Squadron Associations


ACP11 and I think the CC members handbook advise that the CC should be drawn from and elected by the squadron association. I have never seen a squadron with an association as such but I can see the sense of it and the aspect of belonging.

So what are your experiences of Associations, do they work as suggested or is getting CC members an issue even with an association in place. How are members recruited ?, I assume that all and any parents automatically become members once their cadet is enrolled.




Refer to ACP11 para 6


You mean chapter 5 para 6 of ACP11 I assume.

Thats what I am asking about, I have never come across an association in any of the squadrons I have worked with,. Those of you with associations do they work, are they worth the effort in setting up ? Would an Allumini be a better idea, people who have in the past been members or associated with the squadron and wish to keep in touch?. Again I am thinking of long term CC recruitment.



Yup. I thought you were questioning the term in its entirety.

I have never heard of a squadron or wing operating an association of that type; they often struggle to form functioning committees without adding the arms and legs.


Exactly my point, CCs are usually thin on numbers unless there is a good chair who is constantly tending his/her flock so to speak and bringing in new blood from parents of newly enrolled cadets on a regular basis.

Just wondering if in not setting up Associations we are all missing a trick.



As I understand it all parents are part of the Squadron Association by default as soon as their children join, which brings up some interesting scenarios if mum or dad are staff on the squadron or another squadron, given they can legitimately vote people in to exec positions on the committee and get involved in the committee. Even more interesting if they are the Sqn CO or Wing Staff or Wg Cdr or Regional Staff or even HQAC staff. Imagine if CAC turned up to an AGM and became a Sqn Chairman / woman.


RAFAC officers and NCOs may not be appointed to any role within the Squadron Committee.


But RAFR can?


That is the over simplistic mind set of the Air Cadets and flies in the face of a democratic freedom. It also doesn’t answer the point that a parent of a cadet who happens to be a member of staff, has exactly the same rights as any parent of a cadet in terms of the Squadron Association. I would imagine that like so many things HQAC changed their rules and never really understood the potential outcomes. If my children had been cadets, when I was OC I would have had the democratic right to vote for committee execs, like any parent attending an AGM. I wonder how many staff who are parents forgo this. As I understand it Association Members (ie parents) can have a say in what happens. Or would you say that staff who are parents of cadets cannot do this either.

I was asked to go on the committee when I resigned and could have been chairman within a year. I know a number of ex-staff who have been Squadron, Wing, Regional Committee Members and one who I believe was part of the ACC.

As for

they are not appointed they are voted into the position. The word to concentrate on here is ‘voted’ ie they throw their hat in the ring and people vote for them in and open and democratic manner, not the backroom dodgy handshake appointment process. Interestingly you don’t mention CIs in the statement.

However the line has been crossed with the utter nonsense of the Reg CWC, who effectively act as CIs but have feet in both camps. I know of one instance where the Chairman or Treasurer not sure which, is a Reg CWC. I feel people like this should resign their exec role as it is a conflict of interests.

For too long HQAC has wanted to eat its cake and keep it, dictating who does what and how, with no real reason why. When staffing and CWC membership are in crisis across the organisation, HQAC should embrace this and make it possible for staff to be on a CWC like CWC are now allowed to be in effect staff. It can only be beneficial to the whole organisation.


Just to be entirely transparent I am a Wing and Region Chairman, having served in the VR(T) many years ago. I am also the father of a 14 year old cadet and a 23 year old acting pilot officer. Sadly I sense some bitterness in your post, whereas I come from a wing where we all (CFAVs and civ com) try our best to pull in the same direction. I try not to interfere in the running of my son’s squadron, and any loss of democratic rights does not keep me awake at night. My personal vision is to ensure that the cadets in my region do not miss out on the maximum cadet experience due to lack funds, and to ensure that we are fully compliant as far as possible.

Registered civ com members were introduced to support short staffed OCs - remember that the application has to be initiated by the OC. In our wing we have approximately 12, so not a landslide. For my sins I am also a registered civ com member, to cover the situations when I was being asked to drive a squadron minibus from time to time.

If we strive to work together, and always put the interests of our cadets first, I’m sure there’s no obstacle we can’t overcome, although I realise it can seem very frustrating at times.


No bitterness, just a sense that HQAC seems to change / make up rules to suit themselves and not the people on the ground and it would be nice to think, like you say, we were all pulling in the same direction. I felt impotent as a CO to actually affect any sort of change and nothing has changed in that respect. I get a real sense that either our senior leadership can’t and don’t want to change anything, which is a situation that would not be tolerated in any place I’ve worked in.
it would be nice to think that as a Wing and Regional Chairman you are there banging the table and holding Wing and Region people to account. As a former Officer I would hope you are bringing this experience to table as well to push the point. I can’t imagine as an officer in any capacity you are happy with the way the organisation operates now. I know from chatting to mates of mine who have long since gone, they are astounded that the organisation has been allowed to operate with no gliding and for parts of the country no viable powered flying.
I don’t understand the reticence about getting involved in your son’s squadron.


It is not entirely clear what is actually meant to by the Squadron Association, and if you read ACP11 carefully if seems to suggest that the process to begat the Civcom and Association are the same, meanig that they are the same entity.

What would an Association do that the Civcom has never done? In my view nothing. It appears that the ACO deems that it should have identifiable Trustees, when if you look at the various guidance issued by the Charity Commission, it appears that members of a Committee of an unincorporated association are the Trustees. It is said that Trustees can be so named under a variety of terms, but foremost is the Committee.

That is stated in more than one source so one can ask why does the ACO deem it necessary to fly in the face of convention, which may or may not be contrary to legal practice.

One way or another someone has to be accountable under Charity Law, but that is nit the apparent prerogative of the ACO, else it would clearly state the legal tenet.

As for Civcom election, it seems that process applies throughout except at Wing & Region where it seems a lack if suitable volunteers can enable an appointment, but as there is no public access to minutes etc, one can never be sure if it is a contrivance. However even as an ex VRT Trustees does not absolve anyone from the legal responsibilities which extend beyond the confines of ACP10/11/300.

I accept that some Sqns may be suffering in the Civcom department, and someone said that parents are automatically members, but there has to be a Committee.

Someone needs to explains precisely how each is intended to work, because up to know we have seen ACP11 with several revisions imposed which make it about as mysterious as the Bermuda Triangle.

If it is a legal document, ACP11 does not clarify any legal issues faced by those acting under Governance.


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The “Squadron Association” is open to anyone with an interest or stake in the squadron, ie parents (default members) and people within the local community.

The Committee is elected from/by the members of the Association.


The current ACP-11 is a clumsy attempt to fit the charitable funding of squadrons into one of the model constitutions recommended by the Charity Commission after HQAC was told to sort its house out.

I say clumsy because it doesn’t fit the ‘CIO with voting members (Association)’ model and the person attempting the conversion is not doing it from a neutral perspective but instead one geared towards using the structure to retain control. Consequently chunks of legally required text are missing in ACP-11 and the authority of the trustees always supersedes the Association. If you read it end to end (sadly I have) rather than dip in and out, the terms of Association, Trustee(s) and CivCom are interchanged in a contradictory manner throughout which reveals a lack of understanding.

That said, it is not recognisable as a legal document of any standing because the previous ACP-11 established that trustees in CivComs were the legal authority alone and any constitutional change (i.e. ACP-11) had to be formally approved and adopted by those trustees alone for each squadron. Just knocking out another ACP in this case is at best wrong.

So the current ACP-11 is just an in ill-thought through attempt to grab back control before anyone notices. For the record, the Charity Commission do not approve or agree any such documents and HQAC has no legal department through which to validate any such document.

It is a mess.


I have to admit as a sqn cdr I don’t really understand how you get the Sqn Assoc idea to work. The civ comm has tried to get parental involvement with the usual success you would expect, when 98% of parents drop kids off and go and the odd % that take a bit more interest, don’t really want to get involved.

It is ironic that as a sqn cdr or staff you are told that you cannot have any involvement in committee matters, yet it seems HQAC seem to think they can. How someone voted into a position can be asked or even made to stand down by people at Wing, Region or HQAC, is baffling. Also it seems that the Air Cadet Council (which I’ve always taken as the highest Civ Comm) is comprised largely of people in uniform and serving officers to boot. I don’t understand how CAC is a trustee of the GPF, when it should be a civilian based set up. CAC should only be ex-officio.

Why can’t all squadron staff be association and if decided committee members and take an active part in things, that already have a vested interest in.


Interesting comment about not understanding how people at Wing Region or HQAC can make elected individuals stand down. Technically the requirement for a Trustee to stand down should revolve around Charity management, but even then it is not a power given to anyone with no direct involvement in specific Charities. The ACO seem to regard the Resolution of Disputes Procedure ( a requirement for all Charities) to be a disciplinary mechanism. I have yet to hear of any disputes resolved in favour of the Civcom, more to resolve any difficulties which make the VRT uncomfortable, you simply take out the Civcom ie the people who actually provide the funding. nd it never seems to happen where there is a struggle to get a functioning Civcom - it is always where there is considerable input and experience.

So over the past 10 years having witnessed a significantly high turnover of uniformed staff, it seems the ACO also likes to target the experienced non-member volunteer support as well - Civcom volunteers are not members of the ACO, so without any formal contractual link, it is then difficult to see how the ACO can construe how it gains any authority.

Mind the way it does perform, it contributes nicely toward the downward spiral - Charity data for Scotland shows a 20% reduction in numbers over the past 5 years.

The RAFA model, shows a national charity and individual branch charities - the branch manages its’ own affairs within the context of Charity Law.

And each such branch is independent, and those Trustees inline with all other Charities, work to the established arrangements.

This is always how it has been with the ACO, although with the ACO there is no National Charity (the GPF is just that and is a CIO) The other charities are unincorporated associations.

So perhaps that is where the Association idea stems from, but according to Charity Law, the unincorporated but stems from the legal liability - either as a corporate entity, or each member being individually liable (unincorporated ) BUT the Committee are the Trustees, and any association will a Committee under its’ rules of engagement.

So we have ACP11 stood on its’ head because it was claimed we were not previously compliant, and therefore to be compliant, the documentation actually moves further way from being compliant, under the smoke screen of a document which belies intelligent interpretation.

Four years later it seems we are no clearer on the need for an Association, and evidently there has been little progress towards this, else people would not be asking questions.

And to confuse matters further, how is it then that Wing and Regional have Sports & Welfare funds, which operate under the same Governance arrangements, but do not seem to require an Association. I must have missed the bit which sets them apart from or the rest of us, but without the Squadron Committee being expected to pay monies over twice a year, they would actually have very little funding.

So again what value an Association?.



Depends on whether it is a member of the Association or a trustee. If it is a trustee they cannot because trustees have ultimate control of the funding unless they are doing something wrong. In that case, they should be reported to the Charity Commission or the Police. This has been confirmed repeatedly by the Charity Commission.

What needs understanding is that it is humiliating and alien for HQAC to have to involve a third-party in their problems. From that perspective, F60s (which are not a legal requirement or even recognised by the Charity Commission as a document) and other created procedures for reporting or handling such matters by RAFAC rather than the CC are at best highly questionable and at worst illegal.

So to explain how you are meant to get the Association to work at squadron level … you probably won’t. Quite apart from anything else, most squadrons struggle to get enough parents together to form a working committee let alone anything else. I have seen suggestion that all parents are in the Association - again the Charity Commission have advised that this not practical or good practice. Put Simply, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) model with Association - read it here:

is intended to operate with quite different circumstances more geared to the commercial charity world. The sole reason that HQAC has gone with this is to solve the problem of it having no control over the multiple charities within the overall operation. Using the creation of a model with Association is not about getting parents involved, it is solely a mechanism for Regional/Wing Chairman (or others) to be involved to a degree with squadron finances, snuffing out anyone who makes too much noise and (they perceive) taking over if things go wrong.

That squadrons are out there scratching their heads or not quite getting it is small collateral.

Squadron staff are ex-officio on CivCom matters and in a co-operative fashion that is well and good. If it becomes used as a reporting method to Wing and beyond it is less productive. It is actually quite alarming to look back over the last five years and see how many elected positions are filled by postings rather than vote … and be ex-uniform rather than the civilians they should be. I have nothing against people of experience fulfilling a role, but in general my experience is they simply believe what HQAC tells them and roll out the line to squadrons rather than perform their stated role in the overall structure which is to question, contribute and provide direct feedback from squadron level to CAC. At the slightest difficulty they stand to attention.

There is no reason for Associations and they are not involved at Wing or Region level because those are not perceived as problematic and a possible risk to the organisation.


Interesting as I have heard of a number troublesome committee people ‘removed’ by Wing (at the behest of COs) over the years and I’ve always wondered how they can do this, given they are separate from the Corps. They’ve done nothing wrong financially.
I’ve known two squadrons which had ‘revolving door’ COs where the committee have felt compelled to do something and effectively taken over running the squadron. This was down IMO to Wing sitting on their hands rather than getting someone in to do it properly. On one there were no other uniform staff and the old WO on the other was I’m not an officer so not doing that.


Of course the CivCom shouldn’t be running the squadron but again, levels of misunderstanding may play a part.

RAFAC is not charitable but needs charitable support. This is the role of the trustees supported by parents and cadets alike as appropriate. But in such circumstances there is no authority for Wing or anyone to act against trustees they simply disagree with. In the case of disciplinary action, the primary responsibility falls with fellow trustees in the first instance and no one else as it is they who are personally and legally liable not RAFAC.

Consider this in a different context - the chicken and the egg. which comes first, squadron or committee?

When you consult the rule book, there are a number of routes to establishing a squadron, but all require the formation of a committee and a chair person to identify and recommend potentially agreeable COs. Through discussion and agreement with Wing and HQAC a candidate may be appointed and things move forward. Even a DF becoming a squadron may do so under the CivCom of the parent squadron.

A squadron without a committee is a problem in terms of finance handling, but actually the officers of the trust (chair, secretary, treasurer) cannot be removed. That said, the other side of the coin is that the said officers cannot just wash their hands of it all and resign. Technically they are required to pass office to a willing incumbent which is sort of what happens by prior arrangement at an AGM. Trustees may be voted on or off by fellow trustees, but trustee officers have a more onerous responsibility.

Works both ways …


I have looked at the posting of the Commission guidance on CIO’s As with most things issued by the Commission, it will be legally tested, so if the Association is more related to a CIO, how can the ordinary Excepted Charity use that model and Governance when they are distinctly different animals, authorised under distinctly different parts of the Charities Act 2011. It also occurs to me that the Excepted or Registered Charity has no formal link with an CIO, therefore in terms of the RAFAC situation, the CIO is not a parent Charity and each charity within the RAFAC operates independently. Therefore someone needs to provide a clear explanation of how Wing or Region can have any legal jurisdiction over a Squadron Charity, and set out a clear legal requirements to support the case for an Association and what it does. As I said before, it is rather strange that Wing and Region do not appear to require an Association, and we should not overlook the fact that Squadrons are the principle fundraisers, and that brings into play yet another Regulator.

If you are a Trustee with legal responsibility it would be nice to know what they are, and not have them hidden by the fanfare of an Association, which when the crunch comes, wont make them go away. Ignorance is bless they say, but not when you have a legal duty which can jump up and bite you!

I am then still waiting for someone to explain how this all fits together, and how it benefits the Cadets.