Lack of Vision?

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

Postby Regulator » 6 Dec 2010, 8:23am

In 2007, the CTC consulted members on its Strategic Vision for 2007-2012. This policy document had taken two years of hard work to prepare and was intended to define the way forward for CTC until 2012.

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'?

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Re: Lack of Vision?

Postby Jill » 6 Dec 2010, 11:46am

I have not entered the debate on this Forum before but now my name and quotation has been used, I feel I would like to comment.
I was a member of CTC Council for 6 years, genuinely trying to help the Organisation provide the best service to members.
It is true, we spent a huge amount of time, debating, researching and consulting members, with the aim of directing CTC towards a positive future. We knew for altruistic reasons it was right to support all cyclists, but also knew we had a responsibility to our members. The Strategic Vision was the culmination of the Council's true belief that we had made provision to do both.
I am saddened by the division and acrimony that has emerged in some parts of CTC over the current drive to merge the two "arms". I have followed closely all the comments and amplification that has arisen as people try to decide what is best. As a passionate supporter of Local Groups, and Campaigning for cyclists needs, I can still clearly see the importance of new projects and encouraging new cyclists. However, I do feel that the urgency - less than two years since the Vision was offered, has not allowed a real opportunity to see if it worked. While there is still uncertainty, and many active traditional CTC members are worried about the status of the CTC Membership Organisation, we should be cautious. CTC is a remarkable source of cycling knowledge and committment within its members and staff: be careful we don't loose it because we are chasing money. If this sounds niaive, I make no apology, I am a cyclist, a CTC member and want the best for CTC.
Jill Kieran

Karen Sutton
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Re: Lack of Vision?

Postby Karen Sutton » 7 Dec 2010, 10:25pm

Hello Jill,

It's good to hear from you again. I can't grasp from your post whether you support this merger or not. Maybe if I read it a few times I might see what I'm missing. I don't suppose you are, however, able to answer Greg's question "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"?

I was a member of Council when the Strategic Vision was presented to the membership. I was pleased that the intention was to continue to run the two parallel organisations. That was actually, in my view, the best thing to come from Council during my time as a Councillor.
I was therefore confused when I heard the proposals to merge the two parts of CTC; especially with regard to the proposal for the Club to become a Charity.

None of the stuff we are being fed by the pro-merger lobby is convincing enough to make me support this irreversible step.

I really don't think anyone is going to tell us the real reasons for the U-turn of Council Policy.

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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 10:08am

Re: Lack of Vision?

Postby Jill » 8 Dec 2010, 12:37pm

As I am no longer a member of the Council, I cannot answer your's and Greg's question about what has changed.

Like you I thought we had managed to provide a positive way forward for the CTC. It makes me feel the two years CTC spent supporting Councillors and staff to plan for the future were completely wasted, when so quickly the structure has to be changed. I do think ultimately, it may possibly be right to have a single organisation, but the time is not now.

In simple terms I believe the carrying out of the 2007 -2012 Vision Plan would have enabled us to see how effective our outsourced projects were within the Trust. To evaluate the success of refocusing on the CTC membership arm and, then, Council could have reviewed the possibility of a merger.

This would seem to me to have been completely logical, and given all the evidence necessary for convincing members it was in the best interest of the CTC and the wider world.

What is happening now, when the potential of "new" money for projects is marginalized, is a rush, to create a new CTC which may undermine the very nature of what our members expect as a Cycling Club - which is what CTC is at the moment - an Organisation that supports and encourages its members, with their cycling.
Of course we must as cyclist's support all potential cyclists, but why can we not do that as planned, for the next two years, within the CTC Trust, in the original Vision? We would then have had 5 years of evidence to evaluate.

I am disappointed and disheartened that the current Council has not felt able to respect the earlier work for CTC's future. So to answer you, I am at the moment against the amalgamation.

Karen Sutton
Posts: 608
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:18pm
Location: Greater Manchester

Re: Lack of Vision?

Postby Karen Sutton » 8 Dec 2010, 2:03pm


Thank you for your view. It echoes mine so completely. I'm not surprised though, as I was in full support of your work for Council and knew we both had the same aspirations for CTC.

There are loyal CTC supporters who are becoming so disillusioned with the direction of CTC that they are moving into other Groups for their cycling. I intend to do the same and from now I will be cutting down on the work I do for CTC. Many of the volunteers who work so hard for CTC have been ignored and their votes seem to count for nothing with "new CTC". I cannot carry on with an organisation like that.