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Old 13-01-2016
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Gordon Brown Gordon-Brown is offline
Group Management
Forum Handle: Gordon-Brown
Northants 4x4 Response
Join Date: May 2009
Location: St Neots
National Callsign: NH47
Posts: 317

It's an interesting topic, and I'm yet to see a compelling argument for preventing dual membership.

The often cited issue is one of which RT looks after the welfare of a responder in the event of a mutual aid callout (a rare event in any case) and the answer is simple: whichever team engages the responder's services is responsible for them.

In Northants we have a number of responders who volunteer for us and for other voluntary organisations such as Raynet or SAR, both of which are more likely to be called-out at the same time as us than one of our neighbouring 44R teams, and it could be argued the same conflict over 'duty of care' applies - which organisation is looking after them during the incident?

Membership of a team, as opposed to being 'on loan', is far more useful as from a management point of view you will have full information on the responder's vehicle, skills, level of training etc., and know that they are aware of how you work at a local level. In a call-out, which is an especially difficult time for controllers, I'd far rather have the full details for the person I'm sending out from my known-good central records rather than "somebody from Timbuktu 44R is available if you need them - they've got a vehicle of some sort and might have been trained in something".

In terms of skewing the national figures, the variance is going to be negligible in the overall scheme of things. If a responder has joined two teams and paid two membership fees, then the issue of paying twice for the same insurance cover (in most cases it'll be the same national policy anyway) is really neither here nor there.

What seems to be forgotten is that 44R is 31 autonomous organisations, not branches of the same organisation - which is why we have different levels of training, membership arrangements, call-out systems and the like.

In Northants we have no issue with dual membership, or membership of partner organisations (except at trustee level in both cases), but I know that some teams, Wessex for example, forbid it.

In my case, I live in Cambridgeshire and was a member of both BHC and Northants teams (I was a member of Northants before there was a team in Cambridgeshire). I kept the Northants membership because they were far more active than BHC (as well as being a nice bunch of people), and now I'm no longer a member of BHC as I couldn't retain that membership and be a trustee for Northants as it would potentially create a conflict of loyalty, which the Charity Commission's rules say must be avoided - hence Northants's policy on not allowing joint membership at trustee level.

If a group makes a policy decision to exclude members of other teams from joining then that's their decision and I'm sure they have their reasons to do so, but I don't see any compelling reason to prevent it on a national basis.
Gordon Brown
Northants 4x4 Response Chairman & Trustee
4x4 Response UK

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