Groups contact at NO?

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JT
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Groups contact at NO?

Postby JT » 22 Oct 2009, 2:47pm

On Monday morning I emailed National Office (events@ctc.org.uk*) with a question regarding my local group. It's now Thursday afternoon and I haven't had a response yet - not even a quick reply to say that they're looking into it. Maybe I've worked too long in a corporate environment but to me this is unacceptable. And this is the second email that has been ignored recently: the last one by the press officer of all people.

I didn't want to phone - it's the time for keeping your head down, not making very obvious personal calls - but it looks like I have no choice so could anyone tell me who I need to contact?

*Used this email address as directed by the auto-reply from groups@ctc.org.uk

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Si
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Si » 22 Oct 2009, 3:11pm

Sounds a bit poor.
On the few occasions that I've emailed them they seem to get back with in a day or so. But that could have been because I was looking to spend money :shock:

However, I think that there was a RTR conference at the weekend so they may have been elsewhere or a few days; even so you'd expect someone to be around to man the guns and just to send a reply to say that they'd recieved your email even if they couldn't act on it there and then.

Jamesy
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Jamesy » 22 Oct 2009, 7:28pm

I've been saying this for a long time, but have always been shouted down. The CTC now exists purely for itself, not the members.
I was a member for 25+ years, and before the club became "corporate", was treated as a valued paying member. In it's struggle to reform and re-invent itself, it has lost touch with the membership. The newer members may be happy with the service they get as most corporate bodies are pretty impersonal these days and it is generally accepted/tolerated. :(
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest". Robert G. Ingersoll

thirdcrank
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Oct 2009, 7:45pm

I'm no computer expert but even I can access my email away from base.

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Si
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Si » 23 Oct 2009, 10:03am

I would suggest that anyone who feels that way should raise their concerns with their councillor, direct to HO (making it clear that it is a complaint and that you expect a reply), and possibly at the AGM (depending on the nature of the problem). Unless such views are communicated to those in control, there is little chance that they will be acted upon (and merely noting them on the forum is no guarantee that they will be; indeed, because the forum is just a talking shop it means that concerns raised will not be logged officially).

If you are not happy with aspects of the way that the CTC works then you need to let HO know - don't rely on sitting back and hoping that someone else will! If they only get one or two communications of such concern then they will assume that the other 50000+ are perfectly happy (which seems to be the case at present).

Jamesy wrote:I've been saying this for a long time, but have always been shouted down. The CTC now exists purely for itself, not the members.
I was a member for 25+ years, and before the club became "corporate", was treated as a valued paying member. In it's struggle to reform and re-invent itself, it has lost touch with the membership. The newer members may be happy with the service they get as most corporate bodies are pretty impersonal these days and it is generally accepted/tolerated. :(

thirdcrank
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2009, 10:33am

Si

I'm sure that what you are saying is the best approach. OTOH, elsewhere on here there is a thread with some pretty startling claims about declining membership. In any organisation, the majority of people do what suits themselves, especially if they are paying for the privilege. The organisations that survive are those that heed the comments, grumbles, gripes of those few who go to the trouble of commenting, grumbling and griping, rather than listening to the patter of feet getting quieter and quieter as people disappear into the distance. Referring people to the "correct channels" branding them as disloyal boat rockers (and I am not suggesting you have done this) just makes even more people decide to go without even bothering to say why. This is particularly true if the correct channels do not even acknowledge comments, grumbles and gripes.

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Si
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Si » 23 Oct 2009, 10:57am

TC, I'm afraid that it's a case of: nothing gets changed if no one knows that there is a problem. If people keep their problems to themselves, or just air them in a location that is not likely to be noticed, there is much less chance that anything will get done about them. If, on the other hand, lots of people raise the problems directly with those who are in a position to act on the problems, then there is more chance that they will get sorted. "Simples".

At the very least, if a large number of complaints are logged then those in power can hardly turn around and say that they didn't realise that there was a problem if they are accused of not acting on it. This is partly the case in the example you refer to - although there was problem, only 15 people had logged official complaints to HO about it, thus HO able to say that there was not a wide scale problem, contrary to the experience of many members.

Yes, it is very true that an organisation should be constantly monitoring the feelings of its members. But if you feel that HO are not doing this then all the more reason for you to contact them and make sure that they know where they can improve things.

I'm certainly not saying that problems with the CTC shouldn't be discussed here - it can be beneficial in showing that there really is a problem for many people (eg the membership thread); no, I'm saying that discussing things here alone will not necessarily get your views passed on to HO in a way that they are likely to act on them. For one thing we don't even know who is and is not a member of the CTC on this forum, - and we can get some very curious views aired about the CTC (you know the recent thread I mean).

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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Jamesy » 23 Oct 2009, 11:20am

I gave up complaining as it got me nowhere. I've posted on here as a response to a topic. Exasperated, after more than 25 years as a member, I cancelled my membership renewal as I felt the CTC has nothing to offer me that can't be served more professionally by another cycling body.
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest". Robert G. Ingersoll

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Si
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Si » 23 Oct 2009, 11:41am

that's the problem, if only one or two people complain, or people complain in such a way that their views will not get picked up by the right people, then it's natural that those at the top will regard what they are doing as OK. And that is why I said what I did above - if you (by which I mean all members, not just those who have posted on this thread) think that there are fundamental problems, then you ought to make sure that your concerns are registered by those who are in a position to act on them.

Likewise, you (again, everyone, not just the posters on this thread) have to actually clearly express what the problem is and what could be done. It's no good saying that "the CTC has lost its way" - that doesn't really help anyone see what the real problem is, or how to fix it.

Regulator
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Regulator » 23 Oct 2009, 2:52pm

Hi JT

I am the Member Groups Champion for Council. If you'd like to forward me your e-mail, with a covering note explaining what has happened so far, I will follow it up - I promise.

My e-mail is: greg.price@ctc.org.uk

I have been raising NO's attitude to members and member group as a matter for urgent attention for some time now but keep on geting told there's not a problem. The more evidence I get the better.

Regards

Greg

Karen Sutton
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Karen Sutton » 23 Oct 2009, 6:19pm

I called Adrian Lawson (Local Group and Events co ordinator) on Monday. I was told he was not in on that day and a message would be left for him, asking me to call. I still haven't heard from him. I've more or less managed to sort the problem I wanted to raise with him anyway, but that is not the point.

On a more general note regarding complaints. Whether it is about Local Groups, Membership services, or anything like that, if someone comes to me with a complaint I don't often refer them to National Office; rather I take up the complaint on their behalf. This is partly because I know that it is painfully slow getting a response if the persion you need to speak to is not there when you call. If someone rings Membership Services to sort out a problem, is that recorded as a complaint? Doubtful. You probably have to speak to a Manager and state that you want to make an official complaint before it is recorded. Then you would probably have to put it in writing :?

By the way. I'm about to start a thread on Membership renewal for the attention of anyone who renewed in September. There was a computer problem resulting in data loss in September which included a problem in which payments from renewing members may not have been recorded. This means that they are treated as having lapsed, and are being dropped off the database. Membership Services say they are writing to Members to alert them to this. The payments may have been taken from you, but CTC have no record of them. Unfortunately the onus seems to be on individual members to prove they have paid. But most will be unaware that this has affected them. So if you renewed in September you might want to check with the Membership Department whether you are still a member on their database.

There are 3 members in our Group affected by this. It came to my attention as I was checking whether all our riders were still current members. I noticed some were lapsed and queried it with them. One of them is sure she has paid as it is showing on her bank statement, but Membership say they have no record of it. Of course members will not know this has happened to them until their magazinee doesn't show up in a month's time. Membership Services have assured me that they have written to members telling them about this. But with the regional postal strikes and now the National strike it's possible letters have not arrived. I suggested to National Office staff that something be put in Newsnet but it hasn't appeared. By the way, the data loss has not just affected Membership Services, but the whole of CTC, so we can't just blame Membership for this one.

Jamesy
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Jamesy » 23 Oct 2009, 7:39pm

Si wrote:that's the problem, if only one or two people complain, or people complain in such a way that their views will not get picked up by the right people, then it's natural that those at the top will regard what they are doing as OK. And that is why I said what I did above - if you (by which I mean all members, not just those who have posted on this thread) think that there are fundamental problems, then you ought to make sure that your concerns are registered by those who are in a position to act on them.

Likewise, you (again, everyone, not just the posters on this thread) have to actually clearly express what the problem is and what could be done. It's no good saying that "the CTC has lost its way" - that doesn't really help anyone see what the real problem is, or how to fix it.


To be honest, the CTC has very little to offer me in it's present form. My own view is that it has become pretentious and inward looking, and serves only as a means to an end for the people who run it. So why should I bother? I'm no longer a member, and have absolutely no intention of rejoining. :|
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest". Robert G. Ingersoll

thirdcrank
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2009, 8:10pm

Si

The point I was trying to make is the "Exit, voice and loyalty" thing. It's pretty widely recognised that most people who are unhappy with a service provider or whatever take the 'exit' option - they just go without bothering to say goodbye. Few people bother with 'voice' - explaining politely or otherwise what has upset them. It may be simple to you that more people should complain through the right channels but the simple fact is they don't and exhortations will not change that. Jamesy, as a previous long serving member who has apparently taken the 'exit' option just reinforced my point which you chose to miss again. (And while I've been laboriously typing, he has reinforced it again.) I've no idea what the non-renewal situation is, and whether it is the problem bordering on haemorrhage some portray (if the typical CTC member is the stereotypical BOF then many non-renewals may be simply down to old age) but in reality it looks as though nobody has much of a clue. Loyalty is valuable for organisations, but relying on it is a form of complacency.

I understand very well that when the CTC agreed to to continue with the forum in its present form, they did not want it to become an official channel of communication with HQ. Fair enough. I think it's also completely reasonable that the CTC Forum should not be a soapbox for people who just want to denigrate the CTC. OTOH a reasonable complaint is not a sign of disloyalty, quite the opposite, and by providing a bit of a lightning conductor or whatever, this forum could be a valuable source of free feedback. Successful companies spend huge amounts finding out this sort of info and they certainly don't leave phones ringing unanswered etc.

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Si
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Si » 24 Oct 2009, 3:49pm

Regarding your second paragraph you seem to be repeating what I have said for the most part - there is nothing wrong with discussing your problems on the forum and seeing if others have found similar problems. You might even get lucky and a member of HO or the council might see the thread. But as no one is tasked with reporting on forum opinion to HO or the council (hint: if there's an employment opportunity there you have my number) it is not guaranteed to get your message across. Now you can say that there should be someone doing this, and that leads onto the first para....

Regarding the first, to me there are three possibilities - (1) the CTC HO/council continually polls its members for their opinions and problems, (2) the membership doesn't wait to be asked and tells HO/council what it wants, (3) the membership, not liking what it sees, simply wonders off elsewhere.

In the ideal world (1) is the option that should be in operation. Some people, based upon their experience, believe that it is not so (although I would point out that my councillor has written to me several times asking for opinions, and other councilors have been trying to force popular opinion through on important issues - eg Reg, Simon L, Helen, etc).

If we believe that (1) is not happening then I think that the best option to go for is (2), as only by option (2) can one hope to change to option (1) before it is too late. Thus, as I have little control over (1) I try to persuade people to voice their concerns to HO and their councilors rather than just giving up and going elsewhere.

It may be, that in following (2), that some feel that they are being ignored (as I'm sure Jamesy did). And that may be because their view ran contrary to the views of the majority, and so policy was rightly formed to follow the views of the majority; or it may be that things have gone wrong oop top. But either way, there is more chance for improvement if we all actually time a minute to let those oop top know what we think rather than just suffering in silence until we can take no more and then simply slipping away.

Sure there are problems with the CTC, but I believe that it is a worthy organisation and, overall, does a great job for cyclists; so if I thought that it was seriously slipping I wouldn't want to give up on it without some kind of effort to make it right again. Part of my effort includes trying to get others to say what they think could be improved. So, again, I make no apologies for urging people to talk to their councilors and directly to HO about their views on the CTC.

Jamesy
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Re: Groups contact at NO?

Postby Jamesy » 24 Oct 2009, 7:05pm

There seems to be little point in complaining as the CTC is now a law unto itself. The impression I get is that the people who run it seem to think it is always the responsibility of someone else to rectify problems, and anyone who complains is simply a nuisance.
People will always find a way around a problem if they are serious, and the easiest option would seem to point to getting your cycling requirements met by a more professional body.
I was treated very shoddily when I complained to the CTC, and my loyalty for over 25 years as a member counted for absolutely nothing. I was even told that they had no details of my previous membership longevity, as they no longer kept records!
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest". Robert G. Ingersoll