Friday, 22 July 2011

Councillor's Viewpoint July 2011

The Charity Vote
The decision to become a charity was made very conclusively at the AGM in Weymouth with more than 88% of the 11,000 votes being in favour. The changes approved to the Memorandum and Articles of Association means that the CTC is now a charity although still awaiting formal registration by the Charity Commission.

After all the controversy surrounding this issue, I hope that we can all unite in supporting the CTC as the leading cycling organisation in the UK promoting non-competitive cycling.

The future of the AGM
The recent AGM in Weymouth highlighted the changes resulting from the decision to allow proxy votes, with less than 100 members present and 11,000 voting by proxy. This meant that to all intents and purposes the presence of members and the arguments they put relating to motions were irrelevant.

While this is a much more democratic process than the previous system, it does mean that members voting by proxy are not aware of the arguments put at the meeting.

The AGM format involves motions being put to which substantive changes cannot be made. Members debate the issues on a confrontational, rather than collegiate, basis, taking one or other side of the argument, when the issues may well be nuanced. They also have to sit through debates on issues in which they have no interest.

My thinking is that while we must hold an AGM we should hold it at minimum cost at our offices in Guildford, accepting that all the motions will be decided by the proxy votes.

We should then use the resources currently set aside for the AGM to promote a Members' Conference and Annual Dinner which would move around the country. This could be held in January or February each year (when many members are happier to be off their bicycles and accommodation is often cheaper). Suggestions for AGM resolutions could also be discussed in a relaxed atmosphere at such a gathering.

I'd welcome members' comments on this suggestion.

CTC Groups
A CTC Member Group Task Group has been set up to review the way in which CTC groups operate. It has come up with some suggestions which have been put out to group officers, organisers and ride leaders.

These are:

That any Member Group can choose to communicate with any members by receiving a regular list of members that suits the needs of the Member Group, its volunteers and the local committees.

These lists will initially be set up by geographical area but over time we can build up lists of members interested in specific activities such as short rides, MTB, women’s rides, evening rides or a particular campaign.

Practically this will mean
  • Members can be offered opportunities to participate within CTC as members of many Member Groups  
  • Member Groups can overlap with more than one group serving the interest of an “area”. For example it would be OK to have a ladies easy ride group, a mountain biking group and a touring group within the area defined for a Bristol group. But it will also be possible for Bristol and Bath touring Member Groups to both have an overlapping interest in the area which lies between Bristol and Bath and for both to offer activities to members in the area. 
  • Member Groups can also have access to wider member lists on an occasional basis to advertise nationally or regionally special activities e.q. Audax rides or local campaigns. 
  • Any member can attend and vote at any AGM and be elected to any committee. They can also be registered as ride leaders or volunteers for more than one group and can enter all events and competitions organised by Member Groups.
Again I'd welcome members' comments on these suggestions.

Participation in CTC Member Group Rides

The current policy is that CTC Member Groups may organise rides primarily for CTC members. They may also organise “events” which are rides for both CTC members and the public.
CTC guidelines suggest that not more than 5 non-members take part in any one ride and that a non-member should not participate in more than 5 rides. 

There are two opposing schools of thought about who should be welcomed on regular CTC led rides.

Some believe that the current guidance is unwelcoming to new members and new cyclists and would like rides to be completely open to all, particularly as a way of introducing people to CTC rides who may in due course become members.

Others believe that rides should mainly be restricted to people who have also paid a fee to join CTC and that, as non members cannot lead rides, they should not be able to take part in them.

Similarly there are divergences of opinion on whether members of groups affiliated to CTC should have unrestricted access to CTC Group Rides. A motion to the 2011 CTC AGM asked CTC Council to review this situation.

Currently Affiliated Group members can pay an additional fee to become Affiliated Members of CTC and get some restricted membership benefits. One of these benefits is that they have the same rights as CTC members when it comes to CTC Group Rides.

Again I'd welcome members' comments on these issues.

Unfortunately we are still having problems with the contractors who are building the new website. Testing has proved problematic and the overruns mean that we are now in the holiday period which makes staff training difficult. Bearing in mind the problems to date and the work in loading information to the site still to be undertaken, it is not expected that the site will "go live" until the turn of the year.

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