Author Topic: Newsletter 37 Out Now  (Read 10512 times)

Offline BCA Secretary

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Newsletter 37 Out Now
« on: February 26, 2020, 12:09:16 am »


The BCA is pleased to announce that our latest newsletter (number 37, February 2020) is now available on our website:

https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=publications_information:newsletter

You’ll find articles covering...

> National access initiatives and news
> Changes to BCA membership fees and public liability insurance benefits
> Perspectives on BCA finance, democracy and vision
> Additional resource given to radon monitoring and the British Caving Library
> News on various upcoming events, including the BCA Party/AGM weekend, CHECC, CaveFest, the Ghar Parou Cave Science weekend and FSE EuroSpeleo events.
> Updates from our Regional Councils
> Additional ‘feature articles’
> And much more...

We’d like to thank all our contributors, and our newsletter editor, David Rose, for pulling all of this together.

Paper copies are being distributed nationally over the next week or so, including to most caving accommodation and shops. We’d really appreciate if you could put these out for your members/visitors to read.

If anyone has any contributions for future issues please email: newsletter@british-caving.org.uk

Matt Ewles
BCA Secretary
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 05:07:24 pm by Pegasus »

Offline David Rose

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2020, 10:24:31 am »
Once again, the input of Matt Ewles and Gary Douthwaite has been huge and of critical importance. The Newsletter looks far more professional than it ever has before and of course is available now on paper - and this is all entirely down to them. They've made my job about ten times easier.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2020, 06:25:06 pm »
Fab job to one and all  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Offline BCA Secretary

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 01:27:51 pm »
Paper copies of the new BCA newsletter have now been posted to all UK Caving huts and a variety of other venues/organisations... we'd love if these could be put out for your members/guests to read  ;D

Offline Madness

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2020, 10:03:06 pm »
The emailing of the newsletter to members that have given their email address seems a bit hit and miss - well more miss than hit actually.

Offline badger

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2020, 10:29:28 am »
It does seem that way, but I think we need to give the new BCA webmaster some time as he is in the middle of not only getting to grips with the systems, but updating them as well, which will hopefully give a more improved service.

Offline idriswilliams

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2020, 02:12:33 pm »
Very much miss here as well!
Idris Williams

Offline BCA Secretary

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2020, 08:35:11 am »
Several people have correctly noted that the newsletter was not emailed to our members.

As many of you know, our webmaster has recently taken over many of the jobs associated to administering the IT side of BCA functions, including membership systems. It might come as no surprise, that he found the systems in place need some improvement. Although all data is of course secure, the systems rely extensively on manual intervention to update details.

Since November, a number of individual members have contacted us to specifically request not to receive further email communications. I believe the problem is that lots of CIMs don’t know they are BCA members because their membership is administered by their club, and the BCA membership fee is bundled into club membership costs.

This has identified a wider issue; are all clubs getting consent to give BCA their member email details?

It has also been identified that due to the current systems there is a risk that one of these individuals who have ‘opted out’ could easily get missed, e.g. if their email goes to junk or gets missed due to human error (there is a lot of email traffic for an organisation with >6000 members, so easy to miss a single email). This could result in further emails being sent to that member. Some of these people were already quite angry about receiving emails from the BCA; so receiving further emails after asking not to would likely result in serious complaints.

We therefore have no choice but to discontinue membership emails just for now.

In my eyes, the way forward is that all BCA members should join directly (i.e. DIM), so that the membership interaction is direct, and we can be sure that member consent is in place. If you were designing an organisation such as the BCA from scratch today, it would seem very unusual to enable people to join via a middle-man (i.e. a club) rather than directly. This would need restructuring of the entire BCA, not only constitutionally, but also to make getting BCA membership for DIMs much easier, such as allowing auto-renewal/direct debits for those who want this, as well as to make the workload for our membership team manageable. This is a discussion for the longer term future though. For now we need to work with the CIM/DIM structure.

We are aware that the status quo is not ideal. Over the coming months, there is going to be a lot of work behind the scenes to remedy this situation and phase in new systems that should resolve most of the above issues and allow us to get back to email communication with our members. A discussion on potential ways forward is planned for the upcoming 4th April BCA Council meeting. Until then, the BCA will be relying on social media, our website (www.british-caving.org.uk), new version due to launch soon, and of course, here on UKCaving to communicate with everyone.

Therefore, sorry that the newsletter has not been emailed out on this occasion, but please bear with us, and support those who are working extremely hard (many voluntary hours each week) to make things better.

Matt Ewles
BCA Secretary

Offline Badlad

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2020, 09:15:54 am »
I'm sad to read that some people are "quite angry" about receiving emails from an organisation they are a member of.  BCA are hardly spammers or PPI salesmen.  I can recall very few emails from the organisation, unlike the targeted advertising I get from nearly anything else I've looked at on the internet.  Angry people should focus on bigger issues such as social inequality and the growing gap between rich and poor (for example).  :(

Offline moorebooks

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2020, 10:03:27 am »
Matt,

I think it is all very well saying that you want people to come direct. However , as a Club we can directly control all the members have BCA membership ensuring the club as a body is covered by the BCA insurance.

Even more important is the work of the Shropshire Mines Trust at Snailbeach where our members act as guides to public groups we do not allow anyone without the BCA insurance to lead parties . We also ensure any visiting group is also covered by BCA insurance. Our access agreement with the owner of Clive Copper Mine also insists that all visitors have BCA insurance - there is an expensive water pump at the bottom of the Well shaft it would become very difficult for us if clubs made arrangements to visit and are uncertain if their members have the BCA Insurance. It is therefore much better for Clubs to continue to control this particularly where they have access arrangements with landowners

Mike


Offline MarkS

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2020, 10:23:39 am »
moorebooks, why would that be more of an issue than it is now? I am a DIM, and a member of multiple clubs. I currently tick the box saying "already insured" when I fill in the membership forms for the clubs. The clubs have nothing to do with my BCA membership.

Offline mikem

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2020, 10:30:45 am »
Because checking groups are members of an insured club takes a lot less time than checking each individual BCA card...

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2020, 10:39:50 am »
As one of the originators of the CIM / DIM approach and given it is now over 15 years since it was set up, I though it is worth recalling why we did it.  The key driver then (and probably still is) insurance cover for a club.  BCA was formed following a crisis when BCRA, the then caving insurance provider, lost access to insurance cover as a consequence of the insurance industry's review of risk following 9/11.  (There were other reasons for BCA taking over from NCA but I won't bore you with them.)

We found that clubs could not get insurance cover by themselves for a sensible price (in part because insurance always comes cheaper when done as a large group).  DCA managed it for one year but we in BCA were grateful when they ceased offering it and BCA became the sole provider.   We were also limited by it being illegal for BCA to sell insurance without becoming a very complex business.  But BCA could offer insurance as a membership benefit.  There was also (and still is) an additional complication in that given most clubs are not incorporated bodies, then in order for the club to have insurance cover, a club must ensure all members are individually insured. 

So the simple solution was for clubs to join all of their members up to BCA, by making it a condition of club membership.  BCA did make it a condition of membership that each club has to provide the name and address of each of its individual members.  (That was principally in order for BCA to weed out duplicate membership and thus avoid an individual paying twice for BCA membership.)  So BCA set up the CIM system as a way to minimise costs to provide membership of BCA for minimal benefits.  Regrettably attempts by BCA to organise other membership benefits for DIMs such as a magazine, handbook and so on failed over the years.  So the difference between DIM and CIM became insignificant with DIMs paying extra for virtually no extra benefit. 

BCA also made it a condition of clubs using the CIM set up to require the club to convey all BCA membership information to the members.  For many years, that also seems to have failed in the majority of cases.  (Indeed, even now I wonder how many clubs tell their CIM members of the BCA AGM notices?)  So we got to a situation some years ago where BCA communications to its members was almost non existent. 

Direct email communications seemed the way forward.  Voluntary enrolment was introduced and members were asked either directly for DIMs or via clubs for CIMs for their email addresses.  I gather some clubs did provide email addresses, possibly without consulting their members; I know  other clubs refused.  In addition, a fair number of individuals directly gave permission. 

Whether BCA holds evidence of how it got each and every email address is an open question.  But with some 4000 or so email addresses, it is quite clear that the administrative system to keep on top of it is going to be quite burdensome.  Whilst I suspect the ICO would be sympathetic to BCA in dealing with a single complaint given it is dealing with some 4000 email addresses, I can understand BCA wishing to improve its systems.  Good luck to it.

What I would say in addition is that the only reason that BCA can afford to provide insurance is because of the numbers of BCA members.  I understand the cost of the insurance premium is now over £40,000.  It is doubtful if that would fall much if BCA membership were substantially reduced.  Any revision to the DIM / CIM set up must bear in mind that if BCA membership substantially reduced, then insurance would almost certainly become unaffordable.  One of the major consequences of that would be loss of access to many caves as the access agreement is partially based on providing insurance cover for the land owner. 

Offline Badlad

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2020, 12:40:04 pm »
Regarding your last sentence Bob.  The landowner is indemnified by the BCA insurance regardless of whether the caver is a member of BCA or not.  This was confirmed by the insurers at a meeting I attended with them.  Cavers who are BCA members may have individual PLI cover but the landowner is covered regardless. 

If you think about it, why would BCA only insure landowners who insist on a restrictive access agreement.  What about those many landowners who allow cavers free access to caves on their land.  Why should they be excluded from an insurance policy, especially when BCA are constitutionally obliged to encourage as free an access as possible.

Relying on insurance in exchange for access is a dangerous game.  Being pretty much claim free since BCA came into existence in 2004 the premium is reasonably affordable across the membership.  Put in a claim or two, or ride an economic or insurance industry storm and the premium could be very different indeed if affordable at all.  What then for access?

Offline JohnMCooper

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2020, 04:44:08 pm »
MarkS

Quote
I am a DIM, and a member of multiple clubs. I currently tick the box saying "already insured" when I fill in the membership forms for the clubs. The clubs have nothing to do with my BCA membership.

Not correct. Each of the clubs you belong to reports your details to the BCA Membership Secretary and says insured by another club. The BCA Membership Secretary then has to check how you are insured, either as a DIM or via one of your other clubs. This happens as many times as clubs you belong to.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2020, 05:58:08 pm »
I was wondering why there had been so little feedback on the latest newsletter.

Now I know  :(

Offline estelle

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2020, 09:32:52 am »
Several people have correctly noted that the newsletter was not emailed to our members.
I had wondered why we hadn't received a copy via email, but only just seen the continuation of this thread! I don't get why people don't want to read something like this and I think it's a shame that the download link can't be sent to at least the 'contact' for each club so they can make the decision on whether to send it out to their members mailing lists. I've mixed views on sending out mailings with attachments, so I've just sent the link around the BEC and shared the facebook post from BCA to our members group - our members can unsubscribe from our mailing list if they don't want what we send out or choose not to be part of the facebook group or just scroll on by/delete when we send things of no interest to them out! We try to ensure that we forward all information from any regional or national caving organisations and local items that we feel may be of interest to our members. One comment re the facebook post - may be worth on an original facebook post about the newsletter, to ask for people to share to their club group/page and other caving pages/groups that may find it of interest as not everyone reads here and that's a good resource for getting the sharing out there - I was sort of surprised that on checking CNCC facebook page, it's not even shared there... ;) (I am sure that one will be rectified very shortly! LOL)

(BTW in the time it's taken me to write this message having sent the newsletter link just before I started, I've had two responses back from members saying thank you! :))
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Offline Rob

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2020, 10:15:53 am »
...Some of these people were already quite angry about receiving emails from the BCA; so receiving further emails after asking not to would likely result in serious complaints....
So what! I doubt their comments were meant as angrily as they were taken (typical email escalation syndrome), and either way don't let the few odd balls drive the organisation backwards.

I say on big issues like this forget about these few minorities and serve the masses.
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Offline droid

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2020, 04:41:40 pm »
Get something you don't like: Delete key.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline nickwilliams

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2020, 07:12:15 pm »
This is a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but for the sake of historical accuracy, the reason BCA has CIM members is because its predecessor, the NCA, had no class of individual members - all its insured individual members were what would now be considered to be CIMs - so when BCA was set up, it was completely necessary for there to be a class of club membership so that the old NCA members could be transferred to the new body.
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Offline mikem

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2020, 08:06:51 am »
It does beg the question as to whether the complainers are just doing it to aggravate the BCA committee, rather than because they object to the email itself?

Offline darren

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2020, 09:14:07 am »
If Facebook or Amazon misuse personal data it's national news.

BCA have identified an issue with personal data and decided to minimise it's misuse. This is obviously the correct course of action and in the spirit of GDPR.

We have now had a string of coments saying GDPR should be ignored, emails can easily be deleted or ignored so people shouldn't care if there personal data is misused, and implying only idiots or vexatious people would object.

I'm with the BCA on this, we should keep within the spirit of the law.
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Offline BCA Secretary

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2020, 10:39:01 am »
It's also worth saying that the large companies are staffed by paid employees with expensive legal advice available etc.

The BCA is staffed mostly by volunteers who are already giving all the hours they possibly can to make British caving better. The future sustainability of this is something I worry about, which is why I am so keen to simplify BCA's processes and procedures for future volunteers.

Currently if one angry person decides to take issue with something the BCA is doing, and instigates a formal complaint, we cannot just ignore this. The amount of additional work a complaint generates for already stressed volunteers is immense. We already have one formal complaint from one of our group members (not related to GDPR) and the amount of volunteer resource this is sapping is high. Therefore I'm keen to avoid stirring up any further complaints that would inevitably result from ignoring the small handful individuals who are objecting to email communication.

Fear not everyone, work is ongoing to make sure we have much nicer shinier systems in due course which will address all the issues above  :)

Furthermore, BCA modernisation is not going to be held back by a minority. But we do need to try to keep as many people on board as possible. This is a difficult balancing act.

Estelle; Speaking as ex-CNCC Secretary, you are right that the CNCC would usually have shared this. The CNCC Facebook page is managed also by a volunteer (my husband), who is also the BCA webmaster, who also does the BCA newsletter formatting, and who is also currently putting in 10-15 hours per week into redeveloping the BCA website and the necessary systems to resolve the above issues. I'm sure you can understand this one social media item getting overlooked due to his current workload. It's great that you have shared this around BEC Facebook.

To anyone reading this... I suspect most organisations would be very excited to have more volunteers to help manage their social media and ensure a more proactive social medial presence is maintained. Better sharing of information/news around our community, and strengthening of relationships between different organisations can only be a good thing.

Offline estelle

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2020, 12:49:01 pm »
Estelle; Speaking as ex-CNCC Secretary, you are right that the CNCC would usually have shared this. The CNCC Facebook page is managed also by a volunteer (my husband), who is also the BCA webmaster, who also does the BCA newsletter formatting, and who is also currently putting in 10-15 hours per week into redeveloping the BCA website and the necessary systems to resolve the above issues. I'm sure you can understand this one social media item getting overlooked due to his current workload. It's great that you have shared this around BEC Facebook.
It wasn't meant as a dig, more as humour, as CNCC are usually 'on it', hence the 'winky' after. Most positions within committees/clubs are volunteers and we should be very grateful for anything they are doing for their club/organisation. :) Hopefully other clubs will also share so it ends up wider distributed. :)
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Offline BCA Secretary

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Re: Newsletter 37 Out Now
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2020, 01:15:37 pm »
Hi Estelle, not taken as a dig at all :)

But if I can use this thread as a sneaky way to encourage more people to offer to help their clubs with social media (as you do for yours) then I certainly will (plus keeps this thread bumped up so more people might read the newsletter).

I have found in most clubs and organisations that there is a strong desire to utilise social media to interact with other organisations, communicate with members (and attract new members) and help promote aspects of British caving. The issue is often finding someone social media-savvy to do it and willing to take on the work. Social media works best with regular posts (i.e. at least a couple of posts/shares per week rather than one thing every few months). This is time-demanding. I have been most impressed with how a few northern clubs have recently embraced social media, with excellent results for them. The bizarre thing is that I am not on Facebook myself, but I still totally see the value (when used in addition to UKCaving of course).

 

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