Author Topic: Application for BCA Secretary  (Read 17106 times)

Offline MarkS

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #250 on: April 18, 2019, 03:28:15 pm »
...where in the BCA is the voice of cave rescue, cave research etc.

I would say that the voice of cave rescue, cave research etc. is given by the cavers who make up these groups. Presumably "the voice" of each of these groups in the house of groups is (or should be) the democratic view of its members, which is represented anyway by those members when they vote in the house of individuals.

All that the two-house system brings is an arbitrary extra vote for each organisation, regardless of its size. The voices of CRO/BCRC/BCRA will be far outnumbered by loads of little clubs that most of us have never heard of (if they choose to turn up), and the votes are equal regardless of whether a group comprises 3 people or 300 people.

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #251 on: April 18, 2019, 04:08:31 pm »
Very well said Mark!
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Offline Jenny P

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #252 on: April 18, 2019, 04:09:35 pm »
You have misunderstood the 2-house system.  The votes in the two houses are recorded separately so that a majority is required in both houses to pass a proposal. 

If both houses agree, there is no problem and the vote passes - which is what usually happens.  Only if the two houses disagree, i.e. if one house votes for and the other against, does the vote fail (and I think it was established earlier in in this thread that this has only happened once since the system was instituted).

If a vote fails it is probably a fair indication that you haven't got it quite right and need to think again.  Wouldn't you normally want to ensure that the majority of individual cavers and the organisations which might be affected by any proposal are happy with it?


Offline zomjon

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #253 on: April 18, 2019, 04:44:30 pm »
Jenny, in my view, caving and membership of clubs has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. My gut feeling is that there are many cavers out there who don’t belong to a club, or if they do: do it to tick a box, get slightly cheaper insurance, use a hut, reciprocal hut rights - but not to be fully involved in the politics of their club or even know how it is voting on BCA matters. The amount of cavers out there without club membership or probably BCA insurance, I’m sure is growing daily, and part of that will be not wanting to be an active part of a club or for certain people to have double votes on more contentious issues.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #254 on: April 18, 2019, 07:05:06 pm »
A fair point but I think it depends on which club you belong to.  There certainly does seem to be more inter-club caving nowadays among some groups of friends and possibly there are more independent cavers who are members of BCA.  (A look at BCA membership stats. year on year would be your best guide here - is individual membership of BCA going up?.) 

However there are a fair number of cavers who still regard their club caving and interaction with other members of their club through social activities as the main scene and they don't want to be bothered to vote themselves but are happy for their club to vote on their behalf.  I suspect that many of these, if their club couldn't vote on their behalf, wouldn't bother to vote at all, even if they could do so online. 

When we do manage to achieve individual electronic voting (and I hope we do!), then it will be interesting to see just how many of the 5000 - 6000 individual members actually do bother to vote.  This may well depend on how electronic individual voting is organised.  I suspect it may be a bit optimistic to assume that cavers would sit glued to their screens for hours at a time, watching an AGM held at some distant venue, quivering with anticipation at being able to hit the "vote" button at the instant the Chairman of the meeting gives the go-ahead in real time.  But that's a whole other debate ...

As for "... certain people to have double votes on more contentious issues ...", you could easily get round it (that's if you think it happens now), by saying that no-one may cast a vote both as an individual member and also as the representative of a group.

I really don't know and that's why I'm interested in exploring all the options.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #255 on: April 18, 2019, 07:26:13 pm »
As for "... certain people to have double votes on more contentious issues ...", you could easily get round it (that's if you think it happens now), by saying that no-one may cast a vote both as an individual member and also as the representative of a group.

Why would I have to throw away my individual vote to vote as a club? Who would want to be a club representative if they couldn't then vote?

Although I would point out that I turn up to the BCA AGM as EUSS representative and, in so doing, have as much of a group vote as the BCRC, CNCC, CDG, CHECC etc. This gives me democratic power in the house of groups that I shouldn't have, since according to the AGM minutes there were 16 group votes. Effectively I had 375 people's worth of votes... If all the clubs actually turned up, the national body and regional body votes would become irrelevant. It's a messy system.

Offline MarkS

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #256 on: April 18, 2019, 08:17:10 pm »
You have misunderstood the 2-house system.  The votes in the two houses are recorded separately so that a majority is required in both houses to pass a proposal. 

I have not misunderstood the 2-house system, but I have perhaps not phrased my previous post in the most unambiguous way. When I said, "All that the two-house system brings is an arbitrary extra vote for each organisation", I was meaning that organisations have a vote in the house of groups that is extra to those cast by individual members in the house of individuals.

Wouldn't you normally want to ensure that the majority of individual cavers and the organisations which might be affected by any proposal are happy with it?

Yes I would, but those organisations are already represented by the individual vote. Views of organisations are nothing more than the combined views of their constituent members.

[...]there are a fair number of cavers who still regard their club caving and interaction with other members of their club through social activities as the main scene and they don't want to be bothered to vote themselves but are happy for their club to vote on their behalf.  I suspect that many of these, if their club couldn't vote on their behalf, wouldn't bother to vote at all, even if they could do so online. 

If people care little enough about an issue that they can't be bothered spending the tiny amount of time to click a few buttons to vote online, so be it. I'm not sure that hypothetical apathy of some of the the membership is a good reason not to adopt a more democratic system.

When we do manage to achieve individual electronic voting (and I hope we do!), then it will be interesting to see just how many of the 5000 - 6000 individual members actually do bother to vote.  This may well depend on how electronic individual voting is organised.  I suspect it may be a bit optimistic to assume that cavers would sit glued to their screens for hours at a time, watching an AGM held at some distant venue, quivering with anticipation at being able to hit the "vote" button at the instant the Chairman of the meeting gives the go-ahead in real time.  But that's a whole other debate ...

I think confirming proposals and having a voting period in advance of meetings is the only really sensible route forward, which is how I understand most organisations operate. I don't think anyone anticipates members watching an AGM and voting "live".

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #257 on: April 19, 2019, 02:51:19 pm »
Good!  That's what I am aiming for - a sensible discussion on ways and means as to how BCA might move forward.  :)

The 2-house system was put in place originally because some constituent bodies didn't seem to like the idea of their members voting independently of them.  (Remember that in the earliest days of NCA there was no voting at all for clubs, let alone individuals - the only votes were held by the constituent bodies!  We had a real fight on our hands in the 1990's to get clubs to be allowed to vote - and that was just the start.)  The 2-house system seemed to be the fairest way out at the time it was put in place when BCA came into being in 2004 - but maybe you are right and it's now about time for it to be replaced completely by individual member voting. 

However, I tend to think that we really need to have individual member voting by electronic means up and running properly before we discard the old 2-house system.  At present, with AGMs rotating round the regions and people reluctant to travel for hours just to sit in a meeting, it is perhaps all too easy for policies to be totally swung one way or another by the individual members actually present and voting at the meeting.  I could be wrong, but I'm of the opinion that the 2-house system probably tends to stabilise things because you are more likely to get an overall view from group representatives. These are likely to be people who know how things work in their region and are also aware of the different way things have to work in other regions because they have sat and discussed the issues, either in BCA Council meetings or, where they are a nationally accepted specialist body (e.g. BCRC or BCRA), in their own national meetings. 

So, if we agree that we want to switch to individual member voting and do this by electronic means, we probably need to re-think the way AGMs are run. 

One way would be, as you suggest, to have voting before the meeting - but in that case, what's the purpose of the meeting?  How can you have amendments to proposals - that's if you agree that you need to allow amendments.

The other way would be to have "confirmatory" votes after the meeting - but that probably pre-supposes that BCA Council takes a much larger role in organising proposals and sorting out possible amendments and difficulties well before the agenda goes out with proposals to vote on.

I've heard a number of people saying, "... BMC does it OK so why can't we do it like they do ...".  So is it worth considering in detail how BMC and other similar organisations organise their AGMs?  It really does seem worth thinking through very carefully all the implications and potential catches before we launch out into our brave new voting system.   ;)


Offline darren

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #258 on: April 19, 2019, 07:41:59 pm »
I'm sure you've though it through, but you are changing the whole democratic process to make voting more accessible.

The traditional proposing of a motionl, followed by a debate will be totally meaningless.  Most people will vote online so not bother listening to debate. The debate is supposed to bring the knowledge of the crowd into action which frequently produces a much improved motion.

What you are proposing will change the AGM into a series of referendums on predetermined questions, what could possibly go wrong.

Instead of people getting in a room and debating  motions face to face we could do electronically, perhaps on a forum with a thread for each motion. That way you could just read the last post and completely misunderstood the purpose of the motion.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 07:54:03 pm by darren »
No, I'm playing all the right notes

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #259 on: April 19, 2019, 07:59:00 pm »
Good points Darren; obviously BCA is keen to engage with its membership and voting (and ignoring votes) is all the rage nowadays.

However it is worth checking out the BCA's own constitution just to raise awareness of the scope of its portfolio.

Offline NewStuff

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #260 on: April 19, 2019, 08:40:40 pm »
I'm sure you've though it through, but you are changing the whole democratic process to make voting more accessible.
Yup, the whole thread is based on that point of discussion.

The traditional proposing of a motionl, followed by a debate will be totally meaningless. 
Good.

Most people will vote online so not bother listening to debate
Conjecture, and why would they need to? Plenty of places for people, that want to get involved, to discuss proposals, issues etc.

The debate is supposed to bring the knowledge of the crowd into action which frequently produces a much improved motion.
Says who? I find it usually brings boredom, bitterness, or awkward silence, subject dependant.

What you are proposing will change the AGM into a series of referendums on predetermined questions, what could possibly go wrong.
Yet more conjecture.

Instead of people getting in a room and debating  motions face to face we could do electronically, perhaps on a forum with a thread for each motion. That way you could just read the last post and completely misunderstood the purpose of the motion.
And spend an entire, utterly dull day, probably in a different part of the country, listening to people pick munuitae apart? No ta, I have a limit on how much boredom I can stomach.
Permission? Wassat den?

Offline kat

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #261 on: April 19, 2019, 09:23:50 pm »

However, I tend to think that we really need to have individual member voting by electronic means up and running properly before we discard the old 2-house system. 


Fully agree with Jenny.  It may be that the way forward in the future is to remove the 2-house system but this should be subject to proper consideration of the reasons for change and of the potential implications.  No system is perfect and there are reasons why 2 house systems developed originally. 

I'm not entirely convinced that the individual votes necessarily fully replace the group votes and don't believe group votes are giving individuals multiple votes.  An organisation may have a certain remit or objective. By removing voting rights from an organisation it could no longer be considered a Full Member of the BCA and that removes any real voice - however small that voice may be.  Individuals may be members of those organisations or have views on those objectives but that is different to a consensus view that is come to by a committee /group.       

If there is a perceived concern with the two-house system bringing an arbitrary extra vote for each organisation regardless of its size, and is a cited reason for removing the system,  maybe a solution is to weight the vote against the size of the organisation (as per BCA membership rates).

There could also even be an argument that the votes of DIMs should carry more weight than those of CIMs.   

As for AGMs, my understanding is the BMC on-line voting occurs before the AGM.  It ceases at the start of the AGM - results are unknown as this stage.  In person and proxy voting are allowed at the AGM.  Reading the minutes of last years meeting there was acknowledgement that no substantial amendments to any motions could be agreed at the AGM because of the preceding voting.  Hence it does require a certain approach to AGM - all debate needs to occur beforehand and motions need to be carefully worded etc so that changes are not needed.

All other organisations I'm a member of seem to follow a similar pre-AGM on-line voting system.  I can't see realistically how the voting could occur after the AGM.  This approach would probably be beset with even more problems. 

Also agree with Jenny that the preferred option should be to have electronic voting where this is possible but to arrange for a postal vote to those who do not have an email address. 

Happy Easter

Offline Badlad

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #262 on: April 20, 2019, 02:11:50 pm »
One of the anomalies with the group system is the nature of the group and the number of cavers they represent.  For example.

The CNCC has one group vote, however it represents over 30 northern clubs and more than 1000 cavers.

A typical large northern club has one vote, is a member of CNCC, and may have 300 members

A typical small northern club has one vote and may have as few as 4 members.

Therefore two small clubs representing 8 people can negate the votes of two organisations/clubs representing more than 1000 cavers.

Another example which I'll relate with fictional organisations/clubs on a fictional poll but has happened.

In the Council of Anglia Caving Clubs area which has 20 caving clubs eligible to vote they do not like the new national policy on using bright lights.  The regional council and 20 clubs vote against the policy.  However, in all clubs individuals are split on the subject at around 60-40 on average.  So the area still has a lot of individuals who support the national policy on bright lights but there is not a single club or group vote to show for it.  Only in the individual house is the true view on bright lights reflected (pun intended).

One member one vote is the only true democratic way to run an organisation.

Offline kay

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #263 on: April 21, 2019, 04:19:49 am »
This is an important point


In the Council of Anglia Caving Clubs area which has 20 caving clubs eligible to vote they do not like the new national policy on using bright lights.  The regional council and 20 clubs vote against the policy.  However, in all clubs individuals are split on the subject at around 60-40 on average.  So the area still has a lot of individuals who support the national policy on bright lights but there is not a single club or group vote to show for it.  Only in the individual house is the true view on bright lights reflected (pun intended).


I'd also add that in a larger club the decision will be made by the Committee and may or may not be representative of the members' views. In a small club, the decision is more likely to be the result of consulting all members.. So weighting the club vote according to the number of members isn't necessarily more democratic.

Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #264 on: April 21, 2019, 09:07:48 am »
One man one vote makes it more representative and democratic it's really that simple.then a committee won't be able to override the members it's supposed to represent

Offline mikem

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #265 on: April 21, 2019, 09:29:49 am »

...So the area still has a lot of individuals who support the national policy on bright lights but there is not a single club or group vote to show for it.  Only in the individual house is the true view on bright lights reflected (pun intended).
However, at another AGM, a majority of individual anti bright lighters turn up & the result is much the same...

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #266 on: April 23, 2019, 07:08:39 pm »

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #267 on: April 28, 2019, 08:17:54 pm »
The BCA AGM Agenda has now been published;

http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=general_meetings:2019_agm

I would like to say thank you to the Acting Secretary, Robin, for his work putting this agenda together, which I know has taken him many hours over the past two weeks. It is a complex document made no easier by my proposals, which are the four listed earlier in this thread. There is also a proposal from Jane Allen too which has my full support. I am extremely surprised to see no proposals from other members.

Robin has added two notes in Italix to the supplementary information for two of my proposals, which I would like to explain here:

(1) Regarding the 'New to Caving' leaflets


It is argueable whether the leaflet was 'discussed and approved' at the last Council meeting. The P&I report for that meeting included mention of their wish to push ahead with this leaflet post-AGM, however, this wasn't specifically discussed, and saying this was 'approved' is only based on lack of objections to the report (which may be because it was about four hours into the meeting and everyone was flagging by that point).

Usually a lack of objections can be taken to mean everyone is happy with the content of a report or the direction detailed within... otherwise we'd spend our lives voting on every little matter! Therefore getting this leaflet published seems likely to happen without my AGM proposal. I take Robin's point and realise that this proposal probably isn't needed any more, but I have chosen to leave the proposal in place simply to ensure a clear and undeniable mandate.

(2) Regarding the webmaster appointment proposal


Robin is absolutely correct; the BCA Manual of Operations does say that the webmaster is appointed by the P&I Committee at the first Council meeting after the AGM. Note that the Manual of Operations is a very different document to the constitution.

BCA Constitution: http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:documents:bca_constitution
BCA Manual of Operations: http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki2/doku.php

Here we have someone (Gary) putting themselves forward to undertake a massive overhaul of the BCA Website and periphery systems. It would be a substantial change to the stutus quo and as such I feel it needs a very strong mandate, one that only the wider membership can give.

I accept that this would be in contradiction to the Manual of Operations, and I think it is important that everyone else is aware of this too for transparancy. Robin is right to flag this up as Acting Secretary. We have had a very friendly discussion about this and we agree to disagree on whether this proposal can be heard in its current form. The AGM will have to decide.

Finally...
Whatever your opinion... please get involved in the AGM! Sunday 9th June, Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Clubs you can send a voting representative (letter of authorisation needed) and individuals come along (bring BCA card to vote). Get involved, regardless of how you plan to vote on the proposals, and regardless of what direction you feel the BCA should be taking. The process of revitalising caver interest and positivity for our National Body starts now!
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Offline Madness

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #268 on: April 28, 2019, 10:17:13 pm »
I honestly only managed to read as far as 22.6 of the agenda before I got bored and gave up!

That doesn't bode well for the actual AGM itself.

On the day of the AGM can I turn up, give my membership card to Matt (Letting him vote on my behalf), while I go for a nice walk with my spaniel?

Offline Oceanrower

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #269 on: April 28, 2019, 10:50:17 pm »
I honestly only managed to read as far as 22.6 of the agenda before I got bored and gave up!


You did better than me. Can I come with you? I like spaniels...

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #270 on: April 28, 2019, 11:02:44 pm »
Sorry Madness... I'm afraid not (Proxy voting was rejected a few years ago).

Of course if my fourth proposal (to scrap the two house system and introduce online voting) is accepted at the meeting and then in the subsequent member ballot, then for 2020, you will be able to vote online on all AGM proposals rather than have to attend in person.

That's not to say we don't want people coming to the physical meetings; there's lots to be gained by face to face discussions. I am certainly aware that meetings need to be made more concise though.

Many of the agenda items are simply adoption of policies, or terms of reference for the various Standing Committees. As these have all been carefully developed/considered by the respective designee(s) on Council then the AGM should hopefully just be a matter of waving these through and they should not take too long.

Come on folks... it's just one day and it will probably be raining anyway :lol:
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Offline Jeanrr

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #271 on: April 29, 2019, 03:36:53 pm »
How many people can fit in the hall ?            I think there will be a big turn out, especially if it rains.

Are under 18's allowed to vote ?

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #272 on: April 30, 2019, 08:05:20 am »
Hi Jeanrr

The village hall will seat approximately 50 people and will accommodate at least the same number again standing (perhaps bring you own folding chair). We are checking on the absolute capacity in terms of fire regs. I would be extremely surprised if more than 100 people attend; that would be a record. Experience tells me that only a small fraction of non-regulars who say they will attend will actually do so on the day (particularly if it's nice weather and Penyghent looks stunning). We will however be bringing PA equipment in the event that it is a packed room and audibility becomes compromised.

There is no age limit in the constitution or Manual of Operations about voting, so I personally see no reason why under-18 CIM and DIM members cannot vote. I am not sure if there is some kind of unwritten rules on this, but as far as I'm concerned there are no issues. Individual members (CIMs and DIMs) can vote in the House of Individuals (you must bring you membership card), and groups (i.e. clubs) can vote in the House of Groups (you must bring a letter from your group Officers to authorise you to deliver a vote for that group).

Cheers
Matt
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Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #273 on: April 30, 2019, 08:27:24 am »
The only other conditions based on past practice that I am aware of are one can only vote once.  So you can't bring letters from several clubs authorising you to vote for all of them; just one.  Ditto membership cards; just one.

Offline kay

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #274 on: April 30, 2019, 09:46:27 am »
The only other conditions based on past practice that I am aware of are one can only vote once.  So you can't bring letters from several clubs authorising you to vote for all of them; just one.  Ditto membership cards; just one.

Is that one vote per house or one vote total? ie can you place a vote as a club rep and still retain your individual vote?