This year’s AGM will be on Tuesday 4th November 2008, 7.30 pm for 8 pm (ending by 10 pm), at the Friends’ Meeting House on Jesus Lane.
As well as the speaker part of the meeting, we will also consider the question of charitable status for the Campaign – see below.
Our speaker: Rod King
We are delighted to announce that our speaker this year will be Rod King of 20’s Plenty For Us (see www.20splentyforus.org.uk), campaigning for the implementation of 20 mph as the default speed limit on residential roads in the UK.
Rod King is 58 and started getting involved with Warrington Cycle Campaign (possibly best known for its ‘Cycle Facility of the Month’ feature, showcasing the very worst of cycle provision in the UK) in 2001. As a project for Bike Week 2004 he decided to cycle to Warrington’s twin town Hilden, near Dusseldorf, where there were reports of 23% of in-town trips being made by bike. He wanted to find out what sort of cycle facilities they had and if they were better than Warrington’s.
To his surprise he found that the cycle facilities were fairly mediocre, but there was a maximum speed limit of just 30 kph throughout the town. This was the foundation of their encouragement of cycling. This slower speed meant that the quality of facilities was far less important. This really changed the whole way that he looked at cycle-friendly communities and led to Warrington Cycle Campaign incorporating 20 mph for residential streets as the basis of their campaign policy.
Since then Rod has been campaigning both locally and throughout the country to enable 20 mph residential areas to be created in Britain. Throughout this he became more and more convinced of the benefits of approaching 20 mph from a citizen rights rather than simply a cycling perspective and in 2007 he set up 20’s Plenty For Us as an organisation to provide resources, support and assistance to those campaigning for lower speeds throughout the country.
Since then Rod has spoken at many conferences and events. 20’s Plenty For Us has been asked to give evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee and also to the National Audit Office on transport matters. The success of 20’s Plenty For Us was recently recognised when the National Council for Voluntary Organisations asked it to give a presentation at their forthcoming Political Conference as a campaign that maximises influence with minimal staffing and funding.
His talk will be followed by an opportunity for questions.
Formal AGM business
The business of the AGM will then follow, including elections to the Committee.
Any motions for the AGM must reach the Co-ordinator via our usual contact details by Sunday 5th October 2008. This is earlier than normal so that any motions or amendments, particularly those relating to charitable status, can be carefully co-ordinated.
Minutes of the last AGM will be sent round our members’ e-mail list a week in advance (or you can request a postal copy from us).
We will write to all members to give more information on the AGM in mid-October. This will include the relevant documentation on charitable status.
Last year’s AGM gave the Committee a clear steer towards the employment of a Campaign worker if the relevant formal steps can be put in place. Over the last year, the Committee has investigated the question of charitable status in the light of changes in charities law. It is our view that this is a step worth taking which would have a series of benefits for the Campaign. It would also mark a new era, coinciding nicely with our having gained over 1,000 members, both signifying a new maturity in the life of the organisation.
The main business part of the AGM will thus be a full discussion, followed by voting, on a motion on whether to incorporate the Campaign as a charity. The article later in this Newsletter gives more details on this, and the October monthly meeting will provide an opportunity for initial debate over the proposals for finalisation at the AGM.
Charitable status would also mean replacement of our constitution with a version largely in line with the model recommended by the Charities Commission. We feel that this in itself would be a useful step, as it builds more safeguards into the structure of the Campaign.
The Committee will be proposing to renew the mandate given to it last year, which authorised a potential increase in membership rates in order to help fund an expansion of the Campaign over the next few years. Rates were last increased back in 1999. Last year’s motion was:
‘To authorise the Committee to increase membership rates at any point in the next 12 months to a maximum of double the current levels (e.g. in the case of an individual, this would be a maximum of £15) if this would, with other possible funding, enable the hiring of a Campaign worker.’
We will simply be seeking renewal of this mandate. We have not yet managed to progress the hiring of a Campaign worker, but we have an interim arrangement in place – in the form of our Planning Researcher (see below) whilst incorporation as a charity takes place (see article), subject of course to member approval. Naturally, there would also be work in terms of putting the relevant policies and procedures in place if we were to employ someone.
The AGM is the time at which a new Committee is elected. The Committee represents the ‘front line’ of the Campaign. Its members assist with consultation responses, attend meetings, and administer aspects of the Campaign, all depending on their time available, on your behalf.
It is an excellent opportunity to become more involved in the Campaign, promote cycling, learn about local government, and thus, we hope, make a real difference to cycling in Cambridge.
As usual, all the Committee posts, as listed below, are up for election – please consider standing!
However, this year’s elections are slightly complicated by the question of charitable status, which would alter the make-up of the Committee. Three additional new positions would be required, which would be the formal Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the charity. If the meeting votes to take charitable status forward, there will then be a separate election after the other posts. These three formal charity officer posts would take effect only if the application to the Charities Commission then succeeded, and the existing posts would be part of the Board of Trustees (with consequential responsibilities) with the same named positions.
The posts are:
- the Co-ordinator ensures that everything is dealt with, and pushes the general strategic direction of the Campaign;
- the Liaison Officer represents the Campaign with other organisations and contacts;
- the Membership Secretary is responsible for membership administration;
- the Newsletter Editor co-ordinates the team of people who edit and assemble the newsletter;
- the Treasurer runs the books, and produces budgets. The Campaign’s yearly turnover is around £7,000, but our main resource requirement is time!
- the Events Officer, co-ordinates the organisation and publicising of social and campaigning events, including running of the Campaign’s stall;
- the Recruitment Officer, who co-ordinates and initiates efforts to increase membership of the Campaign;
- the Press Officer identifies and co-ordinates opportunities to represent the Campaign in the media. We are contacted about once or twice each month for interviews of various kinds or by media personnel requesting quotes;
- last but not least, there are five Officers Without Portfolio who are also invaluable to the general campaigning work being done.
(These elections would be followed by the posts for the Charity Officers, as noted above.)
Please come to the October monthly meeting to discuss the question of charitable status if you can.