Civilian committee

Good evening ACC’ers

Tonight I would just like to ask; what is the purpose of the civilian committee?
In no attempts to throw dirt or disrespect on said topic, my understanding, and experience of the civilian committee is very limited during my 3 years at my squadron. By the looks of things (from my personal and other NCO’s experience), they seem to be a group of civilians (with no relation to anyone on the squad) that meet once every 2 months to decide what squadron money is spent on. Seemingly they are not too happy to use the money on productive purposes (or at all); the OC eventually “put his foot down” in order to spend money on new computers to replace aging technology on the squad.

Take this whatever way you see necessary. This is in no way any attempt to disrespect or praise the civilian committee, it is just what I have experienced. They have never introduced themselves to the cadets and so I would just like to be filled in on any information I am missing. Any response would be brilliant.

Thank you

You’ve pretty much summed it up

Some are brilliant…some are terrible

Read ACP 11 - Civillian Committees are more than just deciding what money is spent on, although that is a large part.

Traditionally it’s made up of parents of the cadets maybe even of the staff, who generally have the cadets best interest at heart.

No OC should ever be just going out and buying stuff - especially large purchases such as computers. If there are issues they should be going through the relevant chain of command. (Wing Chairman) the committee would be within their rights not to be paid back for purchases not agreed on my the Civ Com.

I would definetly recommend reading at least the chapter 5 which explains what the purposes of a Civ Com is - including welfare of cadets and staff.

1 Like

You can sack them and re advertise to get people in who will do the job of supporting the Squadron.

1 Like

The Thurston debacle suggests that the sacking the committee option is not without risks.

4 Likes

The key is getting a good working relationship with an active CivCom.

Their job is to support the beneficiary - which is the squadron (not specifically just the cadets - but the squadron as a whole. That point is sometimes lost on some committees).
As the trustees of the Sqn’s non-public fund they hold the responsibility of ensuring that the funds are used properly for the benefit of the Sqn.
However, many will not have any real clue about running a Squadron, nor about what their particular unit needs and that’s where the staff come in. It’s the CFAVs who do the work which the fund is meant to support so it’s they who are usually best placed to advise the committee what is needed.
A good committee will listen to the staff and work accordingly. A bad one will assume that they are in charge. I’ve had both over the years in different guises.

Equally, the CivCom also have a legal obligation to ensure that the fund is actually used. They cannot simply deny all spending and build up a pool of money for no particular reason. Saving for a large purchase like a minibus would be a legitimate reason to save for example, but simply being tight is not.

Also it seems not uncommon for some committees to misunderstand their role and overstep their bounds such as going off on their own to arrange events for cadets to get involved in. Again, this just needs explanation and a good relationship. CFAVs do the work and it’s we who have a legal responsibility to ensure that all cadet activities are properly planned, authorised, and controlled.

The line is simple enough - CFAVs control the Squadron and all activities; CivCom support in whichever way they can.

4 Likes

If it improves the cadet experience its well worth it.

1 Like

@Letsthink430 What’s the latest version? 1.03?

But in the thurston case the poor cadets lost out on what appears to be a substantial amount of money…

so you to beware in case the money the Civcom controls disappears from the cadets.

Although in that case a civil action would be entirely justified.

1 Like

Please don’t go down the route of getting the Committee removed, this is pain beyond pain… Sounds like the group have lost their way a little. I would start by getting the Chairman to read the constitution the Squadron should have and getting the committee to sign again. This will get those that don’t agree off the pot and leave. Having established that I would be getting the CO to produce a budget for what he sees is required over the next year and the reasons behind these requests. Based on the running costs of the Squadron and the funds available you can agree what the sensible surplus is and go spend it.

You need the Committee and Squadron to work towards a common goal. Questions from the Committee to the Squadron should be along the lines of “how can we help the Squadron succeed” and the questions from CO to Committee should be along the lines “what do you need from me”. I come from both sides of the fence having been a Chairman and now an OC and know how good and valuable a Committee can be whilst at the same time seeing how important a common goal is.

People need to get away from the statement that the Committee only deal with the money. As an exe committee member this is very demotivating. On the flip side the Committee need to get away from the feeling the money is theirs and as previously stated, as long as you have enough for a few years of running costs you have a clearly defined surplus that can be spent to improve the Squadron’s ability to succeed.

1 Like

Go to a CWC meeting, see what goes on and ask questions.

As a the OC I know fully well what the squadron’s financial position is and set my requests accordingly. Maybe that’s part of my upbringing which was all about living within your means and where I work, all large spend has to be costed with justifications and submitted to the HoD. Don’t cost and or justify it and you have no hope. Ultimately the CWC are the ones answerable for the spending of squadron funds, not the OC or anyone else.

My CWC, me and the other staff are always on the look out for screwing a few quid out of people and I’m not averse to a bit if schmoozing.
The OC going around staying he’s had to put his foot down, sounds like many OCs who like to make it look like they are cowboys and the CWC are the Indians. It is a proper working relationship across the squadron, not disparate groups. Treat it like the latter and the problems will mount.
To say that the CWC haven’t introduced themselves is down to the OC. Maybe the OC has no idea about the dynamics of squadron life or likes to promote a sense of them and us conflict with the CWC.
Every single member of staff and cadet know our CWC members as meetings are held on a parade night ergo we see each other, everyone speaks to each other and have a good rapport. The chairman attends every intake gets a spot in the “talk” so he can explain the role the CWC and make a punt to the parents of potential cadets and again after when the potential cadets go off to do something and parents get a brew and biccie. If the CWC are doing a community event to raise a few quid, I get the cadets and staff involved, as this helps raise the profile and youngsters in uniform attract people to the stall, at which point they can be relieved of a few quid. It also highlights how hard it is to raise money. It helps our CWC has some members and wives of members who are a dab hand in the kitchen, so the cadets always get fed well. Teenager + food = sorted.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: sack the committee … what a blatantly stupid comment.

Not saying it’s always plain sailing, there have over the years been a few who had been on PTA’s and not understood it’s their money to decided how it’s spent. Still have one and they know people with pots to be dipped into.

2 Likes

But would never happen - however unwelcome, the trustees of the CivCom are the only ones who are in a legal position to manage the money.

a) RAFAC isn’t a legal entity and have no jurisdiction
b) RAFAC is not charitable
c) the MOD have no jurisdiction
d) it is illegal for non-trustees to interfere with a charity or its trustees

For these four reasons alone, all the huff and puff over getting Wing Chairs involved and ATC-HQ to sort it out, they cannot do so lawfully beyond a co-operative rather than controlling approach.

These are also the reasons why the latest revisions of ACP-11 don’t hold any water - in trying to be clever by and appear to get around the point, they breach most points of law. But good hearted people carry on ignorant of the situation and so by far the best way to proceed is to get on together with a bit of mutual respect as some of the earlier comments show.

CivCom owns the trainset
CO says how and when it can be played with
Squadron gets to ask for new track, carriages and replacements
CivCom listens and tries to facilitate
Cadets get a good experience all round

WRONG!

OC owns the train set (locally).
CivCom ask how and when they can help support it (because that’s what they’ve volunteered to do).

The core element here is the ATC Squadron - which the CivCom exist to support - and around which the whole game revolves.
The Sqn doesn’t exist to give the CivCom some sort of status.

Taking to task any committee who were to disappear with Sqn funds (or, I don’t know… Donate those funds to a rugby club instead, for example) is not “illegal interference” - On the contrary, the trustees are actually legally required to consider expert advice as well as being required to take into account what the beneficiary and funders have to say when making decisions.

Civil actions aside, in such cases I’d imagine that the Charity Commission would also be keen to pursue Criminal charges against any trustees who knowingly divert funds to benefit someone other than their sole beneficiary.

3 Likes

Beneficiaries (in this case the staff and cadets of the squadron) can bring legal action if they think the trustees are not discharging their duties.

It’s possible for someone (e.g. wing chairman) to advise, suggest, assist the trustees without crossing the legal lines.

You need to read the Trusts of Land and Trustees Act. It’s going to blow your tiny mind!

5 Likes

I am hoping that he means the CWC own the Funds but I get the distinct feeling that some CWC subscribe to the “we own the unit”., which is wrong. The OC runs the Unit and is responsible for and held accountable by the CofC. It appears to me that it is a classic case of mission creep by some CWC.

I do know what the situation is with the SCC, but I do remember a friend of mine, who was the CO of the local Sea Cadet Unit, telling me that he had been summoned to report to the chairman of the CWC and told to get his haircut.

1 Like

He may well do of course… But even that I would dispute.
They are, quite literally, “trustees” not outright owners so to speak. They are responsible for it but it’s absolutely not THEIR money to do with however they fancy, as they own it “in trust” on behalf of the Sqn.
This is something which I know from experience that some committees totally misunderstand. To be fair, that’s not surprising when there are people out there telling them that it’s “their train set”.
This is how you end up with a Thurston situation.

Those funds have been raised primarily through cadet subscriptions and from donations made to the Sqn in recognition for work which the cadets and staff have carried out.
When the unit helps out at the local fete and receives £500 from the Round Table, or Rotary, or whomever it is donated to “the Sqn” - not to “The Civilian Committee”.

It is not dissimilar to money placed in trust for a young person.
Grandpa gives Little Johnny £1000, placed “in trust” until he is 18. It’s Little Johnny’s money and the trustee is just their to make sure that Little Johhny doesn’t spend it all on sweets or end up giving it to some online scam artist. If little Johnny wants to spend it on a car at 17 and that is in keeping with Grandpa’s original intention then the trustee cannot legitimately refuse.

Rotary rightly expects that their donation will directly benefit the cadets.
The CivCom merely ‘looks after’ that donation and has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that it is spent sensibly and fairly but in a way which benefits the Sqn. It is absolutely “the Squadron’s” money and the OC and other CFAVs run “The Sqn”. Thus any advice given by the staff and OC as to how that money should be spent should be heeded wherever physically possible. Any CivCom who disregard the expert advice of the Sqn staff could be said to not be acting in the best interest of the beneficiary.

It is not for a committee to decide what the squadron needs and doesn’t need - it is for the committee to ensure that some unscrupulous person (or some complete moron) doesn’t waste (or steal) money, and to decide whether the Sqn fund can currently support the required spend or whether it needs to be held off until more funds have been raised.

3 Likes

That reminds me it is my grandson’s birthday later this month so it is time to top up his ISA.

1 Like

Fancy topping mine up while you’re in the giving mood?

It is Christmas, after all…

4 Likes