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Non member view and thoughts about the Gauge O guild


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10 minutes ago, Fenman said:


 

 

It reminds me of when the Guardian sketch-writer stood for election as an MP (in the 1980s?). All candidates had to submit to the Returning Officer their official description for the ballot paper (eg, “Conservative and Unionist Party”). His description was “Tall and tanned and young and lovely”. Unfortunately the Returning Officer rejected it, because it was 7 words and you’re only allowed 6.
 

 

 

Typically poor Grauniad grammar. Two of those "ands" are superfluous.

 

One wonders which constituents he was expecting to vote for him.

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1 minute ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

People's view on the matter of expenses tends to be very variable. And it is not an easy matter.

 

In many voluntary organisations, directors/officers do waive the payment of expenses. That is all well and good for the affluent who can afford to pay their own costs. If it becomes a norm for the organisation, it can preclude some members from being on an even footing when it comes to putting themselves forward for election. That is not such a good thing.

 

I would suggest that in a national organisation, where travel costs can be a big factor, expenses should be paid. But every effort should be made in a voluntary organisation to minimise them and that should be made transparently clear to the membership.

 

One recognises too that some "benefits" may be appropriate to reward people who are giving freely of their time. One organisation that I was a committee member of had a pub meal paid for after meetings rather than people claiming for mileage. Is that so bad?

 

 

Yes, I absolutely agree that the expenses should be paid if not paying them would be a barrier to people participating and leading within a group. I was thinking more of somebody going to a show over a weekend, for example, and claiming expenses because they are there for “official” reasons, even though had they not been an official or been paid expenses they would have gone anyway.

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13 minutes ago, Fenman said:


I’ve managed elections in various bodies, and the usual rule is to set a word limit (and even to specify the software to count the words — so that acronyms, etc, are all treated in the same way). If someone sends a 275 word statement when the limit is 250, you just end the statement after the 250th word, even if that’s mid-sentence.

 

 

 

Naming no names, but I have seen that happen several times in the manifestos of some candidates for the main committee of a major national political party. People who can't count but think that they can run the country......

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39 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

Just had a look through the Mem & Arts as amended by an EGM last year (available via Companies House website). I find clause 10.4 quite extraordinary. Why would any membership organisation wish to conceal financial information and other documents from its membership? And why would members present at an AGM (or voting by proxy) vote for such a thing? What percentage of the membership voted for this? Turkeys and Xmas comes to mind.

 

I realise the G0G is a limited company and not a society so can treat its members in a different way (they're not shareholders)  but that has to be the biggest warning sign of possible financial impropriety in that you cannot see what is being done with funds. As you say who on earth voted for such a clause needs to think a bit harder about what they're voting for.

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3 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

And do they manage OK keeping a check on the expenses?

 

I haven't yet found the RMWeb threads deploring their extravagance. 

 

1 minute ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Typically poor Grauniad grammar. Two of those "ands" are superfluous.

 

One wonders which constituents he was expecting to vote for him.

 

Not Grauniad decipherers anyway... 

 

A ruse for the tabloid vote?

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1 minute ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Yes, I absolutely agree that the expenses should be paid if not paying them would be a barrier to people participating and leading within a group. I was thinking more of somebody going to a show over a weekend, for example, and claiming expenses because they are there for “official” reasons, even though had they not been an official or been paid expenses they would have gone anyway.

 

I agree - and I would not claim in those circs either. But many would and do.

 

In my student days, we had a Chairman of the Student Union who regularly created meetings in Paris so that he could get home for free at the weekend.

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4 minutes ago, chris p bacon said:

 

I realise the G0G is a limited company and not a society so can treat its members in a different way (they're not shareholders)  but that has to be the biggest warning sign of possible financial impropriety in that you cannot see what is being done with funds. As you say who on earth voted for such a clause needs to think a bit harder about what they're voting for.

 

Out of interest, what is generally the reason to convert from a society to a company limited by guarantee (I assume this is also what G0G is)? I remember the 009 Society also doing this a few years ago but can’t recall the specific reasons given, and outside of model railways a few other societies and charities seem to have done something similar.

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54 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

But, as a member of the Board, he has wider responsibilities

It's a she, and she does an excellent job that apparently brings a breath of fresh air and is recognised universally. 

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9 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Out of interest, what is generally the reason to convert from a society to a company limited by guarantee (I assume this is also what G0G is)? I remember the 009 Society also doing this a few years ago but can’t recall the specific reasons given, and outside of model railways a few other societies and charities seem to have done something similar.

  I took this from a web page.

 

'Limited by guarantee companies are most often formed by non-profit organisations such as sports clubs, workers' co-operatives and membership organisations, whose owners wish to have the benefit of limited financial liability.

 

A company limited by guarantee does not have any shares or shareholders (like the more common limited by shares structure) but is owned by guarantors who agree to pay a set amount of money towards company debts.

 

Furthermore, there will generally be no profits distributed to the guarantors as they will instead be re-invested to help promote the non-profit objectives of the company. If any profits are distributed to the owners, then the company will forfeit its right to apply for a charitable status.'

 

One assumes the set amount could be a nominal £1.00.

 

This would protect  the Gauge O Guild from being sued for millions by Jonny Depp, (others are available) if he stubbed his toe at a G0G event!

 

 

Edited by Happy Hippo
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29 minutes ago, Fenman said:

I’ve managed elections in various bodies, and the usual rule is to set a word limit (and even to specify the software to count the words — so that acronyms, etc, are all treated in the same way). If someone sends a 275 word statement when the limit is 250, you just end the statement after the 250th word, even if that’s mid-sentence.

Yes thats true. I think in this case from what I've heard, the copy was ended abruptly without that rule applying as others had longer statements. And some statements/CVs were put in a separate document from the others which were all in the Guild News. All a bit confusing and looks a bit of a mess as far as I can see.

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26 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Typically poor Grauniad grammar. Two of those "ands" are superfluous.

 

One wonders which constituents he was expecting to vote for him.

The Girl From Ipanema.

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21 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Out of interest, what is generally the reason to convert from a society to a company limited by guarantee (I assume this is also what G0G is)? I remember the 009 Society also doing this a few years ago but can’t recall the specific reasons given, and outside of model railways a few other societies and charities seem to have done something similar.

 

Most clubs and societies are Unincorporated Associations:

https://www.gov.uk/unincorporated-associations

https://www.netlawman.co.uk/ia/unincorporated-associations#:~:text=An unincorporated association is an organisation that arises when two,as are most voluntary organisations.

 

The key bit to remember with these is this is explained in the gov.uk page

 

Quote

Individual members are personally responsible for any debts and contractual obligations.

 

So becoming a Limited Company protects the individual members from losing their personal cash or houses if the annual show makes a massive loss. This is probably a good idea if you're running a large show. 

 

19 minutes ago, Happy Hippo said:

 This would protect  the Gauge O Guild from being sued for millions by Jonny Depp, (others are available) if he stubbed his toe at a G0G event!

 

Having been there (but not with Johnny Depp....) the legal costs of somebody injuring themselves and suing you should be covered by the public liability insurance. When my (unincorporated association) drama group got sued the insurers provided solicitors and so on, and had they won the insurers would have paid out instead of the group members. 

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35 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Out of interest, what is generally the reason to convert from a society to a company limited by guarantee (I assume this is also what G0G is)? I remember the 009 Society also doing this a few years ago but can’t recall the specific reasons given, and outside of model railways a few other societies and charities seem to have done something similar.

I've been a committee member of both types of organisation, albeit a few years ago. I agree with Happy Hippo about company limited by guarantee.

Generally if you are doing anything a company does (taking financial risks) then that is a better option. The down side is the overheads as far as approved accounts, companies house and probably having a larger turnover that will involve being VAT registered.  This all takes time and money to sort.

For a non-company model the risk is not limited.  The last organisation I was a committee member of had a chairperson who was wise enough to dispose of as many fixed assets as possible and to limit risks in anything that was organised.

It seems the GOG is run as a privately owned company but gives out the image of an open members society, the 2 are not the same.

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1 hour ago, chris p bacon said:

 

I realise the G0G is a limited company and not a society so can treat its members in a different way (they're not shareholders)  but that has to be the biggest warning sign of possible financial impropriety in that you cannot see what is being done with funds. As you say who on earth voted for such a clause needs to think a bit harder about what they're voting for.

 

It's a company limited by guarantee. No shares are issued (perhaps) but that does not mean that members are not shareholders/owners. Each has a financial commitment to contribute £10 in the event of liquidation during their membership or for one year thereafter. Legally, I think that entitles them to equivalent rights as shareholders.

 

I will go back to the textbooks to check. I should know having run more than one CLG in the past. I think that CIC is a better model but it came in after GOG was formed.

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1 hour ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

Out of interest, what is generally the reason to convert from a society to a company limited by guarantee (I assume this is also what G0G is)? I remember the 009 Society also doing this a few years ago but can’t recall the specific reasons given, and outside of model railways a few other societies and charities seem to have done something similar.

 

Simply to protect members in the event that it all goes t*ts up.

 

While you have a small club with limited activities, the risks are at a manageable level and not a big worry to anyone. Once you start running big exhibitions, producing kits, etc..., there is scope to run up some big debts - especially if you get sued. So members, especially committee members, want protection from being pursued for possible association debts.

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The thread appears to have wandered away from the question originally posed.  Not far, admittedly, but enough.

In an attempt to perhaps bring it back to where it was originally aimed I offer the following.

 

A handful or so of years ago I went to the GOG show at Kettering and from the moment I walked through the door it felt more like a trade show than a model railway exhibition. 

There were only three or four layouts, the biggest of which would only have been considered modest in size even had it been in 4mm scale.  Hardly any of those at whom the show was clearly aimed were in the least bit interested in any of the layouts, with the result that the operators spent most of the time I was there staring into space, clearly bored to tears, and only ran a single train that I saw.  None of the layouts were particularly good and I wondered if they had been invited solely because convention demanded that there be at least some layouts and they were small enough to fit within what little space the organisers were willing to assign them.

The trade, on the other hand, made up probably 90% of the show.  When I remarked upon the, to me, odd nature of the show to a trader he looked at me like I was a Martian and assured me it was perfectly normal for GOG shows, apparently slightly amused that I should think otherwise. 

I was there perhaps an hour and left wondering why I had bothered.

 

A model railway exhibition should surely be a showcase for the hobby in general and that specific aspect of it in particular, with the hopeful objective of encouraging new blood and enlisting new recruits.  That particular show felt like the meeting of a closed shop at which I was, at best, merely tolerated.

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47 minutes ago, H2O said:

 

It seems the GOG is run as a privately owned company but gives out the image of an open members society, the 2 are not the same.

 

I agree that it rather seems as though it is being run as a private limited company. But it is a company limited by guarantee and that should be rather different in relation to the participation of members.

 

What I would recommend in a case such as this is what I call the "golf club" model. There are owner shareholders of the course/business and a separate committee (which may have some members in common) that runs the sporting activities. I have seen this work very well in various situations.

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7 minutes ago, mike morley said:

The thread appears to have wandered away from the question originally posed.  Not far, admittedly, but enough.

In an attempt to perhaps bring it back to where it was originally aimed I offer the following.

 

A handful or so of years ago I went to the GOG show at Kettering and from the moment I walked through the door it felt more like a trade show than a model railway exhibition. 

There were only three or four layouts, the biggest of which would only have been considered modest in size even had it been in 4mm scale.  Hardly any of those at whom the show was clearly aimed were in the least bit interested in any of the layouts, with the result that the operators spent most of the time I was there staring into space, clearly bored to tears, and only ran a single train that I saw.  None of the layouts were particularly good and I wondered if they had been invited solely because convention demanded that there be at least some layouts and they were small enough to fit within what little space the organisers were willing to assign them.

The trade, on the other hand, made up probably 90% of the show.  When I remarked upon the, to me, odd nature of the show to a trader he looked at me like I was a Martian and assured me it was perfectly normal for GOG shows, apparently slightly amused that I should think otherwise. 

I was there perhaps an hour and left wondering why I had bothered.

 

A model railway exhibition should surely be a showcase for the hobby in general and that specific aspect of it in particular, with the hopeful objective of encouraging new blood and enlisting new recruits.  That particular show felt like the meeting of a closed shop at which I was, at best, merely tolerated.

 

Telford offers a much better balance. But that, of course, comes at a high cost to the organisers.

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2 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Typically poor Grauniad grammar. Two of those "ands" are superfluous.

 

One wonders which constituents he was expecting to vote for him.

 

None: he was a sketch-writer, and doing it for satirical / amusement purposes.

 

2 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

...

Not Grauniad decipherers anyway... 

 

A ruse for the tabloid vote?

 

Hardly. I am clearly an even older fart than most RMWebbers -- to me it was immediately obvious that, as petethemole said, it was a quote from:

 

1 hour ago, petethemole said:

The Girl From Ipanema.

 

Back in the 1980s I found it very amusing. Maybe it's a joke out of its time.

 

Apologies for thread drift.

 

Paul ("Tall and tanned and young and lovely...")

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16 minutes ago, mike morley said:

A handful or so of years ago I went to the GOG show at Kettering and from the moment I walked through the door it felt more like a trade show than a model railway exhibition. 

But that is what it is marketed as - a show mostly of Scale-specific Traders; the layouts really are a token gesture. 

 

Must admit that it doesn't take long to get round; even being in the Scale, I can rule out at least half the Traders as not my field of interest; the 'box shifters' as beyond my budget, and all the Special Interest Groups - none are my interest!!

Leaves the Bring'n'Buy - only really useful if you get there early & there's an off-chance there's an item you like; the E&T stand which as far as I can tell is the same dusty old over-priced tat every time, and traders you are interested in.

After two hours it feels like a zombie-apocalypse sort of movie, with everyone just going round in a brain-dead stupor. Especially given the average age and appearance of punters!! :jester:

Telford is better, being bigger of course, but could easily be a One-day Show in terms of 'things to see'. Traders might not think it worth their while to set up for just one day, though.

 

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14 hours ago, fail safe said:

 I've heard from a friend in the Guild that one reform candidate for management has apparently had his published statement cut in half rendering it useless, and other reformers have not had theirs published in the guild news alongside preferred candidates..  They must be worried about something.

 

If the existing management are stooping to tactics like that then they're doing themselves no favours whatsoever.

 

8 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 If the current election breaches the rules set out in the Mem & Arts, it should not be difficult to get the election overturned. Some breaches of the Mem & Arts might not even need court action but just some contact with Companies House. Where's Horsetan when we need him?

 

I understand he broke the rules and lost his membership.... :jester:

 

7 hours ago, 009 micro modeller said:

I was thinking more of somebody going to a show over a weekend, for example, and claiming expenses because they are there for “official” reasons, even though had they not been an official or been paid expenses they would have gone anyway.

 

In the event they are a genuine and necessary official then reasonable and necessary expenses could be justified.  If a B&B with pub lunch becomes a 4* Hotel, al-a Carte Dinner with Cigars, numerous G&T's and nice wine then something is seriously amiss (not that I'm suggesting this is happening within the GoG you understand....)

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12 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

But that is what it is marketed as - a show mostly of Scale-specific Traders; the layouts really are a token gesture. 

 

Must admit that it doesn't take long to get round; even being in the Scale, I can rule out at least half the Traders as not my field of interest; the 'box shifters' as beyond my budget, and all the Special Interest Groups - none are my interest!!

Leaves the Bring'n'Buy - only really useful if you get there early & there's an off-chance there's an item you like; the E&T stand which as far as I can tell is the same dusty old over-priced tat every time, and traders you are interested in.

After two hours it feels like a zombie-apocalypse sort of movie, with everyone just going round in a brain-dead stupor. Especially given the average age and appearance of punters!! :jester:

Telford is better, being bigger of course, but could easily be a One-day Show in terms of 'things to see'. Traders might not think it worth their while to set up for just one day, though.

 

 

For traders, a one-day show is probably preferable so long as the attendance figures are not too badly impacted.

 

It is layout owners who tend to be reluctant to go through all the effort of transporting and assembling a layout for just one day.

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As a former GOG member from the 1990’s I think it has to be appreciated that the shows like Telford arose in a different era to today, there was no RTR around, well the odd bit, Lima etc, and the online communication & trading revolution of now had yet to begin to arrive. It was just mail order and news of products via printed magazine. THE GOG mag was a godsend for most O gaugers listing goods, services, and techniques the mainstream magazines mostly didn’t feature because it was, then at least, a minority interest generating little advertising revenue.
 

The GOG shows were a way of gathering O gauge traders together in one place so people could get as much of their modelling needs in one go. That times have now changed means I think that these shows need to also in some respects, but the key will be in not throwing the baby out with the bath water. What needs to be considered perhaps in all the excitement of the more recent RTR arrivals (as I see it from a distanced onlookers perspective), is that this could all disappear just as quickly & easily as it has arrived.
 

I have no view of the current management issues, not being party to the issues arising save what has been stated in this thread, but would say that any changes need to be for the long term good of GOG so that past efforts to keep the scale alive should not be lost in the future.

 

Izzy

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