Reply To: Scrapping Honorary Membership !

Forums General Discussion Scrapping Honorary Membership ! Reply To: Scrapping Honorary Membership !

David Arditti

The complexity of administration that Andy alludes to is very much the point here, and very much in the thinking of the Working Group that recommended this package of changes, and also in the considerations of the Trustees and Council, who have discussed this several times in the last year. The income aspect is quite significant, as this is around 10% of the membership that is paying no subs, but also what needs to be considered is paying for the staff time to administer a complex system. That’s primarily what we are trying to grapple with. Also very apparent, as Andy mentioned, is the lack of volunteers, that means paid staff must do ever more tasks to run the Association.

Some have asked that we honour 50 discontinuous years of membership rather than only 50 continuous years. I cannot imagine how that could possibly work. Membership data over the years has been held on several different systems, manual and computerised. The current on-line database only goes back a few years. People who have lapsed then rejoined probably have multiple membership numbers. Marrying this information up, where people change numbers, addresses and even names, to prove whether someone has or has not subscribed to the BAA discontinuously for 50 years, would be an administrative nightmare. Maintaining the system we have is bad enough!

Though I can see how people who expected to reach honorary status soon might feel a bit disappointed, I must say I struggle to understand some of the solutions that have been proposed here. ‘Honorary’ means unpaid, free. That’s what the word means, and what we are considering here: whether or not to continue to give free membership to those who achieve 50 years continuous membership. Abolishing the honorary membership does not mean not honouring those members who reach this milestone, whether it be by publishing their names in the Journal, congratulating them in a meeting, or giving them a certificate or a badge (though I’m not sure if the cocoa thing was a joke or not).

I hope plenty of people come to the SGM in January. Last January only between 30 and 40 people attended the meeting, as I recall, about half of those, Council members. Not all Council members attend the London meetings, as some are in remote corners of the UK, but they can still participate and vote in Council meetings by Zoom. However, ordinary members cannot vote in a meeting remotely, they have to be present. This raises the possibility in my mind that a vote in Council could be overturned in the SGM by a smaller and less representative selection of the membership than voted in Council. This would be very unsatisfactory. But if plenty of people turn up to the SGM, there is no such issue.

  • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by David Arditti.