04/03/2015
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MEMBERS WEB SITE
10/08/15

Welcome to your members web site.

It has been some time since this web site became available to members and it would seem it is regarded as being a little subversive by those that resist change,

However, during the 2014 consultations carried out with the help of a Professional Consultancy in connection with the pending application to the Arts Council for full Museum Accreditation the most important issue highlighted is that of lacking communication within the Society. This web site seeks to redress this situation.

Tony Lyster circulates the E-Newletter QEL to a known list of members who have their e-mail addresses registered with him but this is a far smaller number than the whole of the QRS membership which therefore restricts the readership. We understand that not all members wish to be inundated with e-mails so we reproduce QEL in this on-line publication so that members can dip into these bits of news at their own leisure.

The “House” magazine “Quainton News” is a fine publication and as detailed in a previous QEL column has received a well deserved award. This is great but due to costs and printing it is not an appropriate publication for members to easily express their views or even receive more urgent information on a week to week basis.

At the time of writing QEL has announced the resignation of our Chairman, Peter Mitchell, who has been endeavouring to bring fulfilment of our Museum Accreditation since the end of last year. Quite a number of other issues have concerned him over these months and it is likely this workload has impinged upon his personal and professional life to the extent that he has found it impossible to fulfil all his commitments. Members should be aware of the enormous amount of effort it takes to run the Society by dedicated part time volunteer “Trustees”. It is sad to reflect that two “Trustees” have felt it necessary to stand down since the April AGM.

One of the problems of running any organisation with a volunteer committee is, unlike a commercial organisation, there is very little seniority as in say Alan Sugar running his own company. This means collective agreements have to be made at the Trustee Board “Executive” meetings and this is not always possible because most volunteer members have their own ideas as to how a given society progresses. This can and does impose stresses upon the committee members and Quainton is no exception to this problem which can be exacerbated in times of change. Add to this personality conflicts, differing views and you have a potential toxic mix that retards the progress of any given organisation.

There is no easy answer to this problem but individual who seek to serve on such committees should endeavour to accommodate each others views and resist the temptation for resorting to internecine tactic to achieve their personal preferences as to the management of a Society. The membership should have before them a clearly defined and agreed set of goals that the Committee Members should pursue without prejudice of their own preferences. Reporting back to the membership regularly is essential to maintain the compliance, momentum and moral of a Society and the QRS does not score very well in this regard. A lack of clarity with membership on these matters further retards the progress of the society towards the objectives and vision detailed in the Forward Plan publish elsewhere on this web site.

Quite apart from these issues the Quainton Railway Society is being presented with external and potentially very serious problems that will affect the operation of the Museum significantly over the next few years. The writer is not sure that the Society is equipped to deal with what amounts to a triple “Whammy” that come in the face of HS2, East-West Rail and the need to seriously pursue the concept of a Museum offering rather than a “Steam Engine Enthusiast Centre”. The latter comes with all the historic baggage of being around for many years and squaring the circle of past aspirations with those that have been defines in the Forward Plan let alone the requirements of the Arts Council will be no mean task.

The shareholding membership are ultimately responsible for these matters and should very carefully select their representatives for Trusteeship of the Society and hold the Members to account for their actions or lack of it. It is probably appropriate for a Membership Conference to be held just to consider these issues rather than to leave them to the Executive Committee to deal with them and justify during question time at the next AGM. Lance Adlam should already have to hand a significant response to his recent initiative in asking members for their views as to how the Society should go forward. The writer would suggest a whole day conference early in the New Year or between the open season end and the Christmas opening where shareholding members can, maybe, split into three discussion groups covering these important issues and bring to a final session the action recommendations appropriate for the Trustees to progress into the New Year.

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