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Thread: Trustees

  1. #1
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Trustees

    From time to time, sad fool that I am, I trawl Google News for items about the Scout Association. It tends to throw up some interesting stories, there are a remarkable number of good news stories, and these can come from anywhere in the world - we all have, largely, the same challenges.

    Currently the core news on Scouting is the ongoing implosion of the BSA as church sponsored groups exit the association, though the Mormons are sticking it out. In Zambia, the Government has stepped in and shut down the Scout Association and has asked all Scouts to transfer any Scout property to the Goverment department fot youth...something awry in Zambia methinks ( comments suggest that this intervention is possibly welcomed by the members).

    Here in the UK there are three stories running about financial issues - two cases of misappropriated funds, and one unspecified where a Group has been suspended, reading bewteen the lines it may be a financial matter too.

    In two cases, at least, the perpetrators absconded with considerable funds. In one a treasurer simply signed cheques to himself... how? Was there no second signatory required? Fid the Trustees not check the accounts regularly? In another a Leader took money to may for a trip, and then didn't pay for the trip. Again, how? Were the tturstees unaware that they can't just hand someone cash? or a cheque without having proper receipts?

    It really is time that we ensured our Trustees understood their roles. At least two of the above should not have happened if the Trustees were up to speed. (Though I'll warrant that a clever accountant can do whatever he likes with a second set of books).

    If I need to pay for an overseas trip, I have to pay, take the reciepts and get my money back. All cheques require two signatures. The account balances are checked at the regular Exec meetings, plus I have access to view the accounts on line.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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  2. #2
    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    In one a treasurer simply signed cheques to himself... how? Was there no second signatory required?
    Quite simple really Ewan, Forge the second signature! However, as has been discussed not too long ago banks don't seem to bother about dual signatures on cheques until the value reaches a certain amount.
    The signature forging method was used on our patch a few years ago and we soon discovered it's not an isolated method across the country.

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike142sl View Post
    Quite simple really Ewan, Forge the second signature! However, as has been discussed not too long ago banks don't seem to bother about dual signatures on cheques until the value reaches a certain amount.
    The signature forging method was used on our patch a few years ago and we soon discovered it's not an isolated method across the country.
    But for how long?

    If the Exec meets regularly inconsistencies should be spotted.

    If our account goes down by more than we think it should we would ask questions.

    We see a running balance sheet every meeting with bank statements.

    So yes a cheque book holder could write a cheque but it would be noticed as others would see something was spent that was not authorised or 'normal'.

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    Banks don't bother about signatures at all on cheques up to a certain level. Like the way we used to sign card slips, it's about allowing a retrospective check if fraud is reported, not about what happens at the point of the transaction.

    It's also not unknown, though very bad practice, for people to presign cheques.

    Neil

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    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    Banks don't check anything with cheques these days. I've had a cheque with me as the payee paid into the OH's bank account without the bank noticing the mistake. If they don't even check the payee they aren't going to check the signatures.

    As for checking what your Treasurer is up to then that depends on what info is presented to the Exec, how "professional" the Exec are at checking, and how often the Exec meetings take place. All of these are perhaps not as they should be with a lot of Execs.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Banks don't bother about signatures at all on cheques up to a certain level.
    I'm just sorting out the paperwork to get signatories back on our account as the bank lost our mandate, so we currently have none. There is no mandate on our account. Judging by the evidence of the last week, cheque for flights for 25 people that went through without a whimper, it's quite a high level they much check at, or having no mandated signatories throws the poor sods checking them, and they just ignore it. Or, like you say, they wait until someone reports a fraud, then investigate it.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    But for how long?

    If the Exec meets regularly inconsistencies should be spotted.

    If our account goes down by more than we think it should we would ask questions.

    We see a running balance sheet every meeting with bank statements.

    So yes a cheque book holder could write a cheque but it would be noticed as others would see something was spent that was not authorised or 'normal'.
    At our Exec meetings treasurer gives a report on money in and out since last meet plus account balance and his word is taken no back statements or cheque books are shown,

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    Member jamo1913's Avatar
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    I have just been added to the explorer bank account. All I had to do was sign a mandate form (no checks from the bank, requests for proof of ID etc) and we are away. Contrast this with the problems I've had getting a Network bank account openend (despite being a LLoyds customer for 21 of the 22 years of my life I need to prove my address ((THEY SEND BANK STATEMENTS FOR ME HERE!!!!)) and they have rejected my signature for the mandate as it doesn't match my dirivng licence). The problem is that the banks seem to only really care about proof of ID when you open an account. It would be relativley easy to add a new person to the account without the knowledge of the trustees (for example a spouse) and then get them to counter-sign a cheque.

    Unit Chairperson, Invictus Network, Suffolk - http://invictus-network.co.nr
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    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    But for how long?

    If the Exec meets regularly inconsistencies should be spotted.
    To some extent that is how it was spotted, although it was covered by inflating camp costs etc so it wasn't easily seen. Their mistake was a camp that didn't take place!

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    The real point is that Execs are often not doing their job because they are "only helping out". We need proper checks and balances on accounts - even if your treasurer is as sytaight as a die, he can still **** things up big time, trust me, I've had to sort it out. No-one should be able to filtch 3,000 -4,000 from Scout accounts if the proper checks and balances are being operated.

    It happens because Trustees don't know what they are signing up to. We really nedto remedy this of embezlement will catch up on abuse as our bad news story...
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  11. #11
    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    And the solution is?

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I think that those offering to become Trustees should at least be given a breifing as to what is entailed. There should probably be a mandatory Trustee training module that has to be undertaken by those intending to be trustees. It simply isn't good enough nowadays to "just help out". There are so many pitfalls that the Trustees need to be aware of.

    If they know what they are supposed to be doing and do what they are supposed to be doing, then they have nothing to fear. But if they don't know, and they don't know what they don't know, then they are laying themselves open to just about anything that comes along. The difficulty is that we have many people in Trustee roles who do not realise what the Trustee role entails and trying to train them is always going to be like knitting fog.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I think that those offering to become Trustees should at least be given a breifing as to what is entailed. There should probably be a mandatory Trustee training module that has to be undertaken by those intending to be trustees. It simply isn't good enough nowadays to "just help out". There are so many pitfalls that the Trustees need to be aware of.

    If they know what they are supposed to be doing and do what they are supposed to be doing, then they have nothing to fear. But if they don't know, and they don't know what they don't know, then they are laying themselves open to just about anything that comes along. The difficulty is that we have many people in Trustee roles who do not realise what the Trustee role entails and trying to train them is always going to be like knitting fog.
    I agree Ewan - but getting them to attend is a nightmare.

    We had one a couple of years ago run by County for the District Exec and all the Group Execs.

    I bet we were lucky to get 50% of the Chair/Sec/Treas let alone members.

    Those who did attend thought it was useful and had their eyes opened.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Not saying it would be easy, but I think it is something that needs more focus.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Senior Member Landroger's Avatar
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    Is there not an argument for allowing something other than cheques - which are being, or will be phased out - as the medium for cash transfers? Accounting and finance always give me a sensation closely mimicking vertigo, but the convolutions we have to go through to limit the number of cheques in and out - to limit cost - and still maintain an audit trail is mind boggling.

    There was a suggestion recently that we (my Group) have a credit card, so that we can go to summer camp without the GSL's handbag stuffed with folding money. The idea was practically shouted down. Is there no way of doing it? Followed by when will the Scout Association find out and agree it?

    Roger.
    Don't criticize a man until you walk a mile in his shoes then, when you criticize him, you are a mile away; and you've got his shoes.

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