With the increased opportunities and interest in supporter engagement it is important that Supporters Trusts lead the way. Trusts are already given prominence when it comes to being involved in structured dialogue commitments between club leaders and supporters, as well as insolvency events should they occur.
Many Supporters Trusts will also have the experience of ‘being played off’ against other supporter groups by the club, or credibility questioned when you have taken a firm stance against an owner.
These are just some of the reasons why we believe it is important to check in to ensure members are happy with the standards that a Supporters Trust represents, and the collective strength that can bring.
We are also acutely aware that this is a balance as Supporters Trusts are voluntary bodies, with volunteers typically driven by the purpose not the process.
In the past we have relied on two ongoing standards – SD membership criteria and the legislative requirements from an annual return you must submit to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The purpose of this consultation is to see what (if anything) member Trusts think is a reasonable standard for all Supporters Trusts to reach beyond those two existing requirements and identify key actions which our members should be undertaking beyond the legislated and minimum requirements of being a Community Benefit Society.
To be full members of SD
· Pay annual SD fee, set by members (currently £100)
· Provide SD with updated society and board information annually
· Provide SD with a copy of up to date, recent accounts
· Submit annual return and accounts (AR30) to FCA
· Pay annual FCA fee
In submitting your AR30 to the FCA you are essentially confirming that you are meeting these minimum requirements for operation.
· Independent examination of annual accounts
· Holding an AGM
· Holding Society board elections
· Holding members register with an appropriate backup
Just to reiterate we know that simply meeting those obligations can be a real challenge for some. However, we also think that there are other activities that aren’t expected by the FCA which our members and others might expect to happen. If there are, then how these are measured and used needs further discussion with the membership too.
An accreditation mark would not mean any changes to the voting rights of SD members, merely provide a visible acknowledgement of the society operating at a level considered to be best practice.
A link to our consultation survey on a potential standard mark has been sent to all member primary contacts, chairs and secretaries.
If your organisation has not received the link please contact Network Manager Nicola Hudson on firstname.lastname@example.org