Agenda item 25: Appointment of a technical adviser to set up remote access to meetings

Improving participation, engagement and fairness are key factors in motion (1) and the objective of this motion (2). Travelling for six hours in a car for a BCA council meeting does not encourage engagement with the organisation, especially as meetings can take all day and, let’s face it, be pretty dull. In the past choosing a fixed central location for a national meeting made the best of a bad job. This is fine for those who live relatively close but deters those who live further away. Travel from the Peak, Mendip, London, S Wales involves up to two hours travel each way. It is over three hours each way from Plymouth for the Devon & Cornwall representatives.

The country’s largest caving region is underrepresented at BCA and yet it has a thriving regional council. It is over three hours each way to travel from Ingleton or York. Five to eight hours from the Scottish areas which CNCC also represent. Who would want to engage with BCA from Scotland?

The cumbersome structure of BCA has over forty representatives with a role on council. These should come from across the national area and it is important that everything is done to facilitate attendance of all representatives at meetings.

Technology is obviously the answer here offering a wide variety of possible solutions. Many cavers, probably in their working lives, will have come across these systems in action. Attendance from home or local hubs via an audio or video link would solve the problem and lead to improved participation and better representation in BCA council meetings. When technology allows council members to attend meetings remotely then the physical location of that meeting is less important and it can move from a central location. Once established the council meetings could rotate around the regions and be better synchronised with regional meetings. This could create improvements in the relationship between the national body and regional councils. Therefore I propose the following motion:

“BCA to appoint or employ a technical advisor with a specific mandate to introduce an audio/visual technological solution which allows council members remote access to meetings. This access should allow members to participate at a similar level to those attending in person. A working system should be in place within one year.”

Proposed by: Tim Allen