Author Topic: Proposal ref P&I for AGM  (Read 550 times)

Offline Pegasus

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Proposal ref P&I for AGM
« on: June 04, 2019, 08:52:28 pm »
I have put forward the following proposal to BCA for this Sunday's AGM:

Proposal (on agenda)

25.2 that the P&I is abolished as a Standing Committee and replaced with a new position on the Executive; the Publications and Information Officer, with responsibility for autonomously overseeing the outward facing publicity, promotion and information side of BCA function including all current functions of the P&I committee and that 6.1 and 6.14 of the constitution be amended to read

6.1. The Association shall have the following officers: a Council Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Publication and Information Officer, together with Chairmen of the Standing Committees (Section 7), who shall be elected from the membership of the Association at an Annual General Meeting, by a show of hands of those present who are eligible to vote. Here the two-house voting system outlined in sub section 8.9 will not apply. Each officer shall serve for a term of three years from the AGM. One third of Officers' posts in turn shall be eligible for election or re-election each year and those elected shall serve for a term of three years from the AGM. 

6.14. The Executive of the Association shall consist of the Council Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Publication and Information Officer, and other Members as may be deemed necessary by the National Council to carry out the administrative business of the Association. The Executive Committee shall operate under the direction of and shall report to the National Council. It shall regulate its own business within the constraints of the Association's “Manual of Operations”. 

Commentary (in appendix 9)

25.2 It’s generally agreed, the BCA could improve the way it is perceived within the caving community. Equally, for the future health of the sport, caving needs to be promoted to a wider, non-caving audience to help attract the cavers of the future.

The Publications and Information role within the BCA should be an integral part of this - communicating via newsletters, social media, articles, adverts, leaflets, the BCA website, events and of course publications etc.

The P&I is currently a Standing Committee, which is open to representatives from all constituent bodies. A recent Webex meeting on 9th April 2019 (the first convened meeting of the P&I in years) was attended by four people as representatives of a BCA constituent body and two invited other attendees. While it was a reasonably productive meeting, it became clear that the P&I is a function of the BCA that might be better supported as a single Officer position rather than as a Standing Committee, enabling one person to lead this and co-opt assistants for specialist areas (e.g. as per the current webmaster and newsletter editor positions). This is not unlike a Standing Committee but gives more authority to the appointed Officer to ‘get on with the job’ which in the rapidly moving world of social media and publicity, is essential. Some things just don’t need to be discussed within the current structure of the Standing Committee.

Of course, it would be expected that the P&I Officer would report to Council at each meeting and engage as necessary on matters that he/she judge as needing wider input or ideas.  This fits with the aspiration of many people to see the BCA streamlined to allow quicker responsiveness to events, and less reliant on input from non-existent representatives from the various constituent bodies (thus leaving any available representatives freer to focus on the other BCA Standing Committees which would benefit more from wider input). It also expands the Executive beyond the classical three roles.
The constitutional amendments set out in agenda item 25.2 are proposed to make this happen (and the Manual of Operations will need to be updated accordingly in due course).


Some background:

I've been a caver since my University days in the mid eighties.  Many have heard me say it, however here I go again - I was introduced to caving by BUSS (Birmingham Uni) at Freshers' Fair back in the mid 80's.  That one decision, to sign up and pay £3 for a trip to Goatchurch had a huge influence on my life.  I met Tim through caving and now live in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, have many friends who are cavers, have travelled widely on expeditions and even owe my career partly due to being a caver, still do in fact.  So I feel I'd like to give something back to the sport that has been so good to me in so many ways.

My career background is sales in the outdoor sector, marketing, PR and in recent years social media.

Due to the above, last year I volunteered for the role of P&I Officer, making it clear I would focus on promoting the BCA to cavers and caving to the wider, non caving community.  I was delighted to be voted in, yey.

I have attached my two reports to council which give an idea of what I tried to implement, I'll not repeat it all again here.

Following on from the January meeting earlier this year, I resigned.  I had been expected to set up a standing committee (when there hadn't been one previously, nor any terms of reference) in order to get things moved forward.  I had, with help of course, managed to put lots of ideas together and didn't feel the need (and still don't) for a committee to rubber stamp everything before bringing it to council for discussion/approval. I felt some were using this as a way to thwart change, it wasn't pleasant so I left.

The reason I don't think P&I needs a committee made up of representatives from constituent bodies is because those committee members may not have the relevant skills (you certainly wouldn't see my sitting on any committee to do with cave surveying or bolting for example, am rubbish at both). Marketing can't be decided by committee, it's much better to seek input from people with relevant knowledge as I did previously, put a report together to Council and go from there, hence my proposal.

I have been asked to reconsider and stand again for P&I Officer.  I've agreed to do this however am only interested if cavers vote for change at the AGM, otherwise, what's the point??

Hope to see you on Sunday, cheers, Jane


« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 09:44:22 pm by Pegasus »

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Proposal ref P&I for AGM
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 08:59:17 am »
As the applicant for BCA Secretary this Sunday, I wholeheartedly support Jane’s proposal.

Some of the BCA standing Committees work really well… Andrew Hinde has done a splendid job of bringing together the Conservation and Access Committee, something I am sure Louise will continue to excel in. The Equipment and Techniques Committee brings together expertise to reach a national consensus on technical matters, and Mark’s expertise as convener of this Committee will continue to be invaluable. The Training Committee seems to be successful and has received considerable praise (this is perhaps the facet of the BCA I know least about and where I have the most to learn) and the Youth and Development Standing Committee under Rostam’s guidance is flourishing and providing real benefits for supporting our younger cavers.

The Publications and Information Standing Committee however has been less successful over the years, having only met a few months ago for the first time in several years, and attended by only a fraction of the number of people it could have involved. It was still a good meeting and the interim convener, Les Williams did well to pull this together and get the ball rolling. However, for me it highlighted that the P&I is a function of the BCA that could be best served by one enthusiastic individual, able to react to the here and now (clearly very important when it comes to news and publicity) and with the same authority and trust that the Executive have to act in the best interests of the BCA and British cavers in-between meetings.

An organisation such as the BCA is difficult to get right… too much autonomy and it ceases to be a nationally representative organisation… too much Committee and excessive national discussion and it ends up getting drowned in bureaucracy and unable to respond fast to the changing world around.

It is also important to recognise the challenges the BCA face in getting people to come forward to these Standing Committees. My own regional council, the CNCC, struggles to find people to represent us to all the BCA Standing Committees and I am sure other areas will have similar challenges. Removing just one of these Standing Committees and entrusting the role to a single enthusiastic volunteer (who of course can delegate as necessary) is a step towards simplification and an appropriate acknowledgement of the limited manpower resources available in caving these days.

I support Jane’s proposal and her appointment to the role, and am looking forward to working with her to modernise the BCA.
York Caving Club
CNCC Secretary
BCA Secretary

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Proposal ref P&I for AGM
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 11:18:15 am »
While I agree with the need to start from scratch with P&I, and an officer working out a plan, delegating projects to a working group is the best way to go, I can't agree with adding P&I to the executive.

The executive should be small and odd numbered in order to function properly. To add a P&I to it is a major constitutional change and it seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. I think its inclusion in the proposal makes it highly unlikely to pass.

I would happily vote for an appointed officer to replace the standing committee, with the option of creating a working group when needed. This needs to be done urgently as we NEED a new logo. I abstain from putting the current one on any Y&D communications because it makes us look unprofessional and undermines our argument. So don't take my rejection of the proposal as discouragement Jane, you are sorely needed in the BCA.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Proposal ref P&I for AGM
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 12:37:40 pm »
I do believe an executive of 3 is too small, however would be quite happy if I wasn't on the executive as P&I and this was looked at for when the next person takes over P&I in the future.