Author Topic: The BCA ballot is out  (Read 9512 times)

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #50 on: November 12, 2019, 10:13:30 pm »
... The vote is of course anonymous so we cannot disclose which way each group voted ........ but hopefully club members should just be able to ask their Club Secretary for this information.


I would hope (and expect) that the members of a club instruct the secretary how to vote with the "club" vote and not vice-versa. Certainly it is the members of the club of which I am a member that are making that decision.

Good job with the ballot and thanks for your efforts  ;)

Ian
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Offline alastairgott

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2019, 10:01:34 am »
Seems like they think you’ve bagged a Munro.

I received my ballot paper, but it is addressed to Katryn Munro. My name is Chris Cowdery.
Should I disregard it?
Chris.
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Offline Pegasus

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2019, 12:25:12 pm »
Tim got to vote online, I had to wait for a postal vote (as we're joint members) which arrived yesterday.

Voted online today, simple and straight forward.

Voted in favour.  Hope you do too - 'one caver, one vote'  ;D

Offline Jenny P

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2019, 12:54:55 pm »
Please could someone point me to an explanation of why the BCA was setup with a two house membership setup?
The agenda/minutes mention the significant negatives of the setup, but no positives.  I wonder why it was initiated?


In the very early days of NCA there was NO club vote at all, voting was limited to the "constituent bodies" (who were each allowed 4 reps.) and all regional councils had to have at least 2 reps. out of their 4 present, otherwise the meeting was inquorate.  A regular threat from some was that their reps. would walk out and leave the meeting inquorate.  Also, if any two  of the 4 regional council reps. voted against a proposal, this was an automatic veto.  (This led to one occasion when no-one dared vote against a particular proposal and risk vetoing it, so the motion was passed with 3 votes for, none against and 19 abstentions!)

Some of us fought long and hard for clubs to be allowed to vote and eventually managed it by posting round our own unofficial ballot paper to a sample of 3000 individual cavers from what we hoped was a representative sample of clubs around GB.  Despite heavy pressure from some regions, we got back 1000 responses (a 30% return!) and there was a massive individual vote of around 80% in favour of clubs being allowed to have a vote.  There wasn't the mechanism at the time to enable us to have individual members - that didn't happen until the insurance was sorted by BCA in 2004 - but it was the first crack in the armour of those who felt they had a divine right to tell their members how they should think.  It is all written up in an issue of DESCENT in 1992 - all about the "Gang of Thirteen" who organised the poll.

The Two-house setup was a hangover from the time when only clubs and constituent bodies were allowed to vote, prior to 2004.  It was felt that we couldn't disenfranchise the clubs and constituent bodies straight away so the Two-house system was devised.  IMHO it's now been demonstrated that we are able to conduct a ballot of all our individual members so we can move on and the Two-house system is no longer needed.

If you want democracy, you have to be prepared to fight for it and it sometimes takes a bit longer than you'd like. ;)

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2019, 01:26:14 pm »
Thank you Jenny  :thumbsup:

So Clubs getting a vote was more democratic than what was before and now individual members voting would be more democratic than what is before.

Another question.  What does the constitution say about quoracy (I can't see anything)? I would assume online voting after the meeting will make attendance on the day less appealing? And then will there be a level of turnout required for a vote (other than majority of voters or 70% for constitution changes)

Offline Jenny P

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2019, 01:38:58 pm »
Guess maybe we'd better see what the constitution looks like after this ballot is finished before we start worrying about what constitutes a quorum!

I don't think the BCA Constitution ever mentions it, though I could be wrong.  The original NCA one certainly did.

Personally, I'd hate to think that we ever got to the stage where no-one ever wanted to discuss anything face to face at an AGM and we just sent out ballots devised by the Executive on proposals put forward by Council.  I think Andy Eavis' idea of making the BCA AGM weekend a "Party Weekend" with plenty going on to attract people to the venue to go caving, attend field trips, watch films, enjoy a stomp, etc. plus a friendly and constructive AGM is the way to go. 

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #56 on: November 13, 2019, 03:06:36 pm »
Another question.  What does the constitution say about quoracy (I can't see anything)? I would assume online voting after the meeting will make attendance on the day less appealing? And then will there be a level of turnout required for a vote (other than majority of voters or 70% for constitution changes)

I was surprised to find 8.6:

'8.6. The quorum for any General Meeting shall be 10 members, of which at least 5 persons eligible to vote in each House shall be present. No one person may represent more than one group member'

I don't think we'll fail to meet quorum even with votes taking place remotely.

If the vote passes then it will be simplified to 10 members btw.

I don't think the idea of a party weekend is antagonistic to this. More members actually voting for people that represent them on BCA is likely to make these events more popular rather than less.

Offline royfellows

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #57 on: November 13, 2019, 03:15:23 pm »
Just for the record, I voted in favour.
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #58 on: November 13, 2019, 04:29:17 pm »
I would appeal to all cavers to email all of your clubs and encourage them to vote in favour. It is likely to be the club vote that is more important here. I know the CSCC has given an recommendation against it (which I have argued against at length on other fora); I don't know if the other regional councils have given a recommendation. I was unable to convince one of my clubs to vote for the motion, but it was still worth the effort.

I would strongly recommend that you vote in favour!

Online droid

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #59 on: November 13, 2019, 04:43:35 pm »
That's the trouble with democracy. Not everyone agrees with you.... ;D
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Offline Ian Ball

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #60 on: November 13, 2019, 04:57:37 pm »
Hi Andrew, would you be able to expand on the reason why your clubs / cscc are voting against it?

Thank you nearlywhite, I didn't look hard enough!  So yes the quorum of a general meeting is proposed as 10 voting members (plus non-voting chair and recorder).










Offline 2xw

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #61 on: November 13, 2019, 05:14:49 pm »
Hi Andrew, would you be able to expand on the reason why your clubs / cscc are voting against it?

Their primary arguments are probably summarised in the article written on Darkness Below, and then the following facebook arguments by Burgess et al. They say that clubs will lose their vote and become second class members, and that individuals will vote based on their own needs rather than their clubs which is a negative. They also make the point that decisions are not made on the day of the AGM but rather afterwards.

Additionally, the CSCC often finds itself as the rebel opposed to any changes and benefits from exerting control larger than it would otherwise have (My personal opinion, and one I don't think it is unfair to say, is that given the makeup of its current committee it is far more extreme in its conservatism than the general Mendip population).

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #62 on: November 13, 2019, 05:27:21 pm »
CSCC seem concerned enough to write that the ballot could lead to "a shift away from a representative democracy to a direct democracy" and that "most would prefer to just go caving and leave the politics to their elected representatives".

Representatives representing who? There's an interesting conundrum right there. I don't recall EVER being approached by any club or regional council representative for any view on any topic so my hunch/suspicion is that the term "representative" is a downright disingenuous piece of flim-flam. And I am choosing my words very carefully and not going for the preferred top shelf adjectives which first spring to mind.

CSCC's missive here: http://cscc.org.uk/wiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?id=documents%3Astart&cache=cache&media=documents:cscc_2019.09.14_cscc_ballot_summary_151019_final.pdf

Offline badger

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #63 on: November 13, 2019, 09:30:14 pm »
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,

Offline PeteHall

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #64 on: November 13, 2019, 09:44:16 pm »
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,

Ditto

Cheddar Caving Club is debating over the email group and will agree the vote at the upcoming AGM. I have absolute confidence that the representative will vote as instructed by the club.

Wessex Cave Club, I've heard nothing on the email or Facebook group, but having not personally been to the AGM or other committee meetings, I don't know that it hasn't been debated among the membership to reach a democratic decision. Perhaps I should ask the question...

The ChCC is generally quite progressive in its views and has for example supported the CRoW ballot, so I'm hopeful that we will support the proposed changes, but at least if we don't, it will be democratically decided.

I doubt the WCC will support the motion, but I may be wrong.
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Offline David Rose

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2019, 10:23:35 pm »
Here is a quote from the CSCC recommendation:

"The CSCC is once again accused of being negative and resisting change, we do not see it that
way, we are working to ensure the continuation of British Caving as we know it and not to
promote some hidden agenda where individuals rule the roost and access and insurance
could be used to force cavers to toe the party line."

Can anyone tell me - is there a hidden link between the CSCC and the Democratic Unionist Party? Because both seem to say no an awful lot, and the reasons just don't make sense.

Please explain CSCC - WTF do you mean that "insurance could be used to force cavers to toe the party line"?  In the real world? On what? And how?

Offline Cavematt

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #66 on: November 13, 2019, 10:38:09 pm »
Speaking as the original proposer (and without my BCA Secretary hat on) I really feel I need to comment on some aspects of the CSCC document that Cap'n Chris has posted a link to.

Firstly, the text may be taken to imply that these proposals are changing representation on BCA Council which is not the case. The proposals I have put forward serve ONLY to remove the group vote for AGM matters, thus making AGMs a one-individual-one-vote democracy. BCA Council, who essentially run the annual functions of the BCA between AGMs, will still have a voting position for each regional council, each constituent body, and four representatives of group members. This will not change, and this represents a considerable input into BCA democracy.

Secondly, there is nothing in these constitutional changes that create any “move to an organisation of individual members” as implied in the CSCC document. There are no changes to our overall membership structure (CIMs, DIMs, Clubs) within the constitutional amendments. I will be absolutely transparant that I think this is something to consider in the future, but it is not related to these current proposals.

I do not fully understand the concerns of the CSCC about an “organisation dominated by individuals”. Surely clubs are comprised of those very same individuals? This is not a concern that I share.

There is no intention in any of the proposals to undermine clubs; I am a club caver, having started my caving life with a university club and then having gone on to set up a new non-student club in a city where there wasn’t one... a club that I have worked hard to grow from it’s original four founder members to an active membership of 30 people today. I am also an active member of a well-established Dales club. Caving clubs are hardwired into my life.

The CSCC are correct that the proposed changes did pass at the AGM by only a narrow margin; although it is worth reminding everyone that the requirements for constitutional amendments to pass is 70%, so although it was a narrow margin, it was still a strong majority.

The CSCC are worried that these changes put a responsibility on the individual caver to engage with and understand BCA matters and issues, which they believe many cavers do not want to do. They may be right. It is worth remembering however that there is nothing new in asking individuals to vote on BCA matters; About 6500 individuals have a vote in this ballot.

Furthermore, the removal of a club’s vote does not stop that club keeping their members informed of the ballot, issuing advice, interpreting it for them (as the CSCC have done here) and even lobbying them to vote in a specific way. In doing this, the club’s influence on BCA democracy becomes directly proportional to their number of members they can lobby (unlike the current system where a club of 4 members has the same vote as a club of 200 members). Given that I believe some of the UK’s largest clubs are in Mendip, I would have thought the CSCC would have nothing to fear from these changes, as it would proportionally strengthen the voice of their clubs.

Overall, I think this letter from the CSCC is well argued (even if I disagree with those arguements), although perhaps a little bit over-dramatic in a few places. They are within their right to issue this and I do appreciate them presenting the alternative viewpoint for voters to consider (as several people have asked). I also greatly appreciate that the CSCC is promoting the ballot and encouraging people to vote whatever their view, as a high turnout would be good.

As for the scaremongering tripe that has been written on Darkness below... I think this 'news' website has done a fine job at showing its true colours.

Matt Ewles
York Caving Club
CNCC Secretary
BCA Secretary

Offline PeteHall

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #67 on: November 13, 2019, 10:53:00 pm »
Wessex Cave Club, I've heard nothing on the email or Facebook group, but having not personally been to the AGM or other committee meetings, I don't know that it hasn't been debated among the membership to reach a democratic decision. Perhaps I should ask the question...

Just to clarify having now asked the question. The Recent Wessex AGM were overwhelmingly of one opinion on this, so the committee decided to vote in line with that opinion. This seems a pretty reasonable approach for a large club and the result reflects the views of those who could be arsed to express them.
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Offline Ian Ball

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #68 on: November 13, 2019, 11:02:41 pm »
Thank you Cap'n.  I fully understand the cscc view that clubs have formed the backbone of British caving and the rise of the individual caver is a fairly modern occurrence.  Clubs are able to represent a cross section of cavers and form a powerful part of the dissemination line from Bca to caver, be that safety updates, access, insurance and the such like.  The experience within the club rep position is hard to build up, cavers who have been involved for years willing to volunteer knowledge and skills for the better of caving is brilliant.

With that in mind I voted in favour.

I see two questions

 online voting?  = yes please

I will not go to an agm.  I would vote online.

Remove the two houses? = yes please

It is too complicated and I think wrong at the unlikely extreme ends.

Imagine èvery single member turned up to the AGM.  You would have a vote of the entire membership worth the same as a vote of organisations often meant to represent it's members and the reps of which voted in the individual house already.

Then imagine 5 club reps turned up to the agm.  They are 5 individual members and so hold a quorate vote in both houses. So we could have national policy decided by 5 people

Those cavers who trust their reps to represent won't vote and the reps will, so they are still trusting their reps to vote.

Anyone who wants to vote, but doesn't want to give an email address to BCA can still travel to the agm to have their say.

As BCA Sec suggests in the proposal, club/group caving is not being accused of accidental false representation,  but the method now exists where the BCA doesn't need a club to ask its members for opinion, it can ask them directly, surely that is more efficient and accurate.

Many thanks to all who helped me arrrive at my decision,
especially UkC  :thumbsup:





Offline MJenkinson

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #69 on: November 14, 2019, 09:22:38 am »
i belong to 2 clubs, 1 is very small and we are debating amongst ourselves, about a 50/50 split at the moment. the other club has 300 members which is a bit more difficult to discuss amongst the members,

If nothing else this whole debate has sparked off something in one of my clubs (RRCPC) who have sent an email and FB group message to a poll for all members. Now of course that doesn't mean that "everyone" will see this but it's a good start and well done to Andy for setting it up.  Not sure I have ever seen anything done like that before in the club, so a proper step to making the club vote representative.

Offline darren

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #70 on: November 14, 2019, 09:34:15 am »
We now have a good example of one of the reasons some are against Individual electronic voting.

The Wessex posted everyone a AGM handbook describing the proposal and how the club would arrive at its position on it. All people had to do was read the handbook to know what was happening. Yet here we are with members saying they didn't know how the decision was made and how they could have influenced it.

Its a bit odd that club members have to use UKcaving to find out how their club works rather than read the documents sent to them by the club.

Bearing in mind people obviously don't read the supporting information how can they make an informed decision?

Perhaps they will just be influenced by the shoutiest people on UKcaving? forgetting that by definition UKcaving is a self selecting minority of cavers. People who don't agree with the shouty people don't bother posting, why would they bother coming here to get put down and insulted when they can go down the pub with their mates for that sort of thing.

On the matter of insurance being used to manipulate cavers. Insurance is used to manipulate cavers into joining BCA, You must have insurance to join Wessex Caving Club so you must join the BCA. The Wessex has 200-300 members so accounting for nearly 5%of BCA membership. You have to wonder how many of these would be members given a choice? I rekon 50% at most.

It seems a lot of cavers are happy to give the 2 minutes needed to vote either electronically, or by post, from home, but not the 20 minutes required to read supporting information and form an informed view. I'm not sure occasionally reading a couple of posts in a 300+ thread on a subject actually helps form a reasoned opinion on anything.

The most worrying thing is not that some people disagree with these views but can't understand them or respect people who hold them.

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Offline alastairgott

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #71 on: November 14, 2019, 12:24:03 pm »
A Derbyshire based club has internally voted twice on this and both with the same outcome, (1st for BCA Agm) the second time we voted was in October and that was to ensure that the DCA was informed of our wishes.

But then our club is set up primarily to allow the members to make decisions.
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Offline darren

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #72 on: November 14, 2019, 12:33:04 pm »
Our club is primarily set up to go caveing. Getting involved in decision making is optional.

Each to there own.
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Offline BradW

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #73 on: November 14, 2019, 01:10:25 pm »
If a club member is unhappy about the decisions their committee take, the way their club makes decisions, or how it consults its members, then that person is free to leave and find a club more suited to them. This is how it should be, and not "fixed" by the BCA and it's new voting proposal. The freedom to leave and join clubs is the best way for people to find the club environment that suits them best. Ultimately they are free to set up their own club as NewStuff did.

Offline Badlad

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Re: The BCA ballot is out
« Reply #74 on: November 14, 2019, 01:44:47 pm »
One member one vote is not a new idea.  Most people will be familiar with the principle.   Electronic / on-line voting for members, rather than having to travel the country to vote at a meeting, is also quite understandable.  On top of these basic principles is the idea that this is part of a modernisation of BCA - also something members can choose to support or not.  You can support the general principles (or not) without having to read the exact changes which have to be made to the constitution for the principles to be enacted.

If the national ballot follows the ballot at the AGM, results could be very close indeed.  The house of individuals voted overwhelmingly for, but the house of groups was very tight and only just got over the 70% required by a point.  If the ballot fails on the vote of the groups by a significant amount what does that show?  Questions will surely be asked whether the groups are truly representative of their members.  I hope support for the changes will win out but we shall see.