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Thread: Local Holding Trustees for Hut

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnL View Post
    I have not done a comparison between the Scouts POR constitution and the CIO one; but I suspect there will be some differences - which may not be inline with POR...
    It's a good point. They might not be compatible.

    The following is just me 'thinking out loud' about whether they could be compatible. Other thoughts welcome.

    POR 3.23 doesn't seem to be phrased prescriptively. It only sets out an ideal constitution. It starts:
    "In the absence of an existing formally adopted Constitution to the contrary, the following represents an ideal Constitution and will apply where the circumstances and the support allow."

    It therefore contemplates groups having other constitutions and sets no clear requirements as to which bits of the 'ideal' are mandatory. Indeed, it is unclear whether any of it is mandatory, although it seems very unlikely that groups can do whatever they like. So, I reckon there's some flexibility, though we would need to stick to the broad thrust of the POR ideal consitution.

    A fundamental part of the POR ideal constitution is that voting power is split between the Group Executive Committee (ie, the charity trustees) and the Group Scout Council, which has much wider membership (eg, all leaders and all parents). Judging by our group, the active membership of the GSC is identical to the GEC, but that's because of apathy; in theory, the membership of the GSC is much wider.

    So, to be a CIO a scout group would need to have a constitution that has that two-level voting power. That would rule out the Foundation model, under which only the trustees have voting power. But (on a quick look), the Association model would potentially fit and I can't see any obvious clashes. But clearly this needs a legal professional to do some careful analysis to form a conclusion. It is a pity that TSA doesn't seem to have looked into this in the 7 years since CIOs were created.

    One issue would be that the CIO trustees have to be properly appointed, so there would be some extra red tape each time officers and section leaders change. However, at least that way the individuals would realise they are trustees. Before I pointed it out, none of our GEC realised that POR had somehow magically made them trustees as soon as they became officers or section leaders. (It's always puzzled me how people can become trustees without signing any trust deed or anything, but AFAIK that's what POR says.)

    Another issue I'd need to resolve is whether converting would mean getting a new registration with the Charity Commission and losing the group's 'history' as a charity. And whether the CIO could inherit the group's bank accounts or new ones would be needed.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    It's a good point. They might not be compatible.


    POR 3.23 doesn't seem to be phrased prescriptively. It only sets out an ideal constitution. It starts:
    "In the absence of an existing formally adopted Constitution to the contrary, the following represents an ideal Constitution and will apply where the circumstances and the support allow."

    It therefore contemplates groups having other constitutions and sets no clear requirements as to which bits of the 'ideal' are mandatory. Indeed, it is unclear whether any of it is mandatory, although it seems very unlikely that groups can do whatever they like. So, I reckon there's some flexibility, though we would need to stick to the broad thrust of the POR ideal consitution.
    I wasn't going to say anything, as I am one of the few here who has been through the process of establishing a constituion under the scrutiny of the Charity Commission.

    The Ideal Constitution may or may not stand scrutiny outside Scouting. Any Group in Scouting that uses an alternate constitution may be at risk. I say MAY because the risk depends upon whether they are excepted under TSA rules, or not.

    When we set up Navs, we cannibalised the Ideal Constitution. Our lawyer thought it was good, the council thought it was good, the bank accepted it and HMRC accepted it when we registered for Gift Aid. However, when we had to register as a Charity, the CC threw it back at us as it failed to meet criteria for a constitution for the type of group we have ( which is essentially very close to a Scout Group). They sent us their current version of their "ideal constitution" which was very different from that offered by TSA.

    We have all bitched about POR over the years, but let me tell you as an independent group, having POR for guidance and structure is a Godsend. It is just a pity that so many people in TSA seem to think that the rules are for other people.
    Last edited by Bushfella; 10-01-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    My experience is with land held and buildings built by an archery club when I was Club Secretary but the legal principals are the same.



    Unincorporated associations (such as archery clubs or Scout groups) cannot own or lease real property (real property is land or buildings). Hence the legal requirement that land and buildings are owned by named people who have agreed to act as trustees - that is, they have agreed to act on behalf of and on the instruction of the club or group. The trustees should have signed a Deed of Trust with the GEC setting down their agreement that they will so act. Without a Deed of Trust you are at risk.


    Anybody (or preferably bodies) can hold the property on trust. But they have to be named people (or a corporation). They can be members of the Group or anybody else, such as a local solicitor or your mum.


    It's not necessary that the old GSL steps down as trustee if he's happy to continue and if the GEC is happy for him to continue. The GEC needs to be satisfied on continuity of ownership, which means trustees need to remain contactable and compos mentis.
    Since the trustees legally own the property they don't resign as such, there has to be a legal transfer of the property from one set of trustees to another set, and that transfer needs to be registered with the Land Registry.



    Now, if you built on common land (as we did) it all gets much more exciting!
    I absolutely agree with all that.

    I would add that a lot of the confusion is the word "trustee" being used for 2 different things - but thats the law, not scouts !

    Having local trustees can open up power struggles and issues. There are likely to be costs when transferring between trustees which is why SATC or similar makes sense.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    It's a good point. They might not be compatible.

    The following is just me 'thinking out loud' about whether they could be compatible. Other thoughts welcome.

    POR 3.23 doesn't seem to be phrased prescriptively. It only sets out an ideal constitution. It starts:
    "In the absence of an existing formally adopted Constitution to the contrary, the following represents an ideal Constitution and will apply where the circumstances and the support allow."

    It therefore contemplates groups having other constitutions and sets no clear requirements as to which bits of the 'ideal' are mandatory. Indeed, it is unclear whether any of it is mandatory, although it seems very unlikely that groups can do whatever they like. So, I reckon there's some flexibility, though we would need to stick to the broad thrust of the POR ideal consitution.

    A fundamental part of the POR ideal constitution is that voting power is split between the Group Executive Committee (ie, the charity trustees) and the Group Scout Council, which has much wider membership (eg, all leaders and all parents). Judging by our group, the active membership of the GSC is identical to the GEC, but that's because of apathy; in theory, the membership of the GSC is much wider.

    So, to be a CIO a scout group would need to have a constitution that has that two-level voting power. That would rule out the Foundation model, under which only the trustees have voting power. But (on a quick look), the Association model would potentially fit and I can't see any obvious clashes. But clearly this needs a legal professional to do some careful analysis to form a conclusion. It is a pity that TSA doesn't seem to have looked into this in the 7 years since CIOs were created.

    One issue would be that the CIO trustees have to be properly appointed, so there would be some extra red tape each time officers and section leaders change. However, at least that way the individuals would realise they are trustees. Before I pointed it out, none of our GEC realised that POR had somehow magically made them trustees as soon as they became officers or section leaders. (It's always puzzled me how people can become trustees without signing any trust deed or anything, but AFAIK that's what POR says.)

    Another issue I'd need to resolve is whether converting would mean getting a new registration with the Charity Commission and losing the group's 'history' as a charity. And whether the CIO could inherit the group's bank accounts or new ones would be needed.
    in most cases for unincorporated organisations, the CIO is a new legal body and as such it has no "history". There is then a transfer of assets.

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    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I think that in the absence of any guidance from TSA about a CIO constitution that would be acceptable to TSA it would be a "courageous" (in a Yes Minister sense) move for my group to try to work this out ourselves. I don't fancy taking it on.

    It's a shame, because I think CIO status would be the ideal solution for legal title of scout huts in most cases. (Though not for groups that are excepted, as I believe they cannot be CIOs.) For now, I'll be trying to persuade our GEC to go for the SATC solution, despite the cost and potential slow response if we ever need them to do anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    Thanks for the comments, everyone. I think that in the absence of any guidance from TSA about a CIO constitution that would be acceptable to TSA it would be a "courageous" (in a Yes Minister sense) move for my group to try to work this out ourselves. I don't fancy taking it on.

    It's a shame, because I think CIO status would be the ideal solution for legal title of scout huts in most cases. (Though not for groups that are excepted, as I believe they cannot be CIOs.) For now, I'll be trying to persuade our GEC to go for the SATC solution, despite the cost and potential slow response if we ever need them to do anything.

    The SATC will only ever have to do two things.

    1/ In the event of the Group wishing to sell the property the SATC will be involved at the point of sale, but cannot prevent a group from deciding to sell property, it just has to agree to the sale.

    2/ In the event of a planning application, a group would need the "owner" of the property to grant permission for any planning application. However, the SATC is not actually the property "owner" and in this event will issue a letter stating that they have no interest in the development. That is exactly the wording of the very short letter of "approval" that we got from SATC for our building.
    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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