CTC - a Fake Charity?

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
daveg
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby daveg » 11 Apr 2012, 7:59pm

thirdcrank wrote:This thread looks as good a place as any to note that it's widely reported today Georgy Oz has discovered that charities which don't produce much public benefit are being used by the wealthy as a way of avoiding paying tax. You have to wonder how he has lived this long without spotting it, but now that he has, he's gearing up to tackle the abuse. Based on the track records of his predecessors in this connection, ie the reason why there is still so much of this going on, he'll have little success with the well-established ones. That only leaves the newcomers.


If you recall there was a charity set up that was running somewhere around Liam Fox & Adam Werrity. It was to do with the Middle East as I recall. I never looked into it but it didn't sound like a charity to me and I think the Charities Commission shut it down. I hope it's that kind of thing that Gideon is chasing.

I can't see CTC being seen as a fake. It's got a national profile and is out there campaigning very visibly.
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horizon
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby horizon » 11 Apr 2012, 8:25pm

daveg wrote:I can't see CTC being seen as a fake. It's got a national profile and is out there campaigning very visibly.


I agree. I think the fake charities thing is a red herring. The real fault lines are along (a) the difference between a campaigning organisation and one providing services along established lines and (b) between one providing services to its members and one providing them to people in need (hence the controversy over private schools). The CTC straddles both of these fault lines. I don't think that either dichotomy leaves charities open to the accusation of being self serving or fake (apart from the private trusts alluded to by thirdcrank). However it isn't IMV the end of the story: the bid for charity status isn't driven by the need to square these circles; the bid for charity status is driven by the need to compete effectively in the market place for contracts and purchased services. As the YHA found, the alternative is too awful to contemplate but the result was the throwing of the baby out with the bath water as the CTC will inevitably do in due course. I don't have a solution - I mourn the passing of the YHA as indeed I will mourn the passing of the CTC. But if one wants to get to the truth of the change one must ask the senior managers of the CTC about the black void that they stare into and what one might suggest as an alternative.
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daveg
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby daveg » 11 Apr 2012, 8:39pm

horizon wrote:
daveg wrote:I can't see CTC being seen as a fake. It's got a national profile and is out there campaigning very visibly.


I agree. I think the fake charities thing is a red herring. The real fault lines are along (a) the difference between a campaigning organisation and one providing services along established lines and (b) between one providing services to its members and one providing them to people in need (hence the controversy over private schools). The CTC straddles both of these fault lines. I don't think that either dichotomy leaves charities open to the accusation of being self serving or fake (apart from the private trusts alluded to by thirdcrank). However it isn't IMV the end of the story: the bid for charity status isn't driven by the need to square these circles; the bid for charity status is driven by the need to compete effectively in the market place for contracts and purchased services. As the YHA found, the alternative is too awful to contemplate but the result was the throwing of the baby out with the bath water as the CTC will inevitably do in due course. I don't have a solution - I mourn the passing of the YHA as indeed I will mourn the passing of the CTC. But if one wants to get to the truth of the change one must ask the senior managers of the CTC about the black void that they stare into and what one might suggest as an alternative.


I totally agree with all you say. Without going down the charity route I think CTC would have a long, slow and painful decline. At least with charity status it lives to fight another day although the way it relates to its members is almost bound to change as time goes on. Now whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I don't know, but I think it will have to work very hard at keeping member relationships on side.
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Simon L6
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby Simon L6 » 14 Apr 2012, 12:17am

The CTC had the opportunity a few years back to become a knowledge based organisation, but Council and the former Chief Exec couldn't work out how to do it - they simply didn't see the expertise of the membership as an asset that could propel the organisation to key knowledge pinch points, and they completely passed on the idea the knowledge could be spread between local groups. Put simply, the majority of Councillors and the Chief Exec clung to a hierarchical concept of knowledge in which snippets were 'cascaded' downward - which is a pity because most of them were clueless when it came to running a cycling club or a local campaign.

So - the CTC became what it is now - a moribund campaigning organisation with a low-level contracting arm, competing on price for mundane jobs in the gift of one customer. It has no incentive to become more efficient, or to adopt more efficient means of communication or, indeed, to do anything other than to make itself cheaper.

The link between the membership organisation and the 'charity' is financial - the members (or those paying the full whack) subsidise the charity. It can be argued that the active members (those who are active in local groups which are cycling clubs in all but name) give the 'charity' a form of respectability in that they do actually, visibly, ride bikes. The 'charity' affords the active members no additional benefits, but, given that Councillors had, in times gone by, come from local groups, those groups have, hitherto, thought of themselves as the 'grass roots' of the CTC - they have enjoyed a sense of ownership.

Let's presume the AGM resolution gets the required 75% majority. The bulk of the members will decide, each in their own way, whether the insurance, the affinity, the magazine is worth the forty one quid. I'd have thought that most will stick with it, although the campaigning side of the CTC will have to be completely overhauled. On the other hand the local groups might reasonably wonder 'what the CTC did for them', and not a few will resent the passing of the illusion of 'ownership'.

The CTC is going to face competition on two fronts - individual members will be wooed by BC, and local groups will be enticed by BC, affiliate status or some new organisation from which they purchase organisers insurance for themselves and third party insurance for their members. The key to this is the structure of this choice - a small group of local group officials, who are considerably more clued up than the individual members, and who will be in contact with one another, could walk off with a substantial slice of the local groups. The irony is that melding the two parts of the CTC in to the one organisation will put at risk the connection between local groups and the national organisation.

The new Chief Exec takes the view that local groups are vital to the CTC, is fully aware of the risk to the connection between local groups and the CTC, and is going to strive to make the offer to local groups a better one. That offer won't be exclusively financial, and my guess is that, not before time, there will be an attempt to build knowledge in to local groups to help them do the things they do better. If it comes off then I think the CTC will hold on to the local groups. If it doesn't, and there is a better offer the local groups may take that better offer. What effect that will have on the membership as a whole I've no idea, but my guess is that will depend on the use that rival organisations make of their own local organisations as a marketing tool.

This https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid= ... DFmOGIzNGY makes fascinating reading. A former DA dissolves, but does so in a way that is deliberately designed to stop the national organisation getting its hands on two thousand quid. You can't help but wonder what connection those members, some of them very distinguished members, thought of the national organisations direction of travel.

daveg wrote:
horizon wrote:Without going down the charity route I think CTC would have a long, slow and painful decline. At least with charity status it lives to fight another day although the way it relates to its members is almost bound to change as time goes on. Now whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I don't know, but I think it will have to work very hard at keeping member relationships on side.


so, actually, this is wrong. The CTC's growth or decline has little to do with whether it's a charity or not. It's about the offer to individual members and local groups, and only time will tell if the two things are connected. My guess, and it's only a guess, will be that in ten years time the best that can be hoped for is something rather like we have now - on the one hand there will be an organisation of local groups which are, essentially, cycling clubs and, on the other a 'charity' that fulfills government contracts. Less optimistically it might be that the local groups will have been subsumed by BC and the former charity has simply gone bust because it couldn't win the work when competing against lighter, less bureaucratic organisations. My money's on something between the two - local groups purchase what they need from competing suppliers (which would not necessarily be cycling organisations) and the CTC breaks up in to its constituent parts with the contracting arm buying out bits of the organisation and the campaigning side disappearing.

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fausto copy
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby fausto copy » 14 Apr 2012, 2:17pm

Simon L6 wrote:This https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid= ... DFmOGIzNGY makes fascinating reading. A former DA dissolves, but does so in a way that is deliberately designed to stop the national organisation getting its hands on two thousand quid. You can't help but wonder what connection those members, some of them very distinguished members, thought of the national organisations direction of travel.



Having looked at the link, I take it the bit you refer to is the page that has been blurred and unreadable?

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Si
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby Si » 14 Apr 2012, 3:20pm

fausto copy wrote:
Simon L6 wrote:This https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid= ... DFmOGIzNGY makes fascinating reading. A former DA dissolves, but does so in a way that is deliberately designed to stop the national organisation getting its hands on two thousand quid. You can't help but wonder what connection those members, some of them very distinguished members, thought of the national organisations direction of travel.



Having looked at the link, I take it the bit you refer to is the page that has been blurred and unreadable?


Tis all readable for me....did you give it time to download properly?

thirdcrank
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby thirdcrank » 14 Apr 2012, 3:47pm

More and more fascinating stuff emerges, although my reason for reviving this thread was really to highlight how the spotlight (if you can highlight a spotlight) was going to be shining on the tax affairs surrounding charities, with the focus ( :oops: ) ultimately being on extracting more £££, not less.

To mix the metaphors, in the same way that Cycling England was used as the kindling for the bonfire of quangoes (which was a bit of a damp squib :oops: ) I suspect that late arrivals like the CTC may find that the grass isn't as geen as it appeared. (That's mixing clichés as well.)

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gaz
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby gaz » 14 Apr 2012, 4:41pm

I've had no problem reading the link from Simon L6. I'll provide another, the Policy Handbook for CTC Member Groups and Organising Committees.

From the AGM report in SimonL6's link I find:-

In the event of dissolution all financial assets and any other properties of the group would revert to CTC. The feeling of the meeting was that the DA no longer served a useful purpose and should be wound up. However we did not want to lose the £2000+ in the bank to the CTC. On that basis…The Committee will meet with the sole purpose of formally winding up the DA and distributing its assets to its Sections;


Policy Handbook wrote:Local Funds
Groups may raise funds locally. Such funds, which must be raised in the name of the group, are the property of the Company and must be accounted for in the Audited Statement of Accounts. The administration of local funds is vested in the Group Committee, but such funds must be used only for the promotion of the objects of the group.


The opinion expressed at the AGM is not quite right, the financial assets of the DA already belong to the Company (they don't revert back), the DA are merely custodians. It is not possible to lose the funds to the CTC, as the funds belong to the CTC already.

Policy Handbook wrote:Dissolution
The Council reserve the right to dissolve any group should adequate reason become apparent, and to take possession of all property and funds of such group. The group shall have the right of appeal to the Council of the Club, in which case it shall then appoint two representatives to state its case to the Council.

The Council have the specific right to dissolve a group that is effectively dormant for more than 12 months in that it does not provide any recognised activities that contribute to CTC’s objects.

A general meeting of a group may resolve to dissolve the group subject to agreement by the Council.

In the event of dissolution all financial assets and any other properties of the group shall be passed to CTC.


The funds have now been passed from the DA to other local groups (the Sections), presumably with Council's blessing. In any case such an action passes any reasonable test that funds should be used to promote the objects of the group (the DA). I'd also presume the Sections are formal member groups themselves meaning that those funds remain the property of the Company, they simply have a new set of custodians.


On a completely separate note I calculate that it took only 25 of the DA's 1223 members to approve this course of action. 2% - an overwhelming mandate for the proposals. :wink:
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Simon L6
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby Simon L6 » 14 Apr 2012, 6:18pm

gaz wrote:
In the event of dissolution all financial assets and any other properties of the group would revert to CTC. The feeling of the meeting was that the DA no longer served a useful purpose and should be wound up. However we did not want to lose the £2000+ in the bank to the CTC. On that basis…The Committee will meet with the sole purpose of formally winding up the DA and distributing its assets to its Sections;


Policy Handbook wrote:Local Funds
Groups may raise funds locally. Such funds, which must be raised in the name of the group, are the property of the Company and must be accounted for in the Audited Statement of Accounts. The administration of local funds is vested in the Group Committee, but such funds must be used only for the promotion of the objects of the group.


The opinion expressed at the AGM is not quite right, the financial assets of the DA already belong to the Company (they don't revert back), the DA are merely custodians. It is not possible to lose the funds to the CTC, as the funds belong to the CTC already.
it was the tenor of the minute that struck me - there seemed to be a clear contradistinction between the local and national organisations. And, let's be clear - the DA amassed the funds of its own bat, so, had they decided to donate it to a donkey sanctuary they'd have been within their rights to do so.

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gaz
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Re: CTC - a Fake Charity?

Postby gaz » 14 Apr 2012, 7:16pm

Simon L6 wrote:And, let's be clear - the DA amassed the funds of its own bat, so, had they decided to donate it to a donkey sanctuary they'd have been within their rights to do so.

That's an opinion that I understand although I cannot share it.
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