It is with sincere regret that we are writing another statement to you this week. It is the last thing we wanted to do but it seems that we have no choice.
The NCMD has changed a lot in the last year. It needed to, as the organisation had become outdated. As most organisations will tell you, change can be painful and with it can come difficulties. In any walk of life some individuals will relish it, others will feel uncomfortable but accept it is needed, whilst others will go out of their way to oppose it. That is the situation the NCMD has found itself find in.
To understand this better we need to remind you how the NCMD makes decisions.
We are governed by the Executive Committee. This is made up of up to 4 individuals from each of the 8 regions plus the central register (independent members and non-regional clubs). For simplicity we’ll call these 9 voting groups ‘regions’. Each of these regions gets 1 vote each at our official meetings. Only they can vote on any major expenditure, constitutional changes, and other important subjects such as policy decisions. To make it clear, officer roles (those who do the day-to-day administrative work) have no voting powers in their own rights, although many of the officers do also have a regional representative role too.
Executive Committee decisions are made by a simple majority vote. The Executive Officers then go ahead and implement the wishes of the majority.
It’s a democracy, it’s that simple.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
As we are sure most of you are aware, the NCMD Executive Committee took the decision that it could no longer work with 5 individuals from 4 of the NCMD regions any longer. Trust had irrevocably broken down and the relationship wasn’t healthy for the organisation. We might have been able to carry on but then two very specific incidents took place which were so serious that an Emergency General Meeting was called to decide if action should be taken. As a result of this meeting, Syd Hallam (Yorkshire region), David Rees (Western region), Brian Vaughn (Western region), John Wells (Midlands region), Clive Sinclair (Southern region) were informed that the Executive Committee would no longer recognise them as delegates for the regions they are part of.
It is important to note that NO-ONE WAS EXPELLED FROM THE NCMD.
The 4 regions that these 5 individuals represented are however not being ignored They will be asked to put forward other individuals to sit on the Executive Committee to represent their members’ interests and vote in the usual way. The democratic process of the NCMD remains unchanged and intact.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
The onset of Covid 19 disrupted all the National meetings and so the Officers switched, like the rest of the world to Zoom meetings. The representatives from four regions – Midlands, Southern, Western, and Yorkshire – refused to attend every NCMD zoom meeting that took place since the onset of Covid. Meetings were postponed and re-arranged to try to accommodate those four regions and although a scheduled virtual Ordinary General Meeting went ahead in February 2021 no delegates from the four regions – Midlands, Southern, Western, and Yorkshire participated.
However, to try to accommodate the wishes of all the Executive committee, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) was postponed to the 27th June when it was expected we could meet face-to-face. Sadly, the anticipated Government relaxation of rules around larger groups meeting indoors was postponed, so a zoom AGM was arranged instead for the same day. Note: the constitution demands that the AGM must take place by 30th June each year.
The majority of the regions were in favour of the Zoom meeting going ahead but the five named individuals refused to attend, ordering the Officers to cancel the meeting. Being governed by our constitution and not by regional delegates, the AGM went ahead as required.
Even though the four regions did not attend either the OGM or the AGM they could have put forward a vote in advance (called a proxy vote), but chose not to.
Let us now turn to the claims now being made by some of these individuals:
Seeing NCMD accounts – The claim that members of the executive have not seen the accounts for the last years five years is false. In fact, we find it somewhat bizarre as they, in particular the named individuals have not only been sent those accounts, they or their other regional representatives (with the exception of Clive Sinclair and the Southern Region who have not attended an NCMD meeting for a number of years) have approved them at AGM’s year on year.
However, we do agree with the charge that more transparency is needed. It is something we had already discussed at the AGM in June 2021, where it was decided to publish our yearly accounts on our website from now on. The 2020/21 accounts will be posted in the news section of our website next week.
Our reserves – The NCMD currently has total assets of just over £330,000. This ‘fighting fund’ has built up over the last 40 years with the full knowledge and consent of four of the five named individuals. It sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? But it isn’t when you realise that lawyers cost £350 + an hour and barristers £500+ an hour. Yes, you read that right – these are charges per hour! If we need to fight any proposed legislation this fund will be swallowed up very quickly. The Executive Committee agreed at our last AGM (June 2021) that this money should be ring fenced at this time. This will be reviewed at the AGM each year.
Online banking – The NCMD Exec. Committee unanimously agreed to the Treasurer’s recommendation that we move to online banking at an Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) in February 2020. This allowed greater oversight of our finances and access to live banking activity, as a number of observers could now see all our bank accounts 24/7, minimising risks of irregularities going unnoticed.
These 5 individuals objected to this 9 months later.
Audit – In January this year, the NCMD Officers proposed a full audit of NCMD accounts to check our accounts and to get expert advice on actions we should be doing to protect your money for the future.
The 5 individuals blocked this.
Expenditure – A claim has been made that we spent money without authorisation on the 5 videos we produced. In reality the budget for these was proposed and agreed by the Executive Committee in August 2020. A competitive tender process was overseen by two officers and the decision to appoint an agency was agreed by all the officers once the proposals had been viewed by them all. None of the agencies approached had any connection with any Officer (or their families or friends) prior to being asked to tender for this work. The expenditure and process used was presented and discussed at an OGM in February 2021. The 5 individuals refused to attend this meeting, thereby disallowing their regional membership the right to representation.
We answered this one last week with a clear and unequivocal statement from our insurers that members are insured at commercial rallies, club or charity digs, etc. Despite this one of the regional delegates discussed above still insists he has a document to prove the contrary. We honestly have no idea why he is doing this but it does clearly point to the source of the original very damaging rumours. We can only re-iterate that you are insured for any legal detecting activity.
THE NCMD WILL NEVER BE RUN AS A BUSINESS
This is barely worth a comment, absolute scaremongering at its worst. We have already said earlier this week that this will never happen but we’ll repeat it again – the NCMD has no plans to run the organisation as a business now or at any time in the future.
To help clear the air and assure you of our commitment to finding an amicable way forward, the Executive Officers and the 5 other regions would like to make it clear that they would welcome independent binding mediation if that was something the Yorkshire, Western, Midland and Southern regions would consider.
Please be assured that the NCMD will continue to be run in a democratic way. Our sincere hope is that all the regions choose to attend all future official meetings and that we can work together to allow the NCMD to continue to move forward and carry on improving what we do for our members and the wider detecting community.