UK Caving

ORGANISATIONS => BCA => Topic started by: Badlad on November 09, 2019, 09:45:57 am

Title: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 09, 2019, 09:45:57 am
I received my ballot by email and voted to support one member one vote and the introduction of on-line voting.  That's got to be the best future for BCA.

Congratulation to those BCA volunteers who have pulled the ballot together.  I understand it has been quite a lot of hard work behind the scenes.  The voting system worked flawlessly for me - well done.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: David Rose on November 09, 2019, 10:18:36 am
I just voted. The process took about two minutes. Excellent system. I assume it was Gary Douthwaite who set it up - and he deserves kudos. Great job.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 09, 2019, 10:19:29 am
Indeed it is Badlad and thanks for voting!

The email ballots went out yesterday (to around 4000+ of our members for who we have email addresses). The remaining members will receive a ballot letter by post although you will still be able to use the Ballot ID to vote using the simple and intuitive online system which was built bespoke for th British Caving Association.

The postal letters should be arriving by the middle of the week, thus allowing a one-month voting window (closes 13th December 23:59).

I find myself in a tricky situation with this ballot, as of course with this being my own proposal, I would love to campaign in favour, but equally, as BCA Secetary I need to maintain a reasonable distance from doing so. All I would say is to please take the time to review the changes. In a nutshell they would see the voting system changed to one-member-one-vote (rather than the current two-house system), and introduction of online voting for AGM proposals that currently go to the two house system, enabling all members to easily participate.

For me, this marks the start of some very important changes to the way the BCA democratically interacts with our members, but I appreciate that they are complex and extensive changes and some people will have concerns; so please review them carefully and participate in the ballot to ensure that whatever the outcome, it reflects the wishes of as many cavers as possible.

Matt Ewles
Secretary, BCA
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: JJ on November 09, 2019, 11:05:11 am
I have voted and would like to thank Matt and Gary for what appears to be an excellent online voting system.

I found it very quick and easy to use :) So find your email and vote....... it's considerably easier than the other one we should all be doing in December!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Bob Mehew on November 09, 2019, 11:15:44 am
I echo the point on ease of voting but would issue a warning that my email provider had decided the alert was junk email.  So if you have not got an email by now, check your junk mail box.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: JoW on November 09, 2019, 12:12:19 pm
Who do I contact if I have not received it? I had the previous test emails but don't seem to have the ballot!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: aricooperdavis on November 09, 2019, 02:43:21 pm
Who do I contact if I have not received it? I had the previous test emails but don't seem to have the ballot!

I think that should go to returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk (http://mailto:returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk).
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: not_a_climber on November 09, 2019, 02:53:17 pm
Will clubs receive a ballot in the post also?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: aricooperdavis on November 09, 2019, 04:43:48 pm
Will clubs receive a ballot in the post also?

Clubs will not receive ballots for their members (by email or by post); their members will be contacted individually using the contact details that the BCA has for them. Group representatives will receive their ballot by email, unless the BCA doesn't have an email for them, they specifically asked to receive them by post, or the test email bounced, in which case they'll receive them by post.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: paul on November 09, 2019, 05:08:58 pm
Yes, quick simple and easy to vote.   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian P on November 09, 2019, 06:14:57 pm
Excellent system.

The hardest bit is proving I’m “not a robot”. What defines a “hill” when asked to tick the pictures with a hill  :shrug:

Well done and thanks to all involved
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 09, 2019, 08:09:51 pm
I have had a couple of requests from people to explain what the vote is about... Having been out of the loop for the last month and a bit, is there a thread I can direct people to that debates the merits of the proposed constitutional changes (I tried searching for them but wasn't able to find anything!)

Very happy with the system though! Brilliantly easy to use.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: badger on November 09, 2019, 08:18:58 pm
without checking I would say that if you went to the draft bca agm minutes from june 2019 you will find the proposal in there, maybe. minutes can be found on the bca website
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: PeteHall on November 09, 2019, 09:11:39 pm
I have had a couple of requests from people to explain what the vote is about... Having been out of the loop for the last month and a bit, is there a thread I can direct people to that debates the merits of the proposed constitutional changes (I tried searching for them but wasn't able to find anything!)

Very happy with the system though! Brilliantly easy to use.

A simple way to explain it (in my mind at least), would be to ask yourself if the new online voting system is easier than driving half way across the country to the AGM to vote. If it is, then vote "yes"  as that's how future voting will work if the motion is passed.

To answer your question though, I think this topic probably covers it pretty well:
https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=24666.0 (https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=24666.0)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Cap'n Chris on November 10, 2019, 08:21:43 am
I have had a couple of requests from people to explain what the vote is about... Having been out of the loop for the last month and a bit, is there a thread I can direct people to that debates the merits of the proposed constitutional changes (I tried searching for them but wasn't able to find anything!)

Very happy with the system though! Brilliantly easy to use.

Another way of explaining it is to ask your enquirers whether they think they would prefer to have a voluntary representative putting forward their views on their behalf (assuming they actually do) or whether instead your enquirers would prefer to put forward their own views themselves. Two-way connection with its membership directly is surely an excellent thing.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: not_a_climber on November 10, 2019, 09:21:42 am
Will clubs receive a ballot in the post also?

Clubs will not receive ballots for their members (by email or by post); their members will be contacted individually using the contact details that the BCA has for them. Group representatives will receive their ballot by email, unless the BCA doesn't have an email for them, they specifically asked to receive them by post, or the test email bounced, in which case they'll receive them by post.

Hi Ari, I was meaning how does a club rep receive their vote. Looks like we need to get someone registered. Do we do this through BCA online as well, or is it too late npw? Sorry, my club haven't seen any info about how to go about it.

PS I used my individual vote yesterday and was chuffed by how simple and easy it was, and enjoyed how similar the new layout of the BCA website is to the .gov.uk website!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Robert Scott on November 10, 2019, 10:11:15 am
Received the email  on Friday evening during a club committee meeting. It only took moments to vote for the proposal. Far easier than dealing with paper. Well done, Gary and all involved.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: aricooperdavis on November 10, 2019, 11:24:43 am

Hi Ari, I was meaning how does a club rep receive their vote. Looks like we need to get someone registered.
Hi not_a_climber. No need to get anyone specifically registered - if your club is a BCA member club (i.e. on this list (https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:member_clubs)) then a ballot will go to the email or postal address that was given for the club on the membership form! If you have any more questions you could get in touch with the Membership Administrator (http://membership@british-caving.org.uk) who should be able to give you some specifics about your particular club :)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pete K on November 10, 2019, 11:29:24 am
I received an email for myself as an individual member and a separate email addressed to the club (with a different ID code) because I am the registered contact. The person who sends in your membership info each year to BCA will have got the voting email I imagine.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: badger on November 10, 2019, 11:31:28 am
club vote would go to probably secretary or membership secretary. I would say then depending on the size of the club is if they ask their members or the committee make a decision on behalf of there members
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 10, 2019, 11:41:52 am
Just to clarify a few questions that have been going around on here and elsewhere;

All BCA members (CIMs, DIMs and Groups, the latter including regional councils, consistuent bodies and clubs), have a vote in this ballot under the existing two-house voting system. The individual members (CIMs and DIMs) vote in the House of Individuals, and the Groups in the House of Groups, and both must pass for a vote to be successful. For non-constitution related proposals, this must achieve >50% in both houses, but as this relates to the constitution, it must achieve >70% in both houses... a difficult thing to achieve indeed!

I believe someone commented at the AGM this year that the two houses have never voted in opposite ways (I have not fact-checked this).

All BCA members have received a ballot. For Individuals (CIMs and DIMs), this will have come by email, if you have provided the BCA with your email address (about 4000-4500 of our members). If we do not have your email address it will come by post (about 2000+ members). Bear in mind that the BCA relies on YOU as a member to keep your contact details up to date; we can only go off the details we are provided either by yourself directly (DIMs) or by your club (CIMs).

Check your junk/spam email folders for the ballot; it is very hard to email 4000+ people without this getting marked as spam.

The postal ballot (which is more or less identical to the email text) will be arriving no later than the middle of this coming week, and will include a ballot ID in exactly the same way as the email does, and will allow use of the online system. The postal ballot also includes a voting slip which can be used to cast your ballot by return post (at your own expense for postage).

If you receive a postal ballot this means the BCA does not have your email address. PLEASE considering providing the BCA with your email address upon 2020 membership renewal; the cost of posting 2000+ ballots (some of them internationally) is high and ultimately comes out of our member's pockets, as well as wiping out over a week of work for our Membership Administrator who is already extremely busy.

For Groups, we have email contact details for all but a few, so most groups will receive an email with their ballot ID; typically this will come to the club Secretary or whoever manages the club's BCA membership. Make sure your club Secretary has checked their junk/spam folder! Group ballots will be addressed to the Group (e.g. Dear British Caving Club), whereas individual ballots will be addressed to a specific person (e.g. Dear Joe Bloggs). The text is also slightly different to indicate whether that ballot is for a group or an individual.

How a club uses its ballot (i.e. whether this is left to discretion of just a few people who run the club, or the entire club committee, or whether the club wishes to enlist feedback from its entire membership) is no business of the BCA.

In response to the question from Nearlywhite. The voting system does contain a summary message from BCA Executive which may help. Essentially, the constitutional changes put forward are intended to remove the current two-house voting system, and instead implement a one-individual member-one-vote system. All proposals at BCA AGMs that currently go to a two-house system would in future go to an online ballot using an online voting system similar to the one use in this ballot. There would no longer be a group vote. The current two-house system is so entangled into the constitution, that a large number of constitutional changes are needed to remove it and implement the alternative, hence the complexity. Read the proposal carefully!

Matt Ewles
BCA Secretary


Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: zomjon on November 10, 2019, 01:15:47 pm
Point of interest, I've had my email and have duly voted, but my lad, as a junior member - aged 12 - should he have had a vote?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 10, 2019, 02:50:38 pm
I tried to vote, having managed the trial runs successfully, but this time it wouldn't let me in.  (I'm sure this isn't a conspiracy - more likely to be my cock-up.)

So I have appealed to the returning officer for help and we'll see what happens now.

Must remind our Club Treasurer, who is our BCA Contact, to vote according to the Club's directions as agreed at our recent General Meeting, i.e. to remove the two-house voting system in favour of individual member ballot only.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 10, 2019, 03:14:53 pm
We have heard from a few people struggling to get into the online system although the vast majority seem to be finding it to work fine.

Our webmaster believes the issues may be due to people copy-pasting the ballot ID but accidently including a space at the start of their copy-paste. He made an amendment this morning that means the system should disregard any spaces put in by accident, so Jenny, can you please try again? Try both the manual typing and copy-paste approach.

Our Returning Officer will no doubt put your enquiry in the direction of our Webmaster if this doesn't work.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Madness on November 10, 2019, 03:53:21 pm
Just cast my vote. Very quick and easy.

Why can't all voting be this easy!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 10, 2019, 04:37:42 pm
We have heard from a few people struggling to get into the online system although the vast majority seem to be finding it to work fine.

Our webmaster believes the issues may be due to people copy-pasting the ballot ID but accidently including a space at the start of their copy-paste. He made an amendment this morning that means the system should disregard any spaces put in by accident, so Jenny, can you please try again? Try both the manual typing and copy-paste approach.

Our Returning Officer will no doubt put your enquiry in the direction of our Webmaster if this doesn't work.

Right, I tried again and it wouldn't let me in when I manually typed in the code (with no spaces) but DID let me in when I did a copy-and-paste.   So I have managed to cast my vote - thanks for the tip.   :)

Many thanks to all those involved in setting this up - must have taken loads of work so much appreciated.  Probabaly be easier next time we need to do it.

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 10, 2019, 04:38:24 pm
If you are undecided can you abstain?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 10, 2019, 04:39:36 pm
Must remind our Club Treasurer, who is our BCA Contact, to vote according to the Club's directions as agreed at our recent General Meeting, i.e. to remove the two-house voting system in favour of individual member ballot only.

Just done that too!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 10, 2019, 04:43:07 pm
If you are undecided can you abstain?

Don't see why not but it would be good to have a way of definitely registering an abstention to show that some didn't just ignore the vote but were genuinely undecided.  Note that, by standard convention, abstentions do not count when the votes are tallied, but it is worth while to know that there are people who were interested but undecided.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pete K on November 10, 2019, 05:25:56 pm
If you are undecided can you abstain?
Or even better, use the ample time between now and the end of the polling period to read up and arrive at a position which you are comfortable voting for.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 10, 2019, 06:47:56 pm
If the proposal doesn't get the 70% majority in both houses, where will that leave us?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: mrodoc on November 10, 2019, 07:11:57 pm
One man one vote.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Cap'n Chris on November 10, 2019, 07:16:20 pm
If the proposal doesn't get the 70% majority in both houses, where will that leave us?

I'd be amazed if it doesn't get 70% in both houses, unless, that is, one of the houses offers the views of cliques as though they are representative.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 10, 2019, 08:20:01 pm
I would plead that any club considering voting against this motion check their voting record at the BCA AGM. If, like most BCA clubs, they never turn up to the AGM (quite reasonably given distance many clubs would have to travel to listen to 6+ hours of arguing), then what are they really losing by voting in favour? But they are gaining massively increased access for their members to democracy by allowing online voting. There's more to an AGM than constitutional amendments, and currently those decisions are taken by a tiny minority.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 10, 2019, 08:30:49 pm
:
One man one vote.

Is that an answer to zomjon about his child?

Why can't online voting be for both the house of individuals and that of groups?  Is it just a simpler process for the vote counting? Or to avoid conflict?






Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: not_a_climber on November 10, 2019, 09:32:02 pm
Thanks for the help guys, will chase up our secretary.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 10, 2019, 09:37:34 pm
A few people have expressed concerns about having not received their ballot emails. Possible reasons:

(1) The BCA doesn't have your email address?

(2) It is in your spam/junk mail folder?

(3) A small proportion (a few percent) of the email ballots we sent out bounced back for a variety of reasons beyond our control, and all of those have been progressed to receive a postal ballot instead; which should come through at some point this coming week.

If we get into the w/c 18th November and you have received neither a postal or email ballot then please do get in touch and we will chase this up for you (returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk).
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: ahinde on November 11, 2019, 12:17:00 pm
At a recent BCA council meeting there was a debate introduced by the Insurance Manager about "associate member" clubs of BCA. ie small multi activity clubs who's members do not take BCA caver insurance. This arose because BCA insurance needs to be a membership benefit for all members to keep within the law. ( most of these cavers hold BCA insurance through another caving club anyway) The price to pay for this status was that these clubs would not have a vote in the house of groups. This ballot has the opportunity to equalise the democratic deficit suffered by associate member clubs by doing away with the house of groups.
On another matter, it would be a worrying situation if the house of groups vote did not mirror the view of the  individual members ( CIM and DIM ). The vote at the AGM in June suggested that this outcome is quite possible.
We have had previous posts on "how representative are your club officers". I suppose we shall know soon enough. I remain optimistic that cavers and their reps will do the right thing and vote for these proposals.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: NewStuff on November 11, 2019, 03:27:37 pm
On another matter, it would be a worrying situation if the house of groups vote did not mirror the view of the  individual members ( CIM and DIM ). The vote at the AGM in June suggested that this outcome is quite possible.

It's quite possible the individual members will vote one way, and the clubs another. I have no doubt there will be a few pig-headed people with responsibility for a clubs vote that don't care if members want to vote a certain way - They're voting the way they want to.

Should this happen, despite the stellar efforts of some, the BCA as we know it is not fit for purpose. No-one would have faith in the organisation after that, after all, what point is there in being a paying member of an organisation that lets a minority dictate? There would need to be a BCA 2.0, set up from the beginning with the members in mind, not pandering to the egotrips of a minority. Or nothing at all, and just go caving, which while ok for some (my club are fine with this), is obviously not ideal for all.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 11, 2019, 03:32:02 pm

(3) A small proportion (a few percent) of the email ballots we sent out bounced back for a variety of reasons beyond our control, and all of those have been progressed to receive a postal ballot instead; which should come through at some point this coming week.

Also just found hotmail likes to put it in their “clutter” folder.
 Worth looking there too.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: ahinde on November 11, 2019, 05:33:12 pm
I don't agree with New Stuff that a divergent vote would be an existential threat to BCA. On line voting for the AGM is a big step forward, even if it remains a painful and laborious 2 house system. This is though,our chance to support BCA and the new officers and members of Council who are putting in a huge effort to make BCA the credit to caving that it has strived for years to become.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 11, 2019, 07:06:28 pm
Please could someone point me to an explanation of why the BCA was setup with a two house membership setup?
The agenda/minutes mention the significant negatives of the setup, but no positives.  I wonder why it was initiated?

Is voting anonymous?

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: JJ on November 11, 2019, 07:50:15 pm
I too wondered if club voting was anonymous. I think club members should be able to find out which way their club voted.

When my MP votes as my elected representative the vote is recorded and I can find out which way he voted. I may not agree with his decision but the vote is public knowledge.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 11, 2019, 08:58:14 pm
Ian; I can't say that I fully understand why the system is the way it is (I believe it dates back to the formation of the BCA), but hopefully people such as Jenny, Bob and others will be watching this thread who will be able to explain ;D

JJ; The vote is of course anonymous so we cannot disclose which way each group voted (I personally do not have access to this data either; I am blinded to this), but hopefully club members should just be able to ask their Club Secretary for this information.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 11, 2019, 11:09:46 pm
I think it was actually the other way around, the house of clubs (groups) was there first and at the time it was a radical shift to allow individuals to be members directly. Bob posted the below on another thread approx 18months ago.

https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=23439.msg295281#msg295281 (https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=23439.msg295281#msg295281)
For what it is worth as one of the prime movers setting up BCA, I am of the opinion that its remit was restrained by the preceding NCA constitution.  The reason BCA was eventually set up was the termination of the insurance policy then run by BCRA and the consequential loss of access to caves where insurance was required.  We used that crisis to force BCA into existence by obtaining a new insurance deal but instead of being focused on clubs, it had to be focused on individuals.  (The legal set up meant we had to provide insurance as a membership benefit as we could not simply sell it.)  So the consequential major change between the NCA and BCA constitutions was the introduction of individual membership. (Oh and the elimination of the power of veto on any business by regional caving councils.) 

Keeping most of the NCA constitution kept the domination of the process of 'members tell clubs tell regional councils tell national council'.  We were also forced to accept a two house set up where by individuals and clubs houses separately vote on topics at general meetings. 

I agree the time has come to review that though I doubt if the current lock of a club vote will permit much change.  (Unless their members tell them to do so.)  And I am deeply pessimistic about breathing life into a new structure with the energy to do things.  I accept we made Council far too large so discussion is never ending and decision making rare.




And from what I know about the insurance policy, which may be wrong, is that it folded because of ramifications with selling insurance, ie you had to be registered with the financial conduct authority to be able to sell insurance [edit- to non members]. eg. at the bottom of this page the BMC is registered... https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/insurance/Default.aspx (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/insurance/Default.aspx)


[edit- thereby they had to have an organisation where individuals were directly members of the british caving association, so that they could give members free P/L insurance when they pay their membership]
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 11, 2019, 11:26:03 pm
and the dates of 1/1/2004 for the NCA-BCA change https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=legal_insurance:pl_insurance_faq

seem to tally with the financial services and markets act 2000 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_Services_and_Markets_Act_2000
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 12, 2019, 09:54:58 am
The last of the postal ballots went out yesterday I believe, so should hopefully be arriving tomorrow depending on the efficiency of the postal service.

Postal ballots have gone to everyone for who we do not have an email address (2000+ people), as well as all of those for who we received a bounce-back when we tried to send an email ballot (a few percent I believe). We are aware that the latter includes one person for all joint DIM members, where one person has received their ballot by email and the other is having to receive their ballot by post due to limitations of the email/membership system; apologies to all of our joint-DIM members that one of you is having to wait for a postal ballot... it is on the way!

The postal ballot will include a Ballot ID to allow use of the very efficient online system :)

If by next Monday (18th November) you have received neither a ballot email (please check your spam folder) OR a postal ballot, please email our Returning Officer (returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk) so we can investigate this as quickly as possible and ensure we get your ballot to you.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: NewStuff on November 12, 2019, 07:29:41 pm
I don't agree with New Stuff that a divergent vote would be an existential threat to BCA. On line voting for the AGM is a big step forward, even if it remains a painful and laborious 2 house system. This is though,our chance to support BCA and the new officers and members of Council who are putting in a huge effort to make BCA the credit to caving that it has strived for years to become.

I have no issue in celebrating that certain people put a huge effort in, I talked to several at Hidden Earth, I'm very aware of how much of work goes into it. But why on earth would you want to support something where a few individuals are obviously subverting the will of the individual members?

In this scenario, it's highly likely that you have club reps voting in a political way in an effort to stick it to the people trying to change things for the better, and having success in doing that. They have no interest in making the BCA better for it's members, or more efficient. The system is broken in that they can both do that, and prevent you from changing the system. It's a fundamental flaw in the plan. If the people insistent on jamming rods into the cogs of the BCA will not stop, then they need to be removed. If they cannnot be removed, then maybe something needs to be set up so they can't do this sort of thing in the future. If that means a BCA 2.0, then so be it. I sincerely hope it doesn't come to it, but I think obvious political shenanigans at the expense of the mjority of members will be the final straw for a lot of people.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: ChrisJC on November 12, 2019, 07:41:39 pm
I received my ballot paper, but it is addressed to Katryn Munro. My name is Chris Cowdery.

Should I disregard it?

Chris.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 12, 2019, 08:05:10 pm
Hi Chris; we will investigate this for you.

I know lots of people have been in touch today to say their postal ballot arrived no problem, so hopefully an isolated matter. Anyone else with issues, please email returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Adams on November 12, 2019, 10:13:30 pm
... The vote is of course anonymous so we cannot disclose which way each group voted ........ but hopefully club members should just be able to ask their Club Secretary for this information.


I would hope (and expect) that the members of a club instruct the secretary how to vote with the "club" vote and not vice-versa. Certainly it is the members of the club of which I am a member that are making that decision.

Good job with the ballot and thanks for your efforts  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 13, 2019, 10:01:34 am
Seems like they think you’ve bagged a Munro.

I received my ballot paper, but it is addressed to Katryn Munro. My name is Chris Cowdery.
Should I disregard it?
Chris.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pegasus on November 13, 2019, 12:25:12 pm
Tim got to vote online, I had to wait for a postal vote (as we're joint members) which arrived yesterday.

Voted online today, simple and straight forward.

Voted in favour.  Hope you do too - 'one caver, one vote'  ;D
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 13, 2019, 12:54:55 pm
Please could someone point me to an explanation of why the BCA was setup with a two house membership setup?
The agenda/minutes mention the significant negatives of the setup, but no positives.  I wonder why it was initiated?


In the very early days of NCA there was NO club vote at all, voting was limited to the "constituent bodies" (who were each allowed 4 reps.) and all regional councils had to have at least 2 reps. out of their 4 present, otherwise the meeting was inquorate.  A regular threat from some was that their reps. would walk out and leave the meeting inquorate.  Also, if any two  of the 4 regional council reps. voted against a proposal, this was an automatic veto.  (This led to one occasion when no-one dared vote against a particular proposal and risk vetoing it, so the motion was passed with 3 votes for, none against and 19 abstentions!)

Some of us fought long and hard for clubs to be allowed to vote and eventually managed it by posting round our own unofficial ballot paper to a sample of 3000 individual cavers from what we hoped was a representative sample of clubs around GB.  Despite heavy pressure from some regions, we got back 1000 responses (a 30% return!) and there was a massive individual vote of around 80% in favour of clubs being allowed to have a vote.  There wasn't the mechanism at the time to enable us to have individual members - that didn't happen until the insurance was sorted by BCA in 2004 - but it was the first crack in the armour of those who felt they had a divine right to tell their members how they should think.  It is all written up in an issue of DESCENT in 1992 - all about the "Gang of Thirteen" who organised the poll.

The Two-house setup was a hangover from the time when only clubs and constituent bodies were allowed to vote, prior to 2004.  It was felt that we couldn't disenfranchise the clubs and constituent bodies straight away so the Two-house system was devised.  IMHO it's now been demonstrated that we are able to conduct a ballot of all our individual members so we can move on and the Two-house system is no longer needed.

If you want democracy, you have to be prepared to fight for it and it sometimes takes a bit longer than you'd like. ;)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 13, 2019, 01:26:14 pm
Thank you Jenny  :thumbsup:

So Clubs getting a vote was more democratic than what was before and now individual members voting would be more democratic than what is before.

Another question.  What does the constitution say about quoracy (I can't see anything)? I would assume online voting after the meeting will make attendance on the day less appealing? And then will there be a level of turnout required for a vote (other than majority of voters or 70% for constitution changes)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 13, 2019, 01:38:58 pm
Guess maybe we'd better see what the constitution looks like after this ballot is finished before we start worrying about what constitutes a quorum!

I don't think the BCA Constitution ever mentions it, though I could be wrong.  The original NCA one certainly did.

Personally, I'd hate to think that we ever got to the stage where no-one ever wanted to discuss anything face to face at an AGM and we just sent out ballots devised by the Executive on proposals put forward by Council.  I think Andy Eavis' idea of making the BCA AGM weekend a "Party Weekend" with plenty going on to attract people to the venue to go caving, attend field trips, watch films, enjoy a stomp, etc. plus a friendly and constructive AGM is the way to go. 
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 13, 2019, 03:06:36 pm
Another question.  What does the constitution say about quoracy (I can't see anything)? I would assume online voting after the meeting will make attendance on the day less appealing? And then will there be a level of turnout required for a vote (other than majority of voters or 70% for constitution changes)

I was surprised to find 8.6:

'8.6. The quorum for any General Meeting shall be 10 members, of which at least 5 persons eligible to vote in each House shall be present. No one person may represent more than one group member'

I don't think we'll fail to meet quorum even with votes taking place remotely.

If the vote passes then it will be simplified to 10 members btw.

I don't think the idea of a party weekend is antagonistic to this. More members actually voting for people that represent them on BCA is likely to make these events more popular rather than less.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: royfellows on November 13, 2019, 03:15:23 pm
Just for the record, I voted in favour.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 13, 2019, 04:29:17 pm
I would appeal to all cavers to email all of your clubs and encourage them to vote in favour. It is likely to be the club vote that is more important here. I know the CSCC has given an recommendation against it (which I have argued against at length on other fora); I don't know if the other regional councils have given a recommendation. I was unable to convince one of my clubs to vote for the motion, but it was still worth the effort.

I would strongly recommend that you vote in favour!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 13, 2019, 04:43:35 pm
That's the trouble with democracy. Not everyone agrees with you.... ;D
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 13, 2019, 04:57:37 pm
Hi Andrew, would you be able to expand on the reason why your clubs / cscc are voting against it?

Thank you nearlywhite, I didn't look hard enough!  So yes the quorum of a general meeting is proposed as 10 voting members (plus non-voting chair and recorder).









Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: 2xw on November 13, 2019, 05:14:49 pm
Hi Andrew, would you be able to expand on the reason why your clubs / cscc are voting against it?

Their primary arguments are probably summarised in the article written on Darkness Below, and then the following facebook arguments by Burgess et al. They say that clubs will lose their vote and become second class members, and that individuals will vote based on their own needs rather than their clubs which is a negative. They also make the point that decisions are not made on the day of the AGM but rather afterwards.

Additionally, the CSCC often finds itself as the rebel opposed to any changes and benefits from exerting control larger than it would otherwise have (My personal opinion, and one I don't think it is unfair to say, is that given the makeup of its current committee it is far more extreme in its conservatism than the general Mendip population).
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Cap'n Chris on November 13, 2019, 05:27:21 pm
CSCC seem concerned enough to write that the ballot could lead to "a shift away from a representative democracy to a direct democracy" and that "most would prefer to just go caving and leave the politics to their elected representatives".

Representatives representing who? There's an interesting conundrum right there. I don't recall EVER being approached by any club or regional council representative for any view on any topic so my hunch/suspicion is that the term "representative" is a downright disingenuous piece of flim-flam. And I am choosing my words very carefully and not going for the preferred top shelf adjectives which first spring to mind.

CSCC's missive here: http://cscc.org.uk/wiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?id=documents%3Astart&cache=cache&media=documents:cscc_2019.09.14_cscc_ballot_summary_151019_final.pdf
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: badger on November 13, 2019, 09:30:14 pm
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: PeteHall on November 13, 2019, 09:44:16 pm
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,

Ditto

Cheddar Caving Club is debating over the email group and will agree the vote at the upcoming AGM. I have absolute confidence that the representative will vote as instructed by the club.

Wessex Cave Club, I've heard nothing on the email or Facebook group, but having not personally been to the AGM or other committee meetings, I don't know that it hasn't been debated among the membership to reach a democratic decision. Perhaps I should ask the question...

The ChCC is generally quite progressive in its views and has for example supported the CRoW ballot, so I'm hopeful that we will support the proposed changes, but at least if we don't, it will be democratically decided.

I doubt the WCC will support the motion, but I may be wrong.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: David Rose on November 13, 2019, 10:23:35 pm
Here is a quote from the CSCC recommendation:

"The CSCC is once again accused of being negative and resisting change, we do not see it that
way, we are working to ensure the continuation of British Caving as we know it and not to
promote some hidden agenda where individuals rule the roost and access and insurance
could be used to force cavers to toe the party line."

Can anyone tell me - is there a hidden link between the CSCC and the Democratic Unionist Party? Because both seem to say no an awful lot, and the reasons just don't make sense.

Please explain CSCC - WTF do you mean that "insurance could be used to force cavers to toe the party line"?  In the real world? On what? And how?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Cavematt on November 13, 2019, 10:38:09 pm
Speaking as the original proposer (and without my BCA Secretary hat on) I really feel I need to comment on some aspects of the CSCC document that Cap'n Chris has posted a link to.

Firstly, the text may be taken to imply that these proposals are changing representation on BCA Council which is not the case. The proposals I have put forward serve ONLY to remove the group vote for AGM matters, thus making AGMs a one-individual-one-vote democracy. BCA Council, who essentially run the annual functions of the BCA between AGMs, will still have a voting position for each regional council, each constituent body, and four representatives of group members. This will not change, and this represents a considerable input into BCA democracy.

Secondly, there is nothing in these constitutional changes that create any “move to an organisation of individual members” as implied in the CSCC document. There are no changes to our overall membership structure (CIMs, DIMs, Clubs) within the constitutional amendments. I will be absolutely transparant that I think this is something to consider in the future, but it is not related to these current proposals.

I do not fully understand the concerns of the CSCC about an “organisation dominated by individuals”. Surely clubs are comprised of those very same individuals? This is not a concern that I share.

There is no intention in any of the proposals to undermine clubs; I am a club caver, having started my caving life with a university club and then having gone on to set up a new non-student club in a city where there wasn’t one... a club that I have worked hard to grow from it’s original four founder members to an active membership of 30 people today. I am also an active member of a well-established Dales club. Caving clubs are hardwired into my life.

The CSCC are correct that the proposed changes did pass at the AGM by only a narrow margin; although it is worth reminding everyone that the requirements for constitutional amendments to pass is 70%, so although it was a narrow margin, it was still a strong majority.

The CSCC are worried that these changes put a responsibility on the individual caver to engage with and understand BCA matters and issues, which they believe many cavers do not want to do. They may be right. It is worth remembering however that there is nothing new in asking individuals to vote on BCA matters; About 6500 individuals have a vote in this ballot.

Furthermore, the removal of a club’s vote does not stop that club keeping their members informed of the ballot, issuing advice, interpreting it for them (as the CSCC have done here) and even lobbying them to vote in a specific way. In doing this, the club’s influence on BCA democracy becomes directly proportional to their number of members they can lobby (unlike the current system where a club of 4 members has the same vote as a club of 200 members). Given that I believe some of the UK’s largest clubs are in Mendip, I would have thought the CSCC would have nothing to fear from these changes, as it would proportionally strengthen the voice of their clubs.

Overall, I think this letter from the CSCC is well argued (even if I disagree with those arguements), although perhaps a little bit over-dramatic in a few places. They are within their right to issue this and I do appreciate them presenting the alternative viewpoint for voters to consider (as several people have asked). I also greatly appreciate that the CSCC is promoting the ballot and encouraging people to vote whatever their view, as a high turnout would be good.

As for the scaremongering tripe that has been written on Darkness below... I think this 'news' website has done a fine job at showing its true colours.

Matt Ewles
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: PeteHall on November 13, 2019, 10:53:00 pm
Wessex Cave Club, I've heard nothing on the email or Facebook group, but having not personally been to the AGM or other committee meetings, I don't know that it hasn't been debated among the membership to reach a democratic decision. Perhaps I should ask the question...

Just to clarify having now asked the question. The Recent Wessex AGM were overwhelmingly of one opinion on this, so the committee decided to vote in line with that opinion. This seems a pretty reasonable approach for a large club and the result reflects the views of those who could be arsed to express them.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 13, 2019, 11:02:41 pm
Thank you Cap'n.  I fully understand the cscc view that clubs have formed the backbone of British caving and the rise of the individual caver is a fairly modern occurrence.  Clubs are able to represent a cross section of cavers and form a powerful part of the dissemination line from Bca to caver, be that safety updates, access, insurance and the such like.  The experience within the club rep position is hard to build up, cavers who have been involved for years willing to volunteer knowledge and skills for the better of caving is brilliant.

With that in mind I voted in favour.

I see two questions

 online voting?  = yes please

I will not go to an agm.  I would vote online.

Remove the two houses? = yes please

It is too complicated and I think wrong at the unlikely extreme ends.

Imagine èvery single member turned up to the AGM.  You would have a vote of the entire membership worth the same as a vote of organisations often meant to represent it's members and the reps of which voted in the individual house already.

Then imagine 5 club reps turned up to the agm.  They are 5 individual members and so hold a quorate vote in both houses. So we could have national policy decided by 5 people

Those cavers who trust their reps to represent won't vote and the reps will, so they are still trusting their reps to vote.

Anyone who wants to vote, but doesn't want to give an email address to BCA can still travel to the agm to have their say.

As BCA Sec suggests in the proposal, club/group caving is not being accused of accidental false representation,  but the method now exists where the BCA doesn't need a club to ask its members for opinion, it can ask them directly, surely that is more efficient and accurate.

Many thanks to all who helped me arrrive at my decision,
especially UkC  :thumbsup:




Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: MJenkinson on November 14, 2019, 09:22:38 am
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,

If nothing else this whole debate has sparked off something in one of my clubs (RRCPC) who have sent an email and FB group message to a poll for all members. Now of course that doesn't mean that "everyone" will see this but it's a good start and well done to Andy for setting it up.  Not sure I have ever seen anything done like that before in the club, so a proper step to making the club vote representative.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 09:34:15 am
We now have a good example of one of the reasons some are against Individual electronic voting.

The Wessex posted everyone a AGM handbook describing the proposal and how the club would arrive at its position on it. All people had to do was read the handbook to know what was happening. Yet here we are with members saying they didn't know how the decision was made and how they could have influenced it.

Its a bit odd that club members have to use UKcaving to find out how their club works rather than read the documents sent to them by the club.

Bearing in mind people obviously don't read the supporting information how can they make an informed decision?

Perhaps they will just be influenced by the shoutiest people on UKcaving? forgetting that by definition UKcaving is a self selecting minority of cavers. People who don't agree with the shouty people don't bother posting, why would they bother coming here to get put down and insulted when they can go down the pub with their mates for that sort of thing.

On the matter of insurance being used to manipulate cavers. Insurance is used to manipulate cavers into joining BCA, You must have insurance to join Wessex Caving Club so you must join the BCA. The Wessex has 200-300 members so accounting for nearly 5%of BCA membership. You have to wonder how many of these would be members given a choice? I rekon 50% at most.

It seems a lot of cavers are happy to give the 2 minutes needed to vote either electronically, or by post, from home, but not the 20 minutes required to read supporting information and form an informed view. I'm not sure occasionally reading a couple of posts in a 300+ thread on a subject actually helps form a reasoned opinion on anything.

The most worrying thing is not that some people disagree with these views but can't understand them or respect people who hold them.

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 14, 2019, 12:24:03 pm
A Derbyshire based club has internally voted twice on this and both with the same outcome, (1st for BCA Agm) the second time we voted was in October and that was to ensure that the DCA was informed of our wishes.

But then our club is set up primarily to allow the members to make decisions.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 12:33:04 pm
Our club is primarily set up to go caveing. Getting involved in decision making is optional.

Each to there own.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BradW on November 14, 2019, 01:10:25 pm
If a club member is unhappy about the decisions their committee take, the way their club makes decisions, or how it consults its members, then that person is free to leave and find a club more suited to them. This is how it should be, and not "fixed" by the BCA and it's new voting proposal. The freedom to leave and join clubs is the best way for people to find the club environment that suits them best. Ultimately they are free to set up their own club as NewStuff did.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 14, 2019, 01:44:47 pm
One member one vote is not a new idea.  Most people will be familiar with the principle.   Electronic / on-line voting for members, rather than having to travel the country to vote at a meeting, is also quite understandable.  On top of these basic principles is the idea that this is part of a modernisation of BCA - also something members can choose to support or not.  You can support the general principles (or not) without having to read the exact changes which have to be made to the constitution for the principles to be enacted.

If the national ballot follows the ballot at the AGM, results could be very close indeed.  The house of individuals voted overwhelmingly for, but the house of groups was very tight and only just got over the 70% required by a point.  If the ballot fails on the vote of the groups by a significant amount what does that show?  Questions will surely be asked whether the groups are truly representative of their members.  I hope support for the changes will win out but we shall see.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 01:50:50 pm
One person one vote on specific proposals is indeed  not a new idea. Most people are aware of the concept and it's possible outcomes.

I think traditionally they are called referendums. What could possibly go wrong?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Tseralo on November 14, 2019, 02:18:25 pm
If a club member is unhappy about the decisions their committee take, the way their club makes decisions, or how it consults its members, then that person is free to leave and find a club more suited to them. This is how it should be, and not "fixed" by the BCA and it's new voting proposal. The freedom to leave and join clubs is the best way for people to find the club environment that suits them best. Ultimately they are free to set up their own club as NewStuff did.

And herin lies the problem. A small group of people that are upset with the way a large club is voting can start their own and have the same effective voting power as a club like the Wessex with 300 members. How is that fair?

A 3 person club haves the same voting power as a 300 person club!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 02:32:16 pm
The Wessex is voting to keep the 2 house system, so probably not the best example to use as an argument against it.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Tseralo on November 14, 2019, 02:45:46 pm
Then use the TSG at 75 members its an example, the point still stands!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 02:58:21 pm
I do agree that the current system is far from perfect.

The new system as currently proposed with each member having an electronic vote on each proposal is just a series of referendums. The proposal to be voted on will be fixed and not open to clarification or amendment. The real power will then lie with the group of people who decide what the proposals are and how they are worded. Is this any fairer?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BradW on November 14, 2019, 03:16:05 pm
I do agree that the current system is far from perfect.

The new system as currently proposed with each member having an electronic vote on each proposal is just a series of referendums. The proposal to be voted on will be fixed and not open to clarification or amendment. The real power will then lie with the group of people who decide what the proposals are and how they are worded. Is this any fairer?
A vote against will send a strong message that the proposal, whatever its merits may be, must be improved before reconsideration.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 14, 2019, 03:39:04 pm
Hold a poll on UKC to decide the refer.... sorry....ballot options?

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 14, 2019, 03:51:58 pm
Don't forget that it is intended that only proposals which have been discussed by BCA Council and put to an AGM for consideration will be the subject of an individual member ballot.  So there should be due consideration of the issue before it ever gets as far as being put to a ballot.

It shouldn't be like the Brexit referendum, where the question appears to have been put in a badly worded manner without proper discussion at a parliamentary level before sending it out to the public.  I'd hope BCA can do rather better than that.

BCA Council will still consist of representatives of the various constituent bodies, including regional councils, as well as club and individual member representatives.  So all the specific interests should be able to have their say on how any proposal may affect them and be able to modify any proposal before it goes to a general ballot.  At least, I hope that's how it would work - we'll have to see.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: MarkS on November 14, 2019, 03:55:31 pm
I do agree that the current system is far from perfect.

The new system as currently proposed with each member having an electronic vote on each proposal is just a series of referendums. The proposal to be voted on will be fixed and not open to clarification or amendment. The real power will then lie with the group of people who decide what the proposals are and how they are worded. Is this any fairer?

Partly echoing Jenny's comments made while I was writing, but the proposed changes include:

Quote
All motions arising from a General Meeting must be first voted on by individual members present at the meeting and eligible to vote. All motions with support from at least 25% of those individuals who vote, or 10 individuals (whichever is lowest) must be taken forward to an online vote.

Therefore the "group of people who decide what the proposals are and how they are worded" who have the "real power" would be the BCA members who turn up to the AGM...who are the people who already decide what the proposals are and how they are worded. The difference under the new system would be that they are put to the membership rather than just voted on by those present.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 04:15:38 pm
Having read the proposals and  documents etc I am aware of how it is intended to work.

I'm just pointing out the proposed system is not perfect, despite what it's supports argue.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 14, 2019, 04:20:03 pm
Perhaps they will just be influenced by the shoutiest people on UKcaving? forgetting that by definition UKcaving is a self selecting minority of cavers. People who don't agree with the shouty people don't bother posting, why would they bother coming here to get put down and insulted when they can go down the pub with their mates for that sort of thing.

It's not entirely representative all _all_ cavers, but I don't think you can say with certainty it is a minority - your perspective is no doubt different but to me it is closer to the 'mainstream' than a minority view (but we both have our own separate 'bits' of the caving world).

Quote
On the matter of insurance being used to manipulate cavers. Insurance is used to manipulate cavers into joining BCA, You must have insurance to join Wessex Caving Club so you must join the BCA. The Wessex has 200-300 members so accounting for nearly 5%of BCA membership. You have to wonder how many of these would be members given a choice? I rekon 50% at most.

The Wessex is free to be a club outside of the BCA. They have obviously decided (like the majority of clubs in the country) that the benefits of being inside the BCA outweigh the cost. The BCA is not able to provide insurance to some and not to others for legal reasons - they cannot be seen to be selling insurance; it must be a benefit of membership. There can, therefore, be no discount for not providing insurance.
Actually clubs could become 'associate' members at a cheaper rate if they don't want to require all members to be BCA members, but the club would receive no insurance from the BCA, and neither would the members. The club would also not receive a vote (as it is not a 'full' member of the BCA, which would imply that they _must_ receive the membership benefit of insurance).

Incidentally the Wessex might be up to almost 5% of the individual vote, but they only get about 0.5% of the group votes... somehow that doesn't seem fair, does it? :P

Quote
It seems a lot of cavers are happy to give the 2 minutes needed to vote either electronically, or by post, from home, but not the 20 minutes required to read supporting information and form an informed view. I'm not sure occasionally reading a couple of posts in a 300+ thread on a subject actually helps form a reasoned opinion on anything.

Well currently it isn't the difference between 2 minutes or 20 minutes - it's the difference between 20 minutes and 8 hours plus of travel and sitting in a nightmare of an AGM. Plus a lot of voting at the AGM is either done in a panic without people even being really sure what they are voting on (since it has often been repeatedly re-amended), or because they are bored and just want to go home. With electronic voting, people can take the time to think about their votes. Other people can take the time to state their arguments clearer and think through all the consequences.

What utterly baffles me is the argument from certain quarters that expanding voting to 6000 members will lead to a small group of individuals taking over voting, when anyone who has been to a few AGMs knows this is exactly what happens at the moment!

Another fun fact: by my reckoning the student clubs have around twice the voting power (in the House of Groups) than all the Mendips clubs.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: aricooperdavis on November 14, 2019, 04:45:29 pm
I'm glad you questioned the insurance argument Andrew, I still don't understand what that sentence from the CSCCs statement is getting at.

I do recall that the Charterhouse Caving Company requires 16-18 year olds to have public indemnity insurance as a condition of access. Is that using insurance to push a hidden agenda and rule the roost? Are the CSCC anti-CCC?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 14, 2019, 05:10:17 pm

Well currently it isn't the difference between 2 minutes or 20 minutes - it's the difference between 20 minutes and 8 hours plus of travel and sitting in a nightmare of an AGM. Plus a lot of voting at the AGM is either done in a panic without people even being really sure what they are voting on (since it has often been repeatedly re-amended), or because they are bored and just want to go home. With electronic voting, people can take the time to think about their votes. Other people can take the time to state their arguments clearer and think through all the consequences.

What utterly baffles me is the argument from certain quarters that expanding voting to 6000 members will lead to a small group of individuals taking over voting, when anyone who has been to a few AGMs knows this is exactly what happens at the moment!



If you want a say in what is put to the membership, you still have to attend the AGM. So a 'small group of individuals' can just 'take over' what is voted on.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 14, 2019, 06:01:23 pm
If you want a say in what is put to the membership, you still have to attend the AGM. So a 'small group of individuals' can just 'take over' what is voted on.

True (although I don't know if there is anything that says you actually have to be _present_ to propose an AGM motion). There is, however, a critical difference between proposing a motion and actually getting it passed...

Currently if I was out to cause trouble I would propose a fairly innocuous AGM motion. This motion would, of course, be proposed in the four weeks. I would need (for a quiet AGM) maybe 20 individuals representing 15 clubs? I would then, at the AGM, receive an amendment suggestion from a friend. This amendment would completely change my motion to a much more controversial one (say that it becomes official BCA policy to deny the existence of caves on Mendip). I would then push this through the AGM with my small number of individuals and club representatives. This would then become official BCA policy.

Now obviously I could still do this in the new proposed system, but getting it through the national ballot of individuals would be almost impossible (unless of course 50% of the membership actually agreed).
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Cavematt on November 14, 2019, 06:03:28 pm
Hi Droid

The amendment is very carefully worded to state:

“All motions arising from a General Meeting must be first voted on by individual members present at the meeting and eligible to vote. All motions with support from at least 25% of the individuals who vote or 10 individuals (whichever is lowest) must be taken forward to an online vote. Proposals unable to gain this support will not progress.”

One option would have simply been that all proposals go to an online ballot; but this risks the annual ballot being overcomplicated or overburdened by multiple variants of the same proposal. Many people seem to feel that that the AGM should still retain some control of what goes out to the membership to act as a ‘filter’ to get rid of extremely poorly supported motions or to whittle down multiple variants of a proposal to those which are most sensible and popular.

Overall there was a general wish that a motion should still be discussed by an AGM first, and I agree!

On the other hand, it was equally desirable to ensure that a perfectly reasonable and well supported motion could not be blocked from going out to the membership by en-bloc turnout at the AGM by a large club who are opposed to it which would put the BCA into a total stalemate.

Hence, under the new constitution, motions would have to receive support from at least 10 people or 25% of the turnout (whichever is lowest) to enable progression to an online ballot. Bear in mind average AGM turnout is 40-50 people. This should be perfectly achievable for any reasonable proposal; surely anything with less support than this isn’t worth progressing?

In summary, the constitutional changes I have put forward will ensure motions still have to go to an AGM, where they can be discussed, minuted, maybe refined, and they still have to achieve a bare minimum level of support at that AGM, but they cannot be blocked from progressing to a member vote by the en-bloc attendance of a single disgruntled club (for example).

Is the 25%/10 people figure the right number to achieve this balance? It seems reasonable given the typical attendance at AGMs (about 40-50 people normally).

Of course, the job of the BCA would be to ensure the online system for voting after the AGM is quick, simple and intuitive and most importantly does not involve the agony of sending >2000 letters out by post which has cost British cavers probably in the region of £2000 (postage, printing, and the time of our paid membership administrator). Instead, just log into an online system (i.e. a redesigned version of BCA-Online), be presented with a simple list of proposals and click to support/reject.

Hopefully the current active ballot system is a good example of exactly what kind of simplicity can be achieved with the right software infrastructure.

Cheers
Matt
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 14, 2019, 06:24:47 pm
Currently if I was out to cause trouble I would propose a fairly innocuous AGM motion. This motion would, of course, be proposed in the four weeks. I would need (for a quiet AGM) maybe 20 individuals representing 15 clubs? I would then, at the AGM, receive an amendment suggestion from a friend. This amendment would completely change my motion to a much more controversial one (say that it becomes official BCA policy to deny the existence of caves on Mendip). I would then push this through the AGM with my small number of individuals and club representatives. This would then become official BCA policy.

Don't put ideas into people's heads please!

P.S.  My own Derbyshire-based club voted unanimously at a recent General Meeting to support the constitutional motions proposed and I have just been told that our club BCA contact has just voted as agreed.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 14, 2019, 06:28:49 pm
Having read the proposals and  documents etc I am aware of how it is intended to work.

I'm just pointing out the proposed system is not perfect, despite what it's supports argue.

I don't think I would ever have said that the proposed system is perfect (and note that I didn't propose it, I just support the proposal).  Nothing in life is perfect!

I'm simply thinking that it is an improvement on what we have at present - maybe it will need a few tweaks to make it work a little better but, for the moment, it's certainly worth a try.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 14, 2019, 06:32:34 pm
Thanks for that, Matt.

It'll be an interesting first AGM if the proposal gets through.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pitlamp on November 14, 2019, 06:49:22 pm
Having read the proposals and  documents etc I am aware of how it is intended to work.

I'm just pointing out the proposed system is not perfect, despite what it's supports argue.

I don't think I would ever have said that the proposed system is perfect (and note that I didn't propose it, I just support the proposal).  Nothing in life is perfect!

I'm simply thinking that it is an improvement on what we have at present - maybe it will need a few tweaks to make it work a little better but, for the moment, it's certainly worth a try.

If Jenny, with her vast experience and much valued judgement, is in favour of the proposal, that's good enough for me
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 14, 2019, 08:12:43 pm
9 Minutes and 1 second!  :bow: You know what I meant  :blink: :tease:

Our club is primarily set up to go caveing. Getting involved in decision making is optional.

Each to there own.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: damian on November 14, 2019, 08:30:44 pm
I have now read the BCA documentation, the excellent posts on UKCaving, the CSCC view and the article on darkness below. I am still undecided which way I will vote but, as of this evening, am minded to support the changes, albeit reluctantly. However I do not need to vote for a few more weeks and I would like to be as informed as I can when I do. All (polite) help is welcome in this respect.

My current thinking is as follows:

Removal of Group Vote: I have a minor concern about this, but am convinced this is more than outweighed by the benefits of fairness and simplification this proposal brings, so support it.

For the record, my minor concern is that, despite what has been said on UKCaving about the clubs that choose to not take insurance joining BCA as non-voting Associate Members, unless things have changed radically since I was involved in BCA, this is not usually the case. Associate (non-voting) membership tended to be taken by Show Caves and commercial organisations who wished to be associated with BCA and its aims but are not set up as Clubs. On the other hand, there were always a number of clubs who chose to pay the basic club fee to become Members, but who did not require their members to join individually and, therefore, not get the benefits of insurance. These were often university clubs who, I assumed, had insurance through their Student Unions. Clubs who choose to join BCA in this way will now lose any voting rights despite paying BCA a fee and being a member. That seems wrong. On balance, though, I accept that the greater good comes from accepting the proposal. I do not see my view as likely to change on this, but am open to sensible argument.

Introduction of online voting: This is where I struggle more and I have two broad concerns. Firstly I have sat in enough meetings in my time to know that reasoned argument and the greater experience of others can change minds and that this is a good thing for the organisation. Whether an AGM attendee has a detailed understanding of BCA or not (and it is actually quite a complex organisation), by the end of the discussion on a matter, they will have heard the counter arguments and been made aware of any potential complications. Whichever way they vote, they are then voting knowledgably. To expect all 6,000 members presented with a quick yes-no question on their phone, to read all the supporting documentation relating to an issue before they vote, is simply unrealistic, particularly if this is spread all over the internet because BCA Executive (understandably) don’t want to open themselves to accusations of unfairness by trying to summarise it all in one document.  All the more so if votes happen on multiple issues and every year. I suspect the vast majority of voting will be uninformed. To an extent this has been proven to me by 9 different members having so far contacted me to ask which way they should vote in this ballot; they have no interest in doing the research but are happy to spend a few seconds clicking “yes” or “no” if told to do so by someone else.
Secondly, and more worryingly for me, I can see the potential for huge problems further down the line. What happens if two contradictory proposals are set before the AGM? Some members like one, and some the other. Neither receives a big majority but they pass the 25% threshold and then go to an online vote. We could end up with two contradictory proposals being voted in. Imagine one seeks to scrap the role of, say, the Publications & Information (P&I) Committee and its work be taken on by a new Media Officer, and the other proposes that the P&I Committee get an extra £5k to develop its social-media presence. Then what if both are approved by the membership?
How will we proceed if there are, for example, two candidates for a particular role and there is a tie? An AGM would come up with a solution somehow, but a ballot cannot. Council can hardly, then, override the decision of a full ballot of the members, and BCA could be left without a Chair, Treasurer, or other key role.
How does anybody go about voting for 2 candidates out of 3 to be Individual-Member Reps through online voting? Where has this been planned out?

What if someone is proposed for multiple roles because, for example, they really want to be Treasurer, but if they are not elected, they would like to take up their former role as Equipment & Techniques Officer? In a normal AGM, they could take the decision on the day to stand down as a candidate for the lesser role(s) if they were already elected. With online voting this cannot happen. What if that person – who is really good and popular – is then elected to multiple roles by the online ballot? If we manually pull them out of the running after the ballot, who is to say how the members who voted for them would have voted if they had not been an option?

All these questions need thinking about and could make the new system as proposed unworkable. I have spent the last few days reflecting on this and almost came down on the side of the status-quo because that - at least sort of – works. However, after considerable thought, I am minded to vote in favour because I see most of the issues above as either unlikely, solvable through the Manual of Operations, or ideally avoided in the first place by very careful Chairmanship of the AGM.

Finally, unrelated to all this, my memory is that the AGM scrapped the P&I Committee and replaced it with a new member of the Executive instead. I am surprised this has not been addressed by updating 6.1 of the Constitution.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: darren on November 14, 2019, 10:25:36 pm
9 Minutes and 1 second!  :bow: You know what I meant  :blink: :tease:

Our club is primarily set up to go caveing. Getting involved in decision making is optional.

Each to there own.

Yes I knew exactly what you meant and that was "My club is more democratic than your club" 

Sorry I've taken a bit longer to replying to your post this time but that's the way my day works. Not a lot doing at lunch time so I'm bored and on the internet. This evening I was caveing. I didn't know there was an optimum time lag before replying to your posts, I'll bear this in mind in the future.  ;D
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 15, 2019, 08:03:40 am
Finally, unrelated to all this, my memory is that the AGM scrapped the P&I Committee and replaced it with a new member of the Executive instead. I am surprised this has not been addressed by updating 6.1 of the Constitution.

The membership voted against making P&I a member of the executive (a somewhat baffling proposal) but voted in favour of abolishing the committee.

I agree with your concerns about the reasoned argument and tribal voting but you've also been to enough AGMs to see them packed with people told to vote a certain way. I dare not name any examples...

I think this vote does highlight an issue though: how can more information and nuanced arguments be presented to the membership if it can't come from the executive for fear of bias.

I think the answer would lie in the appointment of a non executive members of BCA (i.e. anyone present at the AGM) to put together a case for and against the proposal and have a designated 'campaign' period before the vote.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: JasonC on November 15, 2019, 09:06:21 am
Quote
Secondly, and more worryingly for me, I can see the potential for huge problems further down the line. What happens if two contradictory proposals are set before the AGM? Some members like one, and some the other. Neither receives a big majority but they pass the 25% threshold and then go to an online vote. We could end up with two contradictory proposals being voted in. Imagine one seeks to scrap the role of, say, the Publications & Information (P&I) Committee and its work be taken on by a new Media Officer, and the other proposes that the P&I Committee get an extra £5k to develop its social-media presence. Then what if both are approved by the membership?

Surely such conflicts could be handled by common-sense procedural framing?
eg "if motion 1 (scrap the Committee) passes, then motion 2 (increase its funding) will automatically fail, irrespective of votes cast" - then anyone in favour of 2 would know they had to vote for 1 too?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: moorebooks on November 15, 2019, 11:15:20 am
 I used to attend BCA meetings on behalf of NAMHO and I almost gave up the will to live. Most of the debates seemed to revolve around the  constitution the odd word here a new sentence there a comma in the wrong place. It had sod all to do with caving and just pettiness between Regional Bodies who seemed to have different agendas.

This ballot should put paid to all of that but I wouldn't bet on it

 Mike :'( :'(
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 15, 2019, 01:05:03 pm
Surely such conflicts could be handled by common-sense procedural framing?

They could be... And with Matt making many changes to the manual of operations too they are likely to be. The issue will come when there's the next changing of the guard.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 15, 2019, 01:35:25 pm
Someone above commented on the complexity of the Constitution.

Is it necessary to have this complication? Strikes me that if you have an Executive that's more concerned with the good of the pastime rather than the good of their egos, you could simplify the Constitution significantly.

I don't know the people on board at the moment, but the majority *do* seem to be trying to move on.

Good luck to them.

And if anyone finds a source of cheap caving insurance that doesn't involve membership of BCA just watch the membership shrink....
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 15, 2019, 01:38:57 pm
Even though I'm a representative on BCA council I'll be the first to admit BCA is not held in the greatest esteem.  It is a huge challenge to turn it into the organisation we'd all like it to be.  It is not overly staffed by volunteers either and even fewer who are prepared to put in the thankless hours to run the organisation let alone to improve it.

Matt Ewles, the new BCA secretary, is one person who is prepared to put in the hard yards and work towards improving BCA across the board.  We are very lucky to have him.  Look at his track record in the CNCC.  In the last five years by improving attitudes, bringing people along with him, changing the constitution, offering hope and a better environment, and working within a team who are all pulling in the same direction there has been nothing short of a miraculous turn around.  CNCC is well regarded now IMO and if you want BCA to follow then you have to have faith in Matt.

Matt put forward these proposals and deserves our support for at least trying.  Please don't focus on minutae and complex scenarios of negative outcomes.  He is absolutely the best hope of turning BCA into an organisation we can all be proud of.  If he thinks these proposals are going to help towards that goal then what have we really got to lose by giving him our backing.

Support the ballot.

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 15, 2019, 01:49:59 pm
Someone above commented on the complexity of the Constitution.

Is it necessary to have this complication? Strikes me that if you have an Executive that's more concerned with the good of the pastime rather than the good of their egos, you could simplify the Constitution significantly.

I think you will find that many of the 'progressive' side of caving would agree with you that the constitution is too complicated and would be happy to throw away half of the constitution.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pete K on November 15, 2019, 01:52:47 pm
Myself and at least 2 of the clubs I am a member of will be voting in support. I better chase the other club to see what is happening there.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andrewmc on November 15, 2019, 01:55:42 pm
For the record, my minor concern is that, despite what has been said on UKCaving about the clubs that choose to not take insurance joining BCA as non-voting Associate Members, unless things have changed radically since I was involved in BCA, this is not usually the case. Associate (non-voting) membership tended to be taken by Show Caves and commercial organisations who wished to be associated with BCA and its aims but are not set up as Clubs. On the other hand, there were always a number of clubs who chose to pay the basic club fee to become Members, but who did not require their members to join individually and, therefore, not get the benefits of insurance. These were often university clubs who, I assumed, had insurance through their Student Unions. Clubs who choose to join BCA in this way will now lose any voting rights despite paying BCA a fee and being a member. That seems wrong. On balance, though, I accept that the greater good comes from accepting the proposal. I do not see my view as likely to change on this, but am open to sensible argument.

I believe it has changed, as the insurers raised concerns about the BCA potentially being seen to be 'selling' insurance (which the BCA explicitly does not do). You cannot no longer be a member club without all your members also being members; a few clubs that were set up like this are being offered associate membership on renewal.

Quote
Secondly, and more worryingly for me, I can see the potential for huge problems further down the line. What happens if two contradictory proposals are set before the AGM?

As you say, the Chair will have to require motions to be formulated in a fashion which is logically coherent (as motions, amendments, and motions which are subject to the passing of amendments). Hopefully the AGM will also desire order over chaos (if the reverse is true, they can achieve this regardless of the method of voting).

Quote
How does anybody go about voting for 2 candidates out of 3 to be Individual-Member Reps through online voting? Where has this been planned out?

If you were at last year's AGM (I don't know if you were or not) this is something the BCA needs to work out regardless of whether it approves the ballot or not :P

Quote
In other words, I would agree with you that it needs careful chairing to accept amendments and proposals in a fashion that can be dealt with subsequent to the event (and indeed the main task of the AGM will now be framing those questions, rather than arguing in favour of one proposal or the other, which might actually increase quality....).
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pegasus on November 15, 2019, 03:08:30 pm
Even though I'm a representative on BCA council I'll be the first to admit BCA is not held in the greatest esteem.  It is a huge challenge to turn it into the organisation we'd all like it to be.  It is not overly staffed by volunteers either and even fewer who are prepared to put in the thankless hours to run the organisation let alone to improve it.

Matt Ewles, the new BCA secretary, is one person who is prepared to put in the hard yards and work towards improving BCA across the board.  We are very lucky to have him.  Look at his track record in the CNCC.  In the last five years by improving attitudes, bringing people along with him, changing the constitution, offering hope and a better environment, and working within a team who are all pulling in the same direction there has been nothing short of a miraculous turn around.  CNCC is well regarded now IMO and if you want BCA to follow then you have to have faith in Matt.

Matt put forward these proposals and deserves our support for at least trying.  Please don't focus on minutae and complex scenarios of negative outcomes.  He is absolutely the best hope of turning BCA into an organisation we can all be proud of.  If he thinks these proposals are going to help towards that goal then what have we really got to lose by giving him our backing.

Support the ballot.

I could not agree with more with this. 



Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 15, 2019, 04:01:25 pm
I would tend to think that careful wording of the Manual of Operations (in effect the "standing Orders" by which the organisation actually works) will overcome a great many of the perceived problems.  Carefully worked out Standing Orders can guide the Chairman and members to a sensible way forward in unforeseen situations.

This is already being taken in hand and some of the difficulties which arose at the 2019 AGM should not happen in future because they have been recognised and a system put in place to avoid this happening again.  Matt has already set out some ideas for improving and updating the Manual of Operations.  A number of our problems relate to the failure to recognise in our system that so much of the formerly necessary "paperwork" involved in nominating officers and members of council and in authenticating "club representatives" at AGMs have been superseded by the use of the internet.  (e.g. how many clubs nowadays have "headed notepaper"?)

I do not see the need for a ballot of all the individual membership on every single decision to be made at an AGM.  In particular, Damian's thoughtful contribution highlights possible problems in election of officers and members of Council, which could be overcome easily if this part of the AGM was normally subject to an immediate vote from the floor - only if there were unforeseen problems arising from this might it be necessary to have a ballot of the membership.

It's worth remembering that the Constitution of an organisation is intended to give general guidance, it isn't a straight-jacket.  As was demonstrated at this year's AGM, imaginative Chairing of the meeting can find a way through seemingly intransigent difficulties.

With goodwill, even a pretty dodgy constitution can be made to work.  If the goodwill is not there, then intransigent blocking by a few can make things impossible.

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: damian on November 15, 2019, 08:24:11 pm
With goodwill, even a pretty dodgy constitution can be made to work.  If the goodwill is not there, then intransigent blocking by a few can make things impossible.
... absolutely. Imagine someone decides to propose something controversial at an AGM like, for example, throwing out an Access Body for allegedly breeching the Constitution's Guiding Principles by restricting access (obviously an entirely hypothetical example!) Suddenly every tiny detail of procedure is argued about and everything grinds to a halt, a pile of good volunteers resign because they are sick of spending their volunteer lives being shouted at by angry members and things go horribly wrong, horribly quickly.

I do not see the need for a ballot of all the individual membership on every single decision to be made at an AGM.  In particular, Damian's thoughtful contribution highlights possible problems in election of officers and members of Council, which could be overcome easily if this part of the AGM was normally subject to an immediate vote from the floor - only if there were unforeseen problems arising from this might it be necessary to have a ballot of the membership.
To me this seems very sensible. Quite what you decide should and shouldn't, though, is tricky.
The membership voted against making P&I a member of the executive (a somewhat baffling proposal) but voted in favour of abolishing the committee.
Somehow I failed to spot this in the Minutes. A good decision! Thanks nearlywhite.

I think answer would lie in the appointment of a non executive members of BCA (i.e. anyone present at the AGM) to put together a case for and against the proposal and have a designated 'campaign' period before the vote.
Agreed - another very good idea.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: LarryFatcat on November 15, 2019, 08:56:26 pm
I echo the point on ease of voting but would issue a warning that my email provider had decided the alert was junk email.  So if you have not got an email by now, check your junk mail box.
Thanks for that, I found the BCA Ballot in my Junk folder and voted after reading the amendments at https://bca-vote.online/2019_agm_agenda.pdf (starting on p28)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Madness on November 15, 2019, 10:48:31 pm

I do not see the need for a ballot of all the individual membership on every single decision to be made at an AGM.  In particular, Damian's thoughtful contribution highlights possible problems in election of officers and members of Council, which could be overcome easily if this part of the AGM was normally subject to an immediate vote from the floor - only if there were unforeseen problems arising from this might it be necessary to have a ballot of the membership.


Surely that would leave us where we started, having to travel miles to attend an AGM to make sure the best officers/council members are elected and the ones with their own agendas are not elected.
This years AGM was well attended by people wanting change, if they had not been there then the BCA might have ended up with a officer who I'm sure would have done his utmost to scupper any plans for change/modernisation.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: AR on November 16, 2019, 04:43:42 pm
Myself and at least 2 of the clubs I am a member of will be voting in support. I better chase the other club to see what is happening there.
You'll be pleased to hear that the membership present at today's AGM unanimously voted in favour of the club vote being cast in support. :beer2:
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Jenny P on November 16, 2019, 05:57:21 pm
DCA, following the advice of its members after discussions in June, has already voted in support of the proposals.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Pete K on November 16, 2019, 06:01:41 pm
Myself and at least 2 of the clubs I am a member of will be voting in support. I better chase the other club to see what is happening there.
You'll be pleased to hear that the membership present at today's AGM unanimously voted in favour of the club vote being cast in support. :beer2:
Ace! DCA will in future attempt to keep meetings on dates that are not already taken by other important things. Today I could have chosen from DCA, PDMHS or YSS!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 16, 2019, 07:16:43 pm
I am intrigued why there is such a difference in the way clubs vote.  They are all clubs after all.  As we read on here some clubs are unanimously in support and others very much against.  What are the real issues that make a difference?  Does it depend on who the clubs listen to for example? Worries about loosing power?  What?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 16, 2019, 09:15:49 pm
I don't think the changes are universally good Tim e.g. enshrining that unopposed candidates are appointed by default in the Constitution is, in my opinion, a bad change. Should be in the manual of operations.

So for pedants and constitutional perfectionists there'll be something to disagree with, but then there always is. You also have the attitude of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' - this is tied to a suspicion of a centralised BCA or any authority. Sadly if we want to actually do anything about the looming demographic crisis we have to organise.

I should point out we NEED the other changes, and things can always be changed again anyway. I think the momentum that Matt has injected is very necessary - more of the membership could engage in votes, be aware of what needs doing and hopefully volunteer as a result. I've meant to put together a more in depth analysis of the changes and explain the arguments for them but sadly I haven't had the time.

Please vote for the changes!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: NewStuff on November 17, 2019, 07:21:28 am
I don't think the changes are universally good Tim e.g. enshrining that unopposed candidates are appointed by default in the Constitution is, in my opinion, a bad change.
This. A very valid point. What sense is there in appointing an unopposed person to a position when they give most people the impression that they do not have the interests of the membership in mind. However...

I should point out we NEED the other changes, and things can always be changed again anyway.
This can be changed. As can other things, further down the road. Tackle the big hurdles first, get them out of  the way, move onto smaller ones.

Please vote for the changes!
Irrespective of which way you vote, please vote.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: HardenClimber3 on November 18, 2019, 10:25:20 am
At the CPC's AGM there was overhelming support for the reform, with a clear direction for the committee.

I hope everyone votes, and that if passed everyone works constructively with the clear actions actions that are mandated.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 18, 2019, 11:36:11 am
Really pleased to read this.  If you don't mind me saying the CPC are often seen as one of the more conservative clubs in the Dales. 

In relation to the CSCC recommendations to its member clubs, (posted a few pages back), I'd like to inform everyone that the CNCC made no such recommendations to it's own clubs preferring them, presumably, to make their own minds up.  For interest the CNCC AGM voted on the same proposal so that their rep to BCA (me) knew which way to vote.  It was overwhelmingly in support with 11 for, 2 against, 4 abstentions.  It maybe that one of those against has since changed their minds.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian P on November 18, 2019, 12:53:08 pm
Really pleased to read this.  If you don't mind me saying the CPC are often seen as one of the more conservative clubs in the Dales

This “may” have been true in the past. However the current CPC is in my opinion a very different club now.

We are an incredible active club with a broad range of members both old and new.
Hopefully any previous negative thoughts about the CPC will soon be replaced.
 We are very much a progressive, friendly more modern thinking club.
We even have Wi Fi and a substantial stock of 9mm rope (regularly used)  :o

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Ian Ball on November 18, 2019, 01:34:18 pm
And close to the railway station ;-)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: topcat on November 19, 2019, 11:03:27 am
Really pleased to read this.  If you don't mind me saying the CPC are often seen as one of the more conservative clubs in the Dales

This “may” have been true in the past. However the current CPC is in my opinion a very different club now.

We are an incredible active club with a broad range of members both old and new.
Hopefully any previous negative thoughts about the CPC will soon be replaced.
 We are very much a progressive, friendly more modern thinking club.
We even have Wi Fi and a substantial stock of 9mm rope (regularly used)  :o

I'd like to second this: I am a member of four caving clubs and whilst they have all been very welcoming and supportive I tend to do most of my caving with the Craven.  Part of the reason is the diversity of caving trips [often into lesser known but still worthwhile caves] and partly because they are such a good bunch of folk to cave with.  I have also heard of the historic negative references to the Craven.  They just aren't true anymore, if they ever were.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Benfool on November 19, 2019, 11:23:59 am
We don’t dig for adoration,
We don’t dig for charity,
We just dig for masochism,
And for speleology.

Speleology, Speleology, balls to Craven Pothole Club………………. Pothole Club.
Balls to craven Pot Hole Club.

The Craven Pothole Club are a rotten set of bastards,
We don't want to cave with them,
We don't want to cave with them,
BALLS TO CRAVEN POTHOLE CLUB

:p
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: thomasr on November 19, 2019, 03:40:28 pm
 :o
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 19, 2019, 08:16:46 pm
You've got some Skeletons in the pothole there  :lol:

The Craven Pothole Club are a rotten set of bastards,
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Robert Scott on November 19, 2019, 08:58:28 pm
You've got some Skeletons in the pothole there  :lol:

The Craven Pothole Club are a rotten set of bastards,
Ben is merely quoting from one of those old, old, very old caving club songs. And I know he doesn't mean it. As clubs, as diggers and explorers, the Bradford & the Craven get along quite well. After all who delivered the boards to the CPC Cloddike dig, who delivered the BPC boards/scaffolding to the Pay Sank dig and who helped heave a boulder out of the BPC Mouton Noir dig?

As for Tim's comment that the CPC are viewed as "conservative" (aka "don't like change") which club has embraced the modern world enough to provide not one but two water level webcams?

Although I support the changes being made in the BCA, perhaps the BCA should look at the Rules and Primary Byelaws of either the CPC or the BPC as a way ahead, the current constitution and the so-called "Manual of Operations" seem to me to be difficult, arbitary and mysterious.

Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 19, 2019, 09:42:20 pm
Anyone got a photo for Robert Scott. I did try and find one but the closets of the Internet were bare.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: nearlywhite on November 19, 2019, 10:34:39 pm
Although I support the changes being made in the BCA, perhaps the BCA should look at the Rules and Primary Byelaws of either the CPC or the BPC as a way ahead, the current constitution and the so-called "Manual of Operations" seem to me to be difficult, arbitary and mysterious.

The main reason these things are mysterious are because many of the 'rules' are just conventions, they seem arbitrary because they made sense with a different secretary in a different political climate and they seem difficult because 'due process' in BCA's history was designed for it to achieve very little to retain the regions primacy.

It doesn't need more by-laws and paper, just simpler ones. I think the reason the BPC and CPC committees work well is the longevity of members in roles, the modest turnover and smaller size.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Fulk on November 19, 2019, 11:02:25 pm
Quote
Anyone got a photo for Robert Scott. I did try and find one but the closets of the Internet were bare.

What on Earth does that mean? A photo . . . of what . . . for RS?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Roger W on November 19, 2019, 11:16:29 pm
Anyone got a photo for Robert Scott. I did try and find one but the closets of the Internet were bare.

Do you mean Robert Scott the polar explorer, Robert Scott the mop maker, Robert Scott the assistant director of 'Dracula: Dead and Loving It' or some other Robert Scott?  There are loads of 'em!
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: PeteHall on November 19, 2019, 11:20:49 pm
Quote
Anyone got a photo for Robert Scott. I did try and find one but the closets of the Internet were bare.

What on Earth does that mean? A photo . . . of what . . . for RS?

Given the context, my money is on a screenshot from the CPC river-cam that was pranked by the BPC shortly after going live, but I may very well be wrong...
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: alastairgott on November 19, 2019, 11:24:33 pm
Persons unknown helped a skeleton into the craven’s winching chair in 2018. So when they reopened the winch the next morning they were greeted by a skeleton in the pothole.

Personally, I think it was the ghosts of whernside manor...  ;)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Robert Scott on November 19, 2019, 11:36:09 pm
Although I support the changes being made in the BCA, perhaps the BCA should look at the Rules and Primary Byelaws of either the CPC or the BPC as a way ahead, the current constitution and the so-called "Manual of Operations" seem to me to be difficult, arbitary and mysterious.

The main reason these things are mysterious are because many of the 'rules' are just conventions, they seem arbitrary because they made sense with a different secretary in a different political climate and they seem difficult because 'due process' in BCA's history was designed for it to achieve very little to retain the regions primacy.

It doesn't need more by-laws and paper, just simpler ones. I think the reason the BPC and CPC committees work well is the longevity of members in roles, the modest turnover and smaller size.
The Rules of the Clubs cover about 8 A4 pages and they define
1.   The club’s aims & objectives
2.   The committee and its powers
3.   How it deals with the club’s assets
4.   Who are the members and associates and their subscriptions
5.   Removal of members.
6.   General meetings
7.   Auditing of accounts
8.   Location of its registered office
The Primary Byelaws of the club cover 4 A4 pages
1.   Who are the committee
2.   Membership application
3.   Meets
4.   The obligations of the voluntary meet coordinators
5.   Club tackle & its use
6.   Club Cottage with reference to the club’s local byelaws.
7.   Club Library with reference to the club’s local byelaws.
8.   Club publications
9.   Information Technology
10.   Child Protection Policy
11.   How Byelaws may be changed.

Presidence might help in arriving at decisions but the Rules and Primary Byelaws are paramount.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: NewStuff on November 20, 2019, 10:35:37 am
waffle... lots of waffle...

And there's the reason we're quite "cavalier" with rules, regs etc. Sod that for a fun time.

"Don't be an arsehole, don't kill yourself, bring your own kit" is a decent summation of the entirety of our clubs rules.
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on November 20, 2019, 10:58:57 am
This thread is heading off on a tangent.  CPC and BPC are both great clubs as we all know - but start another thread if you want to discuss their merits or otherwise further  ;)
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: droid on November 20, 2019, 05:33:02 pm
 :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: andys on November 20, 2019, 08:11:40 pm
Hmmmm - still not seen my online voting email and its well over a week now. I got the test ones OK so am assuming something has gone wrong since? Who do I contact?
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: kay on November 20, 2019, 09:48:24 pm
Hmmmm - still not seen my online voting email and its well over a week now. I got the test ones OK so am assuming something has gone wrong since? Who do I contact?

returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: BCA Secretary on November 21, 2019, 07:26:44 am
Kay is correct; our Returning Officer should be the first point of contact.

It seems most people I have spoken to over the course of this week have received their ballot either by email or post. As mentioned in the above discussions, a small number of our email ballots bounced back (despite receiving the previous test/notification email OK) but all of these have since been dispatched a postal vote instead which most people seem to have received.

Of the inquiries that we have received so far about missing ballots, most have been either people not checking their junk/spam folders or deleted items folder (depending on where your email service moves emails it deems to be junk) OR due to people (or their club) having provided the BCA with an email address that they no longer routinely use or a postal address that is no longer correct.

If you have not received your ballot then email our Returning Officer with your full name and we can advise how your ballot was sent to you (i.e. to what email or postal address). If this does not help you locate your ballot then we can reissue your ballot by email to whatever email address you contact us from (with the same single-use ballot ID as you would originally have been sent).

Returning-officer@british-caving.org.uk

Matt Ewles
Title: Re: The BCA ballot is out
Post by: Badlad on December 12, 2019, 01:33:50 pm
There's some sort of ballot which finishes at 10pm today, but the big one, the BCA one, finishes tomorrow night.  Don't forget to vote (in both) and looking forward to seeing the exit polls  ;)