Author Topic: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution  (Read 5480 times)

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2021, 08:59:17 am »
Democratic, I'm guessing, rather than demographic.

If the former then perhaps it's worth pointing out that the BCA and its structure cannot impose any controls over regional councils as there are no powers to do so whatsoever; thus it stands that although regional councils may be in receipt of funding (that is v different from being a BCA funded organisation, btw) e.g. for conservation projects etc., there is no associated presumption that such an arrangement enables or provides BCA to have a say so in how a regional council organises its affairs. Any such linkage is imaginary.

Unless I am perhaps misreading the situation. Happy to be corrected.

I think that's broadly accurate? Whether it _should_ be like that or not, of course, is a decisions for the membership (insofar as BCA is concerned).

The BCA's elected representatives have very few levers to influence the regional councils (should they wish to do so); theoretically regional councils could be expelled from BCA membership but that seems extremely unlikely under any reasonable circumstance, and isn't a realistic option. Otherwise Section 10.1 forbids 'interference' - which is not clearly defined. How much does this limit the BCA - can they hold an opinion, or an investigation? Would failing to fund a regional council's project (even if opposed by all the other regional councils and national bodies and therefore rejected by the C&A committee) constitute 'interference' (probably not, I would guess)? This is a somewhat open question.

The only thing the BCA can directly control, without significant change, is the funding, and currently the system is set up to ensure that all reasonable regional council expenditure will be reimbursed.

I think the reliance on BCA funds varies by regional councils; some have some limited funding of their own, some gain have gained external funding for various projects, some are wholly dependent on BCA funding; but in the main, the regional councils are fully funded by the BCA including their administration costs. The National Bodies do not receive funding from the BCA in the same way, although there are cases where particular projects are funded. In some cases, 'BCA funded' is not entirely inaccurate.

The BCA has the largest democratic mandate of any caving body in the UK, with full individual member representation for every member caver and mine explorer. I believe all member bodies are nominally democratic but who are permitted to be members varies considerably across all caving bodies. I have always thought it odd that a DIM caver has (in most regions) essentially no voting representation in the most important work the BCA does - access and conservation - since this is devolved to the regional councils, despite their membership funds being used to pay for this work.

Other people see this as a good thing - a strong statement of devolved autonomy that allows the regional councils to do pretty much whatever they want in their region and get (relatively) guaranteed BCA member money to spend doing it.

I am Welsh, and a strong believer in Welsh devolution. I am happy that my home country has the power to make and pass laws independently of Westminster to better represent the needs of the country but also - and arguably more importantly - the democratic desires of the Welsh population. That autonomy comes with responsibility - not the Westminster-appointed 'Welsh Office' of the past, but now the fully-elected Senedd who can be held accountable by Welsh voters. I am pleased the the system used to elect Members of the Senedd is, although not perfect, much better than First Past the Post :)

I don't want to see less autonomy in the BCA - but I am a big believer in democracy, local representation and - crucially - accountability. I think the BCA has made big strides towards better democracy in the relatively short time I have been a member; I think this is fantastic, and I would love to see it continue throughout caving.

But I don't know what all the answers are :)

Online Badlad

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2021, 09:40:35 am »
Good points there Andrew.

I would agree that the BCA cannot tell any of its constituent bodies what to do, regional council, ACB or otherwise but it can limit funding and decide not to fund some projects at all.  It is always going to be best to seek a consensual approach but what if a body just refuses to accept the democratic (yes i did mean that in my previous post, sorry) mandate of the BCA?  What if an ACB refused to allow access to all BCA members (it can happen) surely the BCA can refuse to fund that body.  In coming to that decision I'd like to think the BCA could make some investigation of the reasons directly itself and that may be interpreted as interference.

I would suggest that the new 10.1 needs to allow BCA to make it's own investigation into any situation where a council, organisation or group have failed or refuse to accept the democratic mandate of the wider national organisation and report to council.  In addition I would look to sporting umbrella organisations to identify relevant and appropriate disciplinary procedures.  Most other sporting orgs will be way ahead of BCA on this.  Engage outside the BCA bubble is my advice.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2021, 09:11:37 pm »
In my official BCA capacity:
The page detailing the membership and the internal reports are available
https://british-caving.org.uk/about-bca/working-groups/constitution-operations-group/

As a member of this forum, and not the view of the BCA, P&I etc: I've not changed my view since I last waded in on this subject:
https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=25509.0
(note 11.1 is now 10.1)
I also don't want to raise the CCC issue but this is how it has been used in the recent past.

Quote
"That the Youth and Development exceeded its remit by interfering in the affairs of a member
i.e The Charterhouse Caving Company in contravention of clause 11.1 of the BCA
Constitution.
The Acting Secretaries report (page 5 of the draft minutes) outlines clause 11.1 and the paragraph below noted that the BCA had been asked to intervene “on the basis that members are being discriminated against based on their age.” However, clause 11.1 clearly says that “The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a member (in this case The Charterhouse Caving Company) unless specifically requested to do so by that member.” Not, you will note, by any member."

'that member' rather than 'any member'.

This is irrelevant as we were 'interfering' on behalf of a BCA member who wanted to know why he could bottom the Berger but couldn't look round CCC caves.

Presumably this would set the precedent that if a club wishes to ban all members of an ethnic minority from joining, the BCA couldn't 'intervene' as the person being discriminated against is irrelevant if the other party is also a member of the BCA.

I look forward to the Klu Klux Klan Kaving Klub's membership of BCA.

Note that the status quo is that there was no overreach and the current default interpretation of 10.1 makes no distinction between 'that' and 'any'
We can just delete this thing without reprocussion, if you want to control how it 'interferes' that should be an operational not a constitutional matter.

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2021, 10:34:30 pm »
To put things more simply, the question is this:

Hypothetically, if a BCA member organisation decides to take control of access to a cave, but then unilaterally introduces unjustifiable access restrictions, should the BCA be impotent to investigate or intervene, just because the organisation in question is one of its members?

The current answer appears to be ‘yes’, but I’m not sure it should be.

On the flip side however, the BCA is an association aimed at representing cavers best interests nationally. It is not a governing body and makes no claims to be. Therefore, one would not expect the BCA to be interfering with the internal affairs or freedoms of its members.

Striking the balance between these two things in words that cannot be selectively interpreted to support an agenda is never going to be easy.

Perhaps the differentiation relates to how much those ‘internal affairs’ affect other BCA members; the emphasis therefore being on the ‘internal’ part.

Good luck to those involved in looking into this... an unenviable task!
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2021, 06:23:50 am »
On the flip side however, the BCA is an association aimed at representing cavers best interests nationally. It is not a governing body and makes no claims to be.

BCA is the National Governing Body* for Caving in the UK. The BCA Leadership Awards Scheme/Cave Instructor Certificate Award confirm this.

* Or maybe it's the QMC that is the NGB now. It would make better sense if it were.

Online Fjell

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2021, 06:54:05 am »
When you have cracked that we can send you over to Brussels to sort out EU/nation-state subsidiarity, fiscal transfers and tax harmonisation. Will be a breeze.

The period between about 1765 and 1798 in the US is always a useful primer for constitutional debate on separation of powers. Some very big brains exerted themselves in that period, if not without subsequent trauma. Strange parallels between Northern hedonism and Southern constraints. It must be the latitude.

Online Pegasus

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2021, 07:09:04 am »
  Most other sporting orgs will be way ahead of BCA on this.  Engage outside the BCA bubble is my advice.

Indeed

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2021, 08:59:36 am »
BCA is the National Governing Body* for Caving in the UK. The BCA Leadership Awards Scheme/Cave Instructor Certificate Award confirm this.

* Or maybe it's the QMC that is the NGB now. It would make better sense if it were.

I think the answer to this is 'governing what?' There's more to 'governance' than qualifications. Though defining it is tricky. Plus QMC is a division of BCA if that helps further complicate things.

Offline Alex

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2021, 09:07:48 am »
I finally looked at this as I must admit the topic subject really put me off being just legal jargon, I suspect a lot of younger members also just don't care when it's phrased the way it is. But now I have finally looked, I still don't understand what is being asked of me really or what this really means.

I can see it currently says:
Quote
"The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a Member unless specifically requested to do so by that Member. The Association shall not mediate between Members unless requested by them in writing to do so."

What does this actually mean, and why do I or should I care? If we removed this does that mean they can interfere with me (in what way exactly?). Can a more detailed explanation of what exactly this means and why it was added be presented by someone? Is it basically saying if you get into an argument with someone else who's a member it's nout to do with us?

I have basically put on the form it's too vague and needs more detail as to why it's needed.

P.s. If you want more engagement I would have titled the topic more descriptively such "policy on member interference" or something like that, rather than Section 10.1 which is meaningless to most people.

Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline mikem

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2021, 09:25:35 am »
At the time it was written there weren't any individual members, it was all the listed organisations joining together to form the national (NOT governing) body. They didn't forsee the way the BCA was going to evolve & didn't totally consider how to deal with the interests of one member (organisation) impacting on another. As was the way at that time every organisation only had a constitution & no operating procedures, so all the stuff  that should have been in latter went in the former, leaving either no latitude for interpretation, or too much. Most organisations have since either ignored clauses in their constitution whilst making decisions, or got caught out by, & had to change them (which can only be done at an AGM or EGM).

Online Pegasus

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2021, 09:31:27 am »
I finally looked at this as I must admit the topic subject really put me off being just legal jargon, I suspect a lot of younger members also just don't care when it's phrased the way it is. But now I have finally looked, I still don't understand what is being asked of me really or what this really means.

I can see it currently says:
Quote
"The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a Member unless specifically requested to do so by that Member. The Association shall not mediate between Members unless requested by them in writing to do so."

What does this actually mean, and why do I or should I care? If we removed this does that mean they can interfere with me (in what way exactly?). Can a more detailed explanation of what exactly this means and why it was added be presented by someone? Is it basically saying if you get into an argument with someone else who's a member it's nout to do with us?

I have basically put on the form it's too vague and needs more detail as to why it's needed.

P.s. If you want more engagement I would have titled the topic more descriptively such "policy on member interference" or something like that, rather than Section 10.1 which is meaningless to most people.

Well said Alex.

I do hope folks at BCA listen to this - clear, meaningful communication with cavers is key - on any subject.  I spend my working day 'translating' technical information from some very clever people into wording that hopefully customers will engage with.  If messages are too complex, wordy, boring or deemed irrelevant then you lose folk's interest - it's human nature and in these modern times the way of things - swipe, click, swipe.....

Online Fjell

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2021, 09:39:36 am »
The example given of an age restriction on access by a member body is an excellent example actually. If you can resolve that, you know the answer. It generates conflicting opinions, most of which have a valid basis.

The point is they are opinions. You need to decide if a majority of voters can impose their will on a minority. Or not. It is very likely if you go down the former route that some sub-organisations will consider a Brexit. The remaining people will have increased ideological purity, but the BCA will be smaller. It already doesn’t cover all cavers.

Offline mikem

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2021, 09:56:35 am »
& it already is a tiny organisation, which has many problems because it is so small (& some advantages).

I'm not sure a more descriptive title would have worked as it's too complex an issue to be summed up in 50 characters.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2021, 11:53:18 am »
The point is they are opinions. You need to decide if a majority of voters can impose their will on a minority. Or not.

This implies that we haven't already lost cavers fed up with a representative organisation with little power to implement anything. The will of the majority was to get third party indemnity insurance as a benefit of membership. The will of the majority is to fund youth and development and conservation. We've crossed the imposition unto the minority bit when BSA was set up let alone NCA or BCA. The argument is how far you take it.

I think extending the requirements of membership for access controlling bodies to have public meetings and publicly available minutes meets the criteria for 'imposing their will' but would actually strengthen autonomy as it gives those organisations easier accountability to the cavers trying to access the caves.

It's not about ideological purity, it's about creating the space to have adult disagreements and support the community

Offline Alex

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2021, 12:35:52 pm »
Quote
I spend my working day 'translating' technical information from some very clever people into wording that hopefully customers will engage with.

Fancy having a go at a least hold agreement on house we are buying we have just been sent from 1896! lol?
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 12:55:07 pm by Alex »
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2021, 02:18:21 pm »
When we took that part of the text of the NCA constitution and revised it to use in what is now Section 10 of the BCA constitution, we were minded that sub section 10.2 gave BCA an explicit power to reprimand a member if it felt it was necessary, despite what sub section 10.1 said.  However what we did not consider was the detailed wording of 10.2, namely: Not withstanding Sub Section 10.1, any member deemed to be acting against the interests of the Association may be suspended and subsequently expelled from the Association.... only permitted BCA to effectively go the 'whole hog' and expel a member if found guilty.  If sub section 10.2 allowed for lesser penalties, then I suggest that would go a long way to resolving the problem.

I suggest the same observation also applies to sub section 10.3.

There was a lesser problem in that BCA never really got to grips with its processes for dealing with such situations and had several occasions when mutterings of formal legal action arose.  That is why the Manual of Operations is possibly more important since it is the place to cover such detailed matters to ensure fair play and a clear process.


Offline droid

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2021, 01:35:51 pm »
Is part of the 'problem' that some organisations don't think that BCA has any authority?

Are there any organisations (rather than individuals) that actually *need* BCA in order for it to function?

Or is BCA there simply to support itself....

I realise this is a bit simplistic but I'm having difficulty with what seems to be an awful lot of complication for such a tiny organisation...
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2021, 02:19:00 pm »
Are there any organisations (rather than individuals) that actually *need* BCA in order for it to function?
The vast majority (if not all) of the organisations require BCA membership in order to gain access BCA's insurance.  It was the failure of BCRA's insurance offering back in 2003 which gave the final push to the acceptance of creating BCA.  (DCA did carry on through 2004 with it's own insurance cover but came fully into BCA in 2005.)  It may be possible for an organisation to obtain its own cover but at a price.  (As it was put to me back in 2003, insurance brokers aren't interested in the task of finding an insurer for a specialist insurance if the premium was under £10,000.)

I will concede that all organisations don't need insurance to operate, but the individuals who do the work of the organisation would be mad to not have it to protect themselves if things go wrong.  I don't know of one caving related organisation which has £1,000,000  let alone £10,000,000 in resources to cover a potential claim.

Offline droid

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2021, 03:24:29 pm »
I can understand *individuals* needing BCA-mediated insurance, indeed I've long held it's the main reason people join. But for the BCA itself I'd have thought corporate insurance more appropriate.

So it doesn't really answer the question...

Reading my last post - delete the 'for it' in the second paragraph. Might make more sense then.... ::)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 03:40:29 pm by droid »
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Offline mikem

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2021, 04:30:43 pm »
They also cover huts, club committees, access groups & landowners with caves (to some extent).

Offline 2xw

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #45 on: May 13, 2021, 05:06:31 pm »
Is part of the 'problem' that some organisations don't think that BCA has any authority?

Are there any organisations (rather than individuals) that actually *need* BCA in order for it to function?

Or is BCA there simply to support itself....

I realise this is a bit simplistic but I'm having difficulty with what seems to be an awful lot of complication for such a tiny organisation...

Yes to first question and second.

I fail to see how most members, particularly the regional councils, would cover their own costs without central funding (without a significant drop in what they are currently achieving anyways) The CSCC has claimed about £15k just this year for cave entrances, and the CNCC has got sources of its own funding but not all of it. I don't know how it was funded before, or did they charge locals and spend less maybe?

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #46 on: May 13, 2021, 08:50:25 pm »
But for the BCA itself I'd have thought corporate insurance more appropriate.
Re an alternative of corporate insurance - we were not offered it as very few of the organisations who are members of the BCA are corporate bodies; only 3 spring to my mind but no doubt there are a few others.  The law on liability for an unincorporated body like clubs, RCCs and access groups /  access controlling bodies is simple, the liability falls on all of the individual members of that body. 

I fail to see how most members, particularly the regional councils, would cover their own costs without central funding (without a significant drop in what they are currently achieving anyways) .... I don't know how it was funded before, or did they charge locals and spend less maybe?
With respect to funding RCCs, before BCA they obtained their funding from their members who with the exception of DCA were clubs.  Part of the 'deal' setting up BCA was that clubs who were members of BCA could obtain access to all caves controlled by all the RCCs as a condition of BCA funding the RCCs directly. 

Slightly off topic but in setting up BCA, we drew up a budget which would covers a range of activities including things like a paper publication.  Regrettably that specific activity and several other activities never really came about.  We also had a goal of raising sufficient funds to cover one year's operating costs for BCA, plus the excess we had accepted under the insurance agreement.  As a consequence BCA rapidly increased its reserves.  BCA never trimmed back the membership fees so I think 2020 is the first year it actually managed to make a loss.  So BCA can afford to cover much larger costs that an RCC might ever have been able to do.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2021, 08:09:36 pm »
What is the closing date for the online consultation?

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2021, 08:49:20 pm »
What is the closing date for the online consultation?
From https://british-caving.org.uk/section-10-1-consultation/ "The consultation will be open for at least two weeks (at least until 21st May) but may remain open for longer. "

I can't recall when it opened but the date on the OP is May 6th.  HTH

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Consultation on Section 10.1 of the BCA Constitution
« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2021, 09:33:52 pm »
Quote
...but may remain open for longer.

I suppose it was really this that I was asking about. With a week to run, has a decision been made yet to keep it open longer or not?

 

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