Author Topic: Access in private or democratic groups.  (Read 17443 times)

Offline Jopo

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Access in private or democratic groups.
« on: May 13, 2016, 09:29:31 am »
Am I alone in being concerned as to why access to certain mines on Welsh FC (now NRW) land is better in private hands http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html than groups like the CCC.

I wonder how these three directors managed to persuade the NRW that they represent UK cavers/mine enthusiasts  better than the CCC.

What is to stop this group seeking to control access to caves on NRW land in future?

I can, somewhat, understand a Ltd company being set up to manage access to a single mine or cave but Cave Access Ltd has given itself a wide remit with no democratic control at all.
A Ltd company is responsible only to it's directors and shareholders and unless a PLC you cannot become a shareholder, see the mins or take any part in decisions.

Quote
The company has no assets or capital and solely exists to manage the agreement signed with Natural Resources Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and other landowning bodies who may offer controlled access to other sites in the future.

The CCC is democratic and open to those who wish to partake.

Jopo

Offline royfellows

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2016, 09:47:12 am »
Suggest you get your facts right and re write your forum query.
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline tamarmole

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2016, 09:51:16 am »
As a mine explorer the fact that I now have legitimate access to mines such as Parc is a hugely positive development; I am not too concerned about the underlying politics.

As to the motivations of CAL -  Certainly Roy Fellows (one of the CAL principals) has made a massive contribution to mine exploration and access, particularly in Wales.  Outside CAL Roy almost single handedly secured access to Cwmystwyth and spends a significant amount of his time and money on the mine.  Ask anyone in the mine exploration community - he is one of the good guys.

I genuinely don't think there are any grounds for concern.

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 10:03:02 am »
CCC Newsletter http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/newsletters/44_Feb2015.pdf states
Quote
The nature of the risks that the landowners wished to transfer to the scheme organisers made it impossible for the Cambrian Caving Council itself or its officers to sign up to such a serious legal undertaking personally.

Sounds like a limited liability company is the only way you could sensibly do this?
In any case, I don't think the CCC controls any permits itself does it ? I think they just issue access advice for a few sites.

Offline ah147

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2016, 10:04:19 am »
Send em an email every year, go caving.

Access done right as far as I can tell.


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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2016, 10:21:46 am »
It's what Charterhouse Caving Company does. Does anybody have concerns about that? They changed from a "Committee" to a "Company" a long while back, I imagine for good legal reasons.

Offline mch

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 10:37:55 am »
Am I alone in being concerned as to why access to certain mines on Welsh FC (now NRW) land is better in private hands http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html than groups like the CCC.

I guess that the short answer, Jopo, is that you are indeed alone in your concerns. I can add little to the previous posts other than to say that I trust Roy 100% when it comes to access issues and to furthering the interests of mine and cave explorers.

Offline Rhys

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2016, 11:12:04 am »
If they stick to mines, in which I have limited interest, then I'm not too bothered. If they start empire building and expanding their remit to natural caves, I might then start to get a bit more concerned.

Ultimately, we're just expected to trust that these guys will do the right thing, in the interests of all of us - which is a risk. Yes, everyone says Roy is great. However, it is quite possible that at some point in the future, the attitudes or mental states of the people in charge might change and put the relatively good present access in jeopardy.

Rhys

Offline droid

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2016, 11:15:16 am »
CCC wouldn't pick up the task, so who else do you suggest does it, Rhys?
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Offline Rhys

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2016, 11:25:51 am »
CCC wouldn't pick up the task, so who else do you suggest does it, Rhys?

I dunno. Not me.

Offline Dave Tyson

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2016, 11:54:53 am »
Ultimately, we're just expected to trust that these guys will do the right thing, in the interests of all of us - which is a risk. Yes, everyone says Roy is great. However, it is quite possible that at some point in the future, the attitudes or mental states of the people in charge might change and put the relatively good present access in jeopardy.

Rhys
Cave Access Limited was set up purely to handle the liability issues should something serious happen. If CCC had signed up to the agreement then if the shit hit the fan the CCC officers may become financially liable and I would prefer to keep my house etc.

The remit of CAL is to allow free and open access with the minimum of faff. Leaders need to register once per year stating their BCA membership number and club (if any) and they are free to go in any CAL sites. All we ask is a short email before or after each trip stating the date, site and number in party. We have to keep records for NRW and they get summary statistics (Not the records) on a yearly basis.

The scheme has worked well so far and we have had positive feedback from users. We want to add more sites in the near future - these are other mines and quarries. It is possible a landowner could approach us about a cave on their land and ask CAL to administer access, but that hasn't happened yet and it is likely we would suggest Cambrian Caving Council takes that on dependent on liability issues. 

I think the scheme runs in the spirit that the late Elsie Little (who started the detailed negotiations with NRW) intended.

Dave

CCC Secretary & CAL Director
 


 

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2016, 12:10:45 pm »
I would prefer an accountable body to do such things, but a sympathetic private body is the next best thing. If it's that, or nothing, then I prefer the managed approach. I agree that the attitudes of individuals can have the potential to cause problems, but at the moment, Roy has done a "good thing".

Online Brains

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2016, 12:28:14 pm »
Seems the original query has been answered, however I am curious as to why the question was asked in the first place. Have there been issues of which we are not aware?

Offline royfellows

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2016, 01:09:59 pm »
Seems the original query has been answered, however I am curious as to why the question was asked in the first place. Have there been issues of which we are not aware?

If there has, then I am also unaware, and I am a director of CAL!
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline Jopo

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2016, 01:27:51 pm »
I raised the question because I have some concern about the complete and utter lack of accountability of Cave Access Ltd. Other than personal lobbying how can their aims be queried

I have no doubt that Roy has done a good job in creating or recovering access to sites but could that not have been done within a democratic group.

Am In wrong or have other access groups solved the problem of liability?

Roy asks me to get my facts right before posting. If I did get any fact wrong then I apologise Roy but please let me know what you thought I had wrong.

The reply from Dave was more reassuring than but I wonder why Cave Access Ltd was chosen when Mines Access Ltd is (at least it was 5 mins ago) still available.

Jopo

Offline Dave Tyson

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2016, 01:54:02 pm »
The reply from Dave was more reassuring than but I wonder why Cave Access Ltd was chosen when Mines Access Ltd is (at least it was 5 mins ago) still available.

Jopo
When Stuart set up the company he tried several more suitable names but these were each rejected by companies house. So Cave Access Limited was a last ditch effort. In hindsight Mines Access Limited might have been better but could also have been rejected. We were rushing to get it set up before the start of 2015. As it happened the paperwork from NRW was delayed and so the agreement only came into effect in March 2015.

Dave

Offline royfellows

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2016, 02:15:55 pm »
I will give one my best shot then.

The reason for the formation of the company rather than the scheme being operated by CCC has already been answered, but I can add that in effect the scheme is being implemented by CCC, but indirectly. The directors of CAL are all officers of CCC, but enjoy the benefit of what is known as the "corporate veil"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_veil_in_the_United_Kingdom

Public Limited Companies are democratic, as you pointed out, but are operated for profit to the benefit of their shareholders, a situation entirely unsuited to the purpose of CAL. CAL is a private company as you say, but a company limited by guarantee with no share capital, in plain speak, a 'not for profit' company.

Our aim is to make access as simple and easy as possible and I believe that we are successful in this, and struggle badly to see why anyone would want to query this?

The name was chosen by Stuart after the difficulties encountered as described by Dave above, and I understand that this was to reflect that the company was being run by cavers.

I think my initial response was possibly a bit curt on reflection, but facts wrong, well sorry yes as for one your understanding of a PLC appears to be misplaced in this particular context for one thing. So I have tried to explain everything as best I can.

Thing is here, I struggle again to see why anyone should have a problem with whats been done. If gates and padlocks and key officers etc were part of the equation then I could, but they are not.

All of the mines on our schedule were accessible before, but had to entered covertly. Now there is no need for 'midnight trips' and official trips can be arranged for events such as the annual NAMHO event.

Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2016, 08:57:15 pm »
Thing is here, I struggle again to see why anyone should have a problem with whats been done.

I think the concern is not the current access you have secured (by the way, good work  :thumbsup:), but what could happen in the future, as unlike in the case of an elected committee, the directors of the company could change and could also change their ethos without the consent of those they represent. It is possible that the company directors could take advantage of their position to control access to their own advantage (whatever that might be?) and would not be accountable.

I think right now, it might seem a bit far fetched, but looking to the future, it does raise a valid point. When Roy and the other directors move on to the caverns measureless to man (or never-ending and fruitless digs) in the sky, what systems are in place to ensure the current ethos is maintained?
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Offline bograt

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2016, 10:52:57 pm »
I consider that any form of permitted access is far more preferable to no official access, also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing, as illustrated 'over the pond' at the moment ---.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2016, 10:56:56 pm »
also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing

That's a quote, that is.

Offline bograt

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2016, 11:17:48 pm »
also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing

That's a quote, that is.

 :) :) :thumbsup: :thumbsup: please feel free to use it wherever and whenever  :thumbsup:
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Offline mch

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2016, 09:44:18 am »
I consider that any form of permitted access is far more preferable to no official access, also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing, as illustrated 'over the pond' at the moment ---.
Not just over the pond!

Offline badger

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2016, 10:03:52 am »
obviously at the moment we are all benefitting from the set up of CAL, and as Pete has said whilst it is as it is at present then great.
question then is how can the present situation be guaranteed moving in to the future when the 3 directors are not in charge. How is CAL set up, say when the 1st director moves on in his immortal caving journey,
is there anything which is written to how the company must operate
is there anything on how a new director is appointed
so whilst I applauded the situation at present, and happy to make use of this, the question at the start of the thread needs to be thought about, and may already have been and the necessary steps in place to continue as is at present

Offline Dave Tyson

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2016, 12:10:50 pm »
The existing three directors of CAL can appoint others to manage and represent CAL in the same way that Roy has expanded number of the directors of the Cambrian Mines Trust.

I don't regard it as a job for life - I deal with the day to day allocation of permits and log the trips as well as deal with the North Wales sites. I will be happy to step down and pass on the baton to someone else in the future!

Dave

Offline Wayland Smith

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Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2016, 01:16:50 pm »
I see people complaining about an organisation that has provided legal access where non was available before.

I do NOT see any suggestions how this could be improved,
only mutterings that at sometime in the future, something might change.
Therefore the set up is wrong and possibly a conspiracy.

I also can not see anyone offering to help!