Author Topic: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals  (Read 5032 times)

Offline MarkS

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Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« on: April 16, 2020, 11:10:23 am »
Thanks to kay for highlighting on another topic that the interim agenda for the 2020 BCA AGM is now available on the BCA website.

I have copied the proposals that were mentioned several times in the topic about the current secretary standing down below, and thought they may warrant their own topic. At the least, it seems like a totally unfeasibly large number of proposals actually discuss in any meaningful way at an AGM.

Proposals from Council of Southern Caving Clubs (submitted by Alan Butcher, CSCC Chairman)
These proposals are not yet seconded.

Proposal 9.1
That clause 6.2 of the BCA Constitution be amended to read: “The Association shall have a National Council comprised of the Officers of the Association, up to eight representatives from the class of Group Members (two from each region), up to four representatives from the class of Individual Members and one representative from each Regional Caving Council and National Body.”
Reason: the removal of the Group Vote reduces that representation for club clubs and other groups which needs to be addressed by additional representation on the BCA Council.

Proposal 9.2
That the P&I Standing Committee be reinstated.
Reason: the business formally conducted by the P&I Committee is now brought to the BCA National Council for discussion and agreement meaning that the National Council is, in effect, the P&I Committee. This extends National Council meetings by up to 60 minutes. The National Council meeting in January 2020 included a lengthy report from the P&I Officer requiring discussion and decision. This could be more effectively done by a Standing Committee.

Proposal 9.3
That the arbitrary limit of £750 for Regional Council Access projects administered by the C&A Committee is in direct contravention of clause 2.1 of the BCA Constitution: that the definition of the Association includes the words “all of whom have autonomy in their own field”.
Reason: when the BCA and the “One Stop Shop” were set up, there was a fundamental agreement that Regional Councils and other bodies would be fully funded in return for agreeing to centralisation of income and expenditure with the new national body. The imposition of the limit of £750 administered by the C&A Committee gives the opportunity for access projects to be “administered” other than by financial constraints and therefore is a direct contradiction of the BCA Constitution clause 2.1. Additionally, the Funding Proposal adopted by the National Council on 11th January 2020 appears to override the imposition of this arbitrary limit.

Proposal 9.4
That the principle of the “One Stop Shop” and the provision of services to cavers, clubs and organisations form a fundamental part of the BCA and should be safeguarded.
Reason: this was a fundamental principle in the setting up of the BCA as a representative federation of all those involved with caving. Attempts to change the association away from a representative association to a regulatory body for caving are entirely against the ethos and spirit of the association.

Proposal 9.5
That the IT Working Group be abolished in accordance with clause 6.10 of the BCA Constitution. That a new Standing Committee be formed in accordance with clause 7 of the BCA Constitution to be known as the “IT Committee”. Its terms of reference shall be
- to manage and coordinate BCA’s IT infrastructure.
- to commission and implement IT projects as deemed desirable for BCA.
- to provide a resource of expertise available to BCA.
- to provide Web Services to BCA members as seems desirable.

Reason: The existing IT Working Group's membership has expanded with time and those members now include four out of the five Regional Council webmasters. As such it better resembles the structure of a Standing Committee. A Standing Committee is more democratic in that it guarantees the Regional Councils and National bodies a voice, unlike a Working Group. BCA provides web services for many of the Regional Councils and National Bodies, so a guaranteed voice for them is appropriate. This change also reflects the increasing importance of IT in helping BCA deliver for its members.

Proposal 9.6
That the National Council posts of Webmaster and Web Services Manager be abolished with their responsibilities being passed to the IT Committee or IT Working Group.
Reason: A motion put to the 2019 AGM defined the role of Webmaster such that it overlapped the existing terms of reference of the IT Working Group. This confliction about who takes what part of the role has led to difficulties and confusion. This proposal seeks to remove that problem by setting a clear chain of responsibility.

Proposal 9.7
That the BCA National Council be instructed to ensure that all software whether bespoke or purchased commercially is properly licensed and registered to the British Caving Association.
Reason: There is a concern is that in the absence of a license that BCA could lose the right to use particular software possibly at short notice. This is particularly important with the mission critical software. It is likely to be costly and difficult, if not impossible, to replace at short notice.

Proposal 9.8
That the BCA National Council produces an appropriate Social Media Policy. To be completed by the 2021 AGM.
Reason: That in this age of increasing use of social media, BCA has an active Facebook page, it is increasingly important that the association has a social media policy. The policy should help to protect BCA’s reputation and give clear guidance to its volunteers and staff.

(10) Proposals from David Cooke (Individual Member)
All proposals seconded by Faye Litherland

Proposal 10.1
Add to the BCA Constitution: 8.15 The BCA National Council shall specify named individuals responsible for running any ballot required by the Constitution. Those individuals shall not be BCA Council members.
Reason: Any ballots run by the BCA need to be beyond criticism. As such, no Council member should be involved in the running the ballot. I.e. neither the distribution nor collection of ballot papers nor the counting of votes. The ballot would be run by trusted individuals appointed by Council but who are not members of Council.

Proposal 10.2
That the BCA National Council should consider the effect of equalising subscriptions between DIM’s and CIM’s on member caving clubs.
Reason: The decision to equalise the CIM and DIM subscription rates may have several unintended consequences to the detriment of caving clubs. Currently caving clubs carryout a significant part of BCA’s membership administration for free. With the equalising of the CIM and DIM subscription rates there is no longer an incentive for clubs to do this. If clubs stop offering CIM membership then those members will have to join as DIMs who are more expensive and time consuming to process. Thus the hassle and costs will increase for all. The price difference was a small but a significant nudge to encourage club membership which is acknowledged as the best way to go caving. The unintended consequences of this change seem anti-club. Council should quantify the impact and consider measures to mitigate any detrimental effects.

Proposal 10.3
That the BCA National Council seek assurances from BCA’s insurers in respect of the FCA regulations governing the provision of insurance that the now non-voting caving cubs and other bodies remain sufficiently full members that they receive insurance as a member benefit whereas the non-voting associate group members are in a sufficiently different category of membership that they do not receive insurance as a member benefit.
Reason: Insurance is a non-optional member benefit. If a choice is given then that would be regarded as selling insurance which BCA is not allowed to do. Last year BCA removed the category of uninsured club member because it that meant insurance was a choice. This applied to some 25 uninsured member clubs. They were advised to becoming associate members, the significant difference being that this class doesn’t have a vote and therefore is sufficiently non-member(ish) that insurance isn’t required. Running that logic in the other direction, now that club membership no longer has a vote and is virtually indistinguishable from associate membership, how is it they receive insurance as a member benefit whereas associate members don’t? The concern is that BCA is selling insurance. This proposal seeks to remove that concern.

Proposal 10.4
That this meeting agree with and endorses the decision by National Council to fund legal proceedings on behalf of the Cambrian Caving Council. That a cap of £50,000 of BCA’s funds be placed upon expenditure. That expenditure above this figure would require a further ballot of members for approval.
Reason: A Judicial Review is potentially a very expensive undertaking and risks depleting BCA’s reserves. As such it is desirable that the members’ continuing approval is sought and that there is some control over expenditure.

Proposal 10.5
That the National Council implement the recording and live streaming (where possible) of future Annual General Meetings of the Association.
Reason: This proposal is aimed at improved engagement with the membership. The technology to do this is readily available, cheap and easy to use.

Proposal 10.6
That the National Council should consider the process by which proposals are put forward to the Annual General Meeting and hence to ballot and should be required to state its considered view on the merits and implications of any proposal being put to ballot.
Reason: The last ballot contained far reaching constitutional changes that were never debated by BCA Council, our elected representatives. Previous BCA ballots have not been accompanied by any information giving the pros and cons. This is because Council is afraid it would be accused of bias. This is a mistake. It fails to encourage the necessary level of debate. BCA Council representatives are elected because we trust they’ll do a good job. We give them the responsibility to do the research, gain the necessary knowledge and provide answers based on a full understanding of the issues. That essential part of the decision making process is currently missing in many cases. In any ballot Council should set out the case for and against and then go on to give clear advice to the members.



Offline Cavematt

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2020, 11:46:45 am »
Thanks Mark!

I will be posting here my own commentary on each proposal in the next few days which I hope people might find useful.

As BCA Secretary, I would usually be expected to be reserved in my commentary on other people's proposals, but this whole situation has infuriated me so much, I do not plan to be reserved. Our members deserve to see the efforts a minority are going to in the interests of blocking modernisation. This includes spreading lies about myself and our Webmaster, deliberately obstructing BCA Council and now filibustering an AGM with proposals designed to reverse all the good things that have happened in the last year and drive out those who have worked so hard to deliver those good things. Even if these proposals are not successful, they will continue until eventually they wear down this generation of progressive volunteers and they all leave.

Ultimately of course everyone can make their own mind up whether these proposals represent the right way forward. All debates have at least two sides.

Remember, the new deadline for additional proposals is 1st August (email them to me, secretary@british-caving.org.uk). Any additional proposals will be added to the agenda.
York Caving Club

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2020, 01:09:42 pm »

Proposal 9.2
That the P&I Standing Committee be reinstated.
Reason: the business formally conducted by the P&I Committee is now brought to the BCA National Council for discussion and agreement meaning that the National Council is, in effect, the P&I Committee. This extends National Council meetings by up to 60 minutes. The National Council meeting in January 2020 included a lengthy report from the P&I Officer requiring discussion and decision. This could be more effectively done by a Standing Committee.


What business formally conducted by the P&I committee?? There wasn't one!  P&I previously did very little apart from check about copyright from what I could gather.  Seriously, do not think for one minute that this was an active committee - it wasn't!

Since I took on the role BCA now have a new logo, better adverts in Descent, New to Caving leaflets and Min Impact leaflets distributed, a stand at Hidden Earth, a dedicated BCA area on UKC complete with free advert, I've contributed to the BCA facebook page, a major campaign was conducted promoting BCa expedition insurance, Ghar Parau now mention BCA on their website as a major supporter, Cavefest was supported, questionnaires run at CHECC and Hidden Earth etc etc (read my reports, it's all there) and most important of all and helped to facilitate a new modern website which was desperately needed as the current was is not good at all.

I have received terrific help and support from Gary & Matt with the above, thank you both, what a loss to BCA you will both be :(

I make no apology for discussing some issues at Council and it didn't take an hour, though the extra long lunch some took more than did.  Not appreciated by those of us who had hours to travel back home.

This hurtful proposal is in my opinion simply made to get rid of me - well congratulations, job well done.  I'm not standing again.  Good luck BCA finding someone else to do it and filling that new P&I committee - BCA struggle enough filling posts as it is.

This is a CSCC proposal - I do wonder if the majority of southern caving clubs feel so strongly about the way I have conducted myself that they wanted the CSCC to propose what they have.  Were they consulted?  Do they care? 

I've had enough.  Had enough of being rudely shouted at by fellow council members or receiving snide e-mails.  Enough of sitting for hours and hours listening to those who wish to thwart every single progressive idea drone on and on with their justifications/nit picking about minutiae of the minutes/constitution blah blah, enough of feeling sick with worry before attending council meetings - enough.

I tried my best and understand many will think I've 'given in to them', 'not fought on' etc but to be honest it's just not worth it any more.  I wish those who are prepared to carry on dragging BCA kicking and screaming into a modern era for caving all the very best, I will miss many of you  - others I will be glad not to have to sit in a room with ever again.

If BCA changes one aspect of the way it conducts itself is to be kinder in future.  Council members who are more sensitive souls should feel comfortable when at meetings and when conducting their roles for BCA, not hounded out by a small majority.

BCA could be so positive for British caving, good luck to all those who are working hard to make it so and sorry I can no longer be a part of it.

Jane

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2020, 01:45:28 pm »
Well said Jane!

As P&I Officer you have done more for the BCA in one year than anyone serving in a P&I capacity has ever done in the entire 15 years that went before.

Before you, P&I was essentially a dormant sub-Committee, and apart from one meeting a year ago when our Chairman tried his best to get it going again (sadly attended by very few people) it was achieving nothing. This is, apparently, what the CSCC aspire to return to for some reason.

Personally I loved hearing about all the progress at the last Council meeting and though the guidance and support you received from Council was great! It was a breath of fresh air and positivity (and as you say, much better than the lengthy wait while certain CSCC folks went to the pub for an hour and a half at lunch time thus delaying the reconvening of the meeting).

Make no mistake, this proposal is probably the worst offender of all the CSCC proposals because:

(A) It aims to create a Standing Committee

A Standing Committee is supposed to have representation from all regional councils and constituent bodies, most of who struggle to find volunteers for the existing four Standing Committees (Conservation/Access, Training, Youth/Development and Equipment/Techniques). Standing Committees have the associated bureaucracy of needing meeting agendas, minutes, reports, all of which make the role of the Officer/convener even less desirable.

Standing Committees are a Committee within a Committee and this kind of bureaucracy in a voluntary organisation should ONLY be used for areas that genuinely require widespread national input to ensure a balanced view is maintained. Decisions on social media, Descent adverts, promotion of the BCA and caving, the BCA stall at Hidden Earth, positive engagement with other organisations, and other P&I matters etc does not need to be done by a Committee within a Committee (especially as most of our Standing Committees only meet once a year).

(B) It aims to reverse a decision taken at the 2019 AGM

Thus setting a precedent for childish ping-pong within the BCA...

(C) I believe the real intention is something totally different.

The real reason behind the proposal (in my opinion) is to get Jane out of BCA Council. Jane has been one of the leading voices in BCA modernisation and as such the CSCC see her as a threat. They know perfectly well Jane's appointment as P&I Officer was conditional upon doing away with the bureaucracy and workload of a Standing Committee so they know perfectly well that reintroducing this will drive her out (in the same way as the Webmaster proposal is designed to drive Gary out).

I am just totally gobsmacked that anyone, even the CSCC, could fail to recognise and respect what has been achieved in the last year in terms of P&I, let alone now be putting forward proposals to undermine all of this.
York Caving Club

Offline MJenkinson

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2020, 01:59:12 pm »
Isn't 9.1 a bit suspect? Didn't the vote to abolish the two house system indicate we the membership wanted the groups / clubs to have less representation / clout and it be a more individual focused association?

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2020, 02:07:25 pm »
I suggest the meeting chair appoint a time limit and keeper for debate of 2 minutes for, 2 minutes against and then vote.









Offline Cavematt

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2020, 02:19:39 pm »
It is worth remembering who actually comprises BCA Council:

https://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=about:contact_bca

The top seven sections all have a vote (although the chairman only a casting vote). The working group conveners and additional positions do not as they are not elected by members. Of the 29 voting positions, 17 are group-driven (five Regional Councils, Eight Constituent Bodies and four dedicated group representatives). It is also probably safe to assume that the majority of those in the other positions are also members of clubs. Thus BCA Council has strong representation for groups/clubs already.

Most of our 'Group' reps are BCA Individual Members (CIM/DIM) and most of our 'Individual reps' are members of clubs.

Are there any matters where Individuals and Groups are going to disagree? There is no precedent for this so far, so why is there a need for more representation for groups specifically?

If this is accepted, good luck filling these vacancies; we have spent most of the last year with vacant Council positions and I find it hard to imagine we are going to just 'find' another four people willing to stand on BCA Council.

If the CSCC are worried about the length of meetings (as mentioned in their P&I proposal) then adding another four people to BCA Council is not the right way to go about reducing meeting length.

Finally I should point out a technicality in this proposal; It mentions there would be eight group representatives in place of the current four, and adds that two group representatives should be from each region. The BCA technically has five regions (if the presence of five Regional Councils is anything to go by, although the term 'region' is not defined anywhere in BCA policy). It is unclear whether the wording means there HAS to be two representatives from each region, or a maximum of two. As constitutional wording goes, it is very sloppily written and likely to lead to further issues.

York Caving Club

Offline JohnMCooper

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2020, 02:32:33 pm »
re 9.2

The word used in the reason is "formally" NOT "formerly". In other words they are not saying anything ever happened :ang:

Offline Ed W

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2020, 03:36:15 pm »
Just been having a look at the CSCC webpage, and cannot see any reference to the proposals submitted by Alan Butcher.  I guess the proposal may have been discussed at the General Meeting on 15th February (minutes yet to be published on the website), but there is no notice of any such proposal in the agenda for that meeting meaning that if it was discussed then member clubs were in no position to consider how to vote on the matter.  As a CSCC club member I would have thought that our club, and it's members, should have been made aware of such proposals being made in our name.

Of course Alan is within his rights to make any proposal he so wishes (as Cookie has done) but surely such a proposal can only be made in the name of the CSCC if it has been discussed and voted on by the CSCC members?

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 03:51:13 pm »
As a CSCC club member I would have thought that our club, and it's members, should have been made aware of such proposals being made in our name.

Of course Alan is within his rights to make any proposal he so wishes (as Cookie has done) but surely such a proposal can only be made in the name of the CSCC if it has been discussed and voted on by the CSCC members?

Indeed

Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2020, 04:15:51 pm »
surely such a proposal can only be made in the name of the CSCC if it has been discussed and voted on by the CSCC members?
Nothing new there then, they've probably been getting away with this
kind of  skullduggery for decades

Offline DaveK

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2020, 05:13:54 pm »
Just a couple of thoughts from me on some proposals...

Firstly, proposal 9.7.  While I agree with the proposal, I would argue that it would be better to include "and where possible, the BCA is to seek to migrate to using open source software".  This removes the licensing issue, while also seeking to reduce the burden on individuals (The idea being that when a particular piece of software needs updating, or a new requirement is identified requiring new software, the BCA seeks to use open source software where appropriate.)

Secondly proposal 9.8.  Does this need to be a proposal?  I think a better way to do this would be to create a social media policy, present it a month before the AGM for discussion/amendments, then vote at the AGM on whether they want one, and if so, if the presented one is appropriate.  I'm more than happy to write one for people to pick apart (although it may have a remarkable similarity to most large companies social media policies), and can certainly get it to you before September.  This seems to me the best way as it will be a lot easier for people to add their inputs (thinking of the various sub groubs who may have differing/additional needs).  In addition, as the proposal mentions it's increasingly important is it worth waiting 12 months to bring it into effect?

And finally, I can only apologise for this, but I really cannot understand how the removal of two houses impacts a clubs voice; if anything it increases it.  Given that there is also a commitment to improve voting access with an electronic ballet, it is not unrealistic to imagine clubs whipping their members to vote a certain way.  As such, the larger clubs (I note that several have circa 200 members) and certainly the regional councils (if they chose to whip their member clubs) could certainly swing a vote.  Or am I missing something here?

Offline 2xw

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2020, 07:36:52 pm »
The social media policy is a way to stop council members posting on UKCaving and nothing more.

The extra group reps are designed to get their mates on council (tried at the last AGM where they tried to get cookie [who couldn't justify why he wanted the position] and Tony B [a darknessbelow editor and anti-access campaigner] on to council)

The motion 10.6 to have "considered views" from council is just another way for Cookie to treat members like they are thick (it's for similar reasons that he blocked electronic voting for so many years)

Proposal 10.4 is another attempt by anti-access campaigners (proposed by a trustee of Charterhouse CC no less... a part of the same gang that misused their BCA positions to convince DEFRA that cavers didn't want access all those years ago...) to limit and or slow down that campaign.

10.3 is a long winded way to say "we can't remove the club votes... Because insurance"

9.5 the IT working group is specifically aimed at limiting Gary, and a way for Cookie to get back on council/hold up change in IT as a rep for CSCC. It will also vastly lengthen the amount of time it takes to get anything done as the CSCC rep is frequently away for months at a time. WHY does a website need to be democratically decided? The decisions that need this sort of input are taken by council.

10.2... what is that about?
"Individuals should pay more because club secretaries do an awful burden of work putting their members names on a form".
As individual member rep I shall be strongly resisting this tripe. The secretaries do a lot of "essentially free" work because the way they need to send details to the member secretary is clunky, outdated and a symptom of last year's creaking IT systems. How hard is it to write names on a form? Secretaries shouldn't have to do so much work! Improve BCA systems rather than charging individual members more!

10.1 sounds good. Wonder if anybody has ever suggested farming the task out to an external organisation? Could it have been in my report which was was the subject of spite several years ago?

No idea what sort of tripe 9.4 is about. No doubt another layer of beaurocracy that detractors can use several years down the line to stop *someone* doing *something*

I feel like I am representing individual members when I say that this nursing home game of thrones needs to come to an end.

Offline droid

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2020, 08:26:48 pm »

I feel like I am representing individual members when I say that this nursing home game of thrones needs to come to an end.

Quote of the debate.

 :lol:

And probably true.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2020, 10:10:21 pm »
Proposal 9.1

I think most caving groups have enough going on thinking about their own projects and area specific things, but I agree that they should hold some position on Council so they can propose spending in their area. (but not increased representation).

Proposal 9.2
Do P&I topics need much discussion or agreement, I'd have said that while the post has a professional in the role there is not really much point, give them the autonomy just to crack on and reap the benefits as a sport. (if a less experienced person, of course reform the cabal).



Proposal 9.3
I thought that prior to the £750 limit, it was two factor authorisation, ie once by the C&A committee and then again by council/the Treasurer. It was my understanding that the £750 limit was a lessening of this restrictive two factor authorisation. ergo increasing the Autonomy and speed of claims being authorised.
 It was my understanding that anything under £750 automatically gets paid, not many questions asked.

Proposal 9.4
No idea what the proposal is.

Proposal 9.5
No idea, if the working group is good at what it does, then let it crack on, no meetings just plough on. The amount of times people must think "maybe I can help the BCA, oh wait then i'll have to sit in meetings and decide things, but I know i'm good at X".
 The shear thought of a standing committee for IT makes me shudder. I remember when I "became" a member of the CSG, someone turned to me and said "you do cave surveying, there's so few of us, your now in the group".
 There aren't many cavers in the UK, in fact we know most of them :) so then to further divide that small populous up and ask for people who do IT and then for those who want to spend time deciding what IT to do before then devoting more time to actually doing it.


I'm sorry you lost me at the IT bit.

Proposal 9.6
I cant remember, but I thought that the only change in 2019 was that we changed the Webmaster, out with DC in with GD. Fine, redefine roles, but not to the detriment of removing a position.

Proposal 9.7
Seems cool to me, but then I don't know of the complexities, maybe if we're saving money then formalising whatever needs formalising with a contract. With a clause in it that says they need to hand over the stuff if they cease to have interest or a role which needs them to help the BCA.
 But I think there are necessary online "software" that we need to use, such as paypal, and I doubt you'll get a licence for that.
 It's always best to have a backup plan in case your stuff hits the fan. Perhaps it would be best to have the ultimate backup plan for the worst case scenario and then look at licences. (but sometimes a licence is only worth the paper it's written on, if the company goes bust then you're out on your arse).


Proposal 9.8
AGREEThat the BCA National Council produces an appropriate Social Media Policy. To be completed by the 2021 AGM.
Reason: That in this age of increasing use of social media, BCA has an active Facebook page, it is increasingly important that the association has a social media policy. The policy should help to protect BCA’s reputation and give clear guidance to its volunteers and staff.

(10) Proposals from David Cooke (Individual Member)
All proposals seconded by Faye Litherland


Proposal 10.1
I agree in theory, but named people? and in an online ballot, how does this even work, who presses the button on the online vote to "distribute" and who then "counts" the votes, isn't it all done electronically?  8)

Proposal 10.2
I was encouraged to join direct, then I could get BCRA membership with one click, DIM makes it more likely that someone might make this choice. As a student and when I first joined another club, it was the best option, even if I did end up paying BCA twice one year when I decided to join direct.
If clubs are worried about the effect that this change then i'm sure I read somewhere that there's a grant you can apply to the BCA for, whereby if it's likely to pull more money into the BCA, then you can apply for it. Arguably if you think there's something that you can offer your members that will encourage more to join your club, then you could apply for this grant. Couldn't find a link to it though, so could be my imagination.

Proposal 10.3
I don't really see how having associate members who don't vote means that we're now selling insurance.
I used to be a member of another sports club, and they had police as associate members, these associate members didn't have a vote (as far as I remember).
 In fairness, I don't really see why you would choose to be an associate member club. I do think I know one club that might, and we visited their lovely climbing hut earlier on this year, but suffice to say if you wanted to define your club as a subset of members who do go caving is there a problem with that?


Proposal 10.4
Wiping £50k off the accounts, or 20-25% of reserves is a little worrying, it is difficult to know how long legal action could take. I can see that we make a surplus averaging higher than 10k per year, and that's year on year, so if we ignored the legal action (by fixing the cost at 50k) and purely focussed on how much extra we'd have in the bank at the end of the legal action.


Best case (for time): legal action takes one year, 50k out, 10k surplus in. (therefore 40k deficit)
Worst case (for time): legal action takes four years, 50k out, 40k surplus in. (therefore 10k deficit)


I don't really know much legal action costs or how long it's meant to go on for, and how many hours of legal eagles you have to pay for over a year, 50k may be an underestimate or an overestimate, I just don't know. which is why I didn't bother even trying to flex the cost.


Proposal 10.5
Don't agree, I'd be bored to tears watching a load of us in a room, if I wasn't at the meeting then i'd be caving and surely wouldn't be "catching-up" with the meeting later.

Proposal 10.6
I'll leave that to someone else :)

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2020, 10:45:01 pm »
The interim AGM document contains eight CSCC proposals and six David Cooke proposals (which are essentially the same thing... the document sent by the CSCC actually contained one of David Cooke’s proposals by mistake so they have obviously been put together as part of a collaboration).

These proposals must receive a minimum level of support at the AGM to progress to a national ballot of all individual members (CIMs and DIMs).

My intention, had I been staying on as Secretary, was to utilise the system developed by Gary for the ballot last year (but preferably setting a precedent for ditching postal votes), as an interim measure while something more permanent was built into BCA’s new website and membership systems. As Gary will be standing down from his Council and Webmaster position, these new membership systems are no longer going to happen. Whoever oversees BCA’s IT after this AGM will need to decide on how to conduct the ballot (the system used last year is available).

In the ballot, all individual members (CIMs and DIMs) will have a vote on whether they support or, reject each proposal. Proposals not affecting the constitution need a simple majority in favour, whereas proposals affecting the constitution need 70% in favour.

Here are my thoughts on the proposals, what they mean, and why they have been submitted. Clearly, these are my personal no-holds-barred opinions, and not those of the BCA. They are clearly biased as they are coming from someone who has now been driven away from the BCA by all of these shenanigans. I encourage a healthy debate on these proposals here on UKCaving.

Proposal 9.1:
I have already made my thoughts on this proposal clear in my post above. The last thing BCA Council needs right now is another four positions being created! What kind of representation is the BCA not currently delivering to groups that an additional four people will enable it to deliver? Also note my commentary on the CSCC’s sloppy wording. I will vote against this proposal.

Proposal 9.2:
I have also covered this in a separate post above. This proposal is a total disgrace and a blatant attempt to increase bureaucracy, oust the best P&I Officer BCA has ever had (which has already been successful; Jane will not be re-standing for this role) and get BCA’s outward communication firmly back into CSCC’s control, while sticking two fingers up to the AGM last year that abolished this standing Committee in the first place. I will vote against this proposal.

Proposal 9.3:
This isn’t really a proposal, just a statement. It is asking members to agree with a viewpoint, rather than any specific actions so it is unclear what CSCC are expecting to change if this is accepted.

The CSCC are annoyed because this year, BCA Council and the Finance Committee (which includes BCA’s Treasurer, and the Treasurers of each Regional Council) agreed to make changes to how BCA funding is reviewed, so that conservation and access (C&A) expenditures exceeding £750 would be reviewed to ensure compliance with funding rules by the C&A Committee.

You’d think that C&A spending being reviewed by the C&A Committee would be a no-brainer. But they see this as a threat. This might be because they spend thousands of pounds of BCA money installing locks onto caves, and are worried that this could be deemed by the C&A Committee a contradiction to BCA finance rules if access is not made adequately available (to the best of my knowledge there are no plans to restrict money to any Regional Council for any activity under their juristiction).

It is worth nothing that this change to procedure was agreed by majority of all regional Treasurers and by BCA Council. Therefore, it has already been reviewed and approved by two nationally represented Committees, so the CSCC are now turning to the AGM as a last resort. I will vote against this ‘proposal’.

Proposal 9.4:
Again, this is not a proposal, just a statement with no clarity what actions should result if this gets accepted. I suggest that accepting this is dangerous, as it gives CSCC a blank card to play every time something goes against the ‘one stop shop’ idea (whatever that is). I note that this is the second proposal that quotes a concept harking back to the days the BCA was founded, (16 years ago), while the rest of the country are trying to focus on the future. I will vote against this.

Proposal 9.5:
An attempt to create ANOTHER Standing Committee. As with all our Standing Committees, this will be open to representatives form all Regional Councils and Constituent bodies, and, assuming current Standing Committees are anything to go by, will meet roughly once a year.

Does BCA’s IT really need input from a Committee of up to 14 people? Such a Standing Committee would quickly turn into the David Cooke monologue and would allow him to regain control of BCA’s IT systems and to ensure they stay exactly as they are for decades. You can kiss goodbye to having our own electronic voting systems, a new website, and electronic membership renewals. Moreover, this proposal is intended to get rid of Gary, who amongst his credits elsewhere are the websites for CNCC, Eurospeleo 2016, Hidden Earth, York Caving Club, Northern Pennine Club, Northern Caves, and soon to be launched in beta-test format, the BCA new website.

What the BCA needs more than anything else right now is passionate and forward-looking people willing to get on with doing something. The BCA has suffered years of nothing happening because all work has been thrown out to Standing Committees who meet once a year. The formation of another Standing Committee to deal with IT matters (that should NOT be dealt with by a Committee) is a deliberate attempt to ensure all IT modernisation is derailed. I will vote against this.

Proposal 9.6:
An extension of the above; a belt and braces way to get rid of Gary by specifically deleting his role (Webmaster). Good luck developing a website by Committee! I will vote against this.

Proposal 9.7:
An unusual proposal, given that CSCC Treasurer, David Cooke, spent six months after the last AGM withholding access to key BCA systems despite instruction from members and Council. Some strange double standards here. Within this proposal there are glimmers of a sensible concept, but I do worry that as it stands it is too restrictive and not properly thought through. I will vote against this but would urge some exploration of this by BCA Council over the next year to come up with a better way forward to protect BCA's IT interests in the future.

Proposal 9.8:
I acknowledge that most businesses have a Social Media Policy. I’m not totally convinced BCA needs one, as I am deeply worried that creating unnecessary policies makes the BCA increasingly business-like and unappealing as a volunteer-run organisation to prospective future people.

I am not totally opposed as such to a common-sense social media policy (e.g. stipulating that when using social media, the correct BCA logo should be used, or that any news posted on social media should contain a link to the full story on the BCA website etc... i.e. the kinds of common-sense good practices you would expect). But we have a ‘manual of operations’ which would be a much better place to clarify these kinds of best practices, rather than writing a full policy document.

Additionally, I worry that the motives behind this are, as Will (2xw) has suggested above, to silence BCA Officers from communicating on a direct level with our members. I know that David Cooke has already tried to get BCA Council to stop me from using UKCaving to discuss BCA business, so expect a ban on this to be on the cards if such a document makes it to fruition with significant CSCC input.

I will vote against this proposal, because I do not trust the motives behind it, I think we would be better with some informal ‘best practices’ in the Manual of Operations rather than a policy document and all the bureaucracy a policy would bring.

Proposal 10.1:

In an ideal world, yes, a ballot would be run totally independently from BCA Officers (more to save work rather than due to mistrust of them to conduct it honestly). But we are a caving organisation not the Government. The people who are likely to make a ballot work (and have enough understanding of BCA’s processes) are the Officers.

The ballot system, much like the one Gary developed for last year, just needs to be simple, and have sensible precautions included (e.g. the system had an audit log, and we had a returning Officer who was independent to keep an eye on things). But to say that it has to be totally independent from any Officer means finding more volunteers or paying an external body to run our ballot each year at a cost of several thousand pounds. I think we need to get a grip on reality here and focus on practicality above anything else.

Proposal 10.2:
This year, one of my key proposals to Council was to equalise BCA membership fees for DIMs and CIMs. It seemed totally unfair to financially penalise those joining outside of a club structure (DIM membership was £5 more for no additional benefits).

The only reason DIMs take more work to process is because of the BCA’s severely antiquated membership systems, which Gary had planned to help redevelop. Are we to penalise DIMs and charge them more because of BCA’s systems? I think not. This is one of the changes I shall leave the BCA most proud of delivering because it is about equality, and so I will vote against this proposal.

Proposal 10.3:
This relates to the scrapping of the group vote, leaving the question open about what differentiates Associate and Full Group Membership other than the insurance membership benefit. If this was the only differentiator and Full Group Membership were more expensive than Associate Membership, then the BCA would be open to accusations that we are selling insurance. However, there are other differentiators between Full Group Membership and Associate Membership, and Associate Membership and the smallest Group Membership are the same cost. This has already been discussed with BCA’s insurers and they are comfortable there are no issues.

I would suggest that further consideration of Associate Membership is probably needed over the coming years, but I suggest this is left to Council discretion, and to be led by our Insurance Manager, and is not a matter for an AGM to be instructing on. I will therefore vote against this.

Proposal 10.4:
I expect that by the time of the AGM, this proposal will be too late to affect proceedings, so it is probably going to be irrelevant. I will vote against it because it risks placing shackles onto pursuing a time-sensitive campaign that has already received majority support from our members, and which is therefore now in the hands of BCA Council to look after. It doesn’t need further AGM consideration.

Proposal 10.5:
I have no specific objections to this, and I think it is probably right that members should vote on whether or not they should be videoed and live streamed at future meeting. I would urge this responsibility to go to someone other than the Secretary who already has an astonishing high workload on the approach to, and at the AGM itself. I will either support or abstain depending on feedback I get from a selection of people closer to the time.

Proposal 10.6:
Given that all proposals to AGMs now go to a ballot after the AGM itself; and it is standard practice to have a BCA Council meeting immediately after the AGM, surely this provides all the opportunity needed for BCA Council to put together a view on proposals if they so wish, without needing any changes to the way proposals are put forward. I will vote against this. Anyway, I’m undecided on whether BCA Council (as an entity) should be staying out of such things and leaving members to make decisions without encouragement one way or another. Providing some unbiased explanatory notes is fine (and potentially helpful), but should BCA Council be interfering with proposals submitted to an AGM by supplying an opinion?

York Caving Club

Offline Fishes

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2020, 11:20:26 pm »
Some of these posts do seem like an example of why BCA needs a social media policy with some oversight. Nobody should be expressing personal views and engaging debate while using their position within the BCA. You must clearly separate your views and those of the BCA.

This would not be tolerated in business and although the BCA may be run by volunteers it should be acting in a business like way.

This kind of public spat is sadly painting some of you and the BCA in a very bad light to cavers and none cavers alike. I know feelings are running high but whichever side of this debate you are on please show some restraint.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2020, 11:45:37 pm »
Some of these posts do seem like an example of why BCA needs a social media policy with some oversight. Nobody should be expressing personal views and engaging debate while using their position within the BCA. You must clearly separate your views and those of the BCA.

As far as I can see, all the above posts have been made by individuals under their own name (or avatar). Some of those individuals hold council positions, some do not. None of the posts in any way suggest that they are the opinion of the BCA, or made by an individual representing the BCA.

Two, possibly three BCA council members can be identified from the posts, however, these are clearly made in a personal capacity, not as representatives of the BCA.

I do agree that a social media policy or guidance in the manual of operations would be useful, but I can't see that it would change anything above. This guidance would doubtless clarify how to make official BCA posts, but should not (and could not) be used to silence the opinion of people who give enough of a sh!t about caving to volunteer on the council. The guidance would also need to reflect the fast paced nature of social media and not provide any unnecessary restrictions (like a committee decision on every post) that would render the use of social media entirely pointless.
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Offline Fishes

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2020, 11:57:36 pm »
Matt has used his position as BCA at the bottom of each post in this topic. This implies he is posting in this role.

You wouldn't need to committee approval for individual posts any more than you would need board approval in a business. You do need to be very careful what you post (even as an individual) on social media however to prevent bring your organisation into disrepute. This can damage the organisation and sometimes costs individuals their jobs.

I am not talking as a BCA as I left because I was/am unhappy with the way things are moving and no longer feel they represent me. I do have a lot of experience in representing my company on social media though and this is not appropriate or sensible behaviour.

Offline 2xw

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2020, 12:24:12 am »
It's the people bringing the organisation into disrepute that are purposefully trying to stop people talking about it. That's the purpose of these motions, it's why minutes are delayed and legal advice kept private and it's the purpose of the vexatious complaints made against me, among others.

For a long time certain members actively tried to prevent the BCA contacting its members, and also sought to prevent those members being able to vote using the internet.
Posting on "social media" about how messed up stuff is is somewhat of a last resort - darknessbelow aren't going to tell you (they refuse to publish that which is contrary to their opinion). Where else will this come to light?

It's not an organisation, or a business. It's an association of its members, to whom it is accountable, and when people feel they need to publically post about bullying, abuse and corruption, we are already way beyond the point of preventing reputational damage by limiting social media posts.

I don't know the full solution but I know it definitely doesn't involve brushing everything under the carpet.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2020, 07:19:02 am »
Matt's just getting practice on 10.6 early, the pro's were put forward in the reasons, he merely provided the balanced view.

Offline Cavematt

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2020, 07:49:05 am »
Fishes, as stated in paragraph 5 of my post, these are entirely my own opinions and not those of the BCA, BCA Council or anything to do with the BCA. Just because I happen to work (voluntarily) on behalf of the BCA doesn't mean I don't have personal opinions and expressing them in such a public forum is a last resort after everything that has happened over the last year (I think BCA members have been kept in the dark about the actions of a select few for quite long enough).

I would be VERY worried about any BCA policy that sought to restrict what BCA Volunteers are allowed to say speaking in their personal capacity.

I am sorry the footer on my avatar confused you. I have removed the 'BCA Secretary' bit to avoid you any further confusion. Note that 'York Caving Club' still remains but that is because that is the club I am associated with and not because I am speaking on their behalf.
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Offline andrewmc

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2020, 08:26:54 am »
Being an elected BCA officer is a political position, not a normal job. It is important that they can express their opinions, and that people can hear them. If they don't like them, they can vote them out - and if they do, they can vote them back in.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2020, 08:42:03 am »
Incidentally the fact that the CSCC have (presumably) forgotten that Devon and Cornwall (possibly the finest of all caving regions) even exist, by suggesting that 8 representatives is enough for 2 group representatives each, is reason enough to have them all thrown into the sea (from a fine Devon or Cornish beach, of course)  :chair:

Offline BradW

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Re: Thoughts on the BCA AGM proposals
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2020, 08:53:57 am »
Some of these posts do seem like an example of why BCA needs a social media policy with some oversight. Nobody should be expressing personal views and engaging debate while using their position within the BCA. You must clearly separate your views and those of the BCA.

This would not be tolerated in business and although the BCA may be run by volunteers it should be acting in a business like way.

This kind of public spat is sadly painting some of you and the BCA in a very bad light to cavers and none cavers alike. I know feelings are running high but whichever side of this debate you are on please show some restraint.
This last bit is important. Even if many cavers might agree with current plans for the future, the way this whole thing is being managed is so unprofessional. No wonder there are no good volunteers if they baulk at having to work alongside blatant partisanship and people who cannot resist personalizing their vitriol.

 

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