Training for CC chairmen


#21

In line with what Alumnus has said, it seems that the ACO does not understand the legal position, even though the CAC, and others, Act as Trustees of the GPF. In the early days of Charity Law, the CC was only concerned with Registered Charities, the ACO was considered to be an umbrella organisation, and has developed a position equivalent to that of Regulator, which is how come we have Form 60. The Law has changed and there is only one Regulator and that is not the ACO. Interestingly there is no requirement within the Law for an Excepted charity to submit a return to anyone. But there are obligations placed upon Trustees, which the ACO does not appear to acknowledge, and is certainly not then likely to refer to in any 'Training; session.

There are several recent breaches of Charity Law, which need to be resolved by taking ACO Trustees to court - this constitutes a failure of compliance, possibly through ignorance, but probably through acting under orders of a VR(T). Interesting these breaches constitute an offences against Statute, and would not be covered by Trustee Indemnity Insurance - the case could be against all the relevant Trustees who would need to provide their own defence against complicity, to avoid a fine.

The unfortunate thing here, is that the real person behind the issue, is untouchable because he is hiding behind a uniform and as such is not a Trustee.

Honesty openness and integrity is part of Corps ethos, and yet in real life is actually a scarce resource at some levels of the ACO. When a Squadron has lost all its’ staff, Cadets leave because nothing is happening, but the powers that be maintain, over a three year period, that a full and exciting range of activities continues to be available, does not equate to my standard of honesty. The annual amount of subscriptions bears testament to the decline in membership, so why the dishonesty and a failure to see reality.

And let us not overlook the important input of an INDEPENDENT monitor for Cadet Welfare, but what good is that if ACO feels it can remove complainants with impunity.

Let us hope that the porcine species does not achieve flight before the ACO delivers in line with the guidance we read.

Aries


#22

The money would be raised in exactly the same way that the civcom do it now.

If you’re lucky enough to have a dynamic, active civcom then they can go out and raise funds as “friends of the sqn”; if you don’t then you’ll just have to do yourself (much as is the case now).

If nothing else, fundraising is done mostly by one of two ways - hands-on events involving cadets ans staff (so we’d be involved anyway) or by applying for grants, which to be perfectly honest is generally easier than trying to piece together a civcom to do the same.


#23

Just picking up on wdimagineer2b’s reasonable question … the actual answer is that CivComs can potentially be entirely got rid of. The Army Cadets are fully MOD funded, the Sea Cadets are fully charitably funded at local level. Air Cadets sits uncomfortably in the middle.

However, as bob has commented, you would loose beneficial funding, mainly at local level. Consider also the administrative practicalities … ultimately the ACO would presumably make a decision it no longer wished to receive charitable funding and over 1,000 small charities would have no beneficiaries. Probably several million pounds of money across all squadrons and wings left in accounts.

But the harsh reality is that the ACO cannot close down CivComs because it does not have the authority to do so. I have seen that in writing as an instruction to Dawn McCafferty buy the head of 22Group.

Over the years, the ACO has allowed a situation to develop where it has nicely benefited from charitable funding at all levels but did not have the apparent foresight to ensure it understood the rules of the trough it was eating from. Consequently, when Charity Law changed in 2006 it revised its ACPs as it had to without seemingly understanding or paying much heed to the implications. That said, the resulting document was entirely workable and, being loose enough in terminology, covered the essential points. Critical was an equal understanding between uniform and civilian of the lines of demarcation.

But changes in Charity Law to protect and tighten up have left the ACO floundering, unable to act to its published standards and unable to resist control, thereby distorting the equilibrium.

At local level the ATC is fantastic prospect with many great people doing things for cadets who will never forget their opportunity. But despite the polished and gleaming exterior, the underbelly of the ACO is not a pretty sight - I have seen it.

Now I am not claiming that every CivCom is great and it is all the other lots fault at all. I’m sure a response from a senior ACO official might be that there are problem CivComs who reflect on the image of the ACO as whole - fair point. But in a situation where control is allowed to venture unchecked, problems start.

I can associate with pretty much all the comments thus far both in experience and the aspiration of training.

But the heart of the ACO does not want to train CivCom members to the full extent of knowledge required to do the job properly. Only enough to condition behaviour and keep some control. I have it on high authority that if parents knew the full extent of their obligations as CivCom trustees, the organisation could not cope and squadrons would start falling apart. I also have it from the top that there is no desire to train uniforms as this would clarify whose ‘train-set’ it really is and that would not sit well with uniformed command!


#24

Pretty sure that the answer is no. Do other charitable organisations need to have organisations within organisations to handle the cash?


#25

No … but the ACO is not charitable. Nothing about the ACO is charitable.

The ACO simply works with charities to achieve its objectives.


#26

To answer MattB and his organisations within organisations - the Civcom is not within an organisation. Committees/Trustees are not members of the organisation and have no formal attachment to it, other than to support their beneficiaries and work with a shared objective,alongside others, to provide the level of Cadet training opportunities envisaged when the Royal Warrant was first signed. They are then charged with managing monies raised or donated which does not belong to the Exchequer or anyone who happens to receive recompense from the public purse. AS Rumpole comments the ACO sits in the middle, the SCC receive very little help from the MOD, and if there is any further curtailment of flying, that will be the lot of the ACO. But the SCC has better understanding Charity Law, the MSCC appears to have used Solicitors which has enabled them to avert potential problems.

If you eliminate the independent element, you increase scope for financial impropriety - a recent case had a non Trustee, falsely claiming a lottery award and using it for his own benefit, proves the need to have the independent element leaving the VRT free to do the deliver their part of the bargain to the Cadets. Two heads are better than one seems appropriate.

I think we all understand why we are doing what we are doing, and in my experience Trustees have always understood their side of the bargain; the problem comes from elsewhere - to quote Dirty Harry - a man has got to know his limitations and unfortunately the limitations appear to be defined by Charity and Trust Law. Another quote from Black Adder comes to mind when he was explaining to Baldrick, how they got from a situation where there was no war, to one where there was a war… The answer nicely explains certain elements of how the ACO regards Charity Law.

Aries


#27

What makes civcom members any more trustworthy than CFAVs? Indeed, there is the capactity to have CFAVs security cleared.


#28

Be careful what you wish for. Do your really think abolishing civilian committee would improve the cadet experience. how many staff members do you know who are interested in fund raising, keeping accurate accounts, applying for Gift Aid, organising social events supplying tea and coffee for open evening or any of the thousand and one things civilian committees do. Civilian committees and the uniformed side have worked well together for decades in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation until recent times. Squadron committees only work to support their local squadrons and have nothing to do with the wider organisation so it is difficult to understand HQAC compulsion to control. this says more about the current cabal running the organisation then it does about the committees.
However there is an argument that if the ACO are not willing to respect the legal position of squadron committee trustees then they should carry on without them but they have no powers to close them down or tell them what to do. something they just don’t get and there’s the rub.


#29

Or they committee’s just resign and the sytem falls apart.


#30

It is relevant to point out that certainly Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary are required to have an enhanced DBS check, because either they might have contact with Cadets or have access to Cadet information.

ACO rules, or so I was told, require this even though a person may have had this done by a local authority in connection with the individuals employment, so that gives the same level of clearance/security.

I assume that this is part of the ACO’s robust system on safeguarding. but it did not deter the activities of a senior rank until he was caught out last year.

As for security clearance, I had RAF security clearance but my local VRT ‘thugs’ stretched out to remove that, even though this solely the discretion of the relevant Station Commander, an RAF matter and nothing to do with the ACO.

Unfortunately I do not accept that uniformed CFAVs are entirely trustworthy and a paragon of virtue under ACP1.

And surely, if the majority of Civcom are parents of cadets, they have a vested interest in ensuring all is well, and as they are not members of the organisation, they have no need to claim brownie points towards future promotion.

A worrying thing however seems to be that there are several retired VRT on Civcoms, so that sort of negates your comment, plus there are some clear examples where there are VRT acting as Trustees event though the ACO rules (ACP11) clearly states they are ineligible - one case stated that they had not been appraised of the rules, - this was the ACO setting up a new Squadron, which begs the question of who actually needs the training.

Aries


#31

Of course that could happen bob.

But technically the officers of the trust would then need to arrange an EGM to call for new trustees that they would then consider. Either that or close down the charity rather than just leggit. The trustees are the only people who can administer the closure and are legally bound not to pass assets or monies to any party they have reservations about. It is quite possible in such circumstances that trust will have been used up and the likely wounds at that stage mean that the trustees will have those reservations, however correct or not.

The ACO is the more likely party to walk away, using the chain of command to control uniformed squadron personnel activities and have a track record of this. The latest effort at ACP-11 is so legally flawed it beggars belief. That is what comes from tasking people with a brief to defend the ACO rather than establish correct and impartial procedure.

Incidentally, AP1919 makes written provision for such a situation, but does so completely unlawfully by suggesting that squadron assets must be returned to the ACO for closing administration. This responsibility lies solely with the current trustees who may (interestingly) seek to form a new squadron (although that is a hypothetical point as the RAF would hardly co-operate).

I too notice the increase in retired VRTs being ‘appointed’ rather than voted into civilian positions. My experience is that they generally have neither the knowledge, experience or attitude to perform the role - being unquestioningly subservient to the line of command they have always known. This causes conflict of interest when they are asked to consider that the authority they have served has got it wrong and that the Nuremberg Defence is no longer sufficient as a trustee. .


#32

I would say that most staff members are vaguely interested.

The problem from our end is that no one else is at all interested.

To be clear I’m not suggesting sacking our existing civcoms - if you have one that’s working well then by all means keep them, they’re great! The issue is having staff wasting their precious time and effort trying to magic a civcom out of thin air to do stuff that they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves anyway - because the rules say that we have to have one.


#33

The Civ Com can and do act as a non CoC overwatch, whih can see things that the CoC will not or will wilfully overlook what is happning. Haaving had a friend hung out to dry by the CoC, a Civ Com member of they were present may have actually saved the individual an awful lot of trouble, both personally and professionally.


#34

How is that in any way “worrying”? Are we not all supposed to be looking at the same end goal?
The Retired VR(T) have presumably given several years of their time to benefit the cadets… Why is it worrying that they now continue to support the cadets wearing a different hat?

I can’t help but feel a certain undercurrent in your comments which implies that CFAVs can’t be trusted with the Squadron funds and that we require Civilian Committees to ensure that us CFAVs aren’t embezzling the money or spending it to our own benefit.

I hope that’s not intentional because it would be patently ludicrous. A member of our “independant” and “trustworthy” CivCom wandered off with £18,000 which he’d been squirrelling away for himself some years ago… So much for independent oversight.

I am certainly very glad of my current CivCom - all very committed and keen to support us. But I don’t doubt for a moment that the Squadron would continue to function just as well as it has for years if the CivComs weren’t around and the CFAV instead handled the funds as yet another part of our already trustworthy service.

I actually find it slightly worrying to read talk of how CivComs are “not part of the organisation”… Frankly I don’t care what Charity Law may or may not have to say about it… And very much of that will be open to interpretation… The CivCom are trustees to OUR Squadron funds. They do not run the Squadron and I do not control the funds; but we work TOGETHER for the benefit of the cadets at OUR Squadron.

As CFAVs we make spending recommendations for the benefit of the cadets and the Squadron (because we are the people in a position to know what is needed) and I expect the CivCom to review and (since I have integrity) to support those decisions where they are financially viable.

If any CivCom started playing the “we’re not part of your club” card and were putting obstacles in the way of spending money on the cadets (as has happened with some CivComs in the past - mine and many others) then I most certainly would be seeking to have them redressed.
I have experienced the CivCom who object to all spending without a valid reason - it doesn’t wash. They may be trustee but it’s not their money.

We ARE all part of the same big picture. Charity Law tells the CivCom what their obligations are to the Charities Commission - it doesn’t make them independant from the organisation which they are working to support.


#35

Please don’t see this as a battle between the civilian committee and the uniformed side this could not be further from the truth. Civilian committees only want to support their squadron staff to provide opportunities for the cadets at their squadron.

But no, charity law is not open to interpretation IT IS THE LAW and it clearly states that civilian committee trustees are totally independent and cannot be controlled by outside bodied. the ACO is in no way a charity and cannot carry out the duties of charitable trustees.
The ACO needs to stop digging the hole that will destroy the organisation, write some legally expectable ACP’s, stop bullying, intimidating and harassing civilian committees. and treat them with respect then all will be well. how many more of their stooges have to be dragged into court before they get the message ?
there is no reason why a civilian committee should send committee minutes, a list of committee members or for that matter form 60 to wing these have nothing whatsoever to do with the wider organisation.
I cannot see civilian committee being disbanded but if your masters continue on their current path I can see the air cadets being disbanded. if your really what to be part of a combined cadet force just let them carry on.
the problem with the appointment of "senior " officials is the retired RAF types who are parachuted into positions (wing and regional chairman) who know nothing about charity law or child safeguarding and frankly don’t care. they are only there as HQAC stooges to do their bidding in an attempt to control the civilian pillar. this is extremely corrosive and brings the whole organisation into disrepute.


#36

So a member of your Civcom wandered off with £18,000 - I hope that is not the end of the story. That is exactly the reason why there are Charity Laws, under which the other Trustees are liable, and must then take all the necessary steps to recover any misappropriated money, including Court action. We have had village hall Committee people helping themselves to much bigger sums around here , but they did not get away with it.

There is a recorded instance of a Sqn OC being in court over monies removed, but let us be clear about it, the ACO is not required too address such issues, because as has been said, they are not a Charity or any obligation towards any such Charities, that power lies with the Trustees.

So any action is to ensure that the beneficiaries (ie Cadets) do not lose out. Unfortunately I am struggling to work out how VRT spend on Air Fares, Overseas Car Hire and purchase of sundry items of non-official dress for dining in night can be termed at Cadet Training. It is clear that some Trustees are at fault because they fail to fulfill their responsibilities, perhaps under duress. If such spend eminates from Senior VRT, the worry is that the infiltration into the Civcom ranks will see more of this, because they operate clearly oblivious of Charity Law, Add to that a belief that the Civcom is subservient, instead of being supportive, a them and us situation arises.

The Sea Cadet Corps (and MSCC) actively recruits Trustees from outside the Organisation - not a bad thing because it could bring in professional experience, eg Accountants and Solicitors.

I am happy to say that I have been able to support at least 5 OCs at two different Squadrons, and worked with many others all for the benefit of the Cadets. I have been party to two £10k lottery awards, and stand powerless when Wing trashes both Sqns and all that kit is now sat idle, because some VRT will not work with the Civcom or at least stick to the rules.

Training is essential, and is something which the Charity Commission encourages, but you cannot train someone to work with a document (ACP11) which has no legal provenance. (You need to consider the difference between Statute and Defence Council Regulations)

You should not forget that the Law is moving towards all Charities being Registered, this already applies in Scotland, and for that you need Trustees, so that moving from Excepted status imposes further obligations - trustees need to be independent of the beneficiaries (Governance stipulates that), but that is part of the Trustee Act 1925.

If you believe that the ACO understands the Law, why do they not differentiate Northern Ireland from the rest of England & Wales, when there has been separate statute since 2008.

I said at the very beginning, a can of worms, and it certainly is with the ACO being in complete denial, almost as if they are part of the long range desert group, caught in a sand storm.

Aries


#37

Aries - whilst I’m sure your posts contain a lot of helpful advice, at the moment it’s coming across that you have a massive chip on your shoulder regarding anyone in uniform.

I don’t doubt some uniformed staff break the law regarding this, in as much as I don’t doubt that some committee members do too.

A point to note is that none of us are VRT any more, not that it really affects us but it’s nice to be accurate.


#38

In my experience retired COs ( or similar) acting as CC chairs are all doing a good job as are chairs with some sort of other military experience. They are the least of my worries. As far as I was aware squadrons were limited to having two people approved under MOD DBS clearance and as such there was no requirement for Chair/Treas/Sec to be so approved,maybe something has not filtered down to me yet or I have missed it. I do though feel that certainly the Chair and Treas should be approved, not so important for the Sec.

We seem to be drifting off the issue a bit, but I think the general feeling is that we DO need to at least offer chairs training or guidance of some sort having sat down with them and identified where they feel the need help. Quite how we action this would be down to the wings concerned. Thank you for your input thus far, it is appreciated.

A


#39

There is a marked difference here between an individual civilian committee member committing a criminal act and institutional corruption where an organisation knowingly writes inaccurate documents that are incompatible with charity law and bully, intimidate and harass civilian committees. misappropriate funds, are taken to court and it is all covered up. At least the individual committee member is punished and dismissed from their position.


#40

Hi Alycidon
we do indeed need to offer chairs some sort of training or guidance but it needs to be the right kind, that is to say the truth. All that really needs to happen is to AGREE (not impose) legally accurate governing documents with the civilian committees, respect their independence, then leave them alone to get on with their work. this is so basic but something the ACO appear to be incapable of doing.