Blind eye or ignorance?

Section 9.3 (CC3 – The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do)
Trustees always remain collectively responsible for all decisions that are made and actions that are taken with their authority.

For the purposes of the following article, we will refer to “the trustees” although an ‘individual trustee’ was receiving the communication and making the decisions. The trustee Scott Miller is either acting on behalf of his fellow trustees and on their authority or was acting alone and the remaining trustees should take immediate action to protect the charity.

 

Many thanks to the former members who have given us their permission to publish details referred to.

On 12th October 2018, “the trustees” were sent a request from a former member asking for information pertaining to their investigations into complaints that were made to the charity secretary on 16th July 2018. These complaints are summarised below (expunged copies of the individual complaints can be provided on request)

  • Vice Chairman Lee Townsend made inappropriate comments during an area meeting on 8th July 2018 regarding the future of a member of the charity before any formal investigation into the member had been started. The comment inferred that a decision had already been made prior to investigation.
  • North area manager Robert Clarke used the emergency equipment on the M6, namely blue lights without authority and without the appropriate training. By his own admission Robert Clarke was also illegally speeding on the M6.
  • North area manager Robert Clarke stated during a meeting on 23rd May 2018 that he had instructed riders to not inform controllers of the carriage of non-urgent items so that there was no entry on the dispatch sheet.
  • Committee member Simon Hanson was sharing contents of emails on 1st July 2018 between committee members by blind copying others in. This was confirmed by Simon Hanson on 4th July 2018 in a recorded call.
  • Committee member Simon Hanson failed to act in his duty as a committee member by failing to report the breaches to the constitution made by Robert Clarke in respect of the use of emergency equipment and the speeding incident on 5th May 2018.
  • Committee member Simon Hanson for over ruling an area managers decision for his own benefit after the area manager had removed the member for lack of duties over a 2 year period, but was told that the member had to remain due to his masonic links.
  • Fleet manager Simon Hanson for failing to inform all the committee members regarding safety issues surround fleet vehicles. When approached about this failing, Simon Hansons reply was “I don’t answer to you” As an elected member of the charity, Simon Hanson is answerable to all the members and doesn’t hold an elevated position due to his status.
  • Fleet manger Simon Hanson failed to report damage to a dropped bike to the committee.
  • Treasurer Sara Hailes shared the contents of a confidential email sent to the committee with her partner Mark Furnival. Mark Furnival then contacted the sender directly saying that Sara Hailes had just told him the contents of the mail.

During a tape recorded meeting that took place on 19th July 2018, “the trustees” stated that he was investigating these complaints and even suggested that some of the complaints were similar to the points on the meetings agenda regarding the individual present.

“The trustees” were asked on the 12th October 2018 to give the update on their investigations and any actions taken within 7 days. They have failed to respond.

Why the lack of response?

Have the complaints actually been investigated by “the trustees”? If not investigated, why not? If they have been investigated, why the lack of response?
We are led to believe that no investigation has taken place. None of the members subject to complaint were suspended from the charity, and none were removed from the charity despite the serious breaches of the charities governing document.

Also in the letter sent to the trustees on 12th October 2018 was a request from a former member to have the evidence that during a meeting on 19th July 2018 “the trustees” agreed to send out. This evidence wasn’t presented to the member before “the trustees” informed him that his services were no longer required by the charity. The letter requested this evidence be returned within 14 days. “The trustees” have failed to respond.

The member, along with 10 others have been removed from the charity for no reason and none of them have been given the opportunity to defend themselves. There has been no disciplinary procedure followed. The response that other former members have had from “the trustees” is that as they are no longer members, they will not be communicated with. Is this an admission by “the trustees” that they may have acted outside of the constitution, the governing document that the trustees must abide by to ensure they comply with their legal duty.

We have also been made aware that another former member made a complaint against Paul Brooks for defamatory comments made in an email. Following the investigation by Vice Chairman Lee Townsend, it was agreed that Paul Brooks would send a written apology to the complainant. This written apology has never arrived.

There are also outstanding investigations into the actions of 2 members who have sent threatening and abusive messages to former members. Again the committee and trustees seem reluctant to take any action despite the evidence being presented to them.

It is apparent that the committee and trustees think that they are beyond reproach and should not be held accountable for their actions. 11 members have not been given a fair hearing and have been given no right to appeal their removal from the charity. By stopping all correspondence with the former members, “the trustees” are further preventing any opportunity to appeal.

The former members are entitled to a fair hearing and to be told the reasons for their removal from the charity. Is it a witch hunt to remove those who voice their opinions or who don’t agree with the hierarchy that rules the charity? Should the committee and trustees be allowed to make rules up as they go along or should they follow the legal document that they expect all members to obey?

The members that have been unfairly removed from the charity should be reinstated immediately and then the committee go through the correct procedure to investigate any allegations, rather than having a kangaroo court and imaginary meetings between committee members.

The ultimate responsibility to ensure the charity is being operated within it’s legal document lies with the non-elected trustees. These people are turning a blind eye to the irregularities in the committee processes, or are ignorant to how the charity is being governed. Do they actually care about the charity or is it more a case of bragging rights within their secret memberships?

Read through the “CC3 – The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do” document that is linked to at the start of this article and ask yourself, are the trustees complying with their legal obligations? 

Have you experienced ignorance to breaches of the constitution? Contact our team blog@northwestbloodbikes.com

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