Training for CC chairmen


#1

I have recently been tasked by my Wing Chair with a CC related project that involved visiting and talking to most of the CCs on the wing.

Some CCs are well led with excellent chairmen driving their teams forward, however many chairs are only in post as there is no one else willing to do the job. As such they are reluctant and certainly not leading their teams, generally their CCs are usually poor in numbers and effect as a result. Poor or no attempts are made to improve their situation.

So how do we go about reversing that ?.

A, I believe that all new chairs should undergo some sort of training, at least one of mine turned up at their first CC meeting and were elected chair with zero experience of the organisation at all. Many chairs have never spoken in public, ever. As a result they steer well clear of anything to do with that, so talking to assembled parents at awards nights and enrolments in a bid to recruit new CC.

Do other wings do that with their chairs and or Treasurers ?, if so advise please.

B, Given that training is needed is it felt that this should be handled wing wise or should another good local to the squadron chair be asked if they can take that new or poor chairman under their wing so to speak and train them to an acceptable level. Is their a need for sector chairmen ?.

Discuss.

Thanks

A


#2

You raise a good point - some of the wings within LaSER are trialing training days for Chairmen and Treasurers. Going through their first AAR can also be quite informative for newbies. A recent suggestion in my wing was a “buddy” programme for new Chairmen and Treasurers, which we intend to try. The Chairman’s Handbook on SharePoint is also a very useful document.

Regards,

Tim


#3

Was a civ com chair for two weeks. One the first night of the election the Squadron were told by the Wing Commander of a forced co-location read that as merger, then after digging around had found that aspects of this had been going on for some time. Total abrogation of the tennants of ACP 4 and ACP 11, dishonesty and outright economy with the truth. Resigned in disgust at the organisation I have been connected to in various forms since the early 70s. Have been in contact with the local MPs and an FOI into the Air Secretariat about the situation.

And, you wonder why there have and are problems recruiting civ com and CFAVs.


#4

I suspect that a great many CivCom Chairpersons are basically “stepping up” because they were the one holding the appropriate straw.

I don’t think that any sort of mandatory training will help the general situation one bit… In fact I can absolutely foresee that such a requirement would have the opposite effect and stick many of us with nobody willing to take on the responsibility.

Making training available for those who would like to attend though could be useful; though I would argue that any Squadron, faced with a new chair who has nobody on the committee to learn from has an obligation (and indeed a self interest) to provide sufficient training for that person locally.

What constitutes “sufficient” training? Well, that does depend on the local circumstance I think.
Most Squadrons do not require any great leadership ability on the part of the CivCom Chair…
A baseline knowledge of the organisation and of the role of the committee and its constituent members is important. As is a basic idea of the structure of a meeting and how the Chair is supposed to lead one.
Beyond that, they really don’t need to know much more.
The OC sits on the committee for a reason - they are supposed to be able to provide the insight into our world as required.

Being able to speak in public might be useful for those occasions when a CivCom chair might need to appeal for fundraising, but the role doesn’t actually require very much.

I have absolutely no doubt that I know more about the role of the CivCom and the specifics of each of the key members than any of my relatively new Committee do - simply because I have a good memory for regs and I have the time to read everything - yet they are all functioning admirably with the basic training which we have provided.

‘Could’ they learn more of the specifics? - Certainly.
Do they ‘need’ to learn more? I’d say probably not.


#5

The best Chairman I had was one who knew a lot of people locally, who in turn had their own contacts. They were an outgoing character and enthused people.

The best training a chairman can get is by being on a committee before taking up the role and ideally as treasurer.
Not sure knowing the ins and outs of the Corps is really necessary, but as many Civ Comm are or were parents of cadets and can sell the Corps on the basis of their experience.

It is a worry that the ATC seems to be bringing Civ Comms closer and closer to the “uniformed” side, especially since the introduction of Reg CWC. I think that HQAC need to full understand that getting people to volunteer anywhere, not just Air Cadets, is an uphill struggle. We should revert to the two strands as being completely separate and lose the cross-over. It would be interesting to know HQACs view on Reg CWC being involved in staff and committee matters and potentially influence committee matters if it comes to a vote, when staff can’t be involved in or influence committee matters. I wonder what happens if the reg CWC are execs? Should execs be barred from being Reg CWC?

I remember as a cadet we never really saw the committee and to this day I could only ever remember one name.


#6

This is not a new problem. Civilian Committees have never been trained or instructed on their legal obligations. I know from personal experience that HQAC do not wish civilian committee members to known their duties, legal obligations or rights. They do not want civilian committees to know that they are charitable trustees and that under charity law they are totally independent charities only accountable to the Charity Commission and not to HQAC. HQAC assertion in ACP10 and 11 that they can dismiss trustees, interfere in civilian committee financial matters and misappropriate chartable funds is contrary to charity law. If you are looking for properly trained committee members then this can only start with honesty and integrity at the top of the organisation.


#7

Hahahahahahaha, oh my poor aching sides.


#8

Interesting can of worms beginning to open.

Not long ago HQAC stated they did not provide training for Civcom, nothing in the budget. I am not convinced in the intent of the initiative which seems to derive from a letter sent by the Charity Commission in 2017. In my own mind, ACP10/11 are very clear about what is expected of the Civcom and how they support their respective Squadron. The rules are very clear, and always have been. I came in as newbie, soon became Treasurer (Accountancy background) , but we had a very good Committee, all people who understood the rules, and stayed after their son/daughter had moved on. Because I am who I am, I made sure I understood things fully and without doubt I had commitment.

Tim referred to training for Chairmen and Treasurers, what about the Secretary? The Civcom are also the Trustees of the Sports & Welfare fund, and if you look at Charity Law, you will see that those three positions are essential for any Charity.

The training appears to be directed towards the support role, and appears to ignore the fact that as Trustees they have certain statutory responsibilities under Charity Law, as well as various other Statutes. And those statutory responsibilities do not involve the Uniformed chain, as clearly they are excluded (ACP11 Ch 5 para 11 refers to Squadron level)

The latest version of ACP11 makes reference to Trustee indemnity insurance. Has anyone, yet, started to wonder why this is now on offer? It is because the ACO Charities (each an individual entity) are unincorporated associations, which means that each individual trustee is personally liable for any loss etc. Evidently then if Trustees are not fully aware of their responsibilities and are not inclined towards proper management of their Charity, things could go wrong. For example, a failure to apply funds in accordance with the stated aims and objectives. Payment of car hire for an OC Wing overseas visit might not necessarily comply with that directive, because it does not directly benefit Cadet training.

You will note some references to the Charities Act 2011 have crept but not expanded, but there are things within Charity Law which do not appear in ACP11, but as the ACO is NOT exempt from Charity Law, it suggests that Civcom/Trustees also need to know about the Law.

Should any monies go missing it would be up to the Trustees to instigate measures (ie court action) , even where that might involve a uniformed member of staff.

Now we come to an interesting bit. Charity Law is reasonably clear about the fact that Charities are self managed within the scope of Charity Law. BUT somewhere there is a belief that a Squadron Trustee, who is entirely voluntary with no contractual obligation to the Organisation, can have Trusteeship removed because the Organisation is alleged to be able to remove a Civcom member under the Resolution of Disputes Procedure, and that effectively invalidates the Trusteeship. That is effectively saying the ACO Trustee is the same as an employee acting as a Trustee or that they have the same status as the CAC who is a Trustee of the GPF (CIO) but the one gets paid, and others don’t.

I am then wondering what if a Trustee ( or rather Trustees collectively) did take action to recover monies which had been misappropriated by a uniform, would the ACO intervene when they have no jurisdiction under the Law?

Why would anyone want to volunteer when there is a noose around their neck? but the Training should help identify that there is noose, unless of course there is a limit to how much volunteers should know.

Aries


#9

The other problem which is not covered in any ACP, is that any member of a CWC who has a registerable professional qualification through such organisations as the GMC/NMC/HCP/SRA/police or prison officer etc may be subject to santions including suspension from practice if they are found liable or guilty of a breech of the law in court.

Therefore they could be putting their employment at risk which leads onto such thing affecting family mortgage etc due not holding the relevant qualification and dismissal from employment.

This is a situation that is not covered anywhere and people in those groups need to start asking those questions of the Wing Regional CWC and the AOC level.


#10

Ask questions and see a lot of ducking and diving and if what I’ve heard from Wg Cdrs about Convention is correct, a lot of; we’re not answering that question, we know best because we are HQAC and know everything about everything, and similar.
If the things mentioned about Civ Comm members above is half true, I can’t see HQAC liking not being able to control, threaten etc, a group of people, who they actually have no real jurisdiction over. Pretty much like all of us who can just turn up and say that’s it, no notice or anything.


#11

And, when it all goes wrong they will not be the ones held accountable. This HQAC attitude will destroy the RAFAC as people realise what a precarious position they could be in and the consequences of any legal action.


#12

How about we just get rid of the mandatory civcom, and if you happen to have keen people hanging around who don’t want to be CFAVs then they can have some sort of status as a “friends of the squadron” group.

Much simpler.


#13

It is very appropriate to start asking questions because the ACO has not had the benefit of legal advice, and if they don’t attempt to exert authority of the Royal Warrant, will slip into Harry Potter mode. An issue raised with my Wing Chair got the response that he would have to get advice from the Legal Dept at HQAC, which as it happens actually does not exist. It proved that he knew nothing about the Law and has since twice breached Charity Law. It also proved that he was following orders from OC Wing, who according to ACP11 has no jurisdiction .

I was assured by an Armed Forces Minister that the two sides are quite separate, but my experience suggests that there is a desire to exert control which compromises the basic principles of Charity governance. It is also a fact that when matters of compliance have been raised with the Charity Commission, HQAC is able to influence the CC to disengage without addressing the issues raised. The OSCR is similarly inclined without addressing why you have an Adult Sergeant listed as a Charity Trustee.

It would seem that before you attempt to train Civcom, you need to have organisation which actually stands by and works to the guidance manuals it produces. I once advised a Regional Commandant to appreciate the value of volunteers - comforting that he took no notice and allowed his staff a free reign - rulebook out of the window!

Aries


#14

The Civcom is mandatory, because they are Trustees and this actually enables money to be available for Cadet training without being a drain on MOD funds.The Sea Cadets don’t have any problem with being a Charity, and they are affiliated to the Senior Service.

I wonder how long any unit would survive without the input of Civcom, assuming of course you can manage funding bit like having an ample supply of balls and keeping them all airborne at the same time. ?
Aries


#15

If you just get rid of civ com, where do you get the extra monies from to support cadet activities as the public bidget is smaller and may get smaller in particular as they need to support all those nice sinecures from HQAC downwards plus flying etc.

CWCs are supposed to be a parallel organisation outside the CoC and a s a second set of eyes who should not be influenced by the CoC therefore is safeguarding the welfare and safety of the cadets and even the staff.

Also, they should be ensuring financial proberty of any cash spent or costs incured for the enjoyment and teaching of cadets.


#16

This is not a new problem. Civilian Committees have never been trained or instructed on their legal obligations. I know from personal experience that HQAC do not wish civilian committee members to known their duties, legal obligations or rights. They do not want civilian committees to know that they are charitable trustees and that under charity law they are totally independent charities only accountable to the Charity Commission and not to HQAC. HQAC assertion in ACP10 and 11 that they can dismiss trustees, interfere in civilian committee financial matters and misappropriate chartable funds is contrary to charity law. If you are looking for properly trained committee members then this can only start with honesty and integrity at the top of the organisation

That may have been the case in the past but certainly in my region/wing that is certainly no longer the case. The project I was detailed with the I commented on at the start of the post was to visit and talk to all CCs on the wing, ask if they had got copies of their handbooks and ACP11 and to make sure the members understood their role and responsibilities as trustees within the organisation.

Chairs had all told the wing chair that they were fully compliant with their charity requirements, I was asked to go in and make sure that was the case so it was not expected to take long. The problem was most of the chairs had no idea what those requirements were !!, many of them had simply not been told. Almost all the CCs looked at me blankly when I asked them about their handbooks and ACP11, they also had no idea at all of their legal obligations and potentail personal liabilities. They thought they were all on some sort of uniformed PTA.

Naturally I was not exactly flavour of the month within the wing, but with the unwavering support of the wing chair and wing commander we have now got the job sown up but it took 12 months of persuading.

So NOW HQAC are not only needing their CCs to be fully aware of their responsibilities, to that end they have been pressing hard on the CC senior structure and region and wing levels to ensure the whole organisation is legally 100% compliant with all charity requirements. Loosing charitable status would cost us Gift Aid on our subs and now our bag packs, imagine the cost of that over just under 1000 squadrons.

We need to make sure that this situation is not allowed to re occur as chairs change, hence my thoughts about chairman training. Train them to handle these requirements, handle public speaking, how to run a meeting, maybe some of the child protection stuff the staff get and you get a really useful person.

A


#17

Hi Alcidon
I commend your attempts to educate your civilian committees, however if you are referring them to the revised ACP 10 & 11 I am afraid you are doing them no favours. These documents are incompatible with charity law in so many ways, but in particular they erroneously give authority to a wing chairman to walk into a squadron at any time, for any reason and sack the chairman or the whole committee, take over the charity funds and rule as a one man dictator. Charity law is very clear that ALL charity trustees are totally independent and cannot be subject to outside interference.
similarly the ACO has no legal authority to impose governing documents on the some 1000 independent squadron committee around the country. they could have been offered for adoption by each committee following an open discussion of the implications and consequences with all the facts and options disclosed. this did not happen.
I know that some squadrons have rejected these documents and have voted to continue working in accordance with the previous ones (which offer some protection from outside interference). some squadrons have voted to register directly with the charity commission. These options are perfectly legal and should have been a option available in the discussions. the only way now for a squadron committee to protect its funds and independence is to register directly with the charity commission.
I understand that at least one wing chairman has been taken to court and forced to pay back squadron charitable funds he misappropriated. He is still in post protected by the organisation that write such inappropriate documents.
This discussion is not so much about the competence of civilian committees and more about the deceit of the control freaks who run the organisation.


#18

Squadron committees are predominantly made up of parents who only wish to support their local squadron and provide opportunities for their young people. That does not mean that the ACO should not have respect for their legal position, treat them with courtesy, comply with the law and act with openness, integrity and honesty.


#19

If they actually did that, it would be a start.


#20

Referring to a few posts ago regarding removal of CivComs entirely…

Just for the sake of debate… Why couldn’t that be done if it were so wished?

“Mandatory because they are trustees”… Is there anything which would legally prevent Squadron staff from taking trusteeship of their own Squadron’s funds?