60+ parents is a large AGM as far as I’m concerned, everyone was given the same notice, same information, what should have been done? Cancel the meeting because we didn’t hit some imaginary threshold of attendance? Hardly.
I’m not sure that was what was meant.
There would have needed to be a quorum for any meeting (which would have been far smaller one presumes). But I think Aries means that the trustees of the three squadrons should have held meetings regarding their own charity’s (squadron’s) funds and assets and come to a resolution either of their own or based on a proposal to merge.
Following that logically, two of the three charities should be wound down by their own Civcom (given that their charitable monies are for their squadron alone under their exception order terms and one charity cannot legally fund another. It should not just consumed by the organisation into a super charity. Wing and Region have no authority to direct matters and should conduct themselves as ex officio in such areas. (e.g. “We have X problems continuing as we are so we propose solution y . Discuss, vote and then come back to us”).
I can only assume that was done - given the liaison with Wing and Region regards the process - but it’s not my area.
Personally I find it hard to understand how money from 3 Squadron’s - whose cadets are all being part of a merger with the exception of 2 who went elsewhere, can possibly belong to anyone else but the new squadron. How does that conversation go with the cadets? "That money you worked hard to raise needs to go somewhere else because we are merging "…But frankly it’s not my area.
All the Civ Coms were involved in the merger process from a very early stage. This whole discussion seems pointless frankly.
What @Rumpole means is the committee for Sqn A administers and controls founds for the benefit of sqn A only. If sqn A no longer exists it has to dispose of its assets accordance with its charter and legal obligations. The money has to be spent on the cadets of sqn A only, it cannot just be given to RAFA or any other sqn. Also only the trustees and committee members and direct how the money is used. No staff or committee members from another unit or WHQ can direct how the money is used. Even the CO on Sqn A cannot direct the committees spending, only make requests.
Precisely … thank you.
It is extremely likely that their knowledge of charitable law will fall short of understanding the situation fully. I do not mean that complacently, nor rudely and of course the cadets should not suffer.
I simply mean that there are too many instances where the line of command is relied upon because people in and around the organisation are too ready to believe that this automatically means they understand everything and are not conflicted.
That is all very well, but if it goes pear shaped, then the CivCom member/parents are actually responsible in law and that isn’t a fact (in my experience) that gets willingly volunteered in discussions …
Rumpole: Ref your comment about one charity not being able to fund another. The govt website seems to suggest otherwise. Unless I’ve read it incorrectly:
Give money to other charities
Your charity may wish to raise funds for or give money to other charities, for example if they can use it for a particular cause more effectively.
Grants and donations
Your charity can fund another charity as a way of meeting its charitable purposes. You must be sure that this is in your charity’s best interests. This includes checking that any money you give is used as you expected it to be.
Check your governing document to make sure that it doesn’t prevent you giving money to another charity.
Record your decision to fund another charity in the minutes of your meeting.
So having perused the charity mergers section on the gov.uk website it appears legit if the committees of all the Sqns voted to merge with each other to form a new charity, as the aims are the same there is no need to notify the CC.
Of course if this didn’t happen then there is sticky ground (& not just with this merger).
That said I wish the new Sqn the very best, from what I see here & on the various SM platforms it’s going well so far.
Which seems to agree with the post above
I see WarKitten has jumped in with approval which might indicate a sensitive nerve ending, but I draw your attention to your own quote. It is unlawful for the funds of one charity to be used for the charitable objectives of another charity. Each squadron committee will have raised funds under the premise of its own charitable objectives which will be for its own squadron, not all the same. This chestnut was quoted on another thread and shot down I recall.
I suspect this quote is the basis by which subscriptions from charitable funds can be used to run Wing funds etc. But be assured, the intention of this text is that any such arrangement is by individual agreement with the charity commission and the responsibility of the trustees, not the ACO.
It is a risky business and open to legitimate challenge at any time after. As previously written, it is the responsibility of the trustees and if you pause to think about the consequence of using this text (intended for occasional or less-than-usual situations), then if it were to apply randomly to any squadrons throughout the land, then there would be no need for squadron charities as everyone would be fundraising for the ACO … except they are not a charity themselves and are not charitable so that wouldn’t work.
In the case of this squadron, your quoted text is a bit misapplied because the new charity didn’t exist. In other words, the text may have been arguable for a joint project between the three squadron charities, but the new charity only exists from the demise of the other three. The charitable objectives of each squadron are to itself and therefore it is hard to see how each squadron met its constituted charitable purposes.
How about then, instead of coming on here to complain, you speak to the charity commission and see if they care?
I’m not complaining … just discussing. I agree that the Charity Commission probably don’t care - they are a hopelessly limited bunch in numbers who can;'t handle anything.
… and for reference the Charity Commission is a regulator who offer opinions … not necessarily always the law.
I would be interested to know if the new squadron charity operates under registered status as required since the cessation of excepted status in 2009. Or whether one of the old exception orders has been magic’ed across …
I enjoy your well thought out posts but on this occasion I don’t agree with your interpretation . Where money has been raised by individual sqns it will probably have been used to fund and support those activities for cadets not paid for from the public purse. If ,therefore , the charitable objectives are common and the Articles of Association don’t preclude it , then granting the money to a separate charity seems ok if as the govt website says.
" Your charity may wish to raise funds for or give money to other charities, for example if they can use it for a particular cause more effectively."
My view is that the Charities Commission would probably take a pragmatic view provided the individual sqn charities aims and objectives if not identical were at least complimentary and, in being so, the funds are used for the benefit of the cadets.
If , however, you are saying that the transfers were not carried out iaw the Charities Commission technical rules then that is another issue.
I was told years ago by a long standing RBL Chairman that we can only donate/give money to other organisations only if it is a specific event and it says exactly where the money is going.
My Legion branch had another branch “merge” with it in 2004 when it was forced to close due to no executives. We thought that we would get the branch monies, but the RBL took them and put them into the central pot. Similarly my RAFA branch has acquired closing branches but not their money. OK the RBL and RAFA are properly charities and not cod charities like squadrons but the same principle must apply with individual squadron funds.
WRT squadron mergers, monies raised will have been over a period of time in the individual squadrons for those individual squadrons.
The merged squadron will be a new squadron and I was always under the impression that a new squadron needed a CWC first with sufficient funds in place and then the new squadron opens. It seems that this was a case of we (HQAC) want to do this and it will happen like this and the CWCs will have been told this is what you will do. My CWC has two members from RAFA (both former branch Chairmen) and they good people to offer advice on things.
Personally if any squadron I was running was in this situation I would be requesting the CWC for some social events for the cadets. Bloody minded perhaps, but why not. The experience my Legion branch had galvanised a ‘party time’ mindset in the Branch if it looked like we were going to fold, as there is little love lost among the members and the higher organisation.
No suggestion about cancelling the meeting, but that meeting is not part of the Civcom process. The picture being projected is that Wing and Region call invited members of the Associations for the three Squadrons. (and that technically mean all the members) not just the Civilian Committees. They are then told that it is the intent to merge the Squadrons - in all probability after the event or the decision has been made - and this meeting is not consultation, else there would be scope for representation.
Those Associations then go away and by law are required to hold an EGM, because they have decisions to make on the future of their Charity. Let us not forget that it is the Association which is the legal entity, not the ACO, So even if the Wing Chair may have a place on each Civcom, he/she does not have a majority vote, and is simply there to carryout the direction of the Regional Chair, who has no vote at all.
Therefore the legal entities have to act according to the Law and it is Charity Law which creates or recognises the legal entities, and for that matter Trust Law also comes into play, as far as the legal position of Trustees is concerned.
There is no authority within the ACO, which overrides statutory Law, and it seems that the correct way forward is to dissolve three legal entities and create a new one, which fully represents the previous set up, as well as being representative of the communities to which they relate.
The only thing which is certain is that the new Super squadron will benefit from the subscriptions, and obviously it would be an advantage if it is able to retain ALL Cadets and Staff, only time will tell.
Big is not always beautiful, although a merger could be good where a unit is struggling to maintain numbers and overall it would help to make best use of staff resources.
But will it get more Cadets flying?
Obviously it is difficult to go beyond discussion without better knowledge of the situation. But the ACO has a track record very much in line with the attitude the Teflon’s post identifies.
I am grateful for celticmentor1’s reply, but these things cannot be looked at in isolation and rarely is the answer contained in a single sentence. Some other points to consider …
When money is given to the squadron charity, it is given by people who have a right to know what their gift/donation is going to be used for. This is the legal basis of the transaction and charitable giving for which tax relief is received (in the case of companies and Gift Aid for individuals) by either party. It is also the legal requirement upon the trustees to hold that donation in trust for the purposes and beneficiaries it was given for.
It is reasonable to assume that parents paying subs will understand that a portion of that is paid into the wider organisation, but a single donation or grant will be given to a squadron for a purpose. If the trustees reach a point whereby that purpose or those beneficiaries change, then there may be a case that the donation should be returned (or at least offered). This is not without precedent within several squadrons I know of.
The prevailing attitude is fairly slack - that monies given to the squadron are there for the whole organisation and this is simply not so. Yet ATC-HQ issues directive and people are taken in. Squadron trustees may well need to react to changes in circumstances, but the point is that it is THEIR decision and cannot be imposed upon them by non trustees or in fact the ACO which itself is not even a parent charity.
There are various references to AP1919 and Royal Warrants wafted about but they are meaningless not least in the case of AP1919 which is so remotely out of date in terms of its references to the winding up of squadron funds it is laughable. The Royal Warrant, as valuable to the organisation as it is, only underpins the ability of the RAF to run a youth movement - nothing more.
Before there can be a squadron merger there must by default be a squadron closure and the law is very specific about how trustees deal with the assets in such circumstances. If AP1919 is obsolete, then ACP-11 demonstrates exactly the attitude Teflon describes with his Legion branch. Charitable money cannot just be assumed by Wing or higher. It must be properly handled by the trustees so that everything is concluded and then the residue of assets and funds are to be disposed of at the will of the trustees, not the ACO.
Depending on the sums, I think it perfectly correct that residual monies be spent on the cadets of the squadron before closure. Equally, the trustees may elect to make a one-off donation to the new charity (assuming one of the three original ones didn’t carry on as the new squadron) which is where the .gov.uk quote comes in … not as a means of regular behaviour. The Charity Commission probably would be pragmatic in such a case, but they also issue quite a bit of advice in support of this not being a regular occurence (which as an aside, I think put Wing charities in a very sticky area as 90% (100%?) of their normal income is through subs which are charitable monies which are then regularly funding another charity - for which there is little accountability over whether money is spent for the reason it was given).
Notwithstanding all of that, we have the fact that if your constitution doesn’t prevent it, you can make gifts or joint fund raise. But this is very much in the spirit of Teflon’s understanding. Remember the donor must be aware of the purpose for which the money is being given. If several squadrons come together to fund raise for a joint expedition, then fine. If funds are raised for a squadron in York and then directed by ATC-HQ to a squadron in Leeds - not fine.
Finally, it is only in the last revision of ACP-11 that further definitions of passing money around take more shape. And there is a problem in itself. As a constitution … ACP-11 (and ACP-10 for the purists) in their current format are not something that can be handed down in the same way as all the other ACPs. Because they are charitable constitutions, they must be considered and adopted by vote by the trustees of each and every squadron (and Wing - I’m ignoring Region, but same applies). Unless they have been and the adoption is minuted and recorded, then bluntly the document is irrelevant and worthless.
This stems from the fact that early in the ‘noughties’ when the RAF reduced funding for the ACO and sought a mechanism for charitable involvement, they seemingly overlooked the fact that changes in the Charities Act 2006 effectively meant they gave away control and the status of Welfare Committees changed to being Civilian Committee Trusts. Without dragging the details of that in an already over-length post, the result of that was from that point on, Civilian Committees - who were never part of the ACO - became independent in mind thought and deed. They gained responsibility but must operate the charity in every way the same as a fully fledged charity save for the exception of not being required to provide annual returns (primarily as the sums at the time were not great).
A slight but brief deviation that illustrates the same attitude is over squadron badges which are no longer funded from RAF funds. Rather than dip into the aptly named General Purposes Fund, ATC-HQ have decided must be purchased by squadrons in future.
On the face of it not a big deal - and it isn’t in the big scheme of things. Yet the company that manufactured them will not do so for quantities of less than 50 and instead of bulk deals, ATC-HQ are effectively spending the squadron’s money and dictating trustees spending as if it is their own money to take such a decision with.
Another thin end of the wedge …
From what I hear this is not exactly a true reflection of what is happening but hey, why let truth (or fact) get in the way!
The ACO cannot dictate what a stand alone charity in the form of the CWC how it spends its funds, full stop, period. I do hope that the CWCs tell the ACO where to go, identifiers are uniform requirement therefore the funding should come via HQAC.
If the ACO gets uppity then reduce how much subs paid to Wing are paid. The CWC raise funds for welfare and the cadet experience not to fund items of uniform.
OK … tell us your truth.
If I have it wrong you should say.
But I know squadron Civcomms who have been told to spend their own money on this when it has always come from the organisation not the charity.
Maybe I can pass it on and save 'em some money?