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Our News and Notices


POTENTIAL CHARITABLE STATUS – UPDATE

Central - 14 Sep 17 General

Four months after starting work, in support to Mike and the office team, on the proposed change of RNSA to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), I feel that it is time to let members have an update. This piece will be short, as the headline message is that we have made little, direct progre

Like many organisations, the Charity Commission is very short of staff, so I was not surprised that our April application to register the CIO did not produce an immediate response. In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of July that the Charity Commission got in touch with a number of questions in preparation for formal consideration of our application. The response to the Commission’s letter (which includes the questions they posed) is attached as a download. At first glance, the questions appeared challenging but, with support from the office team and the Naval Service Sports Charity (NSSC), we realised that they stemmed from an understandable lack of knowledge about the aim and operation of Service sports associations – the Commission has to deal with charities covering a vast range of activities. Working through the questions helped us to realise that there were some shortcomings in our original application and answering them allowed us to fill these holes. Principal among these improvements was clarification that we exist to support the effectiveness of the Naval Service. Fortunately, I also tracked down an authoritative statement by the Charity Commission that ex-Service people are legitimate, core beneficiaries of a Service charity. This was an area where, I know, a number of RNSA members had concerns, so it was great to find that we are totally in step with the Commission’s direction.

Following a very busy period of work on a number of drafts over the core sailing period, I sent our response to the Charity Commission at the end of August. I was actually, briefly grateful that the Thursday of Cowes week was blown-out giving me a working day back – how sad is that? I am extremely grateful for the help that I was given in preparing the response – it took about 10 drafts – and for the support of the interim trustees of the CIO. We now await some indication from the Commission on when our application will be considered; I suspect that it won’t be for some weeks. Planning for success, with support from a small working group that includes the office staff, I will be looking at how we, as members of the Association, decide whether to implement the CIO.

I mentioned in my first article about this work that I started with significant doubts about the need for or suitability of becoming a CIO, but that I had changed my mind in the face of the evidence. The recent work on the Charity Commission questions, together with discussions with the NSSC and others now has me totally convinced that the time to make this change is here. For the vast majority of RNSA members, who just want to get on with sailing under our burgee and to see naval sailing prosper, the change will be effectively invisible. The biggest practical change will be to our ability to attract funding from other charities, organisations and people who will see that we operate under formal, external oversight. Once again, please feel free to contact me, through the office, if you would like to talk through any concerns or ideas.

Hopefully, it won’t be another 4-months before I have any information to pass on, but I’m not holding my breath! Keep enjoying your sailing.


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