Andy Say - an Ordinary Member: Why I’m supporting Option B

Posted by Andy Say on 05/06/2018
Andy Say: preparing for the AGM.
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BMC member Andy Say is choosing Option B when voting for our new constitution. Here he writes to explain why:

Andy Say is a member of the BMC.  He pays his subs every year and has done so for about 40 years now.  He has never climbed 9a, has absolutely no aspiration to become an ex-President and has never been Patron-ised.  He is just ordinary.

This AGM is possibly the most important for the BMC of the last 25 years.  Members are being asked to decide on the future governance of the BMC: the way that the BMC is run. Two choices are being presented for consideration: one that accedes to the Tier 3 requirements of Sport England (Option A) and one that seeks to retain the core of a member-led organisation for that range of activities we call ‘mountaineering’ (Option B).

The BMC traditionally has been member-centered and member-led, with an important battle being won some years ago to bring us to a one-member-one- vote democratic structure based upon the involvement of the BMC at a grassroots level.  Much of the work of the BMC is actually done by unpaid volunteers for the benefit of their peers.  And let’s not forget; ‘The BMC’ is the members.  They are the people that pay the staff, choose their National Councillors and elect their Executive Committee. 

Option B is about retaining that structure.  The five elected officers, President, three Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer will be selected, proposed and elected directly by all the members. There will be, as now, three independent directors, proposed by the Nominations Committee and recommended by the Board to the members for their approval. Option B also addresses the legal issues identified by legal advice.  These changes make the BMC compliant with the Companies Act and also the Sport and Recreation Alliance Principles of Good Governance; indeed this structure will be similar to that used by Mountaineering Scotland.

And then let’s build upon it.  Let’s not forget that there were another 41 recommendations in the ORG report, many of which are completely sound and should be implemented without any undue delay.  Competition climbing could be handled by a subsidiary company of the BMC, open to partnership with other Nations.

Sure, the BMC ‘system’ is under stress, it is important to acknowledge that.  The Area meeting structure needs reinforcing by the use of social media; there are whole areas of our ‘broad church’ who feel that the BMC is ‘not for them’; National Council and Board need to up their game.   But how we fix that by essentially cutting the membership out of the decision making process eludes me. 

The advantages of Option A are clear.  We get continuation of Sport England funding.  We also get a very ‘corporate’ model of governance; with a Board of Directors making all decisions and with the powers of the members relegated to ‘consultation’ and ‘endorsement’.

The disadvantages of Option A are also clear. We get a “corporate” model of governance that excludes the members.  On a Board of twelve only the President is chosen, proposed and elected by the members. For me, and a lot of other ordinary members, the advantages of Option B are evident.

What I would say to anyone is, ‘Imagine that Sport England doesn’t exist (it might not in a few years), imagine that there is no Sport England funding (it might not in even less years).  Look at the two options on the table: the ‘top-down’ or the ‘member-led’ structure. Then decide which ‘BMC’ you will feel more comfortable paying your subs to for the next 10 years. 

This is an article promoting Option B: a resolution originally proposed by 44 members of the BMC.

Please do vote in our upcoming AGM

We need 75% of the votes to be in favour of one option in order to adopt a new constitution. If you're a BMC member, please check for an email from ERS for your personal URL to vote. It's quick, simple and only takes a minute. If you haven't recieved an email, please fill in the form here: https://intouch.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-agm/


Your AGM: Thanks for your vote!

This year's historic AGM had a record voting turnout, with 6,796 of those votes being made online. We want to thank everyone for having their say and helping to shape the future of the BMC. 

READ THE FULL REPORT: The BMC's historic 2018 AGM

Detailed info on the BMC AGM 2018

Find out more about the last AGM. It's a complicated topic, so start with this one:

READ: It's your BMC, and we need your vote

We were asking our members to vote on some significant changes to the BMC's constitution. Part of the discussion was the relationship between the BMC and Sport England. 

READ: What are Sport England Tier 3 and Tier 1 relationships?

There were two constitutions to vote for: Proposal A (as recommended by National Council) and Proposal B, proposed by a group of members. To learn more about the two proposals, you can read a detailed comparison written by BMC honorary solictor Martin Wragg.

READ: A comparison of alternative constitutions

How did the recommendations get decided? Read more about the process that lead to this stage, including the reports from the Organisational Review and more. 

READ: BMC Organisational Review reports

Watch the Open Forum debate

We held a debate in Manchester on 15 May for both options to be discussed. You can watch the livestream here:


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