BMC AGM 17: President's statement

Posted by Peter Burnside on 10/03/2017

The BMC can confirm that our AGM on 22 April 2017 will include an agenda item from Bob Pettigrew and others calling for a vote of no confidence in the Executive Committee of the BMC (the Board of Directors). The BMC strongly refutes this motion.

This is on the grounds of the, “wilful and deliberate withholding of future policy decisions from the members in attendance at the Annual General Meeting,” in April 2016 and that this was, “very poor governance by the Executive Committee”.

The BMC strongly refutes this motion and the accusations levelled at the Executive and we have published a full report on the matter. This was mailed to all members with the latest issue of Summit and is also available to download here

It is understood that the “future policy decisions” referred to in the motion relate to the Climb Britain rebranding exercise. At the time of the AGM (16 April 2016), any potential name change was a work in progress and it was not until the Executive Committee meeting of 18 May 2016 that a decision was reached to Trademark the name ‘Climb Britain’ and put it to the BMC’s main policymaking body – National Council – for consideration and a decision on 18 June 2016. The National Council voted unanimously in favour of the rebrand with one abstention. Once member disapproval became apparent, the BMC admitted that this Sport England funded rebranding had been a mistake and reacted quickly to rectify this – which shows that the BMC’s democratic process does work. The Executive believes that during the rebranding it acted at all times in good faith and in accordance with the rules of the BMC as laid down in its Articles of Association.

The motion of no confidence specifically does not mention subjects such as the Olympics and governance of the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) and members should not be confused into thinking they are voting on these issues through this motion.

As the motion of no confidence has been filed against the Executive Committee, I would like to ensure that all members are aware of how this body is compiled. With the exception of the salaried Chief Executive, all members of the Executive Committee are volunteers and are only appointed for three-year tenures with the exception of the Treasurer who stands for five years. These Executive volunteers are highly regarded individuals in their professional spheres and many (like all the other hard-working and appreciated volunteers who assist the BMC), devote considerable time and effort regularly at the expense of their career and family commitments for the good of the BMC. Tenures are staggered so that the composition of the Executive is regularly changing. Some of the policy grievances that signatories of this motion have referred to in public forums are matters that were voted on by National Council and Executive prior to any of the current volunteer Executives being in office. In addition, some members of the Executive will be ending their tenure on the day the motion will be debated and voted on at the AGM.

The BMC fully accepts that there are a number of important and pressing issues which require attention. These include:

  • Questions relating to organisational governance, accountability and decision making, and how this aligns with best practice in comparable organisations.
  • The BMC’s financial strategy; review of membership and commercial income streams and organisational policy on Government grant income (Sport England and UK Sport).

In addition, the impact and funding requirements in relation to the Olympics will also be considered alongside the BMC's relationship with international organisations, the UIAA and IFSC.

The BMC will address these issues and other concerns through an independently Chaired and comprehensive Organisational Review process which will begin in April 2017 and which is planned to report to the BMC AGM in April 2018. The details of this review will be published by the BMC office in mid-April and will be available for discussion over the AGM weekend in April 2017. This far-reaching independent review was instigated by National Council on 11 February 2017 before the no-confidence motion was filed.

Rehan Siddiqui
BMC President



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1) Anonymous User
10/03/2017
Can we see the motion, or do we have to wait for Summit.

Thanks
Graeme Alderson
2) Anonymous User
10/03/2017
An early draft of the motion has been posted here:
http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,27760.msg546309.html#msg546309

As is made clear in the article, this is not what members will be voting on at the AGM, however I think it is useful for members to see it as it puts the motion in context.
13/03/2017
I agree that the BMC is off route ,

and we have a few crux moves ahead with the Olympics and funding ourselves without government hand outs.

Loud discussion at the belay is always more preferable than cutting the rope!
4) tuck1s
20/03/2017
Received the Spring 2017 Summit today, and read the AGM background doc, including the conclusions section that notes "lessons were learnt". I understand that £75,420 of grants were made specifically for the rebrand.
Can the committee clarify
1. how much of the grant was spent towards the ultimately unsuccessful brand work
2. how that money was spent (external companies, internal expenses etc) and
3. what will happen to the remainder of the money?
5) Anonymous User
29/03/2017
As always when a crisis like this looms everybody questions the legitimacy of representation and the democratic processes involved. There will always be the central conflict between:

1) the represented (members) not really engaging that much, if at all, with those either charged with or having taken on the role of being the representatives (the BMC). Human nature being what it is the represented no matter how often invited and encouraged to participate will tend not to, providing they are generally happy and everything is chuggin along with no major car crashes.

2) thus the representatives (the BMC) consisting of a minority of passionate and hardworking volunteers backed up with a well-funded body with professional, committed staff are inevitably left in control of the agenda.

The lack of linkage between the two always runs the risk that the tail starts to wag the dog. It’s our own fault for not engaging enough with our representatives. It’s the Achilles heel of the whole set up.

Periodically the car crashes. Everybody crawls out then starts asking why did that happen.

It would seem to me that the risk of this happening can be markedly reduced if:

A) There is a formal mechanism (‘Proposals and Actions’) whereby the ongoing agenda is constantly, prominently and loudly broadcast so that the BMC can be confident it has the tacit approval of its proposals and actions from the silent majority whether they be paid up members or not.

B) As and when there is a screech of protest, the BMC responds positively, allowing those interested from all sides of an issue to freely engage until a way forward is agreed. Again that process should be formally enshrined. (‘Pause for Thought’ or some such?)

Most of the time, as long as they are getting it right the BMC will be left in peace to efficiently complete the tasks all are in accordance with. Contentious issues can be fairly dealt with and not end up crippling the organization.

This process usually happens in the end in any case but it tends to do so on an ad-hoc basis which ends up being a bit chaotic. I’m not proposing the odd article in Summit here but a web-based table listing what’s proposed, what’s been agreed and where are we up to, with appropriate links, which is constantly being updated so that everyone has no excuse not to be in the picture.

Core and Specialist Policies are available on the website as are Management Regulations and Annual reports but you do have to hunt with a vengeance and drill down 4 levels and in any case these don’t state what the BMC is actually doing or proposing to do at any one time. All fine and dandy for reference but this does not prominently and loudly broadcast what the BMC is up to in our names.

Its an idea that might help? Good luck. Crag Jones.

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