Neoeap - minutes 9 feb 2009

9th February 2009, at The Bridge Inn, Wetherby In attendance: Dave Barham, Gary Laird (left at lunchtime), Ian Kirby, Jacqui Toase, Janice Wetherill, Andy Rangecroft, Dave Armstrong, Taff Bowles, Arron Cox, Ken Hutson, Dave Hepworth, Pete Flynn, Bill Haylock (left early), Dave Addison Apologies from: Adge Last, John Watson, Ken Round, Helen Plimmer, Dave Etheridge, Lyn Taylor, Dave Griffiths, Pippa Manson Dave Barham welcomed the group and introduced the preparation for National Conference.
Dave Armstrong is not sure how transparent the process is, difficult to know what other regions think, what is being taken on board by the writing group and what is being discarded. Would like someone from the writing group to explain where changes have been made, where those changes have come from and get some overall feedback. Other regional members also voiced similar concerns about the process.
Gary Laird asked whether the new Constitution must be voted on and agreed at this Conference.
Dave Armstrong provided feedback from the meeting attended by himself, Dave Barham and Adge Last. The North East region’s decision not to directly distribute the minutes of our interim meeting was respected and helped ensure that the focus remained on the main points, rather than being sidetracked by our regional meeting. The lowering of proposed fees are a direct result of our meeting. The proposal of “tiered membership” was abandoned, also as a direct result of our feedback to the group. Our suggestion to put this issue out to all regions for proper discussion was bolstered by the fact that the North East had already gone through the process.
Janice Weatherill expressed concern that other regions may not have had the depth of meeting that we have in the North East.
Arron Cox reported that a colleague had attended a meeting in another region, which produced quite different notes on issues such as fees etc.
Taff Bowles proposed that the online forum could be used for the purpose of discussing constitutional issues. However, it seems that many people have become disengaged from the electronic system. Pete Flynn suggested that an email be sent to all OEAP members directing people to look at the bulletin board and read through/comment on the constitutional issues being raised.
Pete Flynn questioned why the second draft of minutes from the Executive Meeting seemed to differ in from the initial draft. Some points seemed to have been missed out in the final version and there were no names of who attended the meeting.
Dave Armstrong clarified that the £10k from CFBT, for writing part of the Out & About pack, was deliberately accepted by Cambridgeshire LA, rather than the OEAP The money is being given back by Cambridgeshire, not the OEAP, so this issue won’t reflect badly on the Panel and damage its reputation.
Bill Haylock informed the group that Marcus Bailie is now involved in the process and has expressed his concern over the complexity of some of the guidance.
Dave Barham suggested that the terminology of “membership” is one of the key items for clarification within the Constitution and is a fundamental change.
Ken Hutson reminded the group that the new Constitution is actually very powerful. Once members sign up to this document, they are handing over power to the Executive. If members then don’t follow the OEAP line, even if this contradicts their own LA guidance, it is possible that a member could be “thrown out” of the OEAP. The group discussed the implications of this and the differences between individual membership and LA membership.
Dave Armstrong raised the issue of eligibility for membership to the OEAP. He would like to see everyone working in the field of outdoor learning to be welcome at meetings, whether they choose to remain a member of the OEAP or not.
Ken Hutson agreed that, once everyone has signed up to this new Constitution, there are implications for members who don’t comply with training “regulations” etc. Experience shows that once any constitution is in place, it is extremely difficult to get it changed in a significant way.
The following points were of particular concern: 3.3, 4.2, 4.4, 4.7, 4.13.3, 4.14, 4.15, 4.18.2, 5.7, 5.10, 5.11, 5.12, 7.3. It was decided to post these concerns on the bulletin board and encourage all members to contribute to the conversation.
ACTION: Dave Barham to contact the OEAP Secretary and request an email be sent to all members, directing them to look at the Constitution area of the bulletin board and asking for contributions.
The group discussed the programme, timings and invited guests. Still looking at the possibility of an evening speaker, Janice Weatherill has a contact who may be able to help.
It has been suggested, taking on board feedback from previous National Conferences, that “domestic” matters should be attended to at the start of Conference, prior to the arrival of guest speakers and other attendees.
Voting in of new Officers will depend on the voting in of the new Constitution.
Andy Rangecroft took on the role of organising documentation, packs and liaising with speakers.
Ian Kirby will run the ICT provision, and will bring a couple of laptops to Conference as backup.
David Etheridge will operate as Floor Manager and liaise with the the venue.
Ken Hutson raised the question of how the vote on constitutional changes, fees and election of officers should be conducted. It was suggested that a secret ballot would be less intimidating than the usual show of hands.
Taff Bowles suggested that a workshop about the OEAP’s electronic resources, the new training website and how to use the bulletin board, might be beneficial.
Dave Hepworth reported on a matter concerning a waiver document received from a company called “Front Line Combat”, who operate activities similar to paintballing but using laser rifles. Dave passed a copy of the waiver around - the general consensus was that similar documents have been issued from other providers to many LAs and all Legal Departments have advised not to sign.
Ian Kirby reported that Kirklees temporarily stopped all caving at Long Churn Caves, due to a number of high profile near misses in recent months. This decision was subsequently reviewed and overturned after consultation with Tom Redfern. Outdoor centres, including Ingleborough Hall, have since put in place specific instructions for their staff to check with a senior member of staff prior to undertaking any activity at Long Churn.
Dave Barham has told Steve Brown that someone needs to inform all trainers if HASPEV changes impact on EVC training and associated training materials.
There was some general concern amongst the group about Outdoor Learning cards and monitoring/systems related to OEAP training.
Dave Barham suggested a Group Leader “Train the Trainers” course be scheduled for early May and a further Outdoor Learning Cards course be put on before Easter.
Ian Kirby informed the group about Robinwood’s recent purchase of Dobroyd Castle, due to open 18th March. This new venue has extensive grounds but needs a lot of work to the accommodation buildings. Gary Laird and Ian Kirby are visiting the site again on 23rd February to see what progress has been made, as there are some concerns about whether Dobroyd will be open on schedule.
Ian Kirby also reported that the Learning Outside The Classroom “no risk assessments necessary” message is still going out from some quarters. All advised to keep an eye on this situation.
Independent Safeguarding Authority are concerned that Youth Services are employing people with criminal records, e.g. reformed addicts using their experience to help steer young people away from that lifestyle. It seems there will be a barring process, which will affect the eligibility of some of these people to work within Youth Services.
Taff Bowles informed the group about new charging guidance. A recent press release from Ed Balls, with research and statistics, shows that many schools are acting illegally and low-income families are paying unnecessarily. The group expressed concern that this might cause serious problems for some schools, with more affluent parents also refusing to pay. Already precedents for this in some LAs.
Dave Barham asked if anyone in the group has guidelines for the supervision of children getting changed, e.g. by a river or in at swimming pools. If so, please contact Dave.
Date of next meeting - Monday, 8th June 2009.


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