Chris Mew writes about the forthcoming CRAG vote

Dear members,
You will have received much detail and read and heard comments regarding the proposals for changing the Council’s work. For both new members and existing members this will be challenging and the article below seeks to clarify some of the principles which need to be taken into consideration as part of the 29th May meeting.
yours sincerely
Chris Mew, President, CCCBR

Changing the Council – Principles to be established

The CRAG report and its recommendations set out a vision for the Central Council both in terms of how it is structured and how it will serve ringers in the future. The presentation of these recommendations fulfils the remit from the representatives vote in May 2016.

The following notes seek to highlight the limitations of what can be achieved at the forthcoming Council meeting. It is hoped that the meeting in Edinburgh will approach the proposed reforms in the spirit in which they are put forward, avoid excessively long debate, extreme stances and look to the future of ringing. There is nothing in the principles of the proposals which is incompatible with the aims of the Council and, subject to suitable safeguards through adequate ongoing consultation, support is hopefully possible.

Proposed representation.

The changes to both the structure of the Council in terms of Officers and Committees do not, in the first instance, envisage that they should be elected other than by existing representatives of affiliated societies. Should there at a later stage be a decision to have a smaller number of representatives or individuals presented as direct members of the proposed “Council of Representatives”, then the dynamics of the representation of ringers would change. The current level of representation at around 200 gives a commendable ratio of 1: 200 compared with that of Government MPs at 1: 100,000.

Procedural considerations.

There has been recognition both in the report and elsewhere that within the limited time available it has not been possible to develop full detail or justification for all the proposals. In this context, the formal proposals to elect a new “Executive”, “Work Group Leaders”, to transfer powers, restrict the Administrative Committee and begin implementing direct membership of the Central body before 2018 must all be regarded as premature.  None of these actions could properly be undertaken since the changes of rules required and the powers flowing from those changes cannot be approved without formal notice and, since involving amendment of both aims and rules, would require a two-thirds majority vote.

Ongoing services and work.

Throughout any change period the Council must continue to give its services and the importance of some of these has been recognised in the report. Notwithstanding additional workload it may be possible to advance some of the recommendations on a “shadow basis” which would ensure progress continued.  It should be noted that, contrary to inference otherwise, the existing Trustees have powers to make decisions and allocate resources independently if required. In the interim, there would also be time for further consultation with affiliated societies and their members who are all going to be affected in differing ways.

Chris Mew, President 16th May

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