Is the NCMD falling apart?

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.

Regions

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.

Central Register

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.

Executive Committee

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.

Covid 19

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.

NCMD Accounts

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Stuart
Stuart
6 days ago

Passing on a post….

Ladies and Gentlemen,
You will all of seen the post of the 17th by the NCMD in regard to the ongoing disagreements between four of the regions and certain officers on the Executive Committee.
For the good of our hobby The regions involved have attempted to avoid mud slinging on the public media platforms.
The considered response to this open letter from them was sent to the General Secretary to day and is reproduced below so that you are all aware of it.
Please feel free to copy to your friends and anyone else you feel should be informed.
Brian Vaughan
Secretary Western Region.
“Dear Kevin.
Following your post of an Open Letter on the NCMD website and associated Social Media accounts on the 17th July 2021 we note the following statement “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.”
In response the Yorkshire, Midlands, Western and Southern region’s Chairmen would welcome a face-to-face meeting with the Chairman of the NCMD, the Executive Officers and the other four Regions Chairmen or a representative of each, as per clause 12 of the Constitution, +1 (Scotland, North West, North East, Anglia and a properly elected member from the Central Register). Throughout our discussions we have insisted that meetings held to address the serious issues identified should be face-to-face rather than utilising electronic media, in fact our only “fault” is that we have not attended electronic meetings. The proposed meeting should be held under the chairmanship of an agreed independent arbitrator, preferably with a legal qualification, to achieve legally binding mediation between all parties. Can you please place this on your website and Facebook accounts so that the membership can see that we are trying to resolve the issue. This will ensure that the forward direction and control of our great organisation will once more be where it belongs, in accordance with the Constitution and within the full control of its members.
On behalf of:
Midland Region / Southern Region / Western Region / Yorkshire Region

David Rees
David Rees
8 days ago

Steve when I volunteered and took on the Heritage Watch training for members I kept to my word and informed you on progress.

Your email to me dated 28th May causes some concern. You told me (it is in writing) – Thanks for the update on the HWI which seems to continue to be a winding road, but as you say perseverance is the key. I hope it bears fruit in the future as promised. I have not been involved with the NCMD for over a year now so i am very much out of the loop with its activities so unsure who Kevin is, but i hope he is onside with the HWI. Regards Steve

You do not know what has been going on, but by all means you can come in out of the cold and sit at the table for a face-to-face meeting if you wish when that can be accomplished.

I really hope that is before certain people re-write the Constitution and ruin what was a fine membership organisation.

SteveC
SteveC
8 days ago
Reply to  David Rees

Good Morning David.

My situation has not changed and i did not stand for re-election as the co-opted PAAG representative at the 2020 AGM retiring from the NCMD for a number of specific reasons i am not going to detail here.At that point i also ceased to have any further interest in the HWI and that remains so.

The comments made in my private email to you were genuine and i cannot see why that would be of concern to anyone. I have experience of the workings of the NCMD, individual Officers and Delegate,s over a long period of time and so as a concerned member i have a right to make comment and challenge statements as well as “read between the lines” on what has been going on.

However the situation has moved on with the recent detailed statement from the NCMD clarifying the situation for all members to make their own minds up. I am entirely happy with its contents.

Bob Armstrong
Bob Armstrong
9 days ago

Steve C clearly condones the secret nature of not publishing accounts although the Rules of Governance issued by SARA of which the NCMD is a member, states that The board (NCMD Committee) must ensure that relevant information, like audited accounts and board policies, are published and made publicly available to members and other stakeholders, to allow for proper scrutiny of the board’s work. The board should have a structure in place to manage queries or questions related to these disclosures, allowing the organisation to be held to account and should also be prepared to deal with formal complaints and disputes from members. A commitment to accountability and transparency is key to ultimately promoting organisations in a positive and trustworthy light”.

Of course, as a past Chairman of the NCMD he would never have involved himself with anything so underhand. Would he?

Is it conceivable that the four regions may be trying to bring a sense of order and propriety back into the running of the NCMD?

These volunteers, whom he now denigrates and with whom he has supped and dined with over the years, are just trying to maintain the sort of order enjoyed by himself whilst he was in office. He is clearly unaware of the struggle that the regions have been involved over the lock down period just to get a face-to-face meeting with the rest of the executive.

Steve, more disclosures will soon follow to fill the void in your knowledge

SteveC
SteveC
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob Armstrong

It seems that you are one in on the act so to speak so i await your interpretations of the one sided narrative you have been party to with interest.

John Auld
John Auld
9 days ago

I am seriously concerned I have believed for some considerable time that the NCMD is being run on a shoestring To counter threats we need a professional PRO etc The Angling Trust got the absurd ban on angling during some of the lockdowns lifted very quickly How on earth can we expect to have insurance Digging Deep etc for just £8 The big worry is a split in the NCMD playing into the hands of the IOD etc

Steve Quinn
Steve Quinn
9 days ago

Sad state of affairs seems too me there trying too do away with regional groups of the NCMD & having just one national body.

SteveC
SteveC
9 days ago

There are two sides to every story and it is a bit sharp to condemn the NCMD before they have had chance to present their side of this story.

I wonder if Regional accounts are distributed to all members. I have been a member of a couple of Regions over the years and never saw or was offered sight on any accounts.

I can imagine that the NCMD accounts are adutied in an appropriate manner ,but publishing the details in either DD or with a widespread distribution is inviting their passing on to certain detractors and Trolls to misinterpret and abuse as they do.

Stephen Grey
Stephen Grey
9 days ago

The NCMD seem unfit for purpose these days and have been for some time. Not revealing annual accounts is behaviour unbecoming of any organisation. That one action tells you all you need to know about the NCMD. They are gone in all but name. Long may they continue to be outed as not fit for purpose.

JCM
JCM
9 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Grey

Except the accounts were revealed annually to all the regions and the committee. When people don`t have a hobby to create a “brand” from then you may realise how much the organisation did voluntarily. Now is not the time for them to fracture.

C.Askew
C.Askew
9 days ago
Reply to  JCM

I’m in total agreement With JCM I’ve been a member from the concept of the N.C.M.D. and have always seen the accounts, the problems can arise when some club delegates don’t report back to their members.
In reply to Tom Hall l can assure him that kev Gormon would be more than happy if Digging Deep never posted anything happening in the N.W.Region as all the clubs in our Region know exactly what has happened without having to read the magazine.It is the lack of members from other regions that don’t advise on what’s happening in their region,how’s about it Tom keep kev informed and it’ll be published
There’s two sides to every story like some say,l was Chairman at our club and after 25 years stood down but I’m pleased to say our club is still flourishing, Some people don’t like change, give our new rep’s time but instead of bellyaching support them or get up and involved yourself.

David Nagle
David Nagle
9 days ago

Were the NCMD asked for their side of the story? I’d be interested in hearing that too. From what I’ve seen and heard of some of the regional folk aren’t the easiest to get along with. The NCMD was stuck in the past – guessing some people liked it that way. They seem to be changing, laggards will fight that. As a member I like what I’m seeing right now with a more proactive approach.

SteveC
SteveC
9 days ago
Reply to  David Nagle

I agree and this attack seems to be a unilateral one from some awkward old hands with grievences to air, perceived slights to recount and axes to grind.

Nicholas Kaye
Nicholas Kaye
9 days ago

I think this is a transition period for the NCMD. Many members were calling for the NCMD to fight for detectorists during this pandemic/threat from IOD and lamenting the fact that they had no full-time workers to fight their corner. It can’t sit on its laurels and expect these threats to go away but it seems to be listening to members. There are groups and individuals attacking NCMD that may have ulterior motives, possibly financial.
We don’t know what goes on in meetings and if it has led to suspending members, we can expect the NCMD to explain what their motives were for this action.
We all have to understand that our hobby has changed since the formation of the NCMD in the 70’s and people are seeking to protect their living from the hobby.
Without the NCMD, I would have to rely on these people/groups with ulterior motives to provide the information on the hobby I love. That’s unacceptable.

JCM
JCM
9 days ago
Reply to  Nicholas Kaye

Correct. The structure was built on the union model at the time. As things changed and the NCMD didnt, the Central Register represented about 60%+ of the membership yet had no more voting power than a small region. It needs to change and a lot of the old guard wont like that.

SteveC
SteveC
9 days ago
Reply to  JCM

Agreed. The NCMD was established to counter threats to the hobby from local authorites wanting to ban them from land they administered ,but more importantly from a small vocal minority of old school archaeologists who saw the hobby as a threat to their cosy empire. Hence we had various attempts to introduce local and national bans and threats of legislation. At that time many good people came on board as unpaid volunteers to counter them.

Moving on some decades the old often Trade Union type model of desk bashing and shouting has become outdated. The NCMD has to modernise and i fear that the situation that is being alluded to in this article is an attempt by some to return to the old ways of long term post sitters very much entrenched in their ways and unable or unwilling to change.

These are my opinions of a concerned NCMD members of some 35 years.

Bob Armstrong
Bob Armstrong
10 days ago

I’ve been a member for years and repeatedly asked for copies of accounts only to be fobbed off. You get more information out of North Korea. Now it wants to be a business, That means they will have to publish accounts but I bet they wont.

JCM
JCM
9 days ago
Reply to  Bob Armstrong

The accounts were given out annually so the regions would have had sight of a copy.

Bob Armstrong
Bob Armstrong
9 days ago
Reply to  JCM

The accounts were never issued to the majority of the membership i.e independents and associates. They could have gone in Digging Deep.Its a secret society that insures people thats all.

SteveC
SteveC
9 days ago
Reply to  Bob Armstrong

In my time with the NCMD the Regions appointed Delegates that attended the NCMD AGM and were given a breakdown at that meeting of the annual accounts by the Treasurer. However the Regions only account for a small part of the NCMD membership simply because their members clubs usually have closed memberships and not everyone wants to be in a club or region for that matter.

Most detectorists join the NCMD for the insurance so they can attend the many pay to search and commercial rally events which now provide land to search for the many newcomers to the hobby. Hence their representation at NCMD meetings was done by an appointed officer. The individual members are by their nature not organised into a Region of any sort and so have never appointed Delegates from within their ranks.

Tom Hall
Tom Hall
10 days ago

Does anyone know why our beloved digging deep that we members pay for, the last two has become a propaganda document for the North West Region and Kevin Gorman, the new one we have all just had. Pages one and two Brian cross North west Region. pages four and five Jessica Millington North west Region. Pages six and seven, eight and nine Kevin Gorman North west Region. Pages ten and eleven Hilary Fagen, North West Region. We all expect better, we don’t want this propaganda put out by Kevin Gorman and the North West Region. Dose any one knows how he gets away with it.

JCM
JCM
9 days ago
Reply to  Tom Hall

Maybe it was a lack of contributions from other regions or other people?

Dave Sadler
Dave Sadler
10 days ago

Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the wider audience. I myself have multiple issues with the committee and was forced out of a position early last year. I therefore will no longer be a member again until certain individuals are removed from office.

I am but one person, but the communications between myself and the committee will be made public in the near future.