CTC Charity Application Rejected

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
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Simon L6
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Simon L6 » 27 Oct 2011, 2:50pm

Even if that were the case, under the amended MeM and Arts all the councillors are trustees and therefore the information should have been provided to all of them.[/quote]I stand corrected. Which, as you say, casts those Councillors outside the management committee as poodles.

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Simon L6
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Simon L6 » 27 Oct 2011, 2:54pm

stewartpratt wrote:Also, FWIW I googled "ctc council meetings" and eventually found my way to the Meeting page which says "agendas for all meetings will appear on the website one week before the meeting". Not a sausage on there for October, though. Or even July.
There's been a change since my day. It used to be that minutes were circulated to attendees after the meeting, agreed, and published. I think it was supposed to take a couple of weeks, but, in practice, took longer.

Now minutes are not published until agreed as a true record at the succeeding meeting. Transparency is with us. Eventually.

Agendas for all meetings will appear on the website one week before the meeting and Minutes will be uploaded shortly after they have been agreed as a true and correct record of the meeting. This will not happen until the following meeting i.e the meeting in April will not be approved until the meeting in July.

stewartpratt
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby stewartpratt » 27 Oct 2011, 3:02pm

Simon L6 wrote:Now minutes are not published until agreed as a true record at the succeeding meeting. Transparency is with us. Eventually.


Sure; but according to that page it should be possible to see the agendas for the July and October meetings, and maybe the minutes from July - I can't see any of those.

But anyway the point relating to the thread - given the suggestion that "if people don't bother to turn up to the meeting where X is discussed, clearly they don't care about X" - was not one of minutes but of agendas: How would anyone even know that "X" was being discussed at this meeting?

(Forgive me for going off on a tangent - never looked at any of this stuff before, clubs/societies and their administrative processes and upper echelons bring me out in a rash.)

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Philip Benstead
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Philip Benstead » 28 Oct 2011, 7:47pm

Statement from Kevin Mayne to MG AND AGM

Charity

The Council has been pushing forward with the preparation for Cyclists’ Touring Club to become a membership charity in line with the wish of members expressed at the last AGM.

The good news is that the Club’s application for charitable status has been approved by the Scottish regulators and the CTC is now registered as a charity in Scotland.

In England and Wales registration is undertaken by the Charity Commission. We have been pressing for an early decision on our application so we could start our new financial year on October 1st 2011 as a registered charity.

The Charity Commission have rejected that first application because they have some concerns that we will need to address before we can go ahead. The Charity Commission has undergone significant change recently with significantly reduced staff and it appears they are more inclined to reject applications quickly rather than allow charities time to negotiate or amend applications.

Apparently our decision to make minimum changes needed for charitable status in our rather old Memorandum and Articles of Association (our constitution) leaves them looking rather out of step with modern practice. Also we have not updated our old website to accurately present the charitable nature of our work. We had planned to do this when the new site was built and after we had feedback from the regulators but this was not acceptable.

Therefore the Commission’s officers have told us that they will not approve the current application. So we have some more work to do. We are going to take some additional advice about the best way forward from here, including how we handle the different approaches taken by the Scottish and English regulators.

When considering other organisations such as the London Cycling Campaign and the RSPB which are comparable to the CTC and already have charitable status in England and Wales, we feel confident that we will succeed in due course and remain committed to achieving registration.

In wider terms the Council is reporting the end of a relatively successful year which as expected has been unaffected by charity matters: finances are on target, we are managing the transition out of high levels of government funding, member benefits and campaigning continue.

Charity and Member Groups

Council is continuing with the policy that Member Groups will remain outside the charity for the immediate future as subsidiaries.

Once the new structure has bedded in the issue of where MGs should sit within the structure will be revisited. The only change for the moment is that MGs will have to report back each year on how they spend the money allocated to them by the Council, confirming that it was spent on CTC’s Charitable Purposes. As this includes promoting cycle touring there really should not be a problem anywhere.
Philip Benstead | CTC London and FORMER CTC Councillor SE
| 0794-980-1698 | philipbenstead1@gmail.com |
Organizing events and representing cyclist in southeast since 1988
Cycle Ride? http://www.meetup.com/socialcycling4u/
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Regulator
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Regulator » 28 Oct 2011, 8:53pm

In other words "We got it wrong and we're going to try and fool you"...

<edited by Mick F for very poorly disguised swearing>

mark a.
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby mark a. » 28 Oct 2011, 9:09pm

Regulator wrote:In other words ..


Now now, be nice. Swearing and sneering cynicism isn't going to help your cause.

Regulator
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Regulator » 28 Oct 2011, 9:39pm

mark a. wrote:
Regulator wrote:In other words ...


Now now, be nice. Swearing and sneering cynicism isn't going to help your cause.


Having been on Council, swearing and sneering cynicism is all I have left... :wink:

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Mick F
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Mick F » 29 Oct 2011, 9:05am

Please can we discuss this without resorting to bad language?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Simon L6
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Simon L6 » 29 Oct 2011, 10:00am

i wrote at the time of the charity vote that if there is one lesson that politicians and CEOs have failed to learn over the past thirty years it is that witholding information increases upset rather than ameliorating it. It may well be that the ground has shifted, and it may be that the Charities Commission, which, presumably has been told to resolve applications within a set time, is now resorting to refusals when a bit of negotiating might do the trick, but, truthfully, if the Memorandum of Association needs to be changed then it's got to be done by the AGM (or and EGM!) and members will have to be shown the Charity Commission's lette. Indeed it is likely to be leaked in the next couple of weeks or so.

So it is no earthly use not making it available. Publish, take the consequences, and move on.

I have a funny feeling that the Member Group thing is going to prove more difficult than first thought. Most member groups do not promote cycle touring. They use what money they have to run websites and publish newsletters, and these websites and newsletters could not reasonably be said to be fulfilling a charitable purpose. There's an irony here - the 2007 resolution calling for a website template to be set up for member groups, defeated by the chair's casting vote after an impassioned speech against by Jim Brown might, besides strengthening a brand that is, at present, underwhelming, have given National Office the means to cast Member Groups as little mini-charities. Ho-hum!

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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Oct 2011, 10:50am

Kevin Mayne wrote:I am sure that for certain readers of this forum there is little I can say that will change your perspective. However for those with a more open mind ...
Simon L6 wrote: ... i wrote at the time of the charity vote that if there is one lesson that politicians and CEOs have failed to learn over the past thirty years it is that witholding information increases upset rather than ameliorating it. ...

drossall
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby drossall » 29 Oct 2011, 10:57am

Simon L6 wrote:There's an irony here - the 2007 resolution..., defeated by the chair's casting vote...

But won't the chair always tend to vote for the status quo in such situations?

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cyclamity
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby cyclamity » 29 Oct 2011, 11:53am

Thanks Phil.
How much more does Mr Mayne's second statement tell us?

1. The proposed Memorandum & Articles of Association are "out of step with modern practice".

I infer that the Charity Commissioners are demanding far greater changes to the CTC's proposed constitution, to give dominance to charitable activities.

2. The 'old' i.e. current website, does not "accurately present the charitable nature of our work".

Perhaps that is because it is not essentially charitable. It reflects and promotes the interests, needs and concerns ot members, not the greater public benefit of cycling to society. In other words, we have a Club, whose purpose is to promote and support the interests of its membership. It looks like a club; it sounds like a club.... It is not a charity. Therefore, the application is rejected.

If I am drawing the wrong conclusions from the Chief Executive's two rather insubstantial statements, I am happy to be enlightened by the publication in full of the Commissioners' rejection letter.

The application submitted on behalf of members to the Commission, we have not seen. The ensuing letter of rejection, we have not seen. In the absence of these two crucial urtexts, the two major issues that emerge we may deduce to be:

i) The Memorandum & Articles of Association need to be rewritten to make the charitable aims dominant.
ii) The website does not reflect the image of a charity, but a club.

If the Constitution (M&As), agreed at the AGM, is to be rewritten, it will have to be resubmitted for approval by members at an AGM/EGM.

Who knows when, and at what further significant cost, the 'old' website will be replaced, in order to reflect the 'new' objectives required by the Charity Commissioners? The present one reflects the objectives, activities and interests of a members' club - which is what it is.

Mr Mayne's statement also refers to Member Groups - the essence of the CTC. How would their status change under a CTC Charitable Trust? As they are not currently part of a CTC charity, it is unclear why the CTC National Council/Office is requiring that Member Group funds be spent only on 'Charitable Purposes'. One would expect them to be spent on legitimate 'Club Purposes'. What is the Council's definition of 'Charitable Purposes' in relation to funds held by Groups not part of a charity? Why this attempt to restrict?

Oh, dear. Mr Mayne's statements do seem to raise more questions than answers. And why, alas, is it so difficult to get answers to those questions?

Hardly underwhelming.

Karen Sutton
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Karen Sutton » 29 Oct 2011, 12:14pm

With regard to the status of Member Groups. (My main interest in The CTC):

I have said for several years that the writing is on the wall for The CTC to go down the same path as the YHA. The YHA decided some years ago that local YHA Groups would cease to be part of the organisation. The Groups were told that for their activities to continue to be covered by YHA insurance the Groups would have to pay to affiliate to the YHA and could not use the term 'YHA' in their title. I presume this was to meet the demands of the Charity Commission. "Stockport YHA Group", the one I used to belong to, renamed themselves "Stockport Walking and Outdoors Group" as a result of this.

How long before CTC Member Groups are forced to do the same? I have had discussions over the last few years with the Secretary of our CTC group as to how we should proceed with this. We have agreed that we need to talk with our members about this in case they feel we should jump before we are pushed. It will be discussed at our upcoming AGM.

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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Kevin Mayne » 29 Oct 2011, 2:03pm

I apologise that I posted on this thread somewhat in haste earlier in the week when I know I would not be able to return to the discussion for several days.

Rereading the post I recognise that I was a bit personal in my thoughts too, not what I should be doing.

I’ll add some comments here to the initial points I have picked up today and I’ll monitor the posts now for a few days, if there are other comments I’ll try to respond.

Kevin

Trustees.

The advice we have is that the Council were de-facto trustees from the last AGM because they had an AGM resolution to become a charity. They signed the applications for charity status as trustees and from the moment the charity registration in Scotland went through they are required to ensure that the Club is solely charitable in purpose regardless of where in the UK we operate.

I know opinions may differ on this forum about whether that will make any significant difference to members, the Council’s position is that it will not and I am happy to provide links to the areas of the FAQ where the position is discussed.

Publication.

Thanks to the posters who have highlighted the lack of papers on the web site. I had missed that, when the person who does the posting come back from holiday I will find out why and get them reinstated.

I hope most members will accept that the details of any correspondence with regulators is not appropriate for publication on a web site. As there will always be a degree of negotiation in these matters neither party would expect the debate to be conducted in that way. I actually think it is inappropriate to publish the charity commission officer’s name and number on the forum too, she is just one individual doing her job inside a public authority and has no reason to expect herself to become public property. I’ll mention it to the moderators, they may not agree.

I know from reading the posts above some of you don’t agree, but I have no authority to publish that material and I note that the Commission has said that it is private to the Trustees.

If you have not been involved in this thread before I’ll try to point up the material that is in the public domain which covers most of the same issues.

Member groups.

Thanks for the posts in this area.

In 1973 member groups were financially and constitutionally separated from the Club. This eases the burden in accounting and audit terms and also removes them from the Club’s VAT registration – no VAT on entry fees and cups of tea for example.

This means that at present the groups are outside the Club’s charitable registration. The Council has said they will consult on what happens next after the Club’s registration and merger with our charitable trust. The only current change is that the annual grants are now money leaving a charity, so the Trustees have to prove that this is for the Club’s charitable purposes. Running a CTC member group in all its forms meets that test as far as we know, but it just has to be stated clearly.

There is now an active member groups committee advising the Council and staff on groups’ policy. Participation is open, if you or someone you know wants to be involved please put their name forward. I’m not aware that anyone has raised the issues in Karen’s post, if you want the group to discuss this Karen please contact me directly.

I hope these comments help.

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Simon L6
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Re: CTC Charity Application Rejected

Postby Simon L6 » 29 Oct 2011, 3:48pm

1. If all the current councillors are to be trustees, why did they not receive a copy of the letter?
2. publishing the name of the official is entirely appropriate. She's a public servant.
3. if we can't be shown the letter because the CC has insisted that it is a private matter, then why did the official not say so when I asked her?
4. and...if the CC has written to the CTC to say that the letter is private, at least publish that part of the letter

I keep on making the same point - having information dragged out or leaked causes more upset rather than less. That letter will see the light of day.

Mind you - it's not Kevin that makes these decisions. I'm sure he's greatly comforted by the massive support he's getting from Councillors