CTC Membership Services

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CTC Membership Services

Postby Simon L6 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:00 pm

I joined the CTC National Council in Jannuary 2006, knowing that the membership system was poor and not improving. I anticipated that my fellow councillors would know that this was the case, and that the National Office would be working to fix it. In both respects I was mistaken.

A majority of National Councillors thought the subject of the membership service unworthy of their attention. National Office were, on this score at least, clueless and in denial. In pretty short order Karen Sutton and I were receiving 20 e-mails and calls a week from disgruntled members and organisers. I continued to complain, and, in April 2007 proposed a motion to the AGM describing the service as unsatisfactory.

The Chair, having little option, accepted the motion and supported it. A report was promised, a report that would be presented to the 2008 AGM.

An interim report was commissioned and presented to Council. We hoped for the best, and awaited the final report.The 2008 Annual Report presented to the 2009 AGM included the following text

We commissioned a full, independent service review in 2008, seeking the views of a wide range of members, CTC staff and CTC contractors. The review concluded that outsourcing of membership services was the right approach for CTC, but identified some procedural problems that had an adverse impact on the services provided to members. All the issues have now been addressed with changes made where necessary. We will continue to monitor the service levels achieved closely.

There is no mention in the Annual Report of the final investigation, and it transpired that, as of April 2009 this had yet to be commissioned. When it was commissioned and presented to tne current council I asked for a copy. My request was denied - my three year stint on Council ended in December 2008. I and some councillors contested the matter - we pointed out that the report had been promised to the membership. We didn't prevail. The more astute of you will surmise that the final report had turned out to be not exactly thrillingly good.

And you'd be right. I have a copy. It's eye-wateringly bad. Scarily bad, given that it's as easy to lose members than it is to gain them. You can have a copy too if you care to e-mail me on simon_legg@yahoo.co.uk . Obviously I can only post it to members.

Two things are clear. The Annual Report to the AGM is misleading. There is, as I have said, no mention of the final report and the assertion that service levels would be monitored closely simply cannot be supported by the facts. As for 'all the issues have now been addressed'......read it and weep.

I think the Chair has a duty to apologise formally to the membership. I think the Management Committee has to take the task in hand in a serious way. And I think the National Office has to realise that the first priority of this Club must be the membership.

Ever-fancier proposals for converting the Club in to a Charity are now being drawn up. This is a vain exercise. Before setting off on a journey to the stratosphere it would be as well to check that the kitchen cupboard is well stocked. Those councillors who have preferred to drift with the Chair have got to wake up. If we can't get the basics right, we're sunk.

The hiding of the report goes to the heart of the relationship between the core and the membership. It's about transparency. The CTC doesn't have enough of it. I don't believe that Councillors have the full story on the business dealings that the CTC has entered in to, and I fear that a very great deal of the members funds is being used to bail out those that go wrong. I'm pleased to say that there are Councillors applying skills, both professional and inquisitorial (and far greater than my own) in pursuit of the truth. I'm not sure they have entirely succeeded, and, while I wish them well I suspect that in the event of a Council-sponsored resolution for Charity status going on the agenda of the 2010 AGM it is unlikely in the extreme that members will receive sufficient information to enable them to make up their minds with confidence. It's time for Councillors to tell the Chair that they cannot support a resolution until they are satisfied that the membership is in full posession of the facts.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Speshact » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:37 pm

By coincidence, earlier today I emailed Kevin Mayne about my Accredited National Standards trainer certificate:

"Despite chasing CTC several times I have yet to receive my certificate though I passed in May. Can you help please?"

I need it because it one of my employers, quite reasonably, want to see it before employing and paying me as a fully accredited trainer. CTC's tardiness is costing me money.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby byegad » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:55 pm

My membership was due for renewal on the 1st. I got a reminder with my new card in early August. I called to renew over the phone on the 1st and it was relatively painless.

BUT a couple of years a go I called, after getting the reminder, about three weeks before it was due and was told they could only give me a year's membership from the day I called. I was busy and said OK but what kind of people are in the call centre management?

Any half way decent system can cope with early renewal. I know because I used to work in a similar role and we would renew membership from the time the reminder was sent.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Si » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:57 pm

Possibly I'm a little previous in this message as replies so far seem to maintain the forum's high standards...but we all know what can happen on such threads.

So I would just like to say this.

I find my self in strong agreement with Simon's exasperation and his take on the situation. I'm saddened he has found other avenues to be dead ends and has been forced to make such a post.

But, please, can we make replies to this thread in keeping with the forum rules - by all means show your support for Simon's position and, indeed, feel free to relate your own problems with membership. But, please, don't start taking pot shots at specific CTC officials or generally rubbishing the CTC and its officials.

What the situation needs is progressive solutions rather than name callings and demands for lynchings. Those in power must surely be more open to accepting that there is a problem that needs solving if they are addressed in a civil, respectful way. If we get replies such as "the board is useless and should be fired wholesale ASAP" then there will be pressure levied upon us from above to pull the thread - and I think that the issue is too important for anyone to be given the excuse of stopping discussion for such reasons.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Regulator » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:48 pm

I am sure that people will abide by the rules - but I hope that people will not be inhibited about putting forward their views on this matter. It is important - the CTC would be nothing without its members and it sometimes seems that this is forgotten in the 'halls of power'.

We keep getting told there were only about 40 complaints last year. I keep suggesting that rather than complaining people are just walking away - and a 50% increase in non-renewals would seem to suggest that this may be the case. It has been suggested that this increase in non-renewal is down solely to the current wider economic situation - but comments I receive from members seem to suggest otherwise, as do some of the comments from the last survey undertaken amongst non-renewers.

If you have a problem with your membership please raise it. Send an e-mail to national office and copy Kevin Mayne (kevin.mayne@ctc.org.uk), Peter Jackson (peter.jackson@ctc.org.uk) and me (greg.price@ctc.org.uk) please. I'll follow things up and make sure they are resolved.

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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Si » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:45 pm

We keep getting told there were only about 40 complaints last year.


Yes, I would speculate that they count complaints differently to errors in membership - i.e. if your renewal is messed up and you get in touch to get it sorted then it isn't actually counted as a complaint (or as anything else), to get it counted as a complaint maybe you have to overtly state that "this is a formal complaint"?.

As I posted a while ago, when I asked someone at HO to publish data concerning the number of renewals that had not worked first go (in an attempt to settle a dispute on here and support a statement made by someone from HO) I was given a polite brush off. Whether that was because it is an embarrassing figure, or just because they were not collecting the data I don't know. Had there been no real problem with membership - as I was informed - then surely publishing this information would only go to prove that there was not a problem?
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Karen Sutton » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:52 pm

Si wrote:
We keep getting told there were only about 40 complaints last year.


Yes, I would speculate that they count complaints differently to errors in membership - i.e. if your renewal is messed up and you get in touch to get it sorted then it isn't actually counted as a complaint (or as anything else), to get it counted as a complaint maybe you have to overtly state that "this is a formal complaint"?.

As I posted a while ago, when I asked someone at HO to publish data concerning the number of renewals that had not worked first go (in an attempt to settle a dispute on here and support a statement made by someone from HO) I was given a polite brush off. Whether that was because it is an embarrassing figure, or just because they were not collecting the data I don't know. Had there been no real problem with membership - as I was informed - then surely publishing this information would only go to prove that there was not a problem?


I am reasonably 100% sure it was because they didn't have the data. Whether they have been collecting the data whilst the independent review was on going I don't know. But who would be collecting the data? Are we to expect that the Membership Services contractor will log all the errors, as they should surely be counted in addition to the formal complaint. IMO someone would only make a formal complaint if they were a long standing member who had some loyalty to the Club and wished to remain a member. Anyone else would simply give up. So perhaps there are only 40 formal complaints to National Office. However those of us fielding complaints know there are many, many more.

I also believe that mistakes on the database have resulted in membership levels possibly being misrepresented. I have told some Councillors, including the Chair, about this. I have the proof on my computer. But nobody is interested. Yet this is frightening as the figures we are being given could be way out.
Last edited by Karen Sutton on Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Pedaldog » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:54 pm

I've been a CTC member since 1998 when I started to get interested in cycling again after a lay off of many a year! I Joined for the Mag', the Insurance and the feeling of being part of something that was personal for all it's size.
First two years were fine with renewals etc but then, every year since then, I've had to spend time calling the Membership office and asking why they haven't taken my sub's, where My magazines are and When it will be sorted. It has generally been dealt with after one or two telephone calls but I must admit that I was close to not renewing by the 3rd time. I still believe in the "Voice of cycling", however that might be changing it's tone these days, and will renew again when it's time. It would be nice to have the trust that it wasn't going to cause problems and phone calls etc.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Si » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:43 am

Karen Sutton wrote:
Si wrote:..snip..


I am reasonably 100% sure it was because they didn't have the data. Whether they have been collecting the data whilst the independent review was on going I don't know. But who would be collecting the data? Are we to expect that the Membership Services contractor will log all the errors, as they should surely be counted in addition to the formal complaint. IMO someone would only make a formal complaint if they were a long standing member who had some loyalty to the Club and wished to remain a member. Anyone else would simply give up. So perhaps there are only 40 formal complaints to National Office. However those of us fielding complaints know there are many, many more.

I also believe that mistakes on the database have resulted in membership levels possibly being misrepresented. I have told some Councillors, including the Chair, about this. I have the proof on my computer. But nobody is interested. Yet this is frightening as the figures we are being given could be way out.


Yes, having had a look at the report it too seems to suggest that my speculation wasn't wildly inaccurate. :(
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Jimmy The Hand » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:12 pm

Simon L6 wrote:........ When it was commissioned and presented to tne current council I asked for a copy. My request was denied -


It is my understanding that the report hasn't been discussed by Council yet, and in that case your request was quite rightly denied, no business is going to release a report before it has been fully discussed by the board

Simon L6 wrote:......... I have a copy....... ...... You can have a copy too if you care to e-mail me on simon_legg@yahoo.co.uk . Obviously I can only post it to members


I'm not in the legal profession but I wonder just how legal you having a copy is, and how much trust we can have in the Councillor who passed it to you .

Simon L6 wrote:......... It's eye-wateringly bad. Scarily bad, given that it's as easy to lose members than it is to gain them. .


And how many members have we lost by these comments?

Mindful of Si request not to make personal comments I will just say that I have not read such an egotistical letter for some time.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Regulator » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:05 pm

Well, Jimmy The Hand, this is a report to the membership - not to Council.

It is irrelevant whether Council has discussed it or not.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Twenty Inch » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:55 am

Karen Sutton wrote:
I am reasonably 100% sure it was because they didn't have the data. Whether they have been collecting the data whilst the independent review was on going I don't know. But who would be collecting the data? Are we to expect that the Membership Services contractor will log all the errors, as they should surely be counted in addition to the formal complaint. IMO someone would only make a formal complaint if they were a long standing member who had some loyalty to the Club and wished to remain a member. Anyone else would simply give up. So perhaps there are only 40 formal complaints to National Office. However those of us fielding complaints know there are many, many more.

I also believe that mistakes on the database have resulted in membership levels possibly being misrepresented. I have told some Councillors, including the Chair, about this. I have the proof on my computer. But nobody is interested. Yet this is frightening as the figures we are being given could be way out.



I gave up. It took me 3 months to get my first year's membership. I was then sent 2 membership cards, the second of which expires this December. However I still got renewal notices earlier this year. I couldn't be bothered.

I've been a cyclist all my life, my wife cycles, we will soon be buying my son his first bike. CTC are missing out on all these members, because they can't sort out a service that members are paying for.

Show me it's different, I might come back.
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Jimmy The Hand » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:37 am

Regulator wrote:Well, Jimmy The Hand, this is a report to the membership - not to Council.

It is irrelevant whether Council has discussed it or not.

I have never known, or heard of, a company sending a commissioned report to the shareholders before it had been discussed by the board of directors.

As it was commissioned by Council it is they who report to the membership on what problems were found and how they are going to rectify them, so it is relevant that council discuss it first. Unless of course you want the report sent out to the members, however many thousand there actually are, first. I wonder how long that would take to get a consensus of what we need to do?
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Simon L6 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:20 am

Jimmy The Hand wrote:I have never known, or heard of, a company sending a commissioned report to the shareholders before it had been discussed by the board of directors.
then you weren't at the 2007 AGM.

I take it that you won't be wanting a copy, then.........
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Re: CTC Membership Services

Postby Speshact » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:37 am

Speshact wrote:By coincidence, earlier today I emailed Kevin Mayne about my Accredited National Standards trainer certificate:

"Despite chasing CTC several times I have yet to receive my certificate though I passed in May. Can you help please?"

I need it because it one of my employers, quite reasonably, want to see it before employing and paying me as a fully accredited trainer. CTC's tardiness is costing me money.


I'm pleased to say that it arrived today 6/10 having been posted on 25/09 - so the Royal Mail didn't help!
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