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Thread: Trustees

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    Trustees

    Anyone aware of a situation in which the trustees have actually been held financially responsbile for affairs in a group?

    I know we have insurance, but unsurprisingly it doesn't cover every case.

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Anyone aware of a situation in which the trustees have actually been held financially responsible for affairs in a group?

    I know we have insurance, but unsurprisingly it doesn't cover every case.
    yes!

    as the GSL of 1st 'auchtermuchty' i am responsible, together with my fellow trustees (GEC members) for the financial affairs of the group.

    i suspect you meant to ask is anyone aware of a case where the trustees of a scout group have been held financially liable for 'loss', mismangement, or some such like.

    no!

    i suspect insurance will not cover instances such as collective theft or embezzlement or reckless mismanagement of funds, e.g. spending last terms subs on the prancing pony in the 3.25 at bangor-on-dee rather than on camping equipment.

    the GEC simply has to follow the rules and act as reasonable adults. if in doing so it still incurs a loss, then the insurance will likely pay out if necessary and they will also likely not be spending time at HM's invitation.

    curious: why do you ask?

    cordially yours, TM

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    this happened near me

    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/archive...r_spared_jail/

    so... sort of...

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    However a committee has suddenly become aware of their responsibilities over an issue where they hadn''t been properly appriased of the financial situation. So the insurance might not cover the issue as there's potentially been mismanagement, however the responsibility sticks only to one person. Although it's very unlikely to end up in a financial claim there is obviously great concern from people who didn't realise their potential liability - and I wonder if many trustees are similarly ignorant.

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    However a committee has suddenly become aware of their responsibilities over an issue where they hadn't been properly appraised of the financial situation. So the insurance might not cover the issue as there's potentially been mismanagement, however the responsibility sticks only to one person. Although it's very unlikely to end up in a financial claim there is obviously great concern from people who didn't realise their potential liability - and I wonder if many trustees are similarly ignorant.
    ignorance of the (charity) law is no excuse or defence.

    when groups nominate, elect or co-opt new trustees - and even for exiting trustees - it is the responsibility of existing trustees (usually falling on the GSL as the scouter with overall responsibility for scouting in the group) to ensure that they are appraised of their responsibilities.

    good GSLs, such as ewan and others, make sure trustees get to see CC guidance notes such as CC3a and the relevant parts of POR.

    however, they are in the minority, sadly.

    cordially yours, TM

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    this happened near me

    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/archive...r_spared_jail/

    so... sort of...
    Slight different. A brownie unit treasurer is a non executive role. Rather than having exec committees for "groups" as we do, in guiding the exec is at a district or division level.

    So for most guiding units, the accounts, payments, etc are managed by either the leader in charge or a delegated person (such as an assistant guider or, as in this case, a parent) but the accounts are passed on to the district/division treasurer for auditing.

    In this case, the person in question had directly committed Fraud. They had broken the law, and would be liable for criminal charges regardless of what insurance is in place.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I cannot name the Group, for I do not know which it is, but when discussing this with an employee of the SA. I was told that the issue over Trsutees was a very serious difficulty for the SA. At that time there was a legal investigation into the activities of one particular Group, and the Trustees and records from fifty ( that is five zero) years ago were being tracked down in order to try and establish when the incident happened and who was responsible.

    Locally, a Group had been allowed to run when it fell far short of minumim standards ( we are perhaps one of the UK's longest dstanding dysfunctional Districts) and at one point there was an SL and an ASL who had four Scouts and two Cubs, whom they ran as a single section. They were in a leased building that had come to the end of its term. There were two trustees - an elderly lady and the SL. The Group should have been closed. It was eventually closed, as it had no Exec, no kids, and was in financial difficulty, but not before the SL, of his own volition, signed a new 25 year lease on the hall. The landowner was adamant that the lease should be fulfilled and refued to cancel the contract. The elderly lady, who knew nothing of the situation, and the SL, were going to be personally liable for the cost of the 25 year lease and all the ancillery costs. However, the best District Secretary we have ever had stepped in and resolved the issue by finding an alternative occupant, and almost single handedly resolved the issue on behalf of the elderly lady, and the erstwhile SL.

    There was another issue at another Group, that could have cost the Trustees dearly, but again the District stepped in and resolved the issue rather than leave the Trustees to foot the bill - the alternative would have been rather messy and could have cost at least one individual his home.

    So, yes, Trustees can be held liable if they fail in their duties. I always make that clear to my Exec.
    Last edited by Bushfella; 14-11-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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    When discussing a similar subject with a well placed Gilwell staff member a few years ago, they told me of one example where a Group Exec were pursued by the TSA and the CC. I can't recall the details though - something about a Group declaring 'UDI' from TSA. Maybe others here do.
    Last edited by pstretch; 14-11-2013 at 08:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pstretch View Post
    When discussing a similar subject with a well placed Gilwell staff member a few years ago, they told me of one example where a Group Exec were pursued by the TSA and the CC. I can't recall the details though - something about a Group declaring 'UDI' from TSA. Maybe others here do.
    "udi"?

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    Senior Member Ian Mallett's Avatar
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    Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
    Simba (my daughter wouldn't let me be Rafiki, and now she's a Network Scout & ABSL)
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    In this case the district hasn't the resources...

    Surely the situation with the old lady would have been covered by the insurance?

    I just can't see TSA refusing to support trustees who, through no faullt of their own (maybe because they weren't even informed that they were trustees), would be held liable. I don't think anyone would ever join the movement if in reality financial liability fell on exec members.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pstretch View Post
    When discussing a similar subject with a well placed Gilwell staff member a few years ago, they told me of one example where a Group Exec were pursued by the TSA and the CC. I can't recall the details though - something about a Group declaring 'UDI' from TSA. Maybe others here do.
    You can rest assured that if a Group were to declare UDI, say somewhere like Fakenham, for example, that the SA would be all over them like a rash to ensure that not one iota of SA equipment was misappropiated, and if it were, they would absolutley take action. Cessetion from the Association is clearly frowned upon. Much worse than a simple closure.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    You can rest assured that if a Group were to declare UDI, say somewhere like Fakenham, for example, that the SA would be all over them like a rash to ensure that not one iota of SA equipment was misappropiated, and if it were, they would absolutley take action. Cessetion from the Association is clearly frowned upon. Much worse than a simple closure.
    I'm sure it would be far easier for the group to close, then reopen as an independant scout group (could they use the name "scout"?)/ BBS group / BPS group, etc). But yes, they would have to either buy the equipment from new, or come to an agreement to buy the kit off the district (who the kit would revert to as the group closed). I'm sure we all (from time to time) think life would be easier without POR, Census, etc (and i'm sure Compass will only go to increase this) but at the same time its quite useful to have the backup of TSA's legal team, info centre, insurance, good reputation when applying for grants, etc.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I'm sure it would be far easier for the group to close, then reopen as an independant scout group (could they use the name "scout"?)/ BBS group / BPS group, etc). But yes, they would have to either buy the equipment from new, or come to an agreement to buy the kit off the district (who the kit would revert to as the group closed). I'm sure we all (from time to time) think life would be easier without POR, Census, etc (and i'm sure Compass will only go to increase this) but at the same time its quite useful to have the backup of TSA's legal team, info centre, insurance, good reputation when applying for grants, etc.
    I think that the SA would probably put as many barriers in the way of a ceded Group acquiring its old equipment. Perhaps Richard Cullen could elaborate...
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I think that the SA would probably put as many barriers in the way of a ceded Group acquiring its old equipment. Perhaps Richard Cullen could elaborate...
    Again playing devil's advocate (i'm building a database for my new business today so any break is welcome!) would the SA necessarily know? My understanding is:

    Group closes, district informs gilwell that this has happened
    Equipment automatically becomes the property of the district

    If the closed group decided to reopen as something else (BP Scouts, BBS, woodcraft folk, whatever) and offered to buy the equipment off of the district, would TSA have any reason to become aware of it?

    (I realise this is drifting a long way off topic, and would also like to emphasise that this is a purely hypothetical question!)

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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