Thursday, 11 March 2010

CTC conversion to a charity: the case in favour

At the 2010 AGM of CTC (the national organisation) there will be a vote on CTC Council's proposal for CTC to become a charity. The February/march issue of Cycle magazine featured arguments for and against.

CTC South-West London is leading the opposition to this change. In response to their resolution opposing the change, David Robinson, Chair of CTC Council, has written CTC Chair response to the CTC South-West London resolution which responds to their arguments and presents the case for adopting charitable status.

We've also received a message from Jim Brown, CTC National Councillor for the East of England (which includes Cambridge) arguing in favour of conversion.

Jim Brown writes:
I just wanted to write to my many friends in the member group sector and clarify my views on the Club/Charity issue. I have been on the national Council for 17 years working closely with member groups, but I am also one of the new breed – a trustee of CTC’s charity work through our Trust.

There are also other views on this question and we have carefully examined any potential drawbacks that have been drawn to our attention. While it is right that we have an open debate over such a key decision for the future of our Club and for the future development of cycling it is unfortunate that some who disagree with this key proposal to help make CTC fit for the future have plunged into such negativity and used unfounded allegations about often irrelevant matters to muddy the waters. Regrettably, allegations are being made about both the motivation and activities of our staff and the way in which the Club’s funds are being used. We wish to be quite clear that these assertions do not accord with the true position. The Club’s staff have vigorously pursued policies and business plans set by Council and delivered many success stories.

The truth is that the CTC has more members than at any time in its history, more than in the 1890s and more than in what some viewed as a golden period in the 1950s; it’s influence is increasing; thousands enjoy its activities every week and there are now cycle champions all around the Country not just at Guildford.

Changes in charity law since the separate Trust was established give us the opportunity to re-integrate CTC. Just about everything we do can be classified as charitable so we don't need the current hybrid structure and we can establish clearer accountability and democratic control of the 75% of resources/activities now run by the Trust. Remember the proposal is for the member run CTC to take back the Trust NOT vice versa, the first and most obvious misunderstanding of the “no” campaign.

There are some really significant reasons why CTC should become a full charity which have my total support.
  • Making CTC fit for the future and protect the independence of the CTC from the sort of takeover some other organisations have experienced.
  • Local groups being able to say they are part of a charity.
A knocking campaign is quite easy. You can get all sorts of people who would probably not be in favour of anything to vote against anything that smacks of change, especially if you start rubbishing obvious targets like national staff or the Council.

If the inaccurate and ill-informed gossip about money or membership was not enough what I find equally unacceptable as a local group activist is the suggestion that people like me on National Council have somehow lost our focus on local groups during this period. Not least was the extraordinary contribution by former Chair of CTC Council Jill Kieran who with our staff team took on a challenge every previous generation shied away from – the revision of our 30 year old DA handbook to try and make something fit for purpose.

It isn’t perfect, not least because we bent over backwards to accommodate every kind of hybrid member group structure that any of us could think of. But it is based on what you asked for, not what a handful of people have dreamed up on a forum.

Lets have the reality – more new CTC member groups have been formed in the last two years that at any point in our history. Now that is something very special, and well worth backing.

The cycling lobby is dreadfully fragmented. The last thing we need is more division. Let us take a positive step by unifying our own organisation so its increased strength can be used to support our traditional cycling activities, campaign for an improved environment for cyclists, and introduce many more people to the joys of cycling.

I hope you will take some time to consider what is being said about this issue and talk to myself and all the CTC Councillors about the issues raised. Satisfy yourselves, I am confident what you will see is entirely positive for CTC member groups.
Jim Brown, CTC National Councillor.

For the case against, see CTC conversion to a charity: more on the case against.

1 comment:

  1. I notice that, unlike John Meudell, Jim Brown seeks to attack the individuals behind the 'No' campaign (of whom I am one) rather than addressing the issues.

    What a pity Jim and his colleagues have chosen to personalise this.

    Greg Price
    CTC Councillor for London (and Cambridge resident)