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/ The BMC proposals to go to Areas and AGM

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Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2018

'Offwidth:

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, "

OK. I'll bite.  There are four issues to be put to areas for comment, subsequent discussion at National Council and then, eventually, to be put to the members at the delayed AGM in June.

1. New Articles which will make us compliant with Sport England's Code of Governance ()at Tier 3).  This means that Sport England may consider recommencing BMC funding.  Its hard to put it in a nutshell but basically the Board of Directors will be where all 'power' lies.  That Board will have twelve members.  Only two of them will be voted on by the members at AGM  (President and Independent Chair); three more will be provided as 'member Directors' by the National Council (largely put in place by the Areas); and seven will be selected by a nomination committee set up by the Directors to choose new Independent Directors.  They will not be subject to endorsement or 'voting in' at the AGM and may serve terms of up to nine years. 

The second proposal is that online voting be accepted for all AGMs subsequently (i.e., 2019 onwards).  Currently it is proposed that this will be 'real-time' voting based upon a live stream of the AGM on the web.

Thirdly the threshold for members to be able to put special resolutions to the AGM will be in creased from 25 members to 100 members,

And...fourthly that we accept Sport England's rejection of the concept of 'Reserved Matters'.  It had been agreed by National Council that a list of things relating to policy, name etc should require approval from National Council before the Board could take action.  Sport England have rejected that notion and so we have to decide upon whether to accept their diktat or not.

'Reputational Damage'.  Unquantifiable.  Will the Peak Park regard us differently because we have turned down SE?  Will farmer Bloggs of Upper Llyn Combe Neb Tor Farm reject our access reps advances?  Government might regard us as a bit of a black sheep?

Funded partners.  Currently BMC acts as the umbrella body for a group of other organisations.  Mountain Training UK, Mountain Training England, Association of British Climbing Walls and the Association of British Climbing Walls Training Trust all receive funding, via the BMC bank account, from Sport England.  Will they be peeved if the BMC decides to turn its back on Sport England funding?  You betcha!  They will either have to apply independently or find another funded NGB under whose wing they can nestle.  Problematic.

Now.  If you will forgive me I really feel the need to lie down in a darkened room......

 

Andy 

4
Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

And I will take 'likes' and 'dislikes' as nothing personal; just an expression of how you feel about the proposals

Offwidth - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

The link to the Implementation group papers....

https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/360000262914-Briefing-Paper

Post edited at 19:26
Paul Evans - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Andy, hope you enjoy your well earned "lie down in a darkened room". Re your point 1, the reason for the changes to the articles is not just to comply with SE requirements but also to avoid issues with the Companies Act, as per WBD advice, and the IG statement here - https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002798973-How-have-the-Articles-been-written-AKA-how-much-influence-was-given-to-Sport-England- 

So my understanding is that even if we did not have the pressures from SE, we would still need to give the directors primacy, correct? 

See you at the NW area meet.

Paul

JWhite on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

> So my understanding is that even if we did not have the pressures from SE, we would still need to give the directors primacy, correct? 

Not correct, as I understand it. Some changes would be needed in order to comply with the Companies Act (CA), but only a fraction of those that are now proposed. A valid criticism of the approach so far has been a complete muddying of the changes required by the CA and the changes required by SE. As the ORG went beyond CA requirements, we can be pretty sure that the changes in the latest incarnation of the proposals from the IG are very much driven by SE.

I am told by some pretty reliably sources that:

- the word 'Primacy' does not appear in the Companies Act.

- WBD do not like the use of the term 'Primacy' by the ORG and IG.

A point made to me early last year (by a senior BMC person, whilst we were both in the BMC office) was that SE want fully empowered Directors, as it is then easier for SE to control those directors. The consequence here isn't just whether as BMC members we want to be represented or want to be governed by the BMC Exec/Directors, it is whether we want to put the BMC Exec in a position where they govern us under the disproportionate influence of SE. That seems to be the future that's proposed.

3
JWhite on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to Jonathan White:

And why does this matter? A point made to me recently (mostly quoted, part paraphrased):

It would mean that an arm of government is dictating to climbers how they should run their affairs. Many mountaineers believe that their activities are greater that just a sport. The Sports Councils do not understand an activity where two people pack their gear, head to the other side of the world, are self-sufficient for weeks or months without any hope of help if things go wrong, then spend many days on a huge mountain face. They know about people kicking or hitting balls, swimming pools and running tracks. They should have no say in how climbers decide to run their affairs, but once the democratically elected members of the sport have decided how this needs to be enacted, that is when Sport England should involve themselves.

That may be a perspective of a greater ranges mountaineer, but parallels can be drawn to adventurous hillwalking, adventurous climbing (be that rock, ice, turf, chalk and to an extent, plastic) and most forms of ski-mountaineering.

1
Ian W - on 07 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> Not correct, as I understand it. Some changes would be needed in order to comply with the Companies Act (CA), but only a fraction of those that are now proposed. A valid criticism of the approach so far has been a complete muddying of the changes required by the CA and the changes required by SE. As the ORG went beyond CA requirements, we can be pretty sure that the changes in the latest incarnation of the proposals from the IG are very much driven by SE.

You understand wrongly. The changes go beyond the immediate requirements of the CA (and indded SE), and stry into the territory of best practice. As I have written, and said in NC meetings, the BMC needs to be relevant in 15 years time, and not just look at immediate requriements,

> I am told by some pretty reliably sources that:

> - the word 'Primacy' does not appear in the Companies Act.

> - WBD do not like the use of the term 'Primacy' by the ORG and IG.

WBD were quite happy to use that term, amonst others, at the presentation they attended at Didsbury. Maybe your sources arent so reliable sometimes.

> A point made to me early last year (by a senior BMC person, whilst we were both in the BMC office) was that SE want fully empowered Directors, as it is then easier for SE to control those directors. The consequence here isn't just whether as BMC members we want to be represented or want to be governed by the BMC Exec/Directors, it is whether we want to put the BMC Exec in a position where they govern us under the disproportionate influence of SE. That seems to be the future that's proposed.

I'm going to have to call you out on this one. This paragraph is just bollocks. SE's governance requires fully empowered directors, because they want to know who is responsible for applying their funding to the projects intended. Its nothing to do with "controlling" directors (i.e. becoming shadow directors themselves.........) but just wanting to ensure that the significant funds they give the BMC to look after on its own behalf and others (MLT, ABC etc etc) are going to the correct sources and that they can nail someone if it turns out not to be the case. So your assumed proposed future is simply not true.

Naming on here might not be best. so PM me with details; we can have a private conversation about it, and if you are right and i am wrong I'll happily write a retraction, but as it stands with my knowledge of the issue at hand and the senior BMC persons involved, I'm calling Bullshit.

 

John Booth on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

SE's governance requires fully empowered directors, because they want to know who is responsible for applying their funding to the projects intended. Its nothing to do with "controlling" directors (i.e. becoming shadow directors themselves.........) but just wanting to ensure that the significant funds they give the BMC to look after on its own behalf and others (MLT, ABC etc etc) are going to the correct sources and that they can nail someone if it turns out not to be the case. So your assumed proposed future is simply not true.

The significant funds you mention when the costs of the proposals currently considered are taken into account over the next 4 years, would equal a sum close to £50k per year, is this enough silver to loose our independence? This is based upon current funding forecasts which even SE will not sign up to. 

Funding due diligence, is fine but the the BMC already provides for funding due diligence. Again not enough of a reason to force governance upon the sections of the organisation which do not need or want it.  

   

1
JWhite on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

I have PM'd my phone no. to you.

No bullshit - direct comments, but in informal conversations so not appropriate to publish names. I can tell you who made these comments, so you can ask them yourself. They came from three people (one via email, one by phone, one face to face; all current NC/Exec members).

Some of the best practice you refer to appears to be that of governing bodies. If the BMC were solely a governing body, then it would be appropriate to follow it. Some aspects will apply equally to a representitive body, and some do not. As an example, the drive for independence may be valid in an NGB where some competitors should not be able to amend rules to gain personal advantage, but surely many of the best people to lead a Representitive Body will be drawn from those being represented?  

I'm told that you're the chair of the BMC Comps Committee, and if that's so, perhaps the distinction is less important to you than to others. As the recipient of a big chunk of the BMC's SE funding, no-one will question your wish to retain this - some of us just feel that are other ways that should be explored that let you retain your SE funding without compromising the integrity of the organisation.

Post edited at 00:34
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Paul Evans - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

 

Hello Jonathan.

The ORG full report, pages 71-75, contains the WBD advice on the current BMC M&AA. In particular sections 2.16 and 2.17 cover the risks to directors, 3.13 and 3.14 the risk to members of NC, and the whole of section 5 is worth reading.  This makes clear that, contrary to your view, there is significant overlap between what “we need to do for the Companies Act”, and “what we need to do for SE”.

Now since WBD are experts in this sort of stuff, if you wish to refute that opinion, I’d ask for written analysis from equally knowledgeable sources.  

Do the IG proposals put the Board in a position where they “are under the disproportionate influence of SE”? It is clear that some sections of the AoA are being shaped to the requirements of SE - specifically the relationship between the Board and NC. It is also clear (as Ian W says) that the Board will need to account to SE for monies they give us - as they should. However, Directors primary duties are to obey the law, and to act as set out in the AoA of the company.  Have you found anything specific in the new draft AoA which means the Board needs to take notice of SE?

The IG have specifically tackled “SE’s influence” in a number of their articles - see “is this handing control to Sport England?”, “how have the articles been written?” “have the SE required changes removed member accountability?”. You would need to refute these articles to justify your conclusions.  

I think the IG comments (on page 3 of their Q&A document) on what happens if the BMC does not continue as a Tier 3 “recognised by SE” organisation, are very worrying. Would you agree with their analysis? If not, why not?  

Happy to chat on phone if easier. I'll PM you my number. 

Cheers

Paul

 

Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

> So my understanding is that even if we did not have the pressures from SE, we would still need to give the directors primacy, correct? 

Paul.,

Primacy is on of those 'slippery eel words'.  Does it mean - the 'ultimate power that cannot be vetoed' or does it mean 'the body that is ultimately liable for the actions of the company'?  It most certainly appears nowhere in the 2006 Companies Act (bane of my life : all 700+ pages of it) so we cant use that to seek a definition

As far as I can make out if we were simply to acknowledge that the National Council members were 'shadow directors' (explicitly allowed under the Companies Act) then we would have a structure that broadly met the requirements of the Act.  Sure there does need some tidying; I've identified what I think are errors in the old Articles that have been cut and pasted forward into the new and there does need to be a thorough modernisation to allow for things like video conferencing and email.

Paul, I have asked until I am blue in the face exactly which sections of the Companies Act are we in breach of both at National Council and with those dealing with the lawyers commissioned to write our new Articles.  I have had no answer.  It was at least acknowledged that 'ambiguous' was perhaps more accurate than 'non-compliant' and minuted as such at the Feb. NC meeting.  Those minutes also make it clear that 'primacy' is a case of Sport Englanditis; it is their main concern.  Nothing should be allowed to challenge the authority of the Board.

See you Monday.....

 

1
Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

>  Directors primary duties are to obey the law, and to act as set out in the AoA of the company.  

Agreed However, as all current members of the Executive Committee are registered at Companies House as Directors of the Company they would have a pretty tough time evading their legal responsibilities.  The Act does make it explicit that all people acting as directors, no matter what you call them in your Articles, are legally responsible.

Its a shame that two of the recently 'appointed' Directors to the Board have been found to have been put in place, and registered at Companies House, without due process ('as set out in the AoA') being followed which has led to at least one of them being rapidly withdrawn.  It muddies the waters and provides ammunition to those with less trust than you or I.

The 'fear' expressed is that members of National Council will themselves be deemed to be legally liable and that would be a strong case.  Personally I'm happy with accepting the 'risk'* so long as the insurance cover already in place for Directors is extended.  Obviously in the case of deliberate criminality, fraud or negligence no insurance would touch you anyway! 

Andy

 

*I worry more about the sky falling to be honest.....

Edited for rubbish use of punctuation.

 

Post edited at 09:08
Paul Evans - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hi Andy.

Wording as you say is critical. Whilst shadow directors are "recognised" by the Companies Act (specifically section 251 - here - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/46/section/251) the Act makes no comment on whether they are a good or bad thing. However a quick google will give you plenty of hits from legally qualified sources who all argue that they are a bad thing, and you'll struggle to find anyone arguing the opposite.  So is your proposal "against" the Companies Act? Maybe not. Is it a good idea? Probably not. 

Are we "in breach" of any sections of the Companies Act as we stand? Possibly not - I'm not a lawyer - but that isn't the point. Do the current M&AA create a problem for current exec and NC members? Yes, clearly - read the WBD report, specifically the references I have given above. The exec is at risk of being held legally liable for decisions it didn't make - it has liability insurance, but would it cover that scenario? No idea - read the fine print. NC members are at risk of being held legally liable for decisions they did make as shadow directors, but for which they have no liability insurance. None of this is "breaching" anything. That doesn't mean there's not a problem. 

Your proposal would have exactly the same problem, surely?

Cheers

Paul

 

 

Paul Evans - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

I was replying to your 08:49 post and missed your 09:02 post. Slightly crossed wires there.... 

Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Paul,

I think we are in agreement then.  The current structure of the BMC is not in breach of the Companies Act: we are 'compliant' with that Act.

Are there 'problems' that need to be ironed out?  Damn right   I'm not convinced that the way to do it, though, is to remove the right of the member representatives to have a say in the direction of the BMC and, if necessary, rein in the Directors.

The proposed 'remedies' that will replace the current powers of the National Council are a) We can always have another Motion of No Confidence or a Special Resolution directed at specific Directors of b) an individual can lodge a grievance with the Board.

I've said that, for me, it boils down to having spent over 30 years telling folks what a wonderfully open, member-led and democratic institution the BMC is.  So I am really disappointed in this direction of travel.

2
r0x0r.wolfo - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

So the idea is to have 7 out of a 12 member board unelected by members? So how does the BMC claim to represent it's membership if it isn't accountable to them?

 

Offwidth - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Trouble is the metaphor of falling skies can sometimes suddenly feel close to reality. When a far left faction in my academic trade union managed to get a motion passed in congress boycotting Universities in Isreal, in the face of pretty clear majority membership opinion on the matter, in the time it took to organise an emergency congress and revert the decision, those trustees liable on a 'sky fall' style risk were nervous.

Whilst the BMC has its own ideological zealots I'd say the risk may be small but it is significant. Arguably we came close to this in the BMC before the campaign against the MoNC took off online and at most area meetings and some climbing walls.

Such idealogues normally claim  to be doing things on behalf of the membership with support of the membership in the face of any sense of reality of what the membership actually think and then even where a precipice is avoided the ideologues usually blame the organisation and claim the membership were steered lemmings for not jumping!  Factions can no longer behave this way if proper open membership engagement is in place.

It  helps the BMC if its articles are strengthened so that 25 people can no longer cause major upset in an organisation of 85000 with no formal public trace of their dishonest arguments until the AGM itself: requiring 100 like minded members with communication requirements on the motions, should put a massive brake on such secret anti-democratic plotting in the future.

On the director appointment issue we are presumably talking about one current case where the recrutiment process was properly followed for a volunteer post but the AGM approval should have been carried out before formal appointment was made and one past case where the AGM subsequently approved appointment (such details are important.. its an AoA process fault, not an issue of recruitment or suitability for the role).  There are 3 Area NC reps who are also elected on to the exec and also appointed as Directors. There are several Exec members who are Directors and also full members of NC. Exec and NC overlap: they are not seperate entities. On the democratic health side in NC I know that the two Peak area reps were elected in an unprecedented contested election (4 candidates none of whom were the local area secretary or chair) but were any of the others? I don't ask this to undermine reps from other areas but to point out its a pretty serious commitment for which a suplus of volunteers are usually hard to find. The BMC relies on volunteers for most of the work that it does and we need to trust those kind enough to help the organisation with their time (unless they breach that trust), be they Exec, NC, ORG, IC, Area leadership roles, access roles, committee roles or just someone helping out. If claims are made about volunteers breaching trust this needs to be fully evidenced before we take it seriously or we face a collapse in trust in the structures where the majority of the BMC work is done. 

 

 

Offwidth - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Lets look at that 30 years of openess again shall we and focus on the direction of travel. Club block votes removed democratically only just over a decade ago. Previous organisational reviews  (including the last one Crag was involved in) almost invisible to the ordinary membership. Several thousand votes in an AGM last year to soundly defeat a dishonest and secretive MoNC and the first contested VP appointment in quite a while (won by a tiny margin). 4 people standing for election last year for 2 NC rep posts in the Peak Area. Proposals for much more open input to Area Meetings and the AGM from the membership, so that those who can't afford the time and money to attend can have better input and understanding. Plenty of membership checks and balances in the new recommendations, including some new ones.

Recommendations are made on this from the Implementation Committee team (that you are part of) to the membership for their democratic agreement.  

I've never seen so much true democratic health demonstrated  in the BMC. If something does go wrong in the implementation I trust the membership to deal with that through raising mass concerns and use of democratic process in any new structure (as they did with Climb Britain). 

Post edited at 12:21
UKB Shark - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

The 7 will be accountable (and can be dismissed) just not appointed.

I can see the logic in this. The appointments committee will be tasked amongst other things to ensure that the mix of skills and experience of the Board matches the requirements of the organisation and then when vacancies arise will openly advertise for people to fill gaps. 

This more transparent route is more open and likely to also be a able to attract and draw on a wider pool of talent outside of the BMC’s usual circle of insiders. Adding outside talent brings fresh ideas and experience and mitigates against insularity. 

 

Post edited at 12:08
Ian W - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Well, well, after a very good conversation with Jon, apologies due for doubting him....he had indeed been thus informed.

Can't we just increase subs by £3 each and get back the seemingly vast amount of time and resources dealing with sport england sucks out of the organisation?

UKB Shark - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

I can picture a scenario where SE reps said they would want to liaise with BMC Directors who are empowered to speak, act and make decisions on behalf of the organisation. I can’t imagine them to be so tactless as to say they wanted to control those Directors. Having said that  this might be what they are used to with other sporting NGB’s that are dependent on SE funding for their very existence.

IMO multiple funding streams are the most prudent course recognising that each has drawbacks but then not being catastrophically dependent on one. The more money that can be raised the more potential power to do good.

Paul Evans - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Sounds tempting Ian, but as I understand it, the problems are not just funding - see page 3 of the "Q&A.pdf" doc at the bottom of this web page - https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002804973-Show-me-all-the-Proposal-documents - in fact the funding is probably the easy bit.  

If these points are correct, it feels like we are now between a rock and a hard place. 

Paul

1
Offwidth - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

I'm surprised. From what I gather very few BMC folk have talked to SE recently (an organisation I suspect is struggling to do its job down to austerity and falling lottery income). Maybe I need to speak to Jon.

Every sporting organisation dealing with SE seem to be reporting  the same problems and yet the fair complaints of these differing organisations doesn't make the money or influence worth ignoring.  The whole department is under review this year, subject to evidence, according to various sport management publications this Jan. This wider perspective is important.... its not just the BMC.

I suspect a proposal of £3 extra on subs will be an equally tough sell to an AGM and equally unreliable in refilling a significant part of the funding the BMC have lost.

As Paul rightly reminds us from the ORG and IC information, replacing the money from SE is probably the easy bit of losing that link.

Critical press reports contrast significantly with SE press releases:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sport-england-has-wasted-billions-of-pounds-and-should-be-disbanded-wvpkg8v9g

https://www.sportengland.org/news-and-features/news/2017/july/27/governance-code-response-praised/

 

Post edited at 22:03
Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

It would be an absolute bugger if we go through all this only to find that Sport England gets 'struck off'

Ian W - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Agree absolutely. After my chat with Jon, I was left a bit perplexed by the whole thing, although fundamentally we are in virtually complete agreement. My comment about the £3 was a bit facetious and aimed at those who in the past have whined about every suggested penny increase in subs, but are now quite against sport england / costwold / montane having any influence in exchange for significant sums input. If you want full control, get your hands in your pockets. If you are happy to accept outrside funding, expect outside influence.

Ian W - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Yep, so it goes much further than the BMC itself....this could get very messy.

 

 

John Booth on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Ian

This need not get ‘messy’ Dave Turnbull suggested that the NC give themselves space to implement the ORG properly and without the rush.

May be we should ask our reps to reconsider such advice, then get involved with deciding how best to go forward. Like in some sort of open member led consultation thing.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RA9dAK9sjsPWWjdOMavQdidqjWR7_BBK/view

If the link does not work look under Jules Kings post on the discussion thread. Or DM me. 

 

Ian W - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to John Booth:

I agree it need not, but has potential to do so. I've read DT's proposal and think its very worthwhile.

r0x0r.wolfo - on 08 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

I absolutely agree with bringing in directors from other sectors to provide the skills that we need on our board.

However, I'm still confused as these people can be co-opted and approved by the membership at the AGM as many democratic membership organisations do. Why has this option been specifically blocked?

If only three of the directors are actually going to be independent where is the need to have the voting majority on the board unelected?

 

Paul Evans - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to John Booth:

Hi John.

A few thoughts on the "DT option". Firstly, NC has seen DTs paper and decided not to proceed with it. It would be good to know the logic behind this decision, if there are solid reasons why this won't fly, then we'd be wasting our time considering it. 

I think the first 3 sections of Dave's paper are completely sensible. As regards the critical final section, the sorts of questions I would have asked are - 

1. Would SE agree to us "coming back for funding" in 2019 after a voluntary years break?

2. Are our partners prepared to wait while we get our act together? Dave T says he has "mentioned it" to a couple of them, but we don't know what the response was and what the others may have / would have said. 

Cheers

Paul

Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Dave's 'paper' was discussed fully on the other thread. Firstly it was presented by Jules King as a daft conspiracy (it was alledged the chair refused to discuss it in NC) and secondly the key difference, the delay in SE funding,  is pretty much the time it will take under the agreed new arrangements (if voted in in June) anyway. The document wasn't even a formal paper as such, it was Dave thoughts to the Febrary meeting as he couldn't attend; the document is therefore a red herring other than showing clearly that Dave was not guilty of pushing urgently for SE funding, something that he was accused of by another faction. Its also seems increasingly likely now that some people within the NC and/or Exec seem to be breifing against the democratic  agreed positions and selectively leaking documents.  In this, it's fair to support the possibility of whistleblowing but since there is nothing public this looks much more now like secret briefings based on sour grapes.

Some quotes from Jules on the other thread unfairly insulting the chair the ORG and me (for none of which has he apologised)

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/bmc_organisational_review_discussion_soite-678645?v=1

"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"

"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."

"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."

I don't know Jules but people tell me he is a good guy so why is he (and others) getting so excited on these matters they see such conspiracies and feel the need to make public personal insults, rather than sticking to debating the matters at hand.

 

Post edited at 09:45
Andy Say - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Dave's 'paper' was discussed fully on the other thread. Firstly it was presented by Jules King as a daft conspiracy (it was alledged the chair refused to discuss it in NC) and secondly the key difference, the delay in SE funding,  is pretty much the time it will take under the agreed new arrangements (if voted in in June) anyway. The document wasn't even a formal paper as such, it was Dave thoughts to the Febrary meeting as he couldn't attend'

The minutes of that meeting (in the public domain and on the BMC website) read:

'Noting the additional papers (my italics) submitted by the North West* and Yorkshire areas and by Dave Turnbull, NK said that National Council needed to take ownership of the review and decide how to take it forward.'

*actually North West and Lakes.

'XX referred to the suggestion by Dave Turnbull in his discussion paper of organising a ‘summit meeting’ to actively engage members, particularly those resistant to some of the proposed changes; this could be linked to the April National Council meeting.'  That 'summit meeting' was subsequently vetoed by the NC meeting in March.

So it is actually reasonable to suggest that it was a paper and that, apart from the one suggestion taken from it, it was not discussed.

 

1
Andy Syme - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

The Code of Sports Governance uses the term primacy.   WBD view is that it is Legal Accountability and Responsibility.  It is a more accurate description of what is required to comply with the companies act and good governance. 

Primacy "the fact of being pre-eminent or most important." is not relevant WBD except in terms of meeting the legal accountability and responsibility requirements.  This is clearly distinguished in the differences between 1a (WBD recommendations) and 1d (SE code compliance).  

 

  

BMC Office - on 09 Apr 2018

In reply to 

Latest update on the BMC site:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-organisational-review-april-update

 

Andy Syme - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

To clarify what the IG were asked to do and why

On 15 Feb 2018 the Acting President and CEO met with Sport England and were told that the ORG Review was the most comprehensive they had seen; covering far more than their requirements; but the BMC timeline to implement was unacceptably long. They stated that they would withhold funding from April 2018 and withdraw it all together unless the BMC governance was ‘compliant’ by August 2018.

On 17 Feb 2018 at the National Council, it was proposed that an implementation group be established to:

  • Produce a set of recommendations to take to a June AGM, taking legal advice on what is possible, to enable us to meet Sport England’s requirements for continued funding;
  • Put in place a communications strategy and set out a direction of travel for addressing the remainder of items highlighted by the OR report and Addendum ; and
  • Between now and a June AGM, arrange a summit meeting to facilitate discussion with members and find common ground for the way forward.

A vote was taken on the above proposal: Proposed: RP; Seconded: WK; For – 21; Against – 0; Abstentions – 0

(Minutes of the 57th National Council meeting held on 17 February 2018 Page 6 of 15)

Note: The summit meeting has not yet happened, but now we have the proposals to discuss we hope to have a date soon.

In addition:

  • There was a broad discussion about the need to resolve the primacy issue, and whether the current M&AA are compliant with the Companies Act 2006. There was some difference of opinion on the issue of compliance.
  • MW said that a lack of clarity within the M&AA had caused problems for National Council and the Executive, and was causing problems with external organisations. This ambiguity needed to be resolved.
  • ....
  • There was a general agreement for the desire to address the ambiguity of the M&AA as quickly as possible, whilst at the same time managing the whole review process at the most appropriate speed.

(Minutes of the 57th National Council meeting held on 17 February 2018 Para 5.1.6 Page 5 of 15)

On 10 Mar 2018 the Amended ORG report was discussed and the TORs for the IG were formally approved.

The IG therefore has aimed to clearly show the differences between addressing the 'ambiguities' and lack of clarity which are addressed in 1a and the 'additional changes' required to meet the code for sports governance requirements which are addressed in 1d.

We have tried very hard to ensure that members to clearly see what is changing and why. The Plain English guide and Cross Reference guides clearly show where changes have been made and why those changes are recommended by the lawyers or where they were required for Code of Sports Governance compliance.

We have also worked hard to show the commitment and timelines for reviewing the rest of the ORG Recommendations and ensuring that the review, and implementation where appropriate, is done with the involvement of the members and other stakeholders.

Please go look at the papers and Q&A on the mini site.

Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

...just to clarify a few points re: my paper of early Feb to National Council (NC):

a. it was written as an opinion piece / supporting paper as I wasn't able to attend the meeting.

b. It was written shortly after Sport England (SE) had rejected our 2018-21 funding application. At that point it was unclear whether we would have an option to resubmit the application and the importance National Council placed on the ongoing relationship with government (i.e. the Sport England relationship).

c. most of the general sentiments in the paper I stand by; the suggestion of having a 'year off' SE has now been superseded since NC decided to move forward with the governance changes - necessary to secure the BMC's long term relationship (and funding) with SE - at a June AGM.

d. to answer Paul's specific questions - 'Would SE agree to us "coming back for funding" in 2019 after a voluntary years break?' - I asked them this question ina  meeting in London in early Feb and got an inconclusive answer, SE's strong preference is to maintain their relationship with the BMC without a 'break', likely to be negotiable in my view in reality. 'Are our partners prepared to wait while we get our act together?' - In recent years MTE, MTUK and ABCTT have received c.20-25% of their annual income from SE, they are definitely keen to retain this funding and would likely go directly to SE in the event of the BMC not agreeing the governance changes.

Dave

Paul Evans - on 09 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

Thanks Dave, seems very clear. 

JHiley on 10 Apr 2018
In reply to the thread:

Having given myself a headache reading through as much as I could I suppose the following is what people are worried about??

"For the avoidance of doubt, the National Council shall be entitled to be consulted upon the Reserved Matters but it shall not be entitled to direct the affairs of the Board which shall always remain the ultimate decision making body and be legally responsible for the management, and administration and setting the strategy of the Company."

And also the change from the requirement to "Seek approval of National Council to any change of name, trading name or branding" to "Consult with National Council to any change of name, trading name or branding" And similar relating to other reserved matters.

There would seem to be some comfort in "Notwithstanding anything in these Articles, the Company may by ordinary resolution at a General Meeting of which special notice has been given in accordance with the Act remove any Director before the expiration of his period of office." Which remains so any director can be fired by members.

And "Alterations to these Articles may only be made by a special resolution of the Voting Members." which also remains.

This might seem like a daft question, but aside from these points in the articles what is the power of an ordinary resolution over policy? I.e. Could the directors overrule/ ignore a resolution e.g. on branding or direction of the organisation under the new system and would this be any different to the current system?

JWhite on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

I support pretty well everything you've said here (I even gave you a 'like' ). However, sorry to break this to you, but feedback from the Feb NC was that your paper didn't get anything more than a cursory reference. Certainly a few present have noted (independently) that your third part (the crucial final paragraph and the rationale behind it) were not discussed at that meeting.

It is a shame that you weren't there in person to present it, and that no-one else flagged your very valid concerns about ensuring genuine member engagement in the decision making process. That really is astounding, given that one of the most important things for the BMC 'Management' to do this last year was to rebuild trust and engagement with the members after the immense misjudgement of the Rebrand.

I don't know anyone who is against change, but instead of your suggestion we have only one proposal, something more extreme than the ORG proposed, to be rushed through to meet what I'm told is Sport England's deadline for getting all the NGBs under control. How can this be appropriate for proposing the biggest constitutional changes that the BMC has ever faced?

1
JWhite on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to JHiley:

No, not daft, it is a very good question. There is definitely a very significant change in powers. The current position is:

"The role of the Exec and Staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by NC." Don't take my word for it, those are DT's words in the paper he refers to above. As someone who was on the BMC Management Committee that replaced itself with the National Council (NC), I can confirm that this was exactly the intent. Great to see that over a decade later, the CEO is reminding NC that this is still the structure.

You'll see from many postings a week or so back that the new proposals are that _all_ direction moves to sit with the Exec (aka Directors). You've hit the nail on the head with the Reserved Matters: it now is proposed that there will be _no_ matters reserved for approval by the members via the Members Assembly (MA - the new version of NC), and I'm told that this is at the express instruction of Sport England (SE). SE have a great deal of experience in dealing with Governing Bodies, but that is only one part of our purpose.

If the MA is powerless in the direction of the BMC, then so are the members. I believe that this risks a detrimental disempowering of the MA, the Areas and of the overall operation. Some on UKC feel that my concerns are overblown, whereas others agree. To remove the doubt, I have asked (via UKC, email and phone) for clarification that policy (both national and local, including e.g. bolt policies) will remain with the members as at present, and to date I have had no such assurances.

I'll make that appeal again and simply - will DT's "The role..." quoted above still be true if the changes are implemented?

To eventually answer your question, yes, there remain the reactive 'nuclear options' of General Meetings with resolutions for actions, removal or the like, and those should over-ride any contrary wishes of the Directors (provided they are legal and physically possible). However, given the experience of the last year or so, does anyone really think that this would be a better way to make decisions in a representitive body than our current proactive empowered regional and national structure?

PS 'like' means that you agree with me and don't think the change would be good, 'dislike' means that you do think that the nuclear option should be the only one in our toolbox.

3
Mark Kemball - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

OK, I'm going to bite, having been following this thread for some time.

To me, one of the most important things about the BMC is its influence in the wider world. The BMC is recognised as the "go to" body for all matters to do with mountaineering in all its forms. Why is this important? Well the kudos of the certainly helps with access negotiations etc. The influence the BMC has with politicians of all parties is very important, for example when the "Right to Roam  / CRoW" legislation was introduced, there was originally no mention of climbing, it was the BMC's influence that ensured that we now have a right to climb on access land.

If we do not accept the proposals as they stand, the BMC will no longer be recognised by Sport England. This has funding implications - either the BMC's activities will have to be cut back in a number of areas or subs will have to increase or a combination of both. But to my mind, more importantly, the mountain training organisation and the climbing walls organisation will almost certainly break away from the BMC completely in order to access funding, and it is quite possible that some sort of competition climbing organisation could follow suit. So immediately, the BMC looses most of its influence in these areas. Furthermore, climbing would then have 3 or 4 separate bodies for the government and all other interested parties to speak to.

So I believe we should accept the proposals, if we do not, we risk the BMC becoming a possibly very democratic but increasingly irrelevant organisation. 

(Declaration of interest, I volunteer as the secretary to the BMC SW area.)

Post edited at 10:01
2
JWhite on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Mark,

And people have accused me of scaremongering! Good to have you back though. Let's look at some points:

- The BMC is not and has never been SE compliant, and that hasn't stopped the BMC being the go-to place for climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers (including ski-mountaineers).

- Many of the SE requirements are good practice that the BMC should adopt, and there are other areas (such as max terms for directors) where the BMC's limits are already tighter than the SE max, and no justification has yet been offered for lowering our standards. A small number of key points fundamentally clash.

- NGB status is conveyed courtesy of the UIAA and the IFSC. If SE didn't exist, the BMC would still be the NGB.

- How many landowners do you know check to see whether the BMC is SE accredited and to which Tier before negotiating on access? Do you think we'd still have access to Vixen Tor if the BMC had been Tier 3 compliant?

- the money is a red herring - whether we learn to live without it now or in 4 years time when national bodies have been asked to 'wean themselves off' SE funding, it is a situation we have to deal with. We've always dealt with grant funding being for specific purposes and specific timescales, most of which come to an end as givenrments and priorities change.

- the BMC Finance Committee's initial assessment was that there was c. £600k potentially on offer to the BMC over 4 years, and the cost of compliance was c. £400k. The numbers can be presented in differenet ways, but even if the projeted £50k net per year is revised upwards and doubled, this is a small and diminishing number that could be covered by putting a couple of quid a head on the subs.

- the impact on our associated bodies is a fair question, but let's remember that the Councils have positions on the boards of the training boards to maintain the link. Not as many places as two months ago, granted, which seems to be another NC short-sighted decision (or the conspiracy theorists would see as delibberate).

- there are options to explore of the boards and ABC going direct to SE. All parties would rather this wasn't the way forward due to the need to shift admin responsibilities, but this is also small fry in the grand scheme of things so needs to be evaluated.

- "the BMC loses most of its influence in these areas" Really? The training boards, ABC and the ABCTT have their roles, but their staffing is tiny in comparison to the BMC. Which of those is going to take on the mass of responsibilty that the BMC holds? Has anyone asked them?

Jonathan (former SW Area ManCom rep, at the time when we had a grant funded SW development officer. Was life better when Ian Parnell was there to support us, you bet. Did we survive when that funding cycle ended and Ian moved on, you bet).

2
Andy Say - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Hi, Mark

It is worth saying that our influence on CRoW, Work at Height Regs., Coastal Access, Crag access, discussions with National Parks, National Trust, RSPB etc. all predate our 'status' as a 'Sports NGB'. So I'm not sure what will change there. 

For sure Mountain Training, ABC and the ABCTT may put in a separate funding bid, I believe Sport England have already said they may consider that option, but that isn't exactly the same as setting up alternative NGBs. Bear in mind they also have to deal with Mountaineering Scotland and Mountaineering Ireland as well and such a schism becomes REALLY problematic (especially since the MI 'own' their training board). It's easy to focus on BMC and miss the UK picture!

Mountain Training, I believe, wants 'plan A' - BMC becomes compliant and all is hunky-dory. 'Plan B' is a separate funding bid. There is no plan C.

Possibly the one real 'risk' there is that ABC might gave eyes on Competition Climbing NGB status (they'd probably struggle with hillwalking and Mountaineering ) But then they'd have to usurp BMC at the IFSC? I don't know much about that side of it though!

At the end of the day folks have to vote for the governance structure they think is best.

And at least the BMC finance committee IS preparing a plan B. Say goodbye to Sport England and dip your hands in your pockets to the tune of £3.43.

3
JHiley on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Thanks, the compliance changes do sound like negative steps but I suppose since the directors will be volunteers and still receiving advice from the MA/NC and knowing they can be fired or a resolution passed against their position they might be unlikely to go against the membership opinion.

Increasing the threshold for signatories of a MONC seems like a reasonable move as does online voting.

As an ordinary member without experience of the process, I'll have to think quite carefully about which way to vote.

Offwidth - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

£3.34? This started at £2 then became £3. When you take inflation and departures (due to expense and loss of a good number of the most important reasons to join) into account, will it become £5 or £10?? Will the big clubs accept this or pass the rise onto individual members, given they are seriously demographically over-represented in the AGM.

The democratic problems are way overblown. The BMC has never been as democratic as it is today and many of the weaknesses are because NC reps despite being hard working and good intentioned are rarely elected in contested elections and so clearly at times in a bit of a bubble (so for instance voted for the Climb Britain rebrand). The changes will see big improvements in ordinary members being able to take part and influence meetings they could not otherwise attend. If something like a rebrand 2 ever came about, a new MoNC wouldn't struggle to get 100 votes nor to debate their position in the open public glare  (unlike the 30 with their mad conspiracies). Directors can be removed if they do anything bad (something that never happened in the past when they did such things). NC and its predecessor Mancom have allowed all sorts of things that the broad membership would have probably have disagreed with if they knew and ratified actions that seriously damaged the BMC twice (major budget issues at the end of the last CEO period of office and the rebrand mess). Previous Organisational Reviews were almost invisible to the membership and we hear attitudes like 'this one must be left to the well informed  grown ups, not the plebs'. Club block votes were only forcibly removed from most of the bigger clubs just over a decade ago. Instead of humble apology the leading lights of that period now give us lessons us on how to do democratic things right. Their actions show the BMC arguably never needed that much structural democracy, since most things that went wrong in the old structures (in wider membership terms) were quickly corrected and muddled through and fixed in the end. Why on earth would this change with better ordinary membership input? The active membership care too much for that.

On SE funding I think this is also overblown.  Sure the quango is under severe financial pressure and required to deliver to its targets. However, the BMC has pretty much become the only thorn left in its side. Why? what do we know that all the other organisations don't?? This reduced money is still a sizable amount  and will fund several roles to improve participation, and mainly in the BMC case to help in things like training, hillwalking, and indoor climbing. Sure it's painful and political to chase such cash but huge amounts of vital work are done across the UK by charities and not for profits, gritting their teeth and holding their nose, and applying for such monies and then making vitally important beneficial spends, like the simple work of the BMC, to life saving work for the homeless when we faced an unexpected freeze. It is inconceivable to me that any government will reduce all such SE cash to zero and allow us all to become inactive and obese, given the hugly larger health costs for that down the line. I'm sure some libetarian politician has the wet dream of rapid self sustaining income but sporting organisation members and the wider public won't buy such bullshit. 

Test how hot that water really is before you throw it out, probably with the baby as well.

Post edited at 14:10
Andy Say - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Steve, £3.43 as far as I'm aware.

Bear in mind that  the democratic strengths you praise are what ARE rather than what will be.

The baby and bath water metaphor is really quite appropriate

Andy

Post edited at 14:55
1
Offwidth - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

£3.43 for every member or just every individual member and what if members leave and what about annual inflation costs? 

Climb Britian happened in the current structures. The MoNC was accepted for the AGM in the current structure (a more democratic influenced body might have required more signatures, might have moved it out of the agenda until more formal context for debate was recieved and might have ruled the briefing letters out of order under rule as they contained  clear misinformation and undemocratic distribution methods). All these nasty personal letters to the CEO and President happened in the current structure. The current structures are too white male and middle class compared to the broad membership. 

I think the new structures water down democracy in areas where it is less relevant than some are making it out to be and they are seemingly forgetting the new and very real democratic positives in the proposals.

The baby I'm referring to is the current BMC package: real organisational political influence, involvement with public good work through SE and financial and influence linkage to our affiliated bodies (who will be very incentivised to go round the BMC to seek SE funds). We will likely be left with a rump organisation much reduced in influence, reduced in linkage and reduced membership (the links give us significant membership numbers). If SE let us down badly or governance issues end up bringing us some serious reality from your rather hypothetical problems, the new structures allow us to change again. If we choose to reject SE changes now, the consequences are real and serious and change back may be impossible. Hard SExit if you like. I'll work with whatever the membership decides but I'll prefer retaining as much of the current arrangements as possble for a bit of corporate structure anytime, given the checks and balances and a wider membership I trust (many of whom you parody as insurance or OXFAM members)

Post edited at 15:40
Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Just to clarify the point quoted from my Feb 2018 paper i.e.

"The role of the Exec and Staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by NC.

This was written with specific reference to the ORG recommendations as it was National Council who commissioned the ORG report in the first place. The statement remains broadly correct for the BMC more generally  although there are of course plenty of grey areas and cases of overlapping responsibilities, and also instances where by necessity the Exec (or staff) end up taking the lead. 

My general feeling about the proposed new governance structure is that it would be crazy / suicidal for the Exec (Board) to push though initiatives that National Council (Members Assembly) was opposed to. I can think of few - if any (someone might remind me?) instances of this happening in the past and would doubt the new structure would change this.

JWhite on 11 Apr 2018
In reply to JHiley:

Yes, please do think carefully - I'd ask that of everyone. This is shaping up to be one of those occasions when votes really will count, so please don't just 'go with the flow' (whatever you perceive that to be). Members should also remember the validity of recordng an absention - it clarifies that you feel strongly enough to vote, and that you do not have a clear view one way or the other, or feel unable or unwilling to express it. At the least this gives a message to all sides that communications or openness need to be better. At last year's AGM almost all votes had abstentions well into the hundreds.

The base question is whether the BMC remains member-led (teh current position and a stipulation of the ORG Terms of Reference), or whether it changes to Director-led (an SE stipulation).

Your points about the 'nuclear options' should be true, but here the process is key - if required it needs to be neither too easy nor too hard to implement. One proposal was to require 5% of the membership to back a motion, yet this is virtually twice the number of people who voted _in total_ (for, against and absentions) in the MoNC last year, so can be considered unachievable. I'd think that the 'right' level should be linked or at least informed by the quorum for the AGM. It seems reasonable to say that if a significant proportion of the people required to make the meeting quorate feel strongly enough that something should be discussed and voted on, then they should be given the opportunty.

I don't have the current Articles to hand, but it used to be that a quorum for an AGM or SGM was 50, and the number required to raise a motion was 25. It would be ethical & logical to maintain that 50% link. I understand that there has been discussion of raising the number required for a motion to 100, but given that last year's 'massive' attendance was 182 voting members, setting a corresponding quorum at 200 seems ambitious, to say the least!! Live streaming and live voting may make this viable though, provided a live link is deemed to be equivalent to attending (seems reasonable - this must have been tested somewhere in company law?).

JWhite on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

Thanks for clarifying. So to be absolutely clear, am I right in understanding that "The role of the Exec and Staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by NC" is generally the current position, but that it will not be the case in the proposed future, as policy will no longer be agreed by NC/MA?

Has 'railroading' happened in the past? I'll PM you with my starters for 10, and perhaps others will as well. You'd hope that examples were rare though as this would have been a breach of the purpose of the NC to agree policy (themselves, or delegated to Areas or Specialist committees as the Articles permit). In the future though:

- There is no requirement for NC/MA to agree anything.

- We'll  change to predominantly appointed independent Directors who specifically don't have a recent history near the centre of the organisation to understand how or why things work.

- What then is the purpose of the MA, if there are no reserved matters for their approval? If it isn't just a powerless talking-shop, what will it be?

- How does the proposed future differ from being purely a governing body (who may also  _consult_ with their players/participants, and may or may not take any notice of the feedback)?

- Is the current ultra-fast 3 week consultation (with no debate of the issues in Summit) an indication of the kind of member-engagement envisaged for the future?

All I want is for us all to be absolutely clear on the results of the changes that we're being asked to make. Some parts of the BMC governance (small 'g') ought to be improved (though most improvements are not constitutional), but there's a load of great stuff that the BMC does _by virtue of the way it does it_ that many of us don't want to lose. Taking a specific example close to many hearts, will local areas still be empowered to determine local policy (including bolt policies), or will Area Meetings just be 'consultations', the decisions in which require subsequent approval (or not) by the Directors?

Categoric answers to all of the above will help us know where we're likely to be heading. Thanks in advance

Paul Evans - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

 

Morning Jonathan and JHiley.

As regards the point about “how many votes for the nuclear option”, given recent history, I think making the nuclear button too easy to press should be discouraged. Jonathan, I think focussing on “number of attendees at the AGM” is flawed. That gives an undue focus to the small numbers of people who (to their credit) actually attend the AGM. A more appropriate measure would be typical numbers of attendees plus proxy voters (so a number in the mid 1000s). I have written before on Crags site about the dangers I forsee of organisational chaos being caused by nuclear buttons being pressed with too low a threshold. Whilst 5% may be too high, even 100 is too low. There is a danger in your proposal that proxy voters essentially become “second class citizens”. I do agree with you that live streaming the event, and having real time voting for people who cannot attend is definitely where we should be going.  

Jonathan, with respect to your point to Dave T about “There is no requirement for NC/MA to agree anything”, from discussion at the Peak Area BMC meet last night, this may be changing - watch this space. If there is change here, this would also affect a number of your other points in your reply to Dave T.

I sympathise and agree with your wish to be categorically clear, and on the one hand change may not help clarity, but on the other at least it may be moving in a better direction!

Cheers

Paul

 

ScottH - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

First of all, I want to thank the IG for the work they have put into getting the proposals and accompanying information together in a very compressed timeframe!

 

"So to be absolutely clear, am I right in understanding that "The role of the Exec and Staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by NC" is generally the current position, but that it will not be the case in the proposed future, as policy will no longer be agreed by NC/MA?"

This is how I see things as well, I would like this to be properly and clearly set out as part of the proposals, but it is all focused on "what is the cost of not accepting the proposals" and nothing on "what is the cost of accepting the proposals".

As I see it whilst the cost of rejection is a loss of funding and an assumed loss of influence, the cost of accepting the current proposal is a conversion from a member led representative organisation to a governing body where the only option (arbitration is meaningless) is to band together and call a GM to vote out one or more directors (aka another MoNC), which will be far more damaging.

Whilst I understand the need to bring the organisation up-to date the proposals go too far (e.g. you can have a nominations committee recommending directors for approval by the membership, you can have directors with legal responsibility, but working in partnership with a member representative council).

 

"Has 'railroading' happened in the past?"

I can think of one attempt in recent history, that was halted when membership feedback.  My biggest objection is the explicit listing by SE of this in the items that are 100% with the directors.

One could argue that "rail-roading" is happening now, the time-scales these proposals, the lack of alternate options, and the "sky is going to fall" if we reject the proposals all point to this,

 

It is a shame that I cannot attend the SW meeting Saturday, but I have other commitments to attend an AGM for a different organisation.  It is a shame that the AGM will be at the other end of the country, making it almost impossible to attend.  If the members summit happens, gets adequate notice, and is centrally located I would try to attend.

Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Will respond, tied up until later this afternoon, Dave

Offwidth - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to ScottH:

Proxy votes are allowed in the BMC and as such you don't need to attend. The debate in the AGM, since things look very contentious again, will probably be pretty much beside the point, like last year (where proxy votes outnumbered attendees 10 to 1). Despite the formal definitions of primacy being argued over, the BMC has never been properly membership led in the past and won't be fully director led in the future if we accept these SE linked proposals. The democratic problems I listed above all happened in the current 'members led' structure. Bulk membership anger can easily be channelled in the SE linked proposals to remove Directors who abuse powers in the new structure  (unlike in many other organisations with fully compliant governance). The 30 will have to work harder to collect votes and will need to operate more in public when they formalise malign motions in the new structure. I guess in the spirit of maximising the 'dishonesty wiggle room', that they have more of under the existing rules, the gossip at the meeting was emails from Bob ( of the 30)  pressurising individuals to publish his propaganda, including another probably libellous letter 'doing the rounds'.

Peak NC reps past and present said last night at the Peak area that the rush is really mainly down to themselves, the members reps in NC, as they did not act quickly enough using their primacy, (rather than any unfair push from the exec).

Andy Syme attended and apologised for any problems on the mini site but a lot had had to be done in a very short time and he said he will respond to queries and requests for new questions in the Q&A (I asked for something to be looked  recently and despite being on holiday he was very fast in his response). The BMC office staff have helped tidy things up as well on Monday. If what Andy Syme said last night that SE might move a little on membership input to the directors I would really welcome it for being a better solution and more realistic one but I still think it will be more symbolic than anything practical and won't change the way the organisation works much in that members rep exec interface. This is because I really don't think the proposed change will block member input in realistic operational primacy terms (and where it does, and the wider membership objects, routes of redress will exist) but it might stop some of the more stupid decisions NC made by being forced to consult the wider membership on big issues. Most of the Exec in the proposed new system will require ratification at the AGM in any case (as Independant Directors officially do now).  Various people who are associated with other governing bodies, from other sports to podiatry, explained how they had been forced to become similarly compliant  to continue to receive government money but that in the end the new rules are really what is regarded as best governance practice (in the option that retains SE funding) rather than the minimum legal compliance route (in the option that loses us SE funding). The discussion ended with a vote to try and help the IC on their direction of travel without becoming too embroiled in what would be as less than perfectly informed debate over the two key options for Proposal 1... the vast majority voted for this with a few abstensions and none against. The real problems with SE funding were raised but most speaking in the meeting supported the SE funding route (and no one spoke fully against it)  but equally most said the information on the choice for Proposal 1 needed to be much clearer before it was voted on.

The most important point to me is if SE let us down in the future, we can democratically leave the funding arrangements (irrespective of director views)  with justified concrete concerns. We will leave because they were unfaithful and we can then apply political leverage on that in our membership and the public.  If we leave now, on this primacy issue, it's like we are saying we have done so because we knew they were going to be unfaithful when they actually hadn't been yet, with no political leverage and left looking to government like a bunch of stubborn fuddy duddies. If primacy (rather than SE funding) becomes the key future issue, the democratic mechanisms to easily change that also exists. If we chose to drop SE links now, reversing that will be difficult and may be impossible (if our associate bodies are forced to bypass us and seek their funding themselves...especially as they are already SE governance compliant). Someone from those bodies said very clearly they want to support the BMC (and had already turned down an SE approach).

Post edited at 11:16
Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

 

Thanks Jonathan, I'll answer your points as best I can:

Yes, as per my earlier post the current situation is indeed that, "the role of the Exec and Staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by National Council". National Council is the policy making body of the BMC as defined in Article 15.1 of the current M&AA, ‘The policies of the BMC shall be decided by National Council…’. In the new draft constitution the term ‘policy’ does not appear. Under Reserved Matters the Board would be required to, ’consult and duly consider the view of National Council in order to set a strategy for the organisational direction and vision of the Company’. The term ‘strategy’ is as close as the new constitution comes to defining who is responsible for ‘policy’, but the two words mean different things. I wrote a paper on this for National back in June 2015 in an effort to define responsibilities in the BMC, it included the OED definitions:

Policy – a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation or individual.

Strategy – a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

There is then the question of precisely what constitutes a policy and who is responsible for each policy. The paper went on identify 80-90 BMC policies (also variably referred to as regulations or guidelines) in 5 categories i.e. Committees, Finance, Staff & Office, Environment & Ethics and Child Protection. National Council has historically been involved with perhaps 30% of these but has had little if any involvement with Finance and Staff & Office policies which comprise well over half the total. Under the new constitution my interpretation is that the Board would have the ultimate responsibility for policies related to Committees*, Finance, Staff & Office and Child Protection (* some Committees will continue report directly to the Members Assembly, detail tbc beyond June). The development of environmental policies would be the remit of the Access Management Group and/or Land Management Group with ratification (most likely) by both National Council and the Board (e.g. policy on wind farms, or crag purchase) depending on the sensitivity of the issue. As I see it policies related to climbing and mountaineering ethics would remain changed, why would the Board want to get involved?  Local fixed equipment policies would firmly remain the domain of local areas and I suspect both the Members Assembly (MA) and the Board would be used to endorse national ethics policies on request.

cont.

 

 

Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

continued from previous:

Ref: your specific points:

- There is no requirement for NC/MA to agree anything.

The new draft constitution defines the purpose of the MA as, ‘to act as a representative body of the Members and to consult with and constructively challenge the Board on their behalf.’ The Board will also be required to consult the MA on important matters so it will have an important role reviewing and advising on proposals related to future strategy, acquisitions, changes to corporate structure etc. The Board would be ill-advised to ignore the MA in my view.

- We'll change to predominantly appointed independent Directors who specifically don't have a recent history near the centre of the organisation to understand how or why things work.

A few points on this – independent directors can be (and are likely to be) existing BMC members it’s just that they can’t have had direct recent involvement with the organisation (previous 4 years, need to check this point). The Nominations Committee is also able to specify a requirement for mountaineering knowledge and experience alongside other skill sets being sought.

- What then is the purpose of the MA, if there are no reserved matters for their approval? If it isn't just a powerless talking-shop, what will it be?

The MA’s Terms of Reference have not been written but – based on the draft constitution – its purpose will be to reflect the views of members as expressed at Area Meeting and refer these to the Board; review and advise on important organisational matters (ref: above), and;  ensure the Board is acting in accordance with the desires and views of membership.

- How does the proposed future differ from being purely a governing body (who may also  _consult_ with their players/participants, and may or may not take any notice of the feedback)?

To my knowledge the BMC differs from all other ‘NGBs’ in that we are formally a ‘Representative Body’ and this will remain unchanged under the new constitution, ref: item 4.1.1 in the new draft constitution, the first object of the company (the BMC) is to:

‘act as representative body for the sport and recreation of Climbing, Mountaineering (which shall include ski-mountaineering) and Hillwalking (collectively referred to as `Mountaineering') for Great Britain and to represent directly to all appropriate authorities, institutions, organisations and associations in the interests of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers (collectively referred to as 'Mountaineers')’.

- Is the current ultra-fast 3 week consultation (with no debate of the issues in Summit) an indication of the kind of member-engagement envisaged for the future?

National Council is doing what it feels is in the best interests of members by moving ahead with the constitutional changes it sees as necessary to align us with the Companies Act and contemporary good governance, and to maintain the relationship with Government and its funding agencies. The Organisational Review process has been going on for 12 months now and they feel resolution of certain key governance issues is needed sooner rather than later in order for the organisation start moving on.

Chris the Tall - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> but equally most said the information on the choice for Proposal 1 needed to be much clearer before it was voted on.

That's certainly my feeling, and I've got a feeling that if the information isn't there many members will abstain. Or will feel that they are being railroaded into something with the threat of a subs increase. And there will be some who will vote against both the changes and the subs increase, because they feel that the BMC has become too big and needs to slim down.

So far I have only spent a couple of hours trying to work out the details of all this, but that's a couple of hours more than most members will do.

I accept the need for good governance, but  it might be helpful if someone could give an example of what is wrong at the moment, and not just "because SE says so". For example could a volunteer who ends up on Exec find themselves personally legally liable for actions taken by BMC staff ?

At to moment the NC has primacy over policy and the Exec the responsibility to implement that policy (in theory at least). All voting members of the NC - the Pres, 3VPs and the local reps are elected (again, in theory at least) by public meetings.

Now I waded through a lot of the documents and I gather this will change, with the Exec/board of directors having primacy, but I can't find a nice summary of who will be on this committee and how they will get there. Phrases like "the BMC will appoint an independent chair/director/whatever" imply a circular nomination process - i.e. the Exec will appoint the Exec.

I also gather the number of VPs is being reduced but have struggled to find details.

 

I know at lot of good people have done a lot of good work on this, but unless we can sell it to the members the BMC will run into trouble.

 

Post edited at 15:56
ScottH - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

"Proxy votes are allowed in the BMC and as such you don't need to attend"

Fully aware of this (indeed have used my proxy vote in the past), however where more information may be to be given in better context than a small number of websites, I would have preferred not to have to proxy my vote in advance.

"membership anger can easily be channelled in the SE linked proposals to remove Directors"

I'd argue here that this has the potential to be as damaging (if not more so) than rejecting the proposals as they stand.

"Most of the Exec in the proposed new system will require ratification at the AGM in any case"

I disagree here - post transition, the exec will be the directors - from the proposed AoA "In the event that the number of Directors appointed by National Council, together with the President, exceeds one third of the total number of Directors from time to time, either one of the Directors appointed by National Council shall abstain from voting". The president (as best I can see) being the only one ratified (i.e. Elected at the AGM).

"equally most said the information on the choice for Proposal 1 needed to be much clearer before it was voted on"

Absolutely - and here is the primary reason why I have piped up today - everything that is currently available to the ordinary member showing any interest is a choice between "accept this or sky falls in".  The information the IG have put together is very good, but the marked up AoA draft and plain English guide do not align - or rather the content dictated by SE is not confined to proposal 1d.

 

Just for clarity, I accept a need for improved governance, and there is a lot of really good work that has gone into the AoA, but for an organisation that is a representative body (not a governing body) the balance between governing and representation does not read right to me.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

> ‘act as representative body for the sport and recreation of Climbing, Mountaineering (which shall include ski-mountaineering) and Hillwalking (collectively referred to as `Mountaineering') for Great Britain and to represent directly to all appropriate authorities, institutions, organisations and associations in the interests of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers (collectively referred to as 'Mountaineers')’.

Last time I checked the Mountaineering Council of Scotland represented climbers in Scotland.  

Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Two representative bodies! You lucky boy!

spenser - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Out of curiosity, what is the intention of this? To provide representation for Scottish Mountaineers in UK Parliament where newly introduced laws impact upon Scotland as well as England and Wales?

 

spenser - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Out of curiosity, what is the intention of this? To provide representation for Scottish Mountaineers in UK Parliament where newly introduced laws impact upon Scotland as well as England and Wales?

 

Offwidth - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to ScottH:

The proxy problem is why they are looking into live streaming.  I'm more worried that a small determined group can at present turn up at the AGM and force a change that is very much against the broad membership wishes. A MoNC called from the floor with 25 in support would never give anyone a chance of thinking other than the distorted demographic of those present.

Sure removing Directors is very damaging but it doesn't happen very often in organisations, maybe precisely because the possibility keeps them honest.

You are wrong on the appointment issue (its an understandable mistake given the state of the papers) see the posts above and on the other thread. I do acknowledged there are real concerns around details of appointment but its not about those who need the AGM approval..

The BMC is a representative body and a governing body and an umbrella body. No one is saying the sky wil fall on the BMC being representative but it will probably on the other two areas. Some actively seek this dishonestly using primacy (or anything else they can think of) as an overblown mantra and hyperbolically extrapolating risk from that. Others, like JWhite are honest in their concerns but I think just worry too much and should trust the people involved more Exec NC, areas, partners and members. They forget the bad things under their own watch and how the BMC dealt with those mistakes. The BMC has only been properly democratic for a bit over a decade and those harking back to the good old days of the traditional partriarcy  of  the BMC expert great and good looking after things for the plebs is retrogressive in the extreme. That's what the 30 want, along with removal of the Olympic 'scourge' and the 'end of the evil' IFSC and that italian with a girl's middle name (yes that was part of Bobs MoNC speech just last year when we finally got to the end of his CV).

Dave's detailed replies on what exactly the exec lead on and what NC lead on shows exactly what I was getting at on primacy... most is exec led now, if we are being forced on being picky on such distinctions. The reality around primacy in the organisation now and very likely afterwards (or we force it) is that in practice it's very much more collaborative; as one would expect when like minded people, mainly volunteers, are looking to do good in such an organisation without getting too much in the way of operational issues. SE may move a bit on the detail of primacy, as Andy Syme indicated.

Post edited at 08:26
1
Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to spenser:

No, the BMC have always represented all British Climbers / Mountaineers etc etc internationally (UIAA / IFSC etc), and in UK matters with the UK govenment. However the MCof S, now Mountaineering Scotland and Climb Scotland, have taken over the representation of matters within Scotland. Both organisations support each other both morally, technically and financially; a couple of examples, by no means an exhaustive list; the BMC provide financial support and expertise when the MCof s were / are fighting inappropriate wind farm developments, and the MCofS provide financial support for Scottish athletes on the GB team.

That makes it sound as if they do relatively little; not true at all -Scotland does have rather a lot of  Britains mountains, the protection of and access to which they take the lea on. Have a quick look at their website; it'll unsurprisingly set their case out far better than I can.

However, there is quite enough on this BMC thread without bringing the MCofS into it! They dont have a crisis brewing, leave them out of it!

tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Two representative bodies! You lucky boy!

One too many

The BMC shouldn't be writing their constitution like they have a mandate to represent Scotland in the same way as England and Wales.  They have no local organisation in Scotland and hardly any members in Scotland.  The Scottish Government funds Mountaineering Scotland, not BMC.   BMC should recognise Mountaineering Scotland as the representative organisation for Scotland and state it represents Scotland at the UK level and Internationally by agreement with Mountaineering Scotland. 

Post edited at 12:01
2
Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Tom, just leave it. This is not a thread about Scotland.

1
tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> Tom, just leave it. This is not a thread about Scotland.

This is like the English FA casually ignoring the SFA and claiming to represent football in the whole of the UK despite having no presence in Scotland and then wondering why people in Scotland thought that part of their constitution was relevant to Scotland.

 

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Last time I checked the Mountaineering Council of Scotland represented climbers in Scotland.  

Aye.  Ye mebbe richt in that an' a'

 

Although there is an agreement that in matters external to GB the BMC will act as the representative (e.g. UIAA)

Chris the Tall - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Hi Andy

At the Peak meeting on Weds you asked what people thought about raising the required number of backers for an AGM motion from 25 to 100.

I was going to have a chat with about this, but unfortunately I needed to leave before the end of the meeting, so here are my thoughts.

Does this apply to all resolutions, or just to a MoNC ? Is it even possible to distinguish ?

One of Bob's criticisms was that BMC AGMs are merely a rubber stamping affair - there is rarely any genuine debate about the direction being taken. And one of my criticism's of him was that he had 8 years to challenge things like the Olympic decision, but instead did nothing, and then went for a very damaging nuclear option.

So I am happy to see the threshold for another MoNC to be raised, but less happy for "ordinary" resolutions. If anything it might be worth encouraging these as a safety valve and a means of generating interest in the AGM. For example CyclingUK(CTC) always seems to have a dozen or more resolutions (admittedly many from the same people, and have now limited this).

Now I fully expect that with the timescales it may not be possible to get an answer of whether or not it is possible to distinguish between MoNC and other resolutions, or to consider the implications of this. However if that is the case then I would leave the limit at 25. Given that the other changes reduce the influence from the grassroots (via NC) I think this avenue to be heard should remain unchanged.    

Chris Moor

 

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> The proxy problem is why they are looking into live streaming.

What, exactly, is the 'proxy problem'?

>A MoNC called from the floor with 25 in support would never give anyone a chance of thinking other than the distorted demographic of those present.

You cant call a MoNC 'from the floor'.  It would be classed as a 'special resolution' and would need at least 45 days notice.   

> Sure removing Directors is very damaging but it doesn't happen very often in organisations, maybe precisely because the possibility keeps them honest.

Like Carillion?  Or maybe its because a) its made deliberately difficult or b) because, given 'cabinet responsibility'  just how are you supposed to finger just one Director?  Surely one Director alone can't go rogue - or is that a weakness you see in the proposed system?

> You are wrong on the appointment issue (its an understandable mistake given the state of the papers) see the posts above and on the other thread.  

The quote - "In the event that the number of Directors appointed by National Council, together with the President, exceeds one third of the total number of Directors from time to time, either one of the Directors appointed by National Council shall abstain from voting"-  is absolutely accurate.  Yes: Sport England have given ground and will 'allow' us to endorse Directors that are nominated by the Directors.  But basically the premise is that Directors chosen, and elected by, the members must be out-numbered 3:1 

> The BMC is a representative body and a governing body and an umbrella body. No one is saying the sky wil fall on the BMC being representative but it will probably on the other two areas.  Exactly how will the 'sky fall in' over the BMC being an NGB for competition climbing (that's the only area where I would see it as acting as an NGB really).

> SE may move a bit on the detail of primacy, as Andy Syme indicated.

So vote now and maybe we will fix it later?

 

Any more myths you would like me to debunk while we are here?

And PLEASE stop going on about 'the BMC 30'.  Did Bob Pettigrew bite you as a child?

3
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

You are mostly right but I think if you dig down you might find that a chunk of Mountaineering Scotland's funding does actually come from the BMC coffers (vast and immeasurable as those coffers are).  I sat on BMC National Council when they voted to grant a fairly substantial number of £s to MCofS as it then was for access work.

Of course that may have ceased now.

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Hi Chris,

A Motion of No Confidence, or a Motion of Censure or a Motion demanding the removal of all bolts at Horseshoe would all be classed as 'Special Resolutions' and the same threshold would apply to all of them in terms of number of backers and timescales for submission prior to the AGM.

And so all 'safety valve' motions as well as more directed criticism of the BMC position would need to meet the exact same threshold as far as I am aware.

You can't spring something major from the floor at an AGM, you can only seek to amend existing proposals.  You might be able to cause a stink in debate but nothing would come of it.  Apart from the smell

As far as I know.  And I am completely innocent of being a lawyer.  

Andy

Post edited at 14:50
2
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> However, there is quite enough on this BMC thread without bringing the MCofS into it! They dont have a crisis brewing, leave them out of it!

They must be falling all over the floor in Perth

 

1
Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> This is like the English FA casually ignoring the SFA and claiming to represent football in the whole of the UK despite having no presence in Scotland and then wondering why people in Scotland thought that part of their constitution was relevant to Scotland.

No it isnt. The SFA are affiliated to UEFA and FIFA in their own right. Mountaineering Scotland and Climb Scotland aren't affiliated to the UIAA or IFSC.

No more off topic jingoism please. Start a new thread if you want to.

 

 

2
Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> You are mostly right but I think if you dig down you might find that a chunk of Mountaineering Scotland's funding does actually come from the BMC coffers (vast and immeasurable as those coffers are).  I sat on BMC National Council when they voted to grant a fairly substantial number of £s to MCofS as it then was for access work.

> Of course that may have ceased now.

I can remember (as referred to above) contributions towards legal costs for opposing some wind farm sites, also in return, Mountaineering Scotland contribute to Scottish athletes expenses on the GB climbing team. Both organisations work together well enough when necessary. 

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Hey Chris (and Offwidth and Andy Syme)

Did you actually have a vote of members present on the four issues or was it a 'general' discussion with 'general' conclusions reached? 

It is quite important as at AGM there will need  to be 75% of members actually voting in favour! 

Certainly at some areas I know there are plans to have, and record, a vote on the specific proposals; otherwise NC representatives are left waffling about 'their perceptions'.  

Andy

(edited for a missing comma )

Post edited at 15:37
1
spenser - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hi Andy,

General concensus around the room seemed to be to take the proposals forward to the AGM but there needed to be more clarity on details (and a more static proposal given that Andy took a call from SE immediately before the meeting in which they made a concession) and better "selling" of the proposals to the membership, relatively few people have kept up with the debate and regularly attended area meetings throughout the process. Despite having tried to do this a 3 month break to finish my dissertation left me thinking "WTF's going on?" when reading the briefing paper on Monday evening.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> No more off topic jingoism please. Start a new thread if you want to.

It isn't off topic and it isn't jingoism.  The BMC is over reaching in its articles of association by claiming to represent the whole of the UK.  The BMC has no presence in Scotland and no mandate to represent Scotland except as is delegated by Mountaineering Scotland.   A couple of minor changes to the wording to reflect this and there would be no problem.    Possibly the same issue exists with respect to Northern Ireland.

A large scale review of organisational structure is an appropriate time to consider fixing things like this.  

 

4
Ian W - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

All this could have been avoided if only we'd gone for Climb Britain........

4
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to spenser:

So no vote on any of the issues? No 75% majority?

It is so hard, I share your concerns, to be discussing and deciding on issues when they may change after the debate.....

1
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The BMC is over reaching in its articles of association by claiming to represent the whole of the UK.  

> A large scale review of organisational structure is an appropriate time to consider fixing things like this.  

This will be what is tuning you up?'

1.1.1           act as representative body for the sport and recreation of Climbing,
Mountaineering (which shall include ski-mountaineering) and Hillwalking (collectively referred to as `Mountaineering') for Great Britain and to represent directly to all appropriate authorities, institutions, organisations and associations in the interests of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers (collectively referred to as 'Mountaineers');

 

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> All this could have been avoided if only we'd gone for Climb Britain........


But maybe not......

Crag Jones - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

And ...! If we can agree to have a framework of prioritised objectives. i.e. a clear definition WHAT the BMC actually does in our names then WHO does it and HOW it is done ceases to be such a problematic area.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> This will be what is tuning you up?'

> 1.1.1           act as representative body for the sport and recreation of Climbing,

> Mountaineering (which shall include ski-mountaineering) and Hillwalking (collectively referred to as `Mountaineering') for Great Britain and to represent directly to all appropriate authorities, institutions, organisations and associations in the interests of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers (collectively referred to as 'Mountaineers');

Yes, the 'for Great Britain' bit.   The BMC is an English and Welsh organisation, all their regions and almost all their members are in England and Wales.  The democratic processes within BMC do not consult outside England and Wales.  The BMC is funded by Sport England.   They have no mandate to represent Scotland except as Mountaineering Scotland chooses to delegate to them.

To an extent this is about modernisation and reflecting the devolved nature of the UK: things like funding and access in Scotland are matters between Mountaineering Scotland and the Scottish Government. 

 

2
Chris the Tall - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

The vote that requires the 75% majority comes at the AGM

There was a vote a Peak meet - which no one opposed - along the lines that we accepted the need for change but that more needed to be done to explain the changes.

I don't think anyone feels the BMC is in a satisfactory position at the moment.

 

Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> The vote that requires the 75% majority comes at the AGM

> There was a vote a Peak meet - which no one opposed - along the lines that we accepted the need for change but that more needed to be done to explain the changes.

> I don't think anyone feels the BMC is in a satisfactory position at the moment.


Aaaaaargh....!

1
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The BMC is an English and Welsh organisation, all their regions and almost all their members are in England and Wales.  

Oh c'mon Tom.  Most people who fall off Scots mountains are English!

 

Offwidth - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

The proxy problem is that the AGM debate in the MoNC was made irrelevant by the thousands of proxy votes. Scott raised it and I agree its an issue.

I realised soon after I wrote it that the MoNC from the floor is not possible but have been PhD examining all day so hadn't a chance to correct it earlier. My apologies. I'd also be happy with 25 for other motions.  I'm glad my mistake made someone happy: we need more of that in the world.

The Carrilion situation is a classic example of an organisation with so called good governance arrangements where the board and shareholders were not functioning well within that. I think most big companies and many public bodies have similar problems. In contrast, the BMC always struck me as the very opposite of that, governence warts and all. Most of the big errors in the last few deacdes were democratic representative voted with good intentions and partly wider democratically resolved. An MoNC removes the leadership of the board, not a single director: 100 is very low threshold for an organisation of potentially 85000.

The quote is indeed correct, the bits around it and in the link from the previous email were the problem. Ratification at the AGM is not the same as election. Independant directors are currently ratified but not elected. Hardly any who were elected at the AGM in your golden 30 years were in contested elections and I see (in your debunking mode)  you ignore all the other democratic faults that I've raised over those years, especially the most serious, the block vote. This claim that those who were involved back then defending undemocratic structures are now champions of democracy is a strange thing. My first involvement in national BMC matters was supporting Mark Vallance, Chris the Tall etc in seeking the end of the block vote. I also find the Oxfam and Insurance members inferences insulting and anti-democratic .. you either have democracy with everyone allowed to vote with equal weight or you don't have democracy.

I'm not sure how many times I have to say I will only give up on talking about Bob and the 30 when they stop circulating emails and letter to selected friends. Information that is dishonest and secretive and may well be the deciding factor in the forthcoming vote. You must have seen these as well, so you must know their import. It might be a bit like the referendum: if we could have removed the dishonest racist ideas and mad conspiracy stories on social media, I think  leave almost certainly wouldn't have won the brexit vote and although the vast majority of leave voters were not racist or tin hatters the dishonest attitides almost certainly swung enough votes. All well and good for your more honest side of the debate, I guess, but I will continue to protest such dishonest undemocratic means.

Yes, vote it in for now as the NC said we should and yes, if it needs fixing later, fix it and so be it. Someone made the excellent point in one of these threads that democracy implies eternal vigilance.

If we stick two fingers up to goverment bodies without a proper defence (the niceties of governance detail are not going to be enough.... even in the BMC hardly anyone gets it ...Chris the Tall who is keen on such BMC issues being right and proper is confused) we will face serious problems when we need their help on the next major national access issue or if we need their money at some point in the future. If we reject SE it must because they have done something more concretely wrong for which we can take a valid concrete political action against as an organisation, with reasons that can be publicly seen as clear and justified..

Post edited at 17:48
1
Paul Evans - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Hi Crag. Let me try to help with the WHAT bit. I think it is fairly clearly set out (at least at high level) in the proposed new articles of association  - section 4. Which says - 

4.1 The only objects for which the Company is established are to:

4.1.1 act as representative body for the sport and recreation of Climbing, Mountaineering (which shall include ski-mountaineering) and Hillwalking (collectively referred to as `Mountaineering') for Great Britain and to represent directly to all appropriate authorities, institutions, organisations and associations in the interests of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers (collectively referred to as 'Mountaineers');

4.1.2 encourage promote and develop the interests of British Mountaineers and their activities and to act as a forum for Members of the Company;

4.1.3 encourage promote and develop access to cliffs and crags, mountains and hills of all descriptions for all Mountaineers;

4.1.4 encourage promote and undertake the writing, publication and dissemination of information relating to Mountaineering;

4.1.5 encourage promote develop and undertake works and techniques to safeguard and conserve the environment within which cliffs crags mountains and hills of all descriptions are located;

4.1.6 encourage and promote amongst Mountaineers the fullest regard for the mountain environment and wilderness values;

4.1.7 encourage and promote safety and good practice in all aspects of Mountaineering;

4.1.8 provide or promote facilities for climbing and training and instruction;

4.1.9 oversee, organise and control climbing competitions in the United Kingdom.

Note the ONLY under section 4.1. So for those who are worrying that the "unaccountable directors" can "do what they like", the Directors are under a legal obligation to do ONLY what is listed above. The AoA are legally binding.

A further point to reassure on the "unaccountable directors" front is the new item 23.14, which goes significantly further than the existing articles (look 'em up yourself) in publishing minutes of Board meetings, and now says - "All minutes of meetings shall, subject to obligations of confidentiality be made available to National Council and to Members on request and shall be published on the Company's website. The approach of the Board shall be open and transparent at all times and redaction should be the exception, rather than the norm. The decision as to whether a matter is confidential is for the Board to decide in its discretion".

Will you be at NW area meet on Monday? See you there if so. 

Cheers

Paul

Crag Jones - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Thanks Paul. That should = a bit more wood for a few less trees. See you Monday.

Offwidth - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say

The AGM motion I was alerted to wasn't a MoNC from the floor,  it was, having checked the club communication from a pal, a technical vote from the floor (something like an amending motion) in an attempt to invalidate any proxy votes at the AGM. Really, really dirty business, if it's true, from those wearing increasingly transparent democratic clothes and accusing the Exec, NC majority and ORG of undemocratic behaviour. This is not from the 30 btw.  I'll dig deeper if I can but feel really depressed... some BMC activists I trusted seem to be risking tearing the organisation apart over shit like this (as is a faction in my union over the USS strike). How do they think such a stunt would go down in the broader membership? How do good people end up thinking of such stuff?

 

1
bouldery bits - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Could we get a BMC statment on Israel? I think it'd help settle the other threads on here at the moment. Thanks. 

Post edited at 22:44
James Mann - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Not to mention the foul and disgusting language that some of that group of conspirators who also happen to be elected officials of the BMC are using towards other individuals involved in the process. Electronic communication can be a dangerous thing. I hope that individual reads this and takes a moment to have a little think. I and many others are extremely frustrated and angry about this behaviour!

 

James Mann (SW Area Chair)

Post edited at 23:59
Andy Cairns on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> And PLEASE stop going on about 'the BMC 30'.  Did Bob Pettigrew bite you as a child?

 

Oh, if only we could!  The problem is that they keep using that tag themselves.  We keep being referred to Crag's website for discussion documents - there are at least 6 documents on there, from as recently as late March, signed by

 

"Paul Braithwaite, Rodney Gallagher, Dennis Gray, James Gregson, Robert Pettigrew

On behalf of The BMC 30"

 

Or

 

"Rod Gallagher

For BMC30"

 

Or

 

"On behalf of The BMC 30

Paul Braithwaite, Dennis Gray, Rodney Gallagher, Jim Gregson, Robert Pettigrew

And 35 named supporting mountaineers."

 

or, simply

 

"BMC 30"

 

There may be more, I'm afraid I find the website to be a bit of a mess, with a tendency to kill my slightly flaky computer!  There are also other documents referring to the BMC30, or letters by members of the group happily using "We".  So I'm sorry, but much as I’d love to just ignore them as an irrelevance, it's a bit difficult as they clearly think they are still making valuable contributions, and I don't see why they shouldn't continue to be called out.  I also think we should keep asking, strongly, for some indication as to who they actually are – surely they would all be happy to associate their names with what is going out on their behalf?

 

As to Bob himself, he is still (as in the last week or so), sending out emails which though fairly innocuous in themselves are forwarding other emails containing false information (as in, demonstrated time and again at the time of the MoNC as untrue), subversive (as in, a suggestion from a current, elected, National Council member to write a “letter to Sport England and UK Sport demonstrating that the BMC is not currently fit to be the NGB for competitive climbing”), and downright personally abusive about BMC officers.  He is commending those views so strongly that I think they can only reasonably be regarded as fitting with his own, and again, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be brought to task over them.  I also don’t think he needs anyone else to defend him – from his communications that I’ve seen, he is more than capable of doing that himself, should he choose to do so.

 

I do try to take off the rose-coloured glasses when looking at the BMC, and I have some major reservations about the current proposals, but I find the current degree of cynicism, suspicion and vitriol very depressing!

Cheers, Andy

 

 

Post edited at 14:37
Ian W - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Cairns:

Hi,

As the comp com chair for the last 5 years, i would be very interested in having a conversation with whoever thinks the BMC is not fit ot be the comp NGB. If anyone knows who this is, could you please letr me know, so I can address their concerns.

Thanks

Ian Walton

UKB Shark - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> As the comp com chair for the last 5 years, i would be very interested in having a conversation with whoever thinks the BMC is not fit ot be the comp NGB. 

As a more general point (which I know you weren’t asking) this is an interesting question that I have been pondering lately.

I think it has been, but may well not be in the future -depending on the outcome of the governance and cultural changes currently in play. 

IMO the BMC is fit to be the comp NGB (we should take that to include talent development, the competitions programme and management of the National teams) so long as being part of the BMC doesn’t significantly limit its potential ie it has more to gain than lose by being part of the BMC.

Firstly, this is a watershed time for comp climbing when it is has become an Olympic sport with the potential to generate mainstream appeal for the comps and the athletes. If the BMC isn’t behind and backing this then it is not fit to ‘own’ it.

Secondly, if the governance changes prevents access to government funding then that severely limits the potential and development and professionalisation of the fledging sport of comp climbing and development of a British Competition Climbing NGB.

Currently there is nobody on the Exec with comp climbing or sporting NGB experience or to my knowledge ever has been. What does that say? As the ORG recommends - the BMC should give clarity on the level of its support for the Olympics. This should clarity should be extended for comp climbing in general.

Post edited at 21:46
Andy Say - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Could we get a BMC statment on Israel? I think it'd help settle the other threads on here at the moment. Thanks. 

Yep. What they need is good governance and the SES* are parachuting in as we speak.

 

*That's the Sport England Specialists - feared the world over.

2
Ian W - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> As a more general point (which I know you weren’t asking) this is an interesting question that I have been pondering lately.

Its an interesting question that I (and others) have been pondering for years!!

> I think it has been, but may well not be in the future -depending on the outcome of the governance and cultural changes currently in play. 

I know I've sais this on threads ad nauseam, but here we go again. 3 years ago, when I felt that the BMC (ie NC) I had a bit of a rant at an NC meeting regarding BMC support for comps; everyone said yes of course we support comps; you just arent getting any more financial support.......

> IMO the BMC is fit to be the comp NGB (we should take that to include talent development, the competitions programme and management of the National teams) so long as being part of the BMC doesn’t significantly limit its potential ie it has more to gain than lose by being part of the BMC.

I agree As a result of the previous point, I had a lengthy conversation with the presidents of both the IFSC and UIAA regarding the setting up of an external body; both would be willing to support it but would be sad to see the BMC lose the NGB status. It is entirely feasible, has been costed and has a resoutrce plan, but after furter investigation by compcomm members (including me), it was felt that it would be better to remain under the BMC umbrella, but with a bit more autonomy / independence. So it was subsequently agreed by NC, and thus became ploicy, that comps would have a subsid. body set up. THis was then shelved as the whole ORG thing happened. So I agree, at the present, the BMC is best placed to be NGB, but the situation may change at some point in the future, and we (both comps and the BMC overall) need to be aware of this.

> Firstly, this is a watershed time for comp climbing when it is has become an Olympic sport with the potential to generate mainstream appeal for the comps and the athletes. If the BMC isn’t behind and backing this then it is not fit to ‘own’ it.

Agree. And this is where the BMC needs to be very careful. Its all very well saying we dont want SE funding, but if all the expansion comes via comps / the ABC etc, as has been said upthread and in many others, the BMC becomes an anachronistic irrelevance, which will harm climbing and mountaineering generally. Us comp types also like the outdoors, and still rate access / conservation as the major raison d'etre of the BMC. My big fear is that young people join the rep body for them, which would be the comp climbing on, and the link and transfer to the outdoor bit would be lost.

but also, and I think we're on the same page on this, what the BMC think of climbing being in the olympics is utterly irrelevant on the one hand, but very relevant on the other. Irrelevant in that its a done deal, and the BMC has literally zero influence over its inclusion or otherwise. Very relevant as not so long ago, bmc policy was that it supported the inclusion of climbing in the olympics, following discussions and votes at all areas. To change now would not show the BMC in a good light.....

> Secondly, if the governance changes prevents access to government funding then that severely limits the potential and development and professionalisation of the fledging sport of comp climbing and development of a British Competition Climbing NGB.

Absolutely.

> Currently there is nobody on the Exec with comp climbing or sporting NGB experience or to my knowledge ever has been. What does that say? As the ORG recommends - the BMC should give clarity on the level of its support for the Olympics. This should clarity should be extended for comp climbing in general.

Mina was on Exec a couple of years back, but yes in general, comps have been under represented.

Cheers,

Ian

 

Ian W - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Wasnt aimed at you, Andy, i just replied to the last post on the thread, but ta much for the message!

Chris the Tall - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Currently there is nobody on the Exec with comp climbing or sporting NGB experience or to my knowledge ever has been. What does that say? As the ORG recommends - the BMC should give clarity on the level of its support for the Olympics. This should clarity should be extended for comp climbing in general.

Audrey Segay and Mina Wooji-Wooji - can’t remember the dates exactly but i’m guessing at 6 years out of the last 8

UKB Shark - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

Yes Mina!  Ironic as I shared a car with her only yesterday to Malham. Don’t think of her as a comp climber but of course she was one then.

 

Andy Syme - on 14 Apr 2018

As no one seems to be reporting this I will:

1.  SE have agreed to change reserved matters so 6 are now approve and 5 are consult.  Will get doc posted on minisite after next discussions with SE.

2.  They have also agreed that for all approve reserve matters they MUST be taken to members if NC can't approve them (I need to check on consult).

3. All Independent Directors will be subject to ratification by members at a General Meeting.  So between 9 and 11 of the directors (depending on Proposal 2 Outcome) will be subject to members election or agreement.

4.  I hope you will see this as very positive.  I have a final discussion with them early next week to clarify things, and discuss a few more points I would like to see 'improved'

5.  I have also proposed to the NC re the 25 members bringing a resolution.

A.  12.2 currently proposed to increase from 25 to 100 and say

All resolutions to be submitted to a General Meeting shall be delivered to the CEO in writing not less than forty five Clear Days before the date of the meeting and shall be signed by not less than one hundred Voting Members as proposers of the Resolution and failure to comply with these requirements shall render the resolution invalid.

B.  So my proposed change would be:

All resolutions to be submitted to a General Meeting shall be delivered to the CEO in writing not less than forty five Clear Days before the date of the meeting and shall be signed by:

    a.  not less than 1% of members as proposers of the Resolution: OR

    b.  not less than Twenty Five Voting Members and less than 1% as proposers of the Resolution, subject to the resolution having already been reviewed through the Mediation Process.

and failure to comply with these requirements shall render the resolution invalid.

C.  The mediation process will need drafting but would, in principle, be:

a.  Submit proposal to CEO

b.  Attend a meeting with appropriate BMC representatives to agree a mutual resolution

c.  Seek advice from an expert opinion or the services of a professional mediator.

d.  If still not happy bring the resolution.

 

UKB Shark - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Ok ok. I take it all back. Well not quite. I still think if there was someone on the Exec who has strategic experience in a sporting NGB (as oppposed to a sporting participant) and ideally an Olympic sport would be a great asset at this time.

Chris the Tall - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Obviously we aren’t going to find a climber with Olympic experience for at least a couple of years. Ian Mckenzie was on NC most of the time I was, and despite the fact he scared me to death on the way to and at Swanage, I very much respected his opinions and insight. I can’t remember whether or not he did a stint as NC rep on Exec, but one thing to bear in mind is that people like him often don’t have the time

UKB Shark - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

They don’t have to be a climber (or do they?). There is a large pool of people with NGB, SE, SRA and sports industry experience. It is a well developed sector and one, which the BMC has little experience of. 

 

Offwidth - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Thanks again Andy for all your hard work (especially given the timescale and being in the face of some of this truely terrible behaviour). 

1
Paul Evans - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Hi Andy, many thanks for all your efforts on this, these are significant improvements. We'll obviously need to see which matters are in reserved and which are in consult, and I'm not entirely clear on point 2, but for both of these I'll wait while you get the revised doc posted on minisite.  Re your point 5, fully in support. Best of luck for your next meeting with SE, and looking forward to seeing the final result. 

Cheers

Paul

Andy Syme - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Point 2 just means if no agreement between NC and BoD then it must go to General Meeting.  It's about ensuring the members decide if their board and their representative body can't agree

Post edited at 08:20
spenser - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> No, the BMC have always represented all British Climbers / Mountaineers etc etc internationally (UIAA / IFSC etc), and in UK matters with the UK govenment. However the MCof S, now Mountaineering Scotland and Climb Scotland, have taken over the representation of matters within Scotland. Both organisations support each other both morally, technically and financially; a couple of examples, by no means an exhaustive list; the BMC provide financial support and expertise when the MCof s were / are fighting inappropriate wind farm developments, and the MCofS provide financial support for Scottish athletes on the GB team.

> That makes it sound as if they do relatively little; not true at all -Scotland does have rather a lot of  Britains mountains, the protection of and access to which they take the lea on. Have a quick look at their website; it'll unsurprisingly set their case out far better than I can.

 

Thanks for that Ian, I genuinely didn't understand the relationship between the two organisations, certainly did not mean to suggest that Mountaineering Scotland didn't do very much, I appreciate that they do everything the BMC does in England and Wales but in Scotland. 

 

spenser - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian W:

> No, the BMC have always represented all British Climbers / Mountaineers etc etc internationally (UIAA / IFSC etc), and in UK matters with the UK govenment. However the MCof S, now Mountaineering Scotland and Climb Scotland, have taken over the representation of matters within Scotland. Both organisations support each other both morally, technically and financially; a couple of examples, by no means an exhaustive list; the BMC provide financial support and expertise when the MCof s were / are fighting inappropriate wind farm developments, and the MCofS provide financial support for Scottish athletes on the GB team.

> That makes it sound as if they do relatively little; not true at all -Scotland does have rather a lot of  Britains mountains, the protection of and access to which they take the lea on. Have a quick look at their website; it'll unsurprisingly set their case out far better than I can.

 

Thanks for that Ian, I genuinely didn't understand the relationship between the two organisations, certainly did not mean to suggest that Mountaineering Scotland didn't do very much, I appreciate that they do everything the BMC does in England and Wales but in Scotland. 

 

spenser - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

There was discussion of the 75% majority requirement and it was pointed out by someone (Gary Gibson I think) that this was a legal requirement and that the proposals would need to be sold to the membership in a very effective manner to ensure that they were passed successfully.

My view at this point is that the ORG/ IG have put together a deal which I am willing to vote for, having seen Andy Syme speak at the area meeting I am willing to believe that any further changes to the deal are likely to be improvements (from our perspective). 

ScottH - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Many thanks for your work Andy, sounds like some significant changes for the better there, I look forward to reading the updated proposals / AoA in the near future.

My gut instinct tells me 1% of membership might be quite a high bar to set (600-800ish currently?), but that is offset by the alternate path in the unlikely event of not being able to resolve amicably.

JWhite on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to ScottH & Andy Syme:

If anyone thinks that 1% is actually achieveable, then why not prove the theory by finding 840 members who will put their names and memb. nos to the proposal? They could everafter be referred to as the BMC 840...

Someone told me the other day that a BMC objective is to get to a million members - and that should be possible without having to encourage anyone new to take up CH&M, if the 2m to 4m participation figures are to be believed. That would then need 10,000 signatures for a motion. Still think it's possible?

To be a valid mechanism, it needs to be not too easy and not too hard: sort of a D+ on a scale of F to ED, whereas at present this is pushing towards ID territory. I like the idea of two thresholds though - to incentivise both sides of any argument to talk formally before reaching for the launch codes.

Given the disruption and ill-feeling generated by last year's MoNC, I am utterly bemused by the number of people who now seem to be advocating formal motions as a good/the primary way of making sure that the Directors represent us. Personally, I'd rather we clarified the roles of NC/MA and Exec/Board, are absolutely clear that each have differing responsibilities (DT's one-liner is spot on), and with the proviso of good open liaison, empower both groups to get on with things.

If all involved operate to the standards highlighted by Paul Evans a few weeks back then all will be fine. The good news for any who do cross the line in good faith is that NC members are _already_ indemnified (I've finally resorted to reading the current AoAs: Clause 67 covers indemnity quite clearly). Whether that indemnity is provided by insurance or from BMC coffers is (already) a decision for the Exec. There is an awful lot about the BMC that isn't broken, so really doesn't need fixing.

Jonathan

Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

...first I've heard of the 'million members' idea but 100,000 is certainly a prospect and well achievable in the next 4-5 years based on recent growth rates.

The RSPB has around the million member mark and it takes 1300 staff to service them, a far cry from the BMC's c.30 full time equivalents.

 

Andy Syme - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Jonathan

The 25 figures seems hard to pin down.  I've heard people involved suggest 'random number felt right' to a % of the members at the time (0.5% of a membership of 5000 was quoted but there were not individual votes then I think).  The rule is there in companies act to protect 'minority shareholders' and is set at 5%. 

The 1% proposal is my attempt to find a 'good number' which is future proof (what if membership goes down with all this fighting an animosity! ;-) ) .  If 500 people (voting members) or 800 people (all members) think something is wrong clearly it is.  If 25 (0.03%) do I'm less convinced, but I think given the history removing it could be misunderstood so I proposed the yes but after mediation clause.  I think a mediation process is much better than constant MONCs & referendums and if you have a grievence why would you not want to try mediation.

As to clarifying the roles, that's exactly what I am working on.  There is some pressure between our current fudge and the clear roles in the proposed AoA but I think there have been significant movements with SE and while I have a few more things I would like to 'improve' (and have another call to discuss with them) fundamentally it is now clear and appropriate.

I am not sure anyone is advocating MONC's as the correct way of running the BMC (please NO!!) but it does remain the backstop for members, as it always has.  The only reason people are highlighting it (IMHO) is that there is an accusation of 'nefariousness' in the Exec (wrongly in my opinion) and a removal of powers from the NC; which they then say removes powers from the members.  If someone starts from that viewpoint then it's fair to point out that the members retain their ultimate power to call a resolution or MONC.

Personally I'm less bothered about NC Red cards or vetos; provided they and the Exec/BoD work together to effectively interface between the members wishes (NC) and the legal, financial or any other external influences (BoD).  I do not see anything that prevents this in the new AoAs and I would suggest that it's highly unlikely that the Board would continue with a strategy or proposal that the NC was opposed to!  

And before anyone turns the above comment back in my face, I think my actions so far moving SE's position, shows that I am fighting the case to 'improve' those issues as requested by the NC.  I can distinguish between what I personally see as important and what the organisation (in the widest sense) I'm negotiation for see as important.

Post edited at 22:46
James Mann - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

Not really a reply to you Dave, but to all. We had a decent SW area meeting last night in Exeter. In general, the meeting overwhelmingly supported the IG proposals with one or two exceptions. Questions were sensible and were answered well by Helen Wilson and Andy Say. I would say though that the meeting wasn’t hugely well attended. There is certainly a feeling among some non attendees that they are fairly sick of listening to the internal politics of the  BMC and would like to get back to using our meetings for more in the way of local issues. It is hard to disagree when every meeting in the last 18 months has involved a great deal of reading material to be picked over in detail. I hope that post agm we can get back to some kind of normality. Minutes will be available soon. 

 

James Mann

Post edited at 22:25
Andy Syme - on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Hi Chris

> Does this apply to all resolutions, or just to a MoNC ? Is it even possible to distinguish ?

We don't actually distinguish.  Not sure how you could easily either.

> So I am happy to see the threshold for another MoNC to be raised, but less happy for "ordinary" resolutions. If anything it might be worth encouraging these as a safety valve and a means of generating interest in the AGM. For example CyclingUK(CTC) always seems to have a dozen or more resolutions (admittedly many from the same people, and have now limited this).

> Now I fully expect that with the timescales it may not be possible to get an answer of whether or not it is possible to distinguish between MoNC and other resolutions, or to consider the implications of this. However if that is the case then I would leave the limit at 25. Given that the other changes reduce the influence from the grassroots (via NC) I think this avenue to be heard should remain unchanged.    

Have you seen the new suggestion I've made on this?  

I think there's also merit in Crag's idea of an outcomes framework to feed member ideas and wishes up the tree and record what we have agreed to do.  Not in this proposal but clearly something that needs considering in the Proposal 2 work.

JWhite on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Dave Turnbull, BMC:

Aaah, but that's a completely different kettle of fish, the RSPB. Dealing with birds there's a lot of standing or sitting around when nothing happens, and then when there is some action, you have to move very very slowly and very very quitely. Given the productivity rate, I'm surprised they've only got 1300...

2
Andy Say - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to James Mann:

James, Thanks for having me!  I saw my role there as simply answering questions in a fair and honest way rather then trying to push any particular 'line': I think that's incumbent any anyone presenting these proposals.  I hope I did that?

Subsequent to your meeting I've gone back to the Articles, the '06 Companies Act and the legal advice submitted last year to the ORG.  You should re-assure your more worried members that, in my opinion A) The BMC has not been operating illegally for the last 25 years B) There is no current breach of the '06 Act and consequently C) the rozzers from Companies House will not be kicking in the door at BMC HQ

There are, for sure, things we might like to do!  Bringing the Articles into the new millennium with an acknowledgement of video conferencing, email, electronic voting etc. would be good.  Resolving the ambiguity in the powers of the Exec. and the National Council would also be good (it was why the National Council commissioned the review after all!).  That would actually be pretty simple to do: all the stuff about constitution of the Board, Independent Directors, reserved matters etc. has actually got nothing to do with the Companies Act.  But in terms of Company Law they are 'nice to do' rather than 'must do'.

Would you believe that the Act says we must have at least one Director?  I think we are well in the clear on that one!

T'other Andy 

1
JWhite on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

"There is no current breach of the '06 Act"

Andy, thank you for that clarification. You would hope that this was the case, given that the AoAs have been amended 4 times in the last 10 years, with legal input each time.

So, all the 'this is driven by the Companies Act' chat that we've heard is actually untrue. Has it just been noise and hype then to try and scare members into giving up their current rights to an unelected board in order to retain a decreasing temporary tangible financial benefit from SE, and an untangible benefit of continued recognition as a Governing Body?

5
Crag Jones - on 16 Apr 2018

I am sure Andy Syme is genuine in his efforts but he is still left with trying to bash a square peg into a round hole. I am still not convinced these proposals address governance concerns.

The main problem is that it is proposed that contentious issues should be resolved by a mechanism that is essentially one of conflict i.e. having to make a resolution to the AGM and have the membership vote on it; instead of using the current mechanism of debate and vote on the issue at source within the National Council. The proposed new method is both more fractious and very time consuming. I realize there is the proposed ‘grievance procedure’ to mitigate conflict but it circumvents the existing efficient democratic safeguards exercised by the National Council.

My objections are philosophical but all the more important for that. The proposed ‘Members Assembly will be an emasculated version of the National Council. Yes of course the new Board will be more ‘efficient’ at enacting decisions but at the members expense of both what is put up for decision and how it is decided.

It allows a board to relentlessly pursue their vision, making it far harder to hold them to account.

The effect becomes exacerbated as the members become further disengaged from the decision making processes which reduces their understanding and motivation to control their representation.

Thus you end up with a more accepting and pliant membership, ideally prepared to ‘consume’ whatever is served up rather than challenge and control their representation.

There has been deliberate obfuscation of issues related to Sport England demands, legal requirements, and what is considered ‘good governance’. None of these issues were insurmountable but they have instead been combined to create a false agenda.

That false agenda quite possibly aims to open up commercial opportunity within the sector. A vision that sees the membership base is an underexploited resource that can be capitalized upon. This might be to generate gain for providers of services and goods, period; or also to generate funds to ‘develop’ the sector in a way members will have lost control of.

It’s unique spiritual aspects and sense of identity will have been sacrificed for commercial opportunism. Commercial opportunities that demands we fit-in with their requirements rather than vice-versa. We just become another flavour in the monetized sports ice-cream parlour. We do not have to sleep walk into that trap. We have a choice.

4
JWhite on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to James Mann:

"I hope that post agm we can get back to some kind of normality."

James, I think you've misunderstood the issue. The questions that many of us are raising are about _retaining_ as much normality as possible, and only changing the things that need changing, rather than being pushed by SE to move from a predominantly representitive body with regional authority to a predominantly governing body with very centralised control.

There is nothing stopping area meetings from discussing local issues and national policy - why don't you do both? Many will not want to wade through detailed papers, just as others aren't interested in local access issues that don't affect them: both are entirely understandable. A perfectly legitimate approach for those not interested in something is to abstain - much better than voting through something they don't want to understand in the hope that it will go away.

I'm disappointed by your use of 'politics': it implies distain for the way you get the authority and empowerment that you (and your predecessors) benefit from. Please don't take it for granted - we're trying to ensure that you retain it. The good news is that if this is done well, it should disappear from the agenda for a decade or two. Done badly, it'll resurface every year, and none of us want that.

3
UKB Shark - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> So, all the 'this is driven by the Companies Act' chat that we've heard is actually untrue. Has it just been noise and hype then to try and scare members into giving up their current rights to an unelected board in order to retain a decreasing temporary tangible financial benefit from SE, and an untangible benefit of continued recognition as a Governing Body?

The BMC have not pushed that line but re chat on UKB it seems to be the case that some members have confused that being legally vulnerable because of provisions in the act is the same as operating illegally which isn’t the case. To repeat largely what I said there, bearing in mind it is not really my bag:

“as I understand it the companies act covers the status of “shadow” Directors ie individuals not on the Board but who in effect making Board type decisions. Shadow Directors could be held legally liable for decisions they make for the organisation. National Council members might be deemed to be shadow Directors without being covered (currently) by BMC Directors insurance. So whilst the set up isn’t illegal of itself NC members are legally vulnerable from the provisions of the Companies act if the organisation is sued for negligence, inadequate child protection, corporate manslaughter or whatever. 

It is therefore considered that it is best practice that the Board has responsibility for decision making as well as carrying it out ie “primacy” and I buy that. The current set up with National Council setting policy muddies where legal responsibility lies.”

 

Post edited at 11:32
JWhite on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

A few quick ones:

- I'm trawling the depths of my memory here, but the '25 individual members' is a hangover from the days of the block vote, where it used to require 5 clubs to bring a motion. Individuals also needed a mechanism, and as 20 to 25 was the typical size of a small club. Both these thresholds made it not too easy and not impossibly hard to bring a motion.

- 25 may or may not be linked to being half of the AGM quorum of 50, but it makes sense. If more than half the people required to make a decision think that something shuld be discused, then surely they should be able to. I'm not averse to the 25 increasing, but surely the quorum needs to increase correspondingly? This will be eminently possible if live streaming can be made to work and those numbers can be included in the quorum.

- parallels with company shareholder meeting need to checked for validity. Shareholders (virtually) always have more than one share, so the block vote is entrenched in the way shareholder meetings work. In that respect it is much easier to secure a few percent (and the 5% is the legal maximum, not a recommendation). The BMC is different: we got rid of the block vote 15+ years ago, so now much more effort is required to persuade people on a 1 to 1 basis than via blocks of affiliation (that said, some clubs consilted their members for a majority before using the block, some used the block pro-rata based on club feedback, so it wasn't all bad by any stretch).

- good to hear that there's been some movement from SE. Very much looking forward to hearing what this is, as this may alleviate some concerns. For this week's Area Meetings to be valid, we really need to know what the latest is (this is the problem with developing detailed proposals before the over-arching principle are agreed).

Crag Jones - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

But why negate the National Councils democratically engaged involvement in decision making when:

a) it is not illeagal

b) the directors can object if they feel a decision did leave them legally vulnerable

c) in an as yet never realized, worst case scenario, indemnity IS provided for both directors AND councillors as per current article 67.

1
JWhite on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

Simon,

This is 'my bag' and it is another scare tactic. The current BMC AoA explicity indemnify NC members in Clause 67. They therefore are only at risk if they:

a) commit a criminal act (as is everyone), or

b) commit a breach of civil law, and in settling the BMC exhausts all of it's financial resources (i.e. goes bust) and exceeds any insurance cover that it has.

If there is genuine concern here, then a simple cost effective solution is to extend the current insurance. Perkins Slade's parent company offer very good Directors and Officers insurance (I purchased it only last year for a c.£200m pa construction company that carried much greater risks than the BMC ever will). The BMC can notify the insurers who the Officers to be insured are. This is another non-issue.

I agree that it would be simpler if the BMC changed into a purely governing body and then all the 'best practice' will be applicable. I do not though agree that giving up much of what we currently have will be good for CH&M in the long run, particularly when there are other approaches available to us. Yes, they need some thought, but we have the collecive brainpower to handle that. We just need more than 3.5 weeks to work those concepts up into plans.

1
Andy Say - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

The issue is that there is ambiguity about 'who is in charge'.  IF the BMC Directors were to find themselves in court (and a pretty big IF given that the Directors of Carillion aren't yet....) then it is quite possible that the members of National Council would find themselves in the frame as well.  I would say that they are without a doubt 'Shadow Directors' as described in the '06 Act.  Short term?  Change the insurance cover to give them some protection! 

If we want to clarify the ambiguity in the Articles a simple way of doing it might be to give all powers to direct and implement policy to the Executive Committee but have a substantial list of Reserved Matters upon which approval must be granted by the National Council.  I think, as a layman, that might sort it.

But, obviously, that solution would be anathema to Sport England and so would still leave us with a lot of the problems we are currently trying to solve with regard to funding and NGB status. 

Andy Say - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> “as I understand it the companies act covers the status of “shadow” Directors ie individuals not on the Board but who in effect making Board type decisions. Shadow Directors could be held legally liable for decisions they make for the organisation. National Council members might be deemed to be shadow Directors without being covered (currently) by BMC Directors insurance. So whilst the set up isn’t illegal of itself NC members are legally vulnerable from the provisions of the Companies act if the organisation is sued for negligence, inadequate child protection, corporate manslaughter or whatever. 

> It is therefore considered that it is best practice that the Board has responsibility for decision making as well as carrying it out ie “primacy” and I buy that. The current set up with National Council setting policy muddies where legal responsibility lies.”

Hi Simon, I'd pretty much agree with all of that although I moved away from using the term 'best practice' some years ago; I prefer 'good practice adapted to suit the context'.  The BMC isn't UKAthletics so identical systems of governance don't feel appropriate to me.

Crag Jones - on 16 Apr 2018

Also in addition to original reply

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/the_bmc_proposals_to_go_to_areas_and_agm-682641?v=1#x8768226

the proposed new articles provide no indemnity for 'Councillors', only directors and 'officers'. The briefing note also specifically sais staff are excluded. Perhaps they are 'officers'? Needs checking. Furthermore, costs are only covered if you are acquitted or found not guilty in the new articles which is not a condition in the existing article 67. So the proposed alterations cover less people and even those it does cover are more exposed. How exactly are these considered 'improvements' on the existing arrangements and a justification for reducing democratic representation?

Paul Evans - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Jonathan. The fact that there is no current breach of the 06 Act does not mean that there is not a problem, and it has not been "noise and hype". It is clearly explained in the WBD advice on the original ORG full report, and in both of my posts on the 8th April further up the thread. Also re your post earlier pointing out that the BMC indemnifies Exec and NC under clause 67, yes it does. However, only the Directors have indemnity insurance under clause 3.24, the NC members do not.

Cheers

Paul 

Crag Jones - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Paul. Other careful observers have said that the actual advice as written by WBD themselves is very vague in this respect and not a clear justification for radical change. I have not had time yet to check their document myself to confirm that. You refer to 'Clause 3.24'? Which document is that from? Johnathan has already pointed out that even if specific insurance were also required beyond the existing indemnity already provided for Councillors in Article 67, then it need not be that expensive. See also my earlier comments on this where indemnity appears to be reduced rather than enhanced under the new proposals.

1
Paul Evans - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Crag. 3.24 and 67 are both sections of the current M&AA. As regards the WBD advice, read it yourself and make your own mind up. I think it is clear. Paul

Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

From my understanding the Companies Act is quite a vague document,  but it is worth noting the view of the man largely responsible for writing them, and the amendments since:

  1. The articles were written in 1993 with a deliberate degree of ambiguity, between the powers of Exec and NC, so it COULD be read as compliant with the act; but it was never clearly compliant.  In fact the phrase he used was a "fudge".
  2. The fact that this wording is now been shown to be ambiguous means that the current articles are no longer appropriate.
  3. As a consequence these articles need to be updated to remove the ambiguity and ensure that the roles of the 2 bodies are clearly defined in a way that is unambiguous and puts the legal responsibilities with those people with legal accountability. 
Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The main problem is that it is proposed that contentious issues should be resolved by a mechanism that is essentially one of conflict i.e. having to make a resolution to the AGM and have the membership vote on it; instead of using the current mechanism of debate and vote on the issue at source within the National Council. The proposed new method is both more fractious and very time consuming. I realize there is the proposed ‘grievance procedure’ to mitigate conflict but it circumvents the existing efficient democratic safeguards exercised by the National Council.

I don't think anyone is proposing that MoNCs and resolutions is the right way to conduct business day to day.  Discussion and agreement between the NC and the Exec/Board is the right way and will still continue.  Redefining the roles to ensure legal accountability is tied to legal responsibility does change the ability of the NC to veto and IF this happens then the point is the Members have the absolute right to call a resolution (as they do now) 

> My objections are philosophical but all the more important for that. The proposed ‘Members Assembly will be an emasculated version of the National Council. Yes of course the new Board will be more ‘efficient’ at enacting decisions but at the members expense of both what is put up for decision and how it is decided.

I would suggest it might be losing 'hard power' to veto, but retains significant 'soft power' to persuade the Board; with the ability to galvanise the members it represents to oppose formally if the Board are acting 'unreasonably' in their opinion.   It would be a brave, and might I say foolish, Board who were told by NC that a proposal was not right, but went ahead anyway.

> It allows a board to relentlessly pursue their vision, making it far harder to hold them to account.

Why harder to hold to account?  All Board minutes will be available to the NC (as now), the Board have to tell the NC what they are doing/proposing (as now) and the minutes will be published on BMC website (not currently required).

> There has been deliberate obfuscation of issues related to Sport England demands, legal requirements, and what is considered ‘good governance’. None of these issues were insurmountable but they have instead been combined to create a false agenda.

Not sure why you believe it is obfuscated.  The changes SE require are clearly marked up in the Articles on the minisite (albeit they are slightly out of date now given the movement I've got on key issues).

> That false agenda quite possibly aims to open up commercial opportunity within the sector. A vision that sees the membership base is an underexploited resource that can be capitalized upon. This might be to generate gain for providers of services and goods, period; or also to generate funds to ‘develop’ the sector in a way members will have lost control of.

> It’s unique spiritual aspects and sense of identity will have been sacrificed for commercial opportunism. Commercial opportunities that demands we fit-in with their requirements rather than vice-versa. We just become another flavour in the monetized sports ice-cream parlour. We do not have to sleep walk into that trap. We have a choice.

This is an opinion you are entitled to hold but not convinced of the evidence for this.

Finally, if we do ever move onto Proposal 2, then ideas like your proposal of an Outcome Framework (is that the name you use), would be a great way to ensure visibility of what members want and what was eventually agreed.  As I said on the phone I hope that you would volunteer to be on the working group looking at membership engagement and accountability to work through how best to ensure the board and NC know what the majority of members want and can demonstrate how this is achieved.

paul mitchell - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say: I can feel a new route name coming on......BMC Comps Committee,what a fine route name.

 

      Sport England?  What's that? I get an image of committee members at the funding trough,morals shot to - - - -.

 

   

 

andyr - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> That false agenda quite possibly aims to open up commercial opportunity within the sector. A vision that sees the membership base is an underexploited resource that can be capitalized upon. This might be to generate gain for providers of services and goods, period; or also to generate funds to ‘develop’ the sector in a way members will have lost control of.

> It’s unique spiritual aspects and sense of identity will have been sacrificed for commercial opportunism. Commercial opportunities that demands we fit-in with their requirements rather than vice-versa. We just become another flavour in the monetized sports ice-cream parlour. We do not have to sleep walk into that trap. We have a choice.

Given that there has been significant commercial involvement for many years now; why hasn't this 'sacrifice' already occurred. All the 'risks and commercial demands' that you invoke have been in place longtime.

Climbing Walls. Competitions (local and national). Coaching Awards. MT certification specific to Walls. NICAS and NIBAS schemes (with many more registered than the BMC membership). GCSE and A level programs. The million plus active users involved in these dwarf the BMC.

To paraphrase; What has the BMC ever done for this huge majority of active climbers.......

 

1
JWhite on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

We need to be rather clearer when quoting the history to not be misleading. Yes, the current articles date from 1993 because that was when the BMC became a limited company, but much has changed in that time, some of it significantly.

Not least is that there wasn't a National Council until over a decade later. Prior to that there was a deliberate fudge (not my words) because the BMC Committee of Management (ManCom) _was_ responsible for the management of the BMC, but because it only met 5 times a year and communicated by post and landline between those times, some matters needed to be handled quickly and effectively by a smaller group who met monthly (the Exec).

Nobody is saying that there shouldn't be clarity or that there shouldn't be updates to the Articles, but we don't need to go as far as removing all authority from the NC. The National Council was formed in place of ManCom specifically to provide that clarity, to reflect the reality of timescales, the effectiveness of a committee of 30 people, and to empower the Exec to discharge their Directorial responsibilities. It is apparent from recent conversations with a number of NC and Exec members that NC has overstepped its authority and lines have become burred.

There is currently no briefing to new NC members on their precise duties, authorities and limits, so no wonder there is confusion and misalignment. Just looking at the last few weeks: some Area reps on NC have diligently consulted with people in their areas in order to be able to represent the views of their constituent members, whereas other have not. A few have gone the other way by describing this proactive consultation as "leaking information" - presumably those people already view the BMC as a Governing body, where communications need to be withheld until sanitised and spun before release in order to maximise compliance. How is that appropriate in a representitive body?

Please familiarise yourself with the work done when NC was established, and consider whether the effort here would be more effective (and certainly less contentious) if the current structure was made to work the way it was designed. We can have the current structure or we can have a new structure, but if those involved don't work to the structure and responsibilities, then it will all be irrelevant and the confusion will continue. Clarity is needed, but that doesn't have to equate to turning NC into an impotent talking shop. It is only SE that are pushing for that.

5
john arran - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to paul mitchell:

> I can feel a new route name coming on......BMC Comps Committee,what a fine route name.

 

Or even ... British Machiavellian Council

Now, where have I heard that one before? ;-)

 

JWhite on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

"I would suggest it might be losing 'hard power' to veto, but retains significant 'soft power' to persuade the Board; with the ability to galvanise the members it represents to oppose formally if the Board are acting 'unreasonably' in their opinion.   It would be a brave, and might I say foolish, Board who were told by NC that a proposal was not right, but went ahead anyway."

The issue is more likely to be mission creep, alterior motives or presenting fait accomplis, rather than a full standoff. These are not theoretical risks, they all happened on my watch, and I'm told by others that they have more recent illustrations. For example:

- Festival of Climbing - mission creep and poor management resulting in big losses, well in excess of agreed expenditure.

- British Museum of Mountaineering at Rheged - as above, but (much) bigger. Only the legal fees to initially establish an isolated entity were agreed to.

- Ban on tobacco sponsorship. Fine on face value, but the alterior motive for rushing this through became apparent when it was then applied retrospectively to an expedition. When the leader appealled, he was treated appallingly. Really appallingly. It escalated and few of us thought that his subsequent job 'redundancy' was a coincidence.

- Change of Officer contracts from Fixed to Permanent. We were informed afterwards as a fait accomplis. We were livid.

- Manipulation of minutes to reflect the 'party line'. Fern Levy's resignation speech expanded on this and went a lot further. Others stated at the time and since that her experience was not isolated. Certainly amendments that I and others raised were repeatedly just not recorded, despite verification from others present.

I've emailed DT with these and more - please speak to him about the detail and for access to the confidential reports/non-redacted minutes from the time. We can't contend that such things won't happen or are very unlikely, because they have happened. We need a structure that addresses the general point in the ORG revised report:

"The members and the Members Assembly need to be able to hold the Board of Directors to account, and the Directors need to take legal responsibility for the management and administration of the BMC on their behalf"

"Soft power" doesn't give the MA that ability.

 

Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> We need to be rather clearer when quoting the history to not be misleading. Yes, the current articles date from 1993 because that was when the BMC became a limited company, but much has changed in that time, some of it significantly.

I am relating the comment from the individual who was involved in all the changes.   Given I was not involved in that work I don't think I can comment on it's historical correctness or not. 

> Please familiarise yourself with the work done when NC was established, and consider whether the effort here would be more effective (and certainly less contentious) if the current structure was made to work the way it was designed.

The current structure is ambiguous and needs to be made unambiguous to work properly.  As to whether that also involves gaining SE compliance or not is for the members to decide.

I would also say that while it was designed to work in a certain way when set up, that was based on the aforesaid fudge.  If we are removing the fudge then there will inevitably changes in how the relationship works.  So I guess I'm saying shouldn't we be working together on making the two NC & Exec/Board work together but in a more transparent and clear way without the fudge blurring the picture.

... that doesn't have to equate to turning NC into an impotent talking shop.

I don't agree that the NC would become 'impotent' (my point on hard power v's soft power) though I'm sure some might say it's already a 'talking shop' which is certainly an area that needs addressing.

It is only SE that are pushing for that.

You talk about SE pushing, but to be fair what they are actually saying that if you want funding you need to comply with the code, if you don't then that's your decision.  Also even clarifying the ambiguities, and ignoring SE code, would change the relationship between the Board and the NC with decisions currently lying with the NC needing to be moved to the board.  The Sport & Recreational Alliance for example say

  • The board has primary responsibility for decision making in the organisation. 

Having looked at it I believe that the funding, not necessarily to the BMC but to the sport as a whole, and being seen to be code compliant by our sporting peers and public bodies is important and the costs are small.  You think otherwise, which is fine; we come from different perspectives and with different histories;  and I respect your viewpoint even if I think differently.  We need to make the case to members but ultimately it's up to the members to decide.

edited to highlight quotes from original text.

Post edited at 15:17
Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> The issue is more likely to be mission creep, alterior motives or presenting fait accomplis, rather than a full standoff. These are not theoretical risks, they all happened on my watch, and I'm told by others that they have more recent illustrations.

Maybe I'm missing the point, but if all these things happened within the current structure and articles does it not just reinforce the point that the current system isn't working and the 'hard power' isn't as effective as we might think to apply the checks and balances we need?

I would completely agree that we need a structure to hold people to account, I just disagree that the proposed articles and the Proposal 2 work won't achieve that.

1
Paul Evans - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

In reply to JWhite:

Sorry to point out the obvious Jonathan, but all the bad things you have listed above, and the further bad things you have hinted at, happened (allegedly, as they'd say on HIGNFY) when we had the old arrangements. That didn't stop them either, did it?  I'm sceptical that simply "a structure that addresses the general point in the ORG revised report" is going to fix this. It doesn't seem to have fixed it to date. Nor am I convinced that transitioning to soft power is going to make it worse.

Remember that all members can see Board minutes (minimally redacted) in the new world. This is not the case now. National Council have 3 members on the Board who see unredacted minutes. This should protect against inappropriate redaction.  

The changes IG propose are about are the NCs ability to tell the board what to do. To fix the problem you have described we need to focus on the NCs ability to monitor what the board is doing and has done. Arguably this is no worse, and can in fact be argued to be improving, in the new arrangements. 

Cheers

Paul

JWhite on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

So in summary, my point here is that these risks that have been dismissed as unlikely/theoretical have happened, and reducing/softening/removing the power of the NC is not going to help to protect the membership from these types of issues in future.

My other point is that I cannot see how the current proposals differ from those of purely a governing body.

NB. The words 'soft' and 'impotent' do tend to have an association...

1
JWhite on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

"To fix the problem you have described we need to focus on the NCs ability to monitor what the board is doing and has done. "

 

Monitoring doesn't fix the problem, it just confirms whether the problem is there or not. They also need to be able to do something about issues that may arise or have arisen. Open communication and a 'no surprises' culture will help though, as will meaningful consultation on big issues, and securing the agreement of members on the biggest issues (including changes to policy/ethics) - be that via NC or the AGM as appropriate. 

JWhite on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

"I would also say that while it was designed to work in a certain way when set up, that was based on the aforesaid fudge.  If we are removing the fudge then there will inevitably changes in how the relationship works.

This seems to be blurring two things that were a decade apart. ManCom was the fudge, so through changes in how the relationship worked, ManCom was dissolved and NC was created to give fudge-free clarity :

The role of the Exec and staff is to implement the high level policy direction agreed by NC.

From a company perspective, this is no different to the owners/investors of a company having a say in its high level policy and direction. They engage/employ Directors, Officers and staff to manage and coordinate this in a responsible and legally compliant way on their behalf. In our case, as Members, we own the company, we underwrite its potential financial liabilities (in a limited way, thankfully!), and we hope to not get involved in the day to day stuff, but do want our agreement to the really big things.

If anyone in NC thinks that they still have the roles and responsibilities of a ManCom member, they need to be appraised that this changed a long time ago. Equally if Directors feel that they should have the same empowerment as owner-directors of a small business, they also need re-appraising. Role descriptions will help a great deal here. The BMC always used to be good at having clear, documented terms of reference for its committees that were regularly reviewed. Is that still the case, and does it extend to the NC & Exec?

Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> This seems to be blurring two things that were a decade apart. ManCom was the fudge, so through changes in how the relationship worked, ManCom was dissolved and NC was created to give fudge-free clarity :

Yet according to the Legal Appendix in the ORG and talking to Martin it didn't achieve that and we are still encased in a mixture of sugar, butter and milk .

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

> From my understanding the Companies Act is quite a vague document,  but it is worth noting the view of the man largely responsible for writing them, and the amendments since:

To be pedantic, Andy, Martin Wragg wasn't actually responsible for writing the 2006 Companies Act  

 

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

> I would suggest it might be losing 'hard power' to veto, but retains significant 'soft power' to persuade the Board; with the ability to galvanise the members it represents to oppose formally if the Board are acting 'unreasonably' in their opinion.  

Hmmmm. 'Soft power'.....

> Why harder to hold to account?  All Board minutes will be available to the NC (as now), the Board have to tell the NC what they are doing/proposing (as now) and the minutes will be published on BMC website (not currently required).

Actually no.  Redacted minutes will be available (as now) not the full minutes of Board meetings.

 

 

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to paul mitchell:

> I can feel a new route name coming on......BMC Comps Committee,what a fine route name.

>       Sport England?  What's that? I get an image of committee members at the funding trough

In other sports they are called 'the blazers'.  The old buggers on expenses who call the shots and can't be got rid of

 

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to john arran:

John

I personally have a soft spot for the Bolton Mothers Club.....

But that's history.

 

Andy

> Or even ... British Machiavellian Council

> Now, where have I heard that one before? ;-)

 

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> So in summary, my point here is that these risks that have been dismissed as unlikely/theoretical have happened, and reducing/softening/removing the power of the NC is not going to help to protect the membership from these types of issues in future.

> My other point is that I cannot see how the current proposals differ from those of purely a governing body.

> NB. The words 'soft' and 'impotent' do tend to have an association...


  Nice word play sirrah!

Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> Hmmmm. 'Soft power'.....

Maybe things work differently in the Say household but despite no veto powers by Mrs Syme my climbing plans are definitely subject to soft power!  I would say soft power is vastly underrated and the supposed 'hard power' currently held by NC seems not to be effective anyway.  I guess it depends if you start from a point that the Board (of volunteers) and the NC (of volunteers) are both looking at working to the benefit of the BMC and members.  If you do then working together would be best for the BMC. 

> Actually no.  Redacted minutes will be available (as now) not the full minutes of Board meetings.

23.14 of new articles says "The approach of the Board shall be open and transparent at all times and redaction should be the exception, rather than the norm. The decision as to whether a matter is confidential is for the Board to decide in its discretion."

Also 4 members of the NC are directors and will see full minutes, so if redaction is unjustified then they are fully able to call it out.  Assuming that is that the NC members won't in some way morph into some different beast with different principals (aka Directors) when elected to the Board.

 

ScottH - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

In writing this I am aware some bits may well change - so this is with reference to the AoA / Proposal 1 as they are available to download at this moment.

Not sure why you believe it is obfuscated.  The changes SE require are clearly marked up in the Articles on the minisite (albeit they are slightly out of date now given the movement I've got on key issues).

Whilst the marked up AoA do identify those changes required by SE, those changes are scattered throughout the AoA.  However of the 4 items that comprise Proposal 1 the only one that explicitly refers to SE (and Sports Governance as opposed to Good Governance) is 1d.

I doubt it was intentional, but when you compare the quick look Proposal text with the long look AoA mark-up text, there does seem to be some obfuscation of the drivers behind the changes.

Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> To be pedantic, Andy, Martin Wragg wasn't actually responsible for writing the 2006 Companies Act  

OK my English wasn't totally unambiguous but I suspect you read it as intended ! If only we could put such clarity into the articles.

1
Andy Syme - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to ScottH:

> I doubt it was intentional, but when you compare the quick look Proposal text with the long look AoA mark-up text, there does seem to be some obfuscation of the drivers behind the changes.

As you gracefully note it wasn't intentional, but any mistake or confusion in there is solely mine.  Have you read the plain English guide or cross reference table?  They might give you a clearer view of what has been asked for by SE if you are unsure.

Andy Say - on 17 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

> Also 4 members of the NC are directors and will see full minutes, so if redaction is unjustified then they are fully able to call it out.  Assuming that is that the NC members won't in some way morph into some different beast with different principals (aka Directors) when elected to the Board.

Legally they do morph!  Once they are Directors their primary responsibility should be to 'the Company' and not whoever put them there.

It was something we grappled with in my earlier role; if a representative of X becomes a Director then X should field a new representative as the Director can no longer properly represent X.  

Andy Syme - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Legally they change role, but my point was about their principals.  They are on the Board to ensure members rights and concerns are represented and hence they would ensure any redaction was 'appropriate'.

As an aside I hear there was a question at NW about Article 19.9 and the 1/3 rd rule.  I have added to the Q&A to answer this

https://thebmc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360003258233-Can-you-clarify-the-1-3rd-of-Board-members-being-member-elected-and-it-s-implications-

Paul Evans - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hi Andy

As you well know, the wording around availability of minutes in the new articles is substantially different (and better) than where we are now. I'll post a compare and contrast if we really need to argue the detail. 

You as an NC member can see board minutes, but I'm not aware that us humble ordinary members can now, which we will in future. Certainly we do not have this as a right in the current minutes, IIRC it is at NC discretion, this is fixed in the new minutes. And I've looked for them, so if they are there, they are well hidden (quite possible). If they are there for ordinary member access at the mo, a hint as to where would be appreciated. 

Cheers

Paul

Andy Say - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Hi Paul,

Currently NC do not see full Executive Committee minutes.  We are given minutes with 'sensitive' issues removed (staffing, commercial etc.).  I'm pretty sure that neither version is publically available 'as of right' although full minutes of all National Council meetings are available - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-national-council-minutes

Thanks for your attendance at the NW Area meeting by the way

Andy

Post edited at 08:47
Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Thanks for leading the IC debate fairly and sensitively....it could have been a car crash without that. I guess observing at these meetings is interesting (albeit  4+ hours on the road, after work, is not entirely the sort of thing I'd do voluntarily for the BMC on its own: Lynn needs a rest at times, as I'm sure you do too after the IC work).

You do need a bigger venue if those numbers keep coming. What was it, 28?

Les Ainsworth stands for President eh?... I hope he realises the sheer amount of work and travel he has let himself in for if he wins.

Post edited at 09:17
galpinos on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I'll echo Offwidth's thanks on leading/steering* the debate. It was my first meeting and it was great to see so many people that actually care about the BMC, even if they disagree about what it is and what it should be. There wasn't much apathy in the room.

It was also nice/surreal to see "people off of the internet" in real life.

* Having re-read that I mean steering as in keeping it on track, not leading it in the direction of your own opinion.

Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

I'm sulking now as you didn't say hello. ;-)  Had to rush off at the end as we had a radiator problem, no petrol and a long journey home (no further problems luckily)

galpinos on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I took me a while to realise/work out who people were and at the end I think people just wanted to get home! I shall make sure I say hi next time......

Andy Say - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

>  It was my first meeting and it was great to see so many people that actually care about the BMC, even if they disagree about what it is and what it should be. There wasn't much apathy in the room.

> Having re-read that I mean steering as in keeping it on track, not leading it in the direction of your own opinion.

My thanks.  And to Offwidth too.

My stance is if you really want to hear what the members think then its a mistake to try to tell them what to think

The only way to present the proposals and options is as neutrally and factually as possible and I'm sure that is the way it will be handled at all of the Area meetings: no proselytising, no persuading, no one-sidedness.  (I am conscious my slip might have been showing on a couple of occasions though....)

Andy

 

Paul Evans - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Yes agreed all, good debate and a well attended meeting. Not much apathy in evidence.   Looking forward to seeing the final version of the proposals when Andy Syme and the team finish beavering away. 

Cheers

Paul

JWhite on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

> It was also nice/surreal to see "people off of the internet" in real life.

What - you mean it's actually real people that also use computers? Hopefully we'll see a decent turnout at the L&SE tomorrow night for a good, informed debate. Regulars on these threads on UKC are well informed of the issues and perspectives, so would be particularly valuable contributors. If any other UKC folk are also real people from the L&SE, please collar me and say hello. I'll be the one sitting quietly in the corner...

I spoke to Rik (the chair & IG member) on Monday had he's replaced our speaker with a short (9 minute) film, so we'll have plenty of time for discussion without having to curtail things out of obligation.

 

Crag Jones - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> Given that there has been significant commercial involvement for many years now; why hasn't this 'sacrifice' already occurred. All the 'risks and commercial demands' that you invoke have been in place longtime.

> Climbing Walls. Competitions (local and national). Coaching Awards. MT certification specific to Walls. NICAS and NIBAS schemes (with many more registered than the BMC membership). GCSE and A level programs. The million plus active users involved in these dwarf the BMC.

> To paraphrase; What has the BMC ever done for this huge majority of active climbers.......

Hi. I accept what you say about commercial involvement both outside and within the BMC. Though I personally think its detrimental I have accepted the BMC stance towards it because at present the mechanism is there for the membership to object and they have chosen not to. But future proposals take away that very mechanism and that is what I am unhappy about. I am far less likely to accept things I don't like because they are being imposed by an appointed board and not the democratic choice of the membership.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/the_bmc_proposals_to_go_to_areas_and_agm-682641?v=1#x8768188

 

Post edited at 14:25
3
andyr - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Hi. I accept what you say about commercial involvement both outside and within the BMC. Though I personally think its detrimental I have accepted the BMC stance towards it because at present the mechanism is there for the membership to object and they have chosen not to. But future proposals take away that very mechanism and that is what I am unhappy about. I am far less likely to accept things I don't like because they are being imposed by an appointed board and not the democratic choice of the membership.

I'd be interested to know what you think has been detrimental.

I think this neatly encapsulates the problem thrown up by this whole affair. There is the mass of members in the middle who really don't care. Then there are a few on one fringe who want the BMC  to simply represent 'traditional' outdoor mountain activities; and those on the other fringe who would like a representative body that actually represents the activity as a whole. ie: a BMC that represents us all; rather than one that represents a small percentage and turns it's back on the majority.

The SE involvement is overplayed. Yes it represents 20% of the income; but the BMC doesn't actually need it. If the membership feel the conditions are onerous then don't apply for it. If they feel that income has value then recognise that it come with 'strings' attached. It is SE duty to establish that any NGB that they give funds to is fit for purpose. Firstly they establish that you conform to any relevant legislation. Then to get the cash you tell SE what you're going to do with the money and set the targets. On a regular basis they require you to report on how you're performing. Are you using the cash as agreed and are you meeting your self imposed targets. Do this successfully and four years later you can ask for more. 

JWhite on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

"Les Ainsworth stands for President eh?... I hope he realises the sheer amount of work and travel he has let himself in for if he wins."

That's interesting. We will need someone - Nick Kurth said to me after a recent Area meeting that he comes to his term limit at this AGM, so he can't be Acting President any longer.

I've never met Les, but I've heard the name. The feedback from three IG members I've spoken to who are working closely with him are that he's been a star - sensible, balanced, pragmatic and extremely thorough and hard-working. He's definitely up to speed with the current position, so probably therefore does have a good grasp of what he's letting himself in for. He also seems to be respected by those questioning the current direction, so perhaps he could be someone to bring the potentially diverging strands of the BMC back together?

We need someone like this now more then ever, and if Les is the man, then that's great news. I'll look forward to hopefully meeting him some time.

JWhite on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

"The SE involvement is overplayed. Yes it represents 20% of the income; but the BMC doesn't actually need it. "

This is a key point. In round terms it _was_ 20% of BMC income, if we sign up to BMC terms then it's expected to fall anyway to 8-10% for the 2018-2022 funding round, and NGBs have been strongly encouraged to wean themselves off SE funding after that because there may well not be any more (I'm told that's partly due to lower revenue from lottery ticket sales, and partly to changing government priorities (whoever the government will be then). Remember that the re-brand was supposed to be about making the BMC more attractive to replacement sources of income - this isn't new news.

These compliance 'challenges' relate to Tier 3 compliance, which the BMC is classed as because of the funding it receives. Once the funding dries up we'd only need to be Tier 1, and that seems much less contentious for us to comply with. We then retain SE recognition with the political clout that some people think it brings, without the loss of ownership by members. That seems like a win-win, and the only thing we lose is what we're going to lose anyway.

Given that we either have to deal with this now or in the very near future, it does seem highly over-played. I'm told that the BMC has already built up sufficent reserves to cover the gap in the short term whilst longer term decisions are made. Surely it is in everyone's interests to deal with this now and find long term solutions that work for the whole broad church that we currently cover. This is a lot of hassle to go through just for a temporary sticking plaster.

1
Andy Say - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

>   Looking forward to seeing the final version of the proposals when Andy Syme and the team finish beavering away. 

So am I!

 

Crag Jones - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> I'd be interested to know what you think has been detrimental.

Please see:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19kG1I5QBAl6wyxya7tB9XBM63DIvvfY7tTsgxWBjwAc/edit#heading=h.h8rxdhpohjgv

 

> I think this neatly encapsulates the problem thrown up by this whole affair. There is the mass of members in the middle who really don't care. Then there are a few on one fringe who want the BMC  to simply represent 'traditional' outdoor mountain activities; and those on the other fringe who would like a representative body that actually represents the activity as a whole. ie: a BMC that represents us all; rather than one that represents a small percentage and turns it's back on the majority.

Not quite sure how my answer above 'encapsulates' what you are asserting. It says I'll accept things contrary to my own view if the membership democratically decides that or at least has the democratic wherewithal to object if they are not happy. That's what is being taken away.

> The SE involvement is overplayed. Yes it represents 20% of the income; but the BMC doesn't actually need it. If the membership feel the conditions are onerous then don't apply for it. If they feel that income has value then recognise that it come with 'strings' attached. It is SE duty to establish that any NGB that they give funds to is fit for purpose. Firstly they establish that you conform to any relevant legislation. Then to get the cash you tell SE what you're going to do with the money and set the targets. On a regular basis they require you to report on how you're performing. Are you using the cash as agreed and are you meeting your self imposed targets. Do this successfully and four years later you can ask for more. 

We satisfy all that you list here already. Problem is they seek to unnecessarily force the drastic reduction in the memberships democratic voice in addition to the expected requirements. That's the nub of the problem. You might well be right and the funding is not worth members loosing the potential to have a say in how they are represented.

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

 

 

Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Indeed Les standing is interesting, as the email trails I've seen from clubs imply he was already  your 'faction's' preferred candidate prior to the announcement.  What has happened to your group?  I thought you were supposed to be above all this subterfuge and undemocratic nonsense.... first the suggested rule based stunt to remove proxy votes at the AGM (similar email trail) now this pretence that Les's announcement is breaking news (and completely independant). Why can't the BMC members involved play fair and square?  At least the 'hug a troll' bit in those emails was funny... always a risky business ;-)

I think Les is honourable and certainly experienced; he stated he wanted to help stop the BMC rip themselves apart, which was a bit emotive for my liking, but I get why he said it. He is not pretending spontaneity ... he said he already built the support of over half the honorary members and to my knowledge as an outsider to most of his politics this has been going for months. Unfortunately from my perspective he certainly seems to share the suspicions of those in key positions in the exisitng democratic process. Those in postions that I broadly trust (including Carl and Andy Say on NC and of course all in a structure that you seemingly want to retain and that has generated all these democratic problems,  like Climb Britain). Restore the old order and everything will be fine, springs to mind. He has also been part of the IC so some might think he has a degree of conflict of interest (not that I personally think people should be much fussed over that ).

On the primacy front it has never in practice been fully with the NC, as Dave's email clearly indicates, and where it was, or where the more common collaborative 'primacy' was in action, they jointly made mistakes. Honest human mistakes that hopefully would be harder to repeat in a system with more direct membership input under the new proposals. Any elected candidates from any faction will struggle not to make new mistakes in the future,  irrespective of primacy.

It would be really good to see an open contested election again. Only one President and only one VP position in the many membership post 'elections' in these categories since the last reorganisation were contested, that I know of (and neither of those were 100% 'above board' in what I would regard as an ideal properly open-to-full-membership discussion of the issues prior to the vote).  The 30, or your more sensible faction could of course have raised candidates for President or VP positions over the last few years if democracy was that important. Instead,  when Doug lost, sadly it seems for the 30 that plotting behind the scenes and more recently writing nasty abusive letters to the likes of Rehan was preferred.

Post edited at 17:04
Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Hard to know who I was as I promised myself to be a silent (non-voting) observer at the meeting (out of area load mouth with connections to the exec and white rose YMC and all that ;-)

The debate was strong indeed in the north west.  Oddly the point that struck me most was the grumpy guy on costs (to be expected I thought... such emotive issues need careful explaining and Dave Brown had to work hard facing such emotion). In the end, costs will influence a lot more members than governance niceties. Voting to support 10% increases on fees, if the SE compliance cant be voted in, is a generosity of an area meeting the wider membeship may not share.. especially when the full current process costs and those of Stage 2 become a bit more widespread and clearer.  Climbers can be a parsimonious bunch.  

The loss of influence with government (unfairly in my view as SE haven't done really bad things to us yet...certainly not that we could protest on and get public support) and the effect on our affiliated bodies, were always more important to me than the SE money.  Even so, funding might well be declining but its still important to current plans for real BMC posts and actions. 

Post edited at 17:21
andyr - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> I'd be interested to know what you think has been detrimental.

Please see:

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19kG1I5QBAl6wyxya7tB9XBM63DIvvfY7tTsgxWBjwAc/edit#heading=h.h8rxdhpohjgv

 

4) That in turn leads to more non core projects, more staff, more complexity and a lot more costs. Those costs then in turn drive dependency on commercial initiatives and grant supporting bodies and less understanding and focus on the core basic repetitive, relatively simple needs of a membership organisation.

 

 

5) We have unwittingly launched ourselves on an upward tail chasing spiral of unnecessary increasing costs and financial initiatives to service them which lead to further 'commodification' of adventure, without realizing the fundamental damage this will cause to the very ethos of that adventure.

 

Are you saying that the massive increase in participation; in the main due to commercial involvement is wrong. That the BMC should not engage with these new participants. What is the 'fundamental damage this will cause to the very ethos of that adventure'.

 

Crag Jones - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

 

I don’t want to go too far off subject on this forum which is the Implementation Group proposals, but to answer your questions:

Yes, I am saying that that is wrong because:

a) The driver for encouraging participation is not  the benefit for those participants but profit for its own sake or to fund the bureaucracy in the case of the BMC.

b) It is inherently dangerous so people, particularly youngsters, should enter of their own volition, rather than being encouraged.

c) Pressure on the environment. Crags Mountains and Hills are overcrowded and wearing out!

The BMC should engage fully with existing participants and encourage diversity, but not proactively seek new participants.

The damage to the ethos is caused where commercialization reduces self-reliance, the element of discovery and the acceptance of risk which is fundamental to outdoor exploration.

 

A better link might be: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vmWTndt2YV0r9YybrXXRPadsc9EAD6Sdriw076nL8XI/edit

 

1
JWhite on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Aaah, the 'hug a troll' email. Well, you've got to keep it all in perspective . Have you seen the whole email (it was a looooong one) - if not I'll send it to you. Nothing secret in there - in fact I suspect I've posted the majority (and more) in varying-sized chunks on UKC. You raise a few points for me to respond to...

Than circulation was no more a 'faction' than UKC is: we don't agree with each other any more than all on UKC agree with each other. Some use UKC as their primary discussion forum, some use email chains (which wax and wane), and others meet physically. For the last month or so (roughly around the time I posted a paper on Crag's site), I've been getting frequently 40 emails a day on the BMC governance (from all sorts of people, frequently unconnected with each other), plus some long phone calls each day too, including from DT, Andy Syme and you (which was appreciated, thanks). Sometimes I have the time to reply directly, others (like then) was a summary of my distilled thoughts of a week or more to probably several hundred emails and a dozen calls. I sent it to an expanded list - some who I owed replies to, some that I wished to disagree with (to explain why), and a few who are patently not interested (but I'd like them to be). There are other cc lists that I'm on that I didn't send that email to. The only 'faction' you could legitimately refer to are the 6 of us that submitted a joint response to the original ORG document in December (not that we entirely agreed with each other - we're climbers, afterall!). Again, nothing secret - it has been on Crag's site for weeks.

I had heard that Les was thinking of standing, but didn't know he had actually decided to until late last night. I've been trying to persuade someone else who I know and respect, but he's declined (three times including today, so he probably means it). I'm therefore looking to see who else might do a good job. I've never met Les, I know nothing of his mountaineering or BMC history/background but I've heard good things about his current input and I've seen a few emails from him that back up the rigour & clarity. I'm interested to know more.

The 'old order' was definitely not fine - someone on UKC had suggested that we were in denial of past problems, and others said that such problems were unlikely to arise, so I outlined a few of the shortcomings of ManCom. I haven't named anyone other than myself - I take my share of the collective responsibility for the things that went wrong on 'our watch' and our inability to manage effectively. I'd like the current incumbents to learn from our mistakes, and some are not aware of some big issues we had. Ultimately we recognised the issues and replaced ourselves with something outwardly similar but importantly different. I fully get that this is another of those occasions and I'm far from against change and progress - I'm on record as supportive of 80%+ of the proposed ORG changes, but am questioning how the proposed governance changes address more than just a narrow interpretation of the needs. People are human and will make mistakes. Most are volunteers and have other pressures (like jobs, families, getting outdoors). We need governance that is effective and representitve, accountable and empowered, and provides more effective checks and balances than we've had in the past, and recently with e.g. the re-brand.

The difficulty we had when I wrote that email was that we didn't actually know what we were being asked to comment and ultimatley vote on, so it was expressly speculative. To some extent that's still true, with changes in the last week, and more under discussion. After months of ORG review, the point where we should be consulting, consolidating and compromising seem extremely rushed, largely due to external pressures. I questioned what our options are to respond to the AGM proposals, as the proposals will only be decided by NC 4 days before the submission deadline. We therefore won't know them till after the deadline, so by definition will not be able to table constructive alternatives in advance. That brings you down to what can be done on the day, hence my questions.

I'm also on record as being very uncomfortable with AGMs being decided by post in advance, as they negate the debate and make the AGM itself largely worthless. I fully support proxies carried by those attending, and the ideas for live streaming and live on-line voting which should address the concerns both of under-representation and of timeliness of engagement. I'm still not sure how best to get the good stuff through so the organisation can settle, whilst giving sufficient time to evaluate the options for governance change within a body that is both governing and representitive.

Other than hugging trolls, was there anything I've said in any emails that I haven't said publically?

Love & hugs.

Jonathan

2
Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

a) a pretty cynical view and I think very much a minority one.

b) I support the philosophy but with big provisos.  Many experienced climbing and/or mountaineering adults don't properly understand risk in a way that I would like... I  still not going to support anyone being their boss. The BMC needs to educate, not force feed ethics.

c) such pressues are much bigger than the BMC membership and I think damage would be reduced with a big increase in partcipation with the BMC in some areas, especially  hillwalking. Climbing wear and tear is very location specific and the damage is mostly old damage (except bouldering, mixed routes on trad lines and some sport climbing). Many if not most  trad areas actively need more traffic.

I have nothing against the BMC seeking increased participation as suited to the particular game alongside the risk participation statement. Most of these likely targeted participants will be hillwalkers and indoor climbers where public participation is increasing in any case.

Commercial entities have successfully worked alongside the BMC for decades without too many problems so although there are risks, the benefits so far easily outweigh them for me.

Paul Evans - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

I thought we'd moved on from "hug a troll" and are now in "to raise the consciousness of as many members as possible through every means possible". I take your point about the deficiencies of postal proxy voting, but the final para of option 2 reads like using "on the day amendments" to disenfranchise postal voters. Which I, and lots of other people would have a major problem with. 

cheers

Paul

Offwidth - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

You should ba a politician. I saw emails with your name on the circulation list clearly saying Les was standing and why this was a good thing; and also the consideration of removing proxy votes with that procedural stunt. I got this information from several concerned club members in the Peak Area last week. Have you met, talked to and know all the people you voted for in all walks of life or do you usually support them based on their words and wider political connections?

You may dislike posted proxys but that is the current democratic rules and I think they are important to make it harder for the AGM to vote in stupid stuff against the broad membership (which would be worse in my view than Climb Britain... the MoNC would probably have wrecked the BMC if it had succeeded). Also, the new proposals improve this area considerably. Attempting to subvert democracy won't lead to anything good, as the backlash would pretty much always be horrible.

To be honest, what you did is pretty common in politics, the bigger concerns at the Peak area (and mine) were more with other communications that I found out about from various contacts much earlier, especially the insulting one with abusive language toward Nick (from another poster on these UKC debates whom I thought would be above such things). Given what happened with Rehan, the BMC needs a code of conduct to stop any such future abuse. 

I'll consider making an "I'm a troll, please hug" T-shirt for the AGM.

JWhite on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

A lot has moved on in a few weeks.

I don't want to disenfranchise postal voters, but if as last year there are 10 times the number of postal voters as people present, then the postal voters will disenfranchise the physical voters, and I don't want that either. It is a no-win situation, hence trying to consider either/or. What do you suggest to not disenfranchise either group?

One solution is to replace on the day voting with what's effectively a referendum - in which case there would have to be full communication in advance. We can't do that here, as the proposals won't be out in time for anyone to offer an alternative in advance (as in a referendum), and the IG isn't offering a choice because they don't have time. Unlike a referendum, no-one is suggesting a 'don't change' option: some change is needed, so it isn't a yes/no, it needs thinking about. This is not a solution that's available.

Postal voters can't be part of 'on the day amendments' so votes on the day would prevail for that element and would be informed by alternatives raised on the day. Counter proposals to existing motions can be constructive amendments or destructive wreckers - the latter is a negative way of working _and_ crucially doesn't give you a viable outcome, so is not valid here in a way that it possibly might be in a yes/no.  Anyhow, amendments on the day can't be substantial so this is not a solution to presenting an alternative that's available either.

Neither work, and we're not the only organisation facing the dilemma posed by the success of postal voting. So, how do we give our members a genuine choice in the timescales available?  The best idea I have heard is the live streaming and on-line voting, and I'm really pleased that it is being investigated. It'll slow down the count on the day, but it's the best compromise I've heard so far.

1
Paul Evans - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

I think you need to study the dictionary definition of "disenfranchise" (as Bob might say). You don't mean disenfranchise, you mean "outnumber". Which is kind of the point of democracy. 

Anyway, as Dennis Healey once wisely observed, "when you're in a hole, stop digging". 

Cheers

Paul

1
Mark Kemball - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Postal voting etc. I care deeply about the BMC and its future. I can read about the issues and decide upon my views prior to an AGM, furthermore, I have no desire to make a round trip of several hundred miles to sit in a room listening to people arguing when I could be out climbing. 

The people who are in the room arguing are no more important than any other BMC members. Their votes are no more valid than those who take the trouble to send in postal votes or proxy votes. Any attempt to change this would be very undemocratic.

andyr - on 18 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

This is such a narrow blinkered view; which appears to be based on what climbing and mountaineering used to be and not what is today in 2018. The  commercial sector has for many years encouraged participation. So the BMC doesn't have to do this; but why shouldn't it represent all participants.

Of course it's dangerous; just like so many sporting activities. But climbing and mountaineering imagery is common. The internet, YouTube, the cinema, TV...adults and youngsters know that climbing exists and want to try it. Take just one of the commercial schemes such as NICAS. Currently a 115,000+ youngsters are autonomous climbers; but they aren't being forced. They are regularly involved in a healthy activity. Why isn't the BMC representing them.

Pressure on the environment is the 'old chestnut' that's been trotted out since the eighties; along with ' everything will be 'grid bolted'. Thirty years later there are hundreds of thousands more active climbers; yet there are regular posts on how crags are been lost back to vegetation; and the same honey pots are the same honey pots.

In what way does commercialization reduce self-reliance. Yes the commercial sector will sell them the initial skills; but once those are gained the person is autonomous. They may choose to move around different Walls; or go outdoors. In the outdoors they will arrive with a better skillset; but everything else remains the same. They may opt to use the services of a guide; but what's new in that?

I am not a cheer leader for the BMC. I do question why we would have a body who purports to be the National Representative Body for Mountaineering, Walking and Climbing in this country that choses to represent just a select small minority of the active whole. With or without SE money I believe the BMC should 'step up ' to being a proper NRB

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> The people who are in the room arguing are no more important than any other BMC members. Their votes are no more valid than those who take the trouble to send in postal votes or proxy votes. Any attempt to change this would be very undemocratic.

To be honest Mark, it's news to me that anyone is considering doing away with proxy voting. Indeed all the Area meetings I've been to have been enthusiastic about real-time online voting.

I do know that the suggestion that the postal proxies had already been counted before the vote at the last AGM - and the result was 'known' before the attendees had voted - did cause some concern.

Andy

 

1
Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> I think Les is honourable and certainly experienced; he stated he wanted to help stop the BMC rip themselves apart, which was a bit emotive for my liking, but I get why he said it. He is not pretending spontaneity ... he said he already built the support of over half the honorary members and to my knowledge as an outsider to most of his politics this has been going for months.

I'm hurt now. I've obviously been left out.

As far as I know Les only decided to stand last week and has garnered the support he has in that time frame.

Andy

johncook - on 19 Apr 2018

In reply to  Offwidth:

Ask Troll at http://www.trolloutdoors.com/ You may be able to get sponsorship. I have some great Troll sweatshirts and would buy your design!

Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Well thats a mystery as  I know quite a few people who knew more than a month before that. I guess the point where people think about standing and actually decide to see if standing is viable (and make wider soundings) is very difficult to pin down.

Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I assumed the MoNC vote was OK well before the AGM as the membership I trust should have responded robustly when such dishonest secretive plots leading to a deliberately ambiguous MoNC became very public online, in areas and clubs.  That MoNC was hardly normal. 

Post edited at 10:21
Crag Jones - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

Andy. Our kids have done their NICAS schemes, academy squad training, and competed for 2 years. The BMC does, as far as I can make out, do its best to help, encourage and support such participants. I know there have been some criticisms but they do their best. I know many commercial operators initially have a genuine zeal to introduce people, especially youngsters to both indoor climbing and outdoor activities in general BUT almost of necessity it is the economics that inevitably end up driving the process to keep a business successful.

The wall and sport climbing generation, including our own kids, by and large think it insane that every crag is not grid ironed with bolts. The BMC has defended the ‘adventure / trad’ climbing ethos through its enlightened promotion of our inherited climbing culture but the barbarians are battering at the gates.

They are ignorant of, or seek to conceal the undeniable fact that using natural pro is a more genuine engagement with the challenge. Much easier to turn the natural landscape into an engineering workshop to get a safe ‘hit’, rather than take the additional time and effort to learn the skills of leader placed protection. Think about what a treker might feel having spent hours walking into a remote setting to savour the wilderness only to have to appreciate the differences between the hundreds of bolt hangers, chains etc despoiling what would otherwise be a natural rock face. Hey, I clip bolts as much as the next person, but, is that fair on the walker?

But the point is with the new proposals neither you nor I will be able to argue our respective cases in future. Instead a self-appointed board who believe they know what’s good for us will take our money and promote their views instead and we will have far reduced opportunities to influence how things evolve.

So beware Snake-Oil salesmen.

Andy, by the way, has run a series of dodgy crack-dens in the East End and once tried to sell me a second hand Peugeot 405 with a home-made 6-speed gear box designed to make your wallet go downhill fast. I’ll let the jury decide.

6
Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Sure.  I have no problem with the MoNC being voted down.  I was there and voted against.

BUT the issues raised are more to do with some folks knowing the result in advance of the actual AGM!

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I think there was a period when Les was considering a VP role?  That might be confusing the issue.  As I say I only got informed he was going to stand for President last week.

galpinos on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> I don't want to disenfranchise postal voters, but if as last year there are 10 times the number of postal voters as people present, then the postal voters will disenfranchise the physical voters, and I don't want that either. It is a no-win situation, hence trying to consider either/or. What do you suggest to not disenfranchise either group?

Disenfranchise means to deny someone the right to vote. The "physical voters" can still vote. This is not a no-win situation as everyone's vote gets counted. Neither party are disenfranchised.

I agree that one issue is that the debate at the AGM is now redundant as, if there are many more postal than physical voters, they will have cast their vote prior to the debate. This seems a shame and the aforementioned efforts to webcast the AGM and have live voting seems like the right way to go but postal voting needs to stay in the meantime.

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Technically we don't actually have postal voting now; we have proxy voting by post.  So you are actually delegating your vote to someone else (a mate, the CEO, the President).  And you can say 'vote YES', or you can say 'vote how you think after the debate'.  

I know its a pedant point, sorry!

The availability of real-time online voting seems to be one way to clarify things.

Post edited at 12:24
AJM - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I'd still prefer an option to decide at my leisure rather than being constrained to the particular time slot of the debate (noting though that this would be in itself a massive improvement over the idea of disenfranchising postal/proxy voting which would practically speaking disenfranchise me completely) - for example Id have been happy to take my chance that nothing in the MoNC debate would have changed my vote even had the opportunity to hear it been open to me. 

galpinos on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I don't feel it's pedantic for you to point out I'm wrong! 

spenser - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Andy. Our kids have done their NICAS schemes, academy squad training, and competed for 2 years. The BMC does, as far as I can make out, do its best to help, encourage and support such participants. I know there have been some criticisms but they do their best. I know many commercial operators initially have a genuine zeal to introduce people, especially youngsters to both indoor climbing and outdoor activities in general BUT almost of necessity it is the economics that inevitably end up driving the process to keep a business successful.

> The wall and sport climbing generation, including our own kids, by and large think it insane that every crag is not grid ironed with bolts. The BMC has defended the ‘adventure / trad’ climbing ethos through its enlightened promotion of our inherited climbing culture but the barbarians are battering at the gates.

I have a few problems with these statements Crag:

Surely the BMC should continue to have a role to play in such training and introduction of young people to these activities if we seek to mitigate the potential for damage which the existence of commercial organisations poses to climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering? We're not going to be able to go back to a time where instructors, climbing walls and other commercial concerns do not form part of the mountaineering community and are not involved in the introduction of the majority of people (particularly young people) into climbing. Many people of the older generation (60+) within the Oread Mountaineering Club were introduced to Mountaineering via Local Authority run outdoor centres (I am assuming this is fairly representative of that generation), I don't see these as being particularly different to the current situation with commercial instructors except that they seemed to widen access across the social spectrum (something to be encouraged, surely?) and that training can be more tailored to the novices' interests nowadays. Why not work with commercial organisations to maximise the good which can be done within the community by their clients and the people running them, I know there are plenty of people who are grateful for Ken Applegate's regular facebook posts for winter climbing conditions on the West coast of Scotland (I accept it's also a good way of advertising his services for free) for instance, or the Arc'Teryx Lakeland challenges which seek to spread the load away from higher trafficed routes and hopefully clean up lesser climbed routes.

I think as a 25 year old man I can be defined as a member of the wall and sport climbing generation, other than climbing up trees and random boulders on beaches (as every young person should do) my first proper climbing was at Sunderland wall at the age of 11 or 12, I bouldered indoors once a week with my school until I left and then joined a university club and was introduced to outdoor rock climbing at Birchen Edge, from a quick look at my logbook I've probably led/ soloed somewhere in the region of 700 pitches of traditional routes (across 500 routes, both in the UK and abroad), this is a rough estimate as I haven't used the logbook since last May. Bolts have a place, that's in crags where the community chooses to place them and where landowner permission is granted (unlike at Marian Bach it seems).

Last night I was out on Wildcat Crags with the Oread MC, there ended up being 12 people out of at least 3 different nationalities (including French and Italian, not your usual traditional nationalities) with about half being under the age of 30, on top of this I am running an introductory meet for the Oread MC this weekend and it looks like we are going to have 30 people out on the crags both days with some of the young people leading routes, some seconding with the support of the club's older and more experienced members.

In my view local mountaineering clubs need to accept that they have a significant role within the community, pull their socks up and help to ensure the future of the trad climbing culture which we, as a community, hold so dear. If local clubs don't do this they're likely to become increasingly irrelevant as their aging membership becomes less and less active. I firmly hope that my actions within the Oread will be sufficient ensure its continued existence in 20 years time regardless of my continued presence. University clubs also have a significant role to play in this...

Spenser Gray

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to galpinos:

> I don't feel it's pedantic for you to point out I'm wrong! 


Oooooh   You get a 'like for that' 

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to AJM:

I'm pretty sure we will still have proxy voting under 'the new order' though.  There will be three options as far as I can see:

a. Vote beforehand by proxy

b. Vote physically at the AGM (using any proxies you may hold)

c. Vote online after having heard the debate

Crag Jones - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to spenser:

Hi. I agree with much of what you say, particularly about the importance of clubs. Commercial providers could be a force for good in terms of widening diversity except its only those who can afford to pay who get to play and its difficult to access funding for others. At least with the old 'local education authority' model wealth was not such a limiting factor.

However, need to stay on topic:-the Implementation Group Proposals for the AGM!

1
Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

It was not VP, it was standing for President.

Andy Syme - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

>  Problem is they seek to unnecessarily force the drastic reduction in the memberships democratic voice in addition to the expected requirements. 

Crag

What do you see as the reduction in the memberships democratic voice?  (Key simple points please as I'm a simple sole with limited time )

Andy

Post edited at 15:29
Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> It was not VP, it was standing for President.


Hey!  I'm just saying what i 'knew'.

Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Ditto.

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

What we DO have to recognise is that the BMC is rapidly approaching its Brexit moment.  And like that vote there are many who don't know the details, the details themselves are obscure, and the outcome is guesswork.

I know there are those who dislike my analogy that we have RAC members; National Trust members and engaged members.  That is not meant in any way to be disparaging; I'm a 'member' of Green Flag and I don't give a toss about their governance so long as the truck arrives quickly.  I don't feel that that belittles me   Similarly I spent many years as a BMC member because it 'helped fund the cause'.   Now I sort of feel engaged......

For the first two 'categories' this may all be a storm in a teacup and could we all please just get on with normal life, please?  We do have to recognise, however, that whatever is finally proposed to the AGM and whatever the AGM decide there will be a lot of pissed off people around.  Personally I would have hoped that we had developed a 'plan B'; but we really do need to recognise that if the vote is to accede to the Sport England requirements then it will cause ructions for some.  Similarly if the vote is against the proposal then we can expect similar turmoil from those who supported it.

We are going to have to do some building of bridges and healing of wounds after this if the BMC is to carry on on an even keel.  But it won't be the same.

andyr - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

A quick question to leave on the computer whilst I go and do something else.

The proposed Board of Directors will include a President, 2 Member Assembly Directors and a Members Assembly Club Director. Are these all serving members on the Members Assembly?

Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

The plebs are back again... that didn't last long.

Sure there will be ructions whoever wins but, despite suspicion of SE from nearly everyone, of those doing the big volunteer roles for the BMC a big majority support the NC and ORG recommended SE model (despite reservations), as, as far as I can tell, do a big majority of those attending area meetings. So your most infomed and active members are the ones who being voted down if we give SE the boot. The shit stiring  (ie the 30 and simlar)  is from a small detached class of mainly elderly men.  

In Brexit terms a big majority of highly educated well informed people campaigned  to remain and they lost, such is democracy.  My guess is it is also close for the BMC as the winning line is 75% to make the changes.

Post edited at 16:07
Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> The proposed Board of Directors will include a President, 2 Member Assembly Directors and a Members Assembly Club Director. Are these all serving members on the Members Assembly?

Yes.  It is currently unclear about the 'Club Director'.  It could be a Director with specific responsibilities to engage with clubs (just as current VP's have specific Areas and Specialist Committees that they 'look after) or it could be someone from Clubs Committee.

Andy

Andy Say - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> The plebs are back again... that didn't last long.

Bloody hell Steve!  Please read what I wrote.  'I know there are those who dislike my analogy that we have RAC members; National Trust members and engaged members.  That is not meant in any way to be disparaging; I'm a 'member' of Green Flag and I don't give a toss about their governance so long as the truck arrives quickly.  I don't feel that that belittles me   Similarly I spent many years as a BMC member because it 'helped fund the cause'.'

I'm not calling anyone a pleb!  Just trying to explain the make-up of BMC members as I see it.  Would you deny that most really don't care about all this 'stuff'?

>So your most infomed and active members are the ones who being voted down if we give SE the boot. The shit stiring  (ie the 30 and simlar)  is from a small detached class of mainly elderly men. 

You need to proof read that, work out what you actually meant to say and then re-post  

I would call you, myself and many other people from all shades of opinion 'informed and active' if that helps?

 

Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Denigrating peoples intelligence or motivation in voting is anti-democratic.  Its made worse by the fact that the BMC membership will be much better informed in their voting than say the general public.

Reads OK to me. Two sentences two different points. 

Just as a reminder that what you are saying matches the posh or derogatory version of the word:

plebiscite (noun)

  • The direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.

    ‘the administration will hold a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms’

pleb (noun derogatory, informal )

  • An ordinary person, especially one from the lower social classes.

 

Post edited at 18:52
1
andyr - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I thought the argument was that the members and their representatives on the Members  Assembly were being shut out . But this means that they are the biggest 'block vote' on the Board. 

Post edited at 18:49
1
Kipper - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Indeed Les standing is interesting, as the email trails I've seen from clubs imply he was already  your 'faction's' preferred candidate prior to the announcement.  What has happened to your group?

Perhaps they know some of the history, which I'm sure you do.

 

Kipper - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> I don't want to disenfranchise postal voters, but if as last year there are 10 times the number of postal voters as people present, then the postal voters will disenfranchise the physical voters, and I don't want that either.

I don't understand this - the principal works perfectly well for major corporations.

 

Andy Say - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Denigrating peoples intelligence or motivation in voting is anti-democratic.  

Where on earth have I done that!? 

I do think I'm being realistic though.  Last year, with all the sturm und drang of the MoNC, and mobilisation of all members those who voted or gave proxies came to about 3% of the membership I think?

And 'pleb': I think you will find I have never, ever used that word (except in replying to your accusation that I have )

 

Andy Say - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> I thought the argument was that the members and their representatives on the Members  Assembly were being shut out . But this means that they are the biggest 'block vote' on the Board. 


A reasonable way of expressing it.  The other way of expressing it, of course, is that member representatives may never have more the 1/3rd of the votes so cannot 'direct' the Board.  If one of the Independent Director places is vacant one of the National Council* Directors will be barred from voting, for example..

*We haven't got a 'Members' Assembly' yet and might not do. 

UKB Shark - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I am with offwidth that judgemental segmentation of types of members (and by implication and extension potentially their voting rights in the context of these discussions ) especially in a national representative body is an affront to fundamental democratic principles.

Another aspect to consider is that an individual climber or hill walker and their relationship to the BMC is not fixed. A climber or hill walker might be nudged to join because of insurance but that then exposes them to our communication that could lead them on a road of involvement that persuades them to volunteer or even become a future President.

Creating a sub-class of disenfranchised ‘insurance members’ sets a poor tone and potential barriers towards developing a feeling of belonging and involvement.

Personal view (as always)

Andy Say - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

>  judgemental segmentation of types of members (and by implication and extension potentially their voting rights in the context of these discussions ) especially in a national representative body is an affront to fundamental democratic principles.

Last thing on my mind, Simon.  Am I being judgemental of myself when I admit to a total lack of concern about Green Flag's governance?  I don't feel belittled by that admission  

> Another aspect to consider is that an individual climber or hill walker and their relationship to the BMC is not fixed. A climber or hill walker might be nudged to join because of insurance but that then exposes them to our communication that could lead them on a road of involvement that persuades them to volunteer or even become a future President.

True.  But if you acknowledge that relationships are not 'fixed' you must also therefore acknowledge that there are specific relationships at any given point in time?

> Creating a sub-class of disenfranchised ‘insurance members’ sets a poor tone and potential barriers towards developing a feeling of belonging and involvement.

Now where have I ever suggested that?

 

Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

One of the arguments against the code compliant articles I've heard is the removal of powers from the NC.  Also the one thing (most) people seem to agree on is that we need better governance.  So I went  looking at the Sport And Recreational Alliance Principles (https://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/pages/principles-of-good-governance), to refresh my memory on what they say given they are the seen as an alternative good governance model to the code for sports governance (CfSG).  There are some differences but I was interested to read the first guidance note on Principle 3.  

One of the key responsibilities of the board is the organisation’s development. It should always be remembered that the board has the ultimate responsibility to fulfil the company’s legal obligations and to comply with this, directors are required to make sure the company complies with its articles and its obligations to its members are understood and met. Only the board is legally accountable to its members and stakeholders and not councils or working groups. It is therefore critical that boards have primacy on all matters concerning the organisation.   

The interesting thing is both bold sections are the same as CfSG, and I would read means NC can't develop policy, it is the responsibility of the board and the NC veto is no more allowable under SRA as it is under CfSG.

I'm sure some will want to differ, but that means to me is if we want to implement good governance then the role of the NC must change to become the conduit and sounding board (soft power) not the final arbiter (hard power). 

The key therefore is to make this work efficiently so the Board, NC and Members can engage in a constructive dialogue so the board are clear what the members want and the NC/Members are clear, if/when the board want to do something different, why this is.

Post edited at 10:56
Offwidth - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Your categories are direct synonyms of pleb/plebiscite and so its fair enough in my view  to relate this to the dodgy history of segmentation of electorates. If you have no ill intent, why do you keep raising it? In my experience of modern democratic structures,  segmentation labels mainly get used when an empowered activist class see their power on the wane, due to too much involvement of plebs.

I think the reasons people are members are irrelevant and all members should be encouraged to vote. I don't think that many members fall into neat pigeon holes and as as Simon says, positions won't be fixed with time.

Post edited at 10:56
1
Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> Yes.  It is currently unclear about the 'Club Director'.  It could be a Director with specific responsibilities to engage with clubs (just as current VP's have specific Areas and Specialist Committees that they 'look after) or it could be someone from Clubs Committee.

Or even someone the Clubs themselves elect to NC/MA.  Depends on what Proposal 2 comes up with.

 

andyr - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Andy, by the way, has run a series of dodgy crack-dens in the East End and once tried to sell me a second hand Peugeot 405 with a home-made 6-speed gear box designed to make your wallet go downhill fast. I’ll let the jury decide.

I refute this fallacious accusation...................the WHOLE vehicle was home made.

Crag Jones - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

> What do you see as the reduction in the memberships democratic voice?  (Key simple points please as I'm a simple sole with limited time ) Andy

The fact that the National Council or its proposed equivalent will no longer be able to be central in developing the objectives of the BMC, or appointing those that do. The member’s representatives according to the demands being imposed by Sport England cannot form more than one-third of the board.

Approval of the remaining boards self-appointed directors is a somewhat meaningless sop rather than a fundamental check and balance the Implementation Group have been making it out to be. You are trying to pull there wool over members eyes there. It is in no way a realistic check or balance because few would exercise that right at appointment even if they had reservations. The additional justification that a director could be sacked once in post begs even less credulity. First it’s a conflict model of management along MoNC lines and most agree that not a good way to run an organization. Secondly it encourages a them and us mentality and human nature being what it is such a board would tend to close ranks to defend a criticised colleague. You then start to have group think as witnessed by this kind of statement from key players promoting the ORG view:

 ukb & bmc shark -  on 29 Mar 2018 In reply to Andy Say:

Andy> 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.

shark>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

So never mind what the members might want, their ‘proposition’ (quaint term) is ‘weak’  and needs ‘developing’! i.e. their a danger to themselves and we know what’s good for them.

This confirms that the real motivation is to establish a board freed from membership influence that can pursue its own projects.

The only safeguard being proposed is ‘trust us’.  Well even if those proposing current changes are honourable I can guarantee you there will be those down the line who will not be, and members will have lost control in both their appointment and the objectives they pursue.

By the way I don’t want the pre-programmed response one of your Stepford Wives (aka Paul Evans?) left behind at the NW area meeting summed up by your selves as  ‘’In essence we resolve the whole issue by some helpful creative ambiguity in the new AoA"

I’m now off to  fight the other Triffids, at Tremadoc on behalf of the BMC’s Tremfest.

 

Post edited at 13:00
2
andyr - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The fact that the National Council or its proposed equivalent will no longer be able to be central in developing the objectives of the BMC, or appointing those that do. The member’s representatives according to the demands being imposed by Sport England cannot form more than one-third of the board.

 

As I understand the proposal there will be twelve members of the Board of Directors

4 serving members from the Members Assembly

2 BMC officers CEO and probably Treasurer

1 independent Chair

3 Independent Directors appointed for the specific skills (Legal, financial etc)

1 from Mountaineering Scotland

1 representative from Partner Bodies.

So the four from the Members Assembly are going to come from the Assembly briefed and instructed what the Assembly want.; and they are the biggest 'block vote' of the Directors.

 

> Approval of the remaining boards self-appointed directors is a somewhat meaningless sop rather than a fundamental check and balance the Implementation Group have been making it out to be. You are trying to pull there wool over members eyes there. It is in no way a realistic check or balance because few would exercise that right at appointment even if they had reservations. The additional justification that a director could be sacked once in post begs even less credulity. First it’s a conflict model of management along MoNC lines and most agree that not a good way to run an organization. Secondly it encourages a them and us mentality and human nature being what it is such a board would tend to close ranks to defend a criticised colleague. You then start to have group think as witnessed by this kind of statement from key players promoting the ORG view:

 

Apart from the CEO; once the other eleven have been proposed by a Nominations Committee their appointments are voted in by the members at the AGM. So it is the members who have the final say on who is appointed. I'm not certain but I believe a Directors appointment is confirmed or terminated at each AGM by member vote. There is no 'conflict' here. A Director knows they must retain the confidence of the membership or they will be removed at the next AGM.

 

The'Crack Den' Meister....who'd have though that a dodgy outfit in Mile End would have spawned a whole climbing wall industry. 

 

Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> The fact that the National Council or its proposed equivalent will no longer be able to be central in developing the objectives of the BMC, or appointing those that do.

They will remain central to developing objectives, they will not be the deciding body, but that will be the case with either a code compliant model, or one that meets the SRA Principles of good governance (see my earlier post).  I'm assuming we are agreed we should meet one of these standards.

>The member’s representatives according to the demands being imposed by Sport England cannot form more than one-third of the board.

Correct.  They specify that percentage and the SRA don't comment on the number of Membership appointed Board members.  But the SRA dare not advocating all membership appointment

  • The board should maintain a robust and open recruitment policy and process for new directors to make sure diverse candidates are chosen based on competency, quality, experience and ability. 

> Approval of the remaining boards self-appointed directors is a somewhat meaningless sop rather than a fundamental check and balance the Implementation Group have been making it out to be. You are trying to pull there wool over members eyes there. It is in no way a realistic check or balance because few would exercise that right at appointment even if they had reservations. 

Why would the members be less willing to scrutinise their choice or agreement for a Director than a President via a vote at an AGM?  I don't understand your logic. 

And a sop, really, we were having a balanced conversation.  It is a sensible way to allow members a say in the Directors that the Board feels are necessary to have a balance competent board.  Members will be able to see what skills the Board require and the candidate they selected, and make a decision if they are the right fit or not.

>The additional justification that a director could be sacked once in post begs even less credulity. First it’s a conflict model of management along MoNC lines and most agree that not a good way to run an organization. Secondly it encourages a them and us mentality and human nature being what it is such a board would tend to close ranks to defend a criticised colleague. You then start to have group think as witnessed by this kind of statement from key players promoting the ORG view:

Same logic applies to getting rid of a President or an NC member.  How do you remove them mid term without a MoNC or similar?  And I totally agree a MoNC or resolution fest every general meeting is not the way anyone wants to do business.

I guess fundamentally I don't understand your view that some how the volunteers standing for President or NC are more representative mountaineers or better people who are more concerned about the BMC that those who apply for a volunteer role as a Director.

 

1
Chris the Tall - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

Does the president no longer sit on the board ?

This is what I have found so frustrating about the current process - it's been very hard to find a simple summary anywhere 

Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> As I understand the proposal there will be twelve members of the Board of Directors

> 4 serving members from the Members Assembly

> 2 BMC officers CEO and probably Treasurer

> 1 independent Chair

> 3 Independent Directors appointed for the specific skills (Legal, financial etc)

> 1 from Mountaineering Scotland

> 1 representative from Partner Bodies.

> So the four from the Members Assembly are going to come from the Assembly briefed and instructed what the Assembly want.; and they are the biggest 'block vote' of the Directors.

Andyr while you are broadly correct the model above is the ORG recommendation.  The current composition in the Articles would be as the Exec but plus an independent Chair until Apr 19 then:

  • The Independent Chair appointed by the Board, subject to approval at the AGM.
  • The President (ex officio);
  • Up to 3 Directors appointed by National Council, one of whom may represent Affiliated Clubs, provided that the total number of Directors appointed by National Council, together with the President, shall not at any time exceed one third of the total number of Directors from time to time in office;
  • The ex officio Executive Director;
  • Up to 6 Directors appointed by the Board, subject to approval at the AGM.  The Independent Directors shall comprise at least 25% of the total number of Directors at any time.  
The intent is to reduce the 6 Directors to meet the ORG recommendation of 33% Member Elected, 33% IDs and 33% others, but because of the need to more fully consider the implications of having 2 members of staff, MS & the Funded Partners on the Board, the decision has been made that until this is decided we would increase the number of IDs to retain a board of 12; though as I say above it's a moot point as the Transition between Jun 18 & Apr 19 allows for the current Exec members to stay in place.  The expectation is that by Apr 19 there will be a change of articles to finally reflect the 33% proposals.
Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I'm trying Chris!!!!

President remains on Board, but becomes member rather than Chair.

By the way the best summary of whats changed and why are the:

- plain english guide https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1590

and

- cross reference table https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1591

Post edited at 15:07
andyr - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Which seems sensible. If they remained as Chair; not only would they lead the largest block vote but usually have a Chairs casting vote in addition.

 

Post edited at 15:14
JWhite on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme & Chris the Tall:

The constantly moving feast is what makes this most difficult to work with (and I am someone who deals with this kind of stuff for a job). The L&SE meeting last night was good - not a big attendance c/f the rebrand or ORG presentations, but an engaged bunch with good questions and comments. Our biggest challenge was to know exactly what we were considering, with some proposals and changes to slides made an hour or so prior to the meeting (and thus not covered by previous Area meetings). All we could vote on was the general spirit as outlined, but that is reliant on translating it into the documentation as it's finalised.

I'm not knocking the changes - quite the contrary, there were really positive changes, and some seem to have genuinely only surfaced this week. If they and the other caveats disussed make it into carefully drafted Articles, then some of the concerns discussed here will be reduced. Similar ideas on other topics could also bring other differing perspectives closer together. It's a classic compromise that is both needed and possible.

The issue is time - with the intense work that's taking place, the issues are becoming clearer, and so are possible ways to resolve both them and their potential unintended consquences. It's great to take part-developed ideas to Area meetings to sense the mood - it's how a representitive structure should work. The issue is that there are now only 8 days to distil this feedback from the areas, get it into finalised documentation, circulate it NC reps, for them to take soundings on the wording of that documentation & form their views, and hold the NC meeting to discuss what are likely to be differing perspectives on a complex subject. There are then only another 3.5 days to take the output from that meeting, amend the docs as necessary, and circulate for final approval before the submission deadline for proposals.

Does this sound rushed for the biggest changes to governance that the BMC has ever made? In my view, very much so. Do we understand the true net impact of the potential funding loss if 1d) is rejected when you consider e.g. cost of complaince and the officer time that would be regained? I don't. Do we know what we're going to do when the funding (probably) disppears anyway in three years time? No. Does Dave Turnbull's proposal to provide breathing space and enable us to agree a package of changes which are right for the BMC without members feeling they are being pushed into things sound sensible given how much is still up in the air? Absolutely.

Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

Jonathan

 

First off I won't reiterate what Dave said about his paper other than it was a time and a place and doesn't reflect where we are now.

Is it rushed yes, but I don't agree taking time in this instance would improve things.  It would add to the current mix a far greater uncertainty for staff, significant time needing to be spent on sorting budgets, dealing with the affected people (staff, funded partners, competitions, development squad, hillwalkers etc).  Plus we would still need to get articles changed, agreed and the ORG review/implementation done before we could progress many of the things we as mountaineers would possibly wish to be prioritise.

I have been living and breathing this for 40+ hours a week (as well as doing the day job managing an IT company) and if I thought going slower would be better there is NO ONE in the BMC more incentivised than me to slow it down I promise you.   

But we are where we are and I am certain that given we have to get our governance right anyway, the delta between SRA good and CfSG good is going to be small enough that it is the right thing given the alternative paths risks.  But as I keep saying the members can decide and they will have the full articles etc etc in plenty of time to digest for the AGM.

One of the problems I have is that I have tried to be very open with the NC and give them the context, but it's complex and for whatever reasons people have 'shared' things without understanding the context, or asking me for more information.  Also I might point out that mid way through a negotiation is not normally where you go out to everyone; things change, relationships need building, positions need to be taken, challenged and adjusted.   Even now people seem keener to make statements here based on articles that I have repeatedly said are a 'high tide' position from SE, rather than wait or ring me to ask if that can be added to my negotiations.  Between a rock and a hard place I have decided it's better to share when I'm confident things should change, rather than wait to present a complete package as would be best, and least confusing for all.  

So it's not ideal, but we are here and I would definitely argue that the route of compliance looks far better for our disjointed organisation than the alternative.  

 

1
JWhite on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

Andy, this is no criticism of you - you have an immense task in a ludicrous timescale. Having been a member of a previous BMC review panel (with a much narrower remit and a longer timescale), I can empathise to a point, recognising that your challenge is _much_ harder. Undoubtedly this must be equivalent to a second ful time job.

Fully agree that you don't normally go out to everyone mid-way through a negotiation, but this is the position that we're all in. However, because of the timescale, the Area meetings of the last 10 days are the only points where members get to formally comment on the proposals, so we can only comment on the snapshot presented on the night (and the superceded elements that preceded it). We don't get any further opportunities before the AGM papers are issued. Of course this is not ideal - this is why it is usual practice to cover this critical stage over a few months rather than a few weeks, enabling a development phase (including SE negotiation), and consultation phase with the membership, a distillation and decision stage, and a finalisation phase to develop wording that reflects the intent without ambiguity (e.g. last night in the meeting, there were at least four differing interpretations of one of the key statements). This has happened because we're trying to run these stages in parallel - it is a recipe for confusion and misunderstanding, and for some people to feel railroaded into only one solution when there are others that we all acknowledge have not been evaluated.

My point was that this feels very rushed and that we're being pushed into it. Some of DT's paper was of its time (mid-Feb), and some still remains completely relevant. The more I hear (from about a week ago) the more I think the current approach can be made to work. However, we just don't have the time to avoid the pitfalls that DT warned of. Where the BMC 'leadership' has failed in the past (from my time through to the rebrand), one issue has been to not win over the 'hearts and minds'. Please learn from the lessons that some of us have learned the hard way.

Andy Syme - on 20 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> My point was that this feels very rushed and that we're being pushed into it. Some of DT's paper was of its time (mid-Feb), and some still remains completely relevant. The more I hear (from about a week ago) the more I think the current approach can be made to work. However, we just don't have the time to avoid the pitfalls that DT warned of. Where the BMC 'leadership' has failed in the past (from my time through to the rebrand), one issue has been to not win over the 'hearts and minds'. Please learn from the lessons that some of us have learned the hard way.

I would suggest we are not being pushed, we have, through inaction and prevarication, put ourselves in the position (or we didn't read the guide book and are on Right Wall not Cemetery Gates ). 

I hope we are learning from the BMCs past mistakes as well as taking from the experience provided by the Lawyers and I have and talking to other bodies who have been through this process.  This is not being proposed through ignorance, and despite the sometimes spicy interactions I value the inputs from you, Crag, Rod etc. I don't always agree or I may not be able to meet all your wishes, but it does help me in addressing as many of what I understand are your genuine concerns as I can. 

Crag Jones - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

 

Then why were you party to an attempt to  orchestrate the wrecking of the NW Area meeting this week by suggesting the movement of a totally unjustified MoNC? There was another wizard wheeze where ‘creative ambiguity’ in the Articles of Association’ was suggested as a means of deflecting concerns about accountability of the Board. If that is the way you really deal with existing democratic engagement then any reassurances you give about future arrangements respecting members concerns are, at best, dubious. All this at a time when you are negotiating as a one man band with Sport England whilst constantly fudging off the membership with half-truths and none of the current executive is showing any oversight or leadership. The situation is farcical and needs to be brought under proper review. It is rushed because the ORG did not properly engage with the membership at an early stage. The whole process, conflated story line and time-line has been massaged to try and prevent alternative outcomes.  Latest calculations are indicating that the new lowered bid for Sport England funding will in any case be more than offset by even the suddenly very low, conservative, reduced, estimated, implementation costs; quite possibly, leaving the BMC out of pocket, leaving little justification to have to meet the June deadline. In the meantime there are alternative pathways for our partners to obtain their share of funding, at least until this mess is properly resolved.

 

6
Offwidth - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Or alternately there was no attempt to do anything at the NW meeting other than attend and debate  (or in a few cases from out of area Exec/NC, to inform/observe.... I will repeat, as a 'taxi driver'  observer but keen and extensive BMC volunteer.... with about 90% of my work over nearly 30 years being club,  guidebook or access related... so at least a huggable 'BMC troll' or 'Stepford Wife'....  I saw very contentious issues dealt with well and Andy Say was impressive in this). Carl and Andy are still your NC reps and Les is standing for President so your views will clearly retain significant import.

Rather than a fabricated story I still think the delays were really due to the prevarication of the democratic reps in NC (as some of them have admitted); reps who currently have this 'vital to retain' primacy, that is there in theory to provide policy leadership; so I can't see how this can be mostly the Execs fault (an Exec with 3 NC elected reps) unless the NC have been hypnotised en masse. The BMC were given 2 years to sort out an acknowledged difficult situation in 2015 and now are running to the end of an agreed exceptional year extension.  We are the last body seeking funding that is not yet SE compliant.

The implementation costs racked up so far are from a review that was more forced on the BMC than the other way round and all done under the primacy of the current NC. The additional implementation costs that we can still control will depend partly on phase one in June but more on phase 2 next year and thats still all under the NC and subject to democractic decisions of the full membership in  the next two AGM meetings. The costs could have been truely huge if volunteers hadn't donated many thousands of hours in this process for free and I for one am really greatful to the Exec, NC, ORG, IC, Areas, Clubs and every member who has engaged extensively in this ongoing debate..

As people have pointed out time and again, yes SE money is reduced in times of austerity and dropping lottery income but its not trivial and it's the least important part of the proposed new governance arrangements according to NC ORG and the IG. You may well prefer the membership to replace SE income by paying more subs, but that's the membership choice.

Anyway good luck with the Tremadoc triffids, thats what the BMC is really about.

Post edited at 09:21
Andy Say - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> As I understand the proposal there will be twelve members of the Board of Directors

> 4 serving members from the Members Assembly

> 2 BMC officers CEO and probably Treasurer

> 1 independent Chair

> 3 Independent Directors appointed for the specific skills (Legal, financial etc)

> 1 from Mountaineering Scotland

> 1 representative from Partner Bodies.

> So the four from the Members Assembly are going to come from the Assembly briefed and instructed what the Assembly want.; and they are the biggest 'block vote' of the Directors.

> Apart from the CEO; once the other eleven have been proposed by a Nominations Committee their appointments are voted in by the members at the AGM. So it is the members who have the final say on who is appointed. I'm not certain but I believe a Directors appointment is confirmed or terminated at each AGM by member vote. There is no 'conflict' here. A Director knows they must retain the confidence of the membership or they will be removed at the next AGM.

I'm afraid that is a somewhat dated breakdown of the Board (possibly last week's )

We have three Directors from the National Council; plus the President.  The President is not selected from within the National Council.

We have an Independent Chair.

We have one BMC Officer (CEO) and possibly a 'Commercial/Finance Director' who may or may not be a member of staff; it is equally possible they could be a 'super-treasurer' on an honorarium.

We have five others who should all be classed as 'Independent' (i.e. no involvement in BMC Governance / Committees for at least four years).  Mountaineering Scotland seems unlikely at least in the short term (what about Wales and Northern Ireland?).

Representative from the Partners Body (if that comes to fruition) is equally uncertain at this stage.

T'other Andy

 

Crag Jones - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Regarding https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/the_bmc_proposals_to_go_to_areas_and_agm-682641?v=1#x8771216

> Or alternately there was no attempt to do anything at the NW meeting other than attend and debate  (or in a few cases from out of area Exec/NC, to inform/observe.... I will repeat, as a 'taxi driver'  observer but keen and extensive BMC volunteer.... with about 90% of my work over nearly 30 years being club,  guidebook or access related... so at least a huggable 'BMC troll' or 'Stepford Wife'....  I saw very contentious issues dealt with well and Andy Say was impressive in this). Carl and Andy are still your NC reps and Les is standing for President so your views will clearly retain significant import.

I see no denial then, that plan was afoot. Obviously not, since briefing notes to do so were left behind and Paul Evans has trotted out the very lines of 'creative ambiguity' when trying to counter my points. Do let us know the author / owner as we are dying to reunite them.

 

2
Andy Syme - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Crag

1.  I have never colluded to get a MONC anywhere.  I spoke to Paul Evans before the meeting but that was to discuss his concerns and whether I was sharing a slide pack with the public (I told him not unless NC agreed and then asked NC for their views).  I don't care who represents which areas as long as they represent the areas views, not their own, and while Andy Say and I can disagree with each other, I have NEVER questioned either his or Carl's ability or integrity in representing their area members views.

2.  Re creative ambiguity I don't know what you are referring to.  I have never tried to hide anything from any member.  I have published to the NC and where appropriate members when things have changed and only hold back when something is not agreed by NC or whoever so making public would be unfair on the NC.

I can not be responsible for what someone else writes on an note or your interpretation of those notes.  Given you have my mobile and email it might have been at least polite to ring me and ask me for my views or thoughts on this before going on a public forum and slandering me.

I would happily discuss your concerns if you want to ring me.

Andy

andyr - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

> I'm afraid that is a somewhat dated breakdown of the Board (possibly last week's )

> We have three Directors from the National Council; plus the President.  The President is not selected from within the National Council.

> We have an Independent Chair.

> We have one BMC Officer (CEO) and possibly a 'Commercial/Finance Director' who may or may not be a member of staff; it is equally possible they could be a 'super-treasurer' on an honorarium.

> We have five others who should all be classed as 'Independent' (i.e. no involvement in BMC Governance / Committees for at least four years).  Mountaineering Scotland seems unlikely at least in the short term (what about Wales and Northern Ireland?).

> Representative from the Partners Body (if that comes to fruition) is equally uncertain at this stage.

> T'other Andy

 

Oh dear I'm so last week......

What is the difference between National Council and Members Assembly. Just a name?

So; currently it's:

3 Directors from National Council

1 BMC President

2 BMC Officers (probably)

5 Independents brought in for their skills

I from the Partners if SE ask them to put their bids in through the BMC as an 'umbrella organisation' . This is no longer a given as (I believe) most of them are currently working directly with SE.

 

How many of these will come in through the nominations process.

How many of these nominations will be subject to membership vote at the AGM.

How many of these positions will be up for re-election at each AGM ie; you are re-elected every year by membership vote until you reach the end of your term of service.

 

T'other Andy....but possibly not the original Andy

 

Paul Evans - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

Hands up Crag it was my note. It was not a "briefing note" it was my own jottings. As you will see from the title "Topics for Andy Syme chat" it was me getting my head in order before speaking to Andy Syme, who was very helpful and at all times neutral. It has not been shared with or emailed to anyone other than Andy Syme this AM, together with my apology for his name being dragged into this. 

I wanted to check that my interpretation of the company objectives was correct before posting any comment about it on here. Andy confirmed in a phonecall that it was.  After I'd checked my facts I then posted to UKC, and spoke at the meeting along those lines. 

The mention of "creative ambiguity" was mine not Andy's. The note has obviously caused offence for which I apologise to all concerned. 

Paul

 

Offwidth - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

I now know what you are talking about, even though I've never seen the notes. Lynn found them as she was leaving and handed them to someone local. So I guess it's some kind of executive led double bluff plot.

2
Andy Say - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Paul Evans:

Paul,

I appreciate that.  Thanks.

Andy

 

Andy Say - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to andyr:

> Oh dear I'm so last week......

Aren't we all, dearie.....

> What is the difference between National Council and Members Assembly. Just a name?

Currently National Council has 2 reps from each Area = 20 (although the Articles have not yet been changed to include S. Wales as an Area) plus the Executive Committee.  It also has observers from MTE / MTC / PyB / ABC.  The ORG proposed a Members Assembly of 10 Area Reps (1 from each area) + 4 'Member Reps' + c.5 Specialist Committee Chairs + Partners Rep + President (I think I've got them all )  However that is part of 'Phase II' and is still up for grabs.  And yeah; though the composition is changed you don't need to change the name.

> So; currently it's:

> 3 Directors from National Council

> 1 BMC President

> 2 BMC Officers (probably)

I'd say 'possibly'.  There are objections to a voting presence from the staff - the ORG originally suggested 3 staff members which would have equalled NC Directors.

> 5 Independents brought in for their skills

Although, of course, those skills might exist in folks who are actually involved with the BMC. 

> I from the Partners if SE ask them to put their bids in through the BMC as an 'umbrella organisation' . This is no longer a given as (I believe) most of them are currently working directly with SE.

That wasn't made explicit.  I don't think it was linked to the funding issue more the attraction of keeping close contact

> How many of these will come in through the nominations process.

Chair, All the Independents, possibly President?

> How many of these nominations will be subject to membership vote at the AGM.

President and Chair will I think.  The only one likely to be contested is the President I'd have thought.  The Independent Directors will have an 'endorsement vote' at AGM; so it would be possible for the members to block a nomination I think. 

> How many of these positions will be up for re-election at each AGM ie; you are re-elected every year by membership vote until you reach the end of your term of service.

Again I think President.  I think Chair and Independents will be endorsed at the commencement of each three year term.

> T'other Andy....but possibly not the original Andy

 

There's only ONE Andy; but we are omnipresent and in many guises......

 

Andy Say - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Your categories are direct synonyms of pleb/plebiscite and so its fair enough in my view  to relate this to the dodgy history of segmentation of electorates. If you have no ill intent, why do you keep raising it? 

All I've tried to do is suggest that BMC members are not a uniform bunch and that for some all of this governance shenanigans is completely irrelevant.  They don't care!

But I'm happy to put my body (not my money!) where my mouth is.

If more than 10% of the current BMC membership vote, in person or through proxy, at the next AGM I will solo Flying Buttress* stark bollock naked (but with shoes and chalk bag).  Photographic proof will be uploaded to UKC.

Of course if less than, say, 5% (see how generous I am!) of members vote, in person or by proxy, then I will expect a reciprocal action.

 

 

*I reserve the right to decide which Flying Buttress - I don't want audiences....

 

 

 

JR - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

This all seems to have taken some funny turns while I've been completely out of the action with flu!

>Mountaineering Scotland seems unlikely at least in the short term (what about Wales and Northern Ireland?).

Very complex can of worms...  discussed at length within ORG and with Mountaineering Scotland.

Wales have a direct body of representation within the Governance of the organisation ie. x thousand members, local areas, and NC reps, where Scotland and NI don't.  Ireland have a joint southern/northern body. Scotland, Wales and NI have different levels of devolution, excepted matters and reserved matters, and therefore to some extent what the legislation changes that may affect mountaineers at a UK level, and where it needs to be lobbied at.  Hence the Wales recommendation.  This is also where the competition subsidiary is important, to bring the territories together where it needs to be GB representative body (i.e. olympics).  A BMC subsidiary, with directors of each of BMC/MS/MI.

I'm sure there's much more debate to come on that one...

> Currently National Council has 2 reps from each Area = 20 (although the Articles have not yet been changed to include S. Wales as an Area) plus the Executive Committee.  It also has observers from MTE / MTC / PyB / ABC.  The ORG proposed a Members Assembly of 10 Area Reps (1 from each area) + 4 'Member Reps' + c.5 Specialist Committee Chairs + Partners Rep + President (I think I've got them all )  However that is part of 'Phase II' and is still up for grabs.  And yeah; though the composition is changed you don't need to change the name.

Current NC has the Specialist Committee Chairs as observers too (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-national-council)

The overall intention of the change is to ensure that, in balance, the body had the breadth and depth of people and skills to hold the board to account and so that the MA is as representative as possible of the membership.  Our view being, that balance and level of representation could be improved from the current NC structure. 

The Member reps are somewhat like "independents", voting positions that don't come via the local areas.  It might be that you could appoint/recruit based on specific skills required, like for parts of the ORG implementation, or communications skills, for example.

The amended report specifies that the MA should review itself periodically to ensure it is representative of the membership base.  Members Assembly name change to signify it's "of the members".

> I'd say 'possibly'.  There are objections to a voting presence from the staff - the ORG originally suggested 3 staff members which would have equalled NC Directors.

ORG suggested two staff members in the amended report (3 in the Nov Report) and specified it as:

  • CEO
  • Finance Director

Quorum was specified so that it never fell into the power of the staff:

"There will be a quorum of five, which must include one of the independent Directors and one of the Directors appointed by the Members’ Assembly. The ex-officio Directors shall never form the majority for quorum purposes."

I'm sure staff on the board "good/bad" could be argued ad infinitum.  The staff hold a huge amount of deep expertise and knowledge of how stuff works.  For example, I think actually only a small number of people truly understood how the funding relationships worked (certainly prior to this review), and many of those were in the staff, including DT.  We felt that their skills and experience shouldn't be disenfranchised in steering the course of decision making in the organisation, and balancing the board make-up requirements, this was this best option.

>> I from the Partners if SE ask them to put their bids in through the BMC as an 'umbrella organisation' . This is no longer a given as (I believe) most of them are currently working directly with SE.

> That wasn't made explicit.  I don't think it was linked to the funding issue more the attraction of keeping close contact

It was made explicit in the amendment report (P29) as one Director appointed from Funded Partners as defined in the report (was changed from a Partners Assembly director in the Nov report).

Should this role be unable to be filled by a funded partner, for example, if there are no funded partners from time to time, then a nomination should be sought from the Partners’ Assembly.

 

 

The funded partners were given gap funding directly, while the BMC sorted the governance issues, from personal experience, going direct, and sorting the BMC governance issues, has neither been an easy experience!  They are currently working closely with the BMC for the current core market whole sport bid, should the members. Otherwise, the partners will need an alternative route, co-ordinated or otherwise.  In any event, that makes life much more difficult for all the organisations involved for many reasons already discussed.  Whilst I've been off work ill all week, the only call I've had to do, was to discuss SE funding issues and process for ABCTT. I promptly went back to sleep.

1
Andy Say - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to JR:

Don't things move around

JR - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

> Andy. Our kids have done their NICAS schemes, academy squad training, and competed for 2 years. The BMC does, as far as I can make out, do its best to help, encourage and support such participants. I know there have been some criticisms but they do their best. I know many commercial operators initially have a genuine zeal to introduce people, especially youngsters to both indoor climbing and outdoor activities in general BUT almost of necessity it is the economics that inevitably end up driving the process to keep a business successful.

Glad to hear!  And I hear your point about economics too, but that's actually, for ABCTT (NICAS/NIBAS), where Sport England fit in a bit to plug the (reducing) uneconomical gap.

For the record NICAS/NIBAS (ie ABCTT) might be operating in the commercial sector i.e climbing walls, but it is itself a charity, and a SE tier 1 compliant organisation.

In my professional life I support charitable or NfP organisations become "commercially" sustainable, to ease them off grant/philanthropic funding etc.  That doesn't mean eternal growth!  ABCTT is just about at that level of cash sustainability due to the hard work of the staff and volunteers before me (much credit to andyr), but is not quite in terms of long term sustainability to fund the innovations to keep it providing its existing service as climbing evolves around it.  Again, that doesn't mean eternal growth!

The SE money we use is for specific projects (for example digitisation, or quality assurance), which are done fundamentally to increase NICAS/NIBAS impact and make it more accessible to all, more efficient, and more sustainable in the long run.  We're currently a tiny charity, less than 2 FTE staff.  

Ideally this is for young people regardless of parental wealth, but it's difficult to achieve without a sector wide approach and as Spenser said the Local Authorities don't have the resource they used to.

Indirectly, through the walls, ABCTT provides NICAS/NIBAS to schools, and there is some overlap of curricula with GCSE PE Climbing.  Schools can and do get funding to run NICAS/NIBAS for their pupils, subsidised or free.  I've personally done it when teaching in a school in challenging circumstances in Salford/Bolton through a National Lottery "Awards for All" grant. Direct Sport England "Small Grants" grants are available too for clubs/schools etc.  I know some walls do this directly too to support funding schemes for disabled/vulnerable etc. 

ABCTT have provided the scheme for c. 115k young people aged 7 and over, with an almost 50/50 gender split.  Many of those who participate in the schemes may never climb again, but they are autonomous indoor climbers at the point of finishing the scheme.  Some might transition to climbing or bouldering outside, some might prefer ice climbing in the long run, skiing, or expeditions, and some might go on to TeamGB. One might actually win an olympic medal.

Most of all, I want them all to remain active and healthy in a sport into adulthood, and gain confidence and skills as young people that will support them as they grow up.  For some, it might spark the passion for climbing that everyone debating on here has.

I think the vast majority of BMC members support that sentiment, and the sentiment that the BMC should be supportive and partner in that process so that they can support young people be access and conservation conscious if they do become active climbers, hillwalkers and/or mountaineers as a result.  Balancing the commerciality is a challenge for the BMC for sure. 

Basically, I've made a long winded way of saying the BMC shouldn't abandon that challenge but should take it on, with care and guidance from the members.

> The wall and sport climbing generation, including our own kids, by and large think it insane that every crag is not grid ironed with bolts. The BMC has defended the ‘adventure / trad’ climbing ethos through its enlightened promotion of our inherited climbing culture but the barbarians are battering at the gates.

I really don't think that's true.  And, as Chair of ABCTT/NICAS/NIBAS I'll happily swing leads with you on a gogarth red/yellow/mousetrap choss fest and we can discuss how to defend those routes from the barbarian children of NICAS.   When the bird ban's off, of course... otherwise, we'd be the barbarians.  Climb when you're ready!

Post edited at 15:59
JR - on 21 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Hopefully you don't feel it's pedantic for me to point if you're wrong! :p

Post edited at 17:17
Andy Say - on 22 Apr 2018
In reply to JR:

John,

Nope

Andy

Offwidth - on 22 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

I understand the voting numbers but just because people don't vote in the BMC AGM it doesn't mean they don't care.  

Firstly, its a type of politics where we normally mostly agree (unlike when electing MPs or local Councillors) so its reasonable to trust pretty much anyone leading such organisations until there are clear indications to the contrary (say when your NC rep democratic representatives with all that primacy vote in Climb Britain).

Secondly, the import and process has only fairly recently been becoming clear and accessible enough to register with ordinary members (plebs) much to the political benefit of the activist class in the organisation. I had no idea there was a club block vote until Mark, Chris and others started to campaign against it at the Peak Area meetings and online, and was appalled  (so much again for those glory years of democracy). Many people who do care, can't afford the time and money of going to meetings all the time, especially the AGM. The biggest improvements in BMC democracy are almost certainly due to improving information on the web,  growing communications on the web and the recent levels of online debate, especially on UKC forums (an organisation with an owner sadly still hated by some long standing activists in the BMC, stretching back to proposals to instigate legal action against Rockfax for plagiarism).

The reason I'm arguing so much here is, despite sharing most of the philosophy and ethics of those opposing the SE governance changes, I'm a pragmatist and think we need to retain government influence and funding and keep our partners happy in that. I understand governance pretty well and the fact that legal, compliant structures are so widely abused makes me angry. However in the BMC I don't think it should matter much at all as we do have so much common ground. I've said again and again I think primacy is a red herring being used unfairly as a political lever. I'm also still arguing because I think the 30 are dangerous and have anti-democratic and dishonest motives and are still stirring up trouble and as such are significant players in the vote.

 

UKB Shark - on 22 Apr 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> The reason I'm arguing so much here is, despite sharing most of the philosophy and ethics of those opposing the SE governance changes, I'm a pragmatist and think we need to retain government influence and funding and keep our partners happy in that. 

To me that pragmaticism boils down to one thing. Do we want the BMC to be as powerful and influential as possible at a national level in representing climbers and hill walkers interests? To me it is an obvious yes. If we are widely regarded as poorly governed then that will limit our power and influence and potential.

If the BMC is to have a regular seat at top table it should come as no surprise that we are expected to share the same table manners. 

 

All my opinion (as always)

1
JWhite on 22 Apr 2018
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

"Do we want the BMC to be as powerful and influential as possible at a national level in representing climbers and hill walkers interests? To me it is an obvious yes. "

This is probably one thing that we can all emphatically agree on. Where we seem to disagree is whether we feel that changing our governance to fit with SE's enhanced requirements for a funded governing body compromises our ability to be representitive. Alignment v Independence. Whether we achive the right balance is a question of both the principles and the details that sit behind them.

"If the BMC is to have a regular seat at top table it should come as no surprise that we are expected to share the same table manners".

More than happy to sup at the top table, provided we're not being force-fed from a limited set menu. If that's the case, I'd forego the meagre dinner allowance and buy my own choice of packed lunch to eat at the table...

Post edited at 23:49
Offwidth - on 23 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

So please explain again why you waited so long to get publicly upset about democracy in the BMC. It looks like you were happy metaphorically eating well at the top table and feeding the bulk of the membership a packed lunch for a long time. In these more democratic times  the Exec, Org and NC eats with the members and along with the clear majority of area attendees seem concerned about keeping the top table for all, despite poorer fare, as they know otherwise if we all leave many members risk theft of their packed lunches. What do you and your minority activist group know that all these other heavily involved and well informed activists don't and how does that stack up with past actions for genuine BMC democracy?

galpinos on 23 Apr 2018
In reply to JWhite:

> Alignment v Independence

Could you explain why alignment means loss of independence?  I understand alignment with SE's requests and bringing the BMC in line with the various good governance guidelines for sporting bodies changes how the BMC is set up and there are concerns over the power, or lack thereof, of the Board and NC/MA/whatever, but none of these threaten the independence of the BMC?

 

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

Steve. Jonathan White was trying to instigate the changes he espouses now in 2001. So he has been a fair and consistent champion of improved democracy, not a hypocrite.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uum5rSGh7vfE1W8kOmFdInqZOWN8aADN/view

To support that assertion please see the 2001 Organizational Structure Working Group report; link above. Jonathan was a key member of that group. Had its recommendations been implemented we would not be arguing now! Its both hilarious and depressing in equal measure at how many things were said then are echoed in the present ORG report. The crucial difference is that the earlier recommendations DID champion member led change as opposed to board imposed change.

Crag Jones - on 23 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Syme:

 

Apology to Andy Syme

Andy. I’ll ring you as well. I’d far rather all this was being done face to face in a proper setting a long time ago rather than last minute fire-fighting resulting from a very flawed process attempting to change the BMC. You asked for a ‘public redaction’, so here it is.

My first three sentences, as copied below, were wrong and I apologize for those. I am also grateful to Paul (Evans) for at least being straight in admitting they should have been directed at him, not yourself:-

Then why were you party to an attempt to  orchestrate the wrecking of the NW Area meeting this week by suggesting the movement of a totally unjustified MoNC? There was another wizard wheeze where ‘creative ambiguity’ in the Articles of Association’ was suggested as a means of deflecting concerns about accountability of the Board. If that is the way you really deal with existing democratic engagement then any reassurances you give about future arrangements respecting members concerns are, at best, dubious.

What is not disputed is that the phone call took place. I accept your part in it was up to your usual high standards and those notes were Paul’s.

The ‘ambiguity’ though, certainly exists whether through creativity or cock-up I’ll leave people to judge for themselves. It pervades nearly the entire discourse and either way, it’s going to lead to trouble. The remainder of the post I still hold to:-

All this at a time when you are negotiating as a one man band with Sport England whilst constantly fudging off the membership with half-truths and none of the current executive is showing any oversight or leadership. The situation is farcical and needs to be brought under proper review. It is rushed because the ORG did not properly engage with the membership at an early stage. The whole process, conflated story line and time-line has been massaged to try and prevent alternative outcomes.  Latest calculations are indicating that the new lowered bid for Sport England funding will in any case be more than offset by even the suddenly very low, conservative, reduced, estimated, implementation costs; quite possibly, leaving the BMC out of pocket, leaving little justification to have to meet the June deadline. In the meantime there are alternative pathways for our partners to obtain their share of funding, at least until this mess is properly resolved.

 

Post edited at 10:33
Offwidth - on 23 Apr 2018
In reply to Crag Jones:

If he opposed club block votes in 2001 I apologise. I thought he implied otherwise elsewhere.

Also in you post you blame ORG for the delay when the elected NC were the main problem with delays (as Dave admitted at Peak and NW area meets).

Post edited at 19:31
Andy Say - on 29 Apr 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Well.  It HAS gone quiet here!

Suffice it to say that the National Council have met and a proposal to go to the AGM has been formulated.  Should be circulated shortly.  There will also be a 'forum/conference/symposium/whatever' on the 15th May - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-constitution-the-way-ahead

NOW the important thing is to decide what it is that YOU want (if you are a BMC member ) and do your damnest to make sure that your opinion counts.  This IS the BMC's Brexit moment.  Am I being over dramatic?  Not sure!

So whichever way you want to vote either get to the AGM in Kendal or make sure that you understand how to register a proxy vote and DO IT.

 

I am sure that upcoming Area meetings will be ready to inform and discuss the issues and ensure that the proxy system is understood.  Get involved and indicate what you think the BMC should be. 

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

I don't think it's a brexit moment if, as is very likely, there are two competing sets of articles both of which would need 75% to be accepted... there is a very real chance of stalemate. On the plus side, compared to brexit, there is no huge educational attainment divide. On the negative side there is already plenty of fake promises and dirty tricks from the 30.

1
Andy Cairns on 02 May 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Yes, it's gone surprisingly quiet here, and on Crag's site as well.  You might have thought that a site set up explicitly for discussion about the BMC Organisational review would have mentioned, and featured the other proposal being tabled about it, which has been signed by over 500 names in less than 24 hours!  Certainly puts into perspective the fuss about raising the number of names required for a motion from 25 to 100 - it's easy, just produce a motion that the members will actually like, and publicise and discuss it openly.

Might also have thought there might have been some discussion about the fact that 2 members of the BMC National Council (one of them also a member of the Implementation Group which came up with the BMC proposal to go before the AGM) are signatories to the alternative motion being tabled by the BMCWhateverTheyAreNow, which is directly seeking to bring down the BMC motion.

Strange times.

Cheers, Andy

 

 

Offwidth - on 02 May 2018

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