Author Topic: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors  (Read 18484 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2013, 04:08:35 PM »

It would appear then that Dave’s sole source of income is from his SBC Council Member allowances plus, of course the top up from sitting on 3 committees.

Dave has been unable to attend any 6 of the full Council meetings since February this year when he last attended. Maybe he was there in spirit? Is this value for money?


I'd wager a small sum that Cllr's Wood (D) and Wood (N) will attend tomorrows council meeting and that they will vote in support of Mayor Martin.  Abstaining from voting or voting against Mayor Martin will result in future access to the Pork Barrel of paid committee chairmanships being denied to them.

As the chair of the Standards Committee the only correct course of action for Cllr Wood (D) would be to abstain from the vote.  Naturally a political 'interpretation' of the rules will be concocted which will allow him to circumvent any conflict of interest caused by his voting in a vote of no confidence, (the subject of which is Mayor Martin), and then chairing a committee which will supposedly examine Mayor Martins standards of behaviour.

As I said earlier, venality will trump principles, especially where monthly allowances paid from the public purse form a useful/major part of household income.


Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2013, 04:14:31 PM »
with regard to the last two blogs, is it not time for the council to go back to the pre bliar days, and pay councillors when they actually attend a meeting or committee...
Perhaps they could also go down the road of just how many we actually need..... :2funny:.

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2013, 05:57:21 PM »
Taking a look at Dave’s Council attendance over the last year i.e. since November 2012 we find that:

At the Full Council Meetings;
Present 1,  Absent or Apologies  8

At the Scrutiny Committee;
Present  0, Absent or Apologies  5, Expected 3 (Expected but failed to materialise.)

At the Licensing Committee;
Present  2,  Absent or Apologies  4

At the Economic, Environmental and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
Present  2,  Absent or Apologies  0

At the Standards Committee;
Present  5, Absent or Apologies  0

At the Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
Present  2, Absent or Apologies  1

At the Locality –Town Centre;
Present  3,  Absent or Apologies  1 Expected 1

Total meetings 38
Present 15
Absent 23
% Attendance 39.47

Given that there is an "on-line" Meeting Calendar at the SBC web-site where I can see most meetings for next April and some for next June, 4 and 6 months away, surely Dave can plan his diary to attend them.

The question is, if his charity, The Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena, has only got £3,000, which is hardly likely to provide 4 or perhaps 5 directors with Ghostbuster suits like Dan Akroyd’s, is he using his publicly funded Council income, to support the expense of busting ghosts?

If he is, then there is probably no point in reasoning with him, as he probably feels that he is doing the public more good by saving them from the unknown, than from badly conceived council plans. ( And he may have a point!)
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2013, 06:05:49 PM »
MUGGS, I HAVE AN ONGOING BIT OF BOTHER AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU SEND ME THE ADDRESS OF THE CHARITY ASSoc please..
regards K....

Charity Commission I think you mean Ko, easily looked up on the internet, just been up there doing a return, took 3 trustees off, have to put two on. Not mass walk out, one is very ill, one is his carer, and one moved out of town.  This is much the way of the volunteer hands on trustee.

I'd only worry about Ghostbusters having staff, if the names of the staff were the same as the trustees, which is a definite huge NO NO. Trustee obviously can't raise money to pay themselves, but you wouldn't believe how many times I've had to warn people off of doing just that.  The all important document is their constitution - any one got a copy?  That gives them powers and if that doesn't give them powers to raise and then distribute money to others they can't do it. One would hope that if they employ people they also know the law on that, it's pretty full on.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2013, 07:36:47 PM »
Muggins, you are wonderful!

The Charity Commission entry for the Ghostbusters shoes that they are Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA

Their Charitable Object are:
Quote
WE HAVE PROVIDED EDUCATIONAL/TRAINING FOR THE PUBLIC HAVING RUN TRAINING DAYS AND COURSES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND ONLINE TRAINING VIA OUR WEBSITE. WE HAVE ALSO PROVIDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANT AND CHARITABLE FUNDING FOR A NUMBER OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROJECTS THIS YEAR

And the finances show a strange pattern: Modest income most years with modest spending then, just when 7 Directors retired, the income went up considerably are the spending considerably more.

Quote
Year End    Income    Spending
30 Jun 2012     £11,943    £15,246   
30 Jun 2011     £4,211    £3,943   
30 Jun 2010     £4,211    £1,915   
30 Jun 2009     £5,208    £5,251   
30 Jun 2008     £5,082    £2,564
What's it all about?

Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2013, 08:10:38 AM »
Why thank you, Outer, everyone else thinks I'm a bit peculiar when it comes to constitutions. 

I couldn't find them on the charity commission site   I find that a very strange object, it sound more like a bit of an annual report and I've also got to say, that I'm surprised it's objects are charitable at all, perhaps its been registered a long time and or they take the training/education into account.

The finances wouldn't worry me, you can see it on many charities, i.e. the years they get funding and the years they don't.     I posted return last evening: income nil, expenditure £,1.6K.  that's getting a grant one year and spending it into the next.

The objects of the charity are different to the powers, need a copy of that constitution!!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2013, 08:17:56 AM »
These are the Objects:

TO PROMOTE THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION BY OBTAINING, STORING AND PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTING INFORMATION CONCERNING THOSE AREAS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND OBSERVED PHENOMENA FOR WHICH THERE IS NOT GENERAL EXPLANATION AT PRESENT AND TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATIONS INTO SUCH PHENOMENA AND TO DISSEMINATE THE USEFUL RESULTS OF SUCH FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC.

It was first registered in 1986? and amended in 2007? (amendments often done in charities, especially if hey are older ones like this) no need to read anything untoward into that, it would have had to been carried at a previous AGM and someone has to sign to say it has, maybe even a copy of said minutes sent). Sorry can't flit between the charity com page and posting.  In effect it's the advancement of education and the distributing and dissemination of same - if they are doing that they are within the rights of it.   Be back later when I've found the powers.

These look like the powers:

EDUCATION / TRAINING
 
Who
• OTHER DEFINED GROUPS
• THE GENERAL PUBLIC / MANKIND

How
• PROVIDES HUMAN RESOURCES
• PROVIDES ADVOCACY / ADVICE / INFORMATION
• SPONSORS OR UNDERTAKES RESEARCH
• ACTS AS AN UMBRELLA OR RESOURCE BODY

I take it the 'Resource Body' when beefed out could include making grants to other groups, although I would think it would have to be within the same objects - this would be specified a bit more in the full constitution.

I just LOVE constitutions - and a Memorandum and Articles is a real Christmas treat.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2013, 08:44:33 AM »
I know it is early in the morning M, but whose constitution have you posted above please?
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2013, 09:08:31 AM »
That's not the full constitution, Richard that the copy of what's on the charity commission web site for Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA.

When a group is registered there, they send in their constitution, the Commission says yes or no, if it's a yes, the commission summarise your constitution (or did in 1986) because they are usually about 8 pages long with loads of what you can and can't do.  If anyone want's a copy of one of the groups I'm with to see one, then PM me. I've got both sorts, plain Constitution and Memorandum. 

Took another look at Outer's post and may be able to offer some explanations: Look at this case as the people are Trustees first, company directors second - in this case it's just a name although there are legal things to being one, most charitable company 'directors' refer to themselves as 'trustees' of the charity rather than 'directors'  (they only use that to swank). Charitable companies are not for profit and the directors don't take a share/bones/handout, or shouldn't. To do this, they would have to be negotiated with the Charity Commission, some trustees with specialist skills can be paid, but for short times but any transaction like that should be taken with the utmost care and backsides covered by numerous bits of substantiating paperwork.
And dealing with charity commission on anything like this take ages. Look at it this way, it takes a good bit of paperwork just to start a charity these days.

About the walkout = more money:

1. More money, more to squabble about, especially if people don't know the limitation on expending grants or funding given for especial purposes - i.e the people of Toothill not understanding how come they haven't had their million spent yet. And when we got our Fairshare money which is very similar most of them dealing with the damned fund didn't know either - i.e. councillors, so people got would up about not seeing and immediate effect from it.

2. The one who got the money but fundraising or application,  getting heavy about how it's spent - and that could be related to no 1, in it not maybe being their fault, or it could be their fault as they could be the one that doesn't understand - hope that makes sense. 

3. Maybe the walkout was before the money was got and either nothing to do with it, or funders etc. seeing that the ones who needed to go -went.  I can site a couple of groups were this is happening, where they won't get more funding, or even start up funding, without a change of board and the incomings seen to be 'fit and proper people'.

4. In many charities people hang on in post of trustee, simply because there is not a load of people lining up to take over. They are grateful and go quick when the opportunity arises. Or the ones that really have had their day, hang on forever.   

It's not like anyone on a charity board is in it for the money, you'd be better off standing for council.
Trustees are however entitled to get expenses, but often they don't take them or take them in a block, so what might look like a big pay-out might accumulated travel cost for example.

'Course there are always the ones that do take advantage too. But in 30 years, I haven't met many of them, any wrong doing I've found, noticed, etc. has been down to ignorance and/or big headedness.





 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline jennyb

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2013, 11:06:08 AM »
That's not the full constitution, Richard that the copy of what's on the charity commission web site for Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA.

When a group is registered there, they send in their constitution, the Commission says yes or no, if it's a yes, the commission summarise your constitution (or did in 1986) because they are usually about 8 pages long with loads of what you can and can't do.  If anyone want's a copy of one of the groups I'm with to see one, then PM me. I've got both sorts, plain Constitution and Memorandum. 

Took another look at Outer's post and may be able to offer some explanations: Look at this case as the people are Trustees first, company directors second - in this case it's just a name although there are legal things to being one, most charitable company 'directors' refer to themselves as 'trustees' of the charity rather than 'directors'  (they only use that to swank). Charitable companies are not for profit and the directors don't take a share/bones/handout, or shouldn't. To do this, they would have to be negotiated with the Charity Commission, some trustees with specialist skills can be paid, but for short times but any transaction like that should be taken with the utmost care and backsides covered by numerous bits of substantiating paperwork.
And dealing with charity commission on anything like this take ages. Look at it this way, it takes a good bit of paperwork just to start a charity these days.

About the walkout = more money:

1. More money, more to squabble about, especially if people don't know the limitation on expending grants or funding given for especial purposes - i.e the people of Toothill not understanding how come they haven't had their million spent yet. And when we got our Fairshare money which is very similar most of them dealing with the damned fund didn't know either - i.e. councillors, so people got would up about not seeing and immediate effect from it.

2. The one who got the money but fundraising or application,  getting heavy about how it's spent - and that could be related to no 1, in it not maybe being their fault, or it could be their fault as they could be the one that doesn't understand - hope that makes sense. 

3. Maybe the walkout was before the money was got and either nothing to do with it, or funders etc. seeing that the ones who needed to go -went.  I can site a couple of groups were this is happening, where they won't get more funding, or even start up funding, without a change of board and the incomings seen to be 'fit and proper people'.

4. In many charities people hang on in post of trustee, simply because there is not a load of people lining up to take over. They are grateful and go quick when the opportunity arises. Or the ones that really have had their day, hang on forever.   

It's not like anyone on a charity board is in it for the money, you'd be better off standing for council.
Trustees are however entitled to get expenses, but often they don't take them or take them in a block, so what might look like a big pay-out might accumulated travel cost for example.

'Course there are always the ones that do take advantage too. But in 30 years, I haven't met many of them, any wrong doing I've found, noticed, etc. has been down to ignorance and/or big headedness.

M,

Thanks for a most informative post!

For Toothill we have been working hard to explain what the grant means, what is required in order to access it ,what it can/cannot be used for and what must be in place in order that any of this can happen.  More info coming out in the new year..

Back to topic...

Kareen
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2013, 12:26:52 PM »
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2013, 01:37:46 PM »
That's my point entirely Richard. Most people have an interest that takes up part of their time but if you are paid by the taxpayers to work for them, then they expect that you put in more than 40% attendance at meetings.  40% in a maths or any other exam is a fail, is it not?

Most people, of course, have jobs that they must go to, often at odd hours. They need to make sure that their jobs do not suffer from the time spent as a councillor as their family's income depends on it. The most amazing thing about our Dave, is that he appears to have the Council allowances as his sole source of income but cannot be bothered to turn up when he is expected.

Could anyone tell me what would happen to an employee at a private or public company, that only turned up 40% of the time?
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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2013, 01:53:16 PM »
What is the date of the next publication of councillors attendance at meetings,  and do we have any say in the matter..

Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2013, 03:07:34 PM »
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?

What you saying here Richard? That he's there in spirit? 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2013, 03:52:32 PM »
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?

What you saying here Richard? That he's there in spirit?

No M I am saying he may believe he is!!
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2013, 04:47:29 PM »
I don't know Richard, if he thinks he is and is into the paranormal, maybe he can hear the debate and send the vibes back to vote. Does he have a *proxy?

*That would be the councillor with two hands in the air.  :wink:
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2013, 05:30:46 PM »

Apologies for not getting back into this properly yet, I'm experiencing problems with my GPU which appears to have become possessed.  The damn thing has 'black screened' 3 times in the last 24hrs, each time when I've been trying to publish documents. Who am I going to call?

Anyhow, It's nice to see the TS charity experts having a chat about that aspect although my interest is more firmly rooted in the failure of Cllr's Wood & Wood to discharge their legal responsibilities as director, director and company secretary.

Further to that, Cllr Wood's (Dave) willingness to blame someone else is typically cavalier.  Ignorance is not an excuse for non-observance of company law and blaming other volunteers (presuming he or his wife weren't the volunteers he blames), for submitting false documents to Companies House doesn't absolve him or Cllr Wood (N) from their duty to check that records held about them are factually correct.

As for other subjects like the mass walk out, we'll get to that in good time. There's no rush  :)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2013, 07:47:27 AM »
What I'm saying is Geoff, that the Charity and the Company are the same thing, same annual report, same set of accounts and not big business, sometimes tiny, tiny business - well not a business at all because these orgs are not for profit.

There is no excuse not to act within the laws on either, but in small groups with sparse activities, the returns are often done several months in arrears, but still within the law. (I've just done one of ours - Accounts to the end of March, (they took me to July to finalise and then a couple of months to remember find someone to audit them)  AGM in Early November, returns done this last week. Takes me that long to get new trustees details etc. but I got them in 'early' because I had to the end of January to do it)

It's hard to let it go past the 'send in by' date because if the CC and CH have your address, you get a letter or an email, however if eithers info has not been updated or there has been a change since AGM's the chances are the returns notices go to the person named and if they have resigned, unless they are on the ball and feeling co-operative (and still alive!), it's gone and lost forever, some simply say 'serve' 'em right and stick them in the bin, so the new person doesn't know.  If someone takes on the job but doesn't know that these things have to be done, well, it takes a while for the light to dawn.

Are you saying that Woody should know about company law etc, because he already has some experience of it?   

To be honest, I think that org doesn't need to be a charity or company, it's balances are so little, and probably raised by their own fundraising (Membership fees, and events etc. as apposed to grant aid) , if they were starting up now I think they would not get charity number status.  They could probably function very well, with a good constitution, as a not for profit group, more or less answerable only to their member within whose group they would raise the funds. The Membership then police the functioning of the group - although that's how most charities are supposed to function. i.e. keep an eye on the treasurer to keep an eye on the money flow and have a responsibility to turn up at AGM's etc, but hardly ever do. If a group is not well run it's as much the fault of the member as anyone else. If someone has walked out of an AGM disgruntled, then they are as much at fault as them they were disgruntled at, either that or maybe no one agreed with them??
I've seen some rum old AGM's I can tell you!

However, not being a company provides no financial protection to the trustees.  Not that forgetting to do the returns would stand them in good stead no if there was an investigation, having said that it looks like that it is now up to date.

It's recognised that the two orgs/one org thing is confusing and that's why the Charity Com and Companies House have been working on getting one registration that covers the two, not only that it saves the org money because they don't have to prepare the two (but the same) returns, it will save money too, because Companies House requires a chartered accountant (very expensive) to sign off accounts, but the charity commission doesn't, under a certain amount.  Any NEW group starting now can apply to be one of these orgs.  I fancy that a lot of orgs that are the two things at present will be go over to the new type of org. 

I've prepared a beautiful annul report and set of accounts for our charity return only to find they don't flipping want it because it's under £10k.  All they want is the income total and expenditure total, which really wouldn't show you how much we actually have in the bank - we could (but don't) have millions in there unspent.

At the end of the day if Trustees/board members don't show a duty of care, they are financially fully liable for all their doings.  The important words here are 'Duty of Care'.  And that goes for any trustee that has resigned for several years.  Good 'en' it, can't get away with anything these days. Well not if you are a volunteer anyway.

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2013, 06:59:09 PM »
What I'm saying is that, regardless of charitable status etc, company directors and secretary's are subject to company law, expected to understand the law and then adhere to it.

Blaming their own failures to observe laws which applie to them on others indicates that they're ignoring their responsibilities.

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Offline Muggins

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Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2013, 08:05:12 AM »
And that Geoff,  is exactly the stance either Companies House or the Charity Commission will take on this when someone reports it to THEM.

However they may well be more charitable than to slam them in clink.....knowing that most of these charitable company  posts are voluntary and not someone's 'proper job'. 

Unless some serious cash has gone missing of course. 

At no point have I suggested they should get away with functioning outside the law.

Just an explanation that's things do sometimes go awry by the nature of the groups/orgs, with no other intention than that of ignorance or forgetfulness.  I dare say they would be more wary of losing their charitable status than of falling foul of the law. 

When it comes to fundraising and functioning, reputation is everything in this sector. Like we are always banging on at SBC about.

http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our-regulatory-work/reporting-our-regulatory-work/inquiry-reports/
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)