A Message from the Chairman!

Although 2020 has been a washout in terms of physical meetings, a quick review highlights that some very important work has been going on unseen in the background. Changes to the accreditation scheme and membership structure have been rigorously reviewed and developed into a form which I explain later in this newsletter, and are ready for implementation. A new advisory service is in place, the move to charitable status is under way, and a new standard contract is in draft form.

A New Model Contract

The present IBO model contract has served its purpose for many years. Increasingly though, larger clients, and especially those responsible for public works with the backing of a legal team, have dismissed it as being too rudimentary and one-sided in favour of the organ builder. Often a standard form of civil works contract is substituted which, from the organ builder’s perspective, can feel equally one-sided and unsuited to the special needs of organ building.

We have been urged by independent organ advisors to produce a new bespoke model contract that is more comprehensive and equitable for both parties. That is now in draft form and is being developed by a working group drawn from the firms most likely to have encountered these problems. The plan, for the present at least, is to retain the existing IBO contract as an alternative for simpler and smaller contracts.

Change to Charitable Status

The application to become a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) now rests with the Charity Commission. A copy of the proposed constitution is now available in the professional members’ area of the website for perusal (although it should be remembered that this may yet be subject to amendment by the Charity Commission). Doug Levey has completed some 30 pages of the application and has provided the following insight into how it will affect us.

One of the things that may be most apparent is the change in some terminologies, primarily driven by the need for the organisation to embrace a ‘public benefit’ alongside its traditional objectives. In reality this is simply a focus on the wider consequences of the services the IBO aims to provide. But this wider perspective allows the organisation some key financial benefits in pursuing its aims. The potential for charitable donations from donors sympathetic — but not necessarily related — to the arts, education or skills means that there may be wider funding opportunities than from membership alone. Certainly, it is expected that Gift Aid can be applied to qualifying income, increasing the value by 25% and adjusting the footing from which the IBO engages with other parties. There are certain other tax advantages that may be pursued, including the possibility for professional members to seek some relief on their membership and sponsorship.

The belief is that the formal requirements of charitable status will be less onerous in some areas, reducing costs. The change will see Board members becoming trustees (instead of directors) with limited liability for their period of office. Their decisions and conduct will necessarily be less parochial, must remain assuredly transparent and be part of a national framework. Of the two models of CIO available, the IBO will adopt the Association model whereby the charity will retain voting rights for members in much the same manner as currently, with little or no apparent change.

Andrew Scott - Chair