At our 2019 AGM a motion was passed to enable the Club to move towards obtaining charitable status.
At the beginning of this year, we submitted an application to become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO for short) to OSCR, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
This week, we received confirmation from OSCR that they have accepted our application and Constitution and that SMMC meets the charity test. Consequently, they have awarded us SCIO status meaning that SMMC is now a Scottish Registered Charity, number SC050322, effective 24 July 2020.
This is a very exciting step for us as we head towards 50 years of providing high-quality services to improve the safety of competitors, officials and spectators. It also opens up a number of opportunities and benefits for the Club and will clearly help to ensure our long-term future and sustainability.
By awarding the Club charitable status, OSCR has acknowledged the public benefit that we provide as a Club to our members, the wider motorsport community, and to the general public.
Since the Club was formed in 1973, our ethos has been to promote the safety and well-being of competitors, spectators, officials and marshals at all forms of motorsport events. That has now been recognised by OSCR and means we can go forward as a Club confident in the knowledge that everything we do is underpinned by our charitable status.
What happens now?
Scottish Motorsport Marshals Club Limited is currently a company limited by guarantee and has been operating as such since 1973. As we now have charitable status and the Club is legally a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, we are required by law to dissolve the Limited Company and only operate as the SCIO.
First and foremost, we will begin the transition from current Club structure to new charity structure. A lot of this is administrative in nature and you shouldn't see any difference. This transition will take some months and means that the two organisations will run in parallel until we can wind-up the current Limited Company.
From Monday 31st August however, we intend to be primarily operating SMMC as a SCIO.
Why has the change been made?
Most organisations like SMMC were set up many years ago when the options for legal structures were more limited, litigation less common and understanding of the risks lower. The SCIO structure was set up as an easier way to become incorporated and lower risks. It has only been available for seven years.
Changing legal structure also requires a commitment from the Club and particularly the committee members to see it through. It is easier to stick with the status quo even if it is not the best option. We are fortunate that our Committee have taken the initiative and are prepared to carry out the work necessary to make the Club's legal structure fit for the future.
Does the Committee change?
As a SCIO, the Club (and its assets and operations) will be managed by a Board of Trustees. The Board hold regular meetings, set the strategy and policy of the Club, generally manage and control the day-to-day activities of the Club and, in particular, are responsible for monitoring its financial position.
The Initial Charity Trustees are the Club’s current Directors: Nick Clarke, Alastair Gray, Catherine Headridge, Garry Headridge, Rod Howat, Pete Lawrence, Andrew Main and Donald Reid.
The Trustees may appoint any person to the Board on the basis that they have specialist experience and/or skills which could be of assistance – currently these are our Coordinators: Jon Bolton, Grahame Douglas, John Harrington and James Short.
Does the Club's Constitution change?
Yes. The current Memorandum and Articles of Association for the Limited Company have been replaced by the SCIO Constitution. This Constitution was agreed in principle at the 2019 AGM, and with some minor revisions required by OSCR has now been accepted by them.
A full copy of the Constitution is available on the website, but here are some key points:
- Membership is open to any individual aged 11 or over, and to organisations, establishments and individuals that support the aims and objectives of the Club.
- Every member has one vote, which must be given personally or by proxy.
- Any member can be elected, at the Annual General Meeting, to be a Trustee.
- Each of the Trustees and members have a duty to act in the interests of the Club.
What does this mean for members?
This change will not directly affect the normal day to day operations of the Club or its members.
Your membership subscription will be paid into a different bank account in March, but we’ll give you plenty of notice about the new details.
In addition, if you are a tax payer you will be able to join the Gift Aid scheme (at no cost to you) which means that when you renew your membership, the Club can reclaim from the Government the tax that you will pay on your membership subscriptions and donations. This will give us vital extra funds that will really help make a difference.
Do I need to do anything?
As your membership subscription will be paid into a different bank account in March, you'll need to change the Standing Order with your bank, but we’ll give you plenty of notice about the new details well before March.
Other than that, there's no need to do anything. Your support of the Club is very much appreciated – we are proud of what SMMC is and does and we are extremely proud of our members and what you do to support motorsport. You are the power behind UK motorsport!
Please tell your friends, family and colleagues that SMMC is now a registered charity and encourage them to get involved too. We are happy to come and talk about motorsport, marshalling and SMMC to any groups that you might be involved in.