A message to CTC members in the East Midlands from John Catt your new CTC Council Member
I hope you will forgive the intrusion of this email following my election as one of the CTC Councillors for the East Midlands. Whilst it would be impossible for me to meet all the members in the region, I can be contacted by email and would welcome any comments you have about the work of the CTC. You will have to forgive me if I do not always respond immediately, like many of you I am a volunteer.
My main purpose in writing to on this occasion is about the main matter for discussion at our January Council Meeting which looked at the formalities involved in reuniting the CTC “Club” and the CTC “Charitable Trust”. This is to be achieved by the “Club” becoming a charity and then re-absorbing the assets of the Trust, so that we once again become a single body governed by the Council, as elected by members.
This involved Councillors scrutinising proposed changes to the Memorandum and Articles of Association which have to be updated to comply with the latest Company's Act as well as the requirements of the Charity Commissioners.
I perhaps have the distinct advantage over some of the other Councillors in that I have been able to come to the subject with a completely open mind and I have been able to spend quite a lot of time since my election in October assessing what has been going on, not only to satisfy myself but to make sure I could adequately represent CTC members in the east Midlands. I can now make it clear that my study of the subject has lead me to conclude that, beyond reasonable doubt, this is the correct course for the CTC going forward.
All but two of the Council agree with this and Council is urging members to support the necessary resolutions at the AGM. This is to be held in Loughborough, so many of you should be able to attend and cast your vote.
There is a group of members who oppose the merger, wishing to see the “Club” remain independent. They have a website where they set out their arguments at www.savethectc.org.uk
. I have no doubt that these members are honourable, but I believe their concerns to be mistaken. The CTC has, I think, answered all the points raised in a special area of its website devoted to this matter which can be found at http://tr.im/LrZM
and I have set out my thoughts in a blog at http://tr.im/LOPZ
My conclusion is that there is nothing that we do at the moment, or that I can foresee the CTC and its members wanting to do, that it will not be able to take forward as a unified charity.
Opponents of the change have also suggested that Council members have a vested interest in changing to charitable status. Two of the advantages of charitable status that I have been able to identify should give you complete reassurance about my position:
a) the trustees of a charity (which is what the Councillors will become) are not entitled to any remuneration apart from out of pocket expenses;
b) the standards expected in law of charity trustees is higher than that required of company directors.
The suggestion has also been made that the accounts of the CTC hide a subsidy from the Club to the Charity to cover losses on contracts with government bodies, such as the “Cycle Champions” initiative. The income and expenditure accounts relating to these contracts has been vetted by our auditors, the bodies funding the contracts and some Council Members (including a member co-opted for his financial expertise) and all concluded that the contracts they examined had covered their costs and provided an income towards the finances of the CTC as a whole.
The accounts show that the “Club” made a donation to the “Trust” of £453K for the year ending 30/9/09. Whilst some describe this as a subsidy, it has to be appreciated that the Trust funded most of our campaigns, right to ride work, volunteer development and promotion (including the internet site), the total cost of which was £994K. The difference was covered from the resources available because of the financial opportunities and advantages open to the Trust as a charity.
Other points about various problems the CTC has had, such as with the membership system, have also been raised. I have yet to find an organisation that did not have its problems. Both council and staff are working hard to improve all aspects of the organisation and, whilst it will never be perfect, it will be easier to move forward without the administrative burden of maintaining and reporting on two separate organisations.
I believe it is vital that we become one again. If the “Club” were to be managed separately, as some seem to wish, then there could easily be a conflict of interest between Council members and the trustees of the Trust. Such problems would eventually, I believe, result in the organisations “divorcing”.
In my view we are much stronger united than divided and I urge you to vote, either at the AGM or by proxy vote, for the proposed changes.
Please feel free to let me know your questions or views
P.S. It is attached as a word document for printing.
CTC - the UK's national cyclists' organisation provides a comprehensive range of services, advice, events, and protection for its members.
CTC Charitable Trust, CTC's charity arm, works to promote cycling by raising public and political awareness of its health, social and environmental benefits, and by working with all communities to help realise those benefits.
To find out more, to join or support CTC visit www.ctc.org.uk
, or phone 0844 736 8451.
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