RodG wrote:A friend of mine, recently, received a membership renewal form for BCA/BCRA. He was a bit puzzled by this, since as a member of a caving club, he pays his sub to the BCA as part of his membership of the caving club (a CIM, in other words). He was further puzzled to note that as a CIM, he is unable to gain membership of the BCRA
Hello again. Perhaps your friend had previously been a member of BCRA, or a BCA DIM? That would explain why he was on the list. It has not been straight-forward to combine the BCRA and BCA databases (for a number of reasons, human as well as technical).
One of the things that has characterised - or perhaps "dogged" would be a better word - operations over the last two or three years is the desparate need to get insurance details sorted out, and this has tended to mean our racing around sorting that out, whilst paying slightly less attention to the underlying membership operations. This is why, for example, everyone received the same renewal letter, which might not have been 100% appropriate to their situation. For example, in your friend's case, it would have been better for us to have explained why he was receiving the letter (e.g. "as a former member of BCRA, ... bla bla "). But there just wasnt time for this level of service.
As an aside: it is intended, at some point, to allow on-line renewals. This requires a form that is
100% appropriate, or it just doesnt work. Once the on-line form has been created, I envisage that a new paper form will be created, based on the on-line form, and then things will be a bit clearer, perhaps.
Regarding the situation of joining BCRA... As you know, the surcharge for DIMs to join BCRA is £10. As a CIM, your friend can
join BCRA - but the surcharge is £25. This involves upgrading him to a DIM first. Its a matter of semantics as to whether this means that CIMs can or cannot "join BCRA". BCRA and BCA have chosen to present it as "CIMs must upgrade to DIMs first".
The concept behind CIMs is that they pay the minimum fee possible. As a result they receive no publications whatsoever
and the admin is handled by their club. If you want to receive publications personally
you have to pay more money: £15 pays for Speleology, the BCA newsletter and an admin charge to cover the handling of your membership
. An extra £10 covers C&KS and the BCRA newsletter.
These costs have been worked out to be the fairest way of dealing with everyone. If your friend was "puzzled" to note that he could not join BCRA, the reason is simply that he has not paid enough money to cover the services he would receive. As I said above, he owes another £25. Whether you imagine this as a surcharge to CIMs or an upgrade to DIM and then a smaller surcharge is up to you. BCA and BCRA choose to view it as an upgrade to DIM in order to maintain the rationale for CIM - that it is a "low service" category of membership, designed to allow BCA to encompass members of caving clubs at a minimum charge to them.
I do hope that this answers your questions, as I have a number of other things to do