Monday, 29 October 2012

Councillor's Viewpoint October 2012


The merger of the "Club" and the "Trust" into a single charity has now taken place and will be effective for the current financial year. It is already helping us get a clearer perspective when reviewing our finances.

A formal application has now been submitted to HMRC to allow the CTC to take advantage of Gift Aid. The bureaucratic machine grinds slowly so we do not have a date for when this will be available.

One immediate benefit of being a combined charity is that our investments are no longer subject to capital gains so that our investment portfolio is being rationalised without the need for concern about tax liabilities.

Web site

The new website was originally "set live" with a "beta" address as there was still considerable work to be undertaken to ensure that it all worked smoothly. Most of this work is now complete and the site will be migrating to the original shortly.

Oversight of the website has now been formally passed to the Editorial Committee, that also monitors "Cycle" magazine.

CTC Volunteer of the Year Awards 2012

This competition recognises the often unsung heroes of cycling - the volunteers  who keep cycling alive at a local and regional level. The CTC Voluntary Achievement Awards are for the people and groups throughout the UK and Ireland who deserve the most recognition for their achievements as volunteers.

Any member can nominate any CTC member or any CTC affiliated group. Awards will be presented at the CTC Annual Dinner in May, with national winners and recognition of the best regional candidates too. So this is the chance to recognise your local hero? The super organiser who puts on the best events in the region? The tireless group secretary? Campaigners who fought off a dangerous road scheme?

More details can be found at


Considerable work had been put into writing a new strategy. There may be some further refinements but the basic outline that Council intends adopting appears below.

CTC Strategy 2013-20

TheShort Version

This strategy aims to give us more members, more influence and more impact. It builds on what is special about us, and sets out four themes that we will use as the basis of our decisions and targets for the coming years:
  1. We protect cyclists
  2. We inspire people to cycle
  3. We promote cycling
  4. We operate a highly effective organisation
As the national cycling charity we will reach over 100,000 members and serve the interests of cycling and cyclists throughout the four nations of the UK. We will have integrated teams of staff and volunteers throughout the UK carrying out campaigning, outreach work, training and education and serving members. We will be widely regarded as the leading organisation bringing people to cycling and removing barriers to diverse groups of potential cyclists. For both on-road and off-road cyclists we will be the natural home. We will be effective influencers of policy at national and local government levels. We will be a highly regarded employer, with a motivated and high performing team of staff and volunteers. And having championed cycling and cyclists for 134 years, we will be financially sustainable and secure.

For each of the four themes we have set targets for what we’ll achieve over the next three years:

1 We protect cyclists
Throughout its history, CTC has supported cyclists facing difficulties. We will maintain and build on this heritage by acting to protect the interests of cyclists (and potential cyclists) individually and collectively. As the national cycling charity CTC will be the most effective champion for the UK’s cyclists.

  • We will engage substantially more people in advocacy for cycling
  • We will provide effective leadership in protecting the interests of off-road cyclists
  • We will provide the best possible support for individual cyclists in difficulties
2 We inspire people to cycle
We have a proud tradition of community engagement and a network of cycling companionship throughout the UK. We will encourage more people to participate in cycling and remove the barriers they may face, and we will raise our own profile as their source of inspiration.

  • We will inspire more people to participate in cycling
  • We will remove barriers to more diverse participation in cycling
  • We will help other people to make cycling more accessible
  • We will change the way that CTC is viewed
3 We promote cycling
We are passionate about the positive difference cycling makes to individuals, communities, our nations and the environment. We will promote a compelling vision of cycling for the future and we will grow as cycling grows.

  • We will provide “thought leadership” in cycling policy
  • We will substantially increase membership    -->
  • We will promote cycling within communities
4 We will operate a highly effective organisation
As the national cycling charity we will become a genuinely nationwide organisation, operating across the four nations of the UK with a culture of excellence and a track record of delivery. We will increase our resources in order to reach more people.

  • We will become a genuinely nationwide organisation
  • We will embed effective planning and performance throughout the organisation
  • We will become an outstanding employer
  • We will ensure financial sustainability
Each of these four themes extends across CTC, so that teams will need to work across departmental lines and all staff and volunteers will have a role to play in each area of the strategy.

New Councillor

As I reach the end of my 3 year term at the end of this year, I shall be retiring and am delighted that Jaki Lowe has volunteered to take on the role. For the last year there has only been one lady on Council and with the addition of Jaki, plus Janet Gregory, this will increase to 3. Still a long way short of the 50% that would be desirable.

I hope that Jackie finds her term as a CTC Councillor both enjoyable and satisfying.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Councillor's Viewpoint April 2012

New Chief Executive Officer

From my perspective the appointment of a new CEO represents a major change in the organisation. New relationships have to be established and a new strategy. Gordon Seabright comes to us from The Royal Horticultural Society, where he was responsible for the running of the Chelsea Flower Show and looked after 360,000 members.

Gordon's first task is to develop a full understanding of the organisation and produce a draft strategy for review by Council. Arriving at a time when the old strategic plan had expired and as we obtain full charitable status is propitious. It means that Gordan can undertake a fundamental review with very few historic constraints.

We managed to come to an arrangement with Kevin Mayne's new employers, the European Cyclists’ Federation, so that there has been a smooth handover.


The Charity Commission of England & Wales has explained why it rejected the CTC's application for charitable status. We had not made our Articles clear enough in our attempt to retain as much of the original document as possible. A technical point, but sufficient to temporarily derail the process. I hope the National AGM in May will approve the modest further changes required. Not to do so would be perverse, as the decision to become a charity has already been made, so that if these are rejected, we will be a charity, but without the tax benefits available to charities.


An increase to the basic subscription to £41 will be put to the AGM. However there are many other membership categories and concessions. Management Committee are carrying out a full review of both the concessions available and the rates, with the intention that membership should be affordable to everyone who wants to support the objectives of the CTC.

Web site

Good progress has been made. The main pages and functions of the site were demonstrated to Management Committee in March. Much content has still to be loaded, but there is a high degree of confidence that the new site will "go live" in May.


The restructure is now complete and the staff team can concentrate once more on promoting cycling. We were successful in obtainind funding for some new projects so that the team did not have to be reduced as much as had been anticipated.

The Times Campaign - "Cities fit for cycling"

The 8 point Time's campaign was launched in early February after consultation with the CTC and other kindred organisations. Whilst there was concern about undue stress on the "dangers" of cycling, the higher profile for cycling is to be welcomed. The 3 hour parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall, which attracted 77 MPs being seen as a great success.

Electronic communications with members

I'm pleased to report that my suggestion, that we should enable the CTC to use email to communicate with members, has been accepted by Council. An appropriate resolution to amend the Articles will be put to the AGM.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Councillor's Viewpoint January 2012


David Cox and Martin Cockersole remain Chair and Vice Chair. In the last year they have lead Council to concentrate on 3 key issues:

1. Governance and financial performance reporting
A new accounting system has been introduced and we have worked successfully with the new audit team on the annual accounts and report. Council has agreed to the establishment of an Executive Committee empowered to take urgent decisions consisting of the Chair and Vice Chair, Chairs of the Management and Way Forward Committees plus the Honorary financial and legal advisors.

A schedule of Reserved Powers and Delegation has been drawn up and after several iterations has been approved by Council.

2.  Service standards and quality improvement
Complaints are at an all time low, however the restructured teams will need to be monitored to ensure that quality levels are maintained.

3.  Council's ways of working and culture
An Away Day for Councillors, held in the late autumn, resulted in a new set of objectives for Council and agreement on closer working with staff.

The major challenges for the current year are:

1. Charity
The negative approach of the Charity Commission of England & Wales is an unanticipated setback. We are taking this to review and will need to deal with issues as they arise.

2. Chief Executive Officer
The replacement of Kevin Mayne will provide a significant challenge. A smooth transfer and the establishment of good relations between the new CEO and Councillors will be essential.

3. Strategic Plan & Membership research
A full review of CTC strategy, following the changes in the economy and public spending, taking into account research into the critical insights of members' and potential members' perceptions of the CTC, will be a major challenge.


Membership structure and categories are to be fully reviewed by Management Committee.

Member Groups

Feedback indicates that the new structure is working well and a higher proportion of accounting returns were received on time this year.

Charity Registration

Following professional advice CTC has requested the Charity Commission of England & Wales to review their decision and a response is expected in April. Bearing in mind that the Ramblers Association, the Institute of Advanced Motorists and London Cycle Campaign have all been approved as charities, Council is optimistic that this approach will be successful.

Web site

Good progress is now being made, with the original contractor now out of the picture. The site has been tested and content is now being loaded. The main constraint being making staff time available for revising and updating input. It is now hoped that the website will be launched in April.

Finance and Organisation

As you will be aware Kevin Mayne has been appointed  Director of Development for the European Cyclists’ Federation, which represents cyclists' interests in Europe. As I write the CTC is in the middle of the selection process to appoint his successor. Over 150 people applied for the position.

The second phase of restructuring and staff reductions to reflect the reducing project income and increased costs in the coming years is now under way.

The audit by new auditors is now complete and no issues have been raised. The draft accounts and report are being reviewed before publication.


Membership continues to rise and in the East Midlands increased by 110 to 4,418 (+ 2.5%) as at January 2012. The national membership increased by 1,445 to 68,087 (+ 2.7%).

Volunteer of the Year

Nominations for these awards are needed and should be submitted by 17th February.  Non members can be nominated for some of the awards.  Details of the awards and nomination forms can be found at