• Descent 295 - out now!

    Descent 295 has an official publication date of 2 December and you can now place orders on our website. Subscribers should receive their copies over the next few days.

    Click here for more

BCA AGM 2019 in Horton-in-Ribblesdale


Active member
Ian Adams said:
[quote author=droid]You are also avoiding the question of why such a vociferous critic of elements of the BCA executive seems not to confirm they'll be at the AGM to try to influence the votes for that executive.

No such question was asked.

I asked it on several occasions.

My point being that several of the 'old guard'/5th Columnists will be at the AGM, and face to face discussion is always better than pontificating on a forum where several of the significant actors are absent.

If you think that's obfuscation the so be it.

Fair enough?  ;)


Active member
Must have missed that bit Mike. How ironic.  ::) :LOL:

At least we avoided calling each other rude names. My medication must be working....


New member
droid said:
At least we avoided calling each other rude names. My medication must be working....

I'm stuck with all this bloody popcorn to shift... C'mon, this isn't how BCA discussions go...


Well-known member
mikem said:
DEFRA are the ones who make the decision about whether we can or not...

Actually no - the law is the law and DEFRA only provide an opinion on what that law means. Only a court case would provide a binding precedent one way or the other.

That said, getting DEFRA and NRW to change their opinion would be a sufficient victory.


Staff member
2xw said:
The exec has rejected my appeal to be added to the ballot because I "did not supply the required information". I did not supply the required information because I was told it would have to be on a paper form. I think I can run from the floor although the MoO seems to indicate I can't.

I am disappointed that the current secretary lied to me in this way especially if it means I cannot run.

Going back to this one.  I sympathise with Will as he was probably the most active and willing individual representative of council I've seen in my 4-5 years at BCA.  Involved with Y&D and taking on specific roles concerning under 18s access and electronic voting.  His reports were very well put together.  Putting himself forward to run again would only be good for BCA.

Having notified the secretary of his willingness to stand for the position again this would appear to be a nomination.  As he is restanding for the position his name and contact details are well known.  Misinformation or misunderstanding about the correct procedure should not stand in the way of accepting the nomination.  One could argue that this is a question of interpreting the constitution and the AGM is the final interpreter of that.  So this could be asked at the AGM itself.

A point I raised at the last council meeting has relevance here.  There is a perception within BCA that when it suits some individuals procedure and strict interpretation of the constitution or rules are used to further or delay a cause.  On other matters rules are completely ignored.  A case in point was also brought up at the last meeting.  Where all BCA sub committees are required by constitution to have terms of references to work to and these are agreed by a set procedure, except none of the sub committees had terms of reference and yet had been operating without them since the establishment of BCA.  There has been a host of similar matters so to insist on a strict interpretation of a rule or procedure against a common sense only brings again into question that perception.

Jenny P

Active member
The problem has been, as I understand it, that a whole load of procedures were "taken over" from the days of NCA and were understood to be how BCA was to operate.  This was never clarified and, when it came down to checking, there was nothing in writing or properly recorded anywhere.  Damian and other BCA Secretaries had tried to codify this in the Manual of Operations (which is actually online) but this is a work in progress and so far doesn't cover everything.

Robin, as Acting BCA Secretary, had asked for my help in untangling this because some past NCA AGM, Council and Special Committee papers are held at the British Caving Library.  (All BCA Minutes, etc. and the Manual of Operations are online but the NCA ones are not.)  Unfortunately, when I came to search through I found that not all the NCA paperwork was at BCL and I was unable to help.  Hence Robin has been put in the difficult position of not knowing if there existed any official direction but has been trying to work on past precedence as far as he could.

One thing this does demonstrate is that it is vital to have clear, written procedures in the form of a comprehensive Manual of Operations to cover all the business which is not in the Constitution.  No Constitution can cover everything at the time it is written - for instance, we could not have foreseen the rise of internet communications which can now take the place of writing on paper - but you can't amend the Constitution every time you come across this sort of thing.  Amending the Constitution is a formal procedure and requires careful consideration of all the implications so it probably needs to be done from time to time.  However, a sensible Manual of Operation (or Standing Orders) can be kept up to date and can be consulted where there are queries about procedures.  One of the things the new Secretary will have to deal with fairly urgently is to work through the existing Manual and see where it needs amending or clarifying.  It is in no-one's interests to be falling out over matters of procedure when we should be concentrating on major issues.


Every time I read about topics such as this I think back to an email I sent around the BCA council at the start of the year, which concluded with the paragraph below. I'm not suggesting for a moment that the BCA should take decisions that are at odds with the constitution, but when there is something apparently open to interpretation (such as Will's nomination) it seems very odd to take such a negative view.

There is clearly a perception amongst some BCA Council members (not to mention the wider membership) that constitutional matters/procedures are used selectively by some council members depending on the situation. I don't want to get drawn into how much it may be a perception and how much it may be reality, but it would seem very much in the interests of Council to avoid such a perception, regardless of how it comes about.

Jenny P

Active member
In the last resort, the Constitution says that the AGM is the interpreter of the Constitution.  So the simple thing to do is to bring the matter to the AGM and ask for member's views and be guided by the AGM on this.

I don't think anyone on BCA Executive is attempting to "... use the rules to exclude people ...".  It's not a conspiracy - more likely a cock-up caused by people who aren't 100% sure of their ground and are trying to play it safe.  They will be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

And yes, the various sub-committees have been operating since BCA was set up without officially accepted Terms of Reference - simply because everyone assumed they were continuing as for NCA but, when it came down to it, no-one could find the Terms of Reference for NCA committees.  So OK, the committees are now in the process of sorting this out and we have sets of Terms of Reference being proposed at the AGM so that things can be put on a more sensible footing.  Certainly the C&A Committee is currently in the process of drafting a set of Standing Orders to clarify how it is to work and I would hope that the other BCA Committees will do likewise.

We really do need to get over picking procedural nits!


New member
So it's down to those attending the AGM to vote on whether Will is allowed to stand?

That's good news. The BCA need people with his sort of enthusiasm.


Well-known member
I'll be [metaphorically] sleeping under the Helwith bridge to make sure Will is allowed to stand, Billy Goats or no Billy Goats.

Seriously, does anyone know where I might go to get a bed/pitch on the AGM weekend?


I believe you email secretary@british-caving.org.uk if you want to reserve a bed at the YSS, though some people are staying in other huts too I hear.