Statement from the BMC National Council and Board

Posted by Emma Travers on 02/10/2020

In line with our commitment to members the National Council have continued to review the Board progress against their stated plan and will continue to update Members as work progresses.

The Council would have liked to have seen more progress over the last six weeks on some of the actions committed to by the Board, specifically these are: 

1.     Effectively implement the role of Board Advisors in a coherent and clear manner; and 

2.     Follow our recommendation to ​urgently undertake ​facilitated sessions with the aim of reaching consensus among the Board. 

The Council are heartened to see that the new Acting Chair has firmly committed to following key actions: 

1.     Ensure the independent Boards Advisors are fully utilised and are authorised and supported in regularly briefing the Council.

2.     Focussing on appointing a new Chair and Directors to strengthen the Board in a timely fashion and with appropriately skilled people.

3.     Working with the Interim Executive to develop and begin delivery of the Operating Plan against clearly defined objectives. 

4.     Focussing on improving the relationship within the Board and effectiveness of the Senior Management Team and their relationship with the board. 

The Council is keen to ensure that the Board implements an effective Executive function, as recommended by the Organisational Review Group (ORG) under "Culture, Leadership and Management”. The Council considers this critical to ensuring that the non-executive members of the Board can utilise their time more effectively and focus on strategy and less on operational matters.

The Council has considered other options including calling a General Meeting and concluded they would provide little benefit to members, and would in all probability delay the implementation of an effective Senior Management Team which is critical to the long term stability of the Board and the efficacy of the BMC more generally.


Statement from BMC Board 

The BMC board is aware of the need to clarify its position to members in light of recent resignations and to assure its Members how this is being addressed and managed. The Board is also reviewing its own structure to ensure it is delivering its core remit.  

Further to the recent announcement that Gareth Pierce is stepping down as Chair, Gareth has now resigned and following a Board meeting on 30th September we would like to announce the appointment of Paul Drew as Acting Chair with immediate effect. Paul is currently Senior Independent Director and will continue to fulfil this position concurrently.

The Board wishes to thank Gareth for his incredible hard work, valued support and input during his period as Chair over the last two years. This has been an exceptionally challenging period, with both the implementation of the ORG and the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with. We look forward to his continued work within the BMC and wish him very well in his future endeavours.

The Appointment of an Acting Chair and support from the remainder of the Board will ensure that the Board can operate effectively at this time, and it will enable the process of recruiting a new Chair and two Independent Directors​. We are keen to identify the best possible candidates and we have appointed a recruitment agency Odgers Berndtson to support the nomination committee to complete this task during this quarter.

Until the recruitment process is complete, the Board will have additional support from three independent 'Board Advisors’. This non-voting group will provide support and feedback on Board process and function and each will have a specific area of focus to maintain continuity of work.

Louise Stewart, Trustee of BMC Access and Conservation Trust, CEO of Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust 

Rab Carrington, Patron and former BMC president and patron - support with staff relations.

Colin Knowles, former BMC director - assisting with governance and constitutional issues.

The Board wishes also to advise that Chris Stone, Council Nominated Director has resigned from the Board for reasons of workload and health and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his diligence and hard work during his tenure on the board. ​The National Council is intending to appoint another Council Nominated Director for at least an interim period to assist the Board before running a full election against the skills matrix once the new Directors are appointed.

Gareth, Chris and former Council Nominated Director Jon Punshon all remain active within the BMC and will be supporting the organisation in other ways; we are grateful for that continued support.

Other New Appointments:

Rosemary (Rosi) Yule: Nominated Director (Finance) 

Rosi has been co-opted to the Board from the Finance and Audit Committee and will remain in post until the next AGM. 

Actions taken by the Board to get back on track and create a framework for the future.

During this period of change, your Board has maintained a quorum to ensure we can operate legally and effectively and we are determined to manage and eliminate the previous reasons for unrest. We will build in new processes and behaviours to increase our focus, a balanced Board membership, output and communications to deliver an effective and sustainable operation that will give Members full engagement, transparency and confidence. Senior Management Team members attended relevant parts of the most recent Board meeting and  will continue to do so, with the goal of resetting the structure of the Senior Management Team and how they most effectively work with the Board. 

Sport England are helping us by providing a resource from an independent firm, Campbell Tickell a Management Consultancy, to undertake an assessment of the BMC Board and the background to recent difficulties. They will analyse those recent issues, assess our Boards performance and help create a framework to achieve our new defined objectives. This is aimed for completion in two to three months.

We have also agreed to run an externally facilitated Board discussion to review Directors duties and Board behaviours, a key step towards the Board working more effectively as a team.

The BMC will host an Member’s Open Forum which will take place online at the end of October. Staff and the Board will present their plan of action for the future and Members will have the opportunity to put forward their questions and air their views and concerns. Details of how to join and participate will follow shortly.

We will determine the appropriate timing and content for our AGM over the coming weeks.


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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