Most members of the NCMD will not be aware that over the last year or so a split has developed in the Executive Committee that runs the NCMD. There has been a significant difference of opinion on a number of points. Before moving on I will provide more details about the regions and their duties.
The NCMD was formed in July 1979, when two regional bodies came together. Further regions joined over the years and in total there are now eight regions: Anglian, Scottish, Yorkshire, North West, Midlands,Western, North East, Southern.
Besides the eight regions there is also what is known as the Central Register. This was originally for members of the NCMD who were not in a club but it now has more members than all eight regions added together. Detectorists on the Central Register might not have been members of a club when they joined the NCMD but are now in a club; they would therefore be eligible for membership of a region.
The officers of the NCMD are the President, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, General Secretary, Assistant General Secretary and Membership Secretary. The Executive Committee is made up of these officers and four delegates from each region. According to the NCMD constitution: “The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the overall management of National Council affairs.“
Executive Committee Meetings
Executive Committee meetings are held throughout the year and these are attended by delegates from the eight regions. Points are raised, discussed and if necessary voted on. When the regions were first formed each one had only one delegate. However, if for any reason a delegate didn’t attend a meeting that would mean that a region had no-one to represent it. Therefore, the number of delegates per meeting was raised to four. Besides ensuring representation at meetings, having more delegates meant that decisions were more democratic. Before Covid, these were normally face to face meetings.
The outbreak of Covid 19 put paid to many things, one of which was face to face meetings of the regional delegates of the NCMD. However, these were replaced by Zoom meetings. Gatherings of this type can provide a useful stopgap but are certainly not the same as when groups can meet face to face.
Four opposition regions
Four of the regions, Yorkshire (Syd Hallam), Western (David Rees), Midland (John Wells), Southern (Clive Sinclair), were unhappy with the way in which the NCMD seemed to be heading. They believe that decisions have been made that are outside the rules set down in the Constitution of the NCMD. Therefore, they asked for a face to face meeting to discuss these issues. An undertaking was made on 17 May 2021, that a face to face meeting of delegates from the regions would be held on 26 June. This was the day before the Annual General Meeting of the NCMD. Bookings were made at a hotel, at which assurances were given that social distancing was possible. However, the meeting never took place but the AGM still went ahead on 27 June.
One area that the four opposition regions are particularly concerned about is the finances of the NCMD. There are reports that the NCMD has cash deposits of between £300,000 – £500,000. The problem is, no one seems to know for certain. Members of the Executive Committee have asked several times to view the full NCMD accounts for the last five years. They have not been made available. Every member of the NCMD is entitled to see the accounts, let alone members of the Executive Committee.
Run as a business
They also fear that the NCMD could end up as a business run by directors, rather than a body run by experienced and dedicated volunteers.
Breaking News – Opposition region delegates expelled from NCMD Executive Committee
Last night, I was made aware of an Extraordinary Meeting of the NCMD which took place on 12 July 2021. At that meeting, it was decided that the majority of the Executive Committee will no longer recognise Brian Vaughan, David Rees, John Wells, Clive Sinclair, and Sydney Hallam as members of the Executive Committee. The meeting was arranged in haste, with the agenda only being circularised on 10 July 2021. It is not clear what the decision means in practice or whether such a course of action is possible within the constitution of the NCMD.
I hope to bring you an update on this breaking news in next Friday’s update.
Quite obviously, the worries and concerns of the four regions need to be addressed. There needs to be a much greater transparency in decision making and all the regions need to be consulted.
Over the years the NCMD has tried at all times to be united in its approach to protecting and promoting metal detecting. It has its roots in defending the hobby against STOP, an action group set up in 1979 by Surrey Archaeology Society, supported by the Council for British Archaeology. STOP’s intention was to get the hobby of metal detecting banned. As I have previously highlighted, with my articles about the IOD, these threats to the hobby have not gone away.
I consider it to be extremely sad that a situation has arisen that has caused so much upset and division within the Executive Committee of the NCMD. A united front is needed for the NCMD to continue to promote, protect and encourage the hobby of metal detecting.
A way forward for all the members must be found. If you can offer any suggestions then do send them in to this website. At the moment it seems this is the only publication where both sides can state their case.