Delays in issuing GL certificates

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Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby colineglos » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:39 pm

I introduced a very close work colleague of mine to freemasonry just over 2 years ago, he completed his MM degree in January 2018, and he is still
awaiting his certificate to be issued. Now well in excess of 8-10 weeks since the secretary filed the form.

After my advice my friend contacted the lodge secretary who informs him everyone is still awaiting upon UGLE to issue such. I have told my brother to be patient, but even Im running out of excuses as to how long the issuing of a 3rd degree cert should take. In my day, its was simply a matter of one meeting to the next. Now chaos seems to reign, with everyone blaming each other!

Things like this really P*** me off. I've spent alot of time and trouble introducing friends to Freemasonry only to have some idiotic bureaucratic nonsense which threatens to scupper even close friendship. For the first time, Im seriously thinking about become "unattached" as Im finding such "conflicts" between lodges and the UGLE too much to even contemplate. And alot of my fellow brothers hold similar views, particularly against such petty bureaucratic rubbish.

I also recently spoke with UGLE on the telephone, spent 10 minutes on hold, and then a young lady told me nobody was available to talk to,
and unceremoniously cut me off... wonderful... I thought "I must try that again..."

Seems some of those in ADMIN (both at UGLE/Provincial) need to get their house in order. Making sure we serve our brethren properly and without needless delays.
And maybe perhaps one day those in UGLE will see that theres more to Freemasonry than London itself, and that LIFE exists outside the Capital.

Otherwise, not only shall we lose new brethren, but also those like myself who are fed up of such idiosyncratic foibles.

S & F
Colin
Last edited by colineglos on Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby colineglos » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:42 am

Update:

I have now informed the brother concerned that he would best to contact the Secretary at PGL, and report the matter directly to him.
I personally believe there is no other option than to insist that the GL certificate be sent out direct to him via Registered Post.
This complies with BoC 174 (D) which states:

"A Brother's Grand Lodge Certificate should be presented to him in open Lodge,
and the fact entered on the minutes, but, in cases where this cannot be conveniently done,
the certificate shall be sent to him by registered post, and the secretary should report the
fact at the next regular meeting of the Lodge so that it duly be recorded."


S & F
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Stevecoath » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:55 am

I know how you feel Colin,
I had to wait 2 years for my Royal Arch certificate and 6 years for my 1st in another order (when it was presented at the same time as my 5th)
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Richard George » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:05 am

I'm slightly offended by this. As a former ProvAGSec, I can say that there are many provinces where those that work in the various offices (if they even have one as many have to set aside a room at home) do the job for the benefit of the members of the Province. Many of them get no renumeration whatsoever, so to be castigated for something outside their control is offensive in the extreme. And if you've ever had occasion to interact with the office staff in Registration rather than just the switchboard, you'll find them quite helpful. You also have no idea how much work they actually have. Our lodge secretary used to work in there and I know from him and from personal experience that they have cabinets full with forms needing to be processed. Remember that they are dealing not just with your form, but thousands of similar forms from across every lodge, province and district.

They recently asked for applications to cover for maternity leave with the possibility of a permanent post. Did you apply to help out? Probably not. I would have as I've all the necessary experience (lodge/chapter secretary /scribe, DC, ProvAGSec), still want to help out - and retired. But as the hours were 9-5 in London and I have 2 young sons and a working wife I couldn’t. So please think before complaining next time.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby colineglos » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:53 pm

Richard George wrote:.....

They recently asked for applications to cover for maternity leave with the possibility of a permanent post. Did you apply to help out? Probably not. I would have as I've all the necessary experience (lodge/chapter secretary /scribe, DC, ProvAGSec), still want to help out - and retired. But as the hours were 9-5 in London and I have 2 young sons and a working wife I couldn’t. So please think before complaining next time.


I understand your comments, but some things are not nice to read but I have been honest in saying this is how things
have been recently. I do what I can for my Lodge, especially when it comes to assisting new members who experience problems with those small little
items that mean alot to them as individuals.

I am retired myself, (due to ill heath), and I always volunteer whenever I can, but being in rural Gloucestershire means
that I would not be able to travel to London on a daily basis regardless of what assistance was needed at UGLE.

We need to look after those new brethren joining our Lodges!
And if the UGLE cannot handle the work load - then perhaps it has to
remain at a more local level.

S & F
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Richard George » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:21 pm

What about perhaps volunteering to help out at Province level? From experience, they're quite likely to jump at the chance of some extra help - perhaps like data entry for Adelphi.

There are certain things that can only be done at the centre. Just out of curiosity, how long was it between his initiation and his raising? - and is he on the AR1? It's been known for candidates to go through their 3rd, and the paperwork for the initiation still to be outstanding when the certificate application goes through. In these cases it's generally because the paperwork has gone missing between the lodge and Province (or doesn't get sent through) and the latter is not even aware that an initiation has taken place, so there's no record of the individual at GL - so no certificate gets issued .. remember that the certificate application is the only form that bypasses the Province and goes direct to London, so the Province won't know there's a problem to be looked into. I've known this to happen on a few occasions, so it might be something worth checking. If he's on the AR1 then he's registered; if not, then you won't get a certificate until the Form P is dealt with.

Whilst Registration have a cabinet full of forms being dealt with - and there's only a couple of people who deal with them, the time consuming part is where there's been no preregistration at the Province level (trust me, it is time consuming!!) - hence my suggestion of contacting the Province to see if they need any help. Form Ps are supposed to go via the Province, but I do know that some secretaries will, in spite of requests to the contrary, send them direct to London. Now I'm not suggesting this has happened in this case, but a) it's a possibility - in which case see next, or b) the forms were lost in the post between the lodge and Province .. but the AR1 question should resolve that one.

In the case where there's been no preregistration or the Form P went direct to London, the forms tend to get put to the back of the queue until they've got the time to deal with them .. which they don't have(!), whilst the preregistered forms go through in a couple of days (Province can monitor which pre-registrations are outstanding and chase if necessary). My guess is the original forms have gone missing or were sent direct to GL, so they'll have ended up in this category. Where there has been a delay and (eg) the individual is waiting to join another order (like Chapter), Registration will, if asked, dig out the certificate application and deal with it pretty much straight away - BUT, and it's a big but, DON'T contact Registration direct - ALWAYS go via your lodge secretary or failing that, the Provincial Secretary. The latter will be on good terms with the guys in London and can generally get things done quickly when needed. I know a number of them down there and have spoken to them on a number of occasions and can testify that they'll bend over backwards when approached the right way.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Richard George » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:26 pm

Oh, and be aware that Registration's work load has actually DECREASED since the computerised system came online (I was involved in the original pilot project, so am aware of the 'before' and 'after') and even more so since the Provinces and Districts took on more of the legwork. That doesn't necessarily mean they can be any quicker as various data protection acts etc have come in alongside computerisation.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby colineglos » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:52 pm

I've just spoken with the Secretary@pgl, the matter is now being looked into, and personally I've had enough of such bureaucracy to last me a lifetime.

Im going fishing down the Severn tomorrow... and hopefully I wont catch a thing (as I just prefer the tranquility of watching the
river flow by), and will use the time to contemplate my own future within Freemasonry.

Gentlemen, take care.
But Im done here.

As always
S & F
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby admin » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:15 pm

To the best of my knowledge the PGL have no control over the issueing of Grand Lodge Certs.

Been through this with my own lodge, jumped back in as sec. to sort out problems and it turned out to be just a matter of a lost envelope. It happens.

As soon as I contacted UGLE it was sorted within a couple of days.

Two Member even went to Gt. Queen St. and collected the certs to be presented the next week.

I have [ only because no one more senior was available ] presented 5 certs in Lodge which were no more than 2 or 3 months old.

So if I can fix it and it seems to be working now why can it not be sorted out. Give me a letter of authority and I will sort it out.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby The Uninitiated » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:18 am

colineglos wrote:he completed his MM degree in January 2018, and he is still awaiting his certificate to be issued. Now well in excess of 8-10 weeks since the secretary filed the form.


I know from my two young daughters that "instant gratification" is de rigour.

Patience, my Brother!
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Richard George » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:36 am

colineglos wrote:I've just spoken with the Secretary@pgl, the matter is now being looked into, and personally I've had enough of such bureaucracy to last me a lifetime.

Im going fishing down the Severn tomorrow... and hopefully I wont catch a thing (as I just prefer the tranquility of watching the
river flow by), and will use the time to contemplate my own future within Freemasonry.

Gentlemen, take care.
But Im done here.

As always
S & F


That, I have to say, is a real shame. Regrettably bureaucracy is a fact of life these days and we can do little to control it. I hope you just mean 'with this thread' and not Freemasonry in general because it would be a shame to lose someone because of a possible postage issue.
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RAC: Fidelity 441, Walden 1280, CIP 7429
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KT: Arthur Dentith 434
A&AR: Octagon 1076, Iceni 1126, Cambs& Isle of Ely 1157
KTP: Clare 74
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby banjocrewe » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:54 pm

Hi Colin,
I read with interest your posting, I do hope you are still around, and hope by now things have sorted themselves.

It took me over a year to obtain my GL Certificate, that is to physically get it into my hands. Just after I took my third degree, I was transferred overseas, and only came back to the UK every 2-3 months. During this time I contacted the lodge secretary and asked him to send me the certificate via registered post. I was met with stony silence. When I did attend lodge again, I was informed that the certificate had gone missing.

Following that disappointment, time moved on, and the secretary role was taken on by another brother, and further arguments ensued. His position seemed to be that one used the GC certificate as a kind of "bargaining tool". You either come along to the next subsequent lodge meeting or you dont get it! I protested explaining my position, and was told "Because that's how this lodge does it". End of.

Finally I contacted the PGL secretary, and a few days later constitutional order was restored. I received my GL certifcate and a letter of apology from the WM concerning unacceptable delays.

S&F
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby JulesTheBit » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:08 pm

I'm a Lodge secretary. I applied for 2 GL certificates by email on June 10. One arrived today, the other is delayed because an incorrect date had previously been provided (illegible handwriting) and UGLE are seeking clarification. Quite right too, and I don't expect the delay to be more than a few days.

We're a Universities Scheme Lodge and our members are highly mobile. The certificate that arrived today is for a member who graduated and was Raised in London but is presently in Turkey. He has offices in 2 cities there and moves between them. Next month he's moving again to do his post-grad in Hong Kong. He'll be back in the UK sometime, but nobody knows when. I'll send his certificate by post, but agreeing an address is going to be a challenge. How about electronic GL certificates backed by PKI technology? :)

S&F, Jules
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Guy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:20 pm

JulesTheBit wrote:How about electronic GL certificates backed by PKI technology? :)

S&F, Jules



Ooh - how dare you suggest such a 21st century thing (42) We've only just got round to emailing summonses etc...
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Trouillogan » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:15 pm

Guy wrote:
JulesTheBit wrote:How about electronic GL certificates backed by PKI technology? :)

S&F, Jules



Ooh - how dare you suggest such a 21st century thing (42) We've only just got round to emailing summonses etc...

Indeed, Internet Lodge No. 9659 instigated the distribution of lodge summonses by e-mail with the permission of UGLE in, I seem to remember, 1998. They have since asked UGLE to enable the Application Form P to be dealt with in the same form but that was met by a stone wall as they require real signatures on the completed document. However, the blank P forms are now produced by lodge secretaries but the completed form still needs an original signature as a security measure. The same could technically and administratively be applied in the case of the Grand Lodge Certificate - but almost certainly will never be. Not only is it a beautiful original document to be treasured but, remember, it is the Grand Lodge which is certifying that the brother named therein is a genuine member entered in the Grand Lodge register book and is signed off by the Grand Secretary himself. I really cannot see that being devolved away from Grand Lodge.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby JulesTheBit » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:05 am

I might just have been ahead of you Trouillogan, as a Lodge secretary I first started sending summonses by email in March 1997!

I wasn't entirely serious when I mentioned electronic GL certificates. They are important documents of great beauty and I treasure them, but they're not very secure as a proof of ID.

An additional electronic "dues card" type system using a robust PKI based signature system would be almost impossible to spoof. The Grand Secretary's electronic sig could be in the public domain and individual's signatures could be managed by a suitable certifying authority. But based on past experience Freemasonry in UGLE-land will be one of the last organisations to accept that kind of change.

I note that MetGL is accepting electronic signatures on honours forms, there's hope!

S&F, Jules
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Trouillogan » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:58 pm

Yes, Jules, I'm not quite sure of the year but as I understand it, it was internet Lodge that pushed UGLE into allowing e-mail to be used for summonses. Remember, they prohibit the use of postcards, so their approach was not guaranteed to succeed. I'm glad it did! Certainly you must have been one of the earliest adopters.

I agree, GL certificates are far from secure but, as we know, they cannot be used in isolation.

Again you're right - the use of foolproof encryption by UGLE as you outline won't be happening any time soon!

Personally, I don't see masonic 'honours' as being in any way significant so who cares if the form has an electronic signature?! MetGL has a huge member base, so anything to cut down the volume of paper would be welcome, particularly at investment time.
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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby JulesTheBit » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:12 pm

Yes Trouillogan, agreed.

Honours .... Let's not re-open the honours debate. Suffice it to say that I don't include mine in my sig, I don't think that it's relevant.

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Re: Delays in issuing GL certificates

Postby Trouillogan » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:17 am

JulesTheBit wrote:Yes Trouillogan, agreed.

Honours .... Let's not re-open the honours debate. Suffice it to say that I don't include mine in my sig, I don't that it's relevant.

S&F, Jules

Likewise, Jules. The most I use is 'Bro'; that is my highest honour. Sometimes I'm asked if I'm 'worshipful', to which my response is usually 'Only if you you say so, it's not for me to say' or words to that effect. Masonic post nominals are, to my mind, irrelevant - other than the OSM which will certainly never come my way.
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