The great RAYNET Merseyside stitch-up.
Ex-Merseyside County Controller, Long Term RAYNET member, Worked in radio with Royal Signals the GPO and managed radio systems in resilient data centers in the UK.
“Better a spectacular failure, than a benign success” Malcolm McLaren
How RAYNET Merseyside operates and how RAYNET UK fails to support its members.
On Wed, 14 Dec 2022 at 18:02, Company Secretary <CoSec@raynet-uk.net> wrote:
I am writing to inform you that the Committee of Management has resolved to suspend your membership of RAYNET-UK with immediate effect on the grounds that in their reasonable opinion your behaviour has the potential to breach RAYNET Rules 5.1 d) and e) as follows during an investigation into a complaint we have received about you. The relevant rules are;
- d) not to use violent, aggressive or grossly discourteous behaviour.
- e) not to act maliciously, deliberately or recklessly so as to cause any organisation or individual who is not a member of the Company to broadcast or form a denigratory or misleading opinion of the Company, its activities or of any of its members.
All privileges of membership are thereby withdrawn with immediate effect.
The Committee of Management has not taken this decision lightly but following your recent communication that you intend to publish documents relating to the recent complaint against another member, along with the findings of the investigation and subsequent emails and their responses, and with the initial webpage you have posted at https://martinmaynard.com/raynet/ this is considered by them to be in breach of the terms on which information was released to you under your recent Subject Access Request and prejudicial to the cases for all concerned.
You are therefore notified in writing of the above resolution, dated 14th December 2022 and the reasons for it, and have 14 days to make a written representation in reply.
We will communicate the complaint against you along with the manner in which it will be handled in due course.
The above email was received in what seems to be the final attempt by the management to cover the incompetence in dealing with matters relating to Merseyside RAYNET. This article details of how Alec Wood managed to take over Merseyside RAYNET and how Greg Mossop supported Alec in misrepresenting the actions of members of Liverpool and Sefton to combine memberships into a single group in order, I suggest maintaining control over the county.
It will also:
- Look at how a Charity Trust was set up and administered by Alec Wood usurping the normal operation of a county coordinating group.
- Outline how a complaint (raised by members of Liverpool and Sefton) regarding blocking memberships was unfairly dealt with by misrepresenting the basic facts.
- Shine a light on the incompetence within Merseyside RAYNET in managing a simple repeater scheme.
- Draw attention to the fact that the senior members of the RAYNET management ignored the facts, supported and condone abuses of position.
- Question the relationships between Merseyside RAYNET and Merseyside Resilience Forum MRF and the manner it audits the operations of supporting groups.
- At the relationships between Merseyside RAYNET and the user services.
Let me be absolutely clear: many, the vast majority of members of RAYNET across the country, provide a beneficial service to their communities. Working with user groups and interacting with blue light services. Many of the events that RAYNET supports could not be undertaken without those dedicated members’ skills. Those members include a wide range of abilities and skills, from communication center managers to those who like a day out counting runners etc. Nothing in this article on RAYNET should reflect on those individuals’ achievements. What I am talking about is not about the good intentions of those members, but the divisive attempts of some members driven by ego and self-importance that they are the guardians of the organisation and everything should only be done their way and are blind to the opinions of others as membership dwindles.
…Martin Maynard’s personal background in radio and RAYNET.
From early childhood, I was fascinated by radio from a crystal set by my bed and tuning into the shortwave bands on the Bush radio in the lounge listening to the World Service, Voice of America, Radio Moscow and of course Luxembourg. I discovered amateur radio through a science club at Wanstead house run by the late Ken Smith G3JIX. Started working life as an apprentice electrician then joining the GPO as a telephone engineer while at the same time signing up to the Royal Signals TA. I was amongst the first-class B licences (my dyslexia did not dispose me to learning morse code) with the callsign of G8CIX. Working on radio relay kit in the TA and focusing on radio in the GPO which then offered a radio interference and management service. Then people could report radio and TV interference issues by filling in a card at the local post office. In north London that card ended up in our office, which was bizarrely located in a tunnel under Chancery Lane station! We would then go out and locate the source of interference and do what we could to eliminate it. In those days there were a lot of free-running plastic welding machines operating in the TV band 1 slot that could wipe out TV in the surrounding streets and lots of neon shop signs that sparked away through the night. Many days were spent wandering around streets with a DF set tracing the rogue signals. In the TA we operated and maintained radio relay vehicles operating C41/R222 radios providing 4 telephones and 1 teleprinter link. The GPO also looked after radios for the British Transport police and the Home Office and with my TA interests, I was recruited to work on some interesting radio projects. One of these projects was to maintain the radio comms on the mail trains. After the great train robbery, the mail trains were guarded by the police but there was no conformity in radio communications between forces. As the train left the station a counter connected to a magnetic switch on the wheel below would be set to zero and as the train moved off the counter would record the rotation. The position of the train could be calculated from a table of positions. The officers could select which radio out of a bank of Storno and Pye radios to call in the train’s progress to the local police force. Around 1973 the departments got split up some going to the DTI and I left to move to Reading where I worked for an independent company on modems. I joined the Reading Amateur Radio club and from that became a Berkshire RAYNET member. I was never attracted to amateur radio as an operator I was more interested in making things and trying them out, but RAYNET offered engagement and purpose. This was in the days of the cold war when we did exercises with the local authorities passing information back up the line in relation to atomic bomb cloud plumes and radiation levels. While these exercises were interesting, I never felt that if there was a real war, we would be much use. Amongst the membership then was a strange mix of amateurs including preppers who wanted to build their own bunkers and be the geeks who would inherit the earth. One chap had his Land Rover and trailer full of compo rations ready to take to the hills. I recall a zone meeting where one group turned up in dark fatigues, blue badges emblazoned across their backs and hobnail boots. I could imagine the controller lining them up for inspection before they went on duty.
The Berkshire group ran comms for a number of events including horse endurance races across Windsor Park, the ridgeway walks aa well as Windsor Maidenhead marathon.
Firework comms disaster.
One firework night we were asked to provide comms to support a school firework display. It was very cold and raining which did not work out well. The problem was members using multiband, multi-function handhelds with fiddly controls they didn’t fully understand. Wearing gloves, getting wet and in the dark, radios were changing channels, could not be heard over the sound of fireworks and crowd noise, we basically lost contact with our operatives. In the washup meeting, we came up with a plan to provide everyone with a simple Icom 16 channel F12 radio preprogrammed with the 2m RAYNET frequencies and the GB simple license frequencies. ICOM gave us a deal which allowed everyone to have a radio, plus some we could have as a bank for the organisers to use. This way we knew that if we had a call out everyone would have a basic bit of kit and we just had to define the channel numbers. It also allowed us to use repeaters for area coverage something that can’t be achieved easily within the 2m amateur band.
Facilitator rather than the channel.
I was of the opinion that RAYNET would be better off being the facilitator of communications rather than the channel. This is not to say we didn’t have some excellent operators but providing a control desk 24/7 would not have been an option. This was proved in a big storm that hit the south of England in 2007 when we were able to set up a repeater to cover the Pangbourne area to facilitate the local council to talk with their operatives and the fire services helping people in flooded houses over a period of 4 days and then as a flood peak moved down the Thames it was used in Purley. For this, I collected a silver hero star on behalf of RAYNET from the Newbury district council.
Glastonbury and Fastnet.
A call from Glastonbury Festival in 2000 for radio operators to work in the control tent started for me an 18-year relationship with the festival starting out as a call desk operator and ending up as a senior steward manager with 400 stewards looking after the late-night areas. This involved setting up an operations center where we had RAYNET, Red Cross and Ambulance call handlers managing the stewards and interfacing with the blue light and infrastructure services. I hasten to add that I am not a good operator, but I can recognize someone who is! A good operator/call handler can talk to the stewards and deal with requests but at the same time keep in mind a picture of what is happening across the site. My skill was in choosing those operators and establishing a layered communication structure based on my own experience observing in a Southwest Ambulance control room I worked as part of my training as a community responder. The trick is in the selection of the right people to do the job and months of preplanning then standing back to monitor the operation. To facilitate this, I went on courses at the Cabinet Office training college at Easingwold and became a SIA trainer and ran courses on stewarding for Glastonbury and OXFAM who were also a big supplier for stewards at festivals around the country. I reached an age where I think I had enough of all-night sessions but am still involved with the festival now running a drone for environmental audits.
I also set up and ran the comms for the finish line of the Fastnet Race in Plymouth. Before I got involved all comms were Channel 72 when, if conditions were right, we not only had 300 boats to finish but most of the channel trawler fleet to contend with. I introduced repeaters on the old duplex channels, so we had our own channel and as we had the repeater what we said was heard by all.
My philosophy on resilience is to make yourself indispensable by being dispensable. Plan and build systems that are well documented such that if you are taken out of the picture, the show can still go on. Some seem to hold everything close to their chest, they feel powerful as the person who ‘knows’! Far better to have a system where everyone involved ‘knows’ and feels part of the bigger picture.
Move up to Southport.
With a change in marital status, I moved up to Southport in and met with the late Mike Hampson G8RXB, and joined the Merseyside County Group. I ran a workshop on event management called Big Events which was supported by a first aid course by one of our Red Cross members and we had quite a good turnout of membership and events. At that time RAYNET had a physical presence in council offices and police stations in the boroughs of Merseyside. When I took office the connections with the police stations had been lost largely due to reorganisations of the Merseyside Police structure and the ability for us to get appropriate access to the police stations. In fact, all direct connections with the police were lost and it was a matter of luck that one of our members engaged with the police in an interview that we regained contact. That contact allowed us to collect the old kit that had been recovered from the police stations to a holding bay in Liverpool. Despite this being organised with my deputy and reported as a plan at county meetings this was flagged by some as an attempt to get hold of the equipment and sell it for my own benefit. Complete rubbish but once someone who should know better starts briefing against you behind your back it is difficult to put the record straight! see below.
Current Merseyside coordinator, Retired Assistant Director of Education / Senior Inspector Wirral Borough Council
RAYNET has no certified or audited training.
In reality, the idea that in the event of a complete breakdown in communications we could man and operate around 8 stations 24/7 during a period of emergency was in my opinion ridiculous. Now, Alec would say that it would be no problem because we can call on other members from around the country! In a circumstance that Merseyside is in some sort of communication blackout, it would be most likely that the rest of the country is under threat and our top players in the frontline of comms would most likely be working in their own territories. Then of course is the question of how you would give these converging volunteers permission to enter these establishments. Not to mention the fact that they would have had no training or overview of the issues they were to communicate. It is a sad fact that RAYNET has only the most basic of identity checks, not even a basic DBS nor is there any audited training that would give you some confidence that the person who has turned up with his high vis and handheld has any ability to do the job. Even Mcdonald’s has a star system depicting Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Operational Excellence. A call handler is a very skilled job! RAYNET needs to look at other Volunteer organisations like St John, Red Cross, Search and Rescue, Coastguard etc. to understand what proper training, qualification, and standards are required to get any recognition from local government and blue light services and be allowed to work in sensitive environments. What’s more, even if they did achieve that threshold of professionalism what can you actually do in an office block used to a gigabit fiber link and all you have 2-meter amateur radio?
When you read this article and listen to the conversation with the late Stu Nutt, I think both members of RAYNET and User Services will have to wonder what on earth is going on when a Group Controller, responsible for liaison with User Services Local, Councils, and other volunteer organisations remains in office despite being terminally ill in a nursing home! All seemingly condoned by senior management officers and directors of RAYNET!
It becomes, I think, apparent that RAYNET has no proper leadership team ensuring any levels of quality across the UK. It also identifies weaknesses in local authority resilience that are unwittingly funding RAYNET groups.
My feeling as expressed above is that when it comes down to longer-term strategic / resilience comms issues then as the facilitator of communications rather than the channel we can come into our own. Establishing and maintaining comms resources where we are the engineers is far more plausible because we can build resilient comms systems that will function without our intervention. By doing this on dedicated Ofcom-approved channels we are not limited by our amateur radio license conditions, and we have a higher level of security as we are away from those idiots and bigots that pop up on amateur channels to interfere with events. To do so on a PMR-licensed channel would be a criminal offense. We use all our skills as radio engineers in setting up the links rather like I did in my youth in the army and later as telephone engineers. Back in the 60s, the army could turn up with a 4-channel link, I wonder what they could deliver today if requested?
What a good RAYNET group might look like.
We are volunteers, and we give our time freely, we need to get something back. What we get back is not money but a personal feeling of satisfaction. We need to feel part of an organisation that has meaning and purpose, regular contact is an important social interaction between group members, meetings where we can talk about our interest in comms and getting signals in and out trick places, training to give us self confidence and trust in each other’s technical ability, regular training interaction with the User Services we support and our neighbouring county groups. Members’ payback is the satisfaction of being part of a functioning team! And, of course, a national structure that supports members and maintains standards. I think that radio amateurs can offer a lot to other volunteer organisations and should seek to facilitate the technical aspects of comms. Organisations like St John, Red Cross, 4×4, search and rescue, mountain rescue etc. all now have their own comms managers, often licensed amateurs, RAYNET could provide a common forum.
Moving away from amateur frequencies for critical comms.
In Ribble Valley, there is a system called EARL which I believe was the VHF ambulance system consisting of a bunch of repeaters dotted around the hilltops. It seemed to me that this was the sort of thing that RAYNET Merseyside should get involved with. I had a relationship with local churches and secured permission to mount a VHF high band repeater on top of Holy Trinity Church in Southport. I, with the assistance of my deputy, lugged a VERTEX repeater in a weather-sealed box along with a folded dipole up to the top of the tower. Operating on suppliers’ hire frequencies, I was pleased to see that it gave good handheld operation in Southport and the surrounding area with a Mobile rig you could work into Blackpool and down to Liverpool. I wrote up a paper on the subject. Let the amateur radio frequencies run as the backup engineering channel. SRS the way forward
Then back in 2017 the back-stabbers go to work again undermining concepts I was putting forward and misleading a council resilience officer into false allegations that I was:
- Removing equipment belonging to the Merseyside Resilience Forum
- and using my position to further business interests. This was again used as an accusation by Alec Wood!
After a lot of wasted time, I was exonerated from the allegations and received an apology from the council officer concerned.
The creation of MEARL
Two sites were established, Liverpool Cathedral and Holly Trinity Southport.
Repeaters were installed by Martin Maynard with the assistance of another member from the Liverpool Group.
A number of Vertex mobile transceivers were purchased and mounted in boxes. Having sourced the components Alec assembled the kit into neat flight cases to include the transceiver on a base, PSU, associated cables and mag mount antenna. The idea was that the kit could be operated from an AC power source or mobile from a car battery. It also included a metal tray to act as a ground plane allowing the kit to be set up just about anywhere. As well as the mobile transceivers a number of Vertex handheld radios were purchased.
Martin then met with each of the borough resilience officers, inspecting their locations and presenting the boxes. However, there were some issues that suggested that there was not any regular contact with sites or the officers.
Knowsley had an amateur radio kit for 2m/70cm be and some ex police hand helds in a cupboard located in a basement. The handhelds had not been charged and had stood so long in a state of discharge that they were unlikely to be of any use. A cable from the roof antenna ahead a broken plug which was replaced and mounted in a box with a BNC. In an adjacent building used as computer room a cable with no connection was re-terminated with an N-type and BNC. The antenna was an unknown 2/70 antenna that seemed to work.
Liverpool had an antenna on the roof of the coroner’s court but no sign of the cable. Buy removing some ceiling tiles it was located and a wall mounted BNC connector was put in place.
Sefton moved its control room at some time in the past and although an amateur antenna was visible on the roof it was not locatable inside. I installed a collinear on an existing mast with a temporary feed cable to the control room below.
St Helens had no RAYNET capability, So I proposed the addition of and antenna on an adjacent roof access. A proposed budget of £170 was never taken up.
Wirral had an antenna on the roof leading down to a CCTV room on the ground floor. Cable was coiled put in the corner without any termination. I fitted a termination box to BNC on the window. The CCTV crew had no knowledge of the armature kit. The control room was subsequently moved but RAYNET were not notified at the time of the move so there is now a question mark over its usability.
Although the MRF was a user of the system it was never envisaged that they were the primary user. The new kits were supposed to have been funded by selling off the old amateur stuff. However, the legacy of amateur operation was left in place. The real users would be the likes of St John who found it invaluable for Liverpool events. Likewise, Merseyside Search and Rescue used the system. MEARL was principally to provide a common channel for User and Volunteer Services.
The merger of Sefton and Liverpool Groups
In the summer of 2022 Merseyside RAYNET had fallen to its lowest ebb. Richard, the Wirral Controler and County Coordinator, had died unexpectedly; Liverpool had no controler; despite attempts of one very well-qualified member to hold a meeting, there was little interest, and that person subsequently lost interest and resigned. Sefton had a controller Stu who was very ill, having spent the previous two years in and out of hospitals, now in a nursing home with very poor mobility. Stu was not only physically disabled but also becoming quite confused. Richard had asked me to get involved in invigorating Sefton, which I tried to do, suggesting Stu stand down from the controller position. Stu would have none of it, clinging on to his role saying he had discussed it with Alec Wood until his death a few weeks later.
Stu had the habit of constantly ringing me to talk about RAYNET and to take him cigarettes. Despite having serious aorta surgery, the removal of his bowl removed (fitted with a colostomy), advanced lung cancer and symptoms of vascular dementia Stu stile enjoyed puffing through 2 or 3 packets of Marlborough every day. If I was working and I didn’t answer my mobile he would call my office number leaving messages demanding to know where I was. We were asked to assist with a horse ride in Sefton which I was trying to organize. A few weeks previous I had organized the Rainford March where I included Stu at a checkpoint by placing him in the front of my landrover, clearing it up afterward when he had an accident with his portable urinal. It was evident to all that Stu should not continue as the controller for Sefton but Alec and Greg made no attempt to resolve the situation, on one sad but amusing county zoom call Stu could be seen shouting at his carers as they tried to give him his medication! One day Stu rang me on my office number that records incoming calls. It was about the Southport horse event of which I was dealing with the organise who initially wanted stewards for traffic control, which we could assist with by proving some comms to let their stewards know what was happening. If you have 25 mins free listen.
Stu Nutt in conversation with Martin Maynard
28th July from Horse event secretary ‘I have discussed the same with the team at the stables. Although we very much appreciate your support, we do not feel ours or your processes are compatible for the ride/event.’
Consulting with the remaining Sefton members and officers of Liverpool it was agreed that we should join Liverpool and attempt to build on that group. Greg Mossop was consulted as zone controller and he advised that it was ok, providing that the members of the groups agreed on any movements.
31 August 22 – Approaches made to Sefton Members
Confirmation was received from the two members Stu did not respond at all and another member who had mobility issues decided to leave anyway.
16 Sept 22, – 17:15 Conversation with Greg Mossop
18 September – email circulated to Liverpool members by the Liverpool registrations officer:
Hi Liverpool RAYNET members
We have recently received applications from three Sefton members to join Liverpool. XXXXXXXXXXXXX, Martin Maynard G8CIX and XXXXXXXXXXXX. XXX recently retired from Red Cross only to find himself called back to look after one of the Red Cross comms vehicles in Preston; Martin was formally the county controller and the instigator of the MEARL repeater system and Norm, who is a long-standing Southport member and Land Rover enthusiast.
We haven’t had any meetings this year, so I am proposing to hold a zoom meeting on the 04/10/2022, which will be an EGM to confirm our officer roles. Martin is interested in taking on the controller role and I would like to resume the deputy role, but only if our members agree. (To that end, please let me know if you would like to stand for any of the officer positions.) Martin would like to organise some social and radio activities and re-establish our connections with the local resilience officers.
Please share any thoughts on the above and let’s see if we can get Liverpool RAYNET reactivated as an effective unit.
26th September 22 – National Registrations Co-ordinator confirms membership transfers.
28th September – Alec Wood emails members to say ‘ I have been asked to inform you that… notification of transfer is therefore invalid’! When in fact it was Alec that had made representations falsely claiming the transfers were invalid and should be reversed! Read on
- Undermining the position of Martin Maynard.
A constant representation of myself to other members of RAYNET that I am disruptive.
Here is an example
Meeting with Alec at Liverpool Cathedral on Thursday, August 25 to collect a PSU from Mike Hampson’s silent key sale, we discussed some options for regenerating membership. Amongst many things we spoke about Alec expressed that many members believed that I had removed radio equipment from police stations for my own commercial purposes. This had been the subject of a complaint against me some years ago when a local resilience officer was encouraged to make a formal complaint against me. The complaint was examined and I was utterly exonerated. Alec, at the time very much intertwined himself in the procedures. The officer declined to say where this information had come from which was, needless to say, untrue. Alec went on to say that I had failed to properly process the equipment removal, leading to misunderstandings. To clarify to Alec that appropriate steps had been taken I forwarded some correspondence I had with Colin Donnelly, then the police technical service manager, 8 years ago. In that correspondence, I expressed
Alec takes that sentence out of that email and states to others that ‘I think it untrue and unwise to openly suggest that RAYNET could not meet its current obligations as defined in the Merseyside Emergency Response Manual (MERM), or to state that it probably never could!’ A statement was taken out of context and time.
He then goes on to imply that ‘I am concerned that any Group should reject our role within MERM and the UNITY Emergency Plan and wish to concentrate instead on events and socialising.’ Again the implication that I am undermining our resilience support objectives
Alec then goes on with a lot of irrelevant extra material to support his position, concluding that ‘I would ask you not to be negative outside of RAYNET regarding Merseyside RAYNET’s shortcomings, and perhaps adopt a more positive and constructive approach’ Clearly implying to others that I negative, and destructive.
I replied to those circulated, correcting some points and he came back again reiterating the quote for the police email again, ‘I can assure you that all your proposals will get the consideration they deserve despite the negative context in which they appear to be being presented.’
On registering the complaint with yourself, Alec immediately opens up the scope of the conversation by holding meetings purporting to be with all Merseyside groups. Stu is a solitary member in Sefton; Lee is the treasure of Liverpool who has no controller! It refers to my resignation as disagreeing with Richard I had no disagreements with Richard; the disagreement was with Alec’s taking over the committee an opinion that ‘The idea that RAYNET could field equipment and operators to provide comms support at times of disaster or civil disturbance is not something it can really offer and probably never could.’
- Interfering in the membership transfers from Sefton to Liverpool
Alec has sought to disrupt the move of myself and two other members from Sefton to Liverpool.
RAYNET Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator at IARU Region 1, Electrical engineer at Capenhurst
Greg Mossop responds with a request for the full details of the complaint along with supporting documentation.
You might think that Greg Mossop would review the documentation and clarify any issues, but he doesn’t; he passes all of my information along with the rebuttal from Alec Wood to other members of the RAYNET executive. He does not check any of the facts or allow me to respond to Alec’s rebuttal. Greg then produces a summary document that reverses the order of the complaint by putting the reversal of the membership issue as the primary reason and then gives an incorrect interpretation of RAYNET’s articles of association! Greg refuses to even allow me to confirm the content of his summary. It is no wonder that the other officers of RAYNET dismissed my complaint.
RAYNET UK Response to the complaint.
The above was sent out on the 30th of October 22. It fails to address any of the points I had raised and seems only to accept Alec Woods’s views and spin over mine. But then if you read the rubbish, Alec Wood had written, that was endorsed by Greg Mossop, you can see perhaps how Alec Wood manipulates information. Why, I wonder, did Mossop and Wood want to mislead others? In order to find out what information had been considered, I had to submit an ICO Subject Access Request that wasn’t answered till the 9th of November 22. It was only then that the picture of misinformation submitted by Mossop began to emerge. Was Mossop trying to cover his own ineptitude in dealing with the complaint in the first place or was he manipulated by Wood, desperate to shut me up.
Greg Mossop’s misleading Summery Merseyside RAYNET Complaint Introduction
If you care to read this summary, it states that in article 10 of the RAYNET articles, controllers of both groups have to agree in accordance with their own constitutions; however neither group had these rather odd conditions in their constitutions.
Mossop states ‘The transfer of members was challenged by G8WHR (Alec Wood) in a phone call to me on 25th September at 20:38 BST as this was non-compliant with the constitutions of both groups’. Not so, because neither Sefton nor Liverpool had adopted this clause in their constitutions. A point now accepted as incorrect by Alec Wood (15th December If the updated Constitution has never been adopted, it should have been adopted at the next AGM so that it can be put right at their next AGM.)
Greg Mossop, instead of having the courtesy to call me or the registration officer to clarify the situation? reverses the memberships and Wood sends out emails saying he has been instructed to reverse the memberships as if it was nothing to do with him.
Read Martin RAYNET complaint response for more details
So why would Wood and Mossop act in this way? It’s simple. On the 4th of October Liverpool would be having an AGM with the election of officers prior to the County AGM the following week when the election of the County Controller would have been considered. With Sefton out of the picture, Alec Wood knew that I would have offered a different view to his and that his desire to control everything might crumble. Alec Wood, is in my opinion, a bully, he creates a bureaucracy of rules with barriers to prevent any legitimate challenge to his views. He has set aside the RAYNET principles of county coordination by cunningly misrepresenting facts and rubbishing ideas. He has no interest in the truth of the situation, just his desire to control it.
Taking the matter up with the chair Cathy Clark, she does not produce any professional response to the situation just a rambling letter that does not address any of the issues and finishes with ‘should a decision not be made in your favor, you would tender your resignation from RAYNET’. She goes on about ‘not suspending memberships’ and ‘establishing new groups’; what on earth is she talking about? Clearly, she does not have the capability to deal with these matters as she simply cannot comprehend the arguments, let alone the facts! of course, and she would like me to go away and resign!
The aftermath and attempts to rescue MEARL
In consultation with other RAYNET members and given the loss of membership and management in Merseyside RAYNET (No controllers, Stu had now died, or management in Liverpool) I approached the churches, User Services, and the MRF. The repeater sites themselves had not been inspected, and Southport had failed altogether (Martin put in a replacement repeater, now removed). Nor had anyone checked the kit in the council offices. In conversation with Liverpool and Sefton, I was the last person to visit; they had heard nothing since! Electricity costs had increased five-fold, and a measurement on the Southport Icom repeater revealed the power consumption of the repeater was 35 watts. With electricity at 50p per kilowatt hour, which would amount to 42p per day, around £154 per year. How was this to be funded?
The proposed solution was to form a charity outside of RAYNET in which the churches and the user services acted as trustees. The repeater would be offered to a wider range of event organisers who used volunteer services, and a charge would be made. In the negotiations, it was made very clear that the legacy of MEARL would be maintained.
The churches agreed, and the trustees confirmed. Then Alec steps in! On 25th October, Alec put himself forward as a trustee “I have put myself forward as the representative of RAYNET on MCR and I do wish to be involved and represent any interest RAYNET might have in the formation of MCR”. I reply, “I think it would be best to wait for the outcome of that inquiry before you become involved. Having said that may I suggest that at this time, Lee or Alan might be more appropriate and once the enquire is complete RAYNET can properly elect a representative”.
At this point, Alec is no longer interested and contacts the churches and spins a lot of nonsense such that the churches pull back. Statements like ‘With the establishment of local resilience forums under the Civil Contingencies Act the MRF Voluntary and Faith Sector Forum (now replaced by the Community Resilience Working Group) has continued with the status of a permanent group within the Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF) structure and oversees the MEARL and Amateur Radio provision in the local authorities. I would, therefore, further request a copy of your communication with the Merseyside Resilience Forum so that it can be formally placed on the agenda of the next MRF Community Resilience Working Group where RAYNET, the Red Cross, St John and other MRF Partners are represented. This would enable your MCR proposals to be considered alongside existing provisions. Nothing in the new arrangments for managing the site would have changed anything RAYNET wanted to do with the MRF.
And in conclusion
Life really is too short to be in an organisation run by bureaucrats and their unquestioning trustees, overseen by a management structure that really has no regard for the member’s rights or interests. Whilst there are many excellent local groups, RAYNET nationally simply isn’t fit for purpose!
On 5th January I wrote to Cathy Clark, saying “It has been suggested that you might like to provide a statement on behalf of RAYNET to be posted along with my article when it is shared publicly. If that is the case, can you let me have it in the next 7 days, please I will attach it.” To date, there has been no response; if ever there is one, I will post it here. Nor has there been any response from Greg Mossop or Alec Wood who were sent advance copies in December.