Notes on the formation of the BKFA

BKFA Governance Structures

George Webster and I have discussed this at some length and have come to the conclusion that the best way of assuring both (a) some form of representation of the constituent clubs on the executive committee, and (b) an executive committee small enough to work effectively is to have a two-level structure: a large one on which all member clubs are represented (the “Council”) and a smaller one (the “Committee”) elected annually by the Council. As was mentioned at our last meeting (the one in Birmingham) we think it is a good idea for the Committee to choose its own officers, so that Council elections are to the Committee and not to a specific post within the Committee. It is Council, not Committee, which sets overall policy guidelines, chooses auditors and approves accounts, and is ultimately responsible for the Association acting within the law and in accordance with its objectives.

The other main point is the issue of representation on Council. We have come to the conclusion that larger member clubs and associations should have more representation on Council, but should not have undue power within it. We therefore suggest a three-point scale: small clubs (say up to 50 members) can have one representative on Council, medium clubs (say up to 500 members) two representatives, and large clubs three members. The details are up for discussion; whether we have a 3 or 4-point scale and whether the suggestions for the cut off points are sensible, are not important at this stage. What is important is the principle that Committee is elected by those representatives actually attending the Council meeting: one representative one vote with no proxies allowed. We estimate that there are about 30 clubs that are eligible to become members of the association, with the above figures providing a Council of 40 to 45.

The size of the Committee is important. There is much experience that the best size of an effective executive committee is between 7 and 12. We accept the point that co-option to the Committee is an important mechanism to adjust balance or fill gaps, and therefore suggest a Committee size of 8 elected representatives with power to co-opt not more than two additional members. Again the numbers are indicative only. We do, however, suggest that no more than two Committee members may be representatives of the same club (we may have to think about individuals who are members of more than one club: there are quite a few such).

John Dobson
George Webster

2 February 2004

Report into the possible funding of the BKFA

The BKFA working party, as a whole, has already indicated that membership of the BKFA should only be open to organisations and not to individuals. This would tend to suggest that a yearly membership fee should be levied on each local club. Since the BKFA’s administrative charges for each membership would in all likelihood be identical, no matter what size of the member organisation, then a fixed membership charge should be levied per year.

However it is evident, from the completed questionnaires received, that many of the local clubs would also like the BKFA to produce a magazine and also assist in the acquiring of insurance or actually provide insurance. It would also seem that, certainly in the case of the insurance, these are perhaps the most important services the BKFA can provide. The insurance for obvious reasons and the magazine as this is the most visible service to the individual kite fliers. It is the view of the finance sub-group that the charge for these services cannot simply be divided equally between organisations, but must be somehow split up according to, for example the size of the membership of each the local clubs.

In line with the above the finance sub group have drawn up a number of suggestions into the funding of the BKFA, Presuming that the BKFA does offer a magazine and insurance the suggestions below have been split into three categories, Basic Funding, Funding of Insurance, Funding of a Magazine. Please note all or part of the suggestions below may be acted upon if the BKFA does not offer a magazine and/or insurance.

1. Basic funding of the BKFA – The basic funding of the BKFA should be enough to cover the administrative charges in running the BKFA, including the maintenance of a website plus if necessary hiring of meeting places etc. There are two possible sources of income, depending on circumstances.
a. A basic yearly membership fee should be levied on each local club or organisation. This fee will be fixed no matter what size the member club is. The membership fee should be priced at a level, which would cover any associated administrative charges. A fee of £10-£15 would probably be sufficient, depending on how many memberships there are.
b. “Sponsorship” from the kite trade or from companies who use kites as part of their advertising such as HSBC.
c. A combination of a) and b)

2. Insurance – Firstly let it be clear that this should only be offered as an option. Those member organisations who wish to purchase their own insurance should be allowed to, and in actual fact for organisations, who require more specialised insurance, such as the BBC etc. this would probably be the preferable course. If the BKFA did offer insurance, it would almost certainly have to compile a list of individuals who were covered under the insurance “scheme”. This list would also include which organisations the individuals were members of, and from this the BKFA could proportionally split the cost of the insurance between the member organisations.

3. Funding a magazine – Depending on how a magazine would be issued there are two recommendations for this.
a. If the BKFA were to produce a printed magazine, each member organisation would “order” a number of magazines sufficient to fulfil their own memberships requirement. The BKFA would then charge the member organisation appropriately and deliver the magazines to the member who would then distribute them to their own membership alongside their own publications, newsletters etc. Sending the magazines out to organisations rather than to individuals would save the BKFA a lot of administration and cost in sending out to and maintaining a possibly lengthy distribution list.
b. Rather than producing a printed magazine, the BKFA were to produce an electronic “copy” which would be sent to the member organisations for inclusion within their own publications. Very much like BKF and MKF send in their contributions to the “Kiteflier” at the moment. With this idea the administrative charges are further reduced from a) and also rather than BKFA levying a charge on each member organisation for each copy, a flat rate yearly charge could be used instead. Which would be almost certainly lower than the total per copy charge, making it more palatable to the smaller organisations.

The financial sub-group has not looked into the cost of insurance and the production of a magazine as we simply do not have any idea as to how many people the insurance would need to cover or how many copies of a printed magazine would need to be produced. So both of these items would need more investigation before the BKFA were to take on such a financial burden.

Also please note that the amount of basic funding needed may also vary depending on whether or not the BKFA would do things such as cover travelling expenses etc. for BKFA officials. The decision on this particular point is beyond the remit of the finance sub-group.
There are many items that would have an impact of BKFA funding that are not covered in this report. These are things which the BKFA may decide to take on at a later date, however it may be wise to set up a system of funding now which would be flexible to cover such outgoings later, without needing to modify the constitution. Examples of such items are.

1) Promotional material such as literature on safe flying, BKFA banners, badges etc.
2) A BKFA organised festival.

The above does address the funding of the BKFA once it is up and running but the financial sub-group is concerned that the BKFA may need some sort of “start-up” funding. This is especially the case if it does offer services such as a magazine or insurance from the beginning. Where would such funding come from? It would either have to come from donations or sponsorship.

Mark Bowlas
Doug Richardson

May 2004

British Kite Flying Association - An International View

It is my firm belief that Kite flying in Britain is a well-developed and mature activity. It is my belief that British Kite fliers and Kite makers are amongst the best in the world.

Even on a non-competitive basis, British Kite fliers are present at nearly every major Kite festival in the world. And the work of British kite makers is to be seen at most major events worldwide.

At the same time, most Kite-related groups from around the world, and many individual Kite fliers regard it as an honour to receive an invitation to take part in a British event. Our international friends have enthusiastically attended festivals, workshops and residencies for many years.

It is clear, therefore, that Britain has a significant standing in the international Kite Community.

One of the issues that has arisen on many occasions in the past is one of representation on the International scene. Although the Kite Society have been well placed to fulfil this role, it has not been easy for them to do so. The demands of demands of festival organisation, membership subscription and magazine production leave them ineffective to deal with the additional workload.

So we find ourselves in the distressing situation of recognising a huge potential of talent and enthusiasm, but no effective way of coordinating it with respect to our colleagues overseas.
My proposal is that the proposed British Kite Flying Association would be well placed to fulfil this role. As a truly representative body, the BKFA would be able to speak with authority about all aspects of the Kite scene in Britain, in all its many facets.

Enquiries about British events and other activities could be handled by this central body, which would already have such facts to hand. Publicity material would be available to interested parties, press packs sent to enquirers, and individual questions dealt with.

And as a reflection, British Kite Fliers would have the opportunity to enquire locally about overseas events, research venues and establish contacts with like-minded individuals or organisations.

One highly emotive subject that repeatedly comes to the fore is that of invitations to international events. More often than not, invitations are directed at individuals simply because they are the only ones known, not because they are the most suitable or available for a particular event. If an overseas organisation wishes to invite a Kite Flier from Britain, where should they start to make enquiries? To my direct knowledge, far too many "free" invitations have been lost because the right individuals have not been known, or the invitation has not been passed on.

As an additional service to members, the British Kite Flying Association could maintain a voluntary database of individuals and groups who would be willing to accept these very desirable invitations: and the enquirer could then make an informed decision.
As a national body, an effective and efficient outward-facing international representation will enhance the organisation's credibility as a representative entity. Strong international links are not only a way to communicate with our colleagues; they will ensure a free and rich sharing of ideas and thoughts, and well as the pleasure of simple human contact.

I trust that the proposed British Kite Flying Association will take these matters seriously, and will find a way to deal with the international issues effectively, sensitively, and with vigour and determination.

There are many implications to establishing a representative national body. I believe that there will immediately be many direct benefits for members and groups, in giving and receiving, and that we will see those rewards grow with time.

Derek Kuhn
Derek Kuhn Kite Workshops and Midlands Kite Fliers

May 2004