FISA: Moving Forward Together

With the recent suspension of the FCA from the FISA Steering Group, we can’t help but notice the mud-slinging going on.
You could be forgiven for believing that the FCA have been awkward in everything FISA have tried to do since inception – afterall, we have made a very useful scapegoat for many situations at FISA.
We’ll let you make up your own mind about what’s really going on – but in the meantime, we are happy to publish the correspondence, with no spin and no mud-slinging!


Email from Donald Maclean to Colin Mann, dated 25th March 2016 – Copied to all 24 members of the Steering Group:

Subject: FISA – Moving forward together

Dear Colin,

I hope you don’t mind me writing you with some observations and recommendations that you might wish to consider going forward.

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the work you have done to date, and in particular, the efforts you made to accommodate the FCA’s concerns in relation to the Articles of Association. I genuinely believed we both thought that we had succeeded in doing so. Central to FCA concerns about the new ‘Articles’ was the proposal to cede power from the Directors to the Steering Group. As the Chairman of a membership organisation, I am instinctively against such proposals and I don’t know how I could have made this plainer to you in our discussions.

However, you will admit that even on this sticking point I did in fact ‘give a bit’ when we agreed that such transfer of power would have to be carried by special resolution at a meeting. Quite why you decided to introduce an ordinary resolution to do this at the AGM, I cannot understand. Even more baffling was your decision to go for an ‘all or nothing’ vote on Resolution 1 when you must have known what the outcome would be, given the content of Resolution 3. As recently as your 8th March Steering Group meeting, the minutes record the fact that the FCA concerns were not fully addressed, so you must have known this was at the very least, a strategy with some risk.

So should the FCA have just capitulated and caved in. Well, if we thought the outcome of this vote would increase the risk of someone even stubbing their toe on a tree stump, we might have considered it, but as this debate has absolutely nothing to do with safety, we decided not to.

I must also tell you that Resolution 4 raised a few eyebrows amongst our members. To instigate a procedure to re-elect the existing Steering Group when you have dragged your feet for so long in dealing with the Contractors representation was inappropriate, to say the very least.

The pre-occupation with ‘Articles & Rules’ appears to have caused the Steering Group to lose focus, not surprisingly some would say. I sincerely hope that a lot more important things will be dealt with before you decide to revisit this issue. The existing Articles are perfectly adequate for running a safety initiative and if you do have a very small minority within your group who feel unable to continue with them as they are then I suggest they identify themselves to their colleagues and explain why it is so important to them. Failing this, they really must consider stepping down.

Going forward, we can continue to slug it out, to see who gets their way, or we can use our collective energies to go forward together, improving Health & Safety in the industry. Priority must be given to holding elections to create a new Steering Group. Not one person currently occupying a seat has ever been elected, so it will be necessary for this process to be carried out across all the categories. The new Steering Group must then sit down and have a realistic look at the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation. Then they will have to take an in depth look at their financial position. Is the organisation making best use of this resource? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, FISA needs to have a serious think about what it is trying to achieve, given the resources at its disposal. I would suggest starting to tackle a modest list of the problems (maximum of 3 or 4) where you have a realistic chance of success. Deal with one issue properly and then move on to the next. It’ll soon pick up a bit of momentum once it starts to achieve things that mean something to the people at the sharp end.

Some suggestions we have received include

  • Joint FISA/UKFPA/CONFOR/FCA regional safety meetings to discuss contractor safety issues and what we need to do to get the safety message across. The results to be used as the basis for our initial and future objectives.
  • Agreement to use common site documents
  • Separately pricing higher risk activities
  • ‘Shock’ hard hitting safety video

Whatever we do next, we have to accept that too few people who work in this industry are really that bothered about FISA. There is little point in protesting this point because anyone who isn’t wearing blinkers knows it to be true. This does NOT mean that these people do not take safety seriously, it’s just that they have doubts as to FISA being an improvement on what they are doing in their own businesses. So the challenge is a big one and the more Contractors you can get on side the better the chance of success.


Regards, Donald


Donald Maclean

UK Chairman

Forestry Contracting Association

Tel: (Direct) 07793 889992

Tel: 0333 355 3111