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Thread: Chasing unpaid subs

  1. #31
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    we should never allow a volunteer to get even a step towards being in this position:

    https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/9...kham-brownies/

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    we should never allow a volunteer to get even a step towards being in this position:

    https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/9...kham-brownies/
    Agreed. But that is a definite outlier.

    I also don't think we should allow situations like that to dictate how we operate. Sure, it might inform processes, but to have such a rare occurrence be the absolute measure - I think is unworkable in the real world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Agreed. But that is a definite outlier.

    I also don't think we should allow situations like that to dictate how we operate. Sure, it might inform processes, but to have such a rare occurrence be the absolute measure - I think is unworkable in the real world.
    it's very workable. all money is paid into a scout bank account. that is not a hard thing to do.

    i know that with explicit exec approval money from an event can be used to fund that event (and that event alone) without going via a bank account but that is going to be pretty unworkable too... getting explicit exec permission each time?

    it is explicitly against POR to use money paid to a scout group for general expenses unless it is first paid into a group bank account. You must not take cash subs and use that for running costs. That is a clear breach of POR for good reason.

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  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Agreed. But that is a definite outlier.

    I also don't think we should allow situations like that to dictate how we operate. Sure, it might inform processes, but to have such a rare occurrence be the absolute measure - I think is unworkable in the real world.
    Sadly, though the scale and duration might be outlier, fraud of unit accounts isn't. There are cases every year which have to be investigated. Sometimes, it's just untangling a mess and getting the accounts on a proper footing. Sometimes, it's small scale, paid back quietly and resignations accepted. But sometimes it goes as far as legal action.

    Whatever you do in handling money, there needs to be a 'paper trail' for it. A record of money going in, where from and why, a record of money going out, where to and why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    we should never allow a volunteer to get even a step towards being in this position:

    https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/9...kham-brownies/
    Obviously they were not operating a two signature system.

    What I find unbelievable too if the report is correct is that it took ten years to discover. It must have been small amounts if 5000 over ten years too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    it's very workable. all money is paid into a scout bank account. that is not a hard thing to do.

    i know that with explicit exec approval money from an event can be used to fund that event (and that event alone) without going via a bank account but that is going to be pretty unworkable too... getting explicit exec permission each time?

    it is explicitly against POR to use money paid to a scout group for general expenses unless it is first paid into a group bank account. You must not take cash subs and use that for running costs. That is a clear breach of POR for good reason.
    Disagree, for reasons I outlined minutes before in my post previous to that one.

    My point however, was more about dealing with things in every day life, using extenuating events and circumstances to inform the rules around how we do it.

    You can see it in knee-jerk law making by governments and lets be honest, a lot of it has already found it's way into POR.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by fenris View Post
    Sadly, though the scale and duration might be outlier, fraud of unit accounts isn't. There are cases every year which have to be investigated. Sometimes, it's just untangling a mess and getting the accounts on a proper footing. Sometimes, it's small scale, paid back quietly and resignations accepted. But sometimes it goes as far as legal action.

    Whatever you do in handling money, there needs to be a 'paper trail' for it. A record of money going in, where from and why, a record of money going out, where to and why.
    Must be my week for lectures. Only been involved in Scouts all my adult life...

    I know all that, but what you say doesn't actually contradict what I said. Actual fraud is rare, and while we absolutely must have in place safeguards to make sure it doesn't happen (and as protection for volunteers) - as I said, it's rare.

    My point was, if 1 out of every 100 groups are behaving fraudulently with their accounts (how and by who ever), that's still far from being the rule. All I'm saying is, sure, these rare example should inform rules and regs, but we shouldn't be held hostage by them.

    And I'd also maintain... In a big group then fair enough, it would be impossible to keep track of things, and of trusts. But in a smaller group? With people looking over each others shoulders? In a small village (say?) Just because one lady did it over there, does not mean that guy is doing it over their.

    And has already been pointed out, even if she wasn't doing what she did, that she was managing to withdraw money on her own authority, means it probably wouldn't have matter what safeguards were in place - she would have found a way.

  9. #37
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    I am sure that we all know this but just in case (my bold) and I know that needs must and all that - but this is why it is important that Exec members know their responsibilities.

    Rule 3.49 Funds administered by Sections and the Group Scout Active Support Unit

    a. Each Section or Group Scout Active Support Unit must itself administer sums allocated to it by the Group Executive Committee.

    b. Subscriptions paid by or on behalf of Members of each Sections or Group Scout Active Support Unit members must be handed to the Group Treasurer or their nominee as soon as possible after receipt.

    c. The Group Treasurer should make the necessary records and pay the money into the Group bank account(s) as soon as practicable.

    d. Each Section and Group Scout Active Support Unit must keep a proper cash account which must be produced, together with supporting vouchers and the cash balance, to the Group Treasurer at least once in each period of three months.

    Rule 3.50 Bank Accounts

    a. All monies received by or on behalf of the Group either directly or via supporters, must be paid into a bank account held in the name of the Group. This account may, alternatively, be a National Savings account or a building society account.

    b. The account(s) will be operated by the Group Treasurer and other members authorised by the Group Executive Committee.

  10. #38
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Agreed. But that is a definite outlier.

    I also don't think we should allow situations like that to dictate how we operate. Sure, it might inform processes, but to have such a rare occurrence be the absolute measure - I think is unworkable in the real world.
    It isn't a definite outlier. This happens when people deal in cash, don't follow the rules, have temptation put in their way - I'd hazard a guess that it is more likely to happen in Guiding where often the Leader is the only adult ( shouldn't be but often is).

    When temptation is put in peoples' way, they will always be some who are tempted. Often otherwise decent people.
    Ewan Scott

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  11. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    It isn't a definite outlier. This happens when people deal in cash, don't follow the rules, have temptation put in their way - I'd hazard a guess that it is more likely to happen in Guiding where often the Leader is the only adult ( shouldn't be but often is).

    When temptation is put in peoples' way, they will always be some who are tempted. Often otherwise decent people.
    Here's the thing. I'm trying to be nuanced about it, and maybe every one else is too and I'm missing it. But my take is thus. If you're in a scout group where no one knows anyone else, or if no one knew anyone else until they started in the group - then fair enough. Equally, if you're just standing in the street and you ask a random stranger to go and pay for something on your behalf - gave them 20 and just trusted them to do it...

    But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm assuming a base level of trust among a group of people who do know each other already.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I'm also not explicitly talking about not doing any of the things Dave points out.

    What I'm saying is, if someone was engaged in fraud in our group (for example), it would be found out pretty quickly, because there is a fair bit of oversight. Multiple leaders are included in all the processes, and many of those leaders (and office bearers) are also parents - and we (they) know (and knew) each other outside of Scouts.

    So under those circumstances, where is the trust? I mean, why are they even called trustees, why not just call them potential fraudsters and just cut out the chitchat?

    If it's not an outlier, does anyone have any figures or stats about the number of cases of fraud versus the number of transaction that go off with out any problems and are done completely honestly and above board? I don't have any to hand, but I bet if I did - they'd puts that story as an outlier.

    Also, in my view, not following the rules as set out (ably) by Dave, does not necessarily mean a person is engaged in fraud. I can almost hear people squealing in dismay as I read that back - but it doesn't. It means they're not following the rules (if it came to it, it would be negligence), it doesn't mean they're engaged in theft. I think we need to be careful about the language we use in this area.

    Meanwhile, I've just bankrolled half of a weekend away. Although, that's to do with my bank being arsholey, not any rules around fraud.

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    Two things in that particular situation made it easier for her to commit fraud - ongoing use of cash subscriptions and for whatever reason, being able to access funds from the bank account by herself. Whilst there are vulnerable members of society that tend to operate more on a cash basis so we need to retain an open mind on it, the more it can be eliminated the better. As a former auditor, cash transactions were always treated as highest risk, and ideally you wanted them banked intact so you had a paper trail at the beginning. Once people start a habit of taking money out of the income (We've had 15 in subs tonight but we've bought a jar of coffee and 3 Pritt Sticks so here's the remaining 7.39) it becomes more difficult to follow the trails even if the simplicity of doing it that way rather than banking it and taking out money for a petty cash float etc makes sense.

    That said its not a panacea. If people are put in positions of trust and are able to collude sufficiently, its possible to override the controls even if you require 2 signatories and don't handle cash. If anything that can be worse because rather than creaming off the odd 10 or 20 here or there, it can easily run into five figures before it gets spotted.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    I am sure that we all know this but just in case (my bold) and I know that needs must and all that - but this is why it is important that Exec members know their responsibilities.

    Rule 3.49 Funds administered by Sections and the Group Scout Active Support Unit

    a. Each Section or Group Scout Active Support Unit must itself administer sums allocated to it by the Group Executive Committee.

    b. Subscriptions paid by or on behalf of Members of each Sections or Group Scout Active Support Unit members must be handed to the Group Treasurer or their nominee as soon as possible after receipt.

    c. The Group Treasurer should make the necessary records and pay the money into the Group bank account(s) as soon as practicable.

    d. Each Section and Group Scout Active Support Unit must keep a proper cash account which must be produced, together with supporting vouchers and the cash balance, to the Group Treasurer at least once in each period of three months.

    Rule 3.50 Bank Accounts

    a. All monies received by or on behalf of the Group either directly or via supporters, must be paid into a bank account held in the name of the Group. This account may, alternatively, be a National Savings account or a building society account.

    b. The account(s) will be operated by the Group Treasurer and other members authorised by the Group Executive Committee.
    in addition and this is massively important with reference to groups who collect cash subs, especially weekly as it makes it even clearer.

    "Cash received at a specific activity may only be used to defray expenses of that same specific activity if the Group Executive Committee has so authorised beforehand and if a proper account of the receipts and payments is kept."

    so it is completely wrong to use any subs cash for anything at all. that money absolutely must must must be paid into a group bank account.

    there is no wiggle room on this. TSA have made it very clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    in addition and this is massively important with reference to groups who collect cash subs, especially weekly as it makes it even clearer.

    "Cash received at a specific activity may only be used to defray expenses of that same specific activity if the Group Executive Committee has so authorised beforehand and if a proper account of the receipts and payments is kept."

    so it is completely wrong to use any subs cash for anything at all. that money absolutely must must must be paid into a group bank account.

    there is no wiggle room on this. TSA have made it very clear.
    And to be abundantly clear (since trust it seems, is scarce), subs is never redirected. Firstly, it's rarely if ever cash and secondly, that would be fraud - or at the very least, using cash not for the purpose for which it was intended.

    Here's a scenario - what would you do.

    You're booking QuazarLazer, you know you need to book because it's busy and you need to know you'll get your slot. Do you collect payment well in advance, get it banked, then get a receipt. Or, ask the kids to bring payment on the night and give it directly to you, thus reimbursing your initial outlay?

    Constraints around this might be to do with timing, maybe it's easier for kids to bring cash on the night (we all know the things that can crop up in getting payment in), also, some of us just aren't that organised in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    And to be abundantly clear (since trust it seems, is scarce), subs is never redirected. Firstly, it's rarely if ever cash and secondly, that would be fraud - or at the very least, using cash not for the purpose for which it was intended.

    Here's a scenario - what would you do.

    You're booking QuazarLazer, you know you need to book because it's busy and you need to know you'll get your slot. Do you collect payment well in advance, get it banked, then get a receipt. Or, ask the kids to bring payment on the night and give it directly to you, thus reimbursing your initial outlay?

    Constraints around this might be to do with timing, maybe it's easier for kids to bring cash on the night (we all know the things that can crop up in getting payment in), also, some of us just aren't that organised in advance.
    this was not aimed at you... it was general observation... but i would never take the kids money and repay myself. i would always pay it to the treasurer. I have done exactly this many times and always paid the cash to the group account.

    So. when booking quasar, i either pay on my card or ask the treasurer to pay and i ask the kids to bring a tenner on the day.

    These days? I do it via OSM and no more cash, thank god.

    my last two swimming and bowling events said this:

    8 Includes a drink and 2 games of bowling.
    Finished by... ummm... 8.30? I hope. I will check this with the alley.
    (Scouts will pay their own entry direct to the alley)


    Cost: 3.45 plus a 1 for the locker. Scouts will pay their own entry direct to the centre.

    I was always explicit about this where money was being used like this. I never touched the cash.

    oh and here was how i did quasar before OSM:

    Sign up here (this was a google form)

    Pay here (this was a paypal buton page on the group site)

    Please do not bring cash to pay me on the night. If you don't do paypal, a cheque please. in an envelope marked Quasar with your child's name on the envelope and "quasar plus child's name" on the back of the cheque. thank you

    see you Thursday

    Chris
    Last edited by big chris; 07-05-2019 at 03:43 PM.

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  18. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    this was not aimed at you... it was general observation... but i would never take the kids money and repay myself. i would always pay it to the treasurer. I have done exactly this many times and always paid the cash to the group account.

    So. when booking quasar, i either pay on my card or ask the treasurer to pay and i ask the kids to bring a tenner on the day.
    I know, I just wondered what others did. I've done it both ways, it depends on the circumstances.

    We now have the treasurer's son in Scouts which makes things a lot easier. But it used to take weeks to get any reimbursement if I coughed up for stuff - mostly down to geography and paths not crossing.

    A lot of these places won't take a cheque. Not sure if it's what you meant, but asking the treas to pay for things and them writing themselves a cheque (countersigned obvs) I don't think would be appreciated by them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I know, I just wondered what others did. I've done it both ways, it depends on the circumstances.

    We now have the treasurer's son in Scouts which makes things a lot easier. But it used to take weeks to get any reimbursement if I coughed up for stuff - mostly down to geography and paths not crossing.

    A lot of these places won't take a cheque. Not sure if it's what you meant, but asking the treas to pay for things and them writing themselves a cheque (countersigned obvs) I don't think would be appreciated by them.
    We used to have the problem of expenses taking weeks to get paid. It led to a rise in Leaders 'offsetting' expenses with cash collected from parents 'on-the-night'. Very unfair on those Leaders I thought.

    One of my top priorities, when I became GSL (and my wife became Treasurer), was to shorten the time to pay expenses. We now pay directly by BACS, usually within 5 days. Once this was done, we then put in place explicit procedures that amplified the POR rules and made it clear that 'offsetting' was not acceptable. We have just about eliminated 'offsetting'.

    The most important thing was to address the root cause of the offsetting, as well as telling Leaders what they should be doing.

    BTW - I never explain these financial rules in terms of 'fraud prevention', I always try to explain that they are for the benefit of the Leaders as they ensure that they are protected if anyone should make an accusation against them. They can never "prevent fraud", but they can help to ensure that the finger is correctly pointed to the guilty party when it is discovered and we owe it to the innocent to protect them.

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