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  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith Sept. 18, 2001, 8:50 p.m. (Message 27422)

    Re: RSCDS restructure AGM motion

    Hello, Malcolm,
    Thank you for the analysis. I was originally advocating distribution via
    Branch Secretaries, but gather there seems to be a significant minority who
    are very bad at issuing things to members, so I have to accept that an
    individual mailing is the consequence. Pace all those Secretaries who do a
    sterling job. One mitigating circumstance would be if the publication dates
    were co-ordinated, so that as with shareholder information, in the normal
    course of events one gets the Annual Report and all the AGM material in one
    mailing. There are several models for managing a dispersed electorate. My
    Trade Union had a committee which composited motions as appropriate, so it
    is entirely feasible to do away with the "preliminary and final agenda"
    scenario, for example.  I feel that it is an issue for the Management Board
    to get sorted.
    With respect to representation, I feel most strongly that if I am going to
    pay more I want to have my own two-pennyworth rather than through a branch
    rep. As we have pointed out, the Branches are autonomous in law, and it is
    valid for those who wish to support the work of the RSCDS directly, and to
    pay accordingly to have the say in what happens, and not have some branches
    "throwing their weight about" on a size basis. There is nothing in the
    proposed scheme to stop branches running fund-raising activities for the
    Society if they so wish.
    I can imagine that branches might for example put a 50p surcharge on a dance
    ticket, which would have the advantage of probably touching the pockets of
    non members as well.
    In this day and age for most of us, and I am on a pension now,  £25 is still
    a considerable sum of money, but in fact it is not much more than a good
    meal out with wine included these days. ( I am paying more than double that
    per term for a yoga class, for example.) I believe that there are many who
    have an emotional commitment to the ideals of the RSCDS and what it stands
    for and has stood for - look at all the pleasure, health and friendships it
    has inspired, and want to give it a kick-start in to the new millennium so
    that new generations can enjoy what we have  enjoyed, and still enjoy.
    I look forward to seeing you at Perth,
    Best wishes,
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Malcolm Brown" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 12:59 PM
    Subject: Re: RSCDS restructure AGM motion
    > Greetings Andrew
    > The trouble is that "the devil is in the detail".
    > When discussing this at the Exec we were faced with two "new" facts
    > 1) If we did nothing we were asked to support a motion that the annual
    > should be increased from the current level to £15 -
    > 2) If we went for a 2 tier system, no-one was prepared to put forward a
    > detailed financial model - what they were prepared to say was that the
    > lo-cost membership, (membership of the local association, receiving just a
    > membership card) would be at least £4 or £5 plus the local association
    > fee. - The high cost version (your HQ members) appeared to be anywhere in
    > the £15 to £25 region, and would continue to receive a book and a
    > At the moment the printing cost of the books and bulletins works out at
    > about 50p each, and the postage a similar amount (at least it did
    > to some minutes a couple of years ago) - so currently members receive
    > £2 of value for £8.50 of subscription, which I think is a pretty good deal
    > for the Society. Of course receiving £4 for nothing more than a piece of
    > cardboard is a better deal, but I personally feel there is something
    > unethical about it.  We have tried to find out from our members what
    > application forms they wish to receive (Day School, Weekend School 1,
    > Weekend School 2, Step School), but find that this is almost impossible to
    > work properly - people are unable to tick the correct box, and forget to
    > return forms. So if the local association was to try to obtain books and
    > bulletins for those of its members who wanted them, they would get the
    > numbers very wrong. But of course the Society would still be producing
    > and the print runs would be smaller, so the cost per item would almost
    > certainly rise. Those who were members of HQ would expect to receive their
    > books directly, with an increased associated cost - it must be cheaper to
    > send a box of 100 items to one address rather than 100 individual items to
    > 100 different addresses. It would appear to me that the solution you are
    > currently proposing would actually cost more, which in a cost saving
    > exercise is ridiculous. Being able to buy books from the Society at a
    > favourable member rate (? £2.50) does little to compensate for what they
    > about to lose.
    > I'm sorry, but cost saving can be achieved in several ways which have
    > nothing to do with changing the conditions of membership.
    > 1) We can do those things which cost money more slowly, i.e. defer some of
    > the spending
    > 2) We can change the management structure into a regionalised system, with
    > central management group of much reduced size.
    > (regionalised meetings of smaller numbers / (Overseas reps as now, but
    > attending whichever local meeting was convenient) - central reps to
    > represent a group of local associations, each central representative also
    > being equivalent to circa 1,000 members)
    > 3) We can work to budgets, not giving people the ability to overspend at
    > will and then report back to people when it is too late.
    > 4) We can appoint project managers, with defined terms of reference,
    > timescales, and fixed budgets, together with a regular reporting
    > The other thing we can do is find ways of increasing our income from
    > non-members of the Society - with the current LA /branch structure and
    > organisation, most of the fund raising activities of Society members
    > contributes funds to the LA / branches not the Society (Day Schools,
    > Displays, Shows etc).  There are many activities which through some sort
    > central organisation could be organised and raise money - the public will
    > pay to see SCD, especially if it part of a show. We have musicians and
    > singers etc.  We have skilled teachers and M.C.s who can organise
    > We could even organise "Team Building" / "Listening Skills" / "Leadership
    > Training" courses if we put our minds to it, and get businesses to give us
    > money in return. If these were organised by "the Society", then the profit
    > could go into central funds.
    > Why do I object to paying more for what I get? Because I think I already
    > out enough, - for classes, club, Day Schools, Weekend Schools, Summer
    > School. Why do I object to the proposal for others to pay more - because I
    > think the risk of destroying the Society by such a move is significant.
    > do I object to the proposal for others to pay less and receive nothing?
    > Because I am convinced that it also risks the destruction of the Society.
    > The Society can afford to lose money for many years, as it has significant
    > reserves - I do not believe it can survive a major loss of members.
    > Malcolm
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Andrew Smith" <xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxx.xx.xx>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 6:09 PM
    > Subject: RSCDS restructure AGM motion
    > > Anselm has kindly agreed to my using the good services of the Strathspey
    > > server to advertise the motion which Bristol Branch is putting before
    > > AGM of the Society in November. I hope this is not too long.
    > >
    > > Bristol Branch/Local Association proposes to amend its original motion
    > > the following:
    > >
    > > "That Bristol Branch of the RSCDS proposes that this AGM approves the
    > > amendments (attached below) to the Draft Revised Constitution and Rules
    > > the Society (already circulated) as will enable implementation of the
    > > following principles concerning the Management and Membership of the
    > > Society:
    > >
    > > 1 That the present management structure of the RSCDS is replaced by a
    > > Management Board and other Committees as described in the report of the
    > > General Purposes Committee presented to the Executive Council on 12 May
    > > 2001.
    > >
    > > 2  That membership of the Society may be as a Member at HQ and/or of a
    > > Branch/Local Association.
    > >
    > > 3 (a) That every fully paid up Member of the RSCDS at HQ shall have the
    > > right to vote at General Meetings, and to elect such Members to the
    > > Management Board and Standing Committees of the Society at HQ;
    > > (b) That a Branch Convention be convened annually to provide a forum for
    > > Branch members to discuss issues affecting the Branches and put forward
    > > proposals to the Management Board of the Society at HQ.
    > >
    > > 4  That all Members of the Society at HQ should pay their subscriptions
    > > direct to HQ, and all Branches/Local Associations should make an annual
    > > donation to HQ proportionate to the numbers of Branch/Local Association
    > > members which they have (exclusive of Members at HQ), the annual
    > > subscription and donation amounts to be set by the Society at HQ AGM.
    > >
    > >
    > > The philosophy which underlies our approach is to ensure that all
    > > people who wish to be regarded as subscribing members of the RSCDS may
    > > so, making payment for membership in accordance with their level of
    > interest
    > > and/or means. The main issue is that all members will be eligible to
    > > for places at the Schools and purchase Society publications, recordings,
    > > accessories etc at members' discount without distinction, as they all
    > > support the Society. The principal difference will be that rights to
    > > for and participate in the management of the Society will only attach to
    > > those subscribing as Members of the Society at HQ. Such Members may, in
    > > addition, choose to be members of a Branch as well as HQ Members.
    > >
    > > There is some concern that Branches will feel the loss of their Branch
    > > Representatives, resulting in a lessening in the relationship between
    > > Branches and HQ. The reality of the structure now is such that the
    > Branches
    > > are legally separate bodies. In recognition of that independence it is
    > > proposed that there is no mandatory requirement for any member of a
    > > to also be a Member of the Society at HQ. In order to maintain the
    > > relationship between Branches and Society HQ it is proposed there will
    > a
    > > Branch Convention, which members of Branches may attend. Branch Members
    > may
    > > also attend the Society AGM as observers, and of course Branches could
    > raise
    > > issues of concern with the Society at any time, as licence holders.
    > >
    > > We are also looking for the original smaller Management Board with 6
    > elected
    > > members in addition to the Officers and Committee Convenors, rather than
    > the
    > > 18 currently proposed by the Exec.
    > >
    > > I have not appended the proposed constitutional changes to implement the
    > > above, which form part of the motion. Anselm has offered space on the
    > > site for a longer submission, if people are interested. I will do my
    > to
    > > answer any points, and would welcome your views, and some indication of,
    > > hopefully, support. Thank you for your patience.
    > > Andrew.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >

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