As you hopefully are already aware there are some very important changes being proposed for the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), to which the Bowline (like many climbing clubs) is affiliated. The BMC is a membership led organisation and as such it is key that members have their say in any proposed changes. Please take a moment to read the details below which will help you understand the changes and when and how you can have your say on these:
Just remind me what the BMC does again?
As climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers, the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) is our national representative body. The Bowline, like nearly all climbing clubs, is affiliated to the BMC. Key areas that the BMC works on are –
- Conservation and safeguarding the environment
- Providing testing and advice to improve safety
- Providing support to encourage participation of young people
- Supporting volunteers
- Negotiating access to crags, mountains and open countryside
- Supporting professional training, qualifications and development
- Supporting and governing competition climbing
- Providing support for clubs
- Providing specialist insurances
- Purchasing and managing property (huts)
- Purchasing and managing land (crags)
- Lobbying and campaigns
- Publishing guidebooks and DVDs.
- Conserving mountain heritage and tradition
All this work is done by a small group of BMC employees, and a much larger group of unpaid BMC volunteers – including some Bowline members. All Bowline members are BMC “club members”, because we are members of an affiliated club.
So what was the problem?
The BMC is managed by an Executive Committee and a National Council of members representatives. There have been increasing issues and concerns around these bodies, arising from legal problems around the Companies Act, issues raised by Sport England, and issues raised by the Exec / NC themselves. These were brought to a head during 2016/7 by the abortive “Climb Britain” rebrand, and the subsequent Motion of No Confidence.
Why does it matter?
As members, we want to be sure that the BMC is managed as effectively as possible, thus making best use of our subs! How the BMC is managed and organised has a crucial impact on how effective it is. We need to be sure that it is acting in the interests of us, the members, and that it is listening to and responding to the democratic majority. Some changes are needed to maintain recognition of the BMC by Sports England, for background see page 3 of the IG FAQ (link at end of this paper).
What has happened so far?
An “Organisational Review Group” (ORG) was set up in mid 2017, to review the BMC, take input from interested parties and relevant experts, and recommend changes to improve management of the BMC. The ORG produced its final report on 3 March 2018; since then, the recommendations have been taken forward by an “Implementation Group” (IG) composed of 5 members of the National Council. The IG have just (6 April 2018) issued their first set of proposals. Basically the IG have split the ORG proposals into 2 phases, phase 1 to be put to the full BMC membership via the annual AGM in June 2018, via a vote on a new set of Articles of Association for the BMC. Phase 2 changes will be considered at greater length, for potential implementation in 2019.
What is going to happen next?
The IG proposals will be debated at the next round of BMC area meetings, which are happening over the weeks commencing 9th and 16th of April. Output from these meetings will then be taken by BMC Area reps to a meeting in Kendal at the end of April, to decide exactly what to put to the AGM in June. At the June AGM the IG advise that -
- There will be a special resolution (i.e. requires 75% of voting members to approve the motion) in order to update the BMC Articles of Association to reflect the legal and good governance standards applicable in 2018, and to allow the continued recognition by Sport England crucial to our funded partners, and important to the BMC more widely..
- There will be an ordinary resolution (i.e. requires 50% of voting members to approve the motion) in order to agree the process and timelines by which the remaining recommendations by the ORG are reviewed and implemented as appropriate, and to commit to delivering this key proposal, for the April 2019 AGM wherever possible.
Please note that if you can’t make it to the AGM you really, really should try to use your proxy vote – see below. They will all count!
This is obviously an interim report, and the Bowline committee will update you as events proceed.
Where can I find out more? What do I need to do?
Read the references below. Do you agree with the proposals from the IG or not?
Go to our area meeting and listen to the debate – for most members your “home” BMC area will be the Midlands and the next meeting is on Wednesday 18th April, 8pm in Solihull (click for more details).
Most importantly – make your mind up on whether you agree with the final set of changes to be proposed at the June BMC AGM, and VOTE! You don’t have to attend the meeting in person – you can submit a proxy vote. We expect forms for this to be issued with the (somewhat delayed) spring edition of the BMC summit mag that all Bowline members are sent.
The IG have created a lot of detailed documents, but start with their high level briefing paper –
Also see their FAQ –