UKC

/ BMC Organisational Review Discussion Site

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Crag Jones - on 02 Feb 2018

 

Please see https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/introduction for further discussion on the BMC's organisational review.

16
UKB and BMC Shark - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Why did you feel it necessary to set up a separate website as opposed to discuss it on here?

toad - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Ordinarily i wouldn't think it important, but we really need to know who crag jones is and the reason for this group. 

Otherwise it stinks of fish

MG - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to toad:

It follows various posts on the AC email list and a request to move them somewhere else. Whether there is more to it than this, I don’t know.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to toad:

99% sure it is Caradog Jones. Has an extensive wiki entry: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caradog_Jones

toad - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to MG:

Thanks. Shows I’m not in the AC, I guess......

kamala - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Perhaps it's not on UKC because a fair proportion of keen climbers - including BMC members - actively avoid UKC?

I know of several very active female climbers who really don't like this site for discussion. 

(Sorry, that should have been a reply to Shark, or toad.)

Post edited at 21:48
1
Ian W - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Why did you feel it necessary to set up a separate website as opposed to discuss it on here?


Hi Simon,

I thoughr it was a BMC thing!! Probably much better than continued repetitive UKC threads, as it keeps it all in one place, and invites more open discussion.

Very disappointing to see however, that the BMC 30 conrinue to display an almost complete ignorance of the role of the ASGM in modern organisations, a very skewed and out of touch vision of BMC governance and membership representation, and (and I can be quite certain on this), absolutely no idea whatsoever on corporate governance, the olympics, and the relationship between the international governing bodies, the BMC, and MS and MI.

1
Paul Evans - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to kamala:

Hi Kamala. I share MG's view - that this is an AC initiative to stop the BMC30 misusing the ACs internal email system. I take your point that many people avoid UKC, but unless Crag's new site gets publicised more widely (and it may have been, and I may have missed it) then anyone who avoids UKC, and isn't an AC member, won't know about it. 

Cheers

Paul

UKB and BMC Shark - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Hi Simon,

> I thoughr it was a BMC thing!! Probably much better than continued repetitive UKC threads, as it keeps it all in one place, and invites more open discussion.

> Very disappointing to see however, that the BMC 30 conrinue to display an almost complete ignorance of the role of the ASGM in modern organisations, a very skewed and out of touch vision of BMC governance and membership representation, and (and I can be quite certain on this), absolutely no idea whatsoever on corporate governance, the olympics, and the relationship between the international governing bodies, the BMC, and MS and MI

 

In that case presumably you will submit a letter or article or post comments to put them straight...

 

kamala - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Interesting, thanks. I'd just given it a cursory glance and thought it was a good idea to gather source materials in one place together with the discussion. But of course you're right, if this is the only place it's advertised, non-UKC users probably won't find it. Perhaps the BMC should send all its members a link...

Just started to catch up on the reading...good grief.

 

Ian W - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Yup indeedy.

Andy Say - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

I think to enable the sharing of emails, documents, etc.  Not really possible on this forum.

Andy Say - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to toad:

> Ordinarily i wouldn't think it important, but we really need to know who crag jones is and the reason for this group. 

> Otherwise it stinks of fish

He's a total bloody slouch.  Done nowt....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caradog_Jones

Andy Say - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to kamala:

> Interesting, thanks. I'd just given it a cursory glance and thought it was a good idea to gather source materials in one place together with the discussion. But of course you're right, if this is the only place it's advertised, non-UKC users probably won't find it. Perhaps the BMC should send all its members a link...

> Just started to catch up on the reading...good grief.

Hi Kamala.  Just back from NW area meeting.  I have been requested to send a link to Crag's website to all attendees.

Andy Say - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Hi Simon,

> Very disappointing to see however, that the BMC 30 conrinue to display an almost complete ignorance of the role of the ASGM in modern organisations, 

What's an ASGM?

Paul Evans - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hi Andy.

Good to meet up tonight. Thought that was a thorough and courteous discussion, covered a lot of ground. As I said to Craig in the meeting, this really needs to get much wider circulation if we are to get maximum value from it. As I said to Carl after the meeting, really needs to be done via BMC / ORG. And building on what Les Ainsworth said about online voting, it needs to finish up with a couple of short summary documents, one by the "for" group and one by the "against" group, which summarise precisely and concisely, without jargon, what the differing positions are, so that the 99% of members who don't have the time to read all the docs can make an informed decision. Of course, it's always possible that the two groups reach amicable agreement and we can all go off climbing.

Cheers

Paul Evans

Rob Parsons on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

That site doesn't seem to be working very well for me.

When I, for example, click on the 'All comments' tab, all I see are three test comments dated 22.1.18. (See below.)

Is this browser-specific or something? Or am I doing something wrong?

22/01/2018 22:49:02 Josephine Bloggs Test 1 Brilliant . . .
3
22/01/2018 22:53:01 Henry le Orrible Test 2 Terrible . . .
4
22/01/2018 22:55:54 Raymond Random Test 3
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed diam lorem,

 

Ian W - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> What's an ASGM?


Its a very quickly typed, non proof-read form of AGM.........  my bad

Andy Say - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Ian W:

That's a relief; I thought I was exhibiting an almost complete ignorance of the role of the ASGM in modern organisations, 

keith-ratcliffe on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I got that as well.

Crag Jones - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Thanks for the interest in this topic and apologies for being slow in responding. The reason for setting up the website

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/introduction

was the lack of a substantial open 'platform' anywhere else for people to both gather information and should they wish present their own views and enter into discussion on the future of the BMC. Hopefully when it comes to voting time, people will then be better informed in making their choices.

I would far rather the BMC itself could host such a platform but as an organization it has shied away from such member engagement. Partly because it likes to maintain a tight control on the narrative, at times forgetting perhaps it is a members organisation; partly because it might turn into an ugly bar-room brawl. Lets see? The BMC also feels it has had to step back from discussions whilst the Organisational Review is taking place. That OR is taking place behind closed doors and whilst quite a few sensible recommendations are emerging there are many valid concerns about the process

- Why are only certain questions being asked, only certain options being offered?

- Where are the alternatives? Where is the member engagement beyond skewed questionnaires and questionable analysis? Their working practises might be admirable but how do we know?

- Worries that the OR review itself is perversley being used as a means to enshrine the lack of accountability it was meant to be addressing in the first place!

- Lack of respect for existing democratic processes within the BMC. A notable resistance from the centre when Area Meetings and the National Council seek to question and challenge the Executive's wishes.

I could go on forever but hopefully this will answer some of the initial questions posted here. The web-site is a better platform for such discussions and I have posted my own opinions there. It is structured so that people can post opinion pieces (whatever their views), discuss things and make succinct, concrete proposals.

You could see the existing BMC functioning well last night at the well attended NW Area Meeting where all of this was discussed and its area reps mandated to take decisions forward to the National Council. Staff and Executive members were there to hear what members had to say. As always, ways of improving the reach of such area meetings were discussed. Hopefully this website can help achieve that.

Have a look. Pass on the link. I'm hoping the BMC itself will see fit to do the same.

Crag Jones - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Answer below.

Crag Jones - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to toad:

Answer below.

Burcu - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

The site doesn't work well for me.

Crag Jones - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Burcu:

Let me know via email (link above) about any tech problems and I will try and sort them. I have tested the site in both Google Chrome  and Microsoft Edge browsers for users with AND without accounts where it has functioned correctly. 

Ian W - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

In haven't tried posting yet, but will do so tonight; i couldn't see any reason why it wont work, as it seemed fine when reading the articles on it, but I'll leave a message on here one way or the other. I use firefox generally, but if that doesn't work,I also have chrome.

galpinos on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

It's a bit of a car-crash to read on a mobile (well, on my iphone SE) but fine on the laptop.

It feels a bit "BMC 30" at the moment so that might put people off engaging with it but not sure what the answer to that is.

Crag Jones - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Thanks. Hopefully a wide variety of people will engage and we can get away from a 'for' and 'against' mentality. I'm hoping it will encourage people to look at the current recommendations, provide both support and criticisms where warranted of those and come forward with additional or alternative constructive solutions if needed. At the very least the ORG recommendations provide a starting point which can be built upon, using existing democratic processes. It does not have to be an all or nothing outcome either. The main issue to clear up at the moment is the dissemblance in the current recommendations around who actually formulates  policy in future. Ideally when it comes to voting time people will be able to do so from an informed perspective and not just be pliant insurance customer toeing the party line as dished out by 'central office'.

4
Offwidth - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

One man's central office clone is another man's informed opinion. That last line is very unhelpful if you want people to use the site in a truly balanced way.

The site is not funtioning properly  from my tablet.

Post edited at 20:08
Ian W - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Just posted a response on the site; works absolutely fine, except that the layout (lines not "wrapping around") appears to not work. Still readable ish and a great improvement on no debate / comment at all!!

 

Post edited at 20:14
Paul Evans - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Hi Crag

One thing which would help is if we could clearly see the authors of each paper in the "review documents" section. Les and Phil have included their names in the header of each doc, and the BMC30 papers are also clearly marked as such. However I can't work out who other papers are from, and it would be nice to know. 

Thanks

Paul

 

Crag Jones - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Thanks for that. I'll go back through existing docs and label them + have changed 'Help' advice to remind people to label them.

Crag Jones - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Hi Ian. That contribution noe formatted and help page updated for guidance on this. Thanks.

Crag Jones - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I'll do more tablet testing. Let me know any specific tech probs via email (above or via sites Help page). Thanks.

Offwidth - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I was using google on a pretty standard Samsung tablet. Main thread links worked but some sub links didn't.

I thought I should say thanks again for putting this up as there is a need for a safe discussion space and the BMC website has functional problems at present (eg broken search) and doesn't keep everythjng neatly in one place. Classic volunteer led work. I was going to thank you in person on Monday but you were deep in conversation and I was the taxi driver who needed to get Lynn home.

Post edited at 18:34
Andy Say - on 09 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Crag, thanks for your efforts with this. A '''neutral" space is a good idea given levels of suspicion in some quarters

I'll try to post some thoughts myself.

Andy

Paul Evans - on 09 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Hi Crag

Just posted this question, but since the answer might make life easier for other users, thought I'd post it here also. "There are 2 substantive docs from the BMC30 group to the ORG, an initial 12 page response following publication of the ORG interim report, dated 8 Dec 17, and a later 4 page response dated 29 Jan 18, following the BMC30 meeting with the ORG.  Can the BMC30 please advise the current status of the earlier document? Are all the points in the 8 Dec doc still valid, have some been resolved by subsequent discussion, or what? Should we just refer to the later 29 Jan document when wanting to understand the BMC30 current position?"

Will update with the answer, but depending on response, could save folk a lot of time! Or not...

Paul

Crag Jones - on 09 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Thanks for that Paul. I have asked the BMC-30 for a response and to post it on the comments page of the website. Crag.

Crag Jones - on 09 Feb 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hopefully so. The more 'transparent' membership engagement we can have in reorganization, the better and hopefully the website will allow members both to debate issues AND come up with agreement or alternative and additional ideas where needed.  If more time is allowed for that the more likely we are to get a successful outcome.

Paul Evans - on 22 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Anyone know if Crag's away at the mo?  I sent a review doc last week which has yet to appear, and nothing else added to site from mid last week...

 

Paul Evans - on 23 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Ok while Crag's on radio silence, the doc I have prepared (commenting on the BMC30's latest paper) is here - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ytshmd88y9z0koh/AAAPqCpR5wHFxy0bdo2s-185a?dl=0

Comments welcomed. I'll remove this once Crag is back on air and his site resumes it's role as neutral source for debate and exchange of views. 

Cheers

Paul

Crag Jones - on 26 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Been away climbing last week. Will start on all updates today. Internet access was awkward in Greece hence lack of activity. Great climbing though! Crag

Andy Say - on 26 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

> Anyone know if Crag's away at the mo?  I sent a review doc last week which has yet to appear, and nothing else added to site from mid last week...

He's been off clipping blots in Greece, but back on the job now.

Paul Evans - on 26 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Thanks Crag. Glad you had a good time in Greece! 

Offwidth - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Just had a look at the site again and I've realised what I thought were broken links on the discussion page actually seem to be mainly empty discussion slots. Are those interested in detailed debate with their name attached really so few? It's currently quieter than even the NW area BMC meeting

Thanks for your latest contribution at least!

Paul Evans - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Yes, I had the same thought. I think there are some useful contributions on the site, but to properly critique them you need to have fully read the ORG report, the current M&AA, and had a detailed think about ins and outs of the points made by each contributor. Needs a fair bit of spare time! Having said that, I will try to comment on a few more of the review docs, not just the BMC30 one. 

 

Crag Jones - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Link to the website https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/introduction has now (26/2/2018) also been published by the BMC. The whole site is set up to be 'interactive' via different routes. Contributors can submit their own 'Review Document' via email, edit or comment the 'Discussions' document directly, add direct comments to individual 'Review Documents' or list a hard and fast proposal under 'Ideas' without surrounding discussion or simply add a 'Your Comment'. I'll duplicate or move things to the most suitable areas where it makes sense and restructure if necessary.

Crag Jones - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

There are so far 17 separate detailed papers submitted in response under the  Review Documents page. 

Paul Evans - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

The latest paper by Phil Simister is very interesting, Crag, well worth reading in full.

Paul

Crag Jones - on 27 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Phil Simister's paper and subsequent discussion is up on the site now and also Les Ainsworths framework summarising the ORG recommendations.

Offwidth - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I applaud you for trying but I'm not impressed with the climbing public response, especially when compared to much larger input to the debate on other sites, like UKC.. obviously anonymous moaning is much prefered by most to detailed debate with a name attached.

Offwidth - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Agreed. I especially appreciate the warnings of the dangers of cold turkey on SE funding and the need to recognise the current hard work of the exec in difficult times and especially in that, Nick Kurth who seems to be regarded childishly as almost a hate figure in some circles.

Still, most papers on the site come from the older, more conservative end of BMC. Its not a debate if you miss what seems to me most of the alternative view(s) (and likely majority view from the flawed surveys, and area meeting inputs... speaking as someone who has sympathies with many of the papers and understands how good surveys should operate).

These are difficult times where we need to rebuild bridges and debate as properly, respectfully and as publicly as we can in membership terms. I openly admit that I, like many, will struggle to forgive the BMC 30: I held overlapping views but remain disgusted about secret undemocratic collection of proxy votes based on misinformation, largely refusal to debate in public/BMC forums (especially where Mark V was left to try to struggle to speak at the Peak Area); Bob's presentation of the MoNC at the AGM was shamefully disconnected from the motion, back mainly on Olympic issues and borderline libellous with respect to Marco. We lost a hard working president, burnt thousand of hours of staff and volunteer time that should have been spent on something more useful, had real cash costs, damaged friendships, lost SE funding and some attached posts and work supported by that, and all for what?

Andy Say - on 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

The problem is that for the majority of BMC members it's a bit like the RAC.  Something you HAVE to join to get insurance or register to do your Mountain Leader Award.  I would imagine that they really, really don't care about governance

For another big cohort its a bit like being in the National Trust or donating to Oxfam.  A worthy cause; but how it's run?  Really no interest.

For a minority the BMC, as a representative of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers, is important and the ability of members to have a substantial say in how it is run is important.  I'd guess we are both in that minority.

'Cold Turkey'?  Sometimes that's what you need to rid yourself of an unfortunate addiction. 

And, let's face it, there is NO 'debate on other sites, like UKC'.  So maybe no-one cares?

4
Offwidth - on 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

That's not fair.. this is UKC and you are debating and the BMC site and UKB and some clubs also had debates.

I'd say the vast majority of members care about the work the BMC does in some respects, so I'm not at all convinced about a majority or even large minority of pure insurance memberships. The thousands of proxy votes raised for the MoNC and the hundreds who turned up at the AGM hardly show a current democratic deficit.  My view from speaking to ordinary BMC members not oarticularly involved in any BMC politics is most want the governance sorting legally as quickly as possible, so the organisation can get on with its real work. Governance obsessives  in contrast think it needs to take a while yet... arguably the tail wagging the dog. Worse still,  those opposed to BMC infolvement in competition climbing still seem to want to cause as much trouble as possible and see governance as a wound to pick at.

Did you get your Wye sandstone book back btw... we got lost in the forest and were really late so you were gone when we got back? 

Post edited at 17:36
Marek - on 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> I applaud you for trying but I'm not impressed with the climbing public response, especially when compared to much larger input to the debate on other sites, like UKC.. obviously anonymous moaning is much prefered by most to detailed debate with a name attached.

As one who got involved in the pre-AGM discussion here on UKC, but hasn't contributed on Crag Jones website, I guess part of the justification/excuse is that there was a sense of urgency running up to the AGM (with its potentially destructive MONC) that is now over. It's not clear what any further 'debate' on yet another website will actually achieve at this point. Yes, I appreciate the effort to create some sort of neutral territory - although it's not obvious how it is any more neutral than say UKC - and to pull the relevant documents together, but to what end? Who's going to review/analyse/digest all the comments and contributions? Or is it just another 'write-only' 'talking shop'?

Note: I'm not saying that the above attitude is defensible/justifiable/honourable - it's just an introspective snapshot of why I - and perhaps others - appear to be disinterested.

And I don't think anonymity is the issue at all, at least not for me.

 

Andy Say - on 01 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

>  It's currently quieter than even the NW area BMC meeting

You see that sort of crack is why you struggle to make friends easily

And yes -  know where my guidebook is!

Andy

 

1
Crag Jones - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth / Marek: 

First of all, one reason this thread continues is because it is embedded live on the website in the first place, on the ‘Discussions’ page. I started this thread and placed it there as well so those who are not UKCers had a chance to see what was going on there  and contribute.

Outside of allowing such forum threads UKC are not interested in fostering any substantive debate. I know because I have tried persuading them to take an article. Possibly its because they do not want to alienate their advertisers, who knows? For sure many different parties who have a financial interest don’t want to upset the apple cart that is the commodified adventure industry. The president also turned down the idea of the BMC hosting the debate, either in Summit or on their own website. They have now placed a link to the debating website, though as always it’s lack of prominence might give a clue to how debate can be massaged / buried in need be.

Some comments above refer to the indifference about governance. Well in that case why does the executive actively seek to suppress any dissent and only be dragged screaming and kicking out into the open to actively discuss both the real original problems and the shortcomings of the ORG proposals in addressing them.

Those proposals have a noticeable lack of practise in what is being preached. Everyone is falling over themselves to emphasise that the membership will be able to hold the executive to account whilst at the very time precisely that is happening they are doing everything to try and prevent it.

That is the hilarious irony of our present situation and why deep held suspicions are plainly justified.

 

3
UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Outside of allowing such forum threads UKC are not interested in fostering any substantive debate. I know because I have tried persuading them to take an article.

 

Is that the same article as the one posted on your website titled "BMC in zombie death?"

Offwidth - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

The NW low attendance is a reality and it needs to change. Other areas managed this and maybe you need to talk to them about how they did it.  I said on UKC a few weeks back, after my first ever visit to a NW meeting, that the debate was good  but I saw no clear unanimity. If more younger and/or female BMC members turned up you might even be looking at similar splits to the Peak area meeting, where more people were worried about the effect on the operation of BMC of the delayed debate (while governance is unresolved, the organisation remains concerned and distracted and SE funding remains withheld... some jobs and much useful volunteer support work were lost due to this) as there were about remaining governance issues. Paul Evans also attended both and confirmed Peak Area concerns.

Another odd issue at that NW meeting was the fuss made about voting. Most know the rules and it can be stated quite simply, so  to be faced with stern warnings on that  looked deeply odd (as if you felt some of the BMC employees and volunteer officers had come to distort votes rather than inform the debate). If I was someone on the border of two areas who couldn't make my normal area meeting so came to yours would you stop me from voting (as long as the border wasn't Yorkshire of course)

Friendships?....I knew or knew of pretty much everyone there (I find that a bit sad, don't you?... my Peak area gets regular new faces ) and despite only just making the start had various pleasant enough conversations about non BMC matters. Longstanding volunteers nearly always have more in common than what they disagree on. On the barbed  joke ... a great thing about proper climbers is that not only are they nearly always robust enough to deal with such sharp humour, many actively encourage it. 

Marek - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> First of all, one reason this thread continues is because it is embedded live on the website in the first place, on the ‘Discussions’ page. I started this thread and placed it there as well so those who are not UKCers had a chance to see what was going on there  and contribute.

Hmm. I would suggest that the reason the thread continues is that people on UKC see it near the top of the forum postings list and a few occasionally respond. I suspect UKC provides more 'eyeballs' than the website does directly (no, I don't have any evidence). 

 

> Outside of allowing such forum threads UKC are not interested in fostering any substantive debate. I know because I have tried persuading them to take an article. Possibly its because they do not want to alienate their advertisers, who knows? ...

Perhaps they don't see 'fostering a substantive debate' as their job - more to provide a forum in which members can decide what is worthy of debate and what isn't. You seem to take the view that "if you're not for us then you are against us", but in many cases perhaps it's just that people have no interest in getting involved one way or the other. Agnostism is not the same as atheism.

 

> Some comments above refer to the indifference about governance. ...

Therein lies a problem. On UKC - and I'm not trying to defend it, just to point out how I see it - there is a broad range of climbing related subjects, *one* of which is BMC governance. UKCer are likely to see discussion such as this and perhaps respond. Your website - well meaning as it is - gives the appearance of a playground for corporate governance gurus and people who want to use governance as a stick to beat the BMC. Note: I'm not saying that that's what it is, just how it appears. If my perception is widespread (who knows?) then it's no surprise there's little interest.

It may be even stronger: There was a lot of 'heat' generated in response to the MONC which many saw (rightly or wrongly) as a misguided and destructive assault on the BMC by what appeared to be a small (~30) group of more 'traditional' climbers. Having defeated the MONC, perhaps there is now a disincentive for support a platform for those views to be further voiced? I would perhaps argue that it was the BMC30 approach (assuming governance really was their gripe) that has turn many ordinary people off getting involved in what should be a serious and valuable discussion. That's certainly true in my case: I retired to get away from these sorts of political/corporate machinations and am loathed to return there however much I appreciate the importance of the BMC and its work.

 

 

 

Offwidth - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

As Shark implies you don't help yourself by expressing things the way you do... the site really  should have been set up with clearer neutrality. If you want this debate its a bad idea to start from accusing the exec in this way: " actively seek to suppress any dissent and only be dragged screaming and kicking out into the open to actively discuss both the real original problems and the shortcomings of the ORG proposals in addressing them." I see no evidence of that at all. In fact the opposite seems to me to be true: deadlines keep going back to allow more debate, based in my view mainly on concerns of a small minority of vocal members. The CEO and a VP went to the NW meeting to directly hear your area concerns.

It seems to me that the ORG review have set up a framework of broadly workable governance arrangements. They presented these and obtained feedback and are now looking at that. Different groups have different views about how ideal these proposals are and if significant changes need making (to improve democracy etc) or if they just need to be fine tuned. Following The National Council meetings, and a proposed interim National membership meering (AGM lite?), a delayed AGM will finalise matters, with regular discussions at Area meetings, your site, climbing websites and within clubs along the way. Where is this lack of space for debate?

Irrespective, your site is useful, and I welcome the opinion pieces and discussions on it and agree with quite a few points made there. My biggest concerns are my views are not the same as most ordinary members, who mainly seem to want the matter over and done with a bit more quickly, so the BMC can get on with the good work it does more effectively than it can right now. Too few at the sharp end of the deabte seem concerned enough with the pressure such difficult times put on the BMC employees (especially those on fixed term contracts facing ongoing funding uncertainties) and how much capacity for their work is being lost.

 

Post edited at 12:11
Crag Jones - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Yep: the horrors of self publication! Still the website is different to my personal views. Contrary opinions are equally welcome there.

Offwidth - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Marek:

The whole thing reminds me of political discussions in my academic Trade Union. Most members trusted the Union to get on with things most of the time and broadly supported the Union's stated aims with the odd pet annoyance on specific policy points. Branch reps chosen to feed branch views to congress often had to be arm twisted to go, except of course when on the SWP wing. Congress politics were a bit distorted as a result but it mostly worked OK. However, occasionally the politics overtook the members' collective sense of reality... the best example was when Congress voted to boycott Isreali Institutions and members made sure a rapidly called Emergency Congress better represented their views and the decison was reversed.  Pro boycott activists still moan about plebiscites and executive manipulation and some would restart a boycott tomorrow if they could. 

The anonymous thing was more about the waves of moans you get here from time to time about the BMC, in the sense of the Monty Python Roman's joke. I think the debate on the BMC, from MoNC onwards has been pretty good in the main (sad though that the 30 wouldn't debate here as the dishonesty in their position about secret letters would have been removed ). The Climb Britain furore seemed a bit knee jerk to me, given the NC all voted for this except one abstention. I saw clear benefits in the name as a sub brand for the indoor climbing and competition wing of the organisation.

Post edited at 12:31
UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> As Shark implies you don't help yourself by expressing things the way you do...

 

I wasn't implying anything. I wanted to confirm whether the articles were in fact one and the same.

However, if they are the same then it might well be that it fell short of the editorial requirements of UKC (hence its rejection) rather than the stated reason of a disinterest in "fostering substantive debate"

UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Yep: the horrors of self publication! Still the website is different to my personal views. Contrary opinions are equally welcome there.

Thanks for confirming.

Offwidth - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Sorry, I thought you knew.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

 

Updated/amended ORG final report out now:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/organisational-review-final-report

Graeme Alderson on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Marek:

> Your website - well meaning as it is - gives the appearance of a playground for corporate governance gurus and people who want to use governance as a stick to beat the BMC. Note: I'm not saying that that's what it is, just how it appears. If my perception is widespread (who knows?) then it's no surprise there's little interest.

Your perception is shared by me at least.

 

Crag Jones - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

And thanks also to BMC for clear link to discussion site.

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/introduction

Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Final report out today - see BMC website

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/organisational-review-final-report

Crag Jones - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Hopefully Mark 2 of the ORG report might allay many concerns? A bit of time needed to go through it. As for 'little interest', I'd point out 17 substantive detailed papers with many concrete proposals linked to constructive engagement might be of more use than threadbare asides here. I note that the active participants on the UKC forums are even more limited!

All that aside the main point is the BMC can not be modelled on 'give us your money and we'll decide whats good for you'. We need a clear process where members can engage (when they wish) to define in the first place what our objectives and priorities will be and also to a lesser extent the policies (principles) on how those will be achieved. The strategy on how we get there might need lesser member involvement and can be worked out by the executive and staff. Finally all that needs to be transparent: clearly presented on the web, showing whats been agreed, how we got that agreement and how we are going to achieve those things.

That framework has been missing and projects (which in themselves may well be very worthy) come and go in a seemingly random manor.

I hope the revised ORG recommendations will enable that framework in due course.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

There was a defined process in the ORG report as to how the objectives and priorities can be democratically arrived it. I hope the outcome would be representative of the whole membership and the spectrum of activities we claim to represent rather than interests of an experienced minority that lobby more effectively

 

Tyler - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

That's a surprise, I didn't think there would ever be any danger of me turning my back on the BMC. I'm a member not because I use any of its services but because I support the access work it does. I don't have a problem with the Olympics, the number of staff employed, competitions, mountaineering, bouldering or Climb Britain etc. However, I can't support an organisation who's stated strategy is:

 

"The BMC should responsibly encourage growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, recognising the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause" 

I wont renew my membership next month when it is due. 

9
andyr - on 02 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

I must admit to a certain curiosity. What can't you support in what appears to be a quite sensible strategy.

Dave Garnett - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> I must admit to a certain curiosity. What can't you support in what appears to be a quite sensible strategy.

The implication that encouraging growth takes priority over any access, conservation or environmental issue perhaps?

1
Paul Evans - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Hi Dave. I'm not sure whether you're supporting Andyr's view or offering an explanation for it (or both)?

As you say, "takes priority" is an "implication". When I read it, that was not what I assumed it meant. The amended headline text is "The BMC should responsibly encourage growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, recognising the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause". The key words for me were "responsibly" and the phrase "recognising.." and what follows. More clarity is below. 

The more detailed body text on page 22 is "..this recommendation now has the addition of access, conservation and environmental considerations. The BMC must balance the desire of its membership to encourage participation against the need to preserve finite and often fragile environments, and ensure continued access to the crags, hills and mountains of the UK within a landscape of increasing participation."

So I think balance (which it does say) is the key word here rather than the assumed "takes priority over"? And the whole topic of "encouraging growth" is what the membership asked for in the original survey. See section 7.3, over 70% of membership supported, though with some significant concerns amongst the minority against. The amended recommendation now addresses some of the issues raised. 

Andyr - if you still have a problem with this, would be good to know what it is.

Cheers 

Paul E

AimHigh on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

I agree with Paul.

Further there is considerable evidence (such as Sport England's Getting Active Outdoors report 2015) to suggest that, amongst the public as a whole, there is very considerable interest in, latent demand for and aspiration to participate in activities including adventurous hill walking and mountaineering.  This suggests, with or without encouragement by organisations such as the BMC, there is likely to be ever increasing numbers venturing onto our hills and mountains in the years to come.

Personally I would much rather see the BMC engage with these new entrants into our activity area, attract some of them into its fold and hence help foster a better informed and better equipped community of hill and mountain goers than to try, like King Canute, to oppose or hide from what appears to be an inevitable growth.  Through membership of and engagement with BMC media and interatction with other BMC members hill & mountain goers (such as through Areas and BMC Clubs) hopefully gain a much better appreciation of the issues and environmental consequences of their activities and so hopefully that leads to an improvement in behaviour and reduction in impact compared with those same people venturing into the outdoors without that information and understanding.

For that reason I support the ORG report revised wording about growth and participation.

Post edited at 11:14
UKB and BMC Shark - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to AimHigh:

Really well said - the King Canute analogy rings very true.

The issue of the BMC's attitude to participation has been fudged for far too long. Growing participation is happening anyway and encouraging responsible participation is a positive response to that.

As a representative body we have to change to reflect what is going on and by doing so that puts us in a position to offer some leadership and influence. Being aloof rather than engaging in wider trends will lead to increasing irrelevance and decreasing influence.   

Offwidth - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Poor old Canute... he was showing the tide could not be resisted even by a king and forever is portrayed as the idiot trying to stop the rising water.

1
UKB and BMC Shark - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Silly Cnut

andyr - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

So, you consider 'encouraging growth' responsibly such a problem that you can no longer support an organisation doing so.....in other words you don't like the idea of more people joining in with your enjoyment of the sport.

I believe views such as this encapsulate the BMC's current dilemma. Between its conception and the mid 70's the BMC represented a simpler set of activities. The concept of the 'club' was important. The way into mountainous activities was predominately via a loose club system. The principle activities walking, climbing and mountaineering were more readily defined. They took place (predominately) in the outdoors.. Since then; there has been a sweeping change in one of the activities. Participation in climbing has mushroomed; but unlike walking and mountaineering which is still outdoor based, climbing participation is spread across the indoors and outdoors. The numbers are telling. The BMC membership has for some years hovered around the 88,000+ mark with about 33,000 identifying climbing as their primary activity. In 2017 the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) commissioned an independent study of the use of Walls. Combined user figures across the UK walls came close to 1,000,000. Whichever the BMC is; a national representative body or national governing body; clearly it has failed to address or interact with this massive expansion of the activity it exists to represent.

There is a vocal minority who would separate the outdoors from the indoors. It is represented here on the forums by those who belittle indoor climbing as 'not really' climbing. In my opinion as someone who has deep roots in the outdoors; they need to seriously question their attitude here. It is this attitude that led to the Motion of No Confidence. It is an attitude which allowed a small number to believe they could highjack the future of the BMC.

The problem with the BMC is that; outside small circles like this the BMC does not foster much engagement by its members. We had a MONC; a critical moment in its recent history and yet less than four thousand of its eighty eight thousand members voted. The group of 30 were confident that armed with a few hundred proxy votes they could carry the day at the AGM and wrest control.

The BMC is taking a long hard look at itself; and it is needed. Involvement in walking, climbing and mountaineering is expanding. Like other National Bodies, it can represent where necessary; and it can govern where there is a competitive sector. It doesn't need to be just one or the other. What it must do at the moment is decide who it represents. If it opts to represent just the outdoors then it chooses to represent the minority. A small minority. It loses its standing in the eyes of so many bodies.. This is not just about funding. They will lose influence.

The membership may decide this is what they want and the BMC will continue; albeit with a much reduced status. Other bodies will step in and be recognised as 'representing and talking for' the sport.  'We represent a million participants' carries a lot of weight. Personally I hope the BMC can step up to this. It will not be easy. It would be a mammoth task to convince the huge number of participant that they have currently turned their back on, that they have something to offer to them.

I can see no point in trying to turn the clock back on the BMC. Hill walking, climbing and mountaineering continues to move forward, evolve and expand. The activity is moving forwards and the body which represents it has the choice to move with it and have influence; or carve a small niche for itself and abroge its standing as the'National Body'.

Tyler - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> I must admit to a certain curiosity. What can't you support in what appears to be a quite sensible strategy.

I'm a little curious why anyone would want to increase the number of climbers. Maybe if I still climbed much trad I'd feel differently as there are lots of routes that would benefit from more traffic but I don't. I mostly climb at Kilnsey and Malham, both of which are already under huge pressure and it is not inconceivable that the people controlling access to these will want to restrict it, the likelihood of which will increase as the numbers increase. You might say there are other crags but these crags are unique. It's no coincidence I live near them, they are significant part of my life so you will understand why I'd want to protect them from potential threats.  

Now all this will inevitably open me up to accusations of selfishness and that's true to an extent but I'm not trying to stop anyone climbing or going to Malham, I just don't want the BMC to spend time and money encouraging them, its not a huge leap to imagine that most new entrants who want to do roped climbing will want to go to Malham (if the anecdotal evidence pointed to them all heading up to Scafell crag and climbing routes I aspire to I'd feel differently). Also, whilst I love climbing, I recognise not everyone needs to be a climber in the same way that not everyone needs to be a surfer or an archer. It's easier than ever to get into climbing. If the point is to help the nations health by getting them into climbing then the nation's health already does well out of climbing, there are few sports that has busy facilities in every town that do not receive any public funding. At what point do the BMC think they have increased participation sufficiently? When everyone is a climber? If the BMC thinks it has a moral obligation to improve the health of the nation then a contribution to a diabetes charity would get them more bang for its buck. 

Finally, I notice a number of people above:

1. Have failed to make the distinction between the BMC engaging with the climbing diaspora and increasing the number of climbers. However, the document clearly states the BMC wants to "increase participation".

2. Seem to think that adding the word responsibly, means anything. It's window dressing, you either increase numbers or you don't. They acknowledge that increased participation will lead to issues so why encourage them?

 

 

5
Tyler - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> So, you consider 'encouraging growth' responsibly such a problem that you can no longer support an organisation doing so.....in other words you don't like the idea of more people joining in with your enjoyment of the sport.

That was me not Dave Garnett, none of the rest of what you write applies to me though.

 

andyr - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

So..you don't like the idea of more people enjoying the sport. Nice.

5
Tyler - on 03 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

Ah, I shouldn't have quoted the bit where you tried to but words into my/Dave Garnetts mouth, the "in other words...." bit is your misrepresentation of what was said, I shouldn't have quoted it as it implies I agree which I don't. 

Incidentally, exactly how many more people who don't already climb do you want to encourage into the sport? 

Post edited at 00:03
spenser - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

As an active member of the BMC who expends a not insigificant amount of effort on bringing new members into my local club I feel that I may be able to offer some pertinent views on the matter:

Climbing now seems to have reached the status of being seen as "cool", or at least some aspects of it have (bouldering and indoors mainly) and as has been stated several times further up this thread is growing in participation numbers. Gear manufacturers, UKC, guidebook producers, climbers, climbing wall staff and outdoor instructors all glorify outdoor climbing and mountaineering as being worthwhile activities (or at least some routes/ climbers are glorified over others), if an indoor climber looks online for information about climbing they will probably find it difficult to not be exposed to this. Realistically none of these businesses are going to stop doing this as this drives sales/ bookings and ensures that their business can continue to run.

Do you want to have less choice of gear manufacturers, lower quality guidebooks, poorer quality setting at walls (at least for the purposes of training to climb outdoors)? All of these are things which have been enabled by increased participation within climbing over the last 20-30 years. Even if a highly vocal minority were to say that they did not want these resources and that they would rather have outdoor focused businesses not glorify outdoor climbing/ mountaineering or attempt to grow their businesses do you really expect that to happen? 

The recommendation with which you are taking significant issue will enable the BMC to derive benefits to the wider mountaineering community from this increased participation while clearly acknowledging that any potential damage to access agreements and to the crag/ upland environment in which we all spend time must be minimised. Increased numbers of people will end up climbing outdoors and accessing the crags either way, I'd much rather they were competent and aware of the damage which they may cause to the crag environment and our collective ability to access it.

As I understand it the main access issues at Kilnsey and Malham are related to the amount of available parking and people parking in a manner which prevents traffic from getting past, perhaps you could offer to assist the local access team with negotiating for further parking to be made available during the summer months in exchange for a small fee to be paid to the relevant landowners?

1
andyr - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

I was making a reasonable supposition based on your words

    'However, I can't support an organisation who's stated strategy is:

"The BMC should responsibly encourage growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, recognising the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause" 

I wont renew my membership next month when it is due'.

Responsible can mean 'anything' or something. A responsible strategy might result in 10 new climbers or 10,000 new climbers. A responsible strategy may result in no new climbers at Malham; but 100 new climbers at Pembroke where they'd be barely noticed. A responsible strategy may result in educating new climbers coming into the sport about over-crowding a small number of crags.

You write that you mostly climb at Kilnsey and Malham. You highlight the crowding there; yet by concentrating your climbing time at these venues you contribute to the crowding that you bemoan. Then you use the problems and potential conflicts that you contribute to as evidence of your concerns.

Introduce a thousand new responsible climbers into this area, who chose to spread themselves widely around the area; and it would have little or no effect on access.

My post was aimed at those who want to push the BMC back to a period in the sport that no longer exists. It is achievable because the future of the BMC will be voted in by a small percentage of the membership. A couple of thousand should suffice. I want the BMC to be our representative body and not shrink to a fringe lobby group. I'm not worried about new people coming into the sport. Hundred of thousands have done so in the last few years; and apart from those crowding a few 'honey spots' it's made damn all difference.

 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to spenser:

> Gear manufacturers, UKC, guidebook producers, climbers, climbing wall staff and outdoor instructors all glorify outdoor climbing and mountaineering as being worthwhile activities (or at least some routes/ climbers are glorified over others), if an indoor climber looks online for information about climbing they will probably find it difficult to not be exposed to this. Realistically none of these businesses are going to stop doing this as this drives sales/ bookings and ensures that their business can continue to run.

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, we all know climbing numbers are increasing and this will lead to more pressure on limited resources, you haven't explained why it benefits the membership for the BMC to accelerate this.

> Do you want to have less choice of gear manufacturers, lower quality guidebooks, poorer quality setting at walls (at least for the purposes of training to climb outdoors)? All of these are things which have been enabled by increased participation within climbing over the last 20-30 years.

We had as many (possibly more, e.g. Phoenix, Snowden Moulding, point Five, Wintergear, HB, Clog etc) climbing gear manufacturers operating  in the UK 20-30 years ago. Climbing gear has been developing for 100 years. Camming devices, banana pick ice axes and gore text are all over 30 years old, I'm not sure what has been developed in the last 20 years that is more significant than these.

> Even if a highly vocal minority were to say that they did not want these resources and that they would rather have outdoor focused businesses not glorify outdoor climbing/ mountaineering or attempt to grow their businesses do you really expect that to happen? 

This isn't about those businesses, we know why they want to see increased participation, I want to know why BMC thinks its members will benefit from increased participation.

> The recommendation with which you are taking significant issue will enable the BMC to derive benefits to the wider mountaineering community from this increased participation

Such as? Let's not forget that an increase in participation will not necessarily lead to a proportionate increase in BMC membership.

> while clearly acknowledging that any potential damage to access agreements and to the crag/ upland environment in which we all spend time must be minimised.

Surely the simplest way to minimise the effects of boosting participation is not to do so in the first place. If I came round and shat on your doorstep I doubt you would be appeased if I acknowledged the issue and did my best to clean up afterwards, you'd probably prefer I didn't do it in the first place.

> Increased numbers of people will end up climbing outdoors and accessing the crags either way, I'd much rather they were competent and aware of the damage which they may cause to the crag environment and our collective ability to access it.

I think you have failed to grasp is that I am not against the BMC doing its best to educate climbers or bring a greater proportion of climbers into the BMC but I am against them "encouraging growth and participation in all activities that it represents". That means more BMC members but it also means more climbers who are not members and the BMC won't reach.

> As I understand it the main access issues at Kilnsey and Malham are related to the amount of available parking and people parking in a manner which prevents traffic from getting past, perhaps you could offer to assist the local access team with negotiating for further parking to be made available during the summer months in exchange for a small fee to be paid to the relevant landowners?

There are two issues, one is the overall access issues as a result of parking, dogs, situ quick draws (all or none of these are problems depending on you pr PoV, I'm not making a case here) at Kilnsey and the fact that Mlaham Parrish council are not particularly enamoured with climbing. The second issue is the general overcrowding, there are barely enough quality sport routes in the UK to cater for the numbers that want to climb them. In fact there is ample parking for the number of routes at Kilnsey the problem is people parking badly and the fact that more people want to climb there than it can cope with. A car park would only solve one of those problems and possibly exacerbate the other, however, if a car park is considered a good idea and is viable (I understand it isn't) this is exactly the sort of thing the BMC should be all over anyway without my help, that should be its raison d'etre not bringing more climbers to the crag.  

Post edited at 11:21
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> Responsible can mean 'anything' or something. A responsible strategy might result in 10 new climbers or 10,000 new climbers. A responsible strategy may result in no new climbers at Malham; but 100 new climbers at Pembroke where they'd be barely noticed. A responsible strategy may result in educating new climbers coming into the sport about over-crowding a small number of crags.

Surely, if limiting pressure from users on an area is your primary objective, a responsible strategy is to leave numbers to grow naturally. It's already acknowledged this is happening anyway so why does the BMC need to get involved in boosting the number of participants? I did acknowledge that I might see things differently if I was mainly a trad climber, we are nowhere near running out of trad routes. I spent half a day queuing for Tophet Wall recentl but I did chose a bank holiday and even then there would have been alternatives. If I wanted to climb a quality trad E3 at the weekend I could (weather permitting) find hundreds of deserted ones, the same is not true of quality sport routes.

> You write that you mostly climb at Kilnsey and Malham. You highlight the crowding there; yet by concentrating your climbing time at these venues you contribute to the crowding that you bemoan. Then you use the problems and potential conflicts that you contribute to as evidence of your concerns.

Of course this is what I write about, it's what I have direct experience of, I'm aware that I'm part of the problem but short of not going there's nothing I can do about that. The BMC could stop contributing to the problem by not promoting participation, they have chosen a different path and I'm not sure why.

> Introduce a thousand new responsible climbers into this area, who chose to spread themselves widely around the area; and it would have little or no effect on access.

This might be true of Pembroke but it is simply not true of Yorkshire sport climbing.

> My post was aimed at those who want to push the BMC back to a period in the sport that no longer exists. It is achievable because the future of the BMC will be voted in by a small percentage of the membership. A couple of thousand should suffice. I want the BMC to be our representative body and not shrink to a fringe lobby group. I'm not worried about new people coming into the sport. Hundred of thousands have done so in the last few years; and apart from those crowding a few 'honey spots' it's made damn all difference.

But those honeypots are honey pots because they contain the best climbing, lose them and we lose a lot of our heritage and resources. I don't want to take the sport back, I just don't want to never be able to climb the routes I want because there's too big a queue. It may happen anyway but I've still not seen an answer as to why the BMC want to accelerate us to this point. 

andyr - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> Incidentally, exactly how many more people who don't already climb do you want to encourage into the sport? 

I omitted an answer to your question. The question presupposes a belief that we have already reached a saturation point; and more participants can only be a bad thing. A spurious position. We have little idea of the capacity of our countryside to absorb walkers,climbers and mountaineers before this mass begins to seriously affect other users of this space. We have little idea of the numbers participating in walking, climbing and mountaineering outside certain 'honey spots' where surveys have been conducted. Todays level of participation is not a reference point ie: current participation numbers are the 'right' number; less participants equals good and more equals bad.

Your position is; I mainly go to the same couple of spots and it's always crowded, so it must be bad. More climbers will be bad for me.

My position is; We don't really know how many are currently participating. We don't know the capacity for participants. We do know that outside a few 'honey spots' there isn't crowding. I have, through various involvements encouraged huge numbers into the activity. I'm talking hundreds of thousands; and its not ruined the activity.

Crag Jones - on 04 Mar 2018

For info regarding above debate on increased participation v membership etc: The cost of servicing increased members can perversely actually decrease the amount available to spend (per member) on beneficial programs. Have a look at the figures in red at the bottom of the spreadsheet which is the very bottom document in the list of Review Documents. This compares spending between 2000 and 2016 between which there was a 59% increase in membership. 

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments

Hopefully more work can be done to check such cost/benefit analysis.

For example, the combined cost of  Summit and the compulsory 3rd party liability insurance you get with your membership is equal to the entire amount actually spent on programs. i.e without those two benefits the BMC might be able to double its spending on good works at a stroke. Granted that's a fairly simplistic interpretation but illuminating none the less.

 

spenser - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

Feel free to contact the ORG to request clarification on the subject of this recommendation, my interpretation of the recommendation is that the BMC should accept that participation is increasing and mitigate the potential for damage which will likely result from increased numbers if the increase in participation is not managed in a responsible fashion.

With regards gear the increased size of production runs enables them to utilise manufacturing processes with higher tooling costs (such as DMM's use of forging on carabiners) while still maintaining a relatively affordable price.

My point about businesses encouraging increased participation is that they are going to do that anyway, if the BMC requests that businesses don't do this I can imagine that the response would be something along the lines of "Do one", if the BMC assists them in doing this with stipulations about doing it a responsible fashion they may well welcome the help.

Increased traffic on more remote crags would be a huge benefit, personally I feel that the BMC should encourage climbers away from crags like Stanage, Kilnsey and Bowden Doors and instead sell the virtues of places like Dow Crag. I'm in the process of organising a Peak District Limestone Festival with one of the aims being to encourage people away from the overused Eastern Grit crags. If you're going to moan about something stand up and do something to address the issue.

With regards shitting on doorsteps it seems that either way the BMC's "doorstep" is going to be figuratively defecated on, it makes sense to limit the damage done by this.

Having never climbed at either of the crags in question I am only aware of the issues from what people have said on here. Who exactly at the BMC do you think would be "all over this"? As far as I can tell most of the BMC's activities are undertaken by members who have volunteered to do so.

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> I omitted an answer to your question. The question presupposes a belief that we have already reached a saturation point; and more participants can only be a bad thing. A spurious position. We have little idea of the capacity of our countryside to absorb walkers,climbers and mountaineers before this mass begins to seriously affect other users of this space. We have little idea of the numbers participating in walking, climbing and mountaineering outside certain 'honey spots' where surveys have been conducted.

Which is why I limited comment to specific cases were we are aware of capacity issues *and* for which there very limited/no viable alternatives.

> Todays level of participation is not a reference point ie: current participation numbers are the 'right' number; less participants equals good and more equals bad.

Agree

> Your position is; I mainly go to the same couple of spots and it's always crowded, so it must be bad. More climbers will be bad for me.

It might be worth me reiterating that I go to the same spots because these are, more or less, the only spots for the type of climbing I want to do.

> My position is; We don't really know how many are currently participating. We don't know the capacity for participants. We do know that outside a few 'honey spots' there isn't crowding. I have, through various involvements encouraged huge numbers into the activity. I'm talking hundreds of thousands; and its not ruined the activity.

Its the honeypots I'm concerned about, increased participation might not have ruined the activity for you but for others it ultimately will, there are simply will not be enough sport routes at each grade for the number of climbers there are likely to be. For sport climbing there are few alternatives to the honeypots, it's not a case of spreading the load between multiple equally good crags, the options are very limited. 

john arran - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

Has it never occurred to you that seeking to promote participation responsibly could involve actively seeking to limit further honeypotting of popular sport crags in favour of promoting a wider range of involvement? There's no reason to presume that promoting participation per se is a bad thing, as appears to be the conclusion you have arrived at.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

 

Paxo: Welcome Tyler and congratulations on recent appointment as CEO of the BMC

Tyler: Thank you Jeremy

Paxo: So I have been reading about how everyone wants to go climbing and hillwalking these days. There seems to be a new climbing centre opening in London every week and it is now an Olympic sport. All fantastic news for you and your organisation and the sport you all love I would have thought?

Tyler: Not exactly

Paxo: How so?

Tyler: Well one of the reasons I joined as CEO was to reinforce that we are determinedly not in favour of new entrants to the sport as the crags are busy enough already

Paxo: So let me get this right you claim to represent Climbing and Hill walking but are against encouraging new participants?

Tyler: Yes

Paxo: And as I understand it you were set up originally by a group of climbing clubs and those and other clubs still form an important part of your membership?

Tyler: Yes

Paxo: And yet these same clubs are often cited as an excellent way for new participants to learn about climbing and hillwalking?

Tyler: Yes

Paxo: And that includes student clubs?

Tyler: Yes

Paxo: And you provide guidebooks, videos, pamphlets with technical instruction

Tyler: Oh yes but these are only for climbers and hillwalkers that do it already

Paxo: But these people (including yourself) weren’t always climbers and hillwalkers, so do you wish that they (and you) had never started the sport in the first place?

Tyler: You are twisting my words

Paxo: So if there are too many participating at the moment presumably you will be introducing initiatives to reduce participation?

Tyler: I have set up a working group for that very purpose and they will be setting reduction targets

Paxo: Apart from clubs you also have strong relationships with other organisations including the Sport England, the ABC, NICAS and Mountain Training  

Tyler: Yes we value our partner relationships and working with and supporting them

Paxo: But those organisations are pro-participation providing the funds, facilities or courses for new entrants

Tyler: Yes it is unfortunate but I am not my brother’s keeper and our working group will be formally requesting that they tone down their activities

Paxo: So remind me of the purpose of the BMC?

Tyler: We are the national representative body for England and Wales that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers

Paxo: For how much longer?

 

1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to spenser:

> Feel free to contact the ORG to request clarification on the subject of this recommendation, my interpretation of the recommendation is that the BMC should accept that participation is increasing and mitigate the potential for damage which will likely result from increased numbers if the increase in participation is not managed in a responsible fashion.

Clarity was sought on the issue after the initial draft and the statement I copied above was what we ended up with, it seems pretty unequivocal. I am not arguing against the BMC trying to grow its members from existing climbers.

> With regards gear the increased size of production runs enables them to utilise manufacturing processes with higher tooling costs (such as DMM's use of forging on carabiners) while still maintaining a relatively affordable price.

I'm not sure why you are persisting with this point, it should have been obvious from my previous post that my enjoyment of climbing is not tied to DMM's manufacturing processes. People enjoyed climbing just as much when using the archane shit you seem to think we were having to use 20 years ago, many still do!

> My point about businesses encouraging increased participation is that they are going to do that anyway, if the BMC requests that businesses don't do this I can imagine that the response would be something along the lines of "Do one",

No one has argued for this.

> if the BMC assists them in doing this with stipulations about doing it a responsible fashion they may well welcome the help.

Why should the BMC assist manufacturers increase participation at all? Besides what practical measures do you suggest that need the inclusion of the statement 'actively encourage participation'?

> Increased traffic on more remote crags would be a huge benefit, personally I feel that the BMC should encourage climbers away from crags like Stanage, Kilnsey and Bowden Doors and instead sell the virtues of places like Dow Crag.

As stated above there are pelt y of alternatives to trad venues, the alternative to Kilnsey is Malham.

> I'm in the process of organising a Peak District Limestone Festival with one of the aims being to encourage people away from the overused Eastern Grit crags. If you're going to moan about something stand up and do something to address the issue.

I have no problem with Eastern Grit crags. Where should I encourage someone who wants to climb Cry Freedom to go instead?

> With regards shitting on doorsteps it seems that either way the BMC's "doorstep" is going to be figuratively defecated on, it makes sense to limit the damage done by this.

By not encouraging them to shit there in the first place?

> Having never climbed at either of the crags in question I am only aware of the issues from what people have said on here. Who exactly at the BMC do you think would be "all over this"? As far as I can tell most of the BMC's activities are undertaken by members who have volunteered to do so.

This isn't about individuals but strategy. Looking after crags as unique and important as the two I've mentioned should be front and centre of what the BMC is doing as an organisation and shouldn't be dependant on one or two individuals doing or not doing something. 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran:

> Has it never occurred to you that seeking to promote participation responsibly could involve actively seeking to limit further honeypotting of popular sport crags in favour of promoting a wider range of involvement? 

OK, do you want to suggest to Shark, below, an alternative to Malham for his long term project? Maybe he should go to Castleberg crag instead, after all that's a limestone sport crag nearby so should be able to take some of the load, eh?

Post edited at 14:42
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Will respond later, need to go to wall, wasted too much time on this already today. 

spenser - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> This isn't about individuals but strategy. Looking after crags as unique and important as the two I've mentioned should be front and centre of what the BMC is doing as an organisation and shouldn't be dependant on one or two individuals doing or not doing something. 

Ensuring that increased participation is encouraged in a responsible fashion rather than according to the whims of commercial entities forms a significant part of this. At present climbing is undertaken by a small enough group of people that the actions of one person can make a significant difference.

Anyway, off for lunch and hopefully to finish my dissertation this afternoon.

andyr - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> Its the honeypots I'm concerned about, increased participation might not have ruined the activity for you but for others it ultimately will, there are simply will not be enough sport routes at each grade for the number of climbers there are likely to be. For sport climbing there are few alternatives to the honeypots, it's not a case of spreading the load between multiple equally good crags, the options are very limited. 

So...

There's room for for new trad climbers.

There's room for for new bolderers

There's room for for new scramblers.

There's room for for new ice climbers (well this year at least).

There's room for new chalk climbers and dry toolers.

There's room for for new walkers.

There's room for for new mountaineers.

But because a few of the sports climbing venues are crowded; the BMC's messsage should be 'none of you are welcome'.

Rob Parsons on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> But because a few of the sports climbing venues are crowded; the BMC's messsage should be 'none of you are welcome'.

You misunderstand the argument being made.

Everybody is 'welcome' to join in the activities (or to join the BMC itself); but I hope you can see that that's a different proposition to the BMC actively 'encourage[ing] growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents.'

john arran - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> OK, do you want to suggest to Shark, below, an alternative to Malham for his long term project? Maybe he should go to Castleberg crag instead, after all that's a limestone sport crag nearby so should be able to take some of the load, eh?

No, I don't want to do that. Why would I?

I would, however, suggest that one of the ways in which such honeypotting may be tackled is by giving more prominence to alternative venues, and indeed alternative styles of climbing, so that maybe some of the folk that don't have long term projects there may be more interested in checking out other places they weren't so aware of before. I don't doubt the BMC is aware of and doing this already to a fair extent.

andyr - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

No. Tyler's position is he is so against the BMC encouraging participation that he cannot support them and will not renew his membership.

1
danm on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

An alternative for him which wouldn't compromise his views might be to instead donate directly to ACT.

Anonymous on 04 Mar 2018 - no-rdns-yet.ohtele.com

In reply to:

Tyler's position is perfectly logical. He's not a one man charity with the aim of helping people into climbing, his goal is to preserve the activity he loves, for himself, which is primarily sport climbing on the few good sport cliffs in the UK. If the BMC's stated role is to protect access, this aligns with his goals. If the BMC's stated role is to increase participation it no longer aligns with his goals, because increased participation is almost certainly going to be detrimental to access to the best sport crags in the UK. It's a sort of climbing nimbyism, but one that almost every climber shares - it's in general a selfish activity.

Arguing that increased participation doesn't *necessarily* lead to honeypotting is wishful thinking. However much you try to promote other areas, the best areas will still be the best. A young climber wanting to climb hard can only climb 9a at 4 crags in the country however many time the BMC says, "how about climbing a VS on a mountain crag instead?" Look on the Recent Top Ascents logbook page in the summer months and I pretty much guarantee that most of the hard sport ascents in the UK will be at Malham, Kilnsey and Raven Tor. And these sport crags are already at capacity. Even if 99% of new climbers never go to Malham, the 1% can still ruin access or just lead to overcrowding.

Neither is there a conflict between Tyler's position and the BMC assisting clubs, which were traditionally the conduit into the sport. Clubs generally do not try and increase participation either. They try to gain members from those that already participate and those that want to start climbing, but they don't actually try and increase the overall number of climbers.

Note that Tyler's position is not incompatible with allowing participation to increase naturally. His beef is with *encouraging* growth.

The BMC does not need increased participation to survive or grow and for the reasons stated it is probably detrimental to climbing outdoors in the UK. However, promoting increased participation has actually been a BMC policy for some time - sports council funding is intended to do just that.

 

 

john arran - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Anonymous:

Your post would carry considerably more weight were it not anonymous.

In fact I agree with much of what you say, but the (very real) issues you describe apply to a miniscule proportion of climbers in the UK and there are plenty more crags that could actively benefit from more traffic, so it seems to me that throwing ones toys out of the pram by boycotting BMC membership may not be entirely justified.

danm on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran:

Indeed. Plus as he failed to scan previously, the promoting participation recommendation comes as a direct result of the majority of survey respondents asking for it. So much for the climbing nimbyism argument.

Anonymous on 04 Mar 2018 - 194.98.34.89.baremetal.zare.com
In reply to john arran:

It shouldn't carry any more or less weight for being anonymous. Either the points are good, or they're bad. I'm not appealing to my experience or status by making them. 

You're right, the points do only apply to a small number of crags and people compared with the total number of climbers. However, Tyler is one of those people so his approach makes perfect sense for him.

But the other thing to consider is that sport climbing isn't going away in a hurry. These crags represent the apex of that type of climbing in this country. Every young climber that seeks to be amongst the best  in this country will climb and develop at these crags. That goes for trad climbers too - very rarely do the best trad climbers develop their skills and vacuum that doesn't involve bouldering and sport climbing. So the loss or spoiling of these crags would be to the general detriment of climbing in the UK.

And lets face it it's not really a problem confined to the top 4 sport crags. The popular bits of the peak are getting totally hammered. You can't park in the pass for love nor money after 9am on a dry day from April - October. This will all get steadily worse with increased participants. Some crags will benefit, that's true, but there's generally a reason that they're unpopular in the first place. No-one's going to nip up Scafell for a quick route after work, or go to Back Tor for an hour long bouldering session.

Danm - where in the document does it say that the feed back from members was to encourage participation? It says that as a result of feedback the recommendation to encourage participation has been amended to include recognising the impact of that. But that's different from saying the feedback was to encourage increased participation.

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Paxo: Welcome Shark and congratulations on recent appointment as commercial manager for the BMC

Shark: Thank you Jeremy

Paxo: So I have been reading about how everyone wants to go climbing and hillwalking these days. There seems to be a new climbing centre opening in London every week and it is now an Olympic sport. All fantastic news I imagine?

Shark: Absolutely, job security and hits on my commercial website are through the roof.

Paxo: I was talking about the membership?

Shark: The what?

Paxo: The membership, the people your organisation is supposed to represent.

Shark: Ah yes, those. Yes of course, fantastic news for them.

Paxo: I guess one of the big benefits to them of increased participation is all of the new walls that are opening up, you must be immensely proud of being able to help your membership by opening up these walls.

Shark: Weeeeell we don’t really do that, that’s private business that do that.

Paxo: OK but the oversight you provide must be invaluable. 

Shark: Yes and no, the Association of British Climbing walls is the umbrella organisation for that. We are mainly concerned with access.

Paxo: Well in that case you must be concerned about increased numbers of climbers adding pressure to existing resources, how do you intend to deal with this?

Shark: We have made it our objective to encourage growth

Paxo: Isn’t that counterproductive?

Shark: Oh no, we are going to do it responsibly

Paxo: How will you do that

Shark: We will educate them?

1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018

In reply to:

Paxo: I see, so all new climbers you encourage into the sport by the BMC will be forced to undergo some education?

Shark: Well, those that choose to join the BMC will be given a pamphlet.

Paxo: And the rest?

Shark: Well erm, well if we can educate one in four of people we encourage into the sport we can educate an awful lot of people.

Paxo: Wouldn’t it be easier to not encourage so many new climbers and then there are fewer people that need educating or indeed fail to engage with the BMC at all?

Shark: An organisation like ours needs members.

Paxo: Is there an issue with falling numbers

Shark: No

Paxo: Is there an issue with falling numbers of climbers?

Shark: Christ no, year on year figures are rising exponentially

Paxo: So why not target them for membership instead of converting people who have hitherto shown no inclination to climb?

Shark: We are the national representative body for England and Wales that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers. One of the biggest threats is pressure on the environment so the more people we can bring into the fold the more people we can educate about the issues increased numbers bring about.

Paxo: Yeeers. What would you say to people who say crags such as Malham are already very busy?

Shark: They should go to different crags.

Paxo: Is that what you do?

Shark: Well I don’t personally, I’m primarily a sport climber so tend to frequent Raven Tor and Malham because they have the sort of climbing I enjoy and other crags simply do not.

Paxo: You’re not bothered about overcrowding?

Shark: Doesn’t bother me.

Paxo: So you’d disagree that you can be queuing for hours to get on routes at the popular crags at the weekend?

Shark: I’ve no idea, I only climb mid-week, I hear its f*cking bedlam at the weekend. 

Paxo: Mr Shark, thank you very much

1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to spenser:

> Ensuring that increased participation is encouraged in a responsible fashion rather than according to the whims of commercial entities forms a significant part of this.

Oh for crying out loud Spenser, how many times? This is not about encouraging people who choose to climb to behave responsibly its about the BMC actively seeking to stimulate that growth. why? For who's benefit?

Post edited at 21:34
1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> So...

> There's room for for new trad climbers.

Almost certainly, lots of routes, fairly steady increase in numbers (certainly at the higher grades, not so sure about the lower grades).

> There's room for for new bolderers

Some places are getting pretty trashed but I know in Yorkshire there are still plenty of places that have problems equal in quality to the main crags that are very quiet (they don't have the same numbers of problems though so they are not as good). 

> There's room for for new scramblers.

I guess scrambling is different to pitched climbing in that multiple people can be on the same route at the same time and they tend to keep moving. 

> There's room for for new ice climbers (well this year at least).

I don't really ice climb (apart form yesterday as it happens!)

> There's room for new chalk climbers and dry toolers.

Not really, but as most dry tooling crags have manufactured placements I'm not really down with their ethics anyway?

> There's room for for new walkers.

See scrambling

> There's room for for new mountaineers.

Do you mean alpinists? Chamonix gets pretty busy

> But because a few of the sports climbing venues are crowded; the BMC's messsage should be 'none of you are welcome'.

Even after all these exchanges you are still writing this rubbish? I'm not about barring people, discouraging people or making people feel unwelcome, I just don't see why the BMC needs to pursue a policy of growth when growth is happening naturally anyway, to the detriment of many climbers.  The BMC is an organisation for climbers but by pursuing growth it seems to me to be an organisation for climbers and everyone else in the hope that we can convert them.

 

danm on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Anonymous:

From the original ORG report: The BMC has support from members to actively seek to increase both participation (73% survey support) and membership (77% survey support), however it must also address increasing participation from an access and conservation point of view.

 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> You misunderstand the argument being made.

> Everybody is 'welcome' to join in the activities (or to join the BMC itself); but I hope you can see that that's a different proposition to the BMC actively 'encourage[ing] growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents.'

Thank you! At last someone gets it

Post edited at 21:19
spenser - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

My name is SpenSer, it is written at the top of my post, not hard to get it right.

Clearly we are both taking different parts of the recommendation as the emphasis, me on the bit about doing so responsibly, you on the increasing participation, I'm giving the BMC and the ORG the benefit of the doubt on this issue as I trust the staff and the members of the ORG to get this right.

1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran:

> No, I don't want to do that. Why would I?

For the same reason you would promote alternatives to to other climbers

> I would, however, suggest that one of the ways in which such honeypotting may be tackled is by giving more prominence to alternative venues, and indeed alternative styles of climbing, so that maybe some of the folk that don't have long term projects there may be more interested in checking out other places they weren't so aware of before.

If I am going sport climbing I am not interested in alternative stiles of climbing any more than if I would want to go dingy sailing if I was a canoeist. I and many others occasionally enjoy alternative styles but we make an informed choice to go sport climbing.

> I don't doubt the BMC is aware of and doing this already to a fair extent.

In fairness, nor do I

 

1
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to andyr:

> No. Tyler's position is he is so against the BMC encouraging participation that he cannot support them and will not renew his membership.

I checked again, the passage I quoted and which I object to says:

""The BMC should responsibly encourage growth"

Please stop ascribing to me views I don't hold.

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to danm:

That's what I intend to do, I haven't so far because it does not allow for a direct debit only PayPal or have  I missed something?

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to danm:

> From the original ORG report: The BMC has support from members to actively seek to increase both participation (73% survey support) and membership (77% survey support), however it must also address increasing participation from an access and conservation point of view.

I'm not saying mine is the majority view (obviously not) nor am I encouraging people to do likewise I was just saying I don't personally support it. The rest of my posts have mainly been trying to re-explain to people that I don't want to discourage participation I just don't see the need for BMC to encourage growth in the activities it represents when that growth is already happening to the detriment in some cases, of the climbers it represents.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

Touche!

> Paxo: So you’d disagree that you can be queuing for hours to get on routes at the popular crags at the weekend?

> Shark: I’ve no idea, I only climb mid-week, I hear its f*cking bedlam at the weekend. 

Is it really that bad though? And even if it is fashions change. I recall you had to queue for pretty much every route on Chee Tor of a weekend in 1984. Buoux the same in 1987. Steve Mac said that if he set a problem indoors like the crux on Rainshadow he would be sacked.

The BMC has access as a priority but it is a small part of what the organisation currently does. If it was all we did the Office would be smaller and membership fee lower and you would be if not happy then slightly less curmudgeonly. Maybe.

Yes it is a membership organisation but many members can see beyond their immediate interests and others can't. Personally I would like to see an evolution towards the BMC transitioning to an organisation for the greater good. Optimistic I know. And yes, I count promoting our sport to the uninitiated as a good thing - it has enriched my life after all.

It is also entirely conceivable that we can go in another direction where all the bits can be totally spun off - ACT (The Access & Conservation Trust) could be like the American Access Fund and purely focussed on your interests, the Competitions arm can be the official National Governing Body for indoor competition climbing managing the Teams, National Comps and talent development programmes and the Mountaineers can have their uber club back. It depends whether we are better together and the things that generally bind us are bigger than those that separate us. Are we bigger than the sum of the separate parts? These are questions that I have yet to resolve in my own mind.       

     

 

 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to spenser:

> My name is SpenSer, it is written at the top of my post, not hard to get it right.

I've edited my post seeing as it is so important to you

> Clearly we are both taking different parts of the recommendation as the emphasis, me on the bit about doing so responsibly, you on the increasing participation, I'm giving the BMC and the ORG the benefit of the doubt on this issue as I trust the staff and the members of the ORG to get this right.

So do I to an extent, but if this is really meant to mean just guiding those who start climbing anyway why does it say "encourage growth and participation in all areas...". That statement doesn't need to be there.

john arran - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

Make sure you pick your toys up on the way out.

6
Dave Ferguson - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Anonymous:

 

> And lets face it it's not really a problem confined to the top 4 sport crags. The popular bits of the peak are getting totally hammered.

There are plenty of bits that aren't being hammered, the star system and selected guides play a big part in this. There is plenty to do away from the crowds, often on the same crag.

> You can't park in the pass for love nor money after 9am on a dry day from April - October. This will all get steadily worse with increased participants.

But its mainly walkers going up Snowdon that are responsible for this, the pass is quieter than it was back in the 80's/90's from a climbing point of view.

> Some crags will benefit, that's true, but there's generally a reason that they're unpopular in the first place. No-one's going to nip up Scafell for a quick route after work,

I have, got to make the most of those "Scafell days" in midsummer. 

Any national body should increase participation and the BMC is no different.

 

 

1
danm on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

I don't know to be honest. As I said earlier, whilst I don't agree with you, I understand and respect your reasons and decision. I do think that the BMC are kind of beholden to take the survey results and subsequent recommendations on board - maybe a yes/no on this could be voted at the AGM to begin with.

My personal take on this is that in many ways this is a semantic issue anyway. It's rather difficult to draw a line under what constitutes promotion and what isn't, and I doubt many resources would be directed towards it anyway, at least in an aggressive sense. I mean, why bother when the sport appears to be growing so quickly organically?

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to danm:

Incidentally, were we ever asked the direct question: Should the BMC encourage growth in the activities it represents? I remember lots of questions along the lines of 'are you happy with the BMC's handling of/response to/support for' different things but nothing this overt? I made the point at the time that answering yes or no to these sort of open questions could be interpreted in different ways.

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Anonymous:

Thank you kind stranger! Also you have provided a reason why the BMC might want to pursue growth, however that is measured.

Post edited at 21:57
Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran:

> Your post would carry considerably more weight were it not anonymous.

But andyr gets a free pass? You've been on forums long enough to separate the wheat from the chaff without knowing a poster's life story

> In fact I agree with much of what you say, but the (very real) issues you describe apply to a miniscule proportion of climbers in the UK

A number that is increasing in both absolute terms and as a proportion of all climbers. Almost every town in the UK above about 100,000 people has at least one climbing wall and many more than one. These walls are packed with kids and young adults flying up V6s and upwards a few months after being introduced to the sport. More experienced climbers are dead hanging as though their lives depend on it. These people will not be content to apply these skills to HVSes in the Moelwyns or even dirty E5s in the Lakes. Many will stay indoors and never venture outdoors, any will just go bouldering but a significant number will go roped climbing and of these the vast majority will go sport climbing and they will go to Malham, Kilnsey, LPT and Raven Tor as they will be more than capable of climbing in the 8s and the majority of quality grade 8 routes in the England and Wales are on these crags.

> and there are plenty more crags that could actively benefit from more traffic, so it seems to me that throwing ones toys out of the pram by boycotting BMC membership may not be entirely justified.

I said right at the start that I'd be happy to see people on the mid extremes in the Lakes but I've yet to meet anyone who has taken up climbing in the last 5 years doing this (I'm not saying they don't exist but I'm yet to see them)

 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Anonymous:

> Danm - where in the document does it say that the feed back from members was to encourage participation? It says that as a result of feedback the recommendation to encourage participation has been amended to include recognising the impact of that. But that's different from saying the feedback was to encourage increased participation.

Were we asked?

 

Tyler - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Touche!

I'm trying to work out if you are my Liker or Disliker!

> Is it really that bad though? And even if it is fashions change. I recall you had to queue for pretty much every route on Chee Tor of a weekend in 1984. Buoux the same in 1987. Steve Mac said that if he set a problem indoors like the crux on Rainshadow he would be sacked.

Things are pretty bad and will get worse and although things are cyclical I think sport climbing's popularity will continue to rise (it was only quiet in the late 90's and early 2000's as everyone was grit headpointing and I don't see that making a comeback). I've certainly had routes worked but been unable to get on them to finish them off and had to move on to other projects. Buoux is a strange one but as I keep saying we don't have alternatives to Malham and Kilnsey whereas Provence has alternatives to Buoux.

> The BMC has access as a priority but it is a small part of what the organisation currently does. If it was all we did the Office would be smaller and membership fee lower and you would be if not happy then slightly less curmudgeonly. Maybe.

I'm happy for the BMC t be the size it needs to be. If the BMC needs more members then there are no shortage of climbers who are not members and if absolute numbers need to increase then that is happening anyway.

> Yes it is a membership organisation but many members can see beyond their immediate interests and others can't. Personally I would like to see an evolution towards the BMC transitioning to an organisation for the greater good. Optimistic I know. And yes, I count promoting our sport to the uninitiated as a good thing - it has enriched my life after all.

All very laudable but there are better ways to do this than converting a few more of the middle class from triathlon to climbing or encouraging a few more parents to buy the latest squad training top from the local wall for their progeny. If the BMC was doing some healthy cooking classes or running diabetes awareness courses in deprived areas of the country I'd be all for it.

> It is also entirely conceivable that we can go in another direction where all the bits can be totally spun off - ACT (The Access & Conservation Trust) could be like the American Access Fund and purely focussed on your interests, the Competitions arm can be the official National Governing Body for indoor competition climbing managing the Teams, National Comps and talent development programmes and the Mountaineers can have their uber club back. It depends whether we are better together and the things that generally bind us are bigger than those that separate us. Are we bigger than the sum of the separate parts? These are questions that I have yet to resolve in my own mind.       

Me neither.

andyr - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> But andyr gets a free pass? You've been on forums long enough to separate the wheat from the chaff without knowing a poster's life story

No free pass here. John and many others know who I am. As you don't, my name is Andy Reid from Mile End.

Deadeye - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Thanks for the interest in this topic and apologies for being slow in responding. The reason for setting up the website

> was the lack of a substantial open 'platform' anywhere else for people to both gather information and should they wish present their own views and enter into discussion on the future of the BMC. Hopefully when it comes to voting time, people will then be better informed in making their choices.

I can go to all the meetings, or discuss here.  I neither need nor want an alternative thanks.

> I would far rather the BMC itself could host such a platform but as an organization it has shied away from such member engagement. Partly because it likes to maintain a tight control on the narrative, at times forgetting perhaps it is a members organisation; partly because it might turn into an ugly bar-room brawl. Lets see? The BMC also feels it has had to step back from discussions whilst the Organisational Review is taking place. That OR is taking place behind closed doors and whilst quite a few sensible recommendations are emerging there are many valid concerns about the process

> - Why are only certain questions being asked, only certain options being offered?

The scope seems pretty fair to me

> - Where are the alternatives? Where is the member engagement beyond skewed questionnaires and questionable analysis?

See above

>Their working practises might be admirable but how do we know?

oh good grief.

> - Worries that the OR review itself is perversley being used as a means to enshrine the lack of accountability it was meant to be addressing in the first place!

Oh good Grief

> - Lack of respect for existing democratic processes within the BMC. A notable resistance from the centre when Area Meetings and the National Council seek to question and challenge the Executive's wishes.

FFS

> I could go on forever

Please don't.

> but hopefully this will answer some of the initial questions posted here. The web-site is a better platform for such discussions and I have posted my own opinions there. It is structured so that people can post opinion pieces (whatever their views), discuss things and make succinct, concrete proposals.

Honestly, there's nothing new here. You're adding no new rational arguments, no new perspective, no new information.  Move along and let my BMC get on with their job (which they do pretty well on the whole)

> You could see the existing BMC functioning well last night at the well attended NW Area Meeting where all of this was discussed and its area reps mandated to take decisions forward to the National Council.

Good.  Npt broken then.  Please don't pretend to try to fix.

>  Staff and Executive members were there to hear what members had to say. As always, ways of improving the reach of such area meetings were discussed. Hopefully this website can help achieve that.

> Have a look. Pass on the link. I'm hoping the BMC itself will see fit to do the same.

No.  It's spam.  Please don't.

 

1
Deadeye - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> He's a total bloody slouch.  Done nowt....


Thanks.  A puff.  Now edited appropriately

Paul Evans - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Tyler:

Hi Tyler and Anonymous. 

LMGTFY. Yes we were asked, survey results are online and in considerable detail. Section 7.3 page 35 and following deals with the specific question and the responses. Fill yer boots. Link to download on the page below. 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/volunteers-sought-for-bmc-governance-review

Paul

Dave Garnett - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

> Hi Dave. I'm not sure whether you're supporting andyr's view or offering an explanation for it (or both)?

Sorry for delay in responding, I got back from Germany at the weekend just in time to spot the burst pipe...

My comment was really responding to andyr's question, just pointing out why it was possible for a reasonable person to question the wording of that sentence.  I wasn't saying that I felt as strongly about it as Tyler.  

> As you say, "takes priority" is an "implication". When I read it, that was not what I assumed it meant. The amended headline text is "The BMC should responsibly encourage growth and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, recognising the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause". The key words for me were "responsibly" and the phrase "recognising.." and what follows.

I see a lot of corporate euphemism and I think it's the 'recognising' that troubles me.  Understand that I obsess about the construction of formal language for a living, so I'm probably over-thinking this, but to me 'recognising' can be a way of saying that you can't make omelettes without breaking eggs.  You clearly don't see it that way and, of course, it's unfair to over-interpret a single sentence acontextually. 

That said, can you see how a sentence like the following shifts the emphasis? 

"The BMC encourages inclusion and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, whilst being sensitive to its responsibility to mitigate the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause"  

Not sure whether this would make a difference to how people like Tyler feel about it.

And, for the record, anything that gets more people more active (especially young people) is a good thing.  I always find young people at walls are very tolerant and encouraging to me!

 

Post edited at 10:20
UKB and BMC Shark - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> That said, can you see how a sentence like the following shifts the emphasis? 

> "The BMC encourages inclusion and participation in all areas of the activities that it represents, whilst being sensitive to its responsibility to mitigate the access, conservation and environmental issues that growth could cause"  

 

Brilliant!

Worth escalating as a suggested re-word to the next NC meeting via your NC Rep?

Crag Jones - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Thanks Dave. There was a lot of dodgy use of language in the first ORG report (still working through the second), dissembling in my view, or pulling the wool if you prefer. There is usually a reason why bright people cant be clear about something!

Why was participation in the terms of reference of a governance review in the first place? It's an objective, for or against, not a governance or policy thing.

'bmc shark' works for the BMC as their Commercial Partnerships Manager and probably gets paid for his time spent arguing on here! Thus the commodification of climbing is in his interest both personally and for the financial interests of the BMC. Take all the training boards, climbing walls and all the other commercial partners etc etc: its financial interests that are driving their agenda, which is one they want to impose on all participants.

In that respect it was very good of Deadeye to highlight

> - Worries that the OR review itself is perversely being used as a means to enshrine the lack of accountability it was meant to be addressing in the first place!

Perhaps the second report might be an improvement?

16
UKB and BMC Shark - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> 'bmc shark' works for the BMC as their Commercial Partnerships Manager and probably gets paid for his time spent arguing on here! Thus the commodification of climbing is in his interest both personally and for the financial interests of the BMC. Take all the training boards, climbing walls and all the other commercial partners etc etc: its financial interests that are driving their agenda, which is one they want to impose on all participants.

I post in my own time unless it specifically relates to my work on commercial partnerships.  

As for my role I was employed as an experiment to establish mutually beneficial commercial partnerships to make up for the financial shortfall due to the decline/loss of Sport England funding.

I come from a background of being a local area volunteer including being a National Council rep and saw the advertised role as an opportunity to apply my business experience and put something back, though I somehow doubt you will believe that. 

 

 
1
Tyler - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Yep, despite my ribbing of shark above I don't doubt that anyone working for the BMC does so to contribute rather than for personal gain. It's why I've never applied for a job there myself, obviously

Post edited at 14:52
Paul Evans - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Thanks for the response Dave. I agree with Shark - your suggested wording is really good, and you should forward it on to NC. 

Paul Evans - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Crag, I quote from the front page of the site you set up "Please keep it constructive and polite and refrain from any personal attacks."

Just as appropriate on UKC as on your own site, I would have thought.  

Cheers

Paul

Crag Jones - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul,bmc shark, Tyler: Whoa! That is not a personal attack at all. The 'commodification' of the whole shebang and by that I mean Climbing, Walking, Mountaineering etc is so all engulfing nobody can even recognise it for what it is - a choice, not an inevitability. Sure a choice the commercial sector it seems are winning. Their prevailing view, changes the nature of those activities for the worse. See Zombie Death for my expanded views on that. I wont repeat them here. Its no good complaining when I simply point out those processes that many seem oblivious to.

 

10
Crag Jones - on 08 Mar 2018

'BMC30' respond in detail to Paul Evans' queries: see - 

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments

Also Sport England's code of governance has now been added under 'Source Documents'.

 

Graeme Alderson on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

"Why not put the annual subscription up by £2.0 per head instead of seeking grant funding from Sport England?"

Yet these are the same people who fight tooth and nail against ANY increase in subs.

 
67hours - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Something about this whole "paper" format really makes it hard for me to follow it all. The debate seems to primarily attract opinions from people with an awfully long way around of saying things.

I wish it was setup in a format more like this: https://www.kialo.com/should-quotas-for-women-on-boards-and-in-managerial-positions-be-mandatory-9821/9821.0=9821.1/=9821.1

Much easier to see and argue different points of view. No need to cut down the length of what is written, but it would be separated into clear points much more easily. 

Crag Jones - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to 67hours:

Thanks VERY much for this. I have had a quick look at it and it seems ideal for this kind of problem, which I agree is very difficult to both present and get any sort of conclusion out of. No promises but, if I can free up the time I'll experiment a bit with it and at least get a page with it on. Perhaps it could in due course replace the Discussions, Comments and Ideas pages. The Ideas page is an attempt to cut through the verbiage with succinct concrete proposals. Kialo might offer a good way to structure those with supporting arguments. Thanks.

Post edited at 19:51
Crag Jones - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Perhaps they have reconsidered and though it worth paying to gain management freedom of our own affairs?

1
Crag Jones - on 09 Mar 2018

Chasing Our Tails to Where? Review document and accompanying spreadsheet in response to amended ORG final report. 

See: https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments

 

 

2
Graeme Alderson on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Bob and Co reconsider. That's funny Crag ;-)

JR - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Firstly, thanks for facilitating some of the discussion.

All other things aside for the time being, can you clarify what you mean by this:

"It is unfortunate that the ORG lacked the independence and objectivity to stand back and provide independent advice in regards the corporate structure"

John Roberts (ORG)

Post edited at 12:56
Ian W - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to JR:

> Firstly, thanks for facilitating some of the discussion.

> All other things aside for the time being, can you clarify what you mean by this:

> "It is unfortunate that the ORG lacked the independence and objectivity to stand back and provide independent advice in regards the corporate structure"

> John Roberts (ORG)

I'd also second JR's request. The statement is simply not true, and in the context it is placed, comes across to me as a bit of a snide dig.

Post edited at 12:59
Crag Jones - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to JR: Short Answer. Lack of challenge to Sport Englands supposed high level of governance requirement. This used as a false justification for the pre-favoured model (Rab's fingerprints?) of executive empowerment over what should be a member led BMC.

5
JR - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

We were asked to balance from the ToR, amongst other points:

  • The BMC’s governance structure reflects the law.
  • The BMC remains a member led organisation so far as is possible within the confines of the law.
  • The governance structure meets the requirements of Sport England’s, "A Code for Sport's Governance” so far as is possible whilst meeting the above requirements.

 

The tiering levels are:

UK Sport and Sport England will generally categorise an investment as Tier 3 if:

  • the funding is intended to be granted over a period of years;
  • the funding is granted for a continuing activity rather than a one-o  project; and
  • the total amount of funding is greater than £1m

 

Consideration will also be given to the size of the organisation. Organisations receiving funding for significant, medium to long term activity should generally expect to be in Tier 3.

Sport England and UK Sport will generally categorise an investment as Tier 1 if:

  • it is granted on a one-off basis (for example, for a specific project which has a  finite life); and
  • the total amount of funding is less than or equal to £250k

Tier 2 is a halfway house with no strict definition but out of context:

Investments will be placed into Tier 2 where UK Sport and/or Sport England require organisations to go further than the Requirements in Tier 1, but not as far as full compliance with Tier 3. This might be because of their resources, or because the investment is significant but made on a one-off  (rather than longer-term) basis.

It could also be because the investment signals the start of a new strategic relationship between Sport England/UK Sport and an organisation, but where the parameters of the relationship are still being established.

Primacy is a requirement of all 3 tiers.

Sport England's requirement of the BMC is tier 3.  There are a number of reasons, including those in bold above, but the decision is Sport England's prerogative based on the BMC's current position in Climbing, Hillwalking and Mountaineering.

The BMC is the steward of Climbing, Hillwalking and Mountaineering, and the ORG objectively believe it should remain so.  That is not a lack of independence, that's a view taken based on 1000s of hours of research and discussion, assimilating a very large range of people and views, including yours, and many of those on your site.

The ORG members all agree with the report contents we published, and believe it meets the ToR given to us on balance.  You may not agree, as is your right, but I would question that what you have written in your short response aligns to your statement, or that your statement is true: 

"It is unfortunate that the ORG lacked the independence and objectivity to stand back and provide independent advice in regards the corporate structure". 

What's the long answer?

What you're positing is an existential issue for the BMC as the steward of Climbing, Hillwalking and Mountaineering, and it's fine to hold that view, but it's not what we have assessed the majority of members to believe, and as a result, not what the ORG believe to be correct.

For the context of those that haven't read the report, in relation to this, the foreword in the amendment report from Ray, is probably the most useful.

https://johnroberts.me/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ORG-Amended-Recommendations-Report-final.pdf

Post edited at 14:24
Crag Jones - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to JR:

 

Now for the long answer! Firstly, I accept what you say about the level of governance required by Sport England (SE) for our current level and duration of funding and will amend my piece to reflect that. However, I still stand by my central thesis that the ORG could have provided alternatives to the only corporate structure that is enforced on us by accepting SE grant funding, agreeing that if such an alternative were adopted we might well have to forgo future grants from SE. I maintain that the SE governance requirements are being used as a ‘trojan horse’ to justify the kind of management model the executive already favoured (via Rab’s influence possibly) but I believe is ill suited to a membership representative organisation. “The medium becomes the message”; if you organise it like a company, it becomes a company which is something very different and not best suited to representing members interests.

 

8
Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

With all due respect just saying such things doesn't make them true and smearing Rab (again) on the way is pretty childish.

Why don't you explain in detail here why the current structure is wrong and what would be better and why. Saying it's on the article on your site is a cop-out, as direct point by point discussion is difficult there, and if it's that important its certainly worth saying again.

1
JR - on 10 Mar 2018
Crag Jones - on 11 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I was not ‘smearing’ Rab (whim I have a great deal of respect for by the way) but pointing out that a the ORG review’s credentials for being ‘independent’ don’t stand up for scrutiny when that group has Rab in it who is both an ex-president and current Patron. There is  the very likely possibility that its conclusions will therefore be biased towards the ‘executive view’ which is conveniently supported by recommending a Limited Company structure. That is a succinct answer to the first part of your question. I don’t think these kinds of threads are a good place to have this kind of discussion at all which is why I created the web-site in the first place as a central goto place for people to get both information and see the wide ranging discussion before they decide which way to vote. I have published any point of view there, many of which are contrary to my personal opinion. These forums and threads become endlessly repetitive and very confusing for those not directly involved to get any kind of structured and reasonably fair overview. So it is definitely not a cop out. See my own views in the ‘Chasing Our Tails to Where’, ‘BMC in Zombie Death’ and ‘Tail Wagging Dogs’ in 

https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments

I will not repeat their contents here but to answer the rest of your question: A Ltd Company structure is not good simply because  it allows the directors to unduly influence the agenda over the wishes of the members. The latter do not have anywhere near enough influence to set the objectives of the organisation or monitor the means of how to achieve them.

I wish John Roberts (ORG) had not started another thread but simply continued within this one as its yet another place for confused members to go and look for info and views. As with earlier forums I will though embed it on the discussions page of the web-site to maintain it as a  ‘one-stop’ resource and include a link to his blog as well. John quotes the results of the membership survey to support their conclusions. I would counter that they controlled the 'agenda' there by only providing limited options in the first place, coupled with questionable groupings for the responses. Bear in mind also, the responses are a very small % of even BMC members and a tiny portion of all active people regardless of membership.

As mentioned before I will explore the the Kialo platform https://www.kialo.com/tour/ to see if it can improve the structure of discussions. Something like that might also serve the BMC well in future if used alongside online voting to allow members a clearer picture of the pros and cons of an issue.

 
2
Offwidth - on 11 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

It looks like you are smearing Rab to me (by implying undue/unfair influence) and arguably insulting the intelligence of the rest of the Org.

I agree with you that the questionnaire was flawed but all indications are pointing the same way:..... the average member doesn't think the same way as you. Hence maybe the usual 'plebscite dominating over years of dedicated experience' argument I heard at the NW area meeting. I feel the opposite way... if experience means anything good, being able to fairly influence  and pursuade the voting should be expected. Most people I've seen in my life talking about plebscites are being rude and insulting to their voting population and benefit from the activist dominance of their small membership meetings.

I don't care where things are publicly debated as long as they are.

1
JR - on 11 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Perhaps it’s simply a factor of the style of communication, but it certainly comes across as personalising, toward Rab, the issue you are taking.  Facilitating discussion is important, and I’ve thanked you for this, but your phraseology could come across as undermining the integrity of your facilitation and independence.

The initial member research survey has been widely discussed. There is a level of statistical confidence in it.  It’s also backed up by many hours of focus groups.  Question design is always scrutinised, hence why we used an independent company, it’s never perfect, but the confidence of the first survey holds up. The post report consultation survey did not hold that level of confidence, nor member reach, we’re aware of that, and have taken that context into account, as described in the amendment report.  I can’t tell from your comments if you’re conflating the issues with the consultation survey with the member research survey?

The corporate structure discussion has been had many times.  From the November report:

“A significant number of corporate entity option were considered in the process of  finalising this recommendation including charitable status (Charitable Trust, Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Charitable Company) and non-charitable vehicles (Cooperative Society, CIC etc.) The option to look at charitable status for the entire BMC organisation was considered at some length.”

The BMC is a company limited by guarantee already.  Paul Caddy did a significant piece of work on this at the very start of the ORG that informed the thinking, alongside Womble Bond Dickinson, and the BMC’s auditors.  Since then the discussion has mostly focussed on whether the BMC should be a charity or not (a charity can also be a company limited by guarantee, with “added” charitable status), as explained in the amendments report. There are very few people arguing against a company limited by guarantee structure at all. Perhaps the word “company” in the type of legal vehicle is unfortunate in this instance, but it’s a very common structure for membership organisations, and very flexible in how it can be used. Codes of governance help guide how these legal vehicles are used to best effect, hence our methodology.

Kialo might be something the BMC consider as part of our recommendations (R18). There are other platforms out there like represent.me too.  A job for another day.

Post edited at 17:50
Crag Jones - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to JR and Offwidth: 

Guys. We are going round in circles here of whom sais what to who and not really addressing the two central points I have made:

1) That members should be centre stage when it comes to developing, prioritising and monitoring the objectives of the BMC.

2) That the BMC Areas should be better supported to develop more effectively and individual members encouraged to engage via those Areas to strengthen local climbing and walking communities.

What’s not to like about both those proposals? They may well sit within the ORG recommendations needing only a shift in emphasis.

The first proposal could be achieved by having an online objectives development and monitoring framework to prepare the work for an annual or twice yearly forum for the BMC to meet and agree the objectives. Ideas can be presented, discussed and developed online prior to final agreement in such a forum. Once agreed, the executive, staff and volunteer teams are then left in peace to implement them. It offers a good way to integrate specialist programs within the overall BMC program. Everyone can clearly see what’s been agreed and check that work is focussed on those things, drastically reducing the scope for future disagreements.

With such a scheme an ‘objective’ can be defined by anyone whether it’s Jemima Bloggs, the President, Harriette, a Chair or member of a Specialist Committee, Tom, the CEO, or anyone else, Dick included. This does away with the ‘them and us’ dichotomy between the executive and members. Anyone can ‘transparently’ submit an idea including staff members. Its then openly discussed on its merits and voted up or down. Members are thus free to engage as much or as little as they want. If it happens that the majority of initiatives are coming from the executive end of the spectrum, that’s fine too, since the membership has a complete view of all proposals and are free to comment, modify, accept or reject as they see fit. Mostly I imagine they will say, ‘great idea, carry on’. This gives the organisation much more stability with the collective knowledge that its objectives have been openly endorsed by all.

 

2
Offwidth - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I'd support all of that but fail to see why the new proposed ORG form of the BMC couldn't do that.  Most members I know want all the ORG work done and dusted as its already taking too long... certainly not even more delays over the newly proposed ORG/BMC timetable. While we delay on structure, BMC money, focus and energy is being distracted from where it should be and we can't attract Spert England funding (or increase subs, if people prefer that route, are convinced we wont lose membership, and wish to have full independance). Some BMC employees tell me they feel under massive pressure due to the current uncertainty.... hardly an ideal working situation. Worse still, non-club based volunteer support is bearing the brunt of this missing effort currently (especially for hillwalking which is the No1 participation activity in the BMC membership) partly as one of the Sport England posts has gone. Most BMC work is done by unpaid volunteers.

Crag Jones - on 16 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I understand what you are saying about the negative effect on staff and volunteers actually doing stuff. I know it’s a hard time. It’s important that we get it right this time to prevent further disruption in the future. It’s worth investing a little extra time now, to achieve that. Providing a structure and process can be put in place that always allows all members when they wish to :

- see clearly what’s going on, what’s already been agreed and how

- to debate, modify, add-to, reject or accept new proposals

- to submit ideas of their own

then we can move forward.

I believe there is a problem with the current proposals in that they do not put the members centre stage in that way. Instead they seem to be proposing, leave it to the board, we’ll know what’s good for you with only rejection of the board as any means of redress. And we can see the mess that gets us into.

Granted, much of the time, members will not exercise those rights I am proposing and the system will function perfectly well without them doing so BUT it is crucial they are there for when needed whether it’s for small or large matters. When no one is complaining then everyone can concentrate on getting on with things safe in the knowledge they have tacit overall approval. I am sure the current proposals could be adapted to accommodate such a scheme and that it would improve things a great deal.

 
1
Offwidth - on 16 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I bet if your job was at risk or heavily disrupted to allow your organisation to think more after already having a year of thinking, you would feel differently. At some point any value gained from more thinking is easily less than the value lost elsewhere. My personal view is we have already reached that point for the BMC.

Crag Jones - on 16 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

My job WAS severely disrupted when I spent 3 years hard graft as a BMC volunteer vice president dealing exactly with such matters. Radical proposals were  afterwards kicked into the long grass then which was a mistake. These need to be got right this time and enacted.

1
Offwidth - on 16 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

As an ex VP who endured significant disruption you should maybe be displaying a little more visible sympathy. As for the neccesity of more change, that's your opinion. The BMC is a democracy with members who I'm sure have lots of different if overlapping preferred changes and we will have to see what comes out of the discussions. I dearly hope the current timetable isn't delayed any more than it already has been. We are lucky that: the current President also had the capacity for what is pretty much a full time job; a huge amount of extra volunteer time has been put in on the ORG by the ORG team and other key volunteers (trying not to think too hard about what this could have achieved if applied to the main aims on the BMC, like access and conservation); the staff have had the patience of saints.

Post edited at 16:30
Crag Jones - on 21 Mar 2018

Significant constructive feedback posted at  https://sites.google.com/view/bmc-rr/reviewdocuments from Jonathan White and associates.

 

 

Offwidth - on 22 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

One specific important point in that feedback is what exactly constitutes AGM democracy. Jonathan comments that wider voting could make the debate at the AGM pointless and that the MoNC proxy voting was a step in that direction. Those proxy vote numbers were exceptional, as a response to a secret campain based on misinformation by a very particular group of old men;, old men much more likely to attend an AGM than those responding with their proxy votes against.  I see that mass proxy voting response as a clear indication of the BMC democracy being in rude health. The alternative (which occurs say in many Trade Unions), is only attending delegates can vote, but in a Trade Union that is funded on expenses and time is provided from legally specified recognition agreements. In contrast, those who can afford the time and cost of attending a BMC AGM are a very specific subset of the membership, especially in age, and diversity terms. I have no fear of prior debate outside the meeting and particularly in that, no serious concerns about plebescites... joining the BMC in itself is a choice that implies better informed views than the general public and voting within the BMC is a further step indicating informed concerns.  The ordinary voting BMC members are no mobile vulgus (or 'mobbe'). This stuff I hear occasionally about the influence of ill informed 'insurance members' I beleive is nonsense... its a cartoon caricature as those who really don't care, usually don't vote. I welcome BMC AGM democractic movement outside the AGM meeting in a fairer more public way, so that specific 'activist' views must convince the wider voting membership. 

When I first joined the BMC I had no idea its policy decisions at the AGM were so heavily influenced by club block votes. Much later when I discovered that, I regarded it as a highly serious democractic deficit. The campaign to change it seemed much more from the membership than the 'establishment' at that time (with some notable exceptions). Too few of those in that 'establishment' at that time, seemed concerned..so it's a bit rich to be lectured on democracy by that generation (to be clear this is a general point... I have no idea what the position was of any individual): collectively true lovers of democracy would have removed that democratic fault way earlier than it was. In contrast that democratic deficit was very understandable from the view of a 'patriachy' who knew their position of power and what was best for the 'plebs'.

 

Post edited at 09:31
Crag Jones - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

 

There may well be elements of truth in what you say about long past block voting. But the boot is on the other foot now and two wrongs don’t make a right. At least prior to individual membership then all members were part of a hierarchical democratic framework i.e.

member –> club -> local area -> management committee -> executive

whereas now, what’s being advocated is much more like

member-> executive

The problem with this is that the ‘executive’ controls the flow of information through Summit and the web-site and its predominantly one way, downwards. At least the previous / existing systems had more checks and balances with both information and decisions flowing upwards as well as downwards.

The executive always felt frustrated by this and engineered individual membership with its lack of being able to hold the executive to account as a means to escape those constraints.

To add insult to injury the proposed changes mean that much more of the executive would be appointed and not elected. The language employed has crucial get-out closes such as the need to only ‘consult’ with the members and the gift of  a severely constrained list of ’reserved matters’. The OR proposals mean that the executive have poorly managed power to dictate the objectives of the organisation. That is not a good way to look to the future.

 

Post edited at 14:09
7
Ian W - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

No.

What you currently have is member -> local area->  national council -> executive. 

What is being advocated is member -> local area -> NC replacement -> executive.

The difference is in who has primacy, NC (the members) or exec. Currently NC can instruct Exec, which is where the potential banana skins lie. The proposal is for exec to decide policy, with NC, or its replacement, approving or otherwise. It therefore removes the danger of non compliance with law etc as exec are unlikely to put forward such a policy.

Not perfect, but still better for the organisation than having policy decided only at general meetings.

Paul Evans - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Good points Ian. And as you correctly point out, the primacy changes are for compliance with the Companies Act, specifically the shadow director risk discussed by Womble BD. Also, for those who argue we will have less "democracy",  don't forget  recommendations 16,17,18,19, and 38, none of which we have now. 

Offwidth - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

What Ian and Paul say.....plus not that much over a decade is hardly long past .....at this rate the current governance arguments will take that long to resolve (from the first stirrings of trouble prior to  'Climb Britain').

Its not a second wrong to me as I don't perceive a wrong here at all but I do object to those who exploited block votes lecturing us all on democracy (Mark Vallance being an obvious exception as he worked tirelessly to remove the block votes) or for that matter fighting agaisnt sub increases year after year and now suggesting sub increases as maybe the best way to make BMC funding stable. 

Post edited at 15:01
Ian W - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The problem with this is that the ‘executive’ controls the flow of information through Summit and the web-site and its predominantly one way, downwards. At least the previous / existing systems had more checks and balances with both information and decisions flowing upwards as well as downwards.

More misinformation and "alternative facts", Crag. I'm not sure how much the press Baron Turnbull models himself on Murdoch, but I somehow think Messenger et al have more freedom than you give them credit for. Anyway, the decision making flow of info is still, and will continue to be, buth up and down via the area meetings. The area reps report back from NC on what is discussed, and eed back info to NC on the area s thoughts etc (see the climb Britain episode for a recent example). 

> The executive always felt frustrated by this and engineered individual membership with its lack of being able to hold the executive to account as a means to escape those constraints.

To hold the belief that this was engineered to achieve those aims is, i'm afraid, either paranoid or ignorant. NB - if it was, it was bloody successful given individual members outnumber club members by 5 - 1 !!

> To add insult to injury the proposed changes mean that much more of the executive would be appointed and not elected. The language employed has crucial get-out closes such as the need to only ‘consult’ with the members and the gift of  a severely constrained list of ’reserved matters’. The OR proposals mean that the executive have poorly managed power to dictate the objectives of the organisation. That is not a good way to look to the future.

It wouldn't be if it was true......but the people you think are appointed are in fact elected by the members of the committee they represent. In my case, I was elected to the position of committee chair by the members of that committee. Area reps are elected by the members at area meetings. I don't think there are any proposals to change this. 

Crag Jones - on 23 Mar 2018

In reply to Ian and Paul: I don’t buy your equivalent hierarchies at all. These proposals (with some moderation in the amended report) despite the Orwellian doublespeak aim to cut out those middle links AND reverse it: so more like member <- executive. Sure the Local Areas and National Council still exist but the proposals hollow them out, disempower them. That may well be in the interests of specialist committees who are then freer to promote their own agendas but does not allow for overall balance. The National Council should remain the ultimate arbiters of Objectives and Policy but not necessarily strategy. The executive can easily point out any legal ‘banana skins’ and have them removed.

I get what you mean by ‘Primacy’ here, but it means different things to different people. It is not even defined in the ORG Glossary, does not appear in the 2006 Companies Act and legally if it means anything at all is whether the interests of the shareholder or wider stakeholders in a company should prevail.

The so called ‘problem’ of Shadow Directors has been used as a legal scare tactic. Shadow Directors are in fact allowed and yes they may have some liabilities. Is that necessarily a bad thing?  Providing everyone is aware of their responsibilities it might make them address their duties more seriously. Risk mitigation measures can also be employed e.g with nominated directors assuming the responsibility and others being protected by being legally minuted as ‘in attendance’ instead of ‘present’ at meetings. The Executive could request a review of Council requirements where it exposes them to a risk they are not content with. I am fairly sure all are covered by liability insurance in any case.

Yes recommendations 16 -19,38 are good as are many others, but not at the risk of having to accept the other seriously contentious recommendations. The issue is why are members not being given sufficient time to get their heads around what’s being proposed, debate the issues (beyond my guerrilla campaign!) and only being given a take it or leave it choice in June as to whether we are governed by nominated directors and objectives or remain represented by elected directors and member driven objectives.

In reply to Offwidth: Every time I’ve got you cornered, you change the subject! Anyhow we seem to agree that members are the ones who should have the say. My worry is that the wool is being pulled over their eyes to allow those who think they know what is best to dictate the future for our activities to them.

 

 

9
Malbogies - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to toad:

I have only just seen this strangely ignorant comment.  Apart from being a fine British mountaineer with an impressive list of first ascents all over the world (and incidentally, the first Welshman to climb Everest), and the star of an excellent long running adventure documentary series, Crag Jones happens to be a former Vice President of the BMC with very relevant experience of the organisation.  Add to that his experience as a research scientist, ecological consultant, former Fisheries Inspector on South Georgia and long-standing chairman of the South Georgia Expeditions Advisory Committee – engaged in continual negotiation between mountaineers and government officials – and it is obvious that his opinions should taken very seriously.

5
Paul Evans - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Hi Crag. "Are Shadow Directors a bad thing?" Well most informed people seem to think so - try this for a typical analysis - https://www.icaew.com/en/technical/business-resources/legal-regulatory-tax-governance/directors-duties/the-dangers-of-acting-as-a-de-factor-or-shadow-director

Basically as a Shadow Director you are at the same risk of civil and criminal action as a normal Director. Except, as I have pointed out previously, the BMC has indemnity insurance for its "formal" directors. Those at risk of being considered Shadow Directors have no such insurance. Not a situation that I would put myself in. 

Cheers

Paul

Crag Jones - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

List them as 'in attendance' instead of 'present' in the minutes could be one solution for starters? Even if that or other measures are problematic it cant be used as an excuse to disempower the members. Its up to the lawyers to find a way to satisfy our requirements and not the other way round. Cheers, Crag.

4
RupertD - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> I get what you mean by ‘Primacy’ here, but it means different things to different people. It is not even defined in the ORG Glossary, does not appear in the 2006 Companies Act and legally if it means anything at all is whether the interests of the shareholder or wider stakeholders in a company should prevail.

What the ORG means by "primacy" is that the governance structure reflects the powers, responsibilities and liabilities of the directors as set out in the Companies Act 2006. You can't give that power to the members, a committee of member representatives or anyone else, because the law says you can't.

> Its up to the lawyers to find a way to satisfy our requirements and not the other way round.

That's not how the law works, despite what Donald Trump thinks. Lawyers tell you what the law is and how to meet it.

 

toad - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Malbogies:

But i genuinely didnt know who he was  and furthermore there was an assumption that i SHOULD know. If you are making such a material contribution, at the least i would expect a supporting statement. 

toad - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to toad:

Actually, it would probably help punters like me if crag posted a better profile

Ian W - on 23 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> I don’t buy your equivalent hierarchies at all. These proposals (with some moderation in the amended report) despite the Orwellian doublespeak aim to cut out those middle links AND reverse it: so more like member <- executive. Sure the Local Areas and National Council still exist but the proposals hollow them out, disempower them. That may well be in the interests of specialist committees who are then freer to promote their own agendas but does not allow for overall balance. The National Council should remain the ultimate arbiters of Objectives and Policy but not necessarily strategy. The executive can easily point out any legal ‘banana skins’ and have them removed.

We'll have to leave this one as an area we dont agree on. I just dont see how you can possibly come to your conxlusions, especially as (via your character referee malbogies), you are an ex VP, and as such someone i would expect to have a greater knowledge of the current workings and structure of the BMC than you display.

> I get what you mean by ‘Primacy’ here, but it means different things to different people. It is not even defined in the ORG Glossary, does not appear in the 2006 Companies Act and legally if it means anything at all is whether the interests of the shareholder or wider stakeholders in a company should prevail.

As per Rupert D's contribution, primacy may mean different things to different people, but unfortunately, some of them are wrong. It is very clear in company law, and basically here means that those bearing the responsibility also carry the authority. The shadow director concept seeks to move the burden of responsibility onto those who would usurp the authority of named directors, so those seeking to wield the power normally associated with a directors position will be liable in law as thaa director would be. Hope that makes sense.

> The so called ‘problem’ of Shadow Directors has been used as a legal scare tactic. Shadow Directors are in fact allowed and yes they may have some liabilities. Is that necessarily a bad thing?  Providing everyone is aware of their responsibilities it might make them address their duties more seriously. Risk mitigation measures can also be employed e.g with nominated directors assuming the responsibility and others being protected by being legally minuted as ‘in attendance’ instead of ‘present’ at meetings. The Executive could request a review of Council requirements where it exposes them to a risk they are not content with. I am fairly sure all are covered by liability insurance in any case.

> Yes recommendations 16 -19,38 are good as are many others, but not at the risk of having to accept the other seriously contentious recommendations. The issue is why are members not being given sufficient time to get their heads around what’s being proposed, debate the issues (beyond my guerrilla campaign!) and only being given a take it or leave it choice in June as to whether we are governed by nominated directors and objectives or remain represented by elected directors and member driven objectives.

> In reply to Offwidth: Every time I’ve got you cornered, you change the subject! Anyhow we seem to agree that members are the ones who should have the say. My worry is that the wool is being pulled over their eyes to allow those who think they know what is best to dictate the future for our activities to them.

to this, I would say "touche". Personally, I am disappointed that the "BMC 30" (and i dont know if you are part of that group), have been given so much of the oxygen of publivcity by BMC management. Thier use of misinformation, secrecy, and continued dishonesty is to me the greatest example of "pulling the wool" in this sorry episode. They are the masters of trying to impose their minority views on the majority.

 

Crag Jones - on 24 Mar 2018

Gordon Bennet! Where do I start?

First of all a lot of this stuff is repeating in bits what has already been said in full documents on the website. Please see the ‘Review Documents’ for those which have both my own views and those of many more, including those who don’t agree with my take on things. I suspect a lot of the contributors to this forum are not even reading the threads let alone the substantive stuff on the website? Just leaping in with a repetitive point that has already been addressed, months ago.

I have suggested that such a debating forum as the website could be coupled with a voting scheme as a means of developing concrete proposals instead of going round in circles knocking seven bells out of one another in these endless threads which engage about a dozen people, if that. There are many possibilities for more constructive dialogue that might genuinely engage the wider membership, such as kialo, represent, denafe, loomio etc to link briefing with discussion and decisions.

I do have a reasonable understanding of how the BMC works thanks, both in theory and practise. The gap between the two leaves much to be desired. However, the governance structure the ORG recommends is overly complex and risks enshrining the lack of accountability it was supposed to be sorting out. A board of directors that is going to be even harder to challenge or hold to account. A sort of ‘give us your money and we’ll tell you what’s good for you’ approach coupled with a ‘we’ll decide who we are’ as well. It’s a very convenient outcome from a process that was overly influenced by an executive viewpoint. I bet the latter can’t believe their luck at the outcome! Is that the reason for the rush to ram it home via an Implementation Group that seems determined  to brook no effective review of the recommendations by members at all. There should be fulsome debate of the recommendations allowing for alteration or addition where needed before they are adopted. That is not being allowed to happen and that is wrong.

Contrast that to the 2001 Organisational Structure Review (which I led by the way) that was carried out by member volunteers with each stage being put before the then Management Committee (= today's National Council) for agreement before signing off. Both that review and the subsequent Moulton 2005 review were buried by an executive that did not like the proposed constraints on their power. I’ll put the 2001 document at the bottom of the ‘Source Documents’ section so that you can see it for yourselves. Had either of those reforms been implemented we would not have got ourselves into the mess we’re in now.

The main objection is that legal ‘Primacy’ combined with Sport England impositions are being used as an excuse to overly empower the executive over the membership. If those two issues are problematic, alternative solutions have not been explored or offered and they should be.

 

 

7
Offwidth - on 24 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Those low numbers debating here are about the same order as those debating on your useful website. Secondly this thread is already over 7000 views. What are the current user stats on your website? I'd strongly suspect UKC has a much wider audience.

Your history appears tainted by your opinion. The decisions made may have had very different motivations than those you imply and all were agreed in the democratic structures of those times. Some of us repeat points here as you keep repeating the obviously false idea that debate is limited this time (allegedly due to the malign influence of the 'executive').  I think just the opposite is true, as I've said before, (two year process involving AGMs, Special General Meetings,  NCs, Area Meets, widespead web discussions and direct member consultations and surveys and full involvement of the directors, most of whom are fixed term volunteers, who seem to me to have no indication of such agenda when I talk to them). I  contrast this very public extensive debate and director engagement, to the debate when you were involved in your review... .. barely noticable by ordinary climbers. 

Post edited at 14:44
Crag Jones - on 24 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I take the points you are making and don't want to over exaggerate the problems BUT the ORs important final recommendations are:

a) questionable

b) not being given the time for review by the membership but being rushed through by the 'Implementation Group' in their 'Phase 1.'

What concerns me is the way decision making is being envisioned for the future, the process, not the actual decisions themselves. If the process is got right, that democratic deficit is rectified, then I'm happy to accept whatever is decided through it.

5
Offwidth - on 24 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Any likely proposals were always in some people's views going to be questionable and if they disagreed with them not given enough time to make their 'right' decision. The idea that 2 years coild be regarded as too short, given the damage this is doing to the day-to-day functions and staff morale of the BMC seems ludicrous from my perspective but others obviously think differently. Democracy will apply and we will see some time later in the year. The debate certainly seems to be the healthiest I've ever been aware of of any major issue in the BMC.

Crag Jones - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I’m not trying to drag out this discussion for the sake of it except there is a fundamental problem with what you are saying. There has been no real ‘debate’, period. Only a running commentary in forums such as this. The ORG operated behind closed doors and ‘debated’ with no one in the open. Yes it took views from a wide range of the BMC  but we have no idea to what extent those actually influenced the outcome beyond the limited revisions and clarifications in their amended report. They have not openly discussed or defended their conclusions at all prior to publication and the IG is now rushing to implement the critical ones in ‘Phase 1’ without due consideration of the membership. That is the injustice.

They have had the luxury of secrecy in their discussions throughout their review. The only time I have seen them trying to discuss their published conclusions in a public forum, they were distinctly uncomfortable and failing to justify them. It’s a sleight of hand to then hand them over to the IG (Implementation Group) so both groups can then deny responsibility for the subsequent lack of essential review. That is not justifiable from any quarter.

 
8
UKB and BMC Shark - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The only time I have seen them trying to discuss their published conclusions in a public forum, they were distinctly uncomfortable and failing to justify them.

If that was at the NW meeting I'm not surprised. By most accounts it was one way haranguing by 3 or 4 individuals giving them little opportunity to respond. Anyone would look uncomfortable in such a hostile environment. 

At the Peak Area meeting John Roberts and Ray Wrigglesworth came across as very open and responded well to questioning and criticism from the floor.

 

 

 

1
Mark Kemball - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Similarly, the discussion and debate at the  SW area meeting was open and informative.

John Booth on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Last year the BMC faced two issues, the first was the Rebrand and its aftermath, the second the Monc and its car crash. Whilst those issues were very different they shared key similarities. 

Both the rebrand and the the monc were hatched behind closed doors with debate occurring too late, and each damaged the BMC. 

If the national council think they can set and implement policy again without informed member debate, the organisation will have failed the key learning point of last year, that of consultation.

Im an independent member with no links to the 30 or the Big Clubs. I am member of a student club and have been a BMC volunteer for 23 years. 

I would like to see open consultation Rather than the NC, ORG & IG acting as consultants. 

Much of the ORG work is great, some needs to be understood, and a little needs changing. 

To the members of the NC who are on here, lets have the debate at the area meetings, let’s publish to the areas for distribution the documents on Crags website. Give time for member suggestions and concerns and for feedback. Please defend the members views and take them forward to policy, not shout them down. 

Let’s put in practise the lessons of the rebrand, and be the member led organisation that we want to be. 

John

 

 

 

 

 

2
UKB and BMC Shark - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

Probably a stupid question but what does IG stand for?

 

Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Ditto the North East. 

galpinos on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

"Implementation Group"?

spenser - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

I agree that John and Ray were quite willing to discuss points as requested at the Peak Area meeting.

Crag Jones - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Yes. IG = 'Implementation Group'.

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> What is being advocated is member -> local area -> NC replacement.          Executive.

Re-punctuated for the sake of clarity

> The difference is in who has primacy, NC (the members) or exec. Currently NC can instruct Exec, which is where the potential banana skins lie.

The members have primacy despite much talk about 'Board Primacy' - that is an underpinning tenet of the Companies Act '06.  Not sure where there is a banana skin, though?

>The proposal is for exec to decide policy, with NC, or its replacement, approving or otherwise.

No. The proposal is for the Board of Directors to decide policy and implementation with possible consultation with the National Council.  Some general matters WILL be 'reserved' and will require approval however.

> It therefore removes the danger of non compliance with law etc as exec are unlikely to put forward such a policy.

Not so sure about that.  There's a loooong history of Boards of Directors doing naughty things.  I understand Carillion  had excellent governance structures in place   And are you suggesting that National Council IS likely to propose policies that are illegal?

 

 

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

> And as you correctly point out, the primacy changes are for compliance with the Companies Act, 

Incorrect.  The changes proposed are largely to do with Sport England requirements.   For example the '06 Act requires a private Company like BMC to have a minimum of ONE Director; not a Board composed of strict maximum and minimum percentages etc. 

It is undoubtedly the case that currently the National Council ARE 'shadow directors' as defined in the Companies Act.  But the 'risk' identified by WBD was not to do with the Companies Act (the existence of shadow directors is accepted within the Act) but rather the 'risk' that we would all end up in court when the BMC is found guilty of corporate negligence / fraud / money laundering / whatever.   

 

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to RupertD:

> That's not how the law works, despite what Donald Trump thinks. Lawyers tell you what the law is and how to meet it.

Hi Rupert!  Surely lawyers give you an opinion on what they think the law is: judges tell you what it really is? 

Post edited at 12:34
Mark Kemball - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

There is an open consultation going on right now - the recommendations have been published and publicised, area meetings will be discussing these in early April, anyone who wants to can have their say. (I'm secretary of the SW area, our meeting to discuss this is 14th April.)

The important activities of the BMC (to me that is access etc.) have been compromised for over a year now with the focus being shifted firstly to the MoNC and now to review and it's recommendations. Yes, the review is essential, the BMC needs to comply with the law, but we need to get back to the BMC's key role - looking after the interests of climbers, walkers and mountaineers. To do this, the sooner we get on with implementing the ORG's recommendations, the better. I've read the report, and to me it seems very sensible. Lets put it into action a.s.a.p. and get back to business as usual focusing on members interests. We can't expect it to be perfect straight away, so a review after 3 years seems sensible.

The danger with dragging the consultation on for an ever increasing period is that the BMC is being hampered in its fundamental work. We need to move on.

 

Post edited at 12:37
2
John Booth on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

implementing group. 

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

> To the members of the NC who are on here, lets have the debate at the area meetings, let’s publish to the areas for distribution the documents on Crags website. Give time for member suggestions and concerns and for feedback. Please defend the members views and take them forward to policy, not shout them down. 

Hi John, I am currently a member of National Council and also a member of that Smersh-like entity the Implementation Group (despite having resigned from it at one stage ).

I think most of my colleagues on those bodies would agree with you.  However the publication of 'everything' could be counter-productive.  I would like to see a clear one or two pager giving some detail of what is proposed in 'Phase 1' (leading up to the AGM in June) and 'Phase 2' (possibly for consideration at a general Meeting in November or beyond).  Possibly coupled with an equally clear document explaining the 'cons'.  And the availability of all other documentation for those who are interested.

The fly in the ointment is the time-scale which is being imposed by two things.  Constitutionally the BMC must have an AGM in June at the latest (15 months after the previous one and within six months of the end of the accounts year) and Sport England are demanding compliance with their Code of Governance by August.  This, inevitably means that we have one round of Area meetings before NC has to decide what to propose to the members at the AGM (and that proposal has to be circulated 45 clear days before the AGM) and one round of Area meetings when that proposal can be debated (but not altered) before the AGM.  Any counter-proposals put to AGM would, of course, also have to fit in with that time-scale.     

 

Post edited at 12:56
Crag Jones - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

 

I am perfectly willing to accept the Peak and SW areas were less critical and the response better. The NW meeting by the way was not as portrayed, it was critical but respectful. However my fundamental point about there being a lack of review still stands. If instead of the rush to immediate implementation there is a fair and proper membership led review of the recommendations, then its outcome whatever it may be, with their seal of approval, is far more likely to gain general acceptance. 

 

3
Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> Re-punctuated for the sake of clarity

> The members have primacy despite much talk about 'Board Primacy' - that is an underpinning tenet of the Companies Act '06.  Not sure where there is a banana skin, though?

Not sure which way round you have primacy under the companies act - do you mean members have it or the board has it? The banana skin refers to the possibility of those without apparent legal responsibility instructing those with to do something that would get them into hot water. see last point in this reply.

> >The proposal is for exec to decide policy, with NC, or its replacement, approving or otherwise..

> No. The proposal is for the Board of Directors to decide policy and implementation with possible consultation with the National Council.  Some general matters WILL be 'reserved' and will require approval however.

Hmmm. The BMC has enough comms channels in place - areas etc to allow for a general consensus so policy can be communicated and agreed in advance. Caveat of course along the lines of the rebrand, where the members reps (area reps) voted in a policy without any reference to the areas (and hence general membership) that exec were ambivalent about. 

> Not so sure about that.  There's a loooong history of Boards of Directors doing naughty things.  I understand Carillion  had excellent governance structures in place   And are you suggesting that National Council IS likely to propose policies that are illegal?

Indeed boards often do bad things. Modern corp governance was brought about really by the Guinness scandal. You understand wrongly about Carillion. They were a very badly run company (well, if you were a director, consultant, or pal of a director it could be argued they were well run........) for most of the stakeholders, and their business morals / models were deplorable.

Yes, there was a case during my time attending NC where a policy was put forward and voted in favor of where the directors would have been on very dodgy legal ground. Cant remember exactly what it was (slept many many times since then and i was probably having a bit of a rest after haranguing exec on either comp issues of financial planning issues......) but someone (Martin Wragg?) pointed out that it might be better if he or someone similarly learned went away and found out the legality of the proposal before getting too excited. This was really the point at which the seed was sown for an org review, in order to ensure that there were not to be such legal conflicts.

I've left a couple of punctuation errors to allow you to improve clarity again.... ;)

 

 

 

Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> Hi Rupert!  Surely lawyers give you an opinion on what they think the law is: judges tell you what it really is? 

Nope, a judge gives his or her opinion on which lawyers' opinion is correct in a situation where two parties and their lawyers cant agree or negotiate on whose opinion is correct........unless its the supreme court, in which case their opinion becomes fact as you have run out of people to disagree with.

Post edited at 13:25
Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Nope, a judge gives his or her opinion on which lawyers' opinion is correct in a situation where two parties and their lawyers cant agree or negotiate on whose opinion is correct........unless its the supreme court, in which case their opinion becomes fact as you have run out of people to disagree with.


  Love it!

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Not sure which way round you have primacy under the companies act - do you mean members have it or the board has it? 

My take is that ultimately the members have it - from the 'model articles' '4. (1) The shareholders may, by special resolution, direct the directors to take, or refrain from taking, specified action.'  ( https://www.companylawclub.co.uk/what-is-the-difference-between-shareholders-and-directors )

 

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

>  I'm not sure how much the press Baron Turnbull models himself on Murdoch, but I somehow think Messenger et al have more freedom than you give them credit for. 

Ian,

I'm really unclear about this.  Are you saying we should shoot the Messenger, or not?

Andy

UKB and BMC Shark - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> If instead of the rush to immediate implementation there is a fair and proper membership led review of the recommendations, then its outcome whatever it may be, with their seal of approval, is far more likely to gain general acceptance. 

 

Rush? Not a rush for most people who want to move on. As for general acceptance it’s more the case of limited acceptance by a minority who are very agitated by this sort of thing and very mistrustful. The majority I’m sue will accept this has been a comprehensive, fair and consultative process carried out Bt talented people and will be happy to with it and see how it works out.

 

 

3
John Booth on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Mark, 

Glad you see that the debate needs to happen rather than being shut down. Times are tough but rushing this isn’t going to help. 

Do you really believe that the Scots will provide a Director? Why would they put themselves at such risk sorting out the current situation. 

Do the volunteers have to be managed and directed? We have always been coordinated. 

How do we as members hold the exec and the MC to acccount? We had to do this last year for the first time (rebrand) the minimum of 4000 members is too high to call a GM. 

Selling insurance outside the organisation, is this a really good idea? I see this as a considerable risk to the BMC and not a cash cow. 

In few years time how will the NC or the Members review the organisation? With no real means of holding an EGM or definition of how members directs policy we as members cannot see a future platform for change. 

Only by setting good policy can the staff function well. 

As I said before much of the OR is good however we don’t need to implement the bits which we know will not work.

John

 

 

 

 

Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> My take is that ultimately the members have it - from the 'model articles' '4. (1) The shareholders may, by special resolution, direct the directors to take, or refrain from taking, specified action.'  ( https://www.companylawclub.co.uk/what-is-the-difference-between-shareholders-and-directors )

Ah, ok. While it is possible, the circumstances would be so rare, and also open to scrutiny by all members so a small group of members couldn't impose their will. In day to day operation, directors have primacy, but in special circumstances, the shareholders (members) could overrule them. I dont see how that (my interpretation though it may be, without the benefit of lawyers or judges opinions.......), differs so much from the directors deciding policy with certain reserved items. These areas would develop over the coming years anyway; we wont need to have EVERYTHING nailed down now, especially given the time constraints you gave above, which are a very valid area of concern.

Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Nah, Andy's not that bad.........

John Booth on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Andy

I was once on the Man Com back in the dark days of being young enough to be on committees and climb things, now I have children. 

Yes too many people will seek to find conspiracy. Really we are just volenteers in a chaotic organisation. 

Good debates make for good Area Meetings, could the briefing papers offer the alternative positions and focus debate?

John

Smersh.... they must hold the patent on monopoint crampons.

 

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Nah, Andy's not that bad.........


Alex?

I know I'm not that bad.

Ian W - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Him as well. Judgement reserved on you for the moment...........

Anyway, you caused the confusion with your shoot the messenger "joke".....your fault.

 

L JWhite on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Hello Mark,

There is no doubt that the BMC needs to draw a line under the last couple of years and move on, but the way in which that line is drawn is critical. It has taken best part of two years to get to this point, the disruption has occurred, and if the next few months are handled well then things can then settle down for another decade (which is what I think most of us really want). If on the other hand, after all of this time, effort and distraction the last phase is 'whitewashed', then the turmoil is bound to continue.

You mention that the ORG report will be discused at the next round of meetings, and that is excellent. I understood that following this feedback, NC would amend and finalise proposals in a 2-stage process: a vote at the June AGM on the key principles, after which the details could be worked up, leading to a vote on the specifics at an EGM in the autumn. Excellent: whatever decisions are made (and 100% consensus seems unlikely!!), this would be an open, engaged and representitive process to achieve closure to the whole affair. However, from what Andy Say & others say I understand that for expediency this is to now be a 1-stage process: the consultation phase is being dispensed with.

I'm very happy that the IG has formed and is moving things forward - there are many ORG recommendations that are not 'constitutional' and are just good practice, and the BMC should just get on with those. It appears though that the IG started drafting a new constitution/M&AA in accordance with the ORG revised proposals as soon as they came out, as there is allegedly no expectation that anything of substance will come from the Area meetings. Is that correct?

You've encouraged people to attend their area meetings and have their say (as have I), but can you assure us that what people say will actually be listened to, communicated within the BMC, and where appropriate acted on? Is there even time for alternatives to be considered? The ORG have made some good suggestions, and with some adjustments they could be made to address the current needs without compromising other successful aspects of the organisation. Why not try to make this work for everyone?

Thanks,

Jonathan

PS The effectiveness of the existing organisation dealing with e.g. access issues whilst this is ongoing should not be compromised - neither the national access officers nor the local access reps need have any involvement. If any are being diverted, that can be stopped.

PPS I think this is my first posting on a UKC forum since I was a student - in the mid-1990s it was DOS-based!

 

L JWhite on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

As someone who has been a shadow director and a real (statutory) director in other companies, I think this is a red herring. Sure, formal (Statutory) directors carry specific, enhanced responsibilities, but so do those who carry out directorial functions. It seems that members of the NC should certainly consider themselves shadow directors, as should SC chairs, and in reality anyone who acts on behalf of the BMC could be classed as such (e.g. area access reps fit some of the criteria in the analysis). What I'm not sure of is why this is a problem. There are two parts to dealing with this:

- everyone in every position in the BMC should act responsibly - to the best of their knowledge and ability, and not conciously exceeding their knowledge and ability (they can seek wider or professional advice when they reach that point). The duty to comply with stated in the paper Paul refers to is: "This means acting responsibility and with integrity having regard not just to the interests of the company but to those of other stakeholders such as employees, creditors and the public authorities." If all BMC volunteers do this, they are unlikely to fall foul of the law. Undoubtely the BMC should provide its position holders with some guidance on this, and that can be covered under ORG R50 - Volunteer Induction.

- the safety net is insurance (but you can only insure against breaches of civil law - you can't claim off your insurance if you're found guilty of a criminal act [imagine: 'yes officer, I burgled that house - here are my insurance details. Can I go now?'!!!). If the BMC only has insurance for its 'formal directors', then the solution is to get a better policy. I secured such a policy last year for a company I was director of, and in addition to the 'formal directors', when filling out the forms I also listed the positions and names that could be classed as shadow directors. As it happens, I got that insurance through Howdens. Howdens are the parent company of Perkins Slade, the BMC's insurers.

I can't believe that this could take more than a few weeks to sort out, and certainly doesn't need a reorganisation. Fully agree with Paul though that I wouldn't want to be a formal or shadow director without that insurance in place.

 

Post edited at 16:58
Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> You mention that the ORG report will be discused at the next round of meetings, and that is excellent. I understood that following this feedback, NC would amend and finalise proposals in a 2-stage process: a vote at the June AGM on the key principles, after which the details could be worked up, leading to a vote on the specifics at an EGM in the autumn. Excellent: whatever decisions are made (and 100% consensus seems unlikely!!), this would be an open, engaged and representitive process to achieve closure to the whole affair. However, from what Andy Say & others say I understand that for expediency this is to now be a 1-stage process: the consultation phase is being dispensed with.

Not quite.  I'm not sure that the actual ORG report will get much air-time at the next Area meetings as the nitty-gritty of the actual proposals deriving from it will be centre stage.  After the next round of Area meetings there will be a National Council which, one would hope, will try to accommodate feedback from those meetings as it decides upon the proposals to go to the AGM.  It is likely that the whole process will be more like a '3-stage' one.  However, unfortunately, those issues that we could probably all agree on instantly ('the BMC should have a Staff Development policy' etc) are amongst the ones that will be pushed 'down the line' and the really fundamental ones about the structure of the Board and its relationship with National Council and the members will be 'Phase 1': the ones that really do need scrutiny and debate.  

Its unfortunate that the timeline imposed upon us by Sport England has created this 'rush'.  (Though I know BMCshark doesn't like the word... )

Andy Say - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Anyway, you caused the confusion with your shoot the Messenger "joke".....your fault.

I thought it was a good joke?

Paul Evans - on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hi Andy. Blimey this thread has got busy all of a sudden! Few points here - 

 

Re your post at 12:25. Bit of semantics. We agree that the Companies Act recognises (and does not prohibit) Shadow Directors. However, being a Shadow Director as described in the Act opens such Directors to legal risk.  So the risk is a consequence of the Act.

Glad to see you have rejoined the IG, BTW.

Also, re your reply to Ian W at 13:43, it is worth reading the WBD summary of what legal powers the members actually currently have - see page 74 of full ORG report, para 4.4. Quick summary - not much. Most powers are exercised by National Council.   Your company law post is generic wording. Not what the current M&AA say.

And in response to J White’s post at 16:55, under current M&AA article 3.24, the Directors have indemnity insurance, the National Council and Specialist Committee members don’t. I agree with you that if Members Assembly / Specialist Committee members continue to be at legal risk, they should be insured by the BMC.

cheers all.

Paul

L JWhite on 26 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

 "I've read the report, and to me it seems very sensible. Lets put it into action a.s.a.p. and get back to business as usual focusing on members interests."

 

I think the point that Crag and others have been trying to make is that if the governance changes in this report get adopted, then there wouldn't be any "back to business as usual", as business in the future will be quite different. A few of us have questioned the 'reserved matters', as not going far enough, and for me the biggest omission is policy. That's always been the preserve of the membership, it isn't required by the Directors in order to comply with company law, but it isn't mentioned so automatically shifts to the Directors.

I attended every SW Area meeting for best part of 10 years, and for us then access & conservation were the biggest topics, and drew the biggest attendances. Most of the time things were quiet, but if e.g. someone started bolting a crag then a policy was needed. Lots of people were willing to turn up, and all from every side (for, against and landowner) agreed that the BMC Area Meeting was the place to discuss it and determine a policy. We had 70+ at a Gloucester meeting when someone started bolting Wintours Leap, and no doubt you had similar numbers for the Vixen Tor issues.

If policy is removed from the members and passed to the Directors, then Area meetings will no longer be the default place to debate policy, and either decide it (if local) or escalate it (if national). Does anyone really think that a bunch of Directors in Manchester or wherever [appointed predominantly on their bureaucratic capabilities] are better people to decide on e.g. which parts of the Dewerstone should be bolt free, and which are fair game? How many of them will even know where Luckey Tor is, let alone what the policy should be if an outdoor centre wanted to 'develop it'? (okay, Dave Turnbull would probably know where it is).

Do you get my point - what will 'business as usual' be in the SW if you transfer-away policy? Ditto what is 'business as usual' in the L&SE, Midlands or NW if you don't get to discuss and shape national policy. The Areas will become irrelevant, fewer people will go, Members Assembly reps will come from an ever smaller pool (if you can find them at all), and the talent required to hold the balance in the Board will just not be there.

There _are_ lots of sensible recommendations in the ORG report, but there are also a few that don't seem to have been thought through and it seems like NC is blind to those in the self-imposed rush to conclude things. If I'm missing something and NC has thought this all through, then please tell us about it. I don't think I am though - I've only had feedback from one current BMC director to the paper I posted last week, but he said that he agreed with almost all the points I raised.

Post edited at 22:13
1
Paul Evans - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Hi Jonathan. First off, thanks for your paper on Crags site. I have read it and I thought it was detailed, balanced and fair. With respect to the specific points you raise above on policy and local areas, there are I believe proposals in the Full and Amended ORG reports which do give members a voice in local and national policy, as follows - 

 

R18 – use of Digital Platforms to “canvass member opinion on policy issues and key decisions in order to inform the BMC’s policy and decision making bodies about the views of the membership”. This potentially has the additional benefit that we get much more engagement than the very small proportion of members in areas who currently attend LA meetings.  

R37 is all about local areas.

FAQ5 refers to Local Areas.      

R37 is discussed in expanded detail in the amended ORG report page 37.

Perhaps what the IG should focus on, is a framework setting out under what circumstances membership opinion should be sought, and also that once gathered, membership views should be published, so that any subsequent policy decisions can be properly scrutinised?

Cheers

Paul

John Booth on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

”Perhaps what the IG should focus on, is a framework setting out under what circumstances membership opinion should be sought”

Paul, 

Do you really mean that after the ORG, and NC critical appraisal that the fundamental question of membership consultation will decided and implemented by a satellite group acting alone from the NC. How is that different to thinkfarm? 

We aspire to be a member led organisation, I strongly suggest that the NC deal with consultation and with considerably more involvement by the areas and interested members. 

The membership has tasked the NC with policy and this certainly is a policy issue! 

John

 

3
Paul Evans - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

Morning John. OK the IG are a subgroup set up by the NC with the delegated authority to look at next steps in detail and come back to the NC and membership with proposals for debate at Area and National meetings, as stated in many of the contributions above. Effectively the members (through their reps on the NC) have asked them to act in their role. I suggested that the IG might "focus on" this area (doubtless as one of many they'll be looking at). Not sure how you got from this to implying that I was suggesting not consulting the membership?  We both agree it needs doing. How else would you suggest that we do it?

Cheers

Paul

John Booth on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Paul

My understanding was that the ORG came up with the suggestions, the NC selected which move forward with and the IG ‘implement’ the change. 

We both agree that the members through the areas need to have oversight and give the Reps the mandate to move forward through the process. 

I still find it odd that a sub group tasked with ‘implementation’ should be forming the (really important) policy of member consultation. 

If the IG is actually the ‘NC detail policy forming body’, with a subsequent ‘doing body’ taking on the fixed policy forward once agreed by the membership at areas, then fine.

John

 

 

1
L JWhite on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans @ 07:30 Tue:

I agree that those recommendations are all about the Areas, and that new ways of boosting engagement with those not physcally present would be a really good thing. I actually suggested to the ORG reps at an area meeting that perhaps UKClimbing.com could be treated as a virtual BMC area. Okay, it was a semi-humourous comment, but only semi: there's a significant quantity of engagement here, and for the most part it's good quality: a range of often diverse perspectives are explored, so most of those who would vote after a week or two of online debate would have seen those perspectives and thought about it before voting. They'd be at least as informed as most who attend Area meetings. I'm not disagreeing with this at all.

What many of us are concerned about is this shift from a decision-making role to a position of consultee. Sure there would be talk, but the Directors would be no more bound to take heed of views than an NHS Trust is when downgrading your local hospital, or big corporations are during re-organisations - you're thanked for your views, then they do it anyway. At the moment members have the final say on the big issues. We don't use it often, but it's there for the rare occasions that it's needed. Do we really want to give that away, and only have an AGM mechanism that will - as proposed - require over 4000 signatories to enact?

1
Andy Say - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> What many of us are concerned about is this shift from a decision-making role to a position of consultee. Sure there would be talk, but the Directors would be no more bound to take heed of views than an NHS Trust is when downgrading your local hospital, or big corporations are during re-organisations - you're thanked for your views, then they do it anyway. At the moment members have the final say on the big issues. We don't use it often, but it's there for the rare occasions that it's needed. Do we really want to give that away, and only have an AGM mechanism that will - as proposed - require over 4000 signatories to enact?

With regard to your last point, JWhite, I don't think I'm breaching any confidences when I say that the 5% of members figure is a suggestion in the Companies Act as to the upper limit that may be required.  Thankfully there is certainly no current intention to adopt that as a requirement for the BMC.   So there should  be no need for a 'BMC4250' at present

Paul Evans - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Hi Jonathan. As per my post to Andy Say. The current "decision making" powers of the membership are actually very limited - see page 74 of full ORG report, para 4.4. In summary, (a) to amend the M&AA by special resolution; (b) to remove the directors of the company under section 168 of the Companies Act; and (c) to appoint the company’s auditors. So I'm not convinced that currently "members have the final say on the big issues". Sure the current National Council have greater powers than the proposed MA would, but that's a different debate.

I'm not sure where your mention of 4000 signatories comes from, unless it is my recent paper on Crags site. Not seen it proposed from any "official" channel. My point was that the current threshold for submitting a resolution to AGM (which can include a MONC or a resolution to dismiss directors) is 25 members, from a total membership of 84000. I think this creates too high a risk of organisational chaos caused by small unaccountable groups. The Companies Act suggests a threshold of 5% of membership for a members resolution to dismiss a director. I agree that the membership need to retain this power, but I think the threshold for invoking it needs to be set a lot higher. 5% seems reasonable. 

Oh and I agree with your comments about UKC. Good forum for debate. 

Thanks again. 

Paul

 

Paul Evans - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

Hi John. Just to be clear, I was only suggesting that the IG do this piece round member consultation. I have no formal role, just an interested member, and I don't know whether they agree with me or not. Andy Say (who is an IG member) may wish to comment, and the IG may well politely decline my suggestion. In more general terms I think it needs to happen, and when someone comes up with a proposal for how it is to happen, it would be nice if they asked us the members to agree it!

Cheers

Paul

Crag Jones - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

The reality is there is no realistic consultation at all because:

 - as we fret over semantics I believe that the IG may be busily rewriting the BMCs articles of association even beyond what the ORG suggested,  and some of  that is at the behest of Sport England.  Although documents have been circulated to National Council they may be unaware of this extra step. We don’t yet know what they think about it  let alone the Areas or the membership at large.

- in addition to that the time line that has been imposed means that there is very little effective time left for objection, review, alteration or compromise. 

- IGs rewritten articles may be presented at the next round of area meetings.  Who will read them in full?  How will they get a sense of the arguments and counter-arguments?   The degree to which they do really listen and incorporate any feedback they receive in the limited time available will only become apparent at the next National Council meeting on the 28 April. To date, they have ignored all feedback and ploughed on regardless anyway.  There will then be the ridiculously short time of 3 days to circulate the rewritten articles as their own proposal to meet the 1stMay deadline for AGM motions. So there is no time to object if there is no incorporation of major changes from earlier feedback.

So if this is the way the executive behaves even before we give them the unrestrained powers they are requesting, imagine what it will be like subsequently!

I would like to hear assurances that key sections of the list of ‘Reserved matters’ are not being changed; that the timescale being imposed on any structural changes is being determined by National Council and not Sport England and, more pragmatically, that the cost of implementation does not exceed the level of the funding the BMC is chasing. Bear in mind a large part of the SE grant is not for the BMC in any case. It is simply passed on to other bodies for their convenience – Mountain Training UK, Mountain Training England, Association of British Climbing Walls and previously to Outdoor Industries Association. The BMC itself gets I think approximately £150k pa. So why are we allowing Sport England to dictate our governance arrangements? That figure will be dwarfed by the cost of implementation. Also future grant awards are in any case by no means guaranteed.

Instead of getting distracted by petty detail, we need to concentrate on the big picture because that is changing rapidly and with the present time scale there is only one month left to do anything effective.

 

 
3
L JWhite on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

I was just crunching the numbers: 5% of 84,000 is 4,200 signatories required. That's fine for corporations where it is important to empower major investors with a decent percentage of shares, whilst preventing e.g. a couple of aggrieved NIMBYs from buying £100 of shares and disrupting procedings. In the BMC it would have been hard enough to get those numbers even with the club block vote, and with that long since gone, I'd suggest that it would now be impossible. Anecdotally I heard that it wasn't that easy for the BMC30 to get their 30...

Agree that the risk is there, but if you can count on one hand the number of time these kind of motions have materialised in the BMC's 73 years, then it isn't a big issue. I'm not aware of anything equivalent in my 20+ years of involvement, and the last I've seen referred to was in 1986, from the master himself Ken Wilson regarding the BMC's internal communications.

Anyway, great to hear from Andy that this is an ORG recommendation that NC isn't planning to adopt. Phew!

2
Offwidth - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Can you explain to me in detail why you think local bolt policy will be removed from the area membership?. The idea that local areas will become irrelevent over these changes seems to me ludicrous hyperbole... the vast majority who attend simply don't care that much about governance; otherwise there would be major elections in all areas to select NC reps. The primary reasons I attend are local access issues and meeting like minded BMC activists and friends to help where I can and to socialise. 

Post edited at 17:50
4
UKB and BMC Shark - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> .. the vast majority who attend simply don't care that much about governance; otherwise there would be major elections in all areas to select NC reps. The primary reasons I attend are local access issues and meeting like minded BMC activists and friends to help where I can and to socialise. 

 

It is not just the majority of attendees don't care but the majority of members - more so even.

I was chatting to one veteran at the crag yesterday. Like most members his main concern is access and conservation and he described the current state of affairs as "self-indulgent".

These matters have nothing to do what with what most members are interested in but has somehow now monopolised the organisation. The irony that machinations are often championed as being "member led" or putting members first seem to be lost on protagonists. 

 

2
Andy Say - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> These matters have nothing to do what with what most members are interested in but has somehow now monopolised the organisation. The irony that machinations are often championed as being "member led" or putting members first seem to be lost on protagonists. 

I thought one of the biggest issues in the office of the last few months was the sturm und drang associated with the selection of the Development Squad?

I do fully realise that for most members exactly how the BMC is 'governed' is yawn inducing.  But do you really think that it is simply not important whether a Representative Body like the BMC allows its members to have a definitive say in the development of its policies and major decisions?

 

2
UKB and BMC Shark - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I did not say it wasn’t important. I am commenting on the disproportionate effect and effort devoted to it at the expense of other things.

To repeat what I said on ukb it is frustrating that the BMC failed to reform itself and needed this external input of the ORG to catalyse change. It would have been far better if a lot of the thorny political and constitutional issues had been sorted out largely out of the public eye years ago (in the way that club block voting was addressed under Mark Vallance) rather than festering until a crunch point and crisis was reached and the lid of Pandora's box was blown off. For example, governance issues on primacy have been raised by Sport England for years but there was no leadership drive to deal with that when I was on National Council.  

My main overall bugbear is that all of this is entirely inward looking rather than what the BMC should be doing which is be outward looking - doing the job of representing and promoting the interest of members, climbers etc. 

Whilst some introspection is healthy this has gone way, way beyond that. The timelines have been extended for making decisions and meanwhile we are likely to continue trading with a 6 figure deficit whilst potential grant money from Sport England goes down the toilet. Furthermore many projects or work that is ambitious/contentious will be stalled or slowed down whilst issues remain unresolved and the attentions of decision makers are elsewhere.

We are we are and I appreciate that you and the other members of the Implementation Group are trying to progress things as rapidly as possible and I hope you are successful in getting the organisation onto a stable and progressive footing.

2
Ian W - on 27 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Spot on, Simon.

 

1
L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> "Can you explain to me in detail why you think local bolt policy will be removed from the area membership?".

Yes, you'll find what you seek is in R33 - Redefining (see pp32-35 for the details). The Directors will now take responsibility for everything other than the Reserved Matters on p34 - these are the preserve of the MA, and thus are the things that the MA are empowered to take to their Areas for discussion, votes, escalation and decision. There are 6 items for approval, and 5 items for consultation. If it isn't here, then it sits with the Directors. 'Policy' isn't here. If you think that policies of any kind will remain with the Areas, please show us where it says that.

1
Paul Evans - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

 

Hi Jonathan. The reason I think that there is a risk of small groups raising motions to dismiss directors is because the BMC30 have said many times in documents on Crags site, in responses to me and others, that this is a power that they regard as crucial e.g. "The members sitting at the AGM or EGM shall have the power to subject any director to re-election" "If members consider the directors to have fallen behind in meeting the member’s objectives for the BMC then the members shall be free to replace the directors at the next AGM or such EGM as they, the members, decide to call". “To keep the BMC as a representative body the members need to have certainty that they can replace directors who do not follow their requirements.”. Bob P said in his paper referenced here -https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/bmc_motion_of_no_confidence_-_bob_pettigrew_speaks-660614#x8522678  at the time of their last MONC that they were raising it to get the directors to do as they wished.

So if a group have tried to do something once, and make repeated references to the retaining the ability to do it in future, I am nervous.

To be clear, I agree that the members do need a “nuclear option” to dismiss directors. However, as we saw at the last MONC, even if the motion fails, it causes much unnecessary work, and diverts attention from the BMCs main tasks.  

So I maintain that leaving the threshold to trigger such motions at a very low 25 is a dangerous thing to do. I don’t see it as likely that a small group would succeed in a motion to dismiss directors. However by raising such motions they could interfere with the smooth running of the organisation in the interests of its members. The risk would be that the BMC ends up giving them what they want to avoid organisational chaos. Is 4200 too high? Probably, on reflection. Is 25 too low? In my view, definitely.

Cheers

Paul

 

1
Crag Jones - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark: 

 

> My main overall bugbear is that all of this is entirely inward looking rather than what the BMC should be doing which is be outward looking - doing the job of representing and promoting the interest of members, climbers etc. 

 

The reason this issue is of paramount importance is that the argument is not about a particular decision, 

IT’S ABOUT HOW DECISIONS ARE MADE AND BY WHOM

Please forgive the capitals, but that’s the nub of it. Those proposed changes will inevitably affect all future decisions, drastically reducing the scope for member input. That’s what all the fuss is about.

The ORG proposals are highly contentious in both respects in that:

a) they are saying that a board of directors should be primarily responsible for taking future decisions not membership bodies.

b) also that a high proportion of that board is ‘appointed’, not elected, and furthermore, those appointees can then go on to make further appointments, further reducing members potential to influence the course of the BMC.

"Give us your money and we'll decide what's good for you and whilst we're at it, we'll decide who 'we' are as well." sums it up really.

To add insult to injury, all this has come out of an Organizational Review that was meant to address the lack of accountability. Their conclusions are exacerbating the problem not alleviating it. They review did not engage the membership or be honest with them about alternative options or why the favoured outcome was pursued.

Even as we speak the already contentious proposals are being re-written so the need for the board to seek members ‘approval’ is being further reduced so they only need to ‘consult’ and ‘consider’ the membership. Beyond that a largely unelected body can do what it wants.

So the answers to your bugbear are definitely not the proposals you seem to favour. The protestors are the ones who are looking outwards and fighting to represent and promote the interests of members for the future.

 

 

2
John Booth on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Your a long standing volenteer, one like me who has served on Club Committees, as well as BMC local stuff.

R49 says “Management of Volenteers “ 

Do you want to be managed? 

I’m happy to be ‘Coordinated’, happy to call in officer support to a local issue. The ‘Culture and Leadership’ these recomenendation speak off, is not the BMC we are currently members of. 

I read the reports, thought about it and want to change some the outcomes from that currently envisaged. 

A lot of the report is good, some of the recommendations will not work. 

John

 

1
Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

I know what R33 says but I can't join the dots to how it will possibly affect a decision on local bolting policy in any concrete way so can you please spell any likely scenario out. I'm not interested in monsters under the bed but concrete risks are important. I still think your idea this will cause areas to dwindle is plain daft.

I'm approaching 20 years at the best attended area meetings in the UK now and I'm happy with the normal business and the NC linkage (most reps being arm twisted to an extent to do that job). Rarely but importantly there have been crucial and well supported National Governance policy issues (like Mark Vallance leading the removal of the club block vote). In contrast the importance of 'governance linked' issues are often overblown (like the various Olympic votes, which dragged single issue people like Bob Pettigrew to attend and we faced tiresome rehearsed positions over and over with the same outcome).

I'd rather people think on the fact that governance in most large organisations is both legal and standard (areas both problematic in the BMC right now), however the way that most are run lead to what I would regard as major stakeholder concerns. I've been lucky enough in a few cases to directly experience, and in the wider scope know people and discuss, governance in many sectors. These include: Universities, Trade Unions, NHS Trusts, Schools, Charities, Family owed companies, PLCs. Hence I'm very aware that Legal and standard governance isn't even usually good governance, despite what the lawyers say. My experience of the BMC exec is good governance intent (ie they have their broad stakeholder interests at heart in their operational work) despite any mistakes (no organisation is free from these).  Hence, while I really get why ensuring getting governance structures right is important, we need to take care we dont 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'. I simply don't recognise the behaviour or intent of the exec as problematic... I do see the intent of those behind some of the papers on Crag's site as problematic, especially the BMC 30 who seem to me completely out of touch with the membership I know and seeking to punish any exec who disagree with their minority view.  If the BMC is hobbled by more delays to seek some arbritray perfection, that is in practice is impossible with so many differing opinions, in dragging out the process we risk real operational damage, as Shark describes. 

1
UKB and BMC Shark - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> a) they are saying that a board of directors should be primarily responsible for taking future decisions not membership bodies.

This is as most democratic organisations are run including our own parliamentary democracy. The reasons why a cabinet rather than parliament manage the day to day running of the country should be obvious. Without a Board of Directors the BMC is condemend to be even more of a talking shop incapable of effective action than it is now.  

> b) also that a high proportion of that board is ‘appointed’, not elected, and furthermore, those appointees can then go on to make further appointments, further reducing members potential to influence the course of the BMC.

Even now Board members appointment are currently approved at each AGM. I haven't heard there are plans to change that. There are other mechanisms to change Directors and Boards the nuclear option of an MONC being one. 

> "Give us your money and we'll decide what's good for you and whilst we're at it, we'll decide who 'we' are as well." sums it up really.

No it doesn't. The Board is accountable and will remain so through formal and informal mechanisms. Also these are not fat cat Directors incenting get rich quick schemes at the expense of shareholders they are all volunteers except the staff representatives (mooted  inclusions being the CEO ad FD)   

> To add insult to injury, all this has come out of an Organizational Review that was meant to address the lack of accountability. Their conclusions are exacerbating the problem not alleviating it. They review did not engage the membership or be honest with them about alternative options or why the favoured outcome was pursued.

The ORG was at pains to be consultative and you do their work a huge disservice describing it as not engaging with the membership. They gave monthly reports on their progress on the BMC website, met widely with stakeholders including the BMC30, carried out two independent polls of the membership and presented publicly at Kendall and all of the Area meetings.

> Even as we speak the already contentious proposals are being re-written so the need for the board to seek members ‘approval’ is being further reduced so they only need to ‘consult’ and ‘consider’ the membership. Beyond that a largely unelected body can do what it wants.

Yes they are being rewritten at long last. And then they will be discussed and voted on requiring a 75% majority at the AGM. We havent seen the new draft constitution yet because it hasnt been drafted. You are pre-judging based on what? speculation?.  

> So the answers to your bugbear are definitely not the proposals you seem to favour. The protestors are the ones who are looking outwards and fighting to represent and promote the interests of members for the future.

The BMC30 are very much promoting the interests of a small particular segment of the membership. Some of the comments from the BMC30 have been disdainful of the views of the general membership. The reported "Mountaineering is too important for democracy" is a classic.

Your zombie article smacks of railing against the dying of the light. I can understand that. Things have changed in climbing and the evolution of the BMC has reflected that and I hope will continue to do so.

    

 

1
Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

My concern is the BMC didn't  coordinate volunteers for a large part of its history and don't do so now outside the clubs officer. For a few years there was a full time volunteer officer post designed to encourage activity, help inform responsibilities, assist in training, built networks and coordinate dissemination of good practice. The most recent fractional role for a volunteer linked work dissapeared when one of the SE funded posts was lost.

I agree mangement is the wrong word: it should be coordinate.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

And for the record it is a day off so I am not on BMC time. Off climbing now. Later than planned.. 

John Booth on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Your right,  Ian P was in a similar development post, based in Bristol (rather than Manchester), which worked well until funding ended.

The centralised structure currently envisaged, differs from what we know works. 

SE funding changes are also a key factor. 

John

 

3
Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

To be honest I see the biggest villain in this as the fuss and distraction in the last few years and the resulting loss of SE funding. The exec seemed to understand the problem and various activists were gaining leverage with their lobbying on the idea that volunteer support needs to be revamped and fractional roles were indeed reallocated to help (within a very difficult financial envelope) until of course the last SE funded post was lost.

If 'normal times' are at some point restored I'm sure it will become a priority again. It's dumb not to do this as the vast majority of the BMC work is done by volunteers and their coordination is important for efficiency and effectiveness, fresh volunteers in particular need help and guidance and new volunteers need recruiting.

Post edited at 12:16
L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

okay - there's a lot there. I'll try to take the key points.

> I know what R33 says but I can't join the dots to how it will possibly affect a decision on local bolting policy in any concrete way so can you please spell any likely scenario out. I'm not interested in monsters under the bed but concrete risks are important.

The point is that the ORG report is a proposal for a new structure to replace the existing structure. What's gone before is therefore largely irrelevant - what will be is what is proposed, if it is voted through. Yes the ORG report talks about engagement in the areas, but there is no tangible purpose or authority there - they're all fluffy recommendations - laudable at face value, but there's no substance. Areas currently have purpose and authority courtesy of their reps on NC who wield that authority. That disappears, and areas will then be talking shops, nothing more. Sure, p33 gives the MA a couple of sub-nuclear options for when things go wrong, but that's after the event. The proposals are that all decisions other than the six listed on p34 are made centrally by the Directors, and they are only compelled to consult on the other five. That isn't what happens at the moment - the proposal is to change what happens. Paul Evans points out that the current M&AoA permit a greater central control than is currently exercised. This goes significantly further.

I still think your idea this will cause areas to dwindle is plain daft. & the vast majority simply don't care about governance.

That may be true of the 'rural' areas when things are quiet and all is ticking along, but when policy issues are on the table attendances jump, proving that many more do care. That's even more true of the 'urban' areas, which have fantastic history of considering wider policy considerations and escalating them. As you say, reps often have to be arm-twisted, not least beause of the time commitment. Most of us would rather go climbing and hope that someone else will do a decent job for us. An uncontested election doesn't mean that people don't care, it just means that ideologies are similar enough.

> I'm approaching 20 years at the best attended area meetings in the UK now and I'm happy with the normal business and the NC linkage.

So am I, but the proposal is to change this significantly.

Rarely but importantly there have been crucial and well supported National Governance policy issues (like Mark Vallance leading the removal of the club block vote).

Agreed. I was on ManCom with Mark through that. We only did half a job though, and I'll accept my share of responsibility for that, so I really welome R12. We prevented clubs from abusing their power, but disengaged them in the process. Not all clubs abused the block vote, and though we solved one problem, we created another.

In contrast the importance of 'governance linked' issues are often overblown (like the various Olympic votes, which dragged single issue people like Bob Pettigrew to attend and we faced tiresome rehearsed positions over and over with the same outcome).

Agreed, a few valid questions about governance were utterly swamped by IFSA, Olympic and other paranoia and what seemed to be attepts to resurrect UIAA arguments that had long since been won or lost. I've yet to see any conspiracy theories that are convincing. Lets hope that R24 and Olympic funding via the English Institue of Sport puts this whole thing to rest.

> I'd rather people think on the fact that governance in most large organisations is both legal and standard (areas both problematic in the BMC right now), however the way that most are run lead to what I would regard as major stakeholder concerns.

You hit the nail on the head. Most large organisations are legaly compliant, yet are still run in a way that leads to major stakeholder concerns. Undoubtedly the BMC needs some change for legal compliance, but the proposed changes go way further. Also, the BMC is not like most organisations - it isn't a corporation aiming to make profits for shareholders, and for 90% of members, it isn't there to set rules, provide referees and to govern (though for the 10% it needs to do also that, and it can do that via R24). The BMC is currently a bottom-up organisation where we elect (locally and nationally) the majority of our leaders. Do we want to change to a top-down organisation where a small number of appointed people make all the decisions, and decides who succeeds them? I understand that in the trad competative sports, they're known as 'the blazers'.

Andy Say - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Even now Board members appointment are currently approved at each AGM. I haven't heard there are plans to change that.

Keep listening.....

> The BMC30 are very much promoting the interests of a small particular segment of the membership. 

Well: there are only 30 of them....   But, to be fair, Crag didn't mention them at all.  Is that what they call a 'straw man'?  

 

Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Thanks for the detailed reply Jonathon but you are dodging my question. Currently a locally agreed bolt policy follows a process and I want to know what exactly you see will change in that under the new proposals. I care little about structures if their impact on the crucual local access issues is practically zero. Your statement on bolt policies looks like deflecting rhetoric if you can't detail the actual problem.

Many of the governance problems in legal standard structures I've seen or been told about in organisations involve politically motivated important people calling for change on behalf of the 'masses'.. all very laudable ... yet when you survey these 'masses'  its very clear they often don't want those changes and worse still such surveys on controversial matters are sometimes blocked; so when the idea of surveys are raised if deflection occurs, and words like plebescites get thrown about, I smell a rat. So in such cases I will suspect the honour of those laudable looking motives. I'm not getting at you making this point but I am accusing the BMC 30 of genuinely dishonest deflection and sadly some at the NW area meeting of patriarcy based deflection (despite their great experience and good intentions).

So although I agree on some of your detailed points in your paper I would say the process is only part way through and even after it is finished change is still possible in a member led organisation like the BMC (especially if the imagined monsters turns out to be real). While we delay implementaion real damage is being done to the operations of the BMC its finances and the morale of its staff and that takes priority for me on the risk stakes...I'll accept the current delayed schedule for resolving ORG but certainly no more delays.

Post edited at 13:03
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Jules King - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

What is your view on Dave Turnbull's paper that was circulated at National Council in February?

I think it was a very well though through paper. It was quite bold and offered very simple, constructive suggestions as to how to settle down and move forward in a way that those who are interested, beyond the current seat holders at Area Comittees, National Council and the Exec.

I've been associated actively with the BMC for 25 years now, on and off. My first foray was the 50th Anniversary dinner in The Royal Vic.  My first serious activity was a workshop on developing structure to membership & Area engagement, in Bristol? lead by Lynda Buckley? (late 90's?). L&SE Area Secretary in early 2000s, Future Policy Review in 05-06, then a long quite period due to injury and family - until now.

Given the average level of comment that those repeat volunteers, who like myself, step in and out over the decades as our changing lives allow feel they need to make, I feel it is quite clear that there is something that requires a greater deal of discussion than what is being allowed for at the moment. The changes proposed by the ORG are more significant than is being clearly expressed.  The BMC 30 and the NW area make up only a part of the group who - or more importantly wish to be properly engaged in this process, including the delivery.

In Dave Turnbull's paper, he, our CEO, suggested that the National Council call a open forum in substitute of the April 2018 AGM. Consider slowing the implementation process & foregoing Sport England funding for a period to allow space and time to properly engage with the core or members that really, really do care, and indeed anyone else that would like to add something, be they member for a day or 50+ years.

Despite this paper being from our CEO, a person who sits centrally to the organisation and has a key position in this process:  if one goes by the minutes, his paper does not seem to have been given much 'air time' and further, no formal action to take forward to areas or vote on its proposals is recorded.

I find that very strange...

L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Jules King:

I've seen that paper too. It is the single greatest piece of common sense to emerge in a long time. Balanced, considering all angles, pragmatic and practical. If that had been adopted, then BMC Shark wouldn't be the only one who'd got out for the afternoon instead of sitting at a keyboard! He (I'm assuming) would also be reassured that there isn't any 'us-and-them' between activists and the office, given that these are the senior officer's proposals.

What is so key is that it comes from the CEO - the person who has the principal dealings with Sport England and has to balance all the often conflicting demands of Directors, members, staff, and associated bodies. Critically, given that SE funding is diminishing and is expected to diminish further, he has questioned whether all this effort to chase a disappearing pot is really going to be worth it.  For those who haven't seen the paper, he concluded by proposing that the BMC voluntarily withdraw from SE funding for 12 months, to provide time to agree the right changes without people feeling they'd been rushed into decisions for funding reasons (especially as that funding might only be there a short time anyway).

Sometimes DT really does talk sense, and this is such an occasion. Why did NC not go with this?

(Crag - do you have/can you get hold of this paper and post it on the website? It didn't appear confidential - quite the opposite, a very balanced discussion paper that you would hope the NC reps had shared with the people they are representing, in order to get feedback to then be able to represent our views!! ).

L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I'm not dodging the question. All I can base this on is a proposal for a director-led centralised structure, with a defined set of exceptional items which the directors can't implement without member approval. Policy (of any kind) isn't on that list, so it isn't with the members.

I hope beyond hope that I'm wrong on this and a number of other possible interpretations that I've made, so I've made my concerns public via Crag's site so that others in the ORG and NC can tell me that I'm wrong. A week down the line, and despite some direct approaches, none of them have told me that I'm wrong. Further, the one current senior figure who has responded to me has said he shares my concerns.

What you are describing is a part of the BMC that works really well, and I want to know that we're going to retain that. All I'm asking is that as the new rules are being written as as the process concludes, that the scribes are explicit on the things that matter to members before we vote on it. Policy is near the top of that list that matters, and for many members bolts policies are generally near the top of the policy priorities. Policies need to stay with members, they need to be legally compliant policies (e.g. an official policy to Tresspass would be problematic!), and the Directors, staff & active volunteers can then be given a fairly free hand to implement those policies "responsibility and with integrity having regard not just to the interests of the company but to those of other stakeholders such as employees, creditors and the public authorities." (thanks Paul for that handy quote!).

Do we agree on that? If so, can we all now go climbing?

Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

No I don't agree. Climbers deal with risk sensibly they don't magnify up insignificant transitory risks and pretend their permanancy. Your view on the effect of the current recommendations on area meetings of no longer being able to set up local bolt policy strike me as being almost certainly wrong (until proved otherwise by logical explanation) and if this did happen would lead to changes to reverse that  problem. It still seems like emotive baseless rhetoric. My experience of the BMC from the early 90s always included old men making cryptic warnings to get their political way; where I prefer open public discussion and the proper full membership consultation that is possible in the internet age.

I am glad that we agree on what is valuable in the organisation but that seems hardly contentious at all for anyone. Hence, I don't get why so many see it as being at risk, even if the transition is messed up (if so more change will be forced by the bulk of the membership; as it was with Climb Britain despite following a democratic near unianimous NC vote.... so much for the primacy of the membership view in that committee). 

I feel for the exec facing all this crap, especially knowing a good bit of the shenigans that used to go on in the old days, in governance, democratic and individual behaviour terms.  If the full truth ever got out it would look so outrageus that most people would think it was made up. Yet the BMC still broadly functioned through these times with only the odd rare crisis. Some of those 'naughty' old men are of course part of the 30.

Post edited at 17:14
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Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Oh the irony... In practice isn't most of this CEO proposal effectively happening anyway?

Post edited at 17:13
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spenser - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

>  My experience of the BMC from the early 90s always included old men making cryptic warnings to get their political way; where I prefer open public discussion and the proper full membership consultation that is possible in the internet age.

Isn't this exactly what Bob has been trying to do?

Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to spenser:

Of course Bob will proudly tell us all he wants is democracy.  Only of course after we listen to 5 minutes of pompous CV inflation and the odd sexist joke about certain Italian middle names

It's a shame his MoNC speech wasn't recorded for the public record so that so few ever got to watch such shameful and damaging political game playing. A public record would have helped stop future recurrances.

Post edited at 17:25
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Andy Syme - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I rarely come on here, but this was brought to my attention and I thought I would just try to clarify why you have not heard more yet about the Implementation Group (IG) and what we are doing.

As the Chair of the IG, I would like to say that it isn't secrecy that is holding us back, it is ensuring that we have a set of proposals and documents that are correct and able to be understood by all; we started our work 16 days ago and there has been much to do.  The documents are currently with NC, and others, for comment and will then be amended.  Assuming NC are broadly happy with them we intend to issue them for Areas to read and debate from 6 April; they will include:

 

1. An overview of the IG mandate, timelines etc.

2. A proposal on what we are addressing, and not addressing in the draft Articles of Association (AoA)

3. Draft Articles of Association, including:

   a) Cross Reference Table - so you can see exactly what has and has not changed

   b) Plain English Guide - So you can understand what the articles mean

There will also be other proposals about how the rest of the ORG Recommendations will be reviewed and addressed and a paper describing what the process was that the proposals were arrived at etc.

The feedback will influence the final proposals that will be issued by the NC for a vote at the AGM.  

I clearly believe that what we will propose is the right way forward for the BMC (otherwise I wouldn't propose that approach) and the papers will be open and transparent.  For example with the AoA you will be able to see what is proposed based on the independent legal advice on the "legal and good governance standards applicable in 2018"; and appropriate to an organisation of circa 80,000 members and with an annual income of circa £2M.  It will also, more importantly for some, say what is specifically required by Sport England. 

I hope the members will support the proposals but in the end the members will be able to decide if they want to bring the governance model up to date and if the changes Sport England require are too much for the 'benefits' they bring.

Once they are published I am willing to put some time into debate/discussion with people on the papers but realistically I have no time to do that now.  Sorry.
L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I'm trying to keep above all the personal stuff here, but for the record I'm not part of the BMC30, I spoke against the BMC30 privately and publically before last year's AGM, and at last years AGM. Whether I'm old is a matter of perspective. I'm 45, so I see myself as decidedly middle-aged. I don't know who you are or how old you are, but you may well see me as old - it is all relative. Age seems to bother some people, but it wasn't what we were discussing as it didn't seem relevant to reforming the BMC.

Back to the issues. You just keep telling me I'm wrong and demanding proof. I've shown you where in black and white the proposals are written, yet you've not come back with anything other than a belief that nothing will change. I envy your faith, and sincerely hope that you are right.

The truth will get out - probably in 2045 when "The BMC - The Second 50 Years" is published. This whole episode will fill chapters!

L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Bob's speech was dire. I'm pretty sure Alex Messenger recorded all of the AGM, so its probably available somewhere if anyone wants to hear it.

Offwidth - on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

I never accused you of being anything to do with the 30, almost the opposite, nor of being old (those I was moaning about were fairly old in the 1990s). I thought your article on Crag's site was a good addition to the debate. What I object to is the pretty serious implication in your statement here on UKC that we won't be able to determine local bolt policy in our area meetings following implementation of the ORG recommendations. If you say such a worrying position is likely I think you you need to say why in detail (I don't see it as my duty to try and prove a negative in an organisation in who's membership I trust). As I see it I'm telling you from my reading of the proposed changes and from my knowledge of the membership of these area meetings and the BMC membership in general I don't see any change being likely for determination of local area bolt policy (the new structures will just maybe add a different colour rubber stamp).

The First 50 years is a useful resource for those interested in odd factual detail like presidential lists,  but sadly as a history is a dull  'puff piece' with nearly all the politically interesting and embarrassing bits of that BMC period removed... very odd for something described as "a political history" unless the term was ironic. I'd hope the Second 50, if it's ever written will better match the reality of the cut and thrust of what actually happened, especially as anything on the web should be there for ever to challenge a repeat batch.

Post edited at 18:32
1
John Booth on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Andy 

Will the BMC be sending out the alternative visions for implementing the ORG?

Dave Turbulls paper make sensible suggestions, as do many others on Crags website.

John

 

 

 

2
L JWhite on 28 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth (in a calm voice):

I've given my reading of what's there, but it is only my opinion. I have to read, interpret and sometimes draft contracts as part of my job. I'm not a lawyer, but I do work with them from time to time, and I also deal with the operational and commercial consequences of misunderstandings and differing interpretations. Another part of my job is to try to work out how wrong things could go, and then put things in place to try to stop that happening. This applies equally to expeditions - very transferable skills. Sorry if that makes me appear pessimistic; in other aspects of my life, I'm generally pretty optimistic!

[Contraversially] I quite like contract lawyers - they use very precise language when they want to avoid misunderstandings, but can use imprecise language when they don't want to draw attention to things. I've learnt that it is safest to avoid ambiguity, never assume anything, and to be explicit anywhere that interpretations could differ.

The ORG proposals are for a new governance structure to replace the current one, so nothing of the existing structure can be assumed to remain. The proposals are silent on policy, but they are explicit on the matters that are reserved (i.e. that the Directors have to seek approval on), so in that policy isn't on the reserved list, I think it can only sit with the Directors.

I'd like someone involved to tell me that this is not the intent, and to confirm that by adding one bullet point with probably less than 10 words to the first column of the Schedule of Reserved Matters. This can then be incorporated into the new M&AoA. The MA can then delegate local policy to local Areas, and in the midst of all the other changes, we can be certain that an excellent part of the existing BMC structure remains unchanged. My other associated concerns will then be unfounded, so will disappear.

1
Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Oh the irony... In practice isn't most of this CEO proposal effectively happening anyway?

Actually no Offwidth, most of it is not effectively what is happening anyway.

That, I assume, is exactly the reason why Dave Turnbull, the CEO of the BMC wrote the paper and put in to National Council (NC) for discussion and consideration.

You have commented that the ORG needs to get implemented now, how its all causing upset and disruption.  Yet here we have the CEO of the BMC presenting a paper to National Council that puts forward some very constructive proposals to get this reorganisation sorted in a way that is best for the BMC in the long run, rather than the mad dash for Sport England cash, which will dry up, and has the potential to leave the BMC with a structure that does not best suit the way it wants to operate.

Yet for some reason that paper was given no committee time by the Chair of NC, no discussion, no recommendation for further discussion, no vote nothing. Its been kicked into the long grass

Offwidth, i know you are well connected to the BMC. Can you tell me why a paper that offers solutions, a paper that many of those who have concerns believe will help find balanced resolution is being ignored in favour of this rush to wind up the process. i

Don't you think that a bit strange?

1
Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Hi Andy

Thank you for the clarification on what you are going as part of the Implementation Group.  As you are not watching this hopefully some one will pass on my message.

One of the most important things I believe needs explaining to everyone is how any changes in the AoA affect how the BMC operates on a day to day basis.

What I am hoping we will see is a table with the specific clause / 'this means we do it like this at the moment' / 'in the future we will' and most importantly how that changes affects elements of the BMC operation upstream and down stream in the future . That may well be a bit of a educated forecast, and I think that forecast is by far the most important element of what you are doing.

So for example:

Offwidth has said he is concerned that debate and progress on bolt policy remains constant and ongoing. He rejects the notion that the changes proposed will cause Area attendance to dwindle.  Johnathan believes they will. I agree with him because because the ability to really influence direction & introduce change to climbing was what took me to Area / NC (funnily enough it was as a result of a debate on 'intellectual ownership of bolted routes and the right to re bolt differently - way back in Roger Paine's time).  What is the view of the National Council on this? (- good lord - have some affinity with Offwidth! (kidding!!))

Sport England are demanding that Independent Directors have the option to be engaged for 3+3+3.  some say that this is too long.  Yes it is not a mandatory renewal. And with the majority of the Executive becoming self electing under the new structure - this does have the potential to allow for stability and continuity and it does allow for cronyism too, and what if that cronyism leads to a collective that rejects bolting the natural environment.  Offwidth may be waiting as much as a decade before he gets his voice on bolting back.  What is the view of the National Council on this scenario?

The point is that each of the operational terms within the BMC AoA do not work in isolation, many influence each other. When one changes one element for one perceived very good reason (e.g. the changes being insisted on Sport England - good to do to get the funding, those exact same changes also impact on completely different elements of the operation.

I've done AoA redrafting back in 2006 when the one member one vote thing went down. I have learnt lessons on this.  What I am concerned to see, and it is a real lessons learnt from that event and other professional engagements I've done, is that a cause/ effect mapping is done that covers the whole AoA before any changes are made - not after the first 10 have been rushed through to appease Sport England by August. That is simply not how this type of corporate operational system rewriting should be done.

Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Jules King:

I think you must be talking about a proposal I know nothing about.  The process is already delayed and and SE funding with it.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/organisational-review-february-update

Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

So what prompted you make this comment?

> Oh the irony... In practice isn't most of this CEO proposal effectively happening anyway?

you give the impression you knew?

The Organisational Review (OR) and implementation process is not delayed further than as approved by the National Council or any further than caused by the issue of rev.1 of the OR.

The SE funding was suspended before all of this commenced.

The need to approve a delay stemmed from the over ambitious timeline presented through the OR Group in December 2017.  That failed to take into account the time needed for adjustments to the first final issue of the Report once it was released while also considering the set dates for National Council meetings in early 2018 and the timing of the normal 2018 AGM. 

And there-in lies my biggest issue - An absence of (ideally independent) professional project management & robust project planning and delivery control throughout this whole OR project, combined with a clear underestimation of the personnel resources required to do it properly.

The absence of project management & planning has lead to an internal failure to recognise the risk that the Organisational Review Report may not be right first time. That in turn lead to an outward appearance that the Report was being pushed through at all costs, due to the fact that no one had a mitigation strategy for a need to go to revision 1. The knock-on is a situation where the AoA drafting, the central and most critical outcome of this project is now going forward in a compromised position.  The drafting is being split to pacify Sport England - to meet their funding compliance deadline - and that is being done while there is still a clear lack of consensus as to weather there is reasonable value into the future in this funding source. And all this sets aside discussion on the risks and opportunities we may be foregoing with spilt drafting when considering the effects that may have on the way the BMC should be run on a day-to-day basis for the next 20 years regardless of the - and this is another critical point - intermittent (annual? 4 yearly?) connection with SE to get more of their money. 

Post edited at 11:25
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Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Jules King:

I don't get to see NC papers as I'm not on NC. I was naively trusting that something had been presented at some time and joining the dots and assuming the delays were due to that.  I will pass this issue on to someone who might know what actually happened and see if a reply can be made; as NC isssues are not something I can comment on (and I am rather confused and worried about how you think you can... you're ex NC aren't you, so you  should know the rules).

The SE funding is delayed until the ORG process is fully resolved.. I'm presuming now this will be at the earliest towards the end of 2018.  This funding delay and the continuing attacks on the character and actions of the Exec have an ongoing concrete serious effect that we are balancing against ORG risks that look to me as a well informed BMC member as ranging from small to plain hyperbolic, and obviously subject to democratic review of the membership this summer in any case. We have already lost one good President as he said he couldn't do what had become a full time job for the BMC when facing constant unfair attacks. In the remainder of however long this all takes to resolve, the BMC has less money, posts that have been lost can't be renewed, there is continuing stress for BMC staff (especially those on fixed term contracts) and continued reduced support for various volunteer groups.

PS please stop shouting it makes you look foolish.

Post edited at 12:12
3
John Booth on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

NC Rules... 

Let’s avoid pandering to any conspiracy theorists.

What rules would concern a CEO position paper? 

From my time on man com (not NC) only direct staff issues or legal positions were not to be disclosed.

John

Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

It hardly matters one way or the other. I guess such a paper must have been presented or Jules is a fully signed up member of the tin hat brigade. I always assumed NC papers were confidential until amended to meet the views of the meeting and agreed for public distribution (and then would presumably be on the BMC website)  but I could be wrong as I've never been involved in NC. However, the key point here and now is that no ordinary BMC members can tell one way or the other, nor can they sensibly discuss something they have no access to.

Post edited at 13:26
1
John Booth on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Do we agree on something ?

“That the views of the CEO should be published”

Question: The BMC website might be the best place or should it on Crags discussion site? 

John

Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

It depends on the status of the paper. I've sat on two major bodies with governance responsibilities and several others with legal and membership responsibilities,  all of which had very clear guidelines on confidentiality and for very good reasons.

2
Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to John Booth:

Public minutes of Feb meeting indicate Dave (who sent apologies) had submitted something.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1568

The Feb meeting produced the revised ORG related consultation timetable so clearly look like they took anything Dave said into account. Looks very much like we are back to the irony....

Post edited at 14:01
2
Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

sorry if using the bold makes me look like I am shouting. I am not.  The point of the bold is to highlight key text within what I write for the 'speed readers'.  Please don't take further offence - I will continue to write in the style I feel most appropriate to assist readers of my posts.

kind regards

2
Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

 (and I am rather confused and worried about how you think you can... you're ex NC aren't you, so you  should know the rules).

I do know the rules. I've just got off the phone with Dave Turnbull having had a perfectly amicable conversation about this whole OR matter for over an hour, and a bit of social banter too. Good fella is Dave.  During that time neither he nor I felt the need to use negative hyperbole toward each other - like 'tin hat brigade', which does seem to be something you feel a need to do.

Please stop communicating with people in such derogatory ways, it makes you look foolish.

Tell you what, I'll stop using bold if you write in a manner that shows respect to those with a differing opinion? Deal? 

 

Post edited at 14:51
2
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> This is as most democratic organisations are run including our own parliamentary democracy. The reasons why a cabinet rather than parliament manage the day to day running of the country should be obvious. Without a Board of Directors the BMC is condemend to be even more of a talking shop incapable of effective action than it is now.  

Lets leave aside for the moment that it is arguable whether we in the UK live in a 'democracy' in any pure sense.....

It may have escaped your attention, Simon, that in 'our own parliamentary democracy' there are two chambers.  One of those chambers has the role of trying to stop the other doing something dumb.  Its how our constitution works.

Now I don't know whether Exec. or National Council are the unelected Lords in this situation but there are interesting parallels.  And why, exactly, does renaming the Exec. make the BMC more lean and mean?  Or is it 'removing' that second chamber that appeals to you?

(I was going to ask if a condemend was something you put on your food but that would really lower the tone.)

Andy

2
Jules King - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Dave Turnbull's paper. Maybe NC did review it? If they did then it would seem that some eminently sensible advice has been rejected? Advice I would venture has sufficient merit and strength of source to maybe even passed to the Areas for a view? Now that you and everyone else has sight of it I welcome some constructive, polite discourse on his proposals. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RA9dAK9sjsPWWjdOMavQdidqjWR7_BBK/view

(note - no bold, now its your turn.... ;-)

 

Post edited at 14:53
Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Jules King:

Regular use of internal upper case and bold text in posts is often regarded as shouting on web forums.

If you actually read my post its pretty clearly implying  I don't think you have tin hat tendancies, so pot kettle black would be my reponse to my supposed derogatory tendancies. Ditto on the implications of Dave's paper that you had (from Dave?) and  I didn't.

I see little new in Dave's paper other than the suggestion to withdraw from SE funding until March 2019. In practice this is close to the dates forced on the BMC given the ORG timetable. The irony of course is the members reps on NC decided the timeline  (votes on the NC minutes linked above) and there is no evidence here of anything being forced on them by the Exec.

Post edited at 16:35
2
UKB and BMC Shark - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

You are stretching the analogy too far for the point I was making which was that a smaller top team entrusted to make decisions is usual in a large  democratic organisation (as well as business) and I would say essential in an organisation that is effective and responsive in its decision making. It is usual I would suggest for the reason as it has been shown to be the best, or least worst way to run larger organisations. Maybe there are some examples of small comparable (ie NGB's, Charities) organisations that operate differently but do any exist with 85,000 members that function well without a top team/board? 

That top team is voted in and guided by a broad understanding of the electorate / membership. It is not entirely free to do what it wants. Whilst in office it is subject to formal and informal representations and the potential to be voted out, not to mention subject to the constraints of the law and the organisations articles / constitution.

The ORG has sought to learn from other organisations of what works. They based much of that from the guidelines of the Sporting Recreational Alliance which is, I understand, a trade body of Sporting NGB's and definitely not part of Sport England (in fact I gather Pettigrew was active in the Recreational Alliance!)  A BMC without an empowered top board of Directors would be failing to learn from others.

With regard to reforming and reducing the policy making powers of National Council I am in favour from my personal experience of National Council as an NC Rep. I concluded the NC slowed up decision making whilst adding little value which is why I stepped down when the opportunity presented itself (thank you Dave Brown). It also seemed incapable of bigger picture strategic discussion without getting bogged down in minutiae whereas the dynamics of a board / top team tend to work differently.

Also it seemed to me to be that NC per se allowed for the potential for a slopey shouldered way of spreading the blame for decisions by the Office and Exec. However, if the Exec is very much in charge then they cant explicitly or implicity palm off responsibility for bad outcomes on NC and that would hopefully concentrate minds that much more. On top of which I can't imagine all the officer time, hiring venues, paying expenses are cheap either if someone shone a spotlight there. Given that it is legally problematic is just one more thing on the charge sheet from my point of view.  

As a counter balance to my criticisms of NC one thing that doesn't seem to get mentioned much is the committee structure which I regard (to my surprise) as a strength of the organisation.    

 

         

2
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> That top team is voted in and guided by a broad understanding of the electorate / membership. It is not entirely free to do what it wants. 

Well we will have to wait and see if that is the final situation, eh?

And if you are going to make an analogy you're going to have to live with people pointing out the flaws in it  

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is the rebrand of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.  And, yes you are right, Bob Pettigrew had a great deal of input to that organisation.

' the NC slowed up decision making whilst adding little value which is why I stepped down when the opportunity presented itself (thank you Dave Brown). It also seemed incapable of bigger picture strategic discussion without getting bogged down in minutiae whereas the dynamics of a board / top team tend to work differently'...

really does cut to the chase.   It is apparent that 'removing' that second chamber really does appeal to you!

Andy  (member of the 'boggers' and definitely not in a 'top team')

Post edited at 17:09
1
UKB and BMC Shark - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> really does cut to the chase.   It is apparent that 'removing' that second chamber really does appeal to you!

Communication is important and a forum for members as mooted by the ORG to allow members representatives and stakeholders to come together and escalate issues and voice views has an important role in a member organisation and helps keep the Exec grounded and on their toes.   

2
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Simon,

I do understand where you are coming from.  I worked for 14 years in Mountain Training in a mirror system (the Articles could have been written by the same person!).

It can be tiresome to come up with a truly great idea* and be told that 'no, we need to consult'.  And after the consultation there are alternative views to accommodate so maybe it has to go back to the areas......;

But, at the end of the day does the BMC, the representative body for Climbers Hillwalkers and Mountaineers, actually need to be an agile, thrusting, 'can do', lean and mean, responsive, go-getting, commercially savvy and pro-active business?  Or could it not remain a body that is essentially directed by its members to do the things that its members want?

That's a rhetorical question. 

Andy

*not sure I ever did though!

 

Post edited at 19:13
UKB and BMC Shark - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> But, at the end of the day does the BMC, the representative body for Climbers Hillwalkers and Mountaineers, actually need to be an agile, thrusting, 'can do', lean and mean, responsive, go-getting, commercially savvy and pro-active business?  Or could it not remain a body that is essentially directed by its members to do the things that its members want?

> That's a rhetorical question

That means I can give a rhetorical answer. Would you have a membership referendum that offered to reduce the BMCs work just to access and conservation and cut the annual subscription to £10? Because all the indications suggest that is likely to be what the membership want. As John Roberts points out this is an indication that membership proposition is weak and needs developing. Something requiring the leadership qualities and culture you seem to think we can do without

5
john arran - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

It's the usual problem with direct democracy: to what level of detail is it a good idea to involve the entire membership? The optimum would appear to be to canvas members on major strategic issues and let the elected or appointed representatives get on with flushing out the details.

I would hope that if you put the idea to members of pruning the work of the BMC to just Access and Conservation and reduce membership too it rightfully would be soundly rejected, but we never can be too sure because ...

...well ...

Brexit.

Nuff said.

Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran:

> ...well ...

> Brexit.

> Nuff said.

Soooo many parallels, John

 

2
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Would you have a membership referendum that offered to reduce the BMCs work just to access and conservation and cut the annual subscription to £10? Because all the indications suggest that is likely to be what the membership want. As John Roberts points out this is an indication that membership proposition is weak and needs developing. Something requiring the leadership qualities and culture you seem to think we can do without

Would I have one? No.  But if sufficient members determined that we should have such a referendum then.....it happens.  Actually I don't believe at all that the membership 'want' that. 

But you do have to interrogate what exactly 'the membership' is.  Out of our current 85,000 how many are 'RAC members' (I want to do an Award, I want insurance), how many are 'Oxfam members' (its a right good cause and we need someone to look after the footpaths) and how many are 'activists' (I want to be involved in the BMC and its running).  It might be depressing........

I'm not sure I really understand what is meant by 'the membership proposition is weak'

I was going to go on about the concept of 'leadership culture' but, to be honest, I'm losing the will. 

G'night.

 

2
JR - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

I haven't had enough time to keep up with this thread, but I spotted my name so ought to respond!

I think access and conservation being the highest priority is very clear, but I don't think doing solely that is what's indicated by a majority.  Member profiles will almost all have access and conservation as a top priority, but will also have a hot-potch of other priorities, applicable to how they individually participate in CHM.  Members only wanting the BMC to do access and conservation is a subset, but it's a minority one (interestingly, I reckon that would generally be higher grade, very active climbers, but no proof).

You're probably quoting me from back in March 2017 (pre-AGM-2017-blog), the proposition could certainly be stronger and more individualised, particularly for some subset participants of CHM (as per ORG R11).  That said most members thought it represented value for money (having worked on the ORG data, I would say I was wrong to the extent that that was the case in my pre-AGM-2017-blog), however, it the BMC could do more here.

A potentially more suitable rhetorical posit from you might have been, entirely hypothetically and typed out from the hip, could you:

  • Add £5 (or another amount) compulsorily to the membership fee, which all goes to ACT, gift aided (where applicable),
  • increase ACTs activities and member-awareness,
  • whilst individualising the actual member packages a bit more (possibly reducing cost for some, and possibly increasing for others), 
  • therefore increasing revenue and working capital overall
  • therefore increasing capacity,
  • whilst increasing the value for money perception of members on average,
  • and whilst increasing the BMC's ability to deliver the core and less core priorities (alongside grant funding where appropriate, but not wholly reliant on it)

Not a quick or easy job... and the BMC has bigger fish to fry right now, but certainly not impossible with the right innovation insight, and modelling.

And entirely off topic.

Post edited at 21:27
L JWhite on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to john arran: Hello!

> The optimum would appear to be to canvas members on major strategic issues and let the elected or appointed representatives get on with flushing out the details.

Spot on. I don't think that there is anyone who'd advocate running any organisation by referendum, but just occasionally, they can have merit if the choice is simple or the debate well informed on the implications of decisions...

To reassure BMC Shark, at the other end of the scale, no-one is suggesting that there shouldn't be a board of directors, nor that they shouldn't flush out the details and run the machine day to day. We replaced the Management Committee with a National Council for precisely this reason: a committee of 30 that met 5 times a year could not 'manage' the BMC, so authority for that was shifted to the Exec/Directors (who held principal accountability anyway) to discharge their duties, and ManCom was re-focussed to National Council, mainly to debate the big issues which warranted broader thought.

As mountaineering changes and the BMC grows, the ORG pushes this director empowerment further, and the direction is fine. The issue is that it seems to have gone too far, with too few items reserved for member approval (by the MA, local Areas, or referendum as appropriate). What the elected reps were taught by the rebrand was that on the big stuff, the reps need to consult with the people they're representing. As others have said, that's the lesson that doesn't seem to have been learnt here, but if Andy Syme and co are boosting the Schedule of Reserved Matters for approval to also include policy and perhaps more, then the balance will have been restored. Until that comes out, we are but speculating.

JR - on 29 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Nothing in the ORG recommendations is intended to take policy away from the members, save for the fact the Directors need to be able to approve something that might make them legally (and potentially criminally) liable.  For example, nothing should, nor is intended, to affect a local bolting (or anti-bolting) policy being created by the local area, on the proviso that it it's in line with any national policies that might affect it (think horseshoe), and the staff and specialist committees will be able to support that.

As you say requiring national input on that sort of a decision would be unnecessary, but rightly the Board of Directors should have some oversight if it could create an issue that could hypothetically be a liability or criminal issue.  As you contend, it's a sport with risks of injury and death, and we all accept that.  The BoD can delegate authority to the specialist committees,  who are fundamentally part of the MA, and formed from the membership and volunteers.  So the internal (and external) communications and reporting lines are important.  They form the policy in conjunction with the MA (and members and local areas where needed), and get rubber stamped by the BoD.

If the BoD unreasonably went against a member driven policy then quite simply the MA could and should them to account, go through the quite straightforward process and could call a general meeting on a 2/3rds vote (as per the additional detail in the amended report page 33).  If the MA didn't, then the members could (up to the IG where we end up on the 5% of members ).  For those reasons, it doesn't need to be a reserved matter per se.

I wouldn't want a BMC that wasn't member policy driven either.

And yes,  you can insure against shadow or de-facto directors, many Directors and Officers insurance, as you point out.  I don't know if the BMC has D&O insurance, but if it does, it may cover it.  Any such cover is, I contend, there in case someone is unwittingly a shadow director, not intentionally.  I also contend, that this may not always be the case, for example a CFO who is not a statutory director, and where there is no other financially qualified people on the board.  In simple terms it is an individual who directs the directors - an oxymoron perhaps - hence why it's defined in the act, to know when someone, and a company falls foul of it, and to disincentivise it, and causes it to carry additional risk, and because it is not good governance.

It currently carries risk for both the statutory directors and shadow directors.  The Executive Committee currently, as company directors, bear legal responsibility for the company and are at risk of liability for decisions being made over which they have no control.

Of course, you can insure against bad things happening, but good governance, and avoiding shadow directors, and primacy, is intended to avoid against a muddying of responsibility, and insure against bad things happening in the first place.  Most statutory directors and volunteers in the BMC would probably rather prefer the risk of running it out over their last runner, than taking on such company director and corporate governance risks.

Equally, if we want make it easier to get more great people, from a diverse set of the membership, to be able and willing to take on the mantle of volunteering their valuable time for the BMC members, as Directors, or elsewhere in the governance of the organisation, allowing them to be able to focus on the task, then BMC should as such ensure it reduces that risk, in line with the law and good practice, and make it accessible to take on that risk in its governance structure up front (and that may also include D&O insurance too).

Jonathan, you have my email (I think) and I'm happy to speak on the phone, and I suspect those on the IG may be happy to too.

PS I don't think I've ever seen you without a "blazer" (well, a smart jacket) on! 

Post edited at 23:02
Paul Evans - on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to JR:

Hi John. Just to answer a specific point of detail, according to the current M&AoA, item 3.24, the BMC does have indemnity insurance for its directors. It doesn't seem to have it for shadow directors, and it doesn't seem to have it for officers. As a member of the guidebook committee I think I may be an "officer" - perish the thought. There might be circumstances (admittedly unlikely) that could expose GBC to risk of civil or criminal action, so this is a topic I do have a personal interest in. And yes, I would rather run it out above my last gear, so IG, I would like this looked at, thanks.

Paul

JR - on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Thanks Paul.  I realise I managed to chop off a bit of a sentence there.

“And yes, you can insure against shadow or de-facto directors, many Directors and Officers insurance do cover it, as you point out.  I don't know if the BMC has D&O insurance, but if it does, it may cover it.“

The current articles do cover the liability of directors (statutory directors, including the company secretary, arguably via insurance policy, or from the funds of the company) but I don’t know if/what that policy looks like, or if it extends the cover beyond that in the articles.

Post edited at 08:30
Offwidth - on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

So where are we now. Hopefully this has been put to bed as nonsense (and if not Andy Say was there to confirm or deny):

"Yet for some reason that paper was given no committee time by the Chair of NC, no discussion, no recommendation for further discussion, no vote nothing. Its been kicked into the long grass"

Then the more sensible but still rather confused bit at the end:

"As mountaineering changes and the BMC grows, the ORG pushes this director empowerment further, and the direction is fine. The issue is that it seems to have gone too far, with too few items reserved for member approval (by the MA, local Areas, or referendum as appropriate). What the elected reps were taught by the rebrand was that on the big stuff, the reps need to consult with the people they're representing. As others have said, that's the lesson that doesn't seem to have been learnt here, but if Andy Syme and co are boosting the Schedule of Reserved Matters for approval to also include policy and perhaps more, then the balance will have been restored. Until that comes out, we are but speculating."

I think its Impossible to remove such tensions completely. Climb Britain became a problem when NC members failed to recognise their decision would face a strong (but minority in membrrship numbers) backlash from a very vocal part of the wider membership (and with Rehan seemingly the only person with concerns major enough to question matters).

Dave's article is all about balance and every time we use the word we recognise potential instability is there. Implementation looks set to try and meet balance and the members will have their say. JR from ORG seems to share my view your concerns are honest but overblown.

 
 
1
L JWhite on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I don't think the first quote was mine, but if the second was confusing, apologies - I'm trying to balance clarity without writing a book each time.

JR's comment about the intention is great to hear - I think it answers my first question. As that is the intent, then the wording of the Report could be strengthened to state that. However, as the focus has moved from the ORG to the IG, we need the IG to use wording to explicitly state what is intended. It is not right or fair to ask us to vote on vagiaries, nor does it bode well for the BMC or its people (of all categories) if we're all hoping for a quieter life in the near future.

Fully agree that it's impossible to remove tensions completely, but on those (hopefully) rare occasions that a major re-write takes place, we should try to remove what we can by being as explicit as possible. We can then spend most of our time looking outwardly rather than inwardly, or perhaps log-off and get some fresh air.

L JWhite on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to JR:

Pleased to hear that, and though the issues you raise are valid, there are different ways of addressing them. Giving directors control over (virtually) everything is one way, but there are other ways that are equally valid, but more suited to a predominantly representitive body.

Parallels have been drawn with big business and with government. I quite like the two-chamber analogy: if one chamber doesn't like what the other comes up with, they push it back for a re-think. My own comparisons with companies make the point [to use the ORG's own words]: "The Directors need to take legal responsibility for the management and administration of" the company. That said, unless it is a owner-Director company, the Directors all have to work within parameters set by their owners/major investors/Members, and usually not just via AGMs.

Recently, I was the only British Director of a British construction company, that happened to be German and Canadian owned. Reps from those owners (mostly CEOs and CFOs) all had their views on what they wanted us to do and how, and most of the time that was fine, but some of the time I had to push back and say that either we couldn't do that in the UK, or we couldn't do what they wanted the way they wanted. Discussion ensued, and I'm pleased to say that on each occasion we found another way of doing things that was acceptable to everyone. Had that not been the case, if I had been forced into doing something that I considered illegal or immoral (as a Chartered Engineer, I have to adhere to professional standards over and above legal requirements, or I can get struck-off), then I would have had to resign & find another job. It rarely comes to that in any organisation, but the potential serves to focus everyone on finding a mutually acceptable ways forward.

I see parallels here: there is no reason why the BMC shouldn't have (adequately insured) shadow directors, but all involved have to recognise the moral imperative of each group to operate to the standards that Paul Evans highlighted a few days ago. Where tensions arise, they'll mostly be healthy tensions that can avert known pitfalls such as 'group think' or 'the cult of the leader'. The absence of those alarm bells at e.g. the rebrand highlighted an issue with the current structure. NC/MA is not structured or fit to 'manage', but the proposed predominance of independent Directors with little or no prior affiliation to the organisation means they are not structured or fit to 'represent'. Neither can lead an organisation like ours without the other, and the proposed structure can be made to work if the relationships are clearer and more balanced than at present.

Agreed, it would be good to talk: there's too much to cover here and various options to consider. If your mobile no. ends 521, then I have it - how are you fixed to speak one evening next week?

"PS I don't think I've ever seen you without a "blazer" (well, a smart jacket) on! "

Perhaps we should meet on the hill more often! I don't think I've owned a blazer since I was in my 20's, but I try to scrub-up for dinners, etc. Some people can carry off a fleece or jumper at any occasion, but some of us need all the help we can get!

Post edited at 16:45
JR - on 30 Mar 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> Parallels have been drawn with big business and with government. I quite like the two-chamber analogy: if one chamber doesn't like what the other comes up with, they push it back for a re-think. 

Yes, it works, to an extent, but only as a really high level comparison.  The detail falls apart, hence looking to organisations like the SRA who deal with comparable, similar organisations, for clear guidance.  There's little good reason for the BMC to break the mould here, and the argument that CHM is too different to any other sport to be comparable, has similar fallibility as comparing the BMC's structure to Government.

> Recently, I was the only British Director of a British construction company, that happened to be German and Canadian owned. Reps from those owners (mostly CEOs and CFOs) all had their views on what they wanted us to do and how, and most of the time that was fine, but some of the time I had to push back and say that either we couldn't do that in the UK, or we couldn't do what they wanted the way they wanted. Discussion ensued, and I'm pleased to say that on each occasion....

That is without doubt different proposition, in quantifiable risk, risk management, and in law.  The legal liability of directors in a parent/subsidiary relationship is different, there are exceptions where you're acting as a director, of a subsidiary, under instruction by the parent companies.  Thos exceptions wouldn't apply here (well in the subsidiaries of the BMC they would, but not in the top co which is what we're discussing).  Also, the risk is highly quantified, directly to you as a sole individual, not distributed, potentially unwittingly, across a significant number of people (30ish in current National Council - so managing that risk much less straightforward, hence recognised good governance codes).  The aim is to avoid making bad decisions, not insure against them when they happen.

> I see parallels here: there is no reason why the BMC shouldn't have (adequately insured) shadow directors, but all involved have to recognise the moral imperative of each group to operate to the standards that Paul Evans highlighted a few days ago. Where tensions arise, they'll mostly be healthy tensions that can avert known pitfalls such as 'group think' or 'the cult of the leader'. The absence of those alarm bells at e.g. the rebrand highlighted an issue with the current structure. NC/MA is not structured or fit to 'manage', but the proposed predominance of independent Directors with little or no prior affiliation to the organisation means they are not structured or fit to 'represent'. Neither can lead an organisation like ours without the other, and the proposed structure can be made to work if the relationships are clearer and more balanced than at present.

Don't disagree regarding the pitfalls, but that's a slightly different point, nonetheless, reduced by structuring a Board of Directors, and Members Assembly, with the right experience, skill sets, diversity, and independence where applicable, whilst defining the rights, responsibilities and authorities clearly.  I don't see how your proposition improves that for members wholesale (or those involved in the governance). You might be willing individually to accept that risk, but I don't think that's applicable to all, nor should it be, it would simply restrict the pool of members and very capable (and risk, and good governance, aware) people willing to take on governance roles in the BMC (maybe some see that as a good thing).  The BMC needs to provide a structure to manage the risk clearly to to do that, whilst working for, and in the interests of members.  There are many ways to skin a cat, but the ORG presented the option we believe to be the best one.  I concede, that we could always explain things, or have emphasised things more strongly in the report in some cases, but hopefully, through discussion you'll see the depth of thought, backing of research, and fundamental message is there.

> Agreed, it would be good to talk: there's too much to cover here and various options to consider. If your mobile no. ends 521, then I have it - how are you fixed to speak one evening next week?

Will PM - that's not my number.

Post edited at 20:45
2
Jules King - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Really, given what your wife does at the BMC didn't she tell you about it St...?

You are trolling this thread. You're a BMC a troll.

Post edited at 09:43
4
Offwidth - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Jules King:

Why do you feel the need to continue making things personal,  how can such behaviour benefit anyone? Pretty much everyone else on this thread is debating on issues, playing the ball not the player.

I've made it very clear on this thread how I think the BMC has funtioned well enough despite mucb bigger governance problems in its past and I feel governance details are currently being overblown, as I trust the membership to sort things out whatevere we end up with, whatever the faults. The current leadership genuinly seems to me to support proportionate membership involvement from area reps and committe reps in the structure through to full membership input. This looks to me honest desire to put members first in the legal structures that seem necessary to meet governance needs. I would be OK if any of the preferred positions came about: that prefereed by the Exec, that of the ORG, that of the majority of NC,  that of Crag, or Andy or Jonathan. I do think the routes away from the Exec/ORG plans not involving future SE involvement need to indicate where the funding gap will be closed (extra money from elsewhere or activity that will have to cease).

Most of the exec and all the area reps of the NC are volunteers and they deserve their vast input to the BMC to be treated with respect and if you disagree with things they have done, argue on that. I see the level of personalization and false accusations they have faced (especially those in secret documents with private distributions, like those leaked on the MoNC ) over the last few years as shameful. Rehan made it clear this was why he resigned... huge workloads whilst under regular dishonest attacks...  not anything he felt he had done wrong. Now we have accusations of the current Presisdent 'kicking things into the long grass' when minutes show it seemingly informed the debate (I really didnt know any of the detail of this until I investigated what you said... Andy was there, so he can confirm what actually happened). Unless such behaviour is stopped the BMC will struggle to find volunteers in the new structures. I desperately hope the volunteer base won't be reduced to those with Rhinoceros hides, as we arguably have now with most MPs.

Post edited at 12:13
2
Andy Say - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Why do you feel the need to continue making things personal,  how can such behaviour benefit anyone? Pretty much everyone else on this thread is debating on issues, playing the ball not the player.

It is interesting, though, to look at who is posting with their real name and who is posting with a 'handle'.  The oft-repeated mantra of 'oh, everyone knows who I am ' just doesn't really cut it on a forum viewed by so many.

Have to admit, Steve, I did wonder why you suggested that I might want to validate what was going on at National Council when Lynn was actually sitting in the same room as me

Andy

 

2
Offwidth - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Maybe as the implication is clearly that Lynn is part of 'the conspiracy' and you are not. My name is in my profile. Offwidth is mearly a surface level way of keeping prying eyes at bay.

2
Andy Say - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Hey, Steve,  Glad you don't see me as a 'conspirator' and, for what its worth, I don't actually believe that there is a 'conspiracy' and most certainly not that Lynn is one of the illuminati.  (I really hope that doesn't come across as insulting )

I personally think that what we have here is a defining moment for the BMC.  We can accept that we 'need' Sport England funding and that we have to accede to the demands that they (and others) make upon recognised National Governing Bodies and become one or, as a mate of mine put it this afternoon, we can resolve to be a collective of like-minded people, united by a common interest, trying to promote those interests whilst making sure that the membership have clear control 'of the ship'.  The proposition will be decided at the next National Council meeting on 28th April.  That proposition will be put to a delayed AGM in June.  And then we will all see.........

To be honest I would guess that 90% of BMC members simply don't give a toss.  They have joined the climbing equivalent of the RAC.  Another 5% maybe are 'Oxfam' members, it is a 'good cause' and the BMC does such good work.   The other 4,000 get really wound up about stuff like this.

john arran - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

>  The other 40 get really wound up about stuff like this.

FTFY

1
Offwidth - on 31 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Thanks for dismissing the conspiracy theory nonsense.

I guess I trust in the broader membership a bit more than you  and like John I think the numbers really concerned are much less than 4000 (otherwise why were most other area meetings not expressing these like the NW area), but as I said above, whatever way this ends up I'll accept it. However, a bit like the Brexit conundrum, if the membership chose something that removes any possibility of SE funding they need to be aware of the consequencies (a probable funding gap and reduced lobbying influences).  I don't think subs can increase much to close that funding gap, so BMC membeirship growth (how?) or cutting back activity (more more likely; with its additional consequencies of extra reduced influence) are the only options. I struggle to accept more delays given the damage currently being done to the organisation, its employees and the support it provides to volunteers. It would be a shame if we face more lies and misinformation, like the original MoNC draft, to try and disguise this.

Post edited at 23:41
1
Crag Jones - on 31 Mar 2018

The conspiracy is true:

 

THE BMC HAS SECRET WEAPONS OF MASS OBFUSCATION

codenamed shark and offwidth.

Genetically engineered for astounding feats of circular argument and generally-useless-blather till no one’s got a f* clue what’s going on. Once that pair have blootered you into stupefaction – your mind now an empty vessel – Grand Master Roberts arrives to fill it with the true faith. No wait he’s actually Father Neil Furlong the manic trendy vicar played by Graham Norton in Father Ted who terrorizes and terrifies the youth. Think of the BMC like Craggy Island: Ken Wilson is already there as Father Jack, Rab can be father Ted, Dave Turnbull can be Mrs Doyle and Ray Wigglesworth a visiting Bishop. They decide to take a holiday. Now in case you don’t know what happened in the Caravan from Hell, you can see it all here:   http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xodliq

Who wants to be Dougal . . . ?

 

14
Mark Kemball - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

What are you drinking / smoking? It must be good stuff, I want some.

 

JR - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

The truth is, it's actually Father Noel Furlong.  Keep the faith, Crag.

Post edited at 09:42
Offwidth - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

This is what happens when stalwarts of British mountaineering join UKB.

Andy Say - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to john arran:

Thanks John.  I have finally worked out what FTFY means!

But I think you do underestimate the number of people concerned about this debate

 

 

P.S.  I was using a number to signify 'the other 5%'.

Post edited at 11:09
Ian W - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The conspiracy is true:

> THE BMC HAS SECRET WEAPONS OF MASS OBFUSCATION

> codenamed shark and offwidth.

> Genetically engineered for astounding feats of circular argument and generally-useless-blather till no one’s got a f* clue what’s going on. Once that pair have blootered you into stupefaction – your mind now an empty vessel – Grand Master Roberts arrives to fill it with the true faith. No wait he’s actually Father Neil Furlong the manic trendy vicar played by Graham Norton in Father Ted who terrorizes and terrifies the youth. Think of the BMC like Craggy Island: Ken Wilson is already there as Father Jack, Rab can be father Ted, Dave Turnbull can be Mrs Doyle and Ray Wigglesworth a visiting Bishop. They decide to take a holiday. Now in case you don’t know what happened in the Caravan from Hell, you can see it all here:   http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xodliq

> Who wants to be Dougal . . . ?

Good one! Not sure where the dislikes come from, at least i can vouch for Dave T as Mrs Doyle. Last time he made me a brew it was excellent. And it was in a Climb Britain branded mug.......

Post edited at 13:22
Offwidth - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

As ever the dislikes come from the UKC children (how dare Crag be funny on such a serious topic). UKB may be juvenile at times but the negative karma over there always proves to be too much for any visiting kids.

Post edited at 14:07
2
UKB and BMC Shark - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Theres a good chance some of those ‘children’ were sticking up for you. Others might have found the humour off target, tiresomely snidey and/or lame.

 

4
Offwidth - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

The adult thing then would be to attributed as saying so. I'd really rather people don't support me with dislikes ever, since I've been campaing against them from their inception on UKC. I also thought it was fairly funny.

1
Crag Jones - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark: see website for full dialogue. Too long for this thread.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-SMYy5txYQksbqXKoTZcEPxWdPLAOPvAaMpjhFWf6Yo/edit#

Parliamentary votes are taken on key issues and there is also a second chamber. Even dictatorships have a cabinets, so the latter is not a justification for accepting the proposals. If whats going on behind the scenes is also taken into account then the BMC would not even be that, but instead  the equivalent of a mere QUANGO answerable to Sport England. Not even the much trumpeted essential ‘Reserve Matters’ would be left for the members to have the ultimate say on because SE are demanding that the need for membership ‘Approval’ of these is diluted so the board only has to ‘consult’ and ‘consider’ members views on on key issues. No requirement to do as members or their representatives want. Not even our own elected president is allowed to chair the board. It has to be an ‘independent’, ‘appointed’ director instead.

Obfuscation, and you know it. Those who were driven to have to propose a MONC have been vilified ever since so why are you suggesting that now as an excuse? Even not approving directors at an AGM would lead to a similar civil war, so you know that’s not a constructive way forward. The reality is further member disengagement from the process, which is what you really want so that a narrow group with can impose whatever ‘project’ they have in mind. Members are just expected to nod through whichever nominations are recommended.

The ORG was at pains to appear to be consultative. By limiting the questions and answers in the first membership questionnaire they kept tight control of the agenda. The groupings in the second questionnaire were so blatantly biased the whole thing had to be abandoned. Some critics are asking whether they stuck to their terms of reference alleging that they failed to meet them in some areas whilst overreaching them in others. The whole process of member engagement was opaque. I gave them extensive feedback but beyond a cursory acknowledgement of receipt received no justification at all as to whether anything was accepted or rejected. Any concerned membership engagement as at area meetings has been resisted rather than relished. Most concessions that were won there are being repealed at Sport England’s Request. Even a slightly lengthened time table is under the threat of cessation of funding. Even that time table is being manipulated to marginalise any chance of effective review and alteration. The Implementation Group (IG) has decided amongst itself that it has no remit for review or alteration so is doing none whilst stalling concerned members for time. The latter and all other members via the IG->NC->Areas->Clubs and Members chain will only have around 10 days to review what the IG produce before 1 May deadline for motions for the June AGM. In what way is that realistic? Rather than try and reach an organic consensus view, the executive is instead attempting to drive through the ORG recommendations leaving only rejection as the viable alternative. Meanwhile the BMCs own magazine and website will on previous form be promoting those executive preferences and give very little voice to reasoned opposition who are trying to preserve member representation. I had so set up the website and forum to get any semblance of transparency going.

I and many other objectors are nothing to do with the BMC 30 though sympathetic to some of the concerns they raised, especially where the ORG has been hijacked to promote the narrow view of those who seek to impose their ‘vision’ of how the sector should be ‘developed’.

As for the BMC-30, they can speak for themselves. I don’t even know who the full list is. But those who accuse them of dirty tricks need to bare a few things in mind. I am told that conventional channels for venting their concerns were closed off leaving them with no choice but their MONC, something even you are now espousing as a valid option. Their figurehead may be as mad as a brush for all I know, but people countered his arguments with a premeditated physical assault whilst at the same time trying to have it that he was 'just an old man’. Strikes me something might be amiss there. Some of those other ‘old men’ have done more in their climbing lunch-hour than most of us will do in all our lifetimes put together and put a lot of time into the BMC as well. Check them out properly. They have also seen this cycle of narrow interests trying to impose their agendas by undercutting the democratic checks and balances time and again, so the tail ends up wagging the dog. That’s why they and many others beside are worth listening to.

Post edited at 21:14
6
Andy Syme - on 01 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

>  Even that time table is being manipulated to marginalise any chance of effective review and alteration. The Implementation Group (IG) has decided amongst itself that it has no remit for review or alteration so is doing none whilst stalling concerned members for time.

I think that's slightly unfair.  We were given a remit by the NC on 10 Mar.  We produced proposals for the NC on 21 Mar so they can review and comment and will produce proposals for Areas to review on 6 Apr.  I would not say that is stalling!

>The latter and all other members via the IG->NC->Areas->Clubs and Members chain will only have around 10 days to review what the IG produce before 1 May deadline for motions for the June AGM. In what way is that realistic?

That is the timeline we have in order to comply with our own articles that require an AGM not later than June, and require 60 days notice of all business.  I agree it is tight, but not sure what other option we have other than just do nothing and go over the SE funding deadline by default.  We are doing stuff as quickly as possible giving members the maximum time that we can.   

As I said before, we will also be providing a plain English guide and old to new articles cross reference tables to make it easy to see what has changed and why, plus a clear explanation of what requirements are specifically from Sport England and the implications of losing funding.  I would hope that given that level of transparency it will allow people clear understandable facts with which to make up their mind, even given the tight timelines.

 

Crag Jones - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Thanks again for explaining the process. I and I imagine others, will appreciate that. What I fail to understand though is why the Implementation Group as a working group of the National Council is not, especially given the time constraints, not performing some form of assessment of the recommendations now, rather than blanket acceptance and merely transforming them into the changes required in the Articles of Association (AoA). There is only around 10 days (varying by area) to digest your proposed AoA, comment on them and request any changes and then simply having to wait for the AGM motion to see IF any of those requests have been accommodated. If they have not then concerned parties have run out of time to propose any constructive alternatives. This is what I am complaining about. The cynical manipulation of the process and the timeline to prevent any meaningful debate and alteration. Sport England's imposed deadline and favoured form of board is to readily being accepted by our executive without representing the considerable disquiet significant sectors of the membership have. The executive are manipulating the National Council to do this because it suits their more autocratic wishes to impose  their narrow vision of 'development' rather than create a framework that also allows members to define and monitor objectives.

Now I'll be overjoyed to be proven wrong and see suggested alterations, where they make plain sense, incorporated into the proposals or at least offered as alternatives for the AGM. However I very much doubt that will happen in the present climate. If there is such resistance to constructive engagement by the membership now, then what hope for the future.

4
Andy Syme - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I have PMed you, but in spirit of transparency I'll try to give the quick response to the key points.

>  "What I fail to understand though is why the Implementation Group as a working group of the National Council is not, especially given the time constraints, not performing some form of assessment of the recommendations now, rather than blanket acceptance and merely transforming them into the changes required in the Articles of Association (AoA)." 

The Sport England code and it's interpretation is in the remit of SE.  I am in discussions with them but ultimately they will decide what changes are necessary to retain their recognition, beyond any changes we feel are necessary to reflect the legal and good governance position in 2018.  The NC had a discussion of the options and decided that the IG should try and get compliant because they believed that the cost to the BMC and our funded partners was too big to not try.  Members will have the facts we considered, and the costs/risks that imposes on the BMC, and can make their decision.  

>"request any changes"

The changes being made are legal (not changeable)  and good governance changes as defined as 'best practice' codes like Sports and Recreation Alliance (changeable I guess but with care as they define what good governance looks like).  I suspect the most contentious changes will be those required by SE and these can only be changed if we want to lose SE recognition.  Given this it's basically a binary decision of accepting the new articles or not, and we are working to very tight timelines, the decision was made to provide the membership with the full package, and the reasons, and let them decide.  If they decide against the changes then the articles will still need changing (to apply legal and 'best practice') but with a different timeline.  Please also note these changes are not the full outcome of the ORG and the proposals we will make include a plan to review and consult on the other ORG recommendations over the next year or so, but the articles need dealing with now.

> "If they have not then concerned parties have run out of time to propose any constructive alternatives."

See above, there are limited alternatives that we have at this point.

>"The cynical manipulation of the process and the timeline to prevent any meaningful debate and alteration. Sport England's imposed deadline and favoured form of board is to readily being accepted by our executive without representing the considerable disquiet significant sectors of the membership have. The executive are manipulating the National Council to do this because it suits their more autocratic wishes to impose  their narrow vision of 'development' rather than create a framework that also allows members to define and monitor objectives."

I'm afraid I don't agree that the Exec are Machiavellian evil masterminds bent on changing the BMC for the bad, with an NC of ignorant morons who have no independent opinions and are capable of being manipulated (have you met Andy Say, Pete Stirling or Rik Payne to name but 3 who are far from what I would consider are people who are without opinions or easily manipulated; or Les Ainsworth who is on the IG and I would suggest is a highly intelligent and independent thinker).  I would propose that both the NC and Exec comprise fellow mountaineers (using the definition in the BMCs current articles para 3.2) and unpaid volunteers who are well aware of the history of the BMC and the concerns of some members.  Both Exec and NC are both trying to find the best way through a very difficult set of circumstances within timelines that are largely outside their control. 

> "If there is such resistance to constructive engagement by the membership now, then what hope for the future."

I'm sad that you feel there isn't constructive engagement.  I would however contend that we can only engage once we can ascertain and clearly set out the facts and the Exec and NC position so that there can be arguments based on concrete proposals.  One of the problems with the debate that is currently going on is that it is often based on assumptions and partial facts and while you might say that is because of an information vacuum I would respond that is due to time, not lack of will.  We (the IG, NC & Exec) are all clear that the full facts are going to be given to members.  I am hoping we will have some informed discussions at Areas; and if I can find the time with a couple of 'open forum meetings'; such that the members have all the facts and implications when they make their decision in June.

Finally I will reiterate that the changes to the articles are the immediate problem we are discussing BUT they are not the full output of the ORG or the IG and the development plan to review the other ORG recommendations, and come up with implementation proposals, will need plenty of member involvement and participation to complete.  I hope some of the individuals providing the constructive alternatives here will volunteer to participate in that work.

Do look at my PM Crag but I'm now off to spend my day off working on the IG again (but at least the weather is rubbish so I'm not missing any climbing)

Post edited at 08:44
Offwidth - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Really sad to see you moving away from reasoned debate to this nonsense:

"As for the BMC-30, they can speak for themselves. I don’t even know who the full list is. But those who accuse them of dirty tricks need to bare a few things in mind. I am told that conventional channels for venting their concerns were closed off leaving them with no choice but their MONC, something even you are now espousing as a valid option."

Complete bullshit. They were offered space in Summit, three times, prior to the vote and refused this. Some were asked to attend area meetings and declined. They could have set up a website like you did. They could have posted on UKC or UKB or written an article in the mags or an open letter to the BMC website. Sadly what they did instead is write secret letters to a limited circle of friends. Letters that have been dissected here and on UKB by climbers, completely independant of the BMC, as containing largely misinformation and the odd lie. The original motion was withdrawn as they presumably knew it was indefensible and because it contained at least three signatories who hadn't even been asked if they agreed with it !?.  The final motion presented  to the BMC hardly had any reasoning at all and was then shamefully presented by Bob (as acknowledged by independant contributors above), when he eventually finished his CV, as pretty much another Olympic rant.  Bob has also slandered Marco Scolaris on numerous occasions in public meetings. The problems were never about the rights in rule of an MoNC and entirely about the shameful way this particular MoNC was managed.

"Their figurehead may be as mad as a brush for all I know, but people countered his arguments with a premeditated physical assault whilst at the same time trying to have it that he was 'just an old man’. Strikes me something might be amiss there."

I wondered when this would come out of realm of dishonest private letters and hit the public space. This supposed 'attack' just involved the foolish exchange of a little beer with a glass of wine; it was dealt with by the police as an alledged assault, was fully investigated and resolved, with the written agreement of both parties. This was 'handbags' between two people and the alledged involvement of the BMC in this is plain bonkers.

"Some of those other ‘old men’ have done more in their climbing lunch-hour than most of us will do in all our lifetimes put together and put a lot of time into the BMC as well. Check them out properly."

Overblown in terms of their contribution to the BMC (many more equally big names who did as much or more for the BMC spoke out against their bad behaviour) Also in my view a CV is completely irrelevant if they choose to behave this way. In my view such 'names' should be held to higher account.

"They have also seen this cycle of narrow interests trying to impose their agendas by undercutting the democratic checks and balances time and again, so the tail ends up wagging the dog. That’s why they and many others beside are worth listening to."

Pot-kettle-black, with Doug and Bob. They have lost democratic votes on the Olympics issue time and time again and Doug lost the democratic Presidential election to Rab. All these secret letters seem to me very much attempts to undermine democracy (most of which will probably never be public and those we saw were only as they were leaked). 

Post edited at 11:51
3
UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

There may be some useful suggestions in all of the criticisms (and good luck to the Andy’s et al in sorting the wheat from the chaff) but overall it’s hard not to conclude that these machinations and accusations are much more about politics and power than waving the flag for representative democracy.

It seems to me that what we are witnessing is a partially concerted effort by an entrenched reactionary segment of old guard members who are using guerilla tactics to introduce mechanisms and levers to enable them to regain some control over a BMC (and climbing world) that has changed to the point that they scarcely recognise it and increasingly slipped from their grasp.

I didn’t much care for the BMC of the eighties at the time and only gradually warmed to the BMC in more recent years as it modernised with such things as supporting rebolting and the Olympics. If dragged backwards it’s not an organisation I’d want to be part of as a member, let alone an employee. 

4
Crag Jones - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme and Offwidth:

Andy, no sign of that message yet. - I understand the limits you are working to. Its something of a poisoned chalice. My point is that the BMC should not have allowed itself to be backed into a corner like this. I believe they have deliberately done that as a convenient excuse to implement the kind of management model they favour in any case - more appointed executives freed from the constraints of interfering members. The ORG operated behind closed doors and did not allow members to drive the process by openly engaging in debate of this kind from an early stage. So we have ended up where the really critical stuff has to be voted on in June with only a few weeks at the end of April to even consider whats on offer which is in any case a fait accompli, with as yet no alternatives.

I refuse to be dragged off the point by offwidths muddy waters tactic. He tries unfairly to paint objectors as anti-competition, anti-olympics. A few may well be but most are either in favour of supporting competitors or at the very least accepting whatever the membership overall wishes to do on this front.

Olympic funding is not in any case affected by the Sport England problem since it goes via a different route. I know that general competition is more problematic and that a subsidiary structure has been suggested that has the type of governance Sport England requires to manage that. Again I understand finding the resources for that without being held to ransom by Sport England is tricky particularly when the majority of their money is actually going to partner organisations not the BMC per-se and that at least some of those partner organisations are not being particularly supportive. Those difficult problems need to be sorted out at their root rather than accepting a ham-fisted solution that disenfranchises the membership. If its money in the end, then either a £2 sub increase covers it, or trim other programs according to priorities or reduce the cost of Summit magazine and the compulsory 3rd party liability insurance which combined equal the BMCs ENTIRE spend on all specialist programs.

 

Post edited at 13:28
10
Andy Syme - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Sent 3 now.  PM me if not received

Crag Jones - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> There may be some useful suggestions in all of the criticisms (and good luck to the Andy’s et al in sorting the wheat from the chaff) but overall it’s hard not to conclude that these machinations and accusations are much more about politics and power than waving the flag for representative democracy.

Sorry, your way wide of the mark there. Nobody is angling for a position or financial gain from this. As for representational democracy, I have proposed until I am blue in the face a framework for developing, defining, prioritising and monitoring the BMC objectives. All stakeholders can contribute, members obviously but also staff and management. Objectives developed both on online platforms and in annual open forums and confirmed by membership vote. Once agreed, everyone is clear on what we are trying to do, by when, by whom with links to all agreed budgets, personnel and programs.  Many members might not engage, particularly if they are happy with propositions, but the mechanism for them to do so is there if they wish. That point is critical. With such a framework staff and volunteers are then free to implement what has been agreed without undue interference confident in the knowledge that they have either the active or tacit approval of the membership at large.

Nobody has found fault with such an approach so why are you so eager to accept the Sports England model that instead imposes their wishes via appointed executives. In what way is that more democratic?

> It seems to me that what we are witnessing is a partially concerted effort by an entrenched reactionary segment of old guard members who are using guerilla tactics to introduce mechanisms and levers to enable them to regain some control over a BMC (and climbing world) that has changed to the point that they scarcely recognise it and increasingly slipped from their grasp.

See above. We are not interested in attaining positions of power. It's you guys who are championing the undemocratic structures who seem to be trying to cement your selfish positions. The 'Give us your money and we'll tell you whats good for you and whilst we are at it, we'll decide who "we" are'! school of philosophy. A constant need to dream up yet more weird and wonderful schemes to justify jobs for the boys? You don't seem interested in an engaged membership, only pliant 'customers' to consume services you define.

> I didn’t much care for the BMC of the eighties at the time and only gradually warmed to the BMC in more recent years as it modernised with such things as supporting rebolting and the Olympics. If dragged backwards it’s not an organisation I’d want to be part of as a member, let alone an employee. 

See previous reply about competitions and olympics which I and many others support. Its particularly disingenuous to keep painting the argument as old-fashioned v modern. You can either encourage participants to genuinely engage in activities or falsely appeal to fashion as an excuse to commodify the whole sector for financial enrichment but not a lot else. 

 

4
UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

 

When you say ‘we are not interested in attaining positions of power” who do you mean by ‘we’ - who are you actually speaking for? You seem to have distanced yourself from fellow Alpine Club member Bob Pettigrew in comments made above so who are you aligned or acting in concert with? You have yet to provide full and frank disclosure and knocked back my polite request on ukb to do so. 

3
Offwidth - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Refuse all you like. I've nothing against your papers as a point of debate but if you describe the 30 as maligned and well intentioned, when in fact they were clealy the ones playing dishonest power games in the background, it makes me wonder how genuine your support of democracy really is. I never objected to the ideas of the 30 as a point of debate, my big concern was with their methods, which were and continue to be underhand,  dishonest and undemocratic and all evidenced as such (from their leaked papers and the number of secret letters to the exec they could choose to publish if their motives were even vaguely honourable). The only conventional BMC channels I see as broken are those of the old 'doffing of caps' to their power and obedience to their private requests. That may well have been how things worked in the past  but it most certainly isn't democratic and I hope the members will see off any such repeat attempts to undermine democracy in the future. Thousands voted on the MoNC, more than on anything else in the BMC history, and for good reasons, and a pretence that these climbers and hillwalkers were played is a massive insult to all those members' intelligence.

What is so sad in all this is my biggest concerns in the BMC remain as access, volunteer support, specialist programmes and democracy. All of which have been most damaged in recent years by people playing politics, especialy the 30.

 

Post edited at 16:33
4
Crag Jones - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark and offwidth: I refer you to my fulsome replies above regarding anything of substance + As for the the constant nonsense you guys keep coming up with, the noise you use to try and drown out anyones message. It's worse than the racket of the surf on Craggy Island. 'We' means me and any others who  vaguely share my objections. As far as I know none of them have any designs on any kind of BMC post or profit arising from their objections. Yes I'm in touch with all and sundry in various overlapping copied email loops etc but cant see why I should be having to justify that to an employee of our own representative body. I have had a level of openness in my arguments bordering on the farcical so putting it politely, you have no cause for complaint. My support for democracy is complete: see 'objectives framework' above, and allways has been: see https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uum5rSGh7vfE1W8kOmFdInqZOWN8aADN/view

 

5
Offwidth - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

If you have ' a level of openess bordering on the farcical' then why do you feel the need to defend the 30 and then spread more misinformation in doing that (I stand by my post above: your supportive statements on the 30 are unfortunate and without evidential backing)? You chose to raise these new issues on the 30. Do you seriously expect us to just accept new misinformation given all the damage done by the way the MoNC was handled? Of course I'm more interested in challenging that misinformation than deal with inponderable guestimates on the niceties of governance not even yet resolved (especially in the context where I'd happily accept any democratically agreed proposals).

The whole point of public debate is to discuss ideas fairly, and as a prerequisite it's important to remove any misinformation (by challenging it). What you see as noise is to me an important step in validation of the information informing debate. I support your right to have your views on your papers on the BMC, but not to muddy the water with misinformation, as you did on the comments about the 30 above.

Mayve we should stop using the term '30' as I've said many times before I'm pretty sure some of them were duped (how many of them really knew how badly their perfectly democratically acceptable views were to be mistreated  by the anti-democratic secret distribution of misinformation, mainly, as far as I'm aware, by Bob, Doug and Leo. Certainly large numbers supporting the MoNC with proxy votes were duped.  I won't believe all of these people could have knowingly supported such behaviour; especially as names were originally added to the first draft who didn't even support the MoNC at all.

Post edited at 18:39
2
Offwidth - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Back on the useful contributions you made above. I'd be delighted if the membership would agree a £2 subs increase but I don't think it would in a way that raised income by anything like the membership × £2. Some would leave and inflation will eat into savings and the inevitable fuss would cost some officer time, energy and money. The majority of questions I see at BMC meetings on this subject involve people moaning and in some cases threatening to leave. I have no particular attachment to the current output of Summit and would support a combination of reduced content/regularity to provide some budget reduction there. 3rd party insurance is a grey area for me: happy for it to be looked at but it's responsible to provide cover for 3rd party issues, especially for trad climbers and mountaineers.

2
Andy Say - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

All, I'm away from home with a heavily cracked phone screen - so excuse brevity. Feel free to criticise spelling though.

There are limitations on what anyone can definitively say at the moment. The process is that the implementation group needs to thrash out a proposal to go to national council. In the meantime it is imperative that Area meetings are fully informed about those proposals so that attendees can tell their NC reps clearly what they want. Then it will be up to those reps at national council to decide whether to back the IG proposal or not.

Once that is done then the die is cast: those proposals WILL go to the AGM for the membership to vote on. Do the next round of area meetings, and the ensuing national council are possibly the most important of this decade. In my opinion....

Andy

Mark Kemball - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Mayve we should stop using the term '30' as I've said many times before I'm pretty sure some of them were duped

I know of one signatury to the MoNC who, on attending the AGM and listening to the arguments, then voted against it!

Andy Say - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> I know of one signatury to the MoNC who, on attending the AGM and listening to the arguments, then voted against it!

A pretty convincing argument for attendance at an AGM and listening to the debate before making an informed decision I would have thought. A good case for the power of the member

Graeme Alderson on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Maybe we should also stop calling them the 'BMC30' as the MoNC was blatantly Anti-BMC. Using 'BMC' legitimatises them. Maybe 'The Reactionary, Dishonest, Anti-Democratic Anti-BMC-31' would be a better title. 

Post edited at 20:54
3
67hours - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Or just use their names? Whoever they are. If people want to support a motion, for or against it, can't we just know who they are?

1
Graeme Alderson on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to 67hours:

Their names are a matter of public record. My point is that we shouldn't glorify them. They are not the Magnificent 7. They seem to have claimed the title for themselves as if they are the saviours of the BMC. They are most certainly not.

Having worked at the BMC for 7 years (2000-2007) I have seen first hand some of the behaviour of the signatories of the MoNC, and well, it wasn't good.

1
UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

> Having worked at the BMC for 7 years (2000-2007)

Wow. 7 years. I didnt realise it was as long as that

 

UKB and BMC Shark - on 02 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> I refer you to my fulsome replies above regarding anything of substance + As for the the constant nonsense you guys keep coming up with, the noise you use to try and drown out anyones message. It's worse than the racket of the surf on Craggy Island. 'We' means me and any others who  vaguely share my objections. As far as I know none of them have any designs on any kind of BMC post or profit arising from their objections. Yes I'm in touch with all and sundry in various overlapping copied email loops etc but cant see why I should be having to justify that to an employee of our own representative body. I have had a level of openness in my arguments bordering on the farcical so putting it politely, you have no cause for complaint.

You don't have to have designs on posts or profit to exert influence or power in an organisation. You have claimed your website is 'independent' and therefore you should be up for some level of scrutiny and questioning to substantiate that claim of independence. I am asking as a BMC member in my own time. You seem to think it is appropriate to talk down to me as some kind of lackey.

You are in the Alpine Club and have therefore knocked about with some of the key protagonists over the last 30 years. You say as far as you know that none of them have designs on posts which does suggest that you are familiar with their motivations and activities. 

You can bluster all you like about Craggy Island but you have yet to clearly and openly state your relationship with the BMC 30 as a group or individually whether that be generally supportive, in concert or otherwise. These are they types of things you pose of Exec and NC Members but you bridle when levelled at yourself.

5
Paul Evans - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

 

Hi Crag

Re your post at 15:02 yesterday, I would like to respond to a few points –

1.       You have repeatedly argued for “representational democracy - a framework for developing, defining, prioritising and monitoring the BMC objectives. All stakeholders can contribute, members obviously but also staff and management. Objectives developed both on online platforms and in annual open forums and confirmed by membership vote”. It should be becoming obvious from the level of disagreement in this thread and elsewhere, that the form of grass roots, “produced from online debate” objective development you would like, while producing some agreement, is just going to stall in repeated disagreement on the same few points. Nice theory - but based on evidence to date, won’t work in practice.

2.       You have repeatedly questioned the motives of NC reps (and others), who have responded very politely. You have not produced any proof for your assertions. You simply say “X happened – this was caused by Y” (in your opinion). If you have any proof that X was caused by Y, you need to state it. Or not call peoples motives into question without evidence.

3.       You’ve said that neither you nor the BMC30 (or shall we more accurately call them the MONC30?) want power. I posted a paper on your site here - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h1KHezO3PN7qFGSIzJ62YFKGpO_o_Amj/view where based on their past behaviour, and on statements they have repeatedly made, I argue the case that unelected, unaccountable power is exactly what the MONC30 want. 

Cheers

Paul

 

1
Offwidth - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Your paper is useful analysis but in the end the dirty tricks of the '30' are a much bigger problem than the anti democratic content of their papers on Crag's site. Secret distribution of misinformation and planting and fermenting conspiracy theories is a massive danger to any true democracy.

Giving the democratic power of the BMC to the AGM is consistent with those anti-democratic behaviours.... akin to only allowing the old or rich or utterly dedicated in the BMC a vote, Those who can afford the time and cost of attending are a very distorted demographic of the membership.  Unlike Andy Say I suspect the vast majority of members at the AGM were of fixed view and were not certainly not changing their mind based on any debate. In any case, proxy votes were of the order of ten times the numbers attending and their votes were pre-fixed so any debate on the day was rather beside the point. Yet if public online campaigns hadn't been run, the proxy votes raised by the dishonest secret manipulations of the '30' would have won the day. I'm eternally greatful to the membership for their actions last April and the democratic positive that proxy votes were allowed.

2
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

What we need is a separate thread titled 'Why I believe that the BMC30 are all total cads and rotters whom I wouldn't trust with a 30p piece' where folks can go to re-run past battles and slam the motives of those who signed the motion of no confidence two years ago.  Its obvious there are a few boils still to be lanced.

It would, meanwhile, be good if we could talk, on this thread, about the issues facing the BMC in 2018?

In my opinion.

Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Giving the democratic power of the BMC to the AGM is consistent with those anti-democratic behaviours.... akin to only allowing the old or rich or utterly dedicated in the BMC a vote, Those who can afford the time and cost of attending are a very distorted demographic of the membership.  

Hmmm. 

Old?  Tick!

Rich?  Get real!

Utterly dedicated to the BMC? Not really sure......

But I do make an effort to get to AGM's.

But it is nice that you would obviously fight tooth and nail for the membership to have a democratic voice in the direction and policy of the BMC that doesn't depend entirely on the nuclear option of the AGM.

Post edited at 13:23
Offwidth - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Everything is relative and compared to the average BMC member all of that is true. The few younger people there certainly felt they were in a small minority. I wouldn't be surprised if I was below average age in the meeting just into the second half of my fifties. The charity raffle saw some hugely generous bids, given the parsimonious reputation of the players of mountain games. Sitting in that packed and troubled debating chamber with perfect climbing conditions outside would stretch the patience of the most political motivated of climbers. Being on NC you are in meetings as part of your role on the weekend of the AGM.

Back on the cads and rotters, they are still plotting and letter writing. A succesful MoNC would have removed the exec and could have done even more damage to the organisation (given the probable huge backlash if they had manipulated the voting enough to win). As it was, a good president resigned as he couldn't keep up with the work alongside the very personal attacks that he faced. This is really seriously nasty stuff and it happened just last year and I think anyone regarding this bad behaviour as just history would be very unwise. Not looking at the current governance discussions without this painful ongoing context would be plain weird. All the more reasons the ORG job is difficult... if the BMC were at peace it would have been complex enough. When the 30 stick to facts and others stop publicly unfairly implying nefarious intent on the exec, the NC and the ORG with no evidence, then maybe we can get down to focus only on the governance detail. Currently resolving the key issues of governance are most important and urgent if the organisation is looking for legal compliance and further SE funding but otherwise if this route proves not to be possible there are bigger issues at stake than technical niceties, especially the fault lines in the membership and the funding problems facing the BMC.

Post edited at 14:27
1
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

>  you have yet to clearly and openly state your relationship with the BMC 30 as a group or individually whether that be generally supportive, in concert or otherwise. These are they types of things you pose of Exec and NC Members but you bridle when levelled at yourself.

Simon,

I knew Bob Pettigrew as a work colleague and like the guy, despite his failings .  I did a few routes with Doug in the distant past and also met him on Nanga Parbat; probably seen him twice in the last 10 years.  I've a lot of respect for the youth.  Mark Vallance is a total gent and I really rate him as a kind and courteous person.  Apart from that I only really know of two or three others by repute.  Am I OK to continue now?

Do you really, really think that concern about the ORG proposals and what they mean for the BMC is some sort of old-skool conspiracy aiming to wrest control from the 'youngsters' and impose some sort of geriatric dictatorship (I am conflating your and Paul Evans' post a bit I know) that will destroy the Olympic movement and have us all tied in to hemp ropes? 

Instead of harping on and on about the tarnished 'brand' that is BMC30 would it not be possible to actually discuss what is going to happen over the next three months?

Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

 >if the organisation is looking for legal compliance and further SE funding? 

Nail on head, Steve.  These are the issues we should be discussing; not what a group of pensioners are muttering about.

 

Offwidth - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Mark is in a nursing home now. I doubt he has any more significant input and the behaviour of the letters is so far from the man I know well and respect that I can't see that he was ever fully informed. He did think the BMC should have nothing to do with the Olympics but then again so do many others who were disgusted with Bob and Doug. The MoNC was always a valid procedure for those with serious concerns with BMC management and everyone should respect that. The disgust with this particluar MoNC  was always about the secrecy and misinformation that were part if it (and are still ongoing today). It wasn't about the democratic rules themselves but the abuse of them.

1
Offwidth - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I'll say it again. I thought Crag was above being an apologist for the 30, let alone spreading new misinformation about them. You can't debate fairly unless such nonsense is called out for what it is.

Asking us to forgive and not learn from the mistakes of history when the wounds are still open is simply asking us to be sacrificial saints. We need to refuse to accept secret distribution of misinformation in this debate. I've never seen any sign of secret paper plots from the Exec or NC or ORG but I know some of the 30 have them on the same old tired lies from last time and new lies, even pure tin hat ones like 'beergate'. Lets see them leaked so everyone can comment.

Post edited at 14:52
2
UKB and BMC Shark - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Andy your rhetorical post addressed to me is making things more personal and inflammatory not less. I was already chastened by your earlier suggestion that we keep it to "the issues facing the BMC in 2018" and concluded I'd said more than enough. So with respect I'll leave it there in terms of what "I really, really think" except to wish you the very best with your work on the Implementation Group. 

 

 

1
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Andy your rhetorical post addressed to me is making things more personal and inflammatory not less. I was already chastened by your earlier suggestion that we keep it to "the issues facing the BMC in 2018" and concluded I'd said more than enough. So with respect I'll leave it there in terms of what "I really, really think" except to wish you the very best with your work on the Implementation Group. 


Ta!

Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

> Having worked at the BMC for 7 years (2000-2007) 

Wow!  11 years ago!  I never thought you were that old.  

Crag Jones - on 03 Apr 2018
In reply to various:

Streuth. I'll have a word with Ray Wigglesworth and see if he's free to do a review of the governance of my web-site? Look I will get round to answering your questions, not dodge them. There is bog all to dodge. It might have to wait a day or two as I have got to set up a few bikes for our forthcoming downhill races + go climbing, feed our kids etc etc.  In the meantime if anyone else is interested in my views they can be found as listed below. Be warned you might want a life instead!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19kG1I5QBAl6wyxya7tB9XBM63DIvvfY7tTsgxWBjwAc/edit#heading=h.h8rxdhpohjgv

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oV2vRUnyG7QrgEmHSaER-yog_MOfgJp_WNXjA-cF7ws/edit

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vmWTndt2YV0r9YybrXXRPadsc9EAD6Sdriw076nL8XI/edit

 

Post edited at 18:58
4
Howard J - on 04 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

While angels dance on pinheads it seems to be overlooked that the ultimate test of the BMC is nothing to do with governance but is entirely whether it can remain relevant to climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers.  No one has to join the BMC.  I find that many fellow members of my own climbing club don't think much about it one way or the other and would care very little if the club ceased to be affiliated, except they would miss the discounts on gear.

A formal structure is of course necessary, and I see a lot of strength in the argument that if the BMC is to be taken seriously as the national body it must adopt a structure which is recognised and approved by the authorities it needs to engage with.  But structures themselves don't necessarily prevent bad decisions being made.  The protection comes from a culture in which the people involved in the organisation at all levels have the interests of climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering at heart. Historically I think that has generally been the case and I see no reason to think that will be different in future.

The name-change debacle showed how a bad decision can be made in (I believe) good faith and supposedly under oversight.  The membership was able to overturn it not through procedural niceties but because a membership organisation ultimately has to listen to its members, or lose them. 

I do agree that the BMC does need to improve how it communicates (in both directions) with members.  The problem is that most members are uninterested and unengaged.  Voting structures are only effective if people can be persuaded participate.  Otherwise only small numbers of votes are needed, which means it will remain difficult to prevent another hijacking attempt by a small interest group willing to use the same secretive, underhand and anti-democratic tactics as the BMC30 did over the MoNC.

The price of liberty is not governance structures but eternal vigilance.

 

1
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2018
In reply to Howard J:

> While angels dance on pinheads it seems to be overlooked that the ultimate test of the BMC is nothing to do with governance but is entirely whether it can remain relevant to climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers.  

Spot on.

> But structures themselves don't necessarily prevent bad decisions being made.  

Spot on.

>  a membership organisation ultimately has to listen to its members, or lose them. 

Spot on.

> The price of liberty is not governance structures but eternal vigilance.

And the ability for that 'vigilance' to have some effect!

 

Andy Syme - on 06 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Here you go everyone

Read the Implementation Group proposals and submit your comments and questions.

https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/360000262914-Briefing-Paper

I'm off for a short break in Font but I'll start responding (via this mini site) once I'm back

Paul Evans - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Hi Andy, thanks for this. Hope the weather is kind in font and you enjoy what looks to have been a well deserved break. Looks to have been a lot of work done by IG in a very short time -thanks to all of you for your efforts on our behalf. 

My immediate comment is that this needs much wider publicity than just being announced via this thread. In particular, with area meets coming up next week and the week after, people need to have been given the opportunity to read and absorb if area meets are to produce any meaningful debate. 

Cheers - and thanks again. 

Paul. 

 

Offwidth - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

The site and the documents in it are a bit untidy in places but thats not unsurprising given the short timespan. I think the key document to read first would be this one:

https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/360003298814/ORG_Review_Implementation_Proposal__V1.pdf

The proposal seem to be split in two parts ... resolve legal governance positions in June (either with or without SE compliance requirements) and pick up the remaining ORG recommendations next year.

The key issue of SE funding seems to be missing information but maybe I havent found it yet.

"To be clear the loss of influence and reputation, and the effects on the Funded Partners, are by far the larger issues, however…."

This bit needs spelling out more.

".......That is impossible to predict accurately as it would need consultation with the Staff, Exec, NC and others.  Having said that we know that we expect £550-680k over the next 3 years (with an additional circa £400K going to our funded partners).  While we have not yet decided what all of the £600K will fund, partly because of the uncertainty, we do know that some of that funding is ‘ring fenced’ or planned to fund:

  1. the development of the BMC Hill Walking strategy.
  2. some specific roles in the staff; Hill walking, Equity, Clubs & Youth.
  3. the Youth Climbing (Development) Squad.

 

All these activities would need to be reviewed and either stopped, reduced and/or funded from elsewhere, with significant impact particularly on our funded partners."

 

This is shorter than I would have liked given its one of the key contentious issues this June and in the context of all the conspiracy guff around SE circulating from the 30.

 

Also to add to what Paul said. I think someone from the Implentation group should restart this as a new thread (with links to this thread and all the debate sites). The 'how to use the mini site' needs some text and a link to the briefing paper pdf above, which looks to me to be the best starting point. Andy Syme says he is in Font so is someone else around to do this?

 

Post edited at 10:57
Andy Syme - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Paul

Agreed. 

It has gone to all areas and some are publishing via FB etc, but I didn't get the docs finished yesterday until after everyone in Manchester had gone for the weekend.  I expect there to be a news item on Monday plus emails etc.

 

 

 

Andy Syme - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Submit these Qs via the Submit a Request button on the site.  I can't edit content from France (IP/firewall stuff) but I can see and respond via email system to requests submitted and ask the BMC team to correct any errors on Monday. 

If you want something adding to an answer or a new question that will probably take a day or 2 to consider before we edit or add to the site.

Offwidth - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Will do. Thanks again for all the hard work on this and enjoy the weekend weather as the rain looks like its back at Font next week.

Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> ".......That is impossible to predict accurately as it would need consultation with the Staff, Exec, NC and others.  Having said that we know that we expect £550-680k over the next 3 years (with an additional circa £400K going to our funded partners).  While we have not yet decided what all of the £600K will fund, partly because of the uncertainty, we do know that some of that funding is ‘ring fenced’ or planned to fund:

> the development of the BMC Hill Walking strategy.

> some specific roles in the staff; Hill walking, Equity, Clubs & Youth.

> the Youth Climbing (Development) Squad.

> This is shorter than I would have liked given its one of the key contentious issues this June and in the context of all the conspiracy guff around SE circulating from the 30.

First thing to say is that we most certainly know what we have bid for.  And therefore what the money should fund.  You don't just say to SE 'give us some dosh, mate'.  The bidding process is pretty onerous (I've been involved in it) with clearly defined, and costed, projects that have measurable outcomes.  

As I understand it currently over a third of the funding bid is for the 42 strong Development Squad (£272k over three years if memory serves).  A smaller sum is dedicated to specific staff roles (Equity etc) and a similar amount to Hillwalking.  I'm not sure whether the current funding for Simon Lee's post is included or not; that being a post that Sport England hope will wean us off their funding in the long-term.

Edited to say - how the bloody hell did this post garner a dislike?!?

Post edited at 15:08
Offwidth - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I don't get the point you are making on SE funding as its obviously difficult and complex (and ignore the dislike its plain childish... on a debate like this people should  be grown up enough to comment)

As a member of the implementation group can't you start a new thread on this news so its not at the bottom of a huge thread like this one ( linking this and other discussion sites). Can you also provide more detail on what the group means when it says this about SE funding:

"To be clear the loss of influence and reputation, and the effects on the Funded Partners, are by far the larger issues, "

 

Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Here you go Steve, 'dip your bread'.  As I believe they still say on some of Nottingham's causeys.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/the_bmc_proposals_to_go_to_areas_and_agm-682641?new=8763749#x8763749

 

Andy

UKB and BMC Shark - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

>  I'm not sure whether the current funding for Simon Lee's post is included or not; that being a post that Sport England hope will wean us off their funding in the long-term.

It is not an SE funded position. It is a role that pays for itself. And then some ;-)

 

 

Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Apologies.  I had thought your post was still funded by SE.  It was at time of commencement though?

UKB and BMC Shark - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> Apologies.  I had thought your post was still funded by SE.  It was at time of commencement though?

Nope. It was a role which I believe Brian Smith the former Independent Director lobbied for as a parting shot.

Appointing a ‘Head of Partnerships’ was one of the recommendations in the ill fated b-focused consultancy report which was of course funded by SE which is possibly what confused you. I presume that’s where Brian got the idea from too.

No need for apologies BTW. I don’t regard SE funding as shameful and would be very happy if the BMC got a further chunk from them on my account.

UKB and BMC Shark - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> As I understand it currently over a third of the funding bid is for the 42 strong Development Squad (£272k over three years if memory serves).  A smaller sum is dedicated to specific staff roles (Equity etc) and a similar amount to Hillwalking.  

I am not involved in the current application (which now seems like a long shot) but as an indication of what Sport England funding has previously has enabled us to do the Clubs Officer, Walls and Competition Officer, Youth Officer, Equity (Equality) Officer were all Sport England funded roles.

Sport England, (or the Sports Council as it was) funded the very first BMC paid position and has been a vital partner in developing the BMC into the influential and wide ranging organisation it is today which is mainly a force for good. 

I can understand that this development might not be what some want who would prefer a glorified national club with a narrow remit but as a climber I want my National body to have as much clout and influence as possible in representing my interests in an increasingly bureaucratic and legalistic nation so thank you Sport England for helping us get there. I can’t imagine we were the easiest of partners at times though it does seem like you have become more difficult to engage with in recent years.

IainWhitehouse - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> A pretty convincing argument for attendance at an AGM and listening to the debate before making an informed decision I would have thought. A good case for the power of the member


I am really saddened (and a little scared) by how many times I've seen this, or simlar, veiws espoused. An AGM attended in person is a truly excellent way of administering a student club of 100 or so members. For an organisation of thousands it is astonishing.

I am not trying to offend here, I am truly, honestly, baffled. The notion that it is representative or democratic is so ludicrous to me that I just cannot see how anyone else holds that view.  (And I have actually tried a little after wading through some of these threads)

Offwidth - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

As well as daft its also currently a pointless argument for Andy to make giiven we have proxy votes made before the debate..... a few thousand of them compared to an attendance of a few hundred last April. It suits the keen activists, who can afford the time and expense of attending, to say this (and those at the AGM on official business, the NC and Exec get paid expenses).  The irony is in the proposals for new systems It may be possible to bring in engagement and voting for any members interested in the issues under debate in the meeting using live steam and electronic votes (If they can sort the non trivial IT).


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