Here is a list of all the postings Keith Lomax has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.
|Thread: BMFA Country Members|
.. and unless the vote at Council was unanimous, it was only your honesty that informed your area that you had voted otherwise than as instructed because the minutes only record the numbers.
I agree, and that was one of the compelling arguments against changing the voting to individual members - if AGM and EGM votes were on this basis then we would need to hire an arena to accommodate the potential attendees, or most would be voting by proxy, neither situation is any better than the current position.
No, the votes are only tallied for the number of votes carried, we do not record the individual votes cast.
In my case, as well as my own, I was also carrying five proxies. Three of them voted one way and two the other. I did queue up on both sides and cast the votes as I had been asked to do, but there would have been no way for those clubs to know if I had done so. It was down to my integrity and conscience.
In relation to your 51/49 divide of opinion, have you considered the third option - "don't know or care". I suspect that in most clubs this will be the majority in a split along the lines of 11/10/79 (or even 1-0-99?) for most subjects.
|Thread: LMA v BMFA insurance|
Going back about 20 years, the house policy that I had at the time included cover. When I looked into it the liability was £20k. At the time the BMFA cover was, I think, £2m.
Just to give you all an update regarding the filing of the accounts at Companies House (CH).
They were sent by post in December, but not loaded by CH to their website. A second set was sent last week together with the proof of postage for the first set, which has been accepted by CH and is now uploaded - with no penalty charge.
I was told that, unfortunately, they do not accept a scanned PDF electronically - if you wish to upload electronically you apparently have to retype the accounts into their form, which is not a practical solution.
Yes, that is right, Fellows (of whom there are around 30 still alive) get 5 votes on a card vote at a general meeting (EGM or AGM). Other "officials" only get a vote at these meetings only if they are also representing a club, so may have no vote at all.
Prior to OMOV being implemented for the annual elections, Fellows also used to get 5 votes in those.
The rationale behind this is that the constitutional membership of the SMAE Ltd is the clubs and fellows. As a club needs a minimum of five members to affiliate, and clubs get one vote for each affiliated member, this gives a fellow the same voting power as the smallest clubs.
In practice, this has minimal effect because card votes are very rare, and then even if all fellows participate in the vote and all vote the same way, they still only have the same voting strength as a large club.
In other circumstances:
- at Area meetings, votes are only cast by clubs (one vote per club irrespective of size) and fellow get no vote unless they are representing a club (and even Area officers only get a vote if representing a club).
- at BMFA council meetings, it is one vote per member of that council, irrespective of whether or not a fellow. However all members of Full Council must be either a fellow or a member of a club
- at Technical Committee meetings it is one vote per member of that committee.
I joined in 1988 or '89 and membership included insurance then.
The chairman at the time had been in post for around ten years when I took up my first post on Council in '90 or '91.
She told me that the decision to widen the insurance to include club cover and to make SMAE membership compulsory was a decision that she had led - which would suggest very early '80's. At the time, the SMAE was struggling. A lot of clubs had the minimum five affiliated members and many "non-affiliated" members, so the few who paid the membership fee were propping up the rest. At the time, subscriptions were reduced from (I think) £12 to £5. There was a lot of scepticism, many people thought it would be the end, but membership numbers increased massively to more than cover the drop.
SMAE Ltd adopted the trading name British Model Flying Association in 1989.
Edited By Keith Lomax on 11/01/2017 16:07:30
Many thanks for this, and I apologise for my error, I was misinformed. I tried to edit that out of my post, but do not have an edit button (perhaps the forum software locks it after a period of time, because I can edit this one).
Edited By Keith Lomax on 11/01/2017 09:56:52
|Thread: BMFA Country Members|
Considering that the AGM is held near Coventry - pretty close to the geographical centre of the area of representation (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), and that we usually have representation from Kent, Devon, Lancashire, Durham, South Wales, and Belfast, and virtually everywhere in between, I would say that nobody is too far away to vote. We also allow proxies.
There has also been criticism in this thread of the status apparently afforded to "Fellows". These are individuals who have been recognised by the AGM for considerable service to the SMAE. I think there are currently around 30-35 still alive, of whom around half still play some involvement in the running of the Society. Around Eight are currently members of Council (including three out of nine members of the Executive). The rest are stalwarts of Area and/or Technical committees.
These individuals are entitled to five votes, but only in the event of a card vote at a General Meeting (which are rare; I can remember three such in all of my years of involvement). Even if all Fellows are present (or have sent proxies), and all vote the same way, then collectively they have the same voting strength as one large club.
FYI - the card votes that I can remember are the EGM in 2015; one time around 2012 when there was a proposal from the floor for a larger increase in subscriptions than I had proposed; and one in the mid 1990's that was a vote of no confidence in the elected officers of the day.
To address the issue of Country members and voting ...
If you look at the AGM minutes of an association such as the National Trust, who I believe have around 100,000 individual members and no comparable club structure, the majority of the votes cast are done in advance via proxy, which completely invalidates any discussions at the meeting. Total votes cast is in the region of 20%. You could conclude that most members don't care about the running of the organisation, they join to get access to visit the numerous properties. Not dissimilar to why many of our members join.
Even for a decision as significant as the National Centre, where clubs were consulted and lobbied to either attend or send proxies, total turnout was only about 20% of those entitled.
At a typical SMAE AGM we have 100 to 150 clubs represented. Of those, I suspect that they fall into three categories:
- those where the delegate has consulted his club members and discussed the upcoming proposals to garner their opinions
- those where the delegate has consulted his club committee and discussed the upcoming proposals to garner their opinions
- those where the delegate has consulted nobody and votes as he sees fit
I have no statistics available, but my guess is that the latter is probably the majority. When I was a club delegate and tried to involve them, my club used to say "you know about the BMFA, you decide".
The accounts were approved at the AGM in November. The late filing could be because the Company Secretary unfortunately passed away in December, however I understood from the CEO that it had been done - could be a backlog in processing at Companies House.
With regard to the audit, there are effectively two sets of accounts for legitimate reasons. The Statutory Accounts as filed on Companies House website are "truncated accounts" filed under the Small Companies Exemption regulations (under £5m turnover), which don't require an auditor but do include the auditor's comment as an "Independent Accountant". The more detailed accounts are contained in a "supplementary document" that is normally available from the AGM page on the BMFA website - however due to an error the accounts to 2015 were posted, and I have asked the webmaster to correct. The correct versions, however, were sent to the clubs before the AGM.
The Auditor who is appointed is a properly qualified and registered accountant (*). He reviews both the statutory accounts and supplementary document in detail each year in exactly the same way that he would if we were a larger company with a statory requirement to audit. Due to the diligence of our Accounts Manager, and oversight by the Council, the auditor has been satisfied with the documents as prepared, and it is several years since he has identified any discrepancies (which were down to minor recording errors, not fraud or control issues).
The accounts are also audited periodically by HMRC, which due to the nature of our activities is much more thorough than would be for a traditional business with comparable turnover. Again, they are always satisfied.
On top of that, whilst I am not a qualified accountant, I am an internal auditor with twenty seven years experience spread across four companies (currently employed by a multi-billion turnover financial leasing company), and I review the SMAE accounts before they reach the auditor.
(*) this is not the place to discuss the subtle differences, but there is a huge overlap between "accountants" and "auditors", such that for most purposes the terms are interchangeable. Most independent accountants are auditors and most auditors are accountants.
|Thread: LMA v BMFA insurance|
This is wrong on so many levels.
The accounts (which ARE AUDITED), show the different things on which BMFA spends the money received from membership subscriptions. In various ways these activities support either all or different disciplines of model flying. It is not a tax on insurance. As Andy mentioned above, a lot of it is spent supporting clubs and fliers in relation to flying field issues. What about the staff required to administer the membership of 35,000? A lot of it is spent liaising with authorities (CAA, National Trust, MoD, EASA) to ensure the continued freedom to fly.
There are no "identical" policies available from elsewhere. Both the LMA and The SAA have similar insurance, but neither include the club committee and landlord cover that is inherent in the BMFA insurance. They also have different personal accident policies.
I can't speak for other aspects of the LMA and SAA policies as I don't have sight of them, but do they include worldwide geographical coverage? Do they include Crown Indemnity (required if you fly on a MoD site)? Do they have an excess payment on liability claims, and if so how much? Do they include member-to-member cover (if you damage another member's car with your aircraft)?
On another point posted above, Country members have never had a vote at the AGM (or EGMs if called). It is only in the last 15 years or so that CM's have even had the opportunity to vote in BMFA elections (but that depends on having enough volunteers required to contest the posts, all of which are re-elected every two years).
The accounts are available for all to see.
Try here ...
Click on "Accounts - Supplementary" in the search box at the bottom. This is actually the previous year's accounts, and I have asked the webmaster to upload the correct document so it should be fixed soon. However the amounts don't change much. Total insurances (in the Appendix 1B Membership costs) amount to about £11 per member.
Or you could look at the budget for 2017-18 which is the same thing looking forward.
The rest doesn't go "into BMFA coffers" - it is used to cover all aspects of supporting Model flying in the UK (including recently lobbying the EU on behalf of all model fliers in Europe in conjunction with some of our peer organisations abroad).
Although the insurances are provided by the same broker and underwriter, they are not the same policy. The BMFA insurance includes the club committee indemnity (as mentioned above) but also landlord indemnity. The club equipment policy is a recent addition. The club cover recently covered an expensive legal battle in support of a club with a "nasty neighbour" problem.
|Thread: France to implement onerous new drone laws|
The annual club affiliation form allows clubs to declare as many sites as they wish. However, under current processes this is not considered to be a "register". Clubs also have the option to opt out of inclusion in the clubfinder (for example, closed membership or restricted for other reasons).
|Thread: Household Insurance 'shocker'|
I haven't checked my current policy, but my previous one with More>Than included liability related to flying model aircraft but with a limit of only £25k per incident.
If you were using that as your cover and had the misfortune to cause somebody a spell in hospital or time of work, you could end up losing your house.
And not just aircraft ....
|Thread: Who remembers these ?|
If you live near enough to Leicester and have the time available during normal office hours (M-F), you can ask to spend some time in the BMFA Library/Archives. There is a full set of Aeromodeller from that era - actually Ron Moulton's copy which he bequeathed to the Society.
|Thread: B Test Fixed Wing Power|
And when I passed my driving test in 1984 in a 1 litre Austin Metro, it qualified me to drive a fast sports car, a 7.5 tonne truck (or with a trailer total weight 8.25 tonnes), a minibus with 15 passengers on board (but not all at the same time, of course).
|Thread: Examiners...Age Group|
No, it is not the same policy. It might be very similar, but some aspects of the BMFA policy are unique due to the fact that the BMFA pays out directly on all claims under a threshold without even passing these on to the insurer, thus enabling a much faster turn-round of these. BMFA is also the only one that provides committee and landlord cover, plus club equipment for no additional charge to all affiliated clubs.
Incidentally, how much do you think that you pay for your insurance through the BMFA?
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