The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.

Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Simon L6 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:21 pm

simonconnell wrote:
swansonj wrote:I think one of the issues at the heart of many people's concerns about CTC is actually closely related to accountability - it is the sense that the powers-that-be in CTC are running the organisation for the sake of the organisation (and for the prestige that goes with running a bigger organisation, handling bigger budgets, managing more staff, playing the lobbying game in a higher league) rather than being accountable to members.


Ah, I think we're looking through different ends of the telescope. If you dive into the link below and start digging around you'll find enormous quanities of information produced by CTC staff, councillors, and independent experts on the subject of the proposed unification. It contains, in honesty, far more detail than I think most private sector organisations would disclose.

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5398

and not a single reference to the case against other than a bit of Ciceronian dismissal. And certainly no reference to savethectc's little website.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Regulator » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:26 pm

simonconnell wrote:Yes - the organisation has good accountability at the moment (as this debate demonstrates), but the Charity Commission will have oversight of the entire organisation. As regards transparency, much of the obfuscation currently being experienced (created?) by Save the CTC seems to arise from the fact that we file accounts in two formats for the Club and Trust, and that therefore payments made between the two organisations are misunderstood. Heck, see here http://www.ctc.org.uk/resources/About_Us/Further_financial_extracts_April2010.doc for a couple of dozen pages on the matter - quite neatly demonstrating the improvements in transparency and efficiency that could be gained.



Sorry Simon

But CTC has pitiful oversight and accountability. Our Standing Orders are outdated and refer to committees that no longer exist, we have no proper scheme of delegations in place (that's being created at present) and we have decisions being taken outside of Council by a small group of councillors on a commitee that does not formally exist. Decisions are also being taken by the Chair which are not properly reported to Council, as they should be.

Papers for meeting are regularly provided at the last minute, not providing time for proper scrutiny and and debate on substantive and serious issues is limited.

Even the report from CASS flags the issues of governance and accountability as matter for concern.

As for your rather snide remark about the "...obfuscation currently being experienced (created?) by Save the CTC seems to arise from the fact that we file accounts in two formats for the Club and Trust, and that therefore payments made between the two organisations are misunderstood" they have been look at by people whose experience as accountants vastly exceeds yours. They have flagged significant concerns over the accounting procedures and have even gone as far as to say they cannot reconcile the management figures and the audited accounts.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby simonconnell » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:27 pm

Simon L6 wrote:and not a single reference to the case against other than a bit of Ciceronian dismissal. And certainly no reference to savethectc's little website.


Simon L6 wrote:1. I've always been candid about this - the powers that be want something that we've got, and this is our opportunity to make them put their house in order. I'm exploiting the charity thing - no question about it.


You've answered your own question; there is no cogent 'case against', just a number of things you'd like changed about the CTC which are unrelated to a move to a unified charity.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby simonconnell » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:35 pm

Regulator wrote:Our Standing Orders are outdated and refer to committees that no longer exist


I agree

Regulator wrote:we have no proper scheme of delegations in place (that's being created at present)


As you note, this is being addressed and you are one of the key authors.

Regulator wrote:we have decisions being taken outside of Council by a small group of councillors on a commitee that does not formally exist


You'll have to help me with this - I don't recognise this statement.

Regulator wrote: Decisions are also being taken by the Chair which are not properly reported to Council, as they should be.


Again, please could you provide an example rather than an unsubstantiated statement?

Regulator wrote:Papers for meeting are regularly provided at the last minute, not providing time for proper scrutiny and and debate on substantive and serious issues is limited.


I agree there is an issue with the timeliness of papers, but that's not assisted when Councillors due to present on a matter don't attend.

Regulator wrote:Even the report from CASS flags the issues of governance and accountability as matter for concern.


The report doesn't refer to them as a 'matter for concern', it makes reccommendations on how they can be improved. As you and I both know, work on this is progressing (such as the delegations work noted above) though it could go somewhat faster.

Regulator wrote:they have been look at by people whose experience as accountants vastly exceeds yours. They have flagged significant concerns over the accounting procedures and have even gone as far as to say they cannot reconcile the management figures and the audited accounts.


A person. Not people. That person was provided with a full reconciliation of the management accounts to the statutory accounts.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Simon L6 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:43 pm

simonconnell wrote:
Simon L6 wrote:and not a single reference to the case against other than a bit of Ciceronian dismissal. And certainly no reference to savethectc's little website.


Simon L6 wrote:1. I've always been candid about this - the powers that be want something that we've got, and this is our opportunity to make them put their house in order. I'm exploiting the charity thing - no question about it.


You've answered your own question; there is no cogent 'case against', just a number of things you'd like changed about the CTC which are unrelated to a move to a unified charity.

and you've chosen to quote only part of my post, ignoring the second point I made in which I say that once the two pots are put in to the one there will be no hope of any transparency. Nothing changes.........

Look, you can be as clever as you want to be, but the impression you're giving is one of shiftiness. Members were really put off the CTC by the blitz of partial information coming out of National Office last time around, and, whether you like it or not, the real case against the merger was made not by Greg, John, Colin and I, but by those Councillors who just wound people up. There might just be a better way.........
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby meic » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:47 pm

simonconnell wrote:
Simon L6 wrote:and not a single reference to the case against other than a bit of Ciceronian dismissal. And certainly no reference to savethectc's little website.


Simon L6 wrote:1. I've always been candid about this - the powers that be want something that we've got, and this is our opportunity to make them put their house in order. I'm exploiting the charity thing - no question about it.


You've answered your own question; there is no cogent 'case against', just a number of things you'd like changed about the CTC which are unrelated to a move to a unified charity.


I have often wondered why the membership were not presented with a choice of changing status with a fair appraisal of the benefits and drawbacks and then left to make their choice.
I guess this explains why the choice was made first and everything possible done to get the memberships permission afterwards.
Also explains why all of our arguments against are not going to be listened to.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby swansonj » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:30 pm

simonconnell wrote: ... there is no cogent 'case against', just a number of things you'd like changed about the CTC which are unrelated to a move to a unified charity.


Is that what you really think - that the things some of us would like changed about CTC are unrelated to the move to a unified charity - or are you just getting carried away a bit and expressing yourself a bit more forcefully than is really the case? I think the case has been articulated many times as to why the two things are linked, and if you really don't see that, it's rather frightening. Mind you, I suppose an alternative explanation, that you said something you don't really believe for the sake of dismissing an opponent's argument, is slightly worrying too....
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby gaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:13 pm

meic wrote:"A majority of members voted in favour of the motion," Even if they didnt know that they had done so!


Well if members gave discretion to the chair that was their choice. They were free to make it. It's no less valid a choice than a direct vote nor a directed vote through a proxy. The chair was entitled to cast those discretionary votes as he saw fit.

Ignoring the Chair's discretionary votes the result for Motion 9 was 1623 for, 1553 against, 182 abstentions and for Motion 10 it was 1603 for, 1483 against and 237 abstentions. Of course we wouldn't know how the members felt about these motions if motion 8 had not been passed.

With regard to motion 8 had the Chair cast those discretionary votes as either "no" or "abstain" then there would have been nothing to stop someone else from the "yes" side raising a petition in the same manner as Jeff Tollerman. We could still be at the same point as we are now, just by different means.

Lets focus on the vote to come, not dig over old ground.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby meic » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:26 pm

But the whole point of the vote to come, is to dig over old ground.

If it was a clear cut case of the motion being passed by a majority of the members votes I would be voting "Yes" because I would not want to see it overturned on a technicality.
However it is easy to argue that the vote did only win on a technicality.

The rather more important point is the 57,000 or so who didnt vote.

Which is to my mind not compatible with "A majority of members voted in favour of the motion,"
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby John Catt » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:39 pm

I'll attempt to deal with Simon L6's request and link it to Jonty's query as I think to some degree they relate. Simon Connell has already addressed most of these but I have a slightly different (& possibly erroneous :-)) perspective.

Simon L6 wrote:
John Catt wrote:There are other issues that certainly need to be addressed, but from my perspective, I think it would be much easier to deal with these as a merged charity.

you could explain why you think that.......

Jonty wrote:You accept that there are deficiencies in the way the CTC is currently run and you are sympathetic to the concerns which Simon and others have raised in this regard. You consider however that these deficiences would be better addressed and resolved under the new proposed structure rather than the existing one. Why do you say this?


Quite simply it would simplify the organisation, making it easier to monitor and reducing the administration overhead. Simon has already addressed the issue to some extent. One simple example is that we have to have two job descriptions for the Chief Executive, one re. the Club and one the Trust and such duplication, whilst minimised is inevitable across much of the organisation. Two sets of administration on every item of accounting and legal compliance. Audit, bank charges, duplicate accounts, duplicate payroll etc. Producing CTC group (club and trust) accounts in one format for companies house and another format for the charity commission has led to considerable confusion when members look at separate consolidated, club and trust accounts, as Simon has already pointed out.

One of our problems is that our current accounting system is "squeaking at the seams". We are looking at a replacement with the capability of providing the kind of Management Information that Simon L6 has referred to (cost of up to £100K for this have been mentioned). One reason it is "stressed" is due to having to maintain accounts for 2 companies rather than one. I'm not sure that we would want to invest in a system that would book staff time hourly as I believe Simon L6 has recommended. I think that would probably be overkill. I believe we can certainly get smarter in allocating all our staff time between projects, getting a better picture of how we are utilising our resources . What I don’t want to see is spend on providing pointless information, such as whether a press officer has just taken a phone call about promoting CTC membership, campaigning or one of our projects.

Jonty wrote:Based on my experience working in Central Government, Local Authorities and the private sector, I've found that restructuring can often be damaging and counter-productive. When there's a perceived problem, or a perceived need to respond to new "opportunities", senior managers often tend to think that structural change is the solution, whereas in my experience any structure can be made to work if there's a will to make it work and if you have right people and the right ethos.

In fact in my experience changing structures is often symptomatic of poor management and leadership. Rather than tackle the real issues, managers take the easy way out and change something which is relatively relatively easy to do and which shows that "they are doing something".
Surely it is much more sensible "to get your house in order" before considering changes to structure or governance? Surely adopting a new system of governance or structure without first addressing the existing "problems" will simply compound the problems and make them much more difficult to identify and resolve later?


We are at one on this point. I'm a strong believer in evolution rather than revolution. My experience has always been that re-organisation reduces productivity.

In fact becoming a single charitable organisation with the Trust merging into the club would mean no organisational change. As I tried to make clear in my analogy to the family and the loan, we are already operating as a single organisation but having to report as two. I also tried to make the point in my long post of 30/11 that we gain nothing from not being a charity if we hold to this structure, since IMHO a court would hold the club responsible for the management of the trust and therefore liable for any of its debts.

The structure as I understand it was never set up to protect the club from the liabilities of the trust. The existing structure was set up before the 2006 Charity Act became effective, to take advantage of the charity law as it then stood. If we were going through the same changes today I'm sure that the Council would be recommending that we become a single charity.

If we want the Club to be protected from any problems in the Trust we need to put "clear blue water" between the Club and the Trust. One of the members of SavetheCTC recommended that we follow the structure of the RYA which has a Sailability charity within its auspices. I investigated and found that they had had problems with a situation where Council members were the trustees. Now RYA Sailability has the RYA as its sole member but the Trustees are nominated by the existing trustees, approved of by the RYA council and are never drawn from the RYA council, in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. The CTC Trust has the CTC as its sole member and the Trustees are appointed from members of the Council.

I believe we would need to move to the trust having completely independent trustees, with separate management and personnel if we are to have reliable protection against any claims relating to the liabilities of the Trust. This would mean that the Trust would act independently of the Club and Council would have no say in its operation and would certainly be a major reorganisation.

IMHO we are already a charity for all practical purposes, without (perversely) taking advantage of full charitable status.

Jonty wrote:I accept that there are opportunities to increase income from Gift Aid if the CTC becomes a unified charity. The amount of money involved may not be much as many expect given the financial climate which will exist in this country for the next 10 years and it is likely to be relatively small, as Simon has pointed out, relative to total income. But surely it makes sense to address current issues which need to be resolved before bringing about non-reversable changes with a view to chasing a limited pot of money?


As I hope you will have gathered, I think the current arrangement is far from optimal. We are failing to take full advantage of charitable status, landing ourselves with unnecessary extra administration and providing an unnecessarily complex business model to both Council and members. Like Simon, I believe the organisational changes provide the largest benefit, and the additional income is "very nice to have".

Jonty wrote:My second point relates to process. The CTC has a corporate strategy which was prepared relatively recently and envisaged the present structure continuing at least up to 2010.

Can I ask, has this strategy or plan been subject to monitoring? Have annual monitoring and implementation reports been prepared on how the plan is progressing? If such annual assessments have been undertaken, have any identified the need to change the governance of the CTC? In other words has the proposal to merge been the result of a considered process linked to the approved plan and its implementation?


I'm suggesting that we retain the existing structure as a combined charitable organisation. This is, I believe, fully in line with the strategy which was set up before the current Charity Act (but adjusted for it).

As to annual assessment, I haven't been around for a year yet. I know we are planning to review the strategic plan and expect to be looking at the past, the present and where we think we might be going :-). The staff have produced annual and three year rolling business plans for each business area which Council have to agree and of course circumstances change.

Sorry to have gone on at such length again.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Regulator » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:52 pm

John Catt wrote:
I'm suggesting that we retain the existing structure as a combined charitable organisation. This is, I believe, fully in line with the strategy which was set up before the current Charity Act (but adjusted for it).


Errr... the Charities Act 2006 was passed in 2006 (the date in the title is a bit of a giveaway). The provisions of the Charities Bill were known for over a year beforehand.

The Strategic Vision was drafted at a time when the provisions of the Charities Bill (soon to be Act) were known. Those involved at the time confirm this.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Jonty » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:54 pm

A few quick points.
As Gaz says if some members gave discretion to the chair through the proxy vote mechanism when the issue was last voted upon, that was their choice. This is a perfectly valid way to proceed. To suggest that the members involved didn't know what they were doing is judgemental and demeaning. And to suggest that the process was flawed because of this is wrong and misleading.
Second, the ballot paper contained in the Cycle magazine is perfectly clear to anyone who can read. It is not misleading in anyway whatsoever. To suggest otherwise is wrong and misleading.
Third, I have been very impressed by people coming back and answering my questions. I thank all concerned.
Finally, in a previous life among my responsibilities was economic development and employment initiatives for a large local authority. This involved joint working with charities and companies limited by guarantee; in fact I was a director of 2 of them.
In all my professional life I have never come across so much information being made readily available to members to help to inform them to make an intelligent decision as in this case. Nor have I ever had the opportunity to be part of an on-going discussion such as the one taking place on a forum.
Compared with many of the bodies I've had dealings with, the CTC is a paragon of transparency, openness and responsiveness.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby gaz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:17 pm

Simon L6 wrote:
simonconnell wrote:

and not a single reference to the case against other than a bit of Ciceronian dismissal. And certainly no reference to savethectc's little website.
My emphasis.

It's three clicks of a mouse on links from the quoted page to the savethectc website. Not as prominent as you may wish but hardly no reference.

On that page at the top:- "Home / About CTC / CTC Structure, Governance & Policies / Converting CTC to a Charity /The Charity Merger - resources and FAQs."

Then at the bottom:- "Links and discussion".

Then towards the bottom you'll find:-

"Other views

An alternative view on our proposals comes from a group of members calling themselves Save the CTC. Their web site is here Save the CTC. CTC Council does not endorse any positions expressed on this site."

Likewise the savethectc website contains links to the CTC homepage. The link to the CTC homepage is prominent but it's a total of four clicks to the Charity FAQs.

Of course in both cases you need to know where to click. :wink:
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby simonconnell » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:04 pm

swansonj wrote:Is that what you really think - that the things some of us would like changed about CTC are unrelated to the move to a unified charity - or are you just getting carried away a bit and expressing yourself a bit more forcefully than is really the case?


Hmm, a choice between being frightening or worrying....

I think some very valid and perceptive points have been raised, particularly about the ability to understand CTC's activities through the published financial statements. This is why I perceive the change is a good thing. However, I think a large number of points have been raised (and continue to be raised) that are unrelated to the change; they are instead a 'wish list' of what individual members would like their CTC to look like.
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Re: The proposals, benefits, drawbacks etc.

Postby Jonty » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:29 pm

[quote="simonconnell....
I think some very valid and perceptive points have been raised, particularly about the ability to understand CTC's activities through the published financial statements. This is why I perceive the change is a good thing. However, I think a large number of points have been raised (and continue to be raised) that are unrelated to the change; they are instead a 'wish list' of what individual members would like their CTC to look like.[/quote]

The financial statements are complex. This is barely surprising given the financial interactions between several related entities including cross-trading. IMHO they would be virtually incomprehensible to the layman or even somone with some knowledge of financial statements. In fact they could give rise to all sorts of misunderstandings.
They need to be simplified and brought together to be more readily comprehensible. If the motion to form a combined charity is passed, I suggest that this be a priority.
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