In the introduction to the Vision the then Chair of Council' Jill Kieran, said:
The over-riding concern of your National Council is to promote cycling for all people in a way that reflects the passion of our members and supporters for this life enhancing means of transport and leisure. We wish to build on our shared heritage and enthusiasm in ways that enrich lives and communities and are beneficial to our environment.
We believe that to do this we need a CTC that is innovative and thriving, a CTC that is open to all and a CTC that is built on fairness and inclusivity.
We need to protect and build on the vitality and diversity of today’s CTC and we need to ensure the organisation’s long term health and future. The current Council inherited an ambitious plan to carry us to our present position. We now offer our members and supporters this revised plan as a basis for the work of CTC over the next five years. It is an exciting opportunity for all our staff and volunteers as we build from a position of considerable strength and a record of success.
We hope you will consider these plans as a framework for individuals, for organisations and for the many partners who work with CTC. We aim to maintain the very best of what we currently do, but we must continue to grow the reach and influence of CTC so that more people can share the pleasure and opportunities that cycling brings to lives.
The Chair of the Strategy Committee, Alan Luxton, said:
"The present document is the culmination of two years work by Councillors and senior CTC staff. This process considered in depth many risks, issues, ideals and details that underlie the strategy.
A strategy is a broad document. It is not possible to foresee exactly what opportunities or priorities will arise in five years yet the strategy must still be a relevant guide in 2012; it must still be leading to new initiatives and new activity. If a particularly good volunteer or opportunity turns up in campaigning or national events or off-road, the strategy must allow maximum development that fits within CTC Vision and objectives.
Most significantly, the four key statements in Part 1 on page six are entirely new to CTC. They are a most succinct statement of why CTC exists as an organisation, what the organisation does, the future that CTC wants to create and how the whole organisation and individuals within the organisation relate to others.
All of the strategies derive from these four statements and future strategies will also be guided by these or very similar statements. As such, they could usefully have formed a separate document (and the strategy would be a page shorter!) but we consider it important that they get wider exposure by forming the first page of the Vision.
Short term plans of action, drawn from the strategy, are already being considered and will be developed dynamically during the next five years."
Central to Council's Strategic Vision was a continuing two body structure for CTC, with CTC the membership organisation (the Club) and the CTC Trust having properly defined roles.
By 2012 our work will be divided between structures as follows:
CTC - the membership organisation
- Bringing together the largest, most dynamic, most diverse and most passionate group of cyclists in the country in an independent organisation working for cycling and cyclists. We are knowledgeable, trusted and supportive, the organisation of choice for every cyclist.
- Making cycling more accessible, safe, enjoyable or practical through membership, activities and services we improve health, mobility, transport and leisure. We promote enjoyment, interaction and sharing of knowledge between cyclists.
- Cyclists’ Touring Club is the travel, holiday and leisure arm of CTC.
CTC Charitable Trust
- Extending the benefits of cycling beyond our membership organisation.
- Raising public and political awareness of the needs of current and future cyclists. The authoritative cycling voice campaigning for access to cycling for all.
- Building on our cycle training and local group strengths we will develop a range of CTC Charitable Trust community programmes and work with these communities to promote cycling’s benefits and access to cycling for all.
- Promoting cycling that is accessible and safe; cycling that is enjoyable and functional; cycling that enriches lives and communities; cycling for fair and inclusive access to health, mobility, leisure and environmentally sustainable transport.
In addition to the twin structure, Council also acknowledged that CTC needed to remain independent, as this was central to its ability to be responsive to the needs of its members and the wider cycling community:
Council recognises that membership and allied services have provided the organisation with a core income that enables us to be independent and self sufficient. It is a fundamental to this strategy that our independent status is maintained.
You can read the full Strategic Vision Document here
With its plans for coverting the Club into a charity and merging it with the Trust, the current Council appears to have forgotten, ignored or simply lost sight of the Strategic Vision. All the hard work of that Council and the membership has been abandoned in the effort to convince members of the suposed benefits of charitable status.
What has changed? Why has the direction of CTC changed so much between 2007 and 2009, when the current Council first put forward its charity proposals?
Well, Council would have you believe that charity law has changed - but that is simply not the case. The Charity Act 2006, which expanded the definition of charitable activity, was in force when the Strategic Vision was being consulted on, and the provisions of the Act were known at the time the Vision was being created.
Is this rush for a merger more to do with some people trying to 'fix' the mistakes of the past, or perhaps the desire of some to build an empire or leave 'a legacy'? Perhaps the answer is not 'what' has changed but 'who'?