BCRA newsletter November 2019

In this newsletter …

Caves and Karst of the Yorkshire Dales – volume 2

This book has now been reduced in price to £25. It can be ordered online, along with volume 1. There is a 20% discount for BCRA members, and postage is free.

Cave & Karst Science 46(3) and CREGJ 108

These publications are both now “in press” and will be placed online and mailed shortly.

New Council member Vince Simmonds

We are pleased to welcome Vince Simmonds to BCRA Council as a co-opted member. Vince is an active member in BCRA’s Cave Archaeology Group, and replaces Mike Butcher who will be stepping down from Council but will continue to act as ‘Foreign Officer’ in which capacity he will represent BCRA on the committee of the Ghar Parau Foundation, which has now completed the separation from BCRA and is a charity in its own right.

Programme of events for 2020

We are in the process of putting together a programme of events for 2020, which will be circulated to the notices list as soon as possible. They will also be listed on our Google Calendar and on our news forum.

BCA’s ballot on changes to their constitution

All members of the British Caving Association should have received an email (or a letter if your email address failed) describing the ballot that is currently taking place on constitutional amendments that would change the way voting is performed at future General Meetings of the British Caving Association. This includes a change from the present two-house voting system (groups and individuals) to a single-house system. As BCRA is a Group member of BCA, BCRA Council has had to discuss how we would cast our group vote in this ballot.

Council noted with regret that the ballot email was not clear about what was being voted on and that BCA’s online documentation also lacked clarity. In particular we felt that it was poor practice to expect voters to read a 37-page document before casting their vote.

In our discussion it was noted that the proposer of the BCA motion may have missed a key point when he asked “/whether a group vote is really indicative of the feeling of the members/” as historically the Group vote has been present to cover “corporate” issues affecting Groups.

Hence, it is not simply an aggregation of the votes of the group’s members, which would indeed be rather undemocratic. BCA’s activities are currently predicated on the existence of Groups which are given similar weight to individual members. The role of the groups, of the regional councils, of BCRA and other specialist bodies is important to British caving; and their voice needs to be heard at a “corporate” level within BCA.

During our discussion, an alternative argument was made by one member of BCRA Council who felt that Groups may have failed to live up to their responsibilities and hence we should support the BCA proposal.

However, the majority view of BCRA Council was that no good reason had been presented for a change to the “status quo” and that the situation would benefit from further thought and discussion. Council therefore decided that we would cast our group vote in a way that kept the issue open for further discussion, voting 7 to 1 to REJECT the proposed motion, with one abstention.

As BCRA is a charity, the trustees have personal legal responsibility for the running of our organisation and, whilst we do, of course, listen to our membership, the way we cast our Group vote is the sole responsibility of the trustees (i.e. BCRA Council) and not of our members. Similarly, Council will not be making a recommendation to our members on how they should vote in their own “house of individuals”.
However, Council would recommend that individuals try to inform themselves of the arguments. With this in mind we note that there is a commentary on the ballot at Darkness Below and there is discussion on UKcaving.

Correspondent: David Gibson, BCRA Secretary