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11th Management Group Meeting

11th Management Group Meeting, 10th December 2020 (from notes by JEB)

Rev. Clive Thrower (CT) chaired the meeting, attended by Alison Barnett (AB), Jane Boden (JEB), Glen Fiddy (GF), Don Jones (DJ), Lynne Newton (LN), Sue Peach (SP), John Thorpe (JT), Neil Westman (NW) and Martin Whiteley (MW),

  1. CT welcomed everybody to the meeting, held via Zoom. There were no apologies for absence.
  2. The Minutes from the previous meeting held on 22nd October were circulated beforehand, taken as read and accepted.
  3. Matters arising
    a) Communication plan

MW felt that the Communications Workgroup had fulfilled their remit now that the Management Group had accepted their plan; now it needs to be implemented. JEB pointed out that currently emails to Tower Correspondents included Unattached members and members who had signed up to receive direct communications. The issue of how the plan was to be implemented was deferred to Item 4d.

b) Possible replacement for Yahoo Group

AB asked if we needed a Yahoo Group. GHRC use the Chesterfield Group and DJ had set up a Google Group for Chesterfield. AB stated that Facebook was stable and more people use it; NW stated that Facebook was not universally popular, but he uses Google Group. CT suggested keeping Facebook open, but it is not an ‘official’ DDA document. To be reviewed under Item 4d.

c) CCCBR information

Our website has a link to the CCCBR website with all the latest information.

d) Annual District Meetings 2021 (to be held by Zoom)

9th January – Chesterfield District at 3pm.

16th January – Peak District at 3pm.

23rd January – Central District (time not known)
th January – Southern at 4 pm.

e) Correspondence with Fred Pearson

DJ had replied to Mr Pearson on matters concerning the future of the DDA.

f) Zoom quiz

This was held on 28th November, hosted by JEB. All Districts had been represented and the quiz was enjoyed by all. Positive feedback had been received and JEB was thanked for arranging it.

g) Proposed clergy reduction
CT reported that reduction and reorganisation was inevitable. The extent to which this may translate to the closure of churches, increasing difficulty of access to towers, or even loss of rings, was not yet known. The Strategic Building Review had not yet been published. It was noted that Mackworth church (housing an unringable 3) had been destroyed by fire. JEB stated that the tower had not been affected, but there may be water damage to the bells. Her understanding is that the bells were unringable as there was insufficient room for them to swing full circle. Action: Ongoing and to be reviewed once the Strategic Building Review is made public.

h) Rope Bank

A description about the Rope Bank and an accompanying spreadsheet that lists available ropes needs to be put on the website and members need to be advised when the scheme is up and running. Action: DJ/NW/MW.

  1. Items for discussion

a) Insurance

LN reported that the quote for Public Liability Insurance for 2021 was £804.95 (£777.62 in 2020). Luke Heaton had received the insurance renewal reminder and was waiting for a second quote. The Management Group had been asked at the October meeting to determine whether it was necessary for the Association to arrange its own insurance as churches provide cover for ringers. The problem is that it is very difficult to know precisely what cover is provided by each and every church. DJ stated that he had experience at a Grade I Church with Ecclesiastical Insurance; MW noted that about 20% of Associations have dropped their Personal Accident and/or Public Liability Insurance on the grounds that it was either too expensive or provided freely by the church. SP felt that our annual subscription comfortably covered the insurance premiums and the cover seemed to be good value. The Management Group voted in favour of continuing with our existing insurance cover.

b) Observers to the Management Meeting
JEB had a received an email from a member asking to attend the Management Meeting as an observer; she had replied that we didn’t invite ‘visitors’ but the matter would be discussed more fully at this meeting. JEB then received a reply from the member, saying that he did not consider himself a visitor. She admitted outside the meeting that ‘observer’ would have been a better word to have used. It was felt that the Management Group is not a public forum, but publicises their deliberations on the website (unlike its predecessor the General Committee), the Trustees act as observers and the Management Group periodically invites other Officers or members to contribute to their meetings as necessary. It was also pointed out that normally the Management Group meets in each other’s homes, although Zoom is being used currently. Action: JEB to respond and clarify the situation.

c) Responses to Paul Jopp’s letter of 24/10 re. the October meeting

An acknowledgement of Paul’s letter had been sent by DJ on 26/10 and now the matter was being discussed more fully by the Management Group. Paul had suggested that if there were more than one candidate for an Officer role, then each candidate should be allowed to make a brief statement as to why they wished to be considered. He also noted that personal attacks were inappropriate, but acknowledged that an apology had been issued subsequently. The Management Group had some sympathy with his views but noted that chairing a meeting via Zoom is far from straight forward. Action: DJ to respond to Paul on behalf of the Management Group (done on 16/11).

d) Succession to Web Master
DJ stated that he had been in discussion with Andrew Hall (current Web Master). Andrew was undecided about his future in this role, but could stand down if a suitable candidate was found. DJ had also spoken to Richard Barnett who was qualified to carry out the role. DJ would approach Andrew again about handing over the job. It was pointed out that as this was a technical job, perhaps the appointment should be made by the Management Group, rather as the Bell Consultants and Safeguarding Officer are appointed.

e) Job descriptions

JEB stated that she had looked on our web pages and noted that role descriptions were missing for the following posts: President, Vice President, CC Representative, Peal Secretary, Education Committee Chairman, Education Committee Secretary, Bell Repair Fund Secretary, Bell Repair Fund Treasurer, Bell Consultants, Public Relations Officer, Web Master and Safeguarding Officer. We need to decide whether it is useful and necessary for the Management Group and the membership to have these roles defined. Action: To take forward to next meeting.

f) Liaising with PCCs

CT raised this as he sends out copies of the Annual Report to PCCs who have subscribed to the BRF in the preceding year. MW noted that we print sufficient reports to allow this to happen, but CT might want to send out additional reports to those PCCs who do not currently subscribe to the BRF in an attempt to encourage them to do so. It was decided that CT would send an Annual Report to towers with no members, but for those towers with current members a letter describing the activities of the BRF would suffice. Action: CT to determine the number of Annual Reports required for PCC liaison in 2021.

g) Trustees’ proposal for Trustee appointment

To be adjourned to our next meeting for a decision, but each member of the Management Group was reminded about the proposal by email after the meeting and a discussion has begun.

h) Proxy voting

JEB had investigated this extensively and found no other Guilds or Associations that provide this facility. Proxy voting happens frequently in corporate environments, but these generally have paid officials, fixed voting options and no changes are permitted. In the DDA, where more than one candidate might stand for election with no advance notice, this would be very difficult to administer. The Management Group cannot support proxy voting at this time, but would review it again in the future.

  1. Any other business

NW enquired if we are going to produce merchandise to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the DDA next year. He had commissioned two mugs with the DDA logo on and thought that the cost for 50 mugs would be about £6 each. Action: NW to investigate production, postage and packing costs.

CT stated that our safeguarding advice would need to be reviewed with guidance given – for private rings and handbells in private houses.

  1. Date of next meeting

Scheduled for January 2021; DJ to confirm date via Doodle Poll.