AGM 2021

An online AGM followed by email ballot.

Getting Involved

Key Dates

EventTime, Date
Attendance Registration Closes10:30, Friday 8th October 2021
Annual General Meeting10:30, Sunday 10th October 2021
Email Ballot Opens23:59, Sunday 10th October 2021
Email Ballot Closes23:59, Sunday 31st October 2021

Watch or Participate

The AGM will be conducted via the Zoom video conferencing platform and will be streamed live on the BCA’s Facebook Page.

If you wish to watch the AGM only please do so by watching the live-stream, however if you wish to participate in the video conferencing call itself please sign up here by 10:30 on 8th October 2021 to receive your invitation link (these will be sent 24 hours before the AGM starts).

Vote

The AGM will be followed by an online vote. All members* will receive an email containing their voting tokens and instructions on how to use them by midnight on 10th October (the day of the AGM).

If you have not received your voting tokens by midnight on 10th October please contact .

If you have updated your email address since joining the BCA please contact to update your details.

Ballots will only be sent by postal mail on request. Please contact to request this.

* Unless you or your club has not provided the BCA with your email address, or you have explicitly requested that the BCA not contact you by email.

Proposals

The proposals in full can be found in the agenda which is to be read with the reports. Here is a very short summary of the proposals so far:

  1. Proposal to alter the BCA Anchor Scheme Policy to allow Regional Council to appoint Bolt Installers
  2. Proposal to change section 10.1 of the constitution: ‘The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a Member unless specifically requested to do so by that Member. The Association shall not mediate between Members unless requested by them in writing to do so.’. Change it by:
    • 2A: Deleting it
    • 2B: Amending to ‘The Association shall not mediate between Members unless requested by them to do so.’
    • 2C: Amending to ‘The Association shall not interfere in the affairs of a Member unless it is necessary to do so to investigate a complaint raised by another Member (the Complainant). Any action taken by the BCA should be the minimum possible to balance the competing rights and freedoms of the Member and the Complainant’
  3. Simplify the Bureaucratic structure by:
    • Converting all Standing Committees to Working Groups
    • Removing Standing Committees from the Constitution
    • Merge the Training Committee and Equipment and Techniques Standing Committee into a Working Group
    • Remove the vote of the P&I Officer
  4. Rewrite of Section 8 of the Constitution to better accommodate for eAGMs, shorten the online voting period and remove uncertainty in certain wording.
  5. Change ‘Chairman/Chairmen’ in the constitution to ‘Chair’.
  6. Update to the Equality and Diversity Policy (widening it from applying to employees to members)

Listen to the Podcast

A podcast discussion of the various proposals will be released in late September. This should give members a good idea of the motives behind them and the pros and cons of each, without needing a comprehensive understanding of how the BCA operates.

Candidates for Election

PositionCandidates
ChairRostam Namaghi, Russell Myers
SecretaryAllan Richardson
Group representativeJosh White
Training officer*Steve Gray
  • * Proposal 3 would merge the Training and Equipment & Techniques committees into a working group.
  • You can read the candidate’s election statements below, and listen to the interviews given by the competing candidates for Chairman

    Candidate’s election statements

    For Chair

    Rostam Namaghi

    My name’s Rostam and I’ve been a caver for 12 years, starting with Sheffield University (SUSS) and am now a member of the Wealden, the BEC and UCET. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world and have 15 or so expeditions under my belt. Caving invested in me early, taught me skills and has brought me many lifelong friends – cavers are some of the most eccentric adventurous people and I have so many stories as a result. I’m passionate about growing this community as I’d like to give more people the opportunity to experience what I’ve experienced.

    I started out volunteering as Treasurer for SUSS, I moved the club over to online banking and built up a healthy surplus over 3 years. I continued as Chair of the club and with a bit of innovation led the club to a bumper year of recruitment despite starting the year with minimal leaders and drivers. I took this experience in leading, training and organising to Northern CHECC, and then joined BCA as Youth and Development Officer. I stayed in this post for 5 years, first learning how the BCA works and realising that we needed more than just one person representing ‘Youth Caving’ and set it up as a group bringing in many people. This led to working closely with scout caving, CHECC and a body of experienced volunteers shielded from the chaos and time wasting of council.

    We learned from each other and achieved a lot; we represented university groups in discussions with unions, started 4 new student caving clubs, set up the emergency kit loan system, set up a bureaucratic service to write constitutions and other paperwork, set up the child safeguarding officer, made DBS checks for voluntary work for BCA members free, made BCA membership free for under 18s, started an at cost procurement scheme for BCA, took on a discrimination case against under 18s, procured legal advice and safeguarded many access agreements protecting under 18 access in the process.

    I have spent the last year in Publications and Information where; I authored the demographics report, developed the proofreading service, developed a data gathering and interpretation service with input from professional statisticians, regularly sought feedback on BCA services, created a clear publication pathway and standard formatting, handled requests from the media and built a modern social media interface. In addition to this I stepped in to provide support to the Secretary and Chair commiting roughly 2 hours a week to giving advice, doing the constitutional/operations legwork to work out what they should be doing and helped draft agendas and proposals in an effective way. I implemented many of the simplifying things that Phil Rowsell tried to drive – like the online submission of reports, proposals and nominations. I also wrote terms of reference that constituted the new IT working group and successfully kept it apolitical. I drafted the covid recovery plan which has yet to be fully implemented.

    I think I would make a good chair as I know how the BCA works, how the grassroots volunteering works and I would prioritise things that will bring new people into the sport and keep the buildings, charities and clubs full of people.

    To put it more exactly I would:

    • Increase transparency by ensuring documents are published ahead of deadlines, and record votes on clear proposals so that members know which way their representatives voted
    • Actively recruit more volunteers for working groups and delegate more things from council
    • Shrink the size of council by giving time for what will be controversial proposals to be worked through by affected parties
    • Order agendas through priority of issue importance and cut down the frequency and bulk of reports to allow a manageable workload for Council
    • Automate secretarial tasks and integrate this with the rewrite of the Manual of Operations
    • Be proactive in identifying roadblocks for BCA volunteers and adopting a ‘how to get it done approach’ rather than a ‘delay it till next time’ one. Change the meeting to meeting culture and just focus on groups operating continuously.
    • Attend meetings of various member bodies and listen.
    • Wear a BCA T-shirt (for some of the time) at caving huts at weekends so that people can chat to me if they want to, I also promise not to bring the BCA into disrepute.

    Russell Myers

    BCA has been through a number of tumultuous years lately and not least this last one compounded by the Covid pandemic. I volunteered to join the Executive Committee of BCA in April 2020 to help the incumbent Secretary, Matt Ewles, who subsequently stood down the following month and I found myself co-opted as Acting Secretary at the Council Meeting in July.

    Shortly after that meeting, the incumbent Chair, Les Williams, stood down and Council found itself co-opting a new Acting Chair, Phil Rowsell at its August meeting.

    The situation settled down but there was plenty to do, catching up with almost 6 months of stagnation when Council had not been able to meet in its normal format due to covid restrictions but Zoom meetings opened the way forward.

    The Executive Committee formed a strong team driving business forward but for personal reasons, Phil stood down shortly after the December meeting and out of the permutations to solve the dilemma, Allan Richardson came forward as Acting Secretary and I moved into Acting Chair; both of us being co-opted by Council at the subsequent February Meeting but both positions subject to election at this 2021 AGM.

    The attritional rate of change in the Executive Committee of three Chairs and three Secretaries in 6 months during this last year or so, is not sustainable for the good governance of BCA. I know that I have made mistakes, fortunately of no great consequence but brought about essentially from learning the ropes through this turbulent period. What is required is a sustained period of stability, which I am prepared to establish if elected.

    On this basis, I pledge to uphold the core values of BCA and reinforce its objectives by:

    • Ensuring the Public Liability Insurance scheme continues to benefit to all BCA members.
    • Ensuring the continued funding of Regional Councils in conservation, access and other important work.
    • Providing training workshops and a training and certification scheme for cavers.
    • Ensuring funding for the anchor placement programme.
    • Ensuring continued funding to the Ghar Parau Foundation for expeditions.
    • Continuing to work to improve cave access.
    • Driving support for the development and support of youth caving.
    • Publicising advice on matters affecting caving.
    • Ensuring the continued funding of the British Caving Library.
    • Maintaining links with International Caving Federations and Organisations.
    • Continuing the modernisation of BCA.

    I look forward to receiving your support and vote in the forthcoming election to secure the position of Chair; in return I promise to do my best for British Caving and all the cavers who form its community.

    For Secretary

    Allan Richardson

    I was co-opted as Acting Secretary at the beginning of 2021. I wish to continue in this role to the end of the current Tenure in 2023.
    I have been exploring caves and mines for about 50 years at home and abroad and have been underground in most parts of the UK.
    I have been involved in caving expeditions and run my own. Now that I am semi-retired, I have more time to devote to assisting the various organisations I am involved with.

    For Group Representative

    Josh White

    Having stepped into the BCA last year as an individual rep I feel I’ve achieved many things, not only as the Youth and Development officer, but also as a group representative.

    One of the main complaints I’ve heard from cavers about the BCA is lack of communication. By being active on the UKCaving forums and on social media, I’ve been able to be contacted by the membership with queries and have been able to represent them with my voting at council.

    I also pushed to have contact details for the individual and group representatives available on the website so that the membership are better able to contact them with their views or to find out information.

    Another complaint from the membership is the appearance of bickering and infighting, and whilst some of this comes from lack of communication previously, some of it comes down to lack of transparency. Council minutes now show which members voted for and against each proposal, so that the membership can get a better idea of what their representatives are doing for them.