Author Topic: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth  (Read 1420 times)

Offline 2xw

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Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« on: September 24, 2019, 09:34:52 pm »
I am sorry to report that the latest BCA council meeting agenda (for October 12th) includes an attempt by the Council of Southern Caving Clubs to overturn the decisions made by the membership at the last AGM.

On page 15, Alan Butcher on behalf of the CSCC alleges the following:

1. That the decision to appoint me (Will Burn) to the position of Direct Individual Member of council by the membership is invalid. This would boot me out of the BCA council and end my work on the Youth and Development group.

2. That the Youth and Development group "exceeded its remit" when it asked Charterhouse Caving Company to justify banning young people from caves.

3. That club delegates at the AGM were invalid because their letters of representation were hand written.

4. That voting on unopposed candidates at the AGM is invalid because those people should be automatically put in position if they are unopposed.

The amendments are worded differently and I have simplified them, but you are welcome to read them here on page 15:
https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:documents:council_meetings:start

If supported, these agenda items set a precedent that decisions made by the membership at the AGM can simply be ignored/overturned within months by regional factions.

The CSCC is actively campaigning to support a ban on young people going caving (or, at least campaigning for the BCA to ignore it), and is actively campaigning to overturn democratic decisions made by BCA members at the AGM, using constitutional minutiae.

I have to ask the cavers who are members of clubs represented by the CSCC.

Are these your opinions? Are you represented well, in this instance, by the attempts here the CSCC to overturn decisions made at the AGM?

One of the key issues with the BCA is the rarity with which it communicates with its members. Anybody who would like to contact me about this or make a comment, feel free to DM me, use wlwhalley@gmail.com or approach me for a chat in person at Hidden Earth.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2019, 10:03:02 pm »
Quote
I have to ask the cavers who are members of clubs represented by the CSCC.

Are these your opinions? Are you represented well, in this instance, by the attempts here the CSCC to overturn decisions made at the AGM?

LOL. What do you think?

(Unless it can be proven otherwise, my suspicion is that CSCC "represents" the views of about 3, or maybe 4, people, max). In the case of the particular link my guess is it is actually one person speaking as though they are the entirety of the caving populace of Southern Britain. Breathtaking, if true.

Disclaimer: having spent about ten years serving within CSCC in various roles it's fair to say this viewpoint is validated by direct personal experience and insight. Ta.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2019, 10:25:52 pm »
It does seem rather petty that CSCC have chosen to go down this route.  Unfortunately they do have form when they loose or when the democratic process brings up something they don't like.  "We like things the way they are and we don't want no change" is a phrase I have heard from the chairman in more than one council meeting.  They were the same when they didn't like the result of the BCA membership poll which found in favour of supporting CRoW.  All sorts of obstacles were put up to impede progress the end result of which was that it cost BCA a load of money but more significantly it imposed a huge amount of extra work on already overstretched volunteer officers.  None of which helps anybody but then again I suppose if your objective is to disrupt and delay the good work of BCA then it is a viable tactic.  Are these shenanigans really what Mendip cavers want? As otherwise the BCA AGM showed some real positive progress.

I suppose the bottom line is that council should not be party to trying to overturn decisions made by an AGM.  The constitution does state after all;

13. INTERPRETATION
13.1. A General Meeting of the Association shall be the final interpreter of this constitution.


Offline JohnMCooper

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2019, 10:36:03 pm »
Please be more spefic about who you are referring to:

Quote
the chairman in more than one council meeting

Quote
is that council should not be party to

Are you talking about one or more councils here?

Online cavemanmike

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2019, 10:58:29 pm »
Popcorn time.
Can't wait for hidden earth to see how many spineless bastard's actually speak there mind face to face.
Ppppffff

Offline Badlad

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2019, 11:07:38 pm »
Quote
the chairman in more than one council meeting

I quoted comments the Chairman of CSCC, Alan Butcher had previously made in BCA council meetings

Quote
is that council should not be party to

BCA council should not be party to trying to overturn decisions made by an AGM.

Sorry for not being clearer

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 11:35:55 pm »
2. That the Youth and Development group "exceeded its remit" when it asked Charterhouse Caving Company to justify banning young people from caves.

I enjoyed reading this bit:
"That the Youth and Development exceeded its remit by interfering in the affairs of a member
i.e The Charterhouse Caving Company in contravention of clause 11.1 of the BCA
Constitution.
The Acting Secretaries report (page 5 of the draft minutes) outlines clause 11.1 and the paragraph below noted that the BCA had been asked to intervene “on the basis that members are being discriminated against based on their age.” However, clause 11.1 clearly says that “The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a member (in this case The Charterhouse Caving Company) unless specifically requested to do so by that member.” Not, you will note, by any member."

'that member' rather than 'any member'.

This is irrelevant as we were 'interfering' on behalf of a BCA member who wanted to know why he could bottom the Berger but couldn't look round CCC caves.

Presumably this would set the precedent that if a club wishes to ban all members of an ethnic minority from joining, the BCA couldn't 'intervene' as the person being discriminated against is irrelevant if the other party is also a member of the BCA.

I look forward to the Klu Klux Klan Kaving Klub's membership of BCA.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 07:31:58 am »
I know its a slightly separate matter, but I find it really sad when a southern scout group comes up to Derbyshire because they cannot (or don't know how to) cave on Mendip.

It is 1 stage beyond the current conversation and so hidden from the current conversation on under18's (as scout groups are seen as commercial?).

I bring this up, as I regularly see scouts every week up at Alderley edge copper mines, I've seen groups of youths in Giants and Children are allowed into Peak cavern.

The Landowners in these cases are all different, but include the Duchy of Lancaster and the National Trust.

It can and should be done.
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Offline PaulW

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 08:15:36 am »
I know its a slightly separate matter, but I find it really sad when a southern scout group comes up to Derbyshire because they cannot (or don't know how to) cave on Mendip.

It is 1 stage beyond the current conversation and so hidden from the current conversation on under18's (as scout groups are seen as commercial?).

I bring this up, as I regularly see scouts every week up at Alderley edge copper mines, I've seen groups of youths in Giants and Children are allowed into Peak cavern.

The Landowners in these cases are all different, but include the Duchy of Lancaster and the National Trust.

It can and should be done.

what scout groups are they Alistair ?

plenty of scout caving going on in the south aswell as further North

please forward me their details and I will assist them with future trips

Online mikem

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2019, 09:01:36 am »
Problem is several people on Mendip don't believe CRoW will be good for caving in the south, as most of our worthwhile systems which are on access land are stunningly beautiful (even though most of them are under historically industrial sites!), so locked with leader systems. The main worry is that digging will become more difficult to arrange as landowners won't want holes opening up that then anyone can enter whenever they like, rather than the landowner having a say on access. Of course, entrances that have been opened up don't need to be open access, but other cavers may not see it that way... hence the current impasse!

I think all these objections can be worked around, but bulldozing CSCC out of the way at the AGM wasn't necessarily the best way to go about it & if the decisions made at that AGM were potentially unconstitutional then they have the right to question them & council should take it back to an EGM if deemed necessary. Whilst the AGM can interpret the constitution, they can't ignore it & would have to vote to change it if they wanted to do something differently. Likening them to the KKK ain't gonna help...

Mike

Offline Badlad

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2019, 09:18:06 am »
I don't think nearlywhite was liking CSCC to the KKK.  Have another read.  The point he was making is a very valid one.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2019, 09:48:20 am »
Problem is several people on Mendip don't believe CRoW will be good for caving in the south, as most of our worthwhile systems which are on access land are stunningly beautiful (even though most of them are under historically industrial sites!), so locked with leader systems. The main worry is that digging will become more difficult to arrange as landowners won't want holes opening up that then anyone can enter whenever they like, rather than the landowner having a say on access. Of course, entrances that have been opened up don't need to be open access, but other cavers may not see it that way... hence the current impasse!

The current issues being discussed here have nothing to do with CROW. On the CROW note there are, as you say, very few caves on Mendip on CROW land. One of them is St Cuthberts and I am pleased that recently we (the BEC) agreed to remove the age restriction entirely from the access rules - it is now (as with any access to Cuthberts) at the discretion of the wardens. The website for Upper Flood does not contain any mention of age restrictions. I can't remember what the other CROW Mendips caves are.

The issues here are all to do with restrictions imposed by cavers on systems where the landowner has provided relatively good access and delegated control of that access to a caving body outside the regional council. The claim is that the landowner is not the source of the access restriction but the decisions of the caving body outside of the regional council. That body is not democratic to the caving world at large, is effectively an unaccountable quango, and does not even reflect (I believe) the mainstream opinion in the Mendips, let alone the larger caving community. I should note that it is no different to most other independent caving access bodies in this regard (unlike the regional access bodies).

Personally, I think the idea that the BCA would be unable to 'interfere' in the affairs of a member when that member is in breach of the basic obligations and aims of the BCA is intolerable.

Quote
I think all these objections can be worked around, but bulldozing CSCC out of the way at the AGM wasn't necessarily the best way to go about it & if the decisions made at that AGM were potentially unconstitutional then they have the right to question them & council should take it back to an EGM if deemed necessary.

All those decisions were taken on the day by the chair of that AGM, who can hardly be accused of being Northern/Welsh etc... I don't think the CSCC were bulldozed out of anything, and if there was any bulldozering it was driven by the individual and group members who were present and not the chair or council.

The only decision of constitutional importance was, in any event, rendered entirely moot since we failed to elect more than the standard 4 individual member representatives.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2019, 10:48:26 am »
Paul, afraid it was over 18months ago, I’ve slept some since then. I could try and work out who they are, won’t be able to do it by this weekend though, got too much therion-izing to do!
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Offline andrewmc

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2019, 11:35:03 am »
One of them is St Cuthberts and I am pleased that recently we (the BEC) agreed to remove the age restriction entirely from the access rules - it is now (as with any access to Cuthberts) at the discretion of the wardens.

Slight correction - access for U18s is only with a parent or legal guardian, but this is for reasons of child protection (wardens are not DBS checked/child protection trained etc) in accordance with current BCA child protection policy.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2019, 11:59:15 am »
Whilst the AGM can interpret the constitution, they can't ignore it & would have to vote to change it if they wanted to do something differently.

This only applies to point one. The BCA can have 'up to 4' Individual member representatives, the AGM found the individuals wanting and so didn't fill them. If they had elected 5 to the post then their argument carries some weight. Because they didn't fill a constitutional post it made way for a constitutional one. So it's moot.

Y&D is acting entirely within the Constitution and we've had this discussion at council multiple times - to a clear acknowledgment of this fact with the cscc representative there. The purpose of this is to take a personal shot at Will and move the 'overton window' toward their minority view.

Point 3&4 are staggeringly hypocritical as if precedent matters then the fact that scratty bits of handwritten paper have been used at every AGM I've been to means this is also precedent. The notion that unopposed candidates automatically get voted in only applies if the feeling of the meeting agrees to it for the saving of time, and the AGM trumps 'conventional precedent.'

The person who deserves an apology is Will for what is a personal attack dressed up as 'constitutional' complaints. The whole situation became far too personal and that's why Y&D stepped back and made that clear at the AGM, so that others in the BCA could take on the mantle of ensuring members aren't being discriminated against.

The person involved I don't think has complained again which this time would have to go to the secretary. I think the CSCC have needlessly trod on toes and risk the issue becoming heated again. Lastly I wasn't comparing the CSCC to the KKK, it was a rhetorical flourish , however I don't think that has diminished my non existent sway there so we're probably good.

Offline Robert Scott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2019, 06:51:19 pm »

3. That club delegates at the AGM were invalid because their letters of representation were hand written.


That assertion is false.
Our club secretary provided me with a typed letter with the recognised club letterhead and bearing his signature.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2019, 07:52:30 pm »
It's not entirely false, but would it shock you to know that even those that had written on the inside of a Yorkshire tea box with their "letter of representation", if asked would be able to provide copies of Meeting minutes (held approx. 40hours prior to the AGM) and also an email from the club secretary to back up the "letter" on the Yorkshire tea box.

Its a mute point, as if I had posted on here at the last minute asking for a printer to print off the letter (whilst staying at NPC) so I could support Will, then I'm sure I would have had a few people offering up their printers.

What has the world come to if they cannot get out the quill and pigskin, after all those that are in outrage abide by laws in the UK which are still written in this fashion.

And point 4 can do one straight away, the AGM decided we didn't actually want the "unopposed" candidates, and there's no point dragging up bad blood about that one. The room decided unequivocally against the unopposed candidates.
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Offline Ed W

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2019, 08:07:45 pm »
Quote
3. That club delegates at the AGM were invalid because their letters of representation were hand written.

Would be interesting to ask the author of this statement how many of the club representatives that voted to make them chairman of the CSCC had any sort of "letter of representation".

I have attended many CSCC meetings over the years, admittedly not for some years as I became truly disheartened by the shenanigans going on behind the scenes.  But the CSCC complaining about lack of due process does make me chuckle more than a little.
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2019, 08:12:03 pm »

For Clarity.


Goodbye, I'm going back to Therion.  :thumbsup:
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Offline NewStuff

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2019, 09:30:00 pm »
Popcorn time.
Can't wait for hidden earth to see how many spineless bastard's actually speak there mind face to face.
Ppppffff

I'll have to bring a lot of popcorn...
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Offline blackshiver

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2019, 12:06:35 am »
Whoever presented their “letter of representation” scribbled on a Yorkshire Tea box should be ashamed of themselves. This is a perfectly recyclable material. The North York Moors Caving Club would never have committed such and act and has been producing its AGM minutes on ripped up and well used beermats for decades. The documents are subsequently approved if Daisy (the clubs dog) licks them as apposed to ripping them to shreds.
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2019, 07:22:20 am »
Thoroughly ashamed  :spank: 
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Offline Tseralo

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2019, 01:58:39 pm »
Whoever presented their “letter of representation” scribbled on a Yorkshire Tea box should be ashamed of themselves. This is a perfectly recyclable material. The North York Moors Caving Club would never have committed such and act and has been producing its AGM minutes on ripped up and well used beermats for decades. The documents are subsequently approved if Daisy (the clubs dog) licks them as apposed to ripping them to shreds.

Perhaps we should have used a Lancashire tea box instead?

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2019, 05:27:36 pm »
I assume there will soon be a vote on the future of group voting, it seems to me that there are calls from people who want to increase the bureaucracy of the group vote (and therefore ensure it's less inclusive) by restricting future AGM votes to only those clubs which are so bureaucratically efficient that they have printed out a letter in triplicate, signed in blood and had the letter officially blessed by the witch of Wookey hole.

If they are admitting now that they want rid of the group vote, then bring it, we'll have the vote now.

But by stating that you believe that the vote that was held at this years AGM was unconstitutional (even though it was one of the most attended meetings) is Farcical. Those that have said such a thing have shown their true colours in that they want to restrict the vote to a select few, and outright dismiss the views of the majority.

If I have put words in the mouth of anyone, then put me right, just saying what I see.
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Offline Big Bad Botch

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Re: Council of Southern Caving Clubs versus the membership and youth
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2019, 08:02:12 pm »
I wouldn't get too worried about covering your arse with that tea box Alastair, I don't think they were sniping at you. I think it may have had something to do with many student clubs using hastily scrawled letters of authorisation (Many were on expedition/holidays and so couldn't attend the meeting). Luckily I emailed the secretary in advance to check what was required of a letter....