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Thread: AGM query

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    AGM query

    In the event that a Group has not held an AGM for "several years" (more than 2 years to my knowledge and more than 3 according to others), would I be right in thinking that the next AGM should include the Annual Reports (including accounts) for each of the 'missed' years? That we should work through everything since the last AGM to bring the Group up to date?

    It is my view that pretending there hasn't been a massive gap in the Group's compliance with the Charities Act and POR by just reporting on the last year is not acceptable if the Group is genuinely trying to correct its previous failures, but I would be grateful to hear the opinions of more experienced members.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Difficult one.

    There probably isn't guidance around on this because its simply not a situation which should ever arise.

    Similarly I'm not sure that backdating accounts/reports approval entirely undoes the omission in the past.

    Obviously the accounts should be prepared and unless an excepted Charity submitted to the CC. But the point of an "Annual" meeting is to ensure a timely flow of up to date information. Does making the poor souls that are good enough to turn up to this AGM sit through three lots actually contribute to that information purpose. My suspicion is that whilst your point may be well intentioned, the better thing might be to accept that things haven't been done properly and timely in the past, and concentrate efforts on making this AGM well presented such that people are happy to turn up, rather than making it such a chore with 3+ years of reports to sit through that it never happens again. If that were to happen then it would undermine the point of having a meeting which is to encourage people to take an interest in the workings of the charity. (Compromise might be to circulate the missing sets of accounts with the Agenda so that at least they are conspicuously available and people have the right background to approve the current set).
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    That situation should NEVER have arisen! All the relevant data should be included and covered, though other than providing it in reports only the highlights (profits/losses etc) really need to be "broadcast" in a meeting unless brought up in discussion.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Secretary and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    What mang said.

    If you did try to do 'accounts' for the missing years, and they were found to be wanting, for all sorts of innocent reasons (lost receipts etc), then you might be digging a big hole. Same with minutes and all the rest of it.

    Unless of course you're looking for something... But I can't imagine why you'd want to, unless the seriousness of it off-set the effort & botheration of investigating and being investigated...

    I think I'd be drawing a quite veil over it and starting from scratch - so to speak.

    As we say at Scouts when someone does or says something awkward or embarrassing: "moving on..."


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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    I assume the group is small enough that they don't need to return accounts to the charity commission then? Assuming that the charity commission aren't chasing it up.

    I guess at the end of the day, it's down to what it's possible for the people involved to produce. If producing and getting audited accounts for 3 years ago is impossible (or highly improbable, or not much more than repeating the bank statement), then you'll just have to be pragmatic about it, and start from a known point. i.e. agree that there was x money at the end of financial year y, and go from there. Actually, it may depend on what your auditor will need to approve the next set of accounts. You never know, you might get some help from the county treasurer, they may have experience of this happening in other groups.

    Tricky situation, good luck!
    Ian Wilkins
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    Thanks for your points - very helpful.

    To clarify, I understand accounts were drawn up for each year and were presented to the District so it is no as though anything would need to be fabricated or pulled together; they were just never put before the Group at an AGM. One set were required by the CC and were presented.

    I am a firm believer in transparency so, as the accounts exist, they should be made available to the Group in my view. To not show them concerns me - like there is something to hide.

    I appreciate this might make for a slightly longer AGM, but as noted, this should never have happened so surely some hardship is to be expected when rules are broken?
    Last edited by Pricivius; 05-01-2018 at 03:53 PM.

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    Escouts Founder Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pricivius View Post
    Thanks for your points - very helpful.

    To clarify, I understand accounts were drawn up for each year and were presented to the District so it is no as though anything would need to be fabricated or pulled together; they were just never put before the Group at an AGM. One set were required by the CC and were presented.

    I am a firm believer in transparency so, as the accounts exist, they should be made available to the Group in my view. To not show them concerns me - like there is something to hide.

    I appreciate this might make for a slightly longer AGM, but as noted, this should never have happened so surely some hardship is to be expected when rules are broken?
    Techically, the Group council has never approved them, so that ultimately is the problem, with what has happened in previous years.

    I put our Groups accounts on our website, on our facebook and pinned up in the hall, as you say there is nothing to hide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pricivius View Post
    Thanks for your points - very helpful.

    To clarify, I understand accounts were drawn up for each year and were presented to the District so it is no as though anything would need to be fabricated or pulled together; they were just never put before the Group at an AGM. One set were required by the CC and were presented.

    I am a firm believer in transparency so, as the accounts exist, they should be made available to the Group in my view. To not show them concerns me - like there is something to hide.

    I appreciate this might make for a slightly longer AGM, but as noted, this should never have happened so surely some hardship is to be expected when rules are broken?
    Well you're in much better shape than I was thinking then! To be honest, if they've also been audited, that they weren't presented to the scout council at the time is not really that big a deal in my opinion. I'd formally make them all available at the next AGM, minute that, I wouldn't even have a motion to approve them, and *if* someone spots a problem with them, that can be raised with the exec separately.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Well you're in much better shape than I was thinking then! To be honest, if they've also been audited, that they weren't presented to the scout council at the time is not really that big a deal in my opinion. I'd formally make them all available at the next AGM, minute that, I wouldn't even have a motion to approve them, and *if* someone spots a problem with them, that can be raised with the exec separately.
    Thanks, Ianw. Whilst they have been externally audited by District, no one within the Group has had access to them, and that is troubling. Mathematically, they are no doubt sound, but internal issues, or example whether money raised for x has been spent on y, is a concern. I am all in favour of Richard's full transparency approach.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    The group was , one presumes run by a committee of some sort during this period without AGMs...

    The law ( not POR but the law) as interpreted by the Charity Commission ( and it does have a say here) is that anyone who acts like a Trustee will be treated like a Trustee. So, whoever was running the Group for the period where the AGM was not held is responsible for the lack of AGMs and the lack of the accounts being presented to the AGM.

    The remedy, presuming a new set of "trustees" is for the existing GEC to hold its AGM and present its accounts for the year in question with notes that the previous two years were not presented due to an oversight, but they had been verified by the District Treasurer (I presume). So long as there is transparency, and there are no issues, it is unlikely that there will be any consequences.

    If I were the GSL, I would ask that the current year's set of accounts were properly audited by an external body - even if it had a cost implication. My aim would be to establish a clean sheet and not go digging up issues from the past. Draw a line under them and move on. To dwell on miss-spent funds puts an element of blame on past (and current) trustees and could result in the loss of honest people who may be diffcult to replace.

    The only real issue, all else baing above board, would be if grants, or ring fenced funding had been spent on inappropriate projects...
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    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    The pragmatic approach might just be to accept that life is too short to be purist....and look forward, not back. Do it well enough under your watch but don't beat yourself up about sins of forefathers. Does anyone, other than you, really care?
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Techically, the Group council has never approved them, so that ultimately is the problem, with what has happened in previous years.
    I believe that the Group Exec approve the accounts and that they are presented to the Group Council at the AGM.

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    I'm assuming that you're not a registered charity, otherwise at the very least an annual return would have been submitted to the charity commission.

    I'm also assuming that there are no written annual reports from previous years.

    I would suggest that a note is added to the current annual report explaining that there hasn't been an AGM since X (no point being dishonest) and that moving forwards the group has reviewed its governance and will be ensuring that things are done properly. I would also add that copies of the accounts from the missing years are available for inspection by members of the scout council on request. I would leave it at that.

    There is no need to "work through" the accounts, or annual report, at the AGM. We don't read ours out, nor does the treasurer go through the detail. Printed copies are provided, and people are welcome to ask questions. Generally speaking, both are adopted without any issues - the process taking about 2 minutes.

    The annual report is presented as a booklet, including section reports, stats, photos, etc, and with an accounts sheet also provided this does away with most of the verbal reports. The GSL and Chair both give brief speeches, the "approvals" take place. Then the GSL nominates the chair, the treasurer and any other elected roles are elected, and the ex officio roles confirm their willingness to act as trustees. This is followed with a video review of the year.

    The formal stuff takes <10 minutes. The video a further 5-10 minutes. Then its outside to the BBQ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I'm assuming that you're not a registered charity, otherwise at the very least an annual return would have been submitted to the charity commission.
    Not necessarily, I think the charity commission will just mark you as no longer operating or similar if you dont submit anything so well worth checking status if you are registered. That or someone may have just updated the cc details anyway without any AGM.

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    I would say if you have the accounts for previous years then presenting then for information is useful. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting 3 years of reports ....


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