipment/Services will only be applied with executive decision from an HLA Senior Officer.

Cancellation Fees

3.1 When Oldham HLA Cancellations Fees Apply

3.1.1 All room bookings by external parties, even those which would not otherwise require a hire fee, are subject to cancellation fees, if cancelled within the timeframes specified in section 3.2.1.

3.1.2 Where Room Hire Fees have been waived, the standard fee rate for that room will apply to any cancellations fees applicable.

3.1.3 Where Concessionary Rates are applicable to a cancelled booking, the concessionary fee rate for that room will apply to any cancellation fees.

3.1.4 Where Room Hire Fees are not stated on the Event Spaces and Meeting Room Information, for example with regards to branch library meeting rooms, the cancellation fee will be calculated in-line with equivalent Oldham Library space. For example, Lees Library Community Room would be charged at the Oldham Meeting Room 2 fee rate.

3.1.5 Cancellation fees will be automatically applied and administrated by the Business Support Officers.

3.2 Oldham HLA Cancellation Fee Rates

3.2.1. Cancellations will be charged according to the following rates:

Cancellation Within 7 days of event 100% of hire fee 
Cancellation Within 21 days of event 50% of hire fee + £5 Admin Fee
Cancellation 22 days or more before date of the event No Charge

Block Bookings

4.1 What is a Block Booking

4.1.1 Block Bookings must be reviewed on a regular basis proportionate to frequency (for example annually for a monthly recurring event, termly for a weekly recurring event).

4.1.2 Block bookings are here defined as a series of weekly, or more frequent, bookings running for a period of more than three consecutive weeks or as a booking for multiple spaces and/or days within the space of one week. Bookings spanning four weeks or more in total and containing breaks of duration less than three weeks in between event series’, will also be classed as book  bookings. For example, a booking pertaining to three consecutive weeks, followed by two weeks off, then another two consecutive weeks of activity, would be classed as a block booking, despite no single period of bookings exceeding three consecutive weeks.

4.2 When Block Bookings are and are not accepted

4.2.1 Block bookings are subject to an HLA staff consultation step (usually conducted via email) that must be carried out before the first instance and at each subsequent review for rolling bookings. This consultation step seeks to identify any capacity and availability conflicts.

4.2.2 All Block Bookings are subject to Room Hire fees. A block bocking request for a Room Hire fee waiver will not be accepted.

4.2.3 Some Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham spaces cannot be Block Booked, due to reduced availability and known conflicts of interest.

Acceptable Usage

5.1 Health and Safety

5.1.1 Oldham HLA is committed to ensuring a safe environment for all its users.

5.1.2 Organisers/hirers should undertake a risk assessment of the venue prior to their first meeting/event (See Appendix A) and confirm with roomhirehla@oldham.gov.uk that this is in place.

5.1.3 Naked flame in the form of candles etc. is not permitted in any Oldham HLA building/centre.

5.1.4 Alcohol is not permitted to be sold to guests/visitors at any building/centre. It can however be consumed at the premises in a sensible manner. Users must bring in their own glasses, these are not provided.

5.1.5 Any safeguarding concerns regarding sessions/group attendees should be raised via the Oldham Council Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). You can contact the MASH from 8.40am – 5pm on Monday – Friday:

Phone: 0161 770 7777;
Email: adult.mash@oldham.gov.uk (adults);
Email: child.mash@oldham.gov.uk (children)

or make an Online Referral. If you suspect a person is at immediate risk of harm, call 999 and speak to the police.

5.1.6 All accidents/incidents are to be recorded on an accident/incident report form – please see a member of staff.

5.1.7 It is the Hirer’s responsibility to familiarise themselves with the following:

  • Fire exits
  • Access to rooms
  • Access to toilets
  • First Aid guidance/equipment

5.1.8 Each room has a Fire Evacuation procedure clearly displayed. It is the responsibility of the organiser of a meeting/event to discuss evacuation procedures with your attendees.

5.1.9 Any Catering arrangements must be agreed with Oldham HLA in advance of your booking. If you are bringing in food for your event, you will be required to submit evidence of health and hygiene standards and public liability insurance from your caterer (see Section Arrangements must be made for the disposal of organic waste.

5.2 Damage to Property

5.2.1 Oldham Council accepts no liability for damage or loss of the possessions of the Hirer or any persons attending the room. Any possessions handed in will be stored in the libraries’ lost property for six weeks. If items are not collected within that time they may be destroyed.

5.2.2 Any damage to any Oldham HLA property must be reported immediately to a member of staff and the hirer may, depending on circumstances, be invoiced for the costs of repair or replacement of the damaged items.

5.2.3 We do not allow bicycles to be brought into any of our  buildings; these must be secured outside at owner’s own risk.

5.2 Storage, Set-Up, and Layouts

5.2.1 Storage of equipment in the room is not permitted.

5.2.2 Hirer’s may arrange the room to their requirements, however time booked includes the setting up and putting back of the room, this includes clearing away rubbish and leaving the room tidy.

5.2.3 No furniture or equipment to be removed from rooms. Must be left in the condition they were found.

5.2.4 Some Oldham Library and Gallery Oldham spaces have multiple possible layouts, please make clear at the time of booking
which layout you are requesting.

5.2.5 Hirer’s can make their own arrangements for any refreshments required. Oldham HLA does offer a refreshment package for an additional fee (subject to availability), that can be requested at the time of booking.

5.2.6 If you are hiring any HLA technical equipment, such as projectors, smartboard or sensory play equipment, please discuss details of the requirements at the point of booking, to ensure compatibility and connectivity. Equipment hire is the responsibility of the individual(s) named on the booking form and must be  retrieved by HLA staff before the room is vacated.

5.2.7 Oldham council operates according to the principles set out within our environmental policy. Anyone hiring Oldham HLA spaces should familiarise themselves with corresponding principles of environmental sustainability and responsibility and employ best practice.

Booking Procedure

6.1 To book an Oldham Library or Gallery Oldham space, complete a booking form.

6.2 Provisional bookings can be taken by telephone, but a signed form is required prior to using the room.

6.3 If you think that you might be eligible for a concessionary rate (see section 2.1) or fee waiver (see section 2.2), please clearly indicate this on the booking form.

6.4 Oldham Council requires all bookings involving physical activity such as exercise classes, dance groups etc. to have their own Public Liability Insurance in place. A copy of this should be provided with the booking application form at the time of booking, library staff will keep a copy with the booking form.

6.5 It is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure the room requested is adequate for their activity.

6.6 Oldham Council reserves the right to suspend future bookings pending a review of a group/individuals conduct during their hire towards staff and customers.

6.7 On rare occasions Oldham Council may have to cancel your room booking due to emergent situations that effect safe access to the room. If this occurs, any suitable alternatives will be offered and/or a refund of any fees paid returned in full.

6.8 Onus is on the hirer to indicate at the point of booking if there are any logistical or operational stipulations that would impact the proposed event/activity. For example, if an organisation is making a booking for an event that cannot be run in conjunction with other specified organisations utilising HLA spaces or during periods of high activity, this should be clearly communicated so that HLA can advise of any known potential conflicts of interest.