CCC Bells & Clocks Committee

Robert Lewis editor at
Wed Aug 30 17:15:58 BST 2006

Very interesting to hear Mark's comments on his first-hand DAC experience.

I don't think the committee appointment process is the only CCC issue that 
needs publicly debating at this time of change - although it is certainly 
an important one.
Any ringer and bell historian considering an invitation to join the B&C 
committee would, I suspect, be rash not to bear in mind the views expressed 
widely over the last year or so about the opaque nature of the appointments 
process.  For this will inevitably cause a credibility problem with their 
fellow ringers and the (sometimes controversial) bells advice dispensed by 
the body.  Simply advertising those vacancies in the RW and elsewhere would 
have gone a considerable way towards addressing a suspicion that the CCC 
operates via some out-dated,  unaccountable "old boy network" and that it 
is not casting the net wide enough to recruit people who are both competent 
and free from possible conflicts of interest, etc., etc.

So what are the other issues that might make an eminent bell 
historian/ringer think twice before accepting an invitation to 
serve?  Well, I have heard it said that:

1) The Council itself now decides on the CCC's stance and is prone to 
override specialist advice. Also that expert membership of the B&C 
committee is being diluted, with little attempt to recruit those who USE 
bells, as opposed to regarding them purely as historical objects. It seems 
that the sole focus of the CCC is now on CONSERVATION (i.e. preventing 
change), with little regard for its purported aims to deal with the care 
and DEVELOPMENT of churches, which should surely take account of the 
'living heritage' of ringing and bellfounding too. This is, perhaps, hardly 
surprising if an organisation tends to employ full time officials who are 
unabashed career "preservationists" with a museum curator mentality.

2) It is not clear how the Council, its paid staff and sub-committees 
interact and communicate or whether they do so effectively. Transparency 
and accountability should be paramount. I have heard it said that the paid 
officials are now, in reality,  more powerful than the voluntary Council 
and sub-committee members - many of whom apparently see their role as no 
more than "helping and supporting the staff" rather than imparting 
strategic direction.

3) There is a perception, in some quarters, that in the CCC, the Church of 
England is now funding an organisation that is largely duplicating the job 
of English Heritage and the statutory authorities - a slightly strange; not 
to say expensive process.

Of course, I may be talking to entirely the wrong people ...

I hope that someone can demonstrate that we have nothing at all to worry 
about on any of these counts - that the new committee will be able to rest 
easy and bask in the universal support and respect of the Exercise at large 



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