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Central Council Representatives

Central Council Report 2016

The 119th CC meeting held on 30th May at the Best Western Royal Beach Hotel, Portsmouth

The Association's representatives; Phil Bailey, George Bonham, Sue Marsden and Paul Seaman were in attendance. The total number of representatives was 169 (significantly lower than last year). The meeting started promptly at 9:30am. Early business saw the unanimous approval for the election of John Barnes as a Life Member for his outstanding contributions to the CC and his expertise in fund raising for numerous restorations and new rings throughout the world. The proposal for two additional members, Stella Bianco and Robert Cooles was then put to the meeting. Stella withdrew her nomination and Robert Cooles was elected unanimously.

There were eight motions in front of the Council, some administrative and others were potentially contentious. The President called for calm and reflective decision making.
  • Motion A was to wind up the Ringing Foundation Limited and passed. 
  • Motion B was designed to speed up council protocol by electing committees in advance and was passed unanimously. 
  • Motion C was again administrative and changed the terms of reference for Redundant Bells and passed. 
  • Motion D was withdrawn (Voting by proxy) to allow for more reflection. 
  • Motions E and F were presented by John Harrison (Oxford DG) in an effort to make the Council more relevant and appropriate for the 21st century as many ringers throughout the country question the validity and need of the Council for most activities. A working party is to be set up and report to the 2017 meeting. After some considerable time both motions were passed with slight amendments. 
  • Motions G and H were passed which allow more flexibility in method construction and how peals may conform to the rules of the Council. For example, there is no limit on the number of places an internal bell can make in a plain course, a relaxation on allowing partial extents in a peal of doubles, minor and triples (i.e. a peal of 5100 doubles will now be approved if it has 42 full extents and 60 changes), handbell peals of minimus will be allowed (however, if one ringer rings all 4 bells then an umpire must be present) and the naming of methods in lower stages require only a quarter peal for triples.
The reports of various committees were then discussed and accepted. Most of these were approved without contention, however, the Ringing Trends committee had lost its Chair and IT consultant mid way through the year due to criticism of their work in an open letter to the Ringing World from a prominent ringer. The entire committee felt quite aggrieved by this attack and resigned en mass. No delegate was prepared to stand on the committee as an act of solidarity and although the committee technically exists, has no members. 
Following lunch, the RW AGM was held (despite an effort to postpone since the requisite notice had not been given). Members present voted to go ahead with the AGM. The Board of Directors was more settled and all members stayed in post. The Ringing World chairman, Nigel Orchard, was pleased to announce that the RW had made a profit last year, primarily due to donations, and the need for raising the subscription rates and the compulsory charging of printing peals and quarters was deferred. The RW can stay in its present form until at least July 2017 and the Board are considering a different printing process which may be suitable for a low circulation of 2,600 copies. The Board are seriously considering a fortnightly publication as the recent survey seemed to find favour with this option. Again, a plea was made to increase circulation and members were encouraged to ask towers to take a copy for their ringers at their home Churches. 
The meeting closed at 5:30pm and the 120th meeting will be held in Edinburgh next year.
Paul S Seaman

Central Council Report 2015

The 118th CC meeting held on 25th May at the Mercure Hotel, Hull.

The Association's representatives; Phil Bailey, George Bonham, Sue Marsden and Paul Seaman were in attendance. The total number of representatives was 191. The meeting started promptly at 9:30am. Early business saw the election of Robert Lewis (Editor, RW) and Jane Wilkinson elected as Additional Members and Kate Flavell (immediate past President) elected as PR Officer.

There were two motions in front of the Council. Firstly, to widen the scope of the Biographies committee, which, after little discussion was approved. Secondly, changing future dates of meetings, following a proposal by the Admin committee from the traditional Bank Holiday Whitsun weekend to the first weekend in September, was narrowly defeated. It was felt that not enough detail was given to the membership to form an opinion and there were added complications regarding dates of school holidays, etc.

The Admin committee had also put forward a suggestion to alter the ways that committees are nominated at these meetings, which themselves take up valuable meeting time, and will be addressed during the next Admin committee. This was passed unanimously.

The reports of various committees were then accepted. This included the ‘under-fire’ Methods committee, which had come under scrutiny in recent months following the furore last year. The well publicised attack in the RW by Phil Earis and others, following the call from the Vice President to accept the status quo, came to nothing as the Methods Committee feel they need more time and expertise to provide a structure suitable for all. The meeting accepted this approach, due to the fact that last year, many felt that the information was too complex for most members to vote decisively.

In a unique approach, the meeting then adjourned to allow break-out sessions. All East Anglian reps (including Ely and CUG) were convened in an ante-room to discuss the future of ringing following Elva Ainsworth’s document on recruitment, training and retention. We were able to discuss openly the good and not-so-good aspects in and around our Associations. We thank Brian Hullah, Michael White, Jez Bottley, Jonathan Shanklin, Dianne Cernak and Laurice Suess for their contributions. The other Associations were intrigued and impressed by the Cambridge District’s Gipson Trophy as a method of bringing ringers together. The advent of the ITTS and RATS were well received and the Ridgman Trophy accepted as a focus for good ten bell striking. The point was made from Herts that many monthly meetings do not meet the demands of modern ringing practices and they were actively reviewing these to use this time more effectively. Essex had already revamped their monthly meetings to concentrate on training. We were encouraged to use web links from the surrounding Associations in an effort to bring better communication to the whole area rather than district levels. Generally, it was felt that top-down edicts would be fruitless in the long run and ringing in the future will require strong leadership in the tower at grass roots level to progress. Recruitment is not as problematic as retention.

Following lunch, the RW AGM was held and the perilous state of the RW regarding its finances was highlighted. In the present state of affairs, the RW could survive for a further 15 months before becoming insolvent. The mood of the meeting was that the RW should survive in its present format but the Board of Directors were actively researching charging for quarters and peals, looking to produce a fortnightly or monthly publication, higher subscription rates and looking for more volunteers to assist editing. The Board, which had suffered 4 resignations in the past 12 months, asked for the membership to restrain from issuing edicts at this stage to allow them to be pro-active in their decision making to ensure the future success of the journal. Any constructive comments to the Board would be gratefully accepted.
The meeting then reconvened to accept the remainder of committee reports. Very little discussion was made regarding these reports.
The meeting closed at 5:00pm and the 119th meeting will be held in Portsmouth next year.
Paul S Seaman