Uniformity of governance

I am curious - there appears to be a two tier system where Civcom in Scotland are not required to complete Form 60, whereas those in England & Wales are not only given a deadline but can suffer sanctions.

Surely we are all Charities, and a Charity is more or less the same the word over, so how can the ACO make a distinction and apply two sets of rules.

Any ideas?

Charities in Scotland are governed differently because of devolution.
Scotland has the Scottish Charity Regulator - https://www.oscr.org.uk
England and Wales have the Charity Commission - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission

Scotland has had separate mechanisms for many things, many of which had nothing to do with (and long pre-date) the process of devolution. OSCR is quite recent (2005) though.

But yes, there is no requirement for a F60 in Scotland as the mechanisms are different. There are still accounts submission deadlines and scowls if they are missed though.

So where does the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland fit in? This oversees a totally separate regime.

shrug. not an expert.

Is it correct that CivComms in England & Wales only need to declare their accounts via the Charity Commission if the annual totals are in excess of a £5k threshold?

Whereas in Scotland the OSCAR baseline is £0 and above?

Essentially that is correct, though English charities may decide to register below the £5k limit and I think you will see a move towards all English charities having to register soon anyway. It is no more grief and places the funding underpinning your squadron in a far better place.

I understand the original question to be regarding disparity across RAFAC and it does seem odd, devolution or not.

So what would ATC-HQ do I wonder if a squadron had submitted its annual return and not an F60? It could look up the information, but surely wouldn’t have any grounds to start playing around with the cadet activities in a hurrumph.

Also the sqn may loose the admin grant and in some cases sqns have been banned from running activities (note: running activities they can join in on other sqn activities).

All the OSCR returns are online in public maybe that’s why we don’t do a F60.

It is scary how much certain sqns have passing through in cash when you see it

The squadrons I have been on, camp and activity fees get paid to squadrons who then consolidate onward payments and given how we operate all payments have to be done using cheques or for me preferably cash, unless someone knows how charities can easily use online banking to pay for things. As it is we have to pay for things and get the money back or have a cheque raised for the amount which you pay into your account do the purchase and give the treasurer the receipt.
So until someone comes up with a way that people in charities can do online banking payments without someone else logging on and “agreeing” it, there will be lots of ‘cash’ moving around.

Yes I know that been there done it…
But some have nearly £15k passing through them.

Cough cough, my sqn accounts just finished have 32k for last financial year…

Before anyone asks.
National lottery.
Local grants
50 subs plus gift aid.
Local fundraising.

What does it all get spent on.
New minibus fund - the grants
New flight sim

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So it appears that in Scotland by making a return to the OSCR, a Civcom is not required to use Form 60. So are you suggesting that if a Civcom in England & Wales submits a return to the Charity Commission, they also do not need to use Form 60.

You mentioned registration, there appears no option in Scotland, and one of the Government Select Committees was actually recommending all Charities in E&W should be registered. It seems to be already happening in Northern Ireland.

One interesting thing though is that when you read all the Commission guidance, you get the impression that all Charities are the same, but for the fact that Excepted Charities under English law (ie such as ATC Charities) are not required by the Law to make a return, but they are expected to make certain financial information available to the public.

I think it says something like 'sufficient to show and explain all the charities transactions.

Form 60, as far as I am aware does not seem to be within the public domain unlike returns made to the Commissions which appear on the respective website. It is also only a summary, and I suspect is not completed to meet the above criteria.

So what purpose does Form 60 serve.

But it is evident that the amount of cash and assets is mounting, and even the most basic Squadron will now exceed the registration threshold, so registration seems to be the way forward. After all it is the public which is donating, so surely they are entitled to know how their money is used - why is the RAFAC not a beacon of light for best practice?

i note what Teflon says about cash, but that is something for Civcom Trustees to get their heads around because they are the only ones responsible for the Management of the Charity.

Your acccounts?

Civcom charity accounts?

glad you have so much to play with :slight_smile:

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Just like i say my uniform… but thats Crown property…

Yes of course i meant the “Civ Com Trustees account of banking for the furtherment of air cadet goodness and this location”


but doesn’t that tell us what were once little charities are now becoming bigger, driven by the potential to offer the Cadets a greater range of activities, which goes hand in hand with having the necessary staff.

You can see that with a 5k threshold for compulsory registration, it means that there are more Charities with greater public accountability (transparency for donors) but essentially maintaining independence, something which the ACO does not seem to understand, especially as we now seem to have Wing Chairs working under direction of the ACMB. Also there seems a question mark hanging over the Independent Examiner Report on Form 60. There is no established practice and the ACP10 guidance does not really approach the situation and lacks any suggestion of professional integrity. All the ACO needs is an examiner’s signature for Form 60 to be signed and the Admin Grant paid.

So a friend or family member with no professional qualification can be used,
which leaves scope to cover up wrong doing. It is not even clear if there is any audit at Wing HQ other than a requirement to satisfy deadlines.

And Registered charities have up to 10 months to submit their end of year returns.

There are Treasurers who will only approach the job professionally, as opposed to zero minimum standards encouraged by the ACO. If you can operate an abacus that would be sufficient.

There are enough conflicts of interest without adding to it, but the greater the sums, the more tempting it is to human weakness, especially when there are budgetary constraints. - personal or otherwise.

Whilst being under the watchful eye of a regulator does not necessarily avoid this problem, it gives the Trustees some support in the performance of their duties. There are also other organisations out there who can help.
But is Form 60 about helping run a charity or is there some ulterior motive?.

A little research reveals that Scottish Civcom still get the Admin grant which may or may not be related to their submission of a return to the Scottish Regulator but they are not required to complete Form 60. They have nine months from the year end to make their submission to the regulator; if they are late or fail to submit it becomes a Regulatory matter, and the Regulator will take action against the Trustees although usually this means advice and guidance.

In England & Wales, the ACO expects Form 60 within a tighter deadline and if there is a delay, the ACO threatens to suspend the a Squadron from Corps activities.

But F60 is confirmed by the Charity Commission not to be a regulatory requirement.

And it further seems that the GPF approves the payment of an admin grant, transfers the monies to Wing accounts, but if the deadline is not met, the money is not then used for the purpose approved the GPF Trustees.

The point being that Charity Law says one thing which Trustees are obliged to follow but the ACO seems to be inconsistent in its handling of the Law and it certainly seems that in England & Wales beneficiaries are penalised because the ACO wants to exert control over the Civcom Trustee who are supposed to be totally independent anyway.

Remember that these requirements will have been brought in due to a not insignificant number of committees failing to meet their statutory obligations.

Regardless of whether there exists an actual top-cover responsibility over these technically-independent charities, I do not think that pressure and governance from the main organisation for which those charities exist is necessarily a bad thing.

What statutory obligations would they be?

OSCR reporting in Scotland. No idea about the other provinces. Was there not mention of some level of governance for certain committees?

I’ll be honest here: I don’t care enough to go deep into this but I still support the requirement.