Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

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

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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby meic » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:59 am

The argument seems to be seperating out into two different levels.

1) The "incrowd" these are so closely involved that the personalities of the people not only count but have overiden the big picture.

2) The "outcrowd" who are looking at the systems which will change the way that outside influences will control the club. Oblivious to the individual characters involved.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:30 pm

mark_w wrote:IMHO...

I think that they should keep the CTC membership and charity as two distinct and seperate entities. The Charitable Trust working as it does, almost like Sustrans does (albeit with slightly different aims) but with the aims of the CTC membership at heart. Sadly it also seems as though certain senior people within the CTC have alterior motives within this, which is sad. (edited - see my reply further below for wider reasons for the short comment)

But also, as a personal view, I think the CTC needs to work hard to try and recruit younger members to keep it's head above water. I believe there is a CTC group in York, and I'd love to ride with a group, but I've never ridden with them because (after looking at their website to see who to contact) and it suggesting I take a spin with the Wednesday Wheelers, I think I'm in the wrong age bracket at 35. Especially as I work during the day on a Wednesday :)

it is possible. Half the riders on the FNRttC are under 35 - and 30% are women, which is even harder to credit! And - the good news is that next year we're coming your way!
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31270
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby mark_w » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:40 pm

Simon L6 wrote:it is possible. Half the riders on the FNRttC are under 35 - and 30% are women, which is even harder to credit! And - the good news is that next year we're coming your way!
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31270


Ooh. Cool. I'm all up for the York --> Cleethorpes one :D
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:45 pm

http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/162681/1/5795 is an unlikely subject for a cycling forum - but take a look. Now ask yourself this - if the CTC were called upon to comment on a candidate for political office who had 'promised to sweep cyclists from the streets'...............
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby George Riches » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:08 pm

There would be no problem, unless there were only two candidates for a post being contested.

From the website referred to:
The Charity Commission’s guidance, Speaking Out, Guidance on Campaigning and Political Activity, states that ‘A charity must not give support or funding to a political party, nor to a candidate or politician.’

There's a lot more to politics than getting involved in party games. Clearly the orgainisation which the Price's Trust got involved with was just a front for the Conservative Party.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Si » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:26 pm

meic wrote:The argument seems to be seperating out into two different levels.

1) The "incrowd" these are so closely involved that the personalities of the people not only count but have overiden the big picture.

2) The "outcrowd" who are looking at the systems which will change the way that outside influences will control the club. Oblivious to the individual characters involved.


+1

although I'd add:
3) those looking on bewildered by the whole thing and having difficulty trying to actually work out which bits are generated from 1) and which from 2).

Goes back to my original wish, which I'd expand to:
Three pages in Cycle, or on the CTC webside, or even three big posts here.
Page one: the nuts and bolts - what is the process involved, what does it cost where does the money go, what new positions are created, who gets to stuff them, etc.
Page two: the advantages - a simple list of why we would want to become a charity (already done to a great extent in Cycle)
Page three: the disadvantages - a simple list of why we don't want to be a charity (missed out of the article in Cycle)

Then we could start the discussion based upon a better understanding of what we were talking about and of the views of each side.

I know that Kevin wants to put stuff on here and on the website to cover parts of 1) and 2) but I've no idea if he will be supplying a list negatives to balance it out...the ball is in his court on this one. Of course, if only an 'official' list of positives are given to the membership to mull over, with no accompanying list of negatives, then there will be little surprise if people start to ask why this is so, and what have the Charity supporters got to hide?
WHAT ABOUT THE FOG? STUCK IN A HOLE? IN THE FOG? STUCK IN A HOLE? IN THE FOG? IN THE MIDDLE O' THE NIGHT? WITH AN OWL! UP A TREE!
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:00 pm

hitherto, apart from a circular from my DA sent out to branch secretaries, there has only been one side to the argument. Articles in Cycle, pages on the website, bits on Newsnet all put the National Office view - even before the text of the special resolution has been determined, and the special resolution voted for (or against) on Council.

The 'nay' campaign, which includes current and past councillors, hasn't got going yet. That's because there's no rush. Proxy voting forms will be sent out in March, and, by that time, the 'nay' website will be up and running, and we'll be doing our level best to do a David against the Goliath that is the National Office publicity machine. In the end it's about the strength of the argument, the weight of evidence, and the trust you place in assurances. We're still amassing the evidence and attempting to simplify the argument.

So this is going to take a while to play out. Those of you interested in it now run the risk of being thoroughly bored by it by May..........but hang on in there! Together we can save the CTC!
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby John Catt » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:44 pm

Hi All,

I'm a new Councillor and new to this forum.

Simon L6 wrote:hitherto, apart from a circular from my DA sent out to branch secretaries, there has only been one side to the argument. Articles in Cycle, pages on the website, bits on Newsnet all put the National Office view - even before the text of the special resolution has been determined, and the special resolution voted for (or against) on Council.

The 'nay' campaign, which includes current and past councillors, hasn't got going yet. That's because there's no rush. Proxy voting forms will be sent out in March, and, by that time, the 'nay' website will be up and running, and we'll be doing our level best to do a David against the Goliath that is the National Office publicity machine. In the end it's about the strength of the argument, the weight of evidence, and the trust you place in assurances. We're still amassing the evidence and attempting to simplify the argument.

So this is going to take a while to play out. Those of you interested in it now run the risk of being thoroughly bored by it by May..........but hang on in there! Together we can save the CTC!


I'm a Trustee of an a charity the BHA http://www.humanism.org.uk and can't at the moment see any major disadvantages in becoming a charity. All organisations have their politics, differences and inefficiencies. Charitable status as far as I can tell won't make any difference to these either way.

The main reason as I see it for becoming a charity is that the Charities Act 2006 increased the range of bodies that could qualify for charitable status to include those promoting amateur sport and the promotion of health whilst bringing in a requirement to demonstrate public benefit. Hence all of the CTC can now qualify rather than just a part.

I've had a go at a blog trying to assess the arguments which can be found at http://witherthectc.blogspot.com/2009/1 ... r-ctc.html.

All comments welcome. If the issues are to be debated and investigated thoroughly we need to get the debate under way.

Regards,

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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:47 pm

John - if you can just itemise the member benefits that will be deemed charitable, and itemise the Trust expenditure over the last (say) three years which has been deemed charitable, and put some amounts to these items, we'll all be much the wiser....

And if you could set out the thinking behind the proposed Executive Committee, that would be helpful too.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby simonconnell » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:16 pm

mark_w wrote:Sadly it also seems as though certain senior people within the CTC have alterior motives within this, which is sad. (edited - see my reply further below for wider reasons for the short comment)

Could you please elaborate on the "ulterior motives" you are assigning to "certain senior people"?
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby mark_w » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:56 pm

simonconnell wrote:
mark_w wrote:Sadly it also seems as though certain senior people within the CTC have alterior motives within this, which is sad. (edited - see my reply further below for wider reasons for the short comment)

Could you please elaborate on the "ulterior motives" you are assigning to "certain senior people"?


My point was that inferring from the views of other longer standing members of the CTC it appears as though there are Senior People within the CTC who don't seem to be telling the whole story to the wider membership and usually that implies ulterior motives

If they have nothing to hide, I think they should be more open with their reasons why they want to do it and the benefits to the membership (above and beyond the article in Cycle), with what they're doing with regards to anything they do within the club including being wholly transparent without doubt (which there seems to be plenty of at the moment, sadly), and also show the negatives, as proposed by other posters.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Karen Sutton » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:50 pm

I believe that there are senior people in CTC who would still like to reduce the number of elected members on the Board. (Council).

This was attempted two years ago but was defeated.

I believe that if the new "Executive Board" comes into operation there will again be a move to reduce elected Board Members. Although we are being told now that if the Club becomes a Charity and merges with the current Charitable Trust then it will be run by full Council; this could/would change if the Executive Board was voted in. This is something I misunderstood prior to making my earlier post. The error in my thinking was kindly pointed out to me this morning.

If that happens the members will have much reduced influence on how the CTC is run, and there is going to be even less transparency, particularly with financial matters, than there is now.

This year the YHA have done this. In the YHA AGM paperwork there was the spin which read along the lines that to increase democracy they were looking to reduce the number of elected members on the Board. I'd like someone to try to explain to me how that increases democracy. Surely if there are less people on the board then those with their own agenda will have an easier task when trying to make changes which may be seen to be bad for the organisation?
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby charitywonk » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:37 pm

There is a lot of nonsense being suggested here about charitable status limiting campaigning. I have worked within a number of charities and it doesn't help this debate if the facts are just wrong.

Charities in the UK have been responsible for some of the most effective and groundbreaking campaigning in our history. Nobody can surely be suggesting that the Ramblers, NSPCC, the Rowntree Trusts, Shelter, RSPCA, Terence Higgins Trust, Stonewall have ever been neutered by being charities. Indeed they have more independence and more influence than bodies who have to toe the political line such as trade unions.

The charity commission and government specifically recognise the role of campaigning charities in policy, and they have made it clear that campaigning is not linked to funding.

Frankly the insular, self centred CTC I joined in the 1980s deserved to loose its place at the campaigning table when the city campaign groups kicked off. A body whose remit is to serve society and therefore can speak as the voice of everyone who cycles is just what we need. Who do you want to represent us - Sky? Better to make CTC as good as it possbly can be by using the system to our advantage.
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Regulator » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:37 pm

Ah - I see the Council cavalry has arrived... :wink:
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Regulator » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:40 pm

As posted elsewhere...


As some of you may know, I am on CTC Council and I was asked to sit on the Governance Working Group, which was supposed to look at all the options for the CTC's future shape and status. One reason I was asked to do this is that I used to work in the charitable sector (I was Deputy Chief Executive of two national charities) and I am the only person on Council with a formal qualification in charity management (I have the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators Certificate in Charity Management).

I went into my work with an open mind. I could understand the potential benefits to members of CTC having a unified structure. However, I was also mindful of the very real problems that such changes could bring, particularly if rushed into.

The Governance Working Group was supposed to be given the chance to do some 'blue sky' thinking and to look at all the options. Council and National Office were supposed to be 'hands off' and give us space to do our work without undue pressure. Unfortunately, this did not happen. From the beginning, there was constant interference in our work.

CTC is a dysfunctional organisation. This has become clearer over my year on Council. We have an imbalance where the membership are disregarded and National Office concentrates its efforts on project work for government through the Trust. Whilst I can see the benefit of some of the project work, it is badly managed and often loss-making. We don't even have a proper project accounting system in place - despite this being a contractual requirement.

Significant sums of membership money (fees) have been used over the last few years to prop up loss-making projects in the Trust - somewhere in the region of £1.75 million. And we're not talking pre-approved losses - we're talking getting to the end of the year and the Club having to bail the Trust out. And this is on top of the significant sums that the Trust charges the Club for rent, services etc.

Having seen just how bad things are, I can no longer support the idea of unification at this time and I will be actively campaigning against it. The Chair of Council is trying desparately to quell any discontent by suggesting that there is 'collective responsibility' on Council. I've reminded him that we are not a political party or a local authority - we are a board of directors and we individually have responsibility to be open and honest with our 'shareholders' - the members.

This does not mean that I do not believe that it is not appropriate for the future - but at present, if we were to unify the Club and Trust, we would simply end up embedding bad practice, lack of proper governance and dysfunction. I'm sure there will be plenty of fine promises about how these issues will be addressed as part of the changes but I simply don't believe them. I want to see those changes made before any status change.

Don't forget - once the changes have been made they can't be undone.

Those opposing the changes have been promised a 'right of reply' in the next issue of Cycle... but they won't be able to see what they're replying to. There is also a website in the offing that will give CTC members the unspun figures and facts.

There's a lot of guff being given out about the benefits (in particular around Gift Aid). The figures are overstated and most of these benefits can be accessed without unification as a charity. And those benefits that members currently get through the Club will not be guaranteed in any unified charity - they will become purely discretionary.

The CTC Trust was created without reference to the members. The Club's main asset (its property) was given to the Trust without consultation with the members - and in a hurry. CTC's staff were transferred to the Trust without consultation with the membership.

National Office and a few members of Council are trying to push through these changes without full and proper consultation with the membership. The fact that there is any consultation is only because some members of Council have insisted on it.

I'm not going to tell people how to vote on this. All I'd say is read everything you can get your hands on - and read everything with a certain degree of scepticism. Ask questions - and treat the answers you get with due caution.

Use your vote. If you can't get to the AGM then use your proxy vote. Don't forget that you can give your proxy vote to anyone - not just the Chair - and you can tell them how you want it cast.

Join us in insisting that the actual number of votes cast for any motion is recorded... this hasn't happened in the past. We've simply been told that the proxies mean that the vote has gone one way or the other - we weren't told how many were cast for or against. Transparency in voting is something the CTC is not good at.

Tell your friends. Don't forget - at present the CTC is still a membership organisation and it is for the members to decide what to do. This may be your last chance to have your say!

And as I said before... once any changes have been made, they can't be undone. If we don't get it right, we're screwed!
Last edited by Regulator on Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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