Author Topic: Application for BCA Secretary  (Read 16958 times)

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2019, 03:52:30 pm »
Yesterday was rather a dramatic and busy day for me; I was contacted by email, PM on here, Whatsapp, text message and spent two hours on the phone last night, all with/from people trying to urge me to reconsider my choice to step aside. This is in addition to the posts above. The contact came also from several existing members of BCA Council.

I have been staggered by the enthusiasm for change; it has exceeded my expectations.

It seems that I have made a mistake. During my holiday last week, the ‘final straw’ for me was a very disappointing discussion with one existing and highly respected (by me and many others) member of BCA council. This played on my mind during my holiday and it really got to me; not least because this person is someone I respect immensely, and had not expected to be so opposed to the fairly radical modernisation I wish to see happen.

One of the biggest concerns I keep hearing is how bad it will be if key BCA individuals, who currently do a large amount of the work, are upset by these proposals and leave. I have heard it described as a potential disaster waiting to happen. I am certainly not here to upset anyone or cause any disasters.

It seems that more people support a modernising agenda than I had expected. I have been made aware in the last few days of numerous clubs and individuals who were going to turn up to the BCA AGM specifically to vote in favour of BCA modernisation; and some younger BCA council members who were considering stepping aside had this not happened. I have also had a long discussion by phone with an alternative modernising BCA Secretary candidate who was willing to take on the role, albeit reluctantly. He has been rather persuasive on me to step back into the arena.

Therefore, after some reflection, I am back, to stand as Secretary and to see my proposals to fruition.

This time, I go forward with confidence of a good show of support for my proposals, not only from UK Caving users (who have been nothing but supportive) but also from many individuals and clubs who I have heard over the past few days are going to be voting at the BCA AGM in June.

I also take on board Pitlamp’s characteristically very diplomatic and commonsense comment that there is no humiliation in putting forward well considered proposals that get rejected.

I am also encouraged to know that I will be joined on BCA Council by several other very progressive thinkers, who have voiced support not only for the vision I have personally presented, but beyond that. Thank you to Louise for putting yourself forward and publishing your statement here; I’m looking forward to working with you.

So apologies all for my ‘wobble’ and allowing a small handful of people to rattle my cage. It is clear that the time is now for cavers to rekindle their interest in our National Body and move it forwards out of the rut it is currently in, ideally with support from as many cavers as possible, young and old, newcomers as well as BCA stalwarts. 

Even if you feel that this is “too much too fast” I’d urge you to see the opportunity here and respect that many people do want to see change. People DO want a better website, greater opportunities to participate electronically, and a national body that can be proud of and perceive as being more than just an insurance broker (which of course it is, as Pegasus has shown). Younger cavers are discussing our National Body more than any time I can remember. The BCA must embrace this, and I urge that all those with reservations about what changes may lay ahead to try to overcome these and work with the modernisers rather than against them.

It’s also worth saying that the term ‘old guard’ used here by some people can be interpreted different ways. It is easy to interpret this as a bunch of people who have held various roles for a long time and who are keen to keep control, and to view these people in the wrong light or talk about them disrespectfully, or to make assumptions about their motives. The term was used in this way five years ago to describe the then incumbent CNCC Officers. I see the term more as meaning individuals who have given up huge amounts of their free time to work in the interests of British Caving, and whose efforts should be acknowledged, and praised, regardless of whether you agree with their approaches. Mutual respect is needed if we are to move forward... but move forward we must!

I want the upcoming AGM to be about progress and positivity, not about personality clashes or regional disagreements. I hope to see lots of you (including individuals and club reps) there in June.

Matt Ewles
York Caving Club
CNCC Secretary
BCA Secretary

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #51 on: March 26, 2019, 05:02:23 pm »
Good for you :-)

Offline rcfindlay

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2019, 05:31:37 pm »
Hope has been restored! Really great to hear you have changed your mind Matt.

We will miss you on all those holidays though..  ;)

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #53 on: March 26, 2019, 05:35:08 pm »
Phew, thank goodness for that. Looking forward to voting for you, Matt :)

Offline christine

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2019, 05:41:50 pm »
You have just saved yourself some harassment from me then  :halo:

I was about to message you and try to get you to reconsider. I'm glad you have. That alone is refreshing that you're not so stubborn as to not be able to change your mind on something - a quality among many others that I suspect makes you the obvious choice for the job.

You have my 100% support.

Offline ahinde

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2019, 06:05:57 pm »
Well done Matt. I realise how difficult it can be to "get back in the saddle" when you have been brought down by  caving colleagues that you have always respected. It must be a bitter and deflating experience to see one's loyalty abused the way you have. It is a very brave decision that I am sure you will not regret. I will be encouraging support for you and your proposals at the AGM. Radical change can be distressing for some people ,but change will come. As I prepare to stand down from BCA I feel confident that the cavers coming forward to take on officer roles at BCA are of outstanding quality and will quickly earn the trust and support of the membership through their actions. I appreciate Matt's reconciliatory tone which I hope will not be abused.

Offline blackshiver

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2019, 06:33:53 pm »
Good Grief - a very sensible turnaround.

I don't think there is going to be enough parking space given the AGM is in Horton on the 9th of June.

Anyone wishing to do Sell Gill that Sunday might need to walk from Ingleton.
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Offline GT

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2019, 06:44:13 pm »
:) Good man....

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2019, 07:19:51 pm »
Your most recent post above is cracking news Matt - I'm delighted.
Best of luck.   :thumbsup:

Offline GarDouth

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #59 on: March 26, 2019, 07:56:22 pm »
Nowt like a good political u-turn (just kidding). I told you that you had lots of support.

Of course you have my full support and I will also continue with my roll in your proposals as required.

This does seem to be an odd thing to be typing as Matt is currently sat three feet away from me but we now only talk via the medium of UKC  :lol:
York Caving Club secretary
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Offline Madness

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #60 on: March 26, 2019, 10:03:26 pm »
I'm glad that you've reconsidered your position Matt. I'm sure the BCA and all its members will benefit from your enthusiastic involvement.

Offline Tseralo

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #61 on: March 26, 2019, 10:33:13 pm »
I will happily try and drag as many TSG members up to vote as I can.

Offline andys

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2019, 07:24:36 am »
Great news - just what the caving world needs just now. Can I also ask if you'd also consider taking on Brexit?
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Offline Madness

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2019, 07:29:16 am »
Having looked at the calendar, I've found that the wife is away over the BCA AGM weekend. This means that I'll be looking after our Spaniel. I want to attend the AGM and support Matt. Can anyone tell me if dogs will be allowed in the AGM/Village Hall? Otherwise I might have to mooch around outside and just go in for the voting.

Offline kay

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #64 on: March 27, 2019, 08:12:20 am »

I want the upcoming AGM to be about progress and positivity, not about personality clashes or regional disagreements.


This above all is why I believe Matt is the person for the job - his ability to bring together people with radically different views and opinions and unite them in a common purpose.

Offline MJenkinson

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #65 on: March 27, 2019, 08:46:28 am »
So when voting for new position is it based on a club vote ( 1 per club rep) or is it individual votes for all BCA members? Not that au fait with all this business.

Offline andys

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #66 on: March 27, 2019, 09:06:06 am »
So when voting for new position is it based on a club vote ( 1 per club rep) or is it individual votes for all BCA members? Not that au fait with all this business.

And therein lies part of the problem - the current voting system has to be one of the prime candidates for the very first phase of any reform of BCA (imho!)
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Online Badlad

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #67 on: March 27, 2019, 09:17:29 am »
Worth noting that if Matt is the only applicant for the post of secretary (by the deadline of 13th April) he will automatically take up the role without a vote.  I suspect he would be wise to ask for a vote of support at the AGM for his declared modernising agenda so that it is clear that this is what the voting membership have asked for.  It will help enormously in the weeks and years to come.

Otherwise the BCA has two voting houses - the house of individuals and the house of groups/clubs.  For most things to pass you need to get a straight 50% in each house. 50% of voting individuals and 50% of voting clubs/groups.  This is of those who attend the AGM and have either their BCA membership card to vote as an individual or a letter of authority to vote for their club/group.

For a constitutional change, a motion must reach 70% in both houses of those eligible to vote at the AGM.  If it passes that it must then go to a second vote of the entire membership, both houses, where it needs to achieve 70% again.  This can be done by a combination of postal voting and email voting.

What could be simpler :-\

Offline ali_mac

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #68 on: March 27, 2019, 01:39:03 pm »
I'm not new to caving, but new to all this BCA stuff.

Do I understand correctly... that to vote for Matt, I would need to be in the meeting, in person, at the time... and have a personal membership...
And if the club I am in wanted to vote for Matt, they would need to send a member, with a written letter , in person too?

Thanks,

Ali.

Offline GarDouth

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #69 on: March 27, 2019, 01:42:27 pm »
Do I understand correctly... that to vote for Matt, I would need to be in the meeting, in person, at the time... and have a personal membership...
And if the club I am in wanted to vote for Matt, they would need to send a member, with a written letter , in person too?

Correct Ali. If Matt is the only candidate there will be no vote for him as such but his proposals will need a vote.
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Offline Madness

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #70 on: March 27, 2019, 03:01:50 pm »
Can a Individual Member apoint someone present at the AGM to vote on their behalf/by proxy?

Offline 2xw

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #71 on: March 27, 2019, 03:41:51 pm »
I want to note that I am a direct individual member of council (that's someone who votes but isn't an officer), and I have been trying to get electronic voting for the BCA now for two years (!). I really very much welcome Matt's proposals and fully support him!

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #72 on: March 27, 2019, 03:43:01 pm »
Hi Madness; Proxy voting was proposed a few years ago but rejected.

However, if my fourth proposal (to amend voting to individuals only and introduce online voting) is accepted then of course it will mean that all individual members will be able to vote on AGM proposals via an online vote conducted after the meeting ;D

It is likely that I will be the only Secretary candidate (unless someone plans to jump in last minute... that would be exciting) so Gary is correct that I would be appointed without a vote if no other candidate is available. Tim's idea for me to get a broad vote of support for a modernising agenda is a good one and one that I shall consider requesting.

My proposals (and any other proposals anyone else puts forward) will be voted upon at the meeting and will need to pass in both houses (Individuals and Groups).

Perhaps the most challenging will be the constitutional amendments to change the future AGM voting system, as this will require 70% support rather than the usual >50% support as it affects the constitution. This motion will require groups to support removal of their own vote in future, so will be particularly challenging and maybe a hard-sell. Most of the groups I have spoken with so far have understood why this is a good idea (and that it represents an increase in democracy rather than a decrease) but a few have raised concerns.

This proposal would also introduce online voting for the 2020 AGM.

For my proposal about changing voting to get through, a strong turnout of supportive groups (i.e. clubs) will be required, as getting this through the House of Groups will be the biggest challenge. Currently I am working to get these constitutional amendments finalised and watertight in time for the 13th April submission deadline. Once these are in, I will start campaigning to gain support for them, and to address any concerns groups (or individuals) may have with this proposed way forward. I know the CNCC will be supporting this proposal, and there was good support from all but two northern clubs at our recent AGM; I've yet to get any tests of the water in other regions.

York Caving Club
CNCC Secretary
BCA Secretary

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #73 on: March 27, 2019, 04:06:02 pm »
I am fully in support of Matt's nomination as BCA Secretary.  I reckon he will do an ace job and having a volunteer to step up to offer to do the job is a real plus.

My only worry is that we already have a working group, appointed at the 2018 AGM, i.e. only 9 months ago, and called the "Vision and Constitution Working Party", headed by Hellie Adams. This was tasked with looking at the best way forward for BCA, given that we are all aware that the present situation is not good and that we need to make some changes.  It would seem sensible to give this group a chance to finish its work and report back to the AGM, rather than jump the gun and try to pre-empt its work.  The changes Matt is suggesting should surely be part of the input to this existing working group; not least because changes suggested by others may conflict with the ideas he is putting forward.

Don't forget that we also have a Youth and Development Working Group, headed by Rostam Namaghi, which is looking at how BCA works and may well itself suggest changes.

There really is a will to change and improve the way BCA operates - it certainly needs it - but past experience of attempting to modernise both NCA and BCA shows that it's no good trying to blast things through in a rush.  This isn't "kicking the can down the road" - you need to ensure that everyone understands what is proposed and, as far as is possible, is on board so that you don't meet resistance to the proposed changes.

We have come an immense distance in the 50 years since the very early days of NCA, when AGMs and Council Meetings were limited to regional council and constituent body reps. only and we were bedevilled by the constant threat of VETO.  Even club membership was anathema to some hardliners then!  Along with others, I fought long and hard, against determined opposition, to achieve club membership of NCA and was delighted when BCA came into existence and we finally achieved individual membership.  BCA needs to continue to evolve and part of this is encouraging its individual members to take more interest in their own national body - how best to achieve this level of support is not clear but we have to work at it.

I'm sure having a secretary, like Matt, who is determined to ensure that change and progress do take place, will benefit us immensely and I'd welcome his election.

Offline JoW

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Re: Application for BCA Secretary
« Reply #74 on: March 27, 2019, 06:01:27 pm »
Jenny - fear not, Matt's suggestions are also being discussed and in a number of cases backed by the vision group, which Rostam is also a member of too.

The vision group so far have been generally well aligned in what they would like to see change, and realise that such things will take time, and proper consideration to implement.

I feel that having Matt has secretary would be a big help in allowing BCA to make the changes it needs to progress, in the short term and with the longer term 'vision' as well