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

Postby Edwards » 15 Jan 2010, 8:57am

With the help of Simon L 6 it has been shown that the Trust is making a loss.
If somebody more able than myself looks at these http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/pub ... pubsff.asp
the reason might become apparent why the Trust needs the merger for financial reasons.
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NickM
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby NickM » 15 Jan 2010, 1:13pm

If the "Special Resolution" is defeated on this occasion, will we simply see it re-proposed every year until its backers get the "correct" result?

And... even if the Special Resolution IS defeated, will it be possible for us (the members) to retrieve the assets which have been given away? If not, why should we wish to continue to pay our not insignificant subs, knowing that our money may be given away to be used for objectives which have little or nothing to do with our reasons for belonging to the Club?

I feel sorry for life members; I've been a member myself since 1986, so the CTC has had quite a lot of money from me. It won't be getting any more unless the Special Resolution is permanently rejected, and the members' assets returned in full to their rightful owners.

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

Postby glueman » 15 Jan 2010, 1:28pm

Karen Sutton wrote: One Councillor I have spoken to says that the vote is just to approve something which has already happened, and that whether the vote is yay or nay the merger has already gone ahead as far as the running of CTC on a day to day basis is concerned. To read that Council has decided that this is a good way forward does not mean that the members will believe the same.


The immediate worry has to be the club and trust have projected charitable status into their budgets and rejection of the proposal will precipitate financial problems. I hope the 'tidying up exercise' isn't in reality a lifebelt to a floundering organisation and the only real choice is Hobson's.

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

Postby admin » 15 Jan 2010, 4:53pm

Since this post is now rather long to read, and we now have a dedicated board for more detailed discussions about this topic, I've locked this thread.

Please feel free to continue discussions in new topics on this board.

Anthony

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

Postby admin » 16 Jan 2010, 10:14am

Since it appears that this topic is still useful for those participating in it, I've unlocked it again. Sorry for any temporary inconvenience or confusion.

But if you want other people to read your comments, without having to read all 340-odd posts first, it might be a Good Idea to start a dedicated thread on the subject you want to discuss!

Cheers!

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Simon L6
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » 16 Jan 2010, 10:37am

Anthony - thankyou. And I take your point about starting new threads - but this one point from Nick merits a reply..
NickM wrote:If the "Special Resolution" is defeated on this occasion, will we simply see it re-proposed every year until its backers get the "correct" result?

And... even if the Special Resolution IS defeated, will it be possible for us (the members) to retrieve the assets which have been given away? If not, why should we wish to continue to pay our not insignificant subs, knowing that our money may be given away to be used for objectives which have little or nothing to do with our reasons for belonging to the Club?

I think that if the SR is defeated then it will be an almighty shock to the Council. They might well come back in 2011, but they'd need to do so with a package that will appeal to members - and that would require clarity in the accounts and an assurance, that while a proportion of subs would be spent on the Trust's activities, this would be clearly set out and within limits. I also think that they would have to improve the service to members, member groups and the RtR volunteers, because it's undeniable that the dissatisfaction with those services is costing the proponents' case dearly. I take the view that defeating the SR would have a salutory effect on the CTC.

I think, to be honest, this year's AGM is nothing more than a punt - the Chair and the Director have placed too much personal capital in 'The Project' to back down, and the majority of the Council members, having no idea of whether the SR will pass or not, are content to sit on their hands.

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

Postby Simon L6 » 16 Jan 2010, 10:45am

glueman wrote:The immediate worry has to be the club and trust have projected charitable status into their budgets and rejection of the proposal will precipitate financial problems. I hope the 'tidying up exercise' isn't in reality a lifebelt to a floundering organisation and the only real choice is Hobson's.

and, again, with thanks to Anthony...I don't think that is quite the case. The forward planning that I've seen is based on the two seperate entities. The weakness in that planning is that it presumes a growth in subscription income, and that long-term commitments have been made on income from government which might, following the election, diminish.

The Club is vulnerable to competition, though. It remains open to some bright spark to come up with an alternative that does the things that people join for, and for less money. If you can provide all the stuff that people want for twenty quid then you've got a goer. And the structure of subscription income makes the Club particularly vulnerable - the number of members paying full whack is a bit over half the total membership - the rest are paying a reduced rate through affiliates, or nothing at all if they've taken out lifetime membership. If a small number of members paying full whack were to decamp we'd be in deep doodah

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

Postby Fonant » 16 Jan 2010, 11:26am

Simon L6 wrote:If a small number of members paying full whack were to decamp we'd be in deep doodah


I've added some comments on this subject here. It seems to me that it's quite clearly a Good Thing to become a charity for the Council and probably also the management team: efficiencies can be made, less duplication of work, less potential for conflict of interest, possibility for Gift Aid income. But that assumes that the membership, who fund a massive proportion of all this, will remain in the same numbers when the club becomes a charity. You'd have thought that someone would have done some market research on this: both within the current membership, and the wider population.

Perhaps most people would still pay their annual subscriptions/donations, and the change would be seen merely as a tidying-up exercise.
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Roger S
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Roger S » 1 Feb 2010, 7:09pm

I have spent many hours over the last few days reading both the Debate in the Feb/Mar edition of Cycle and most of the submissions on the CTC website.

Unless the CTC is telling major fibs then there is a simple financial and organisational case for change. I did not spot anything factual that was not fully addressed. I think it is a pretty brutal choice between a local and parochial member serving club or a national body representing the informed interest of all cyclists. If we choose the former then we will become (or revert to) a self interest group with limited popular support and minimal influence. If we change to the Charity then we stand a good chance of preventing helmets from becoming mandatory and of successfully influencing other unsuitable policies that ill informed do-gooders thrust upon our politicians. I see very real risks in changing because the up side hinges on making the synergies of scale work and there would be constraints because of the change in status but it looks the way forward to me.

I think we have to recognise that anyone can buy a bike and call themselves a cyclist; members are actually much better placed to hold that title and it is they whom I want to have the influence. I think we have to change to keep such as we have and to ensure we are best placed to see it grow.

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

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Feb 2010, 8:07pm

Roger S wrote:... If we change to the Charity then we stand a good chance of preventing helmets from becoming mandatory and of successfully influencing other unsuitable policies ...


I'd be interested to hear that fleshed-out a bit. There's something higher up on this thread which says something on the lines that govt sponsored projects come with certain helmet conditions attached. How do you answer the very real concern that a big enough govt contract (or even the hint of one) might have a fundamental effect on CTC policy "for the public good" with the membership having no say at all, other than the option (for all but life members) of leaving?

Not so very long ago, the CTC had the govt by the throat with the Highway Code petition. For some reason, the CTC blinked first and accepted a form of words which seemed contrary to all the evidence on facilities making cycling safer - or not. I fear I'll go to my grave believing that one of the men from the ministry hinted that this or that govt funded contract might hinge on the outcome.

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

Postby workhard » 1 Feb 2010, 8:19pm

organisational policy in the third sector changes all to often under the influence of institutional donors and govt. funders. He who pays the piper etc., so be prepared for the odd volte face or three in due course.

As to the increasingly arrogant claims of the CTC to represent all cyclists; I can think of some cycling organisations, including a couple of which I am a member, who will disagree fairly strenuously that the CTC does not represent their membership's interests at all.

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

Postby irc » 1 Feb 2010, 9:50pm

Roger S wrote:. I think it is a pretty brutal choice between a local and parochial member serving club or a national body representing the informed interest of all cyclists.


How exactly is a national cycling club local or parochial? As for a club serving it's members I thought that was what clubs were for.

In campaigning nationally on behalf of it's members a club can also as a by product serve other cyclists but I don't think serving all cyclists should be the primary aim of the CTC. I'm not sure that cyclists who choose to join other organisations would welcome the CTC claiming to speak for them.
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Simon L6
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Re: Are we looking forward to being a membership charity?

Postby Simon L6 » 1 Feb 2010, 10:11pm

Roger S wrote:I have spent many hours over the last few days reading both the Debate in the Feb/Mar edition of Cycle and most of the submissions on the CTC website.

Unless the CTC is telling major fibs then there is a simple financial and organisational case for change. I did not spot anything factual that was not fully addressed. I think it is a pretty brutal choice between a local and parochial member serving club or a national body representing the informed interest of all cyclists. If we choose the former then we will become (or revert to) a self interest group with limited popular support and minimal influence. If we change to the Charity then we stand a good chance of preventing helmets from becoming mandatory and of successfully influencing other unsuitable policies that ill informed do-gooders thrust upon our politicians. I see very real risks in changing because the up side hinges on making the synergies of scale work and there would be constraints because of the change in status but it looks the way forward to me.

I think we have to recognise that anyone can buy a bike and call themselves a cyclist; members are actually much better placed to hold that title and it is they whom I want to have the influence. I think we have to change to keep such as we have and to ensure we are best placed to see it grow.

I'm sorry - but this doesn't bear any kind of relation to the matter at hand. Please read this text

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE REGISTRATION OF NATIONAL STANDARD CYCLE TRAINING
INSTRUCTORS.

This is not a circular

RE: Transfer of instructor Details to the-Department for Transport
-
As you will be aware, CTC has been holding a central database of qualified
National Cycle Training Standard instructor records since the introduction
of the Adult Standards in 2003. In 2004, the Department for Transport (Dm)
gave the CTC a grant to run a three-year programme of capacity building,
utilising the CTC's database of instructors. The CTC continued to manage the
database, but as DfT had, in Data Protection terms, become the Data
Controller, this was on DfT's behalf. Following the end of the
capacity-building contract, DfT are moving the database of instructors to a
new contractor.

This is part of the wider plans to centralise the governance of cycle
training to ensure that the high quality of training is maintained. Other
proposals include recognising a number of organisations to replace the
current system of instructor Training Providers and a scheme to inspect
cycle training schemes.

As from 26 October 2009, all new instructors trained by the instructor
Training Providers (ITPs) were registered on a central database which is
managed on behalf of DfT by Steer Davies Gleave (SDG). We are now preparing
to transfer the existing database to the DfT where the data will merge with
the new database. DfT will become the sole Data Controller for this data
under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998.


The CTC held the database and now they don't - it's gone 'to another contractor'. And that is really the nub of it. This work is here today, gone tomorrow stuff. Today CTC, tomorrow SDG. It's not about influence or prestige or standing or any fine stuff about history. It's about doing a job for a commercial client. I don't know why the contract went from CTC to SDG, but gone it has.

I take parochial to mean the opposite of inclusive. I promise you I didn't have the text inserted above when I wrote my little bit about the CTC and inclusion, but it does serve the argument I made - you can't buy inclusion. You have to become inclusive.

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

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Feb 2010, 10:20pm

Mmmm They don't seem to be a charity either

http://www.steerdaviesgleave.com/

If you search that site on "cycling," being in the business to make profit does not seem to have held them back.

Bearing in mind the recent special communication to CTC Mmembers in Scotland, here's one of interest to them.

http://www.steerdaviesgleave.com/press/ ... php?cid=24

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edited to add:-

I see that they even list the CTC as one of their clients.

http://www.steerdaviesgleave.com/servic ... e/cycling/
Last edited by thirdcrank on 1 Feb 2010, 10:38pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby drossall » 1 Feb 2010, 10:35pm

thirdcrank wrote:Not so very long ago, the CTC had the govt by the throat with the Highway Code petition. For some reason, the CTC blinked first and accepted a form of words which seemed contrary to all the evidence on facilities making cycling safer - or not. I fear I'll go to my grave believing that one of the men from the ministry hinted that this or that govt funded contract might hinge on the outcome.

Isn't it easier to assume that the CTC was dealing with blank incomprehension as to why the objections had been raised, and a petition that represented a fraction of what was anticipated if the motoring lobby were to respond in kind? Also, discussions were happening across lots of clauses. Hence, in some, a position was accepted that was not entirely satisfactory, but better than the starting point? It's called compromise.

It wouldn't be a contract that was hinging on the outcome, but the credibility of the CTC next time around if it held out for a conclusion that we might think perfectly reasonable.