Association of Jersey Charities - Minutes of the 40th Annual General Meeting held on 23rd June 2011 at Golden Apple Suite, Pomme d'Or Hotel, St Helier.

Present:

Committee

Liz Le Poidevin (Chairperson)
Christopher Renouf (Deputy Chairperson)
Phillip Callow (Honorary Treasurer)
Lyn Roach (Administrator)
Simon Larbalestier (Honorary Secretary)
Helen Davies (Applications Review Officer)
Lynsey Beahan (Publicity Officer)

Apologies:
David Newman (Training Officer)

In attendance:
Andrew Hind (Visiting Speaker)
97 members
8 guests following the AGM

1. Welcome and Apologies:
The Chairman welcomed members to the AGM. Apologies were received from 23 Members

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting:
The minutes of the 39th AGM held on 17th June 2010 were proposed and seconded and signed by the Chairman as a true record of the meeting.

4. To Receive the Annual Report from the Chairman:
The Chairman read the report to Members

5. To Receive the Annual Report and Accounts from the Treasurer for Year Ending 31.03.11:
A copy of the full report and accounts was presented to the members, a copy of which is attached.

The treasurer highlighted a few key points:

Focusing on page 7, the Statement of financial activities, he pointed out a drop in income from GBP3.2m to GBP460,000. Apart from the substantial anonymous donation, this is mainly explained by a drop in the grant from the States. Notice however, that this is largely offset by income gross investments expenditure from GBP385k to GBP688k. So the Good news is that there was a higher level of grants made in the last financial year.

Following the 2009-2010 accounts the Treasurer had stressed the need for belt tightening. This year there are more funds available for grants however, they will continue to be granted on a charitable needs basis.

2010 - high quality applications, more funds were distributed.
An apparent loss of 198k is explained by the level of grant increase.

The treasurer praised the auditors Baker Homyard for their efforts.

The Treasurer asked for the accounts to be adopted and they were unanimously accepted by the meeting ‘en masse' subject to the auditor's approval.

6. Election of Officers:
The following officers had agreed to remain on the Committee and as no other nominations had been received, were elected unanimously by Members en masse to fill the following roles:

Liz Le Poidevin - Chairperson
Christopher Renouf -Deputy Chairperson
Phillip Callow - Honorary Treasurer
Simon Larbalestier Honorary Secretary
Lynsey Beahan - Publicity Officer
Helen Davies - Applications Review Officer
David Newman - Training and Events Officer

7. To expel 2 members for non payment of subscription
The Jersey Herpetology Society
Bush Hospital Foundation

Following ELP's summary of the background (neither had paid for two years and it was suspected that The Jersey Herpetology Society no longer existed), the members voted in favour of Expulsion.

8. Any Other Business:
Rosemary Ruddy from ACET raised a question concerning the accounts:

2 members received 40k which is over the GBP20K limited.
ELP explained that charities could benefit from both the restricted/unrestricted funds to a maximum of 20k from each. In these two cases this is exactly what happened.

Pip Romeril thanked the Committee for their efforts which was audibly supported by the attendee members.

The AGM closed at 7.07pm

9 Guest Speaker: Andrew Hind

Liz Le Poidevin introduced Andrew Hind

Andrew thanked ELP for the introduction.

Focus of the talk is supported by the presentation

As Jersey is on the verge of introducing statutory laws these are interesting times for all.

In England and Wales charity regulation was originally introduced in 1853 (based on premises established hundreds of years earlier: see presentation for timeline). This can provide a starting point for Jersey law however, Andrew suggested that he will also learn something from us, as we are a small island which needs to deal with every aspect of Charities and have the chance to implement regulations based on the best aspects of law already introduced elsewhere.

Andrew reminded everyone that whilst drafting any regulation we should remember:

1. Transparency and accountability of regulation is prerequisite
2. Do not fear regulation - it is mutually beneficial.
3. Ensure any regulation is proportional, enabling regulators to help not hinder.

History:

Statute of Elizabeth 1601; definition of charity of visionary folk (slide 2)

Consideration of the size of charities - trying to treat all the same (slide 3)

Republic of Ireland similar to Jersey (slide 4)


Andrew pointed out that we all now part of a global family as many charities are international or providing assistance internationally.

A major Charity commission problem: in England charity regulation was amateur for a long time and controlled by the charities themselves however, In order for a Regulator to act efficiently, it must be independent. It must stand outside the sector and behave as a support whilst remaining independent of the regulated charities and government. This is critical. If anything does go wrong, charities need an understanding regulator who is able to determine between serious problems and genuine errors and is not biased.

One of the most effective things that the regulator completed whilst Andrew was at the helm was the introduction of online accounts (slides 7/8) and in particular, the provision of pictorial images which make it very clear to the layman of the areas of costs and income relating to any charity in which they may have an interest.

This information is available to everyone which means prospective donators and other interested parties are able to make their own judgement (the Regulator does not and must not make any value judgements itself). concerning the health level of the charity and the suitability for receiving funds vs. the viewer's personal charitable aims.


Conclusion

Andrew underlined the three important points highlighted earlier and then asked for questions from the floor:

Question:
Philip Sturgess

‘Time' is often an issue - and one can be bogged down in bureaucracy. What does the regulator do to avoid this?

Answer:

The commission's aim must always be to avoid over bureaucratic behaviours whilst still regulating in a proper and transparent way. It should be helpful to the charity to provide certain mandatory information in order for the Regulator to undertake its' role satisfactorily but not to the detriment of the smooth running of the Charity - as per point two, the arrangement between the Regulator and the Charity must be mutually beneficial.

CRB checks are an example of over-bureaucracy however, it is hard to legislate.

Question:
Sue Moore:

Does the regulator focus on soft outcomes as well as statistics?

Answer:
Very difficult to establish however, Andrew's view is that the regulator should create an environment where information is available for people to make their own decision. Two charities may be diametrically opposed. The regulator should not make judgement on hard numbers; in fact it should not make a judgement call at all. The regulator should leave it to the individual charities to self-promote.

Question:
Michael Laurens:

Are there suggestions as to what is in/out of the scope of public benefit.

Answer:

Very good question!

Andrew stated that even after many years, the UK law continues to be unclear on this point:

2 tests:
‘Objects' that are charities from the initial regulations from 1601 - must exist for public benefit.
However even the 2006 regulations did not define "Public benefit".
For example: should private schools be charities as they exclude certain areas of the public?

The approach taken by the Commission is that if there is a widespread right of access - such as exists in private schools and fee paying hospitals, then this is acceptable. Interestingly Scotland does have a clear definition of public benefit. Therefore there will need to be very careful analysis of the Jersey situation to ensure it is defined properly.

Question:
Nicola Bennett:
Is there any information on how regulation promotes volunteering?

Answer:
Hard to pinpoint precisely however, there is a strong correlation between the public's level of trust in charities and the public's awareness about any given charity, if the results of a recent Poll are to be believed, therefore any promotion of charities as a whole is a good thing. Andrew personally believes yes but does not have solid facts to support his stance.

From another angle, there are now at least 150 specialist solicitors in Manchester who will aggressively follow up on accidents at work or in the community with the result that H&S worries about being sued is stopping the rate of growth. Andrew suggested there would be more volunteers if legislation was more appropriate in that area.


Liz Le Poidevin thanked Andrew Hind for his speech on behalf of the AJC and invited members and guests to join her for drinks and nibbles.

10. Date of Next Meeting: TBA