Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 Jan 6

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
thirdcrank
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Jan 2012, 10:46pm

Just over 2 years ago {2 Jan 2010) Graham posted a long FAQ article from the CTC website. Here's what it had to say about campaigning:

Will charitable status restrict the campaigning activity which CTC or member groups can undertake?

This should not be a problem. Charity law restricts the ability of charities to undertake political campaigning. The campaigning undertaken by CTC, its Right to Ride campaigners or its member groups does not fall within the category of campaigning which is restricted in that way. In addition member groups operate through separate companies from the Club.

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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Regulator » 5 Jan 2012, 10:58pm

I think that we've seen that the majority of the FAQs and information pushed out by The Clique on these matters are incorrect, erroneous, misleading and spun beyond belief.

Karen Sutton
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Karen Sutton » 5 Jan 2012, 11:58pm

Vorpal wrote:Can anyone please explain to me, how we can possibly reconcile campaigning and charitable purposes, given the clear response of the charity commission:

A charity may not have a political purpose.


???

It seems to me that while the CTC is a membership organisation, it is also very much a campaigning organisation. Campaigning is the sole reason that I joined the CTC, and I know a number of other cyclists who say the same. We don't need the insurance, as we belong to multiple cycling clubs and/or organisations.

This isn't just a matter of rewording documents. And it doesn't seem to me that splitting off a 'club' (i.e. the member groups) will solve this problem.


No, splitting off the Club (the MGs) will not be all that is required. Campaigning for cyclists' rights would have to go as well, as Campaigning is political; the CC has made that clear.

So what will be left?

TonyR
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby TonyR » 6 Jan 2012, 7:46am

I'm puzzzled by the CC response. Given their response how can Greenpeace and BHIT be charities? In addition to Eton mentioned above, Universities are charitable bodies too whose charitable aims are education and research. That doesn't stop them charging fees and limiting access to teaching and research to those who have paid the fees.

I suspect the problem though can be easily resolved by rewording the aims to e.g. support the interests of cyclists and cycling as a whole, which is how it actually works in practice and members benefit as a consequence of that as do non-member cyclists.

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gaz
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby gaz » 6 Jan 2012, 10:03am

Vorpal wrote:Can anyone please explain to me, how we can possibly reconcile campaigning and charitable purposes, given the clear response of the charity commission:

A charity may not have a political purpose.


???

It seems to me that while the CTC is a membership organisation, it is also very much a campaigning organisation. Campaigning is the sole reason that I joined the CTC, and I know a number of other cyclists who say the same. We don't need the insurance, as we belong to multiple cycling clubs and/or organisations.

This isn't just a matter of rewording documents. And it doesn't seem to me that splitting off a 'club' (i.e. the member groups) will solve this problem.


In one sense the "club" and the "campaigning" are already split.

The CTC Charitable Trust (Reg Charity 1104324) was registered with the Charity Commission in 2004. The CTC Charitable Trust handles CTC's campaigning, more on the CTC website here. The wording of the CTC Charitable Trusts objectives can be found on the Charity Commission web site here.

The Charity Commission has been happy with our Charitable Campaign work for a number of years already. So IMO, with regard to campaiging, the rejection is a matter of the wording of the objects.

thirdcrank wrote:...During the discussions which preceded the votes on this issue, the supporters of the proposal were confident they knew all the answers whenever they posted on here...


Supporters of the proposal on the forum were few and far between, please accept my continued assurance that I do not know all of the answers. :wink:
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

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Simon L6
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Simon L6 » 6 Jan 2012, 10:39am

If we’re being entirely fair, then the CTC can say that the ground laid out by the Charities Commission shifted beneath their feet, and that they, the CTC, lacked the political muscle to pull off the coup de force that let the independent schools off the public benefit hook. Having said that.....there is the most delicious irony here. Most of the Councillors work in a sector that takes decisions in an opaque fashion and never feels the need to explain itself in an adult manner. Most of the Councillors buy in to a system of governance in which formal meetings are rushed through (David Robinson used to boast about quarterly Council meetings finishing early) and decisions being made by concentric circles of Councillors orbiting around the Management Committee. That they’ve been turned over by a similarly opaque decision-making process, and that the decision is so poorly worded that it leaves more questions than answers would be sweet justice if members’ funds hadn’t been so foolishly wasted.

The truly startling thing is that the Charities Commission formally refused the application – had the application been properly managed a line of communication to the incoherent Ms. Jones would have been opened up, and all surprise eliminated. At the very least, the application could have been withdrawn prior to the decision going against the CTC, and the matter re-presented to the AGM without the embarrassment that has caused Ms. Jones’ letter to be concealed and the Councillors having had to enter in to a kind of collective purdah.

A further, even more delicious irony is that, just as Greg, John, Colin and I saw this coming (and were derided for our insight) I’m absolutely sure that fifteen years of running smash and grab planning applications would have equipped me to gain a better result than the one the CTC has now. I’ve never, ever got myself in this kind of position because I take the sort of bureaucrat that writes this kind of letter for what they are – unresponsive, unimaginative and too frightened to talk freely without some pretty horrific glozing going on. The wonder (actually it’s not so much of a wonder) is that those Councillors who spend their working days shuffling round the musty corridors of something that purports to be power didn’t recognise their own kind and make the political moves required.

They have a choice. They can, as Karen suggests they might, turn the member groups in to affiliates. I know Karen disagrees with me, but I think that would be a good thing for the member groups. The Fridays gets a first class service from National Office (once I’ve tracked down the people I need to speak to) and the Arvato offices in Twickenham do a great job (I’m skipping lightly over the ‘fulfillment’ section) – I’ve put in 31 membership applications for over 300 members in less than a year and such problems that have arisen have been sorted out with great good humour. The Fridays members get a decent (fifteen quid) deal, I don’t have to fill in those nonsense annual returns, and the club can charge a modest (two quid) fee to both 'affiliate' and 'full' CTC members, BC members and LCC members alike to help with the costs. The CTC could then address the concerns in Ms. Brown’s letter and say goodbye to anything approaching politics, and, to be honest, that would be no big loss – the campaigning side of the CTC is moribund anyway. The CTC would, shorn of the awkward squad in the member groups, become, fully, a ‘lifestyle’ purchase, rather like the National Trust or Sustrans. Members would pay handsomely for the joy of belonging in an abstract sense and get all kinds of e-mails, a spiffy mag and a deal on third party insurance, while the CTC could become an affinity group undertaking good works and channelling offers of varying merit from Evans, Wiggle and such like to their captive audience.

On the other hand they could re-read the CTC’s own strategy for 2007-2012, written by Alan Luxton and others, because it still stands up. Alan started the document by setting out the twin Club and Charity approach that was then, less than two years later, undermined by Jim Brown, Peter Mathison, David Robinson and others who, for reasons that they themselves could never express in concrete terms, decided that the ‘one big organisation’ was a better idea. The old maxim ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ never had a better application.

Those are the alternatives, and one would expect Council to be in deep, meaningful, open, and even, heavens above, inclusive discussion given that the time for the preparation of a resolution to the AGM is running out. Fond hope. The concealment of the Ms. Jones’ letter, with Councillors telling people that they hadn’t seen it themselves is, sad to say, indicative of what passes for business as usual. Wagons are still being drawn up in concentric circles. Omerta rules. I doubt that even the derision within this contribution will prise a word out of them.

Still and all, there is a chance that the search for a new Chief Exec will open minds. The need to capture somebody who isn’t a self-serving opportunist (I name no names) might just prompt a bit of collective self-analysis, and might just, in turn, cause the brighter and newer Councillors to ask why some of the CTC’s directors are marginalised while others are suborned, and, (let’s get really jiggy with the hope thing) demand a proper explanation from the Chair. How did this application get refused? What precisely does the refusal mean, and, if it’s not clear in the letter (and it’s not) what has been done to clarify the meaning of the refusal? What is so all-fired wrong with the CTC’s own five year strategy? And, here’s the big one, what are members getting for their money, and what might they expect to get in the future by way of an inducement to keep on paying their subs?

It could all come good. The CTC’s new Chief Exec might just set about answering the questions that should have been asked. The half million quid spent on campaigning might just be given the VFM test. Contracts with Government might just start to pay off. I'm guessing that, with Barry Flood on the case, costs are now examined in a way that they were not back in 2009. There might just be a re-connection with the wider membership that goes beyond affinity purchases.

It could...but my guess is that it won’t, and that guess isn’t informed by anything other than a sobering reflection on the way the wider membership reacted to the first and second charity debates. In the end, the members get the CTC they deserve, and, whether I and my former colleagues in SavetheCTC care to admit it or not, the members pretty much deserve what they’ve got now. I’m sure that a few will throw up their hands and leave, but the chances of a widespread coherent message being sent to Council can be measured in minus numbers. The CTC may become a more responsive and outgoing organisation, but if the last two years proves anything at all, it will never become what is truly meant by a membership organisation, because the members simply see themselves as purchasers rather than participants. The CTC may do great things, may become a joyful inspiration to cyclists, a beacon of cycling knowledge, a thorn in the side of Highways Engineers and a source of expertise for politicians local and national looking for a more sustainable future, but democracy in any real sense is beyond it simply because democracy requires members to behave like members. That, dear peeps, is your problem, but it’s no longer mine. I do wish the CTC the very best, and I’m proud to have ‘CTC Affiliate’ stamped on the The Fridays, but there comes a time when one realises that there is only so much that one can do as a member of a Club that isn’t really a Club. I dreamt of a ‘bottom-up’ organisation, but the truth is that, however potent the spirit of some of the members, the bottom, taken as a whole, is weak. I fervently hope that a chastened and revived Council together with the new Chief Exec can forge a more efficient, more effective CTC, and that the next few years are an improvement on the last, but, for now, I’m just happy to be a member of that most remarkable of things, a Cycling Club. Good luck one and all.

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Simon L6
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Simon L6 » 6 Jan 2012, 12:16pm

TonyR wrote:I'm puzzzled by the CC response. Given their response how can Greenpeace and BHIT be charities? In addition to Eton mentioned above, Universities are charitable bodies too whose charitable aims are education and research. That doesn't stop them charging fees and limiting access to teaching and research to those who have paid the fees.

I suspect the problem though can be easily resolved by rewording the aims to e.g. support the interests of cyclists and cycling as a whole, which is how it actually works in practice and members benefit as a consequence of that as do non-member cyclists.
except that the non-members will be thirtynine quid better off

And I'm afraid that Greenpeace isn't a charity - it has a charitable wing. As, to be fair, the CTC's briefing on charity status makes clear
http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5366

thirdcrank
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Jan 2012, 2:07pm

Simon L6 wrote:If we’re being entirely fair, then the CTC can say that the ground laid out by the Charities Commission shifted beneath their feet, ....
I would agree (and I had an half an idea for a post about the noise of shifting goalposts. :oops: ) I must say that I had thought campaigning for what we might loosely term cyclists' rights was completely kosher in this context, on the model of the campaigning charities set up by the AA and RAC. I thought it was only party political campaigning which was taboo.

On the other hand, I seem to remember that tax advantages of charitable status were passed off as merely the icing on the cake, a bonus whose full extent would only be quantified in due course.

The big prize was going to be a share of the cornucopia of generous grants which funding bodies were reluctant to distribute to non-charities. :lol: :lol: :lol: I think several of us did suggest that those halcyon days were coming to an end. Let's remember which quango was among the first to go. Answer below. :wink:


Cycling England

Karen Sutton
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Karen Sutton » 6 Jan 2012, 2:16pm

Simon L6 wrote:They have a choice. They can, as Karen suggests they might, turn the member groups in to affiliates. I know Karen disagrees with me, but I think that would be a good thing for the member groups. The Fridays gets a first class service from National Office (once I’ve tracked down the people I need to speak to) and the Arvato offices in Twickenham do a great job (I’m skipping lightly over the ‘fulfillment’ section) – I’ve put in 31 membership applications for over 300 members in less than a year and such problems that have arisen have been sorted out with great good humour. The Fridays members get a decent (fifteen quid) deal, I don’t have to fill in those nonsense annual returns, and the club can charge a modest (two quid) fee to both 'affiliate' and 'full' CTC members, BC members and LCC members alike to help with the costs.

Simon, I did used to disagree with this. I don't any longer. In fact I know of at least one MG which is seriously considering this whatevver the outcome of the present CTC mess. One of the reasons I was opposed to this is that the Groups were the core of CTC. Banishing them from the organisation seemed wrong. Also, it could mean a serious drop in income for CTC as the affiliate members pay less to CTC coffers. That seemed important some years ago. Not any longer. But the main reason I no longer disagree is illustrated well in the following quote from your excellent post:

[quote="Simon L6" I fervently hope that a chastened and revived Council together with the new Chief Exec can forge a more efficient, more effective CTC, and that the next few years are an improvement on the last, but, for now, I’m just happy to be a member of that most remarkable of things, a Cycling Club. Good luck one and all.


A Cycling Club is really what most Member Group participants want. The Cyclists' Touring Club is no longer that. so it would be far better for MGs to go their own way and become affiliates, rather like the Fridays. proper Cycling Clubs

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Philip Benstead
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This has appear on CTC HOME PAGE?

Postby Philip Benstead » 6 Jan 2012, 2:24pm

This has appear on CTC HOME PAGE?

http://www.ctc.org.uk/


CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity*, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
We provide expert, practical help and advice.
We support individuals and communities.
We protect cyclists’ interests.
We campaign to make cycling mainstream and to remove the things that stop people cycling.
We help people develop the confidence and skills to cycle.
We promote the benefits of cycling to individuals, to society and to the economy.
* CTC Charitable Trust, registered as a charity in England and Wales number 1104324, Scotland number SCO38626. Cyclists’ Touring Club, registered as a charity in Scotland no SC042541, application for registration in England and Wales currently subject to review.
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/
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic

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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Regulator » 6 Jan 2012, 3:35pm

The Club may not be registered in Scotland for much longer... :twisted:

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Si
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Si » 6 Jan 2012, 3:43pm

A Cycling Club is really what most Member Group participants want.


Actually, I think that that is both true and the problem. Throughout the land people will get up to the news that the Charity Conversion may have hit a major hitch. And they will say unto themselves - can I still go out with my friends today and cycle to the cafe for a good chin wag? and , lo, the answer will be yes, and unto themselves the cyclists will say "Can't see what the problem is then, we still have a cycling club".

If a larger number of the membership had taken the time to look into the issues properly and to vote based upon a fuller understanding of things then perhaps we might not be here now (or rather, realise that they had no idea what they were voting on and thus vote to stay as they were until someone could produce an understandable explanation and a reliable guarantee of safety for the process). Can't help but think, should it really all go bad, that a large part of the membership have only their own apathy to blame.

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Simon L6
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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Simon L6 » 6 Jan 2012, 4:10pm

Karen - to return to one point you made

Member groups turning in to affiliates might not be that big a loser for the CTC. I'll check this with Olly, and if I'm wildly wrong I'll get back to you, but my estimate is that of the 300 or so Fridays 'affiliate' members perhaps 20, if that, were full members that 'converted' (we also have a large number of 'full' members who pay The Fridays sub, along with a small number of LCC and BC members). It's a lot easier to convince people that they should be spending £15 than it is to convince them that they should be spending £39 (affiliation costs the Club £100 to set up and £75 a year thereafter). The danger, and it's not one that should be overlooked, is that the Tandem Club does 3rd party for a tenner, albeit with a much reduced maximum claim. If subscription rates for affiliates go up, then a small number of people - perhaps four - will be able to redirect perhaps 1000 members pretty much at the flick of a switch. On the other hand you have to ask yourself why BUGs and the like aren't affiliates. The BP BUG has 500 members - I'm hoping that the CTC is planning on roping them in.....

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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Kevin Mayne » 6 Jan 2012, 4:54pm

Sent to CTC volunteer networks on Friday 6th January

Message from the Chair of CTC Council about the progress of CTC Charitable conversion

Progress of CTC Charitable conversion

You may have been contacted in the last few days about progress with the conversion of Cyclists’ Touring Club to a charity as agreed at the 2010 AGM. A copy of an email from the Charity Commission of England and Wales (CCEW) rejecting CTC’s application for registration has been circulated.

The purpose of this email is to clarify the Council’s position in relation to that correspondence. It is in fact the decision we received in the autumn and does not contain any new information. A similar application has been approved by the Scottish regulators and CTC is now registered as a charity in Scotland. This means we are already subject to charity regulation and have to act as a charity in everything Cyclists’ Touring Club does.

Since receiving the CCEW decision we have taken extensive legal advice and consulted with other partners in the voluntary sector.

The consistent advice we have received is that it is highly unusual for an application to be passed in Scotland while not in England and any charity that can pass the public benefit test in Scotland should do so in England and Wales.

Our legal advisors are currently drafting our application for a review of the CCEW decision on a number of grounds. After application the review may take up to three months but we are encouraged that all our advice has consistently said that our application to become a charity is robust, not least because it is already proven in Scotland.

When considering membership 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.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on david.cox@ctc.org.uk

Best cycling regards for 2012.

David Cox
Chair of CTC Council
January 5th 2012.

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Re: Report on the progress of CTC charity application 2012 J

Postby Regulator » 6 Jan 2012, 4:56pm

Simon L6 wrote:Karen - to return to one point you made

Member groups turning in to affiliates might not be that big a loser for the CTC. I'll check this with Olly, and if I'm wildly wrong I'll get back to you, but my estimate is that of the 300 or so Fridays 'affiliate' members perhaps 20, if that, were full members that 'converted' (we also have a large number of 'full' members who pay The Fridays sub, along with a small number of LCC and BC members). It's a lot easier to convince people that they should be spending £15 than it is to convince them that they should be spending £39 (affiliation costs the Club £100 to set up and £75 a year thereafter). The danger, and it's not one that should be overlooked, is that the Tandem Club does 3rd party for a tenner, albeit with a much reduced maximum claim. If subscription rates for affiliates go up, then a small number of people - perhaps four - will be able to redirect perhaps 1000 members pretty much at the flick of a switch. On the other hand you have to ask yourself why BUGs and the like aren't affiliates. The BP BUG has 500 members - I'm hoping that the CTC is planning on roping them in.....


Because the CTC offering for BUGs is fairly pathetic, consisting mainly of a web-site page and the chance for BUG members to affiliate to CTC. All for what for money BUGs will be a fairly hefty fee.

I looked at it last year for our SHA. We got a better deal by going direct to CTC's insurers.