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
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.