Oxford University Cave Club

AGM Hilary 2004 

Wednesday 18th February 2004

Minutes, etc.

"OUCC this term"

OUCC Home Page

Meeting started 9.35pm


Rosa Clements, Christian Fernau, Dave Legg, Paul Garver, Simon Goddard, Eleanor Packham, pod, John Pybus, Steve Roberts, Matthew Robinson.

Apologies for absence:

Sarah McCullogh

Matters Arising from the 2002 Hilary Term TGM

Past expedition funds: Transfer of the balance of Doyle's Expedition to the Special Projects Fund: the Treasurer will chase this up.

Relocation of Clubs' Committee: Simon Goddard and Matthew Balaam have submitted a detailed proposal for a gear store at Iffley Road and are awaiting a response.

Supplementary grant: The Treasurer told the meeting that the club has not applied for a supplementary grant this term.

Application for AC Irvine Fund Grant: the President will pursue this.

SRT training facilities: Steve told the meeting that circumstances have not changed since Michaelmas Term TGM. Oxford Brookes tell us that we can use their climbing wall for SRT practices, subject to the usual charge. There appears to be little enthusiasm for this. The Club is currently using New College gym and will continue to do so until we can obtain better facilities.

Public liability insurance: BCA insurance is available for £18 per person, per annum. For their first three consecutive caving weekends, novices will not have to pay (provided that novices do not constitute more than 10% of the clubs membership). According to John, it will cost between £700-800 pounds per annum to cover everyone. This is equivalent to a year's membership revenue. According to Steve, the University is considering providing the Club with insurance in order to avoid giving us more grants. Steve has explained to the Sports Federation the problems that the Club has with the BCA insurance scheme: that we have a lot of "country members'' who rarely cave and novices who only cave intermittently.

Prior to the meeting, Rob Garratt and Hilary Greaves raised the issue of insurance via email. Relevant extracts of these emails are reproduced below. According to Hilary, there are two major problems with the BCA's deal on public liability insurance:

I can see one solution (other than the whole club being uninsured), and I propose that we adopt it:  We rename our "country members'' "friends of OUCC'', don't list them on official member lists and don't pay insurance for them. That way they will not be liable in case of a claim against the club, the club can be fully insured at a far more reasonable cost, and only "active member'' subscriptions need be increased. I would hope that the club could find some way to prevent this from making any practical difference to what we do - i.e. "friends'' could still borrow club kit, come on President's Invite (which isn't a club trip anyway), vote at AGMs, send long boring emails prior to AGMs, edit Procs, etc.

Steve expressed scepticism regarding Hilary's suggestion and suggested that we need to take advice on the matter. John believed that the distinction between "friends of OUCC'' and "active members'' would not stand up. Further information will be reported when it becomes available.

Expedition insurance: Rob pointed out that "continuous cover'' for any time spent abroad "is likely to screw the ever growing base of OUCC experienced cavers who might want to return for an expedition in Spain, say'' and asked whether it would be "possible to get collective rescue insurance for an expedition, possibly taking into account its track record, to negotiate a sensible personally tailored policy (primarily to cover underground rescue and resulting emergency/medical expenses) and then let individuals take out additional insurance as they require.''

Hilary had a brief report on potential expedition insurers:

Don't get insurance with STA, because they are of the opinion that entering previously unexplored caves constitutes "unnecessary risk'' and hence invalidates cover for any caving accident.

Don't get insurance under the BCRA scheme - they will fund cave rescue only if there is a "recognised rescue service'' - unless you're going somewhere that has such a service. I'm not sure what the status of Spain is here. (Nick Williams, of BCRA, is going to raise this point with the insurance company on our behalf, so the verdict may improve over the next few months.)

Endsleigh appear to be better (and still quite cheap), but I have yet to get their position in writing. They may not cover underground rescue, but I think their medical cover will pay out for caving accidents.

Simon Brooks (of Ghar Parau) mentions two further possibilities - an expensive deal from Snowcard, and a cheap medical-only deal from "the German equivalent of the RAC''. I am in the process of investigating the latter.

More to follow. (Those interested can follow the Yunnan 2004 website.)

Anyone who wants to help us sort this out is very welcome. Basically I am trying to collect clear written statements from insurance companies on what they will and won't cover, before anyone buys any policies ... If anyone who wants to play gets in touch with me, we can split insurance companies, to avoid duplicating work.

OUCC expeditions may be better off, because they have access to the university's block travel insurance policy. However, it seems to be worth getting the University to commit in writing on such points as rescue, non-OU members etc. ... Ask Gavin for microdetails of all this - he's negotiated with them on behalf of Yunnan expeditions.

According to Paul Garver (Expedition Leader), University travel insurance will be used for expedition this year.

Proc 14: Hilary emailed a progress report: "John and I (and Steve) have been strenuously attempting to extract the existing Proc material from the previous editors. So far we have had zero success. However we still have hope, and we assure the club that the failure is not for lack of trying, and that we're still determined to make this Proc happen ASAP and will get on the case when wee have the material.

John told the meeting that since Hilary sent her email, some Proc material has been obtained electronically via Tim Guilford's old laptop. However, there are technical problems.

Officers' Reports


No Report .


No Report.


No Report


According to John Pybus the Club is not in too bad a state financially. Trips have been running ok and have not made great losses. However, some people are still owed quite a lot of money by the Club. Accounts will shortly be forwarded to the committee. No members currently have a long-term debt of over £100. Very few have a debt of over £50. The issue of signatories was raised. The current signatories are Paul Garver, Hilary Greaves, John Pybus, and Steve Roberts. Steve proposed that it should be a matter of policy that President, Meets Secretary, Gear Officer, Treasurer, and Chair are signatories as standard. It was agreed that a change to the code of conduct should be made. The availability of surplus funds to be spent on gear will be confirmed at the end of term.

Meets Sec.:

Sarah appeals for more meets organisers. Simon commended Sarah on her organisation of the Freshers' trips

Gear officer:

The action regarding lights that was resolved upon at the last meeting has not been carried out. This must be addressed. Tackle bags are still a problem. An over suit is missing. John suggested that gear be clearly labelled with a number and that a sign in/sign out system be established. Such a system would allow the gear officer to identify where and when things were lost. Steve suggested that people who lost gear should have to pay for it.

Assistant gear officer - According to Rosa the apprentice system has not worked very well. Rosa tried to organise a Christmas gear order but there was not much take up.

Safety Officer

No report

Expedition leader:

Not many people have committed to expedition as yet, but Paul is not concerned at this stage. Expedition now has a medical officer: Michael Hopley, who will be in Spain for approximately 4 weeks. The ropes are almost ready and an inventory must be done at some point. Grants have been applied for. There has been some response from grant providers but no commitment as yet. The University have agreed to support us as a University expedition. Apparently, the £600 that the University agreed to pay to the First Aid Unit on our behalf has not been received. Simon is currently chasing this up. The final balance of last year's expedition was £600. The trailer repair is still in hand and must be sorted out by last year's expedition. Final accounts will b e drawn up. Confirmation of the Land Rover is expected in the first few weeks of April. Lyon has received a preliminary report on last year's Expedition. Steve said that Expedition leaders should aim to produce the report before Christmas. It was suggested that the hydrology of the Picos should be addressed in the next Procs (Juan Jose can provide materials). This may have a positive effect on grant applications.

Election of officers:

The following appointments were made -

President - Steve Roberts
Treasurer - John Pybus
Secretary - Matthew Robinson
Gear Officer -pod (Chris Cooper)
Chair - Paul (a temporary appointment - the election of Chair was deferred until next TGM.)
Meets Secretary -Simon Goddard
Safety Officer - Chris Densham

Any other business:

  1. St. Cross is now charging £20 a night for use of the conference room, which is no trivial matter. It was suggested that members should seek a new venue and report back to the new Secretary (Matthew Robinson).
  2. Steve suggested that parties for Freshers' in Michaelmas Term might improve take up of the Club.

Meeting closed at 10.55pm.