The purpose of TBF is to relieve in cases of need, hardship or distress beneficiaries and their dependants. The term beneficiary is defined in the Constitution but, in brief, it means a person who is (or was) employed in any way in any business concerned wholly or partly with the provision of public transport either within or to or from any part of Great Britain.
The TBF charity was first established under a Declaration of Trust dated August 27, 1996, on which date it was registered as a charity. It had the legal status of an unincorporated association. TBF’s roots go back to the First World War when, in order to supplement the income of the dependants of those called to service with the armed forces, the Train, Omnibus and Tramway Group of London passenger transport companies set up the T.O.T. Mutual Aid Fund. Subscriptions were paid on a voluntary basis and were matched penny for penny by the participating companies. This enabled the service pay of employees to be supplemented so their families would not suffer undue hardship. Special help was also provided to relieve domestic difficulties and to offer medical and legal advice.
The activities of the Fund were so successful that the T.O.T. Group (by then consisting of 12 public transport and associated companies) entered into a Declaration of Trust, the result of which was the formation of the Train, Omnibus and Tramway Benevolent Fund on January 1, 1923. Ten years later the T.O.T. Group and other undertakings were amalgamated to form the London Passenger Transport Board (‘London Transport’) and the name of the Fund was changed to the London Transport Benevolent Fund.
In January 1990, as a result of the fragmentation of London Transport, a new Deed was adopted through which was formed the Transport Benevolent Fund (Registered Charity No 1002586). The transfer of assets from the London Transport Benevolent Fund to the Transport Benevolent Fund was not successfully achieved, and the Transport Benevolent Fund charity (Registered Charity No 1058032) was established to take over the assets of the earlier one of the same name and (insofar as they had not been transferred earlier) those of the London Transport Benevolent Fund.
The transfer took place in accordance with a Charity Commissioners’ Scheme of December 19, 1996, together with the transfer of the assets of the associated London Transport War Comforts Fund Association. This charity had been established on November 29, 1939 to provide relief for London Transport staff while on active service as well as their families, or following death or disablement as a result of the Second World War or any extension of it. At the time of transfer to the new charity, this charity still provided relief to eleven widows whose husbands had been killed either while on service or in air raids, all of whom have since passed away.
Under the Charities Act 2006 a new legal structure, Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), has been introduced which intended extensively for registered charities wishing to enjoy the benefits of incorporation without dual regulation applicable to limited companies.
In February 2014, the TBF Board of Trustees agreed the unincorporated charity apply to the Charity Commission to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
One difference between an unincorporated charity and a CIO is the Trustees of an unincorporated charity do not have limited liability, as the unincorporated charity is not a legal entity. This means the Trustees of an unincorporated charity are liable, not the charity itself, whereas a CIO has its own legal identity giving the Trustees limited liability.
The Charity Commission accepted the Fund’s application to become a CIO. The new Transport Benevolent Fund CIO, known as TBF, is a registered charity in England and Wales, 1160901, was registered with the Charity Commission on the March 16, 2015. All assets from the unincorporated charity transferred to the new Transport Benevolent Fund CIO on the October 1, 2015. This is when the charity started operating as the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
On the 25 November 2016 the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) approved the Transport Benevolent Fund CIO’s charity status in Scotland, Scottish Charity Registration Number SCO47016.