Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Convergence of UK conservation organizations

Convergence of UK conservation organizations

From: Nicholas Pickwoad <npickwoad>
Date: Friday, July 2, 2004
The posting from the Tina Marshall, Administrator of the IPC, in
response to the letter from Jane McAusland and co-signatories raises
a number of points that should be addressed,and I hope that as one
of the co-signatories, I might be allowed to set them out in the
forum of the DistList.

The letter was originally sent to the IPC Newsletter, and a question
was immediately raised over our reference to remarks made at the AGM
by the Treasurer Yvonne Khong. It turned out that her objections
resulted from a misreading of what we had actually written, but we
amended the language to make sure that our meaning was absolutely
clear. Subsequently another objection was raised about a reference
to future full-time officers of the new converged body, as one or
more 'third parties' felt that these referred to them personally. As
there was no such intention on our part, we offered to rephrase this
sentence, as we did in the text sent to Conservation DistList
Instance: 18:3 Thursday, June 24, 2004. No other specific complaints
were put to us.

It is said that our letter 'alleged malpractice by a past Committee
during the process of accreditation'. As any dispassionate reading
of our letter will show, we have said that in our view accreditation
has fallen short of what we believe it should have achieved. We also
said that there is a coercive element in accreditation (i.e. that if
you are not accredited, you may not be eligible for employment by
some public and heritage bodies), and this of course is implicit in
any system of accreditation. We further said that as continuing
accreditation depends on continuing membership of the IPC, this may
cast doubt on just how 'free' a vote for or against convergence
might be. This is not an allegation of malpractice, it is a question
about the working of accreditation.

As for the claim that the phrase "due to criticism of its content"
did not appear in the Executive Committee's letter of refusal, it
need only be said that the phrase was taken verbatim from an e-mail
of 24 May from the Secretary of the IPC to Jane McAusland in which
she explained why the letter was not going to be published in the
June Newsletter.

The IPC AGM did indeed give an opportunity from members to raise and
debate issues resulting from the convergence proposals. Some, though
not all, of this was recorded in the Notes of the Discussion. We,
the co-signatories, wrote our letter to express the doubts we have
over the process so that those doubts could be put before the wider
membership, beyond those who were able to attend the AGM. It was
intended to be part of the debate over the proposals.

We believe that the design of the Feedback Questionnaire prevented
its giving an accurate representation of the feelings of the
membership, and this we explained in the covering letter posted on
the last DistList. Our questions to this effect have not been
addressed in the posting from the Executive Committee. I am also
not sure what is implied by the use of the word 'regrettably' in
relation to seven of the signatories not having been able to attend
he AGM, but I would have hoped that publishing letters in the
Newsletter was one way of informing those those not present at such
meetings about the concerns of the membership.

The signatories are, of course, aware that further discussion is
taking place--as said above, our letter was intended to be part of
that further discussion. The Executive Committee has repeatedly
claimed that it is seeking active participation from the membership.
That is what we thought our letter represented, and surely for a
Business Plan to be relevant, it should take on board serious points
raised by members of the IPC?

The posting ends with a curious statement that the Executive
Committee is 'pleased to note that the signatories are no longer
'against' some sort of convergence 'per se', as if we had somehow
changed our approach. Any careful reading of the letter would show
that we have never been against convergence per se, but simply that
if convergence were to result in a diminished supply of what we
defined as the 'core activities' currently offered to the
membership, we would not then be able to support it. This is why
several of us have offered to read the draft proposals. This is no
more than a continuation of our interest in the survival of an IPC
that will retain the services that make it the organisation of which
we wish to remain members. The final statement that the IPC
'welcomes all informed debate and constructive suggestions from
every members [sic]' implies of course that they believe that the
co-signatories are neither informed nor constructive. We believe
that we are informed and are constructive in our desire to see that
the best of the IPC survives whatever may happen in the coming
years. If our views differ from those of the Executive Committee,
so be it. That is democracy in action, and finally, of course, it is
the members who will decide.

Finally, I in my turn greatly regret that we have been obliged to
step outside the IPC to make our views known. I have always felt
that the IPC belonged to its members and that we should be able to
express our views in the various fora that it offers. It has been
depressing to find we have been prevented from doing so.

Nicholas Pickwoad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:5
                   Distributed: Friday, July 2, 2004
                        Message Id: cdl-18-5-002
Received on Friday, 2 July, 2004

[Search all CoOL documents]