A scheduled meeting of the Board was held on 29 January (1:00 until 18:00) at the Loughborough University campus following a Sport & Recreation Alliance (SRA) event attended by the CEO and Chair. Some matters needed to be referred to a subsequent phone meeting on the evening of 12 February.
All ten current directors contributed to both meetings; additionally, David Brown attended as an observer at the 29 January meeting so that there was greater National Council involvement at a time when two Council Nominated Director roles remain unfilled.
The main matters covered were as follows:
a. Risk Register: The Board reviewed the risk register in detail, having asked that it should be restructured to reflect “top risks”, of which there are 12 in the re-drafted version. Detailed suggestions were agreed, including additional mitigating actions, clarity of definition of some of the risks, the need to identify risks relating to the BMC’s relationships with its related trusts and the need for the register to indicate the level of residual risk after mitigating actions have been taken into account. There was discussion of the need for some financial leverage to be available to address emerging risks and the need for areas within the BMC’s work to develop their own risk management approaches.
b. Strategic Plan 2020-24: The proposed final version of the strategic plan was reviewed and it was agreed that the small number of wording amendments should be drawn to the attention of National Council for comment before the plan was made available through the website. With some aspects of the plan meriting further review in the context of updating the plan for the 2021-25 period, it was agreed that it’s more appropriate for that next version to be the one that is presented as a “glossy” document.
c. Financial Plan 2020-24 and Budget 2020: The financial plan and budget were discussed at both meetings, giving due consideration to the further work undertaken to provide additional detail and explore some refinements suggested by the Board. The budget for 2020 was approved with an operational surplus of £75k being agreed as a target for the CEO and office, with any unforeseen financial circumstances to be drawn to the attention of the Board during the year. Going forward, the Board would review expenditure across the strategic themes, with the additional information that will be provided through a business plan narrative and operational plan details contributing to that. The BMC’s financial relationship with related trusts, especially the BMC Access & Conservation Trust (ACT) and the Mountain Heritage Trust, featured prominently in the budget discussion and it was agreed that the relationship needs to be based on a clearer strategic understanding.
d. Organisation Development Group (ODG): Terms of reference were agreed for the Partners Assembly and for work relating to the Digital Strategy and the Specialist Committee review. Neal Hockley was appointed as the new lead for the work relating to the BMC in Wales, succeeding Will Kilner who had stepped down, and revised interim expectations were agreed in relation to this group.
e. Governance Working Group (GWG): A progress update was provided, noting that a further meeting of the GWG was imminent. It was agreed that emerging implications for the BMC’s Articles needed to be identified and included within the overall set of potential resolutions for the AGM, with clarification to be provided for members through a webinar on 2 April.
f. Board Internal Evaluation: A draft questionnaire was considered, covering areas of governance highlighted within the Code of Sports Governance as well as aspects specific to the BMC such as the Memorandum of Understanding. It was agreed that a questionnaire approach should be complemented by one-to-one discussions between the Chair and each director, with the findings to be discussed on the day of the next Board meeting.
g. Election of Council Nominated Directors: The Board received a report from the two independent directors who had investigated issues that had arisen in relation to the process of election of Council Nominated Directors in December. With the appointment of directors having been put on hold, the Board agreed with the report’s conclusions that aspects of the process were not beyond challenge and that therefore National Council should be asked to run an election process again, with suitable amendments to aspects of the process.
h. Climate Emergency Declaration: The Board considered a draft operational plan, noting that climate change had been one of the key themes at the SRA conference. The “project” nature of the immediate operational proposals was noted, this being seen as an initial initiative within the broader strategy that the BMC needs to develop.
i. Subsidiaries and Trusts: Progress on a number of governance matters relating to the Trusts was reviewed. It was noted that ACT had recently held its strategy day at which alignment with the BMC’s strategic themes had been explored. Also that the Mountain Training Trust’s AGM was scheduled for October, providing an opportunity for exploring a number of current issues.
j. Progressing Competition Climbing Performance Group (CCPG): The Board received a report on the progress being made with the implementation plan. Paul Drew was appointed as the Board’s representative on the CCPG and the composition of an interview panel for the chair of the group was agreed. It was agreed that the ToR as well as the group’s name should be subject to further review once the CCPG is in place.
k. Arrangements for 2020 AGM: The Board provided feedback on options for structuring the schedule of the AGM day (13 June, at Plas y Brenin). Considerations include ensuring sufficient time for presentations and Q&A sessions relating to main themes of current and future interest as well as specific thematic sessions and the formal AGM business of voting on resolutions and elections.
The next meetings of the Board are on 1 April and 15 July, with the dates for a further two meetings during autumn 2020 having also been agreed.
Chair, BMC Board of Directors
READ: previous Board meeting summaries and minutes
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