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 UKB Shark 12 Sep 2020

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-update-september-2020

“Whilst there has been some speculation on the reasons for the resignations, the Board and outgoing members have all agreed that they do not wish to comment further on the matter”

After all the bemusement, bewilderment and annoyance expressed by members on here, at Area meetings and elsewhere the response from the Board is we are not going to explain what happened. 

Poor communication was acknowledged as a failing by one of the director’s at my Area meeting. However, good communication isn’t merely doubling down and stating that you are not saying anything.

Therefore we are none the wiser on who was involved and the issues that caused “fractured relationships” and two of the three independent directors resigning.

On a slightly more positive note at least the article is written in plainer English than  before.

16
 spenser 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

NC clearly doesn't believe that it is appropriate to disclose the details. Of the NC members who I know I am confident that they would not have accepted this approach if they didn't feel it was the best option.

Yourself and David have done quite enough damage recently, you have seemed like a nice bloke in previous interactions but your approach to voicing your concerns about Huw was appalling, if you go after anyone else I would not be surprised if they tell you to shove it. 

37
 Rick Graham 12 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

I commend Simon and Dave for persevering with their whistleblowing.

If the truth hurts , tough.

1
In reply to spenser:

Move along, nothing to see here...

We sent the BMC a series of questions on Tuesday which we hope to publish answers/a response to next week.

In reply to UKB Shark:

The tone deafness, particularly of the NC statement is breathtaking.  After a complete breakdown of leadership and multiple resignations that apparently aren't worthy little people knowing about, we get "It's all you naughty members' fault, don't you dare comment on grown up matters"

Basically the Board and NC talking amongst themselves and patting themselves on the back, while hoping members will go away and stop getting in the way of their ever so Important Business

Post edited at 10:20
1
 WVRox 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Rick Graham:

Absolutely!

Those on here trying to close down the debate aren't helping things - it's not gonna  just go away! 

In reply to UKB Shark:

Of course they 'don't wish to communicate' about a matter of considerable embarrassment.  But they have a duty to communicate to the members that they represent, whether they want to or not.   And if they aren't going to they should be replaced.

The only acceptable reason for not communicating to members on a serious matter would be if there was a legal restriction on doing so.

 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

What mass of posters on here? All but a few have had clear agendas for attacking the BMC. I listened in to the debate on just over half of the Area meetings and the Peak area was the only one with several vocal critics and one of those (Rupert) was sympathetic of the background but was very clear Board communications needed to improve. Two areas had no discussion on the concerns. The feel I have from area meetings is even fewer people want to dig than  those who want to here. There are very few comments on the BMC website.

Then we have all the hidden plotting to get a MoNC or a GM call together, based on misinformation. If those who want this are honest why are they not calling for it here and giving the clear reasons. Why are these secret plots any different to the previous plots of the BMC 30?  Any GM would cost the members tens of thousands of pounds in expenses plus all the monetary and emotional costs and inevitable delays to important work that would be a knock on effect. Some on the Board fell out and behaved badly and some broke process in a serious collection of not especially serious individual ways according to the two Independent Directors who resigned. What would we gain from the digging if its clear the two IDs won't say more and we will never dknow their specific concerns?

The National Council containing our democratic representatives have unanimously proposed a workable solution. You are insulting them.

Post edited at 11:15
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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

What duty? Where does any Board of a member organisation have to air all it's dirty washing in public. Some degree of confidentiality and collective responsibility on decisions is essential for a functional Board.

Are you even a member?

33
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Rick Graham:

Go back and read some what David and Simon said on the previous threads. It was perfectly possible to pose their questions without insulting volunteers or making up fairy stories; posts that came close to libel. Supporting such behaviour is like the kids shouting 'fight fight' when watching school ground bully behaviour.

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In reply to WVRox:

> Those on here trying to close down the debate aren't helping things - it's not gonna  just go away! 

What "debate"? As far as I can see (and I have been following all the threads) it just seems to be an endless repetition of "tell us what you fell out over / why you fell out" followed by the reasonable response of "we've said all we're going to say". 

I don't think this is particularly helpful and it is confined to a fairly small number of individuals on here. I trust that the National Council have decided on the best way forward and I think we should let them and the board get on with things without making it more difficult for them. 

For transparancy, I should mention I'm the SW area chair.

12
 Macca_7 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

I'm a member and having read most of the monster threads and all the twoing and froing I would love to know what the hell is going on with the organisation I am a member of and pay towards.

As much as you denigrate Simon and David it now feels that you are as overly the top defending the bmc as they are asking questions. You can't have it both ways!

Another statement saying nothing to see is fairly disappointing and hard to defend.

Macca

1

It's remarkable how many of the posters who (rightly) lament the lack of accountability and openness in the current government, defend the same high-handed behaviour at the BMC.

In reply to Mark Kemball:

> What "debate"? As far as I can see (and I have been following all the threads) it just seems to be an endless repetition of "tell us what you fell out over / why you fell out" followed by the reasonable response of "we've said all we're going to say". 

Why do you think it reasonable not to tell members what the problems are?  This idea the Board and NC are somehow detached from the membership and owe them nothing while expecting silent unquestioning support is bonkers.

In reply to Offwidth:

> The National Council containing our democratic representatives have unanimously proposed a workable solution. You are insulting them.

Comical.  How can we possibly know if the solution is workable when we don't know the problem it is addressing!?  Expecting an explanation of what has happened is not insulting.

Post edited at 12:07
 WVRox 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

> Why do you think it reasonable not to tell members what the problems are?  

This...in a nutshell

1
In reply to MG:

My understanding is this: The board fell out with each other for whatever reason, does it really matter? Differences meant they could no longer work together and some resigned. The NC spent a lot of time listening to what various board members had to say and decided that the best way forward would be to get the board back functioning asap. This seems the most sensible way forward to me. 

Any "who said what to who when and why" is only going to slow down / hinder the whole process and as far as I can see would only function as some sort of "blame game" with no other worthwhile outcome.

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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

National Council are the formal elected members representatives from across England and Wales. They are the opposite of detached from membership, and take their volunteer role on behalf of the members very seriously. As I said, the anger in local area meetings was much less than on here (why did most of the critics here not log on.. you can do this on a smartphone from almost anywhere for an evening meeting for the local area representing you).

Andy on behalf of the National Council has said they don't know more and the Independent Directors have made it clear they won't say more. We do know the behaviours in themselves were not serious enough to look at resignation but they were in sum. We also know it was not about strategy. We also know this happened under the immense strain and massive extra workload of the covid crisis, that would have stressed saints.

The key issue is: what to do? The National Council could have called an expensive General Meeting immediately (which would take a few months under the Articles to arrange) and still have learnt no more (forcing full Board resignation). This would remove leadeship for  months (assuming minimum possible timelines) in the middle of a national crisis for the county and financial crisis for the BMC. Given what we know I think the National Council route is way more sensible and likely to be the one the majority of members would support. We have burnt a fortune already in money, energy, and time in the BMC on the political obsessions of a tiny percentage of the membership. Quite a few innocent parties like Rehan have resigned because of relentless attacks based on misinformation.

22
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> My understanding is this: The board fell out with each other for whatever reason, does it really matter?

Well I'd say it does.  We've heard variously it was due to: personality differences, financial irregularities, differences on strategy, inappropriate behaviour; questions of qualifications, amongst other things.  We have had Board statement contradicted by resigned members within hours of publication.  The President  vanished (has she reappeared??).  And this is after a similar fiasco just a couple of years ago. The remaining Board and NC saying, "there, there, trust us, it's all OK'' doesn't really cut it with that background.

4
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Back to the politics of this, from the end of the last thread. You said.

"The ORG was a holistic solution which everyone voted for - NC, the Board and the Members. It was not a menu. If wholly implemented with good governance practices maybe the Board wouldn’t be where it is."

That you believe ORG is a complete package is very worrying from a democratic perspective. Onto specifics, firstly a minority of members always opposed parts of ORG and there were critics of specifics in NC and there was no Board back then. Before moving to ODG implementation (as Andy Say pointed out) there was lots of members consultation that led to democratic change. As the BMC is a democratic members organisation the members could chose to reject some or all of the final implementation as processed through ODG. I was a strong supporter of ORG and have watched hundreds of volunteers make significant contributions to ODG (including you). I believe the holistic spirit has been retained and many small improvements made. I disagree with some decisions: I, like you, would have preferred a Finance Director.

You also said:

 "Andy Syme did admit earlier on that the break up was to do with governance early on but references to it seems to have shifted back to “behaviours and processes”."

I'm sure Andy can speak for himself but as he was reporting what an Independent Director told him I doubt very much he said any such thing.

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In reply to Offwidth:

> Are you even a member?

Of course not, I live in Scotland and am a member of Mountaineering Scotland.

I like stirring the sh*t on internet forums.  Sue me.

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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Where are financial irregularities as a cause raised by NC or Directors? Where are strategic differences as a cause mentioned by NC or Directors? Where are qualifications as a cause raised by NC or Directors?

You are just reflecting the accusations of critics with an agenda, who if they were honourable would have had no need to insult Directors or make up fairy stories.

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In reply to Offwidth:

So what if it is the NC or Directors making these claims?  They are the ones who are causing the problems and whose competence and integrity is in doubt.  Of course they won't make the claims if it affects them.  All the claims have been raised by serious people close to events.   

Further, it seems to be accepted the accounts were wrong and submitted without Directors seeming them.  That is a (potentially very serious) financial irregularity.  Is that the cause of the resignations?  We don't know but have every right to know.  The qualification question is explicitly raised in the latest communication linked above.  What is the background to this?  We don't know and have every right to know if the Board are not doing basic checks on appointees.  The President simply vanished at moment of great organisational stress.  I don't need anyone to make that claim I just look for some announcement or engagement and find nothing.  All the MONC stuff is well documented.  To only two years later be in a similar situation with Board members dropping like flies is appalling.  To then be told to shut up and trust the survivors is, in your words, insulting.

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 UKB Shark 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Back to the politics of this, from the end of the last thread. You said.

> "The ORG was a holistic solution which everyone voted for - NC, the Board and the Members. It was not a menu. If wholly implemented with good governance practices maybe the Board wouldn’t be where it is."

> That you believe ORG is a complete package is very worrying from a democratic perspective. Onto specifics....

Yes you are right. After Andy Say’s comments I looked back and saw I was wrong. I thought the ORG report had been endorsed in its entirety but it was just the constitutional elements that were endorsed at the AGM that gave the Board primacy. John Roberts motion to “implement the spirit of the ODG” was also endorsed at the AGM allowing wiggle room to not follow the recommendations such as an FD and independent Comps subsidiary.

 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Macca_7:

I'm not denigrating the right of Simon and David to raise democratic concerns. I'm debating those. What I'm denigrating is the likes of the following:

"The critics do indeed want blood.  I couldn't put it better than Ollie Cromwell; You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

"I sent a private email to the current chair saying in summary that I was pleased he was leaving as his term as chair had been a disaster for the BMC.  I acknowledged that it wasn’t entirely his fault and that he had been assisted by an incompetent Board.  I hoped that he had learned a lesson from the debacle and would not inflict himself on other organisations in the future."

"A good example in the BMC case is the projection of subs income.  This is a complex calculation involving many variables and is understood by two people, Alan Brown and me.  For those of us routinely dealing with this kind of stuff all easy-peasy, for the recent crop of BMC Board members who have difficulty understanding their credit card statements next too impossible and much time can be wasted trying to explain."

"Inevitable when an organisation is high jacked by a bunch of second rate do-gooders."

"The big difference is the people, that Board was made up of competent, capable people from a climbing / mountaineering background who treated it as a volunteer role not a day job.  The current Board of wannabe's living out their corporate fantasies is not in the same league."

"Must we be addressed in Welsh from an organisation based in Manchester?"

"I can well imagine that for a CEO who has been used to doing things in an informal way for 20+ years who is then expected to change to what you might see as pointless procedures, trivial issues and uncomfortable oversight might not implement them with the urgency or rigour expected and then kick back against it. On the other side tensions will have built up amongst those trying implement ORG governance feeling frustrated in their efforts. I think this is broadly what happened. Correct me if you know otherwise.

In the bust up it appears that the Chair and the President sided in sympathy with the CEO. I don’t have an insight on who was  pushing hardest on the other side of the rift and who were on the sidelines but I expect those championing the ORG the most would be those who were getting most frustrated."

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In reply to Offwidth:

The Welsh one is a bit off. The others seem entirely reasonable, especially given the absence of a proper explanation.

5
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Serious people don't insult others in public or make up fairy stories.  Firm but respectful facts and arguments are enought.

The accounts issue happened in autumn 2018. The Board, packed with modernisers, did not set a new process in place for the accounts, neccesary given the organisational change. When the President and CEO stepped in on the last day (the deadline for member posting for the AGM) they were unfairly singled out for criticism for what was clearly a collective Board failure (including them) to set a new process for the accounts. There was never a problem with the numbers: there was some incorrect text in the accompanying paper that had escaped attention for a decade (including the period of David's boasted expertise) and a Director filing date that was incorrect by a day. The most disappointing aspect of this is a Director at the time (JR) later on joined the public singling out, not thinking on their collective responsibility.

Post edited at 15:27
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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

"The others seem entirely reasonable, especially given the absence of a proper explanation."

So that highlights the difference between your views and what is currently regarded as best practice in modern governance.

13
In reply to Offwidth:

"Best practice" of governance does not involve silence, cover up and objecting to criticism, however much you might want that.

1
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I'm glad you now admit that point on ORG not being a menu was wrong (the latest in a list of such errors).

How about some openness and transparency about this member plotting to raise a General Meeting now? How is the current plotting any different to what the BMC 30 did??

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 UKB Shark 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I'm not denigrating the right of Simon and David to raise democratic concerns. I'm debating those. What I'm denigrating is the likes of the following:

Kindly make it clear going forward who you are quoting. The last two are mine. They have yet to be discounted and are still plausible scenarios:

> "I can well imagine that for a CEO who has been used to doing things in an informal way for 20+ years who is then expected to change to what you might see as pointless procedures, trivial issues and uncomfortable oversight might not implement them with the urgency or rigour expected and then kick back against it. On the other side tensions will have built up amongst those trying implement ORG governance feeling frustrated in their efforts. I think this is broadly what happened. Correct me if you know otherwise.

> In the bust up it appears that the Chair and the President sided in sympathy with the CEO. I don’t have an insight on who was  pushing hardest on the other side of the rift and who were on the sidelines but I expect those championing the ORG the most would be those who were getting most frustrated."

 UKB Shark 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> How about some openness and transparency about this member plotting to raise a General Meeting now? How is the current plotting any different to what the BMC 30 did??

 

Which member? Everyone I know has abandoned the idea as being too expensive, taking too long to organise or life being too short

In reply to Offwidth:

> How about some openness and transparency about this member plotting to raise a General Meeting now? 

"Plotting"? Are members not allowed to demand GMs now on your world?

3
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Firstly none of us outside the Board know if release of any further details they do know meet legal requirements for confidentiality.

More importantly two wrongs don't make a right. We know for a fact the behaviour of these two members is inappropriate. I spoke up for David on a previous thread as despite deploring what he said I felt, in the context of the worse behaviour of some BMC patrons in the past going unpunished, his 5 year ban should have been looked at independently. His level of anger makes no sense so he is clearly holding something back he regards as confidential that he could have discussed with an independent investigator in confidence.

Post edited at 15:55
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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Secret exchange of letters and emails containing misinformation was the precisely the main point I joined the democratic fight against the actions of the BMC 30 in their MoNC. If the member political issues are serious why can't they be debated in public?

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 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

That's good to hear that's your view on a General Meeting.

On the plausibility of the main theme of your fairy story, yes its possible but it would imply everyone on NC is lying, and the two Independent Directors in giving the reasons why they resigned. If you mean there could be hints of truth in some Directors having disagreements with some ORG specifics sure.. we were allies once on the spirit of ORG and both still believe in it, despite our disagreements here. If you had apologised I would have dropped the subject (its an odd theory unless someone with an axe to grind is spinning information for your consumption).

Post edited at 16:07
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In reply to Offwidth:

> . If the member political issues are serious why can't they be debated in public?

Err quite. That is the purpose of a GM! I know nothing of the proposal but would support it given, the refusal of Board or NC to engage with members.

 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

There is a big difference between the open honest debate of serious issues in member politics and issues in the Board; where there is a line between openess and transparency and the necessary confidentiality and collective responsibility to function in the robust internal debate necessary to run the company well.  Your refusal to accept this seems childish to me. You could argue I draw the line in the wrong place. I have had a lot of senior experience to national level and the legal, governance and business advice I've always heard seems consistent with the two Directors and the BMC Board not wishing to release further information; in what seems to be a few personality issues and the odd nuts and bolts disagreement.

There is nothing wrong with the politics behind calling a GM but that includes it will cost tens of thousands and leave a delay of a few months (due to timings in the Articles) and likely after the meeting leave us in the same place we are now. I prefer the quicker and cheaper and more constructive fix the National Council suggest and I know them and trust them to act on behalf of the members (including action if the Board  doesn't improve).

In the MoNC the politics was acceptable. What was not, was how it was handled secretly, contained misinformation and lies and even added some names to the formal motion without asking the individuals if they supported it. More secret misinformation circulated prior to the 2018 AGM option debate that formed the Board. It was starting again over this according to my sources (all outside the Board).

Post edited at 16:50
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 scope 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Ah, yet another Offwidth vs UKC thread, where Offwidth accuses everyone of having secret agendas, whilst failing to admit his obvious conflict of interests and heavy bias.

Popcorn at the ready.

4
 Offwidth 12 Sep 2020
In reply to scope:

I don't oppose UKC in any sense (just the opposite), just those I see with dishonest agendas. The evidence was always provided on UKC in the past to back-up my accusations, when it was available from enough leaks and became necessary. The MoNC and 'Option B' threads are still there. When the membership voted on these they overwhelmingly backed the BMC positions I vocally supported.  I'm present and open to challenge in BMC local area and national BMC meetings.

Post edited at 17:10
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 wbo2 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG: Really they should stop stalling and say they kicked such and such out because he's a whining , incomepetant w#nker and noone can stand him.  NN and YY then had an argument and both resigned in a huff.

  Would that make you happy- there is a reason some of these statements are a bit bland. 

3
In reply to Offwidth:

> There is a big difference between the open honest debate of serious issues in member politics and issues in the Board; where there is a line between openess and transparency and the necessary confidentiality and collective responsibility to function in the robust internal debate necessary to run the company well.  Your refusal to accept this seems childish to me.

And your refusal to accept members, who pay for the organisation, have a right to know at least in outline what has happened appears absurd and self-serving to me,.  

> You could argue I draw the line in the wrong place. I have had a lot of senior experience to national level and the legal, governance and business advice I've always heard seems consistent with the two Directors and the BMC Board not wishing to release further information;

Much of it, I believe, in unions, which are known for secrecy and machinations.  By contrast, my experience of Boards is that they always operate best when they are open and honest with stakeholders.

Post edited at 17:45
 John Gresty 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

It's a members organisation, as such I believe the members have a right to know the details. It may be trivial, it may be serious, it may have been blown up by the Covid 19 pandemic, but we should have been provided with more information. Unfortunately it has got to the stage where I am not sure whether some members would believe the explanation.  

I well remember the words of the late Chris Moore, who after examining the proposed structure he commented something like 'The power lies with Nomination Committee' very prophetic words as it has turned out.

John Gresty

In reply to wbo2:

> Really they should stop stalling and say they kicked such and such out because he's a whining , incomepetant w#nker and noone can stand him.  NN and YY then had an argument and both resigned in a huff.

>   Would that make you happy- there is a reason some of these statements are a bit bland. 

IF that's what happened, yes, in slightly more tactful terms.  Why would that need to be secret?  Clearly there is more to it than that though.

1
 UKB Shark 12 Sep 2020
In reply to John Gresty:

> It's a members organisation, as such I believe the members have a right to know the details. It may be trivial, it may be serious, it may have been blown up by the Covid 19 pandemic, but we should have been provided with more information. Unfortunately it has got to the stage where I am not sure whether some members would believe the explanation.  

👍🏻

> I well remember the words of the late Chris Moore, who after examining the proposed structure he commented something like 'The power lies with M Nomination Committee' very prophetic words as it has turned out

Hi John,

I knew Chris a long time - we climbed together at uni. Such a tragedy.

Nom Com is a worry. It has power as well as power to cock things up. The President being on Nom Com as well as having lots of proxy votes as AGM Chair is an over-concentration of individual power I highlighted in my UKC article on the 2019 AGM.

I listed a range of other issues and posed questions (still unanswered) with the recruitment and election of Directors at that AGM but if poor vetting process led to the nomination /recommendation of an unqualified accountant for a position that was described as requiring a qualified and experienced accountant then that will take the biscuit.

The Governance Working Group led by Jonathan White has been looking at improvements to the current workings of Nom Com which I’ve also contributed to.

 mondite 12 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

> "Best practice" of governance does not involve silence, cover up and objecting to criticism, however much you might want that.

Officially anyway. I suspect most unwritten ones do though hence the silencing of potential whistle blowers with cash payoffs and NDA's. Bonus points if, like Wirecard, you can send the authorities after the critics.

However the BMC is a lot more dependent on the individual contributors than a normal company although even then I suspect many investors in companies might be getting a bit worried at the rate of turn over in the board and thinking about how to offset potential losses.

The uncertainty about what was the driver behind the initial resignations really isnt helping here. I am a member of the BMC for the same reason I am a member of British Canoeing (once they got their finger out of their arse and started caring a bit more about access than competitions) and Cycling UK (over British Cycling on the competition thing) on the grounds that I want someone representing both my own interests and those of the broader riding/kayaking/walking/climbing groups.

I am becoming increasingly uncertain whether the BMC is flawed due to high level infighting regardless of the lower level volunteer structure. Admittedly this doesnt seem to be helped by some people taking the opportunity to declare round 2 of a previous disagreement but this comes down to the failure of the BMC to communicate. If they had done so effectively then I think it would die a lot quicker.

Lets hope Natalie and team get some better answers than what is being provided currently.

 Chris_Mellor 12 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

The BMC statement says: "Two of the BMC values that were agreed by members are respect and community. National Council calls on everyone to conduct themselves in accordance with the BMC’s values, so that volunteers will remain willing to give freely of their time and work on behalf of, and benefiting, us all."

How ironic. The National Council and board appear to not respect the members and their concerns and do not communicate effectively, openly and transparently about serious board problems and council leadership absence - except seemingly indirectly via Offwidth.

It is entirely possible for volunteers to perform their role badly. When they do they should be called out, admit failings and go with good grace. Not stay and tell everyone who is being critical that they should shut up because it may make existing (Board and NC) volunteers feel uncomfortable and stop volunteering. What a bunch of snowflakes.

It's not good enough. I believe the President should resign at once as there is no leadership being shown here and the organisation is crying out for that.

As for investigating board and NC candidates credentials from now on - pathetic. None of this would have come out were it not for sustained activity on the UKC forum. Credit where credit's due.

8
 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

Good post Chris.

This new political theme of ‘respect’ is plainly being used as a blunt instrument to clobber public questioning and scrutiny (aka ‘attacks’). 

The respect advocated seems very much in one direction ie upwards to the hierarchy to those holding positions of power on the Board and at NC. 

I think that those in authority (with their fractured relationships) should put their own house in order before lecturing everyone else and consider extending it downwards especially, as you say, regarding openness and transparency to the members about serious board problems. 

On the other part of my email to Jonathan White (BMC Director) a week ago (the body of which is on the other thread) I cited to him a very recent example where a group of BMC volunteers lower down the hierarchy were afforded scant respect. They were not formally informed that their specialist experience were no longer required after many years service (over 20 years in one case) and it came as a complete surprise to at least three of them to learn this after the event. In my view they should not only have been informed properly but also properly thanked as befits the end of an era. 

Jonathan’s response was to express surprise that they hadn’t gleaned this from an article and minutes buried somewhere on the famously obtuse BMC website. He rebutted that the communication was poor or that thanks over and above what was traditionally  given annually was in order despite it being the end of an era for the group. Needless to say I don’t think an apology is on the cards! So much for respect.

3
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Can you please re copy that part of that letter as I missed that and I have no idea what you are talking about. I can't think of any group of BMC volunteers who are no longer needed or what this has to do with Jonathan who leads on clubs and the GWG.

Post edited at 09:45
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 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Can you please re copy that letter as I missed that and I have no idea what you are talking about. I can't think of any group of BMC volunteers who are no longer needed.

You’ll just have to take my word for it. I suggested to one that they lodge a complaint but they said there was no point and would come to nothing - though he put it far more colourfully than that. Damage is done. If Lynne wants the content of that part of the email she can get it from Jonathan.

The rest of the email in the other thread was this:

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Thanks Alan.

Like David I was pretty hacked off with the Board article communicating Huw’s resignation. We had been providing information to the Board via Jonathan White about Huw and had no prior warning of his resignation or the article. The below is the main body of an email I sent to one of the remaining Directors, Jonathan White on Saturday.

The article presented Huw as a victim of unwarranted attacks and presented his accounting credentials, his experience, his contribution and the process of his appointment. That’s why I took it to be an answer to our questions 

Furthermore David and myself were framed as the villains undermining good work. 

The article then went on to lecture about respect and the manner of lodging complaints. There was no respect to our position as members - whistleblowers who put our heads above the parapet in the firing line and potentially put ourselves at legal risk. I thoughts as one of the proponents of the alternative articles you would have some empathy and insight into what that involves. It’s far easier to stay silent and most choose to do so or are harangued into silence or have vested interests that prevent them rocking the boat. 

We should be thanked for highlighting the potential risk of you harbouring a Potential rogue board member - one that could feasibly be disbarred or even sent to jail. What if this happened while he was still in office? How would that look for the BMC? Instead of recognising we are doing a service there were scarcely veiled warnings that members had to keep there tongues in check. What is this? A totalitarian state? What you are advocating in the article is not healthy in fact it is toxic.

God knows I have tried to raise concerns for just over a year about the recruitment and election of Directors and tried to do it diplomatically. The lengthy UKC article following the 2019 AGM could have been far more harshly worded. And what of the list questions I sent to Simon McCalla a year ago about the recruitment and election of Directors? As you pointed out it is still unactioned item on the Governance Working Group agenda. 

What are our sins? Asking a couple of direct questions of a publicly accountable Director regarding publicly available information on public bulletin board. It was Huw’s choice to engage in the dialogue on the forum.

I predicted he would use some pretext to cast himself in an honourable light if he resigned. The more likely major reason was he realised the game was up. Yet the narrative article sought to exonerate him even though it is now clear from your email that the Board has scarcely started to properly look at the information we sent. 

No doubt you are all getting tired and peeved at criticism which in reality are justified given events that have occurred and poor communications. Is it appropriate response for the Board of a membership organisation to try and gag that criticism and shame those who engage in it? 

2
 jcw 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Well it is interesting that you admit it is dirty washing. 

 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I'm sorry but that just sounds like the latest of your unsubstantiated claims, that so far all turned out to be nonsense or not the real nature of the problem. If that had happened to a group of volunteers some people will have known about it and, as you describe it, it would certainly raise serious concerns across other core BMC volunteer groups (given the mud thrown already it seems incredible a genuinely serious issue would be kept private).  If you don't want to inform me in public tell me offline and I will comment privately on my view on details and here very generically, keeping the group identity confidential.

The rest of that email is frankly bizzare. In particular I understand the matter of the qualifications were being looked at and I'd be amazed if it turned out they didn't exist (if there are none it won't be possible to cover that up). You and David got very excited about the Director not appearing on a chartered accountants listing but being chartered was never an essential requirement for that ND role, nor something he ever claimed. Talk of jail is plain hyperbolic. The 'sins' were never the questions you and David asked, it was the insulating behaviour around that, some of which that I copied above. For a self proclaimed gagged man you are certainly very noisy. 

Everything I've ever posted here from the Board  is from public available information, so imply all you like my posts are proxys but it's again nonsense. I'm pissed off as a member that this has happened but I want things fixed. The NC have offered the only feasible route for moving forward constructively so far.  The current Directors on Board are temporary custodians of the organisation, responsible for the envelope of operations, my main attachment to the BMC is to the core volunteers and the staff and the essential work they do.

Post edited at 10:56
15
 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Chartered = qualified

3
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to jcw:

How else would you describe what has been publicly reported about the causes of resignation of the two Independent Directors? As a someone who is regularly 'accused' (with clear negative intent as if it were normally a bad thing to defend the BMC) of being the biggest BMC fanboy on UKC it is only especially interesting for those who see the world in black and white. I publicly supported Mark Valance and Chris Moor, from my local area, in their campaign against the BMC club block vote. Also more recently to change the BMC decision that FA information was not to be included in the definitive Peak Limestone guides.

UKC is the biggest collecting place for comments from BMC critics but I am happy with that as long as debate isn't insulting. If you judged member positions from the balance of debate here you might have thought Andy Say might win the Option vote that gave us the current BMC structure, that he led admirably well at the AGM but lost by a massive margin. Yet if that debate had not happened online the prior Manchester compromise that fed into that huge majority might not have happened: this might have left the National Council without the power to help the Board now.

2
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Tell that to some of the Profs in the subject area who never bothered. It is not an equallity but it is essential if you wish to do certain types of professional work.

Post edited at 11:23
3
 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020

 reply to Offwidth:

> Tell that to some of the Profs in the subject area who never bothered. It is not an equallity but it is essential if you wish to do certain types of professional work.

You can spin it all you like but Qualified is being Chartered and qualified was in the headline of the agenda of the 2019 AGM:

7.c Election of a Nominated Director qualified and experienced in accounting and finance, also having other relevant skills and experience (one position available)
 Gron Ffoulkes-Davies
 Huw Jones

If he wasn’t qualified then the membership was misled.

AGM agenda: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1755 

2
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

That's clearly your opinion on the subject but I suspect those less motivated in insulting the Board might, when this is all looked into properly, regard the actual qualifications he does have as acceptable. It does not say the role required a chartered accountant and the person would not be acting in any necessary professional capacity in that respect as a non exec on the BMC. Others more experienced in the subject area have pointed this out to you already.

11
 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Others more experienced in the subject area have pointed this out to you already.

Where? Please quote

 David Lanceley 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Curiously Huw Jones is still showing as an active Director of the BMC on the Companies House website almost two weeks after he resigned.  I've emailed the BMC Company Secretary a number of times but have had neither response nor action.

As I've said here and elsewhere the qualification issue couldn't be simpler to solve.  A photo of the certificate which for most people hangs on their office wall.  That it is taking so long can only increase suspicion.  It becomes clearer by the day that no checks were done at the selection stage, the nominations committee simply believed what they were told. 

As far as I'm concerned for an accountant qualification = chartered status but I'd be more than happy to argue the toss.  If you take the trouble to check Huw's very limited LinkedIn profile you will see that he refers to himself as a "Chartered Accountant"

Post edited at 12:00
6
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

To my knowledge it takes 4 weeks for a resignation to register under the BMC Articles.

1
 David Lanceley 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

It takes two minutes to change the status of a Director on the Companies House Website.

5
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

If he claims that and it is not true that would indeed be a serious professional issue for him. As for the implications for the BMC I'll wait for them to investigate, they can hardly hide the outcome now.

 spenser 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

In my field (engineering) you need to hold either relevant academic qualifications at a Masters level or to have a vast body of experience to become chartered (in addition to somewhere around 4-5 years of experience of going the academic route).

I have been "qualified" for at least the last two years but am definitely NOT chartered.

Looking at the ICAEW website the qualifications are a strict requirement for chartership, however none payment of membership fees would invalidate someone's chartership which would mean Huw could still be qualified without being chartered. 

4
 David Lanceley 13 Sep 2020
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

It only takes two minutes to find the relvent Article as well (Google search BMC Articles of Association and go to p27 indexed to retirement of Directors)

"The office of a Director shall be vacated if:
22.1.1. by one month's written notice they resign from office (provided the number of
remaining Directors form a quorum at a meeting);"

Post edited at 12:16
In reply to spenser:

It's not a question of finessing what qualified means but a) were the BMC Board duped due to insufficient checks and b) where deliberately misleading claims about qualifications made

 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

> In my field (engineering) you need to hold either relevant academic qualifications at a Masters level or to have a vast body of experience to become chartered (in addition to somewhere around 4-5 years of experience of going the academic route).

> I have been "qualified" for at least the last two years but am definitely NOT chartered.

> Looking at the ICAEW website the qualifications are a strict requirement for chartership, however none payment of membership fees would invalidate someone's chartership which would mean Huw could still be qualified without being chartered. 

My field was Financial recruitment of qualified accountants for about 8 years. Qualified always meant being Chartered of one of the relevant institutes. If you had passed your exams but had yet to gain admission you could describe yourself as a Passed Finalist but not qualified. If you had passed some of the exams you could describe yourself as part-qualified but again that's not a qualification. It is very rare for someone not to continue paying their membership fees given all the trauma required to get qualified. In fact I can't recall an example of a working accountant doing that.   

 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

I'd agree that is what needs looking at internally by the Board but it's Nom Comm that would have been responsible for the determining the suitability for appointment (the three Independent Directors, the Board Chair, the President and the NC rep.

Post edited at 12:30
2
In reply to Offwidth:

And none of this would have been considered without these threads you want shut down....

2
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

All very applicable if the BMC was actually seeking a paid chartered accountant as an essential criteria but it was seeking a Non Exec Director and as such it would be normal to ask more explicitly for that, if the Board wanted that, given it is a membership organisation that deals with climbers and hillwalkers.

9
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Where did I ever say I wanted the threads shut down? I've even given an explicit example of where such threads helped in my view lead to positive change (the Manchester compromise).

4
In reply to Offwidth:

You object to all critical comments and repeatedly try and dismiss them as fairy tales, while insisting members have no right to know anything about what is going on.  The longer the threads go on however the more details come out about what is clearly chaos and incompetence across the BMC leadership

4
 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

I do not object to any critical comments. I do object to unnecessary insults and fairy stories but prefer to tackle them head on. I have not complained to the moderators about anything. The righs of the Board to a degree of confidentiality in their inner workings is a legal fact. The wisdom of what they chose to reveal (or not) will be obvious with the passing of time (but I'm not party to those discussions). I prefer the NC proposed fix but other democratic routes are possible and no one seems to be being censored in getting  their views heard. Chaos and incompetence is just your opinion. Mine is a group of volunteers under the highly unusual extreme pressure and workload arising from the covid crisis making mistakes they should really have avoided  even under such circumstances. In the meantime the essential work of core volunteers and staff that matters most to the vast majority of members goes on.

Post edited at 13:13
8
In reply to Offwidth:

> Tell that to some of the Profs in the subject area who never bothered. It is not an equallity but it is essential if you wish to do certain types of professional work.

Thats definitely true. I often found these academics at the post ‘92s, who had only worked at 1 institution so were in post before Chartered and Fellow were in the JD/Person Spec as essential (engineering) for shortlisting. It had improved significantly by the time I stopped doing University accreditation for the Institutions.

However, It’s surprising that Professional status in Accountancy wouldn’t be a strict requirement in a National outfit like the BMC in the JD for the post. I suppose there was a JD and a person spec and shortlisting? Maybe not😁

 Steve Woollard 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> All very applicable if the BMC was actually seeking a paid chartered accountant as an essential criteria but it was seeking a Non Exec Director and as such it would be normal to ask more explicitly for that, if the Board wanted that, given it is a membership organisation that deals with climbers and hillwalkers.

The Nominations Committee (NomCom) is required to “identify and nominate…candidates for positions as Nominated Directors…” and in the case of Huw Jones the requirement was “qualified and experienced in accounting and finance”

So did the NomCom verify Huw’s accountancy qualifications and consider them acceptable, because if they did I would have expected that to have been recorded, in which case it would be easy to bring this issue to a conclusion by the BMC confirming this.

But in the BMC announcement of the 11th September they state -

“In specific reference to the resignation of Huw Jones, the Board has asked that Huw provide clarification of his accountancy certificate and we shall provide an update on this as soon as possible.”

So this would imply that the NomCom didn’t verify Huw’s qualifications, which is pretty incompetent of them if true.

The NomCom is made up of the Board Chair, the President, the three Independent Directors, and an NC rep. So who was on the NomCom at the time and perhaps they would like to put the record straight?

1
 MJAngry 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Of course, now he has put his regisnation in he can just tell them to jog on with their questions. 

 UKB Shark 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I'm sorry but that just sounds like the latest of your unsubstantiated claims, that so far all turned out to be nonsense or not the real nature of the problem. If that had happened to a group of volunteers some people will have known about it and, as you describe it, it would certainly raise serious concerns across other core BMC volunteer groups (given the mud thrown already it seems incredible a genuinely serious issue would be kept private).  

 

I gather one of the ex-volunteers has been in touch with you directly to verify. He reckons you owe me an apology. I’ll settle for a retraction.

 neilh 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Irrespective of the ongoing issue with Huw I am still surprised that as a basic check it appears as though the Companies  House filings on him  were not reviewed. 
Irrespective as to whether people are volunteers and  I would expect this to be done as standard for any Director in a membership organisation like the BMC. 
 

I hope that this type of check to now be brought in , as well as a declaration that no Directors have been for example personally insolvent or bankrupt. 
 

It’s just sensible practise and I bet Sports England have guidelines on these sort of checks. 

 Offwidth 13 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Happy to apologise as although its going to take a while for me  to check some things out its almost certain you were correct to be concerned this time without any exaggeration. I was simply not aware of it. The Board has the right to propose committee changes but not without consultation with the committee and National Council.

 Macca_7 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

So does that mean you might not be so certain of all of the other facts that you are stating and things that you have insisted didn't happen?

And there's the whole problem, nobody knows because nobody's telling!!!

2
 Offwidth 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Macca_7:

If that were ever the case I would have apologised where it was so. I'm not the one struggling to own up when I'm probably wrong. This particular issue isn't current and its complex (there was necessary change required given other democratic agreement on new strategy).

8
 steve taylor 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Who said this???

  • "A good example in the BMC case is the projection of subs income.  This is a complex calculation involving many variables and is understood by two people, Alan Brown and me.  For those of us routinely dealing with this kind of stuff all easy-peasy, for the recent crop of BMC Board members who have difficulty understanding their credit card statements next too impossible and much time can be wasted trying to explain."

Patronising in the extreme...

 spenser 14 Sep 2020
In reply to steve taylor:

David Lanceley came out with that particular remark. He has been "fired" from his voluntary role on FAC seemingly for abusive behaviour toward other volunteers (in my view the further he is from the BMC the better from what I have seen on here and heard from friends).

7
In reply to steve taylor:

> Who said this???

> "A good example in the BMC case is the projection of subs income.  This is a complex calculation involving many variables and is understood by two people, Alan Brown and me.  For those of us routinely dealing with this kind of stuff all easy-peasy, for the recent crop of BMC Board members who have difficulty understanding their credit card statements next too impossible and much time can be wasted trying to explain."

Not Offwidth, for a start.

 neilh 14 Sep 2020
In reply to steve taylor:

TBH I find this of concern.( never mind the tone of the comments). Over the next year or so the BMC is probably going to need some really hard commercial nous to steer its way through the financial implications of Covid.Just a cursory glance at the accounts suggests some numbers about the amount of cash needed to fund the BMC monthly.It does not take a financial genius to work out the implications of very low insurance income ( how many of us really need a BMC insurance policy at the moment)(nd lapsed individual membership income (due to no competitions and so on). Yes the BMC has a cash reserve, but that can be burnt at a surprising rate when you have low income coming in.

David's harsh words should be raising red flags on the finance side. I hope that the Directors are really on top of this and are using their experience to steer the BMC on the right financial course. If they have no experience of what is needed to do this, then seek it as a priority.

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

Yes.

I would be more comfortable if they reverted to the ORG’s recommendation of having a paid Finance Director who along with the CEO reported to the Board (see below). It is more pressing because the current CEO is not a numbers man and the company accountant is more of a bookkeeper so this calibre of expertise and support is needed with the current setup and alluded to in the ORG recommendation.

As mentioned previously I think this role could have additional commercial responsibilities.

Another option is to revert to having the Head of the Finance and Audit Committee as de facto Board member (Treasurer) as before. There are undoubtedly shortcomings to this solution otherwise the ORG wouldn’t have made the recommendation they did (I would be interested to know why though if anyone knows cares to comment - JR?) 

As things stand there’s a major disconnect here currently as it’s unclear where responsibility and accountability for finance issues currently resides.  

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

Recommendation 41: The Senior Leadership Team should be expanded and must include the two staff Directors, the CEO and the Finance Director
This recommendation has been updated to reflect the changes in the structure of the Board of Directors, and to ensure that the BMC has the specific balance of skills the ORG felt were required in its Senior Leadership Team. The Senior Leadership Team should include at least the two staff members who will take an ex-officio position on the Board of Directors, and therefore hold, alongside the rest of the Board of Directors, legal and fiduciary responsibility for the BMC. These two staff Directors should be:
● the CEO, who is responsible overall for building the culture of the BMC, the day-to- day management decisions and for implementing the BMC's business plans; and,
● the Finance Director, who is primarily responsible for managing the financial risks for the BMC, financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to the Board of Directors and Members’ AssemblY

 neilh 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I assume you have noted that in the 2019 Accounts there is no detailed income and expenditure account breakdown. And that this was shown in previous years( see 2018 accounts).

Anyway at about £200k/£230k  a month ball park for cash needed a month you need some financial  rigour at the moment.

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Sorry meant ‘ex-officio‘ not ‘de facto’

 WVRox 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

As an interested observer of this discussion, but not too familiar with the intricacies of the BMC structure,  I'd have expected any organisation with the income/turnover the BMC has to have a finance team, headed by a qualified accountant, who are directly accountable to the CEO and in turn to the Board. Is the CEO not ultimately responsible for the finances, as in any organisation? Ok, day to day stuff delegated to an FD sure, but who is accountable here? Who leads the organisational drive for efficiency? Who manages the budgetary process? Who prepares the monthly management accounts? Are these reported systematically to the Board? 

If there is a team in place doing these things, and more, then fine, but these are not roles for volunteers. The volunteer Board members provide the challenge surely? 

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

> I assume you have noted that in the 2019 Accounts there is no detailed income and expenditure account breakdown. And that this was shown in previous years( see 2018 accounts).

You assume wrongly. I’ve not looked. Yes a lot of things were pared down or missing in the run up to this AGM most notably the membership figure. Covid is the obvious explanation/excuse/culprit. Others can say what they want about David’s style but having worked with him I considerable faith in his competence. If he predicts a slight surplus having worked on it whilst still on the committee I’m fairly confident we are ok this year at least 

> Anyway at about £200k/£230k  a month ball park for cash needed a month you need some financial  rigour at the moment.

I would say that you always need financial rigour. There is a duty to protect and spend  members money to the greatest effect in achieving the promotion of climbers and hill walkers interests at all times !

My experience and criticism is that Finance is far lower as a priority on the leadership agenda and generally at the BMC than I think it ought to be and should be treated far more professionally and seriously. Having said that Finance moves immediately to the top of the agenda when things start going truly pear shaped..

 neilh 14 Sep 2020
In reply to WVRox:

It is not a big income overall . £3m. It is more  like a small business selling something at £30 a time with the odd bit of large income coming in.

A serious FD would be far too expensive for the BMC.

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to WVRox:

> As an interested observer of this discussion, but not too familiar with the intricacies of the BMC structure,  I'd have expected any organisation with the income/turnover the BMC has to have a finance team, headed by a qualified accountant, who are directly accountable to the CEO and in turn to the Board. Is the CEO not ultimately responsible for the finances, as in any organisation? Ok, day to day stuff delegated to an FD sure, but who is accountable here? Who leads the organisational drive for efficiency? Who manages the budgetary process? Who prepares the monthly management accounts? Are these reported systematically to the Board? 

> If there is a team in place doing these things, and more, then fine, but these are not roles for volunteers. The volunteer Board members provide the challenge surely? 

These are all good questions.

I attended all the FInance Committee meetings (by invitation) when employed but was largely on the periphery. The committee had a reputation for being ultra conservative and resistant to change. However, I found the committee to be a breath of fresh air compared to other parts of the BMC.

They were onboard with ideas and proposals to make and save money (my remit) and helpful in my efforts. Resistance and inertia came from other quarters.

The CEO also typically attended the meetings. The company accountant minuted the meetings and supplied financial information. Whilst I was on the periphery of the mainstream financial work the committee members seemed very hands on in preparing budgets and year end info.

I believe the company accountant (Alan) is a fully qualified ACCA accountant. He is supported by an Assistant (Yas). They seem a competent within the confines of how the function currently operates. Being a qualified accountant does not automatically make you a Director. Alan was reactive and very good at being reactive in supplying specific information on request very quickly. He did what he was asked but did not proffer advice and guidance or strategic input. 

It did seem that information was opaquely presented and that there was a heavy reliance on spreadsheet but I’m neither qualified or was close enough to comment on the robustness of the systems or controls.

Budgets I understand typically were of the nature of add a bit each year for each department and I know David was keen to overhaul and do a ground up budget starting from zero but not sure whether he got to do that (David?).

The management info supplied at committee meetings were hard to interpret except for those intimately involved so much work could be done to improve them for those new to the committee especially if they are non-accountants like me.

Re Board reporting I know an ex Board member has commented that the info provided was not proper management reporting as they knew it so clearly room for improvement there too.  

Sorry for the brain dump but hopefully covered your points in a roundabout way. In answer to your general point yes it very much seemed to me that Finance Committee and Board members get sucked into hands on work far far too much to make up for the lack of effectiveness at the Office. This still seems to be very much the case. 

The ORG recommendations sought to strengthen the Senior Leadership Team at the office to remedy this so that the Board can step back and take a more strategic role. The implementation of its recommendations of culture, leadership and management have been slow in the making and only just now seem to have been started to be implemented 

1
 David Lanceley 14 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

> It is not a big income overall . £3m. It is more  like a small business selling something at £30 a time with the odd bit of large income coming in.

A good summary, it's small and pretty simple.

> A serious FD would be far too expensive for the BMC.

Yes, a full time FD would be too expensive (£50k+) and would quickly get bored.  However scope for a combined financial / commercial role or possibly ad hoc  / part time.

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

> A serious FD would be far too expensive for the BMC.

A joke one would be too ;-)

More seriously a good FD who was involved in managing commercial aspects (re-negotiating contracts etc) would pay for themselves. Another option is to make the role part-time once all the improvements to systems and reporting was up and running!

 David Lanceley 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> Budgets I understand typically were of the nature of add a bit each year for each department and I know David was keen to overhaul and do a ground up budget starting from zero but not sure whether he got to do that (David?).

The 2020 budget was done on a partial ground-up basis but of course was rather overtaken by events.  There was a bit of a bust-up with the Board over the way the budget was prepared and the lack of involvement of the FAC.  Subsequent updates have been prepared by an FAC team (I did the numbers) to reflect the COVID effects.  As I've said before (a number of times) there will be a significant (probably £100k+)  surplus this year mainly as a result of the effects of the JRS and much reduced spend on events, travel and the like.

 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

> Subsequent updates have been prepared by an FAC team (I did the numbers) to reflect the COVID effects.  

As one example of many this demonstrates how much FAC (Finance and Audit Committee) members get involved (because they have to).

In an ideal world FAC would have the numbers and updates prepared by the Office which are then reviewed by FAC for comment. 

1
 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

Just reviewing my answer to WVRox above and realise that there are some gaps in my knowledge on how things work. David could you help out by elaboratING on the below in particular please:

>Who manages the budgetary process? Who prepares the monthly management accounts? Are these reported systematically to the Board? 

 tehmarks 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

The spirit of the concept of the duty of confidentiality of board members is clearly to ensure that said board members act in the best interests of the company and don't abuse their position for personal gain or to the detriment of the company. Not, as seems to be the case here, to obscure obvious problems from the shareholders - or in this case, the membership. The key stakeholders. The people who form the raison d'etre for the existence of the organisation in the first place. At face value and in my own humble opinion, that is entirely contrary to the best interests of the organisation.

I have no vested interest in this - I'm no longer a member, I've never been an 'active' member, and I have no opinion other than on what I've formed from reading both sides of the argument on UKC. It's clear and obvious that there are questions that the wider membership need answers to, and they are more than entitled to demand them. To pretend otherwise is crap.

1
 Andy Say 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

"I listened in to the debate on just over half of the Area meetings and the Peak area was the only one with several vocal critics".

Can anyone do that nowadays? I thought there was a protocol that 'visitors' had to clear attendance with the relevant Area Chair?

"some broke process in a serious collection of not especially serious individual ways according to the two Independent Directors who resigned".

You've seen their resignation statements? Do share!

'The National Council containing our democratic representatives have unanimously proposed a workable solution.'

But they are not the Board. They can't impose 'solutions' whatever they are.

"You are insulting them."

Personally I'm on record as saying that National Council have really stepped up to the plate during this debacle.  

 Andy Say 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

"Secret exchange of letters and emails containing misinformation".

I've made the point before. The best defence against misinformation is information.

But I would have thought the BMC can't really dictate who writes to who and what they say to each other 😆

 David Lanceley 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> Just reviewing my answer to WVRox above and realise that there are some gaps in my knowledge on how things work. David could you help out by elaboratING on the below in particular please:

> >Who manages the budgetary process? Who prepares the monthly management accounts? Are these reported systematically to the Board? 

Historically the budget process has been take last years numbers, tune for changes in staff etc. and add a bit for inflation.  Generally prepared by Alan B with input from the Treasurer and the FAC and approved by the Board.  2020 was a bit different as it was a partial bottom-up process with more input from the budget holders although still prepared by Alan and significant elements were on the historical basis.

Management accounts package is prepared quarterly, Data dump from Sage to Excel, P&L, Balance Sheet, delta with budget, comparison with prior year, debtors, creditors, bank balances etc. all the usual stuff.  Prepared by Alan, reviewed and commented on by the FAC and sent to the Board for approval.  FAC and Board meetings are deliberately timed to accommodate the process.

In my view in normal times perfectly adequate for a business of the scale of the BMC, it's too easy to micro-analyse this stuff.    

 Lucid_Dreamer 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> A joke one would be too ;-)

> More seriously a good FD who was involved in managing commercial aspects (re-negotiating contracts etc) would pay for themselves. Another option is to make the role part-time once all the improvements to systems and reporting was up and running!

Given the content of this thread I struggle to see how the BMC can afford not to take on a FD with the relevant experience. Within the charitable sector the payback on such an investment does not need to be measured in pounds and pence but by a reduction in the business and financial risks of the charity.

Bring in the correct individual and you will have someone who has experience in design and implementation of financial systems, management of change and also commercial experience to help drive the organisation forwards.

I imagine there are some very well qualified individuals who are reading this and extremely motivated by the prospect of bringing about positive change in an organisation within the mountaineering sector.

 neilh 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

In a way having all these statements and budgets is all a bit pointless if nobody understand them  or does anything with them or asks the right questions.Thats down to the Directors to lead through the current situtation.

 nomisb 14 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

"In a way having all these statements and budgets is all a bit pointless if nobody understand them  or does anything with them or asks the right questions."

In the trade it's called a write only document...

1
 UKB Shark 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Lucid_Dreamer:

Totally agree but the Board rejected the ORG recommendation of taking one on probably on cost grounds so if you can make a case that the role could make and save money as well do the statutory stuff the case for taking one on is strengthened. 
  
Some volunteers probably work a 40 hour week and have done so for donkeys years for free such as Henry Folkard the Peak Access rep. Even if the salary was low the job could still attract quality candidates (maybe from the membership) keen to ‘put something back’.

 Lucid_Dreamer 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> Totally agree but the Board rejected the ORG recommendation of taking one on probably on cost grounds so if you can make a case that the role could make and save money as well do the statutory stuff the case for taking one on is strengthened. 

I think that the Board perhaps need to consider the potential cost, risk and reputation consequences of not doing something as well as the actual cost of doing something. That is their choice of course.

 Steve Woollard 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

This has been going on now for more than a month and is really showing the BMC in a bad light.

There seems to be no leadership from the BMC’s senior management team to protect their reputation, do they even know it’s happening because if they do they seem totally moribund?

In the organisations that I have worked for something like this would be top priority to get on top of.

Post edited at 16:43
 WVRox 14 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Thanks for the detailed answers!😊 My main point is that £3m might not be a big budget compared to some, but it is still £3 million of members' dosh, and they should be comforted that every penny is scrupulously accounted for, by someone who is accountable. Surely the role of a Finance Committee in any such organisation is to challenge and support the CEO and finance staff and to give the Board comfort that the finances are on an even keel....but not, in any way, to get involved with producing any documents or reports. 

 UKB Shark 15 Sep 2020
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> We sent the BMC a series of questions on Tuesday which we hope to publish answers/a response to next week.


They’ve had a whole week now.

Any word Natalie?

 Andy Say 15 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

And came there no reply..............

only silence

2
 Macca_7 15 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

Just send the questions to Offwidth......

Sorry couldn't help it!

3
 Offwidth 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Macca_7:

Joke away.

I'm an activist who cares about the organisation. I think the BMC is broadly about right but others disagree. In particular it has been suffering in recent years from two politically opposed positions trying to pull it too far in their directions (the 'ultra traditionalists' like the BMC 30 and the 'ultra moderniser' tendancy who gave us Climb Britain). The BMC does good work in many areas, some essential, where the sum of the combination is more than the parts. Membership has been slowly growing over the years and this hasn't been at the expense of long term core values like: access and conservation; being the main national voice of climbers and hillwalkers to government and other bodies; the importance of clubs, training and safety (including the risk participation statement); being the UK governing body for competition climbing; celebration the rich history of our activities. Plus practical benefits like the inclusive 3rd party insurance, good rates on specialised insurance, and various discounts. The organisation's reputation with partner organisations over the covid period seems very high and they seem to be working together as well as they ever have. I think National Council and area meetings have been working better than they ever have.  The politicised critics don't want the members to hear this good stuff and want the members worrying, so they can better sell their particular biased solutions to exaggerated problems. I think the biggest risk in the current crisis is from the ultra moderniser side.... that too much focus on finance and commercial change, to close the 2021 budget gap, could cause the organisation value drift and really annoy the membership.. effectively a Climb Britain 2. It's going to be a very difficult balancing act.

Post edited at 10:30
11
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

You’d think reading that everything was tickety-boo and the only problem was criticism from politicised (whatever that means) critics.

Could it possibly be that criticism is justified and the damage is all self-inflicted?

The charge list covered on these threads is long and growing. Maybe they’ve slipped your mind?

Here’s a reminder from just the last 18months:

- multiple mistakes on companies house submissions

- multiple mistakes in the narrative of the accounts released to members for the 2019 AGM

- revelation that the full accounts were prematurely signed off by the President and the CEO before the Board had view

- many examples of poor practice in the recruitment, vetting and election of Directors at the 2018 AGM

- the astonishing likelihood that the Nomination committee recommended an individual to the membership qualified and experienced in accounting who didn’t have an accounting qualification

- the President undermining the Chair of the ORG to the extent that he resigned leaving progress and the volunteers working on it in limbo for 6 months

- over two years on and headline ORG recommendations of culture, leadership and management only just starting to be implemented at the Office

-the need to draft in a Consultant at an advertised £500 a day to help the CEO implement change which should be the bread and butter of any self respecting CEO role

-an overturning of the setting of the independent comps subsidiary announced without mentioning or explaining the volte face In the announcement 

-a Director resigning because he wasn’t backed up by the Chair in an investigation into a procurement issue at the Office

-The Chair saying he wouldn’t stand a second term and offering NC to go immediately

- two of the three Independent Directors resigning over god knows what issues relating to behaviour and process

-the remaining Board having to undertake mediated sessions and Co-opting other individuals to Board meetings to help

-the Nominated Director for Finance resigning following being challenged by David and I here on his credentials as an Accountant and Director (Of course it’s our fault not his)

-A Board that acknowledges it is poorly communicating then releases a statement that it has nothing further to say on the reasons for the independent Directors resigning yet finds time to castigate critics for the manner of their outing of a potentially rogue director with disappointingly NC backup

- A lecturing on respect to the high ranking volunteers but scant respect for lower volunteers whose services were dispensed without due consultation, notification or thanks for many years service

This list is not exhaustive just what sprang to the top of my head. Not the symptoms of a well functioning organisation to say the very least. What will the next 18 months hold?

Nothing to see here. Move along please..

5
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020

Edit: meant 2019 AGM

Issues at 2019 AGM covered in my article here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/the_bmc_agm_2019_-_an_alternative_perspective-11914

Sorry it’s - a long one

 Offwidth 16 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

That's because I think the Board is not the most important thing in the BMC. I think that like all not-for-profits a good Board should be almost invisible and in membership organisations just steering the financial envelope and adjusting the already known and accepted strategic direction.

Criticism is indeed justified and yes most of the Board damage is self-inflicted but that includes your moderniser mates who as Directors faced many of the problems below with their collective responsibility  and did nothing obvious about it.

The charge list covered on these threads is indeed long and growing but always exaggerated by you, where you want to pin blame, and understated where collective responsibility failed with your Director mates .. Maybe that's slipped your mind?

Here’s my reminder from just the last 30 months:

The new Board left the necessity for new accounts plans (given organisational change) on the back burner.

The new Board with a few notable exceptions (CEO and President) barely atended area meetings outside their own, if any. Things improved from the 2019 AGM.

One mistake on a companies house submission by one day.

Multiple mistakes in the narrative of the accounts released to members for the 2019 AGM where except for the mistaken CH submission they had been there for probably a decade.

Revelation that the full accounts were signed off by the President and the CEO in the last day before the deadline because the Board hadn't arranged to see them previously.

You claim examples of poor practice in the recruitment, vetting and election of Directors at the 2018 AGM but, irrespective of Proxies, the Directors elected were almost certainly the ones who scored higher on ordinary members votes than the ones you wanted elected. The main responsibility for oversight on the Nomination Committee was arguably the Independent Directors.

This includes the Nomination committee recommending an individual to the membership qualified and experienced in accounting, who didn’t have an accounting qualification, something that as far as we know they never explicitly asked for, nor the candidate claimed.

Claims from a Director about ORG that things were so bad he only got around to reisigning after he lost an election. The President according to the people working with her has worked hard on the ORG from the beginning and fully supported its spirit. The volunteers don't say there were in limbo and plenty of work was done in those 6 months.

The most important part of ORG was forming the Board in 2018. Nearly all the remaining ODG recommended implementation was due to be ready for the 2020 AGM but was delayed to 2021 as debate on an online event was felt to be too difficult.

I have no idea who this consultant is supposed to be at an advertised £500 a day. Do you mean the ODG project manager who was appointed prior to your 18 months and worked alongside the ODG chair who resigned? If so detailed project management is most certainly not the role of a CEO.

The ORG recommendation of the setting of the independent comps subsidiary had significant discussion involving a lot of member and partner feedback and ODG announced that a ringfenced internal depratment was preferred instead. Democratic change doesn't stop after ORG.

A Director resigning because he felt he wasn’t backed up by the Chair in an investigation into a procurement issue at the Office. However, the Chair's view on this has never been published and there are rumours online the investigation started many months before the Director was even appointed.

It being pretty normal now for a President/Chair facing the travails of the BMC not to stand a second term and who quite rightly offered honourably to go immediately, given the resignations, but NC said no we need you.

Two of the three Independent Directors resigning over unknown detail but for which they informed NC that in themselves would not need resignation, but they did in sum, and from which NC put forward the only constructive plan on offer to remedy the situation. Which quite rightly requires the remaining Board having to undertake mediated sessions and co-opting other individuals to Board meetings to help.

The Nominated Director gave his reasons for resignation... cyberbullying. We will see if his qualifications are real (I'd be amazed if they are not).

A Board that rightly acknowledges it was poorly communicating and given the independant Directors won't release more details they can't say anymore under normal Board confidentiality arrangements. They quite rightly castigate critics for insulting  behaviour, it's lucky they didn't sue.

One committee does indeed appear to have been treated badly. It was going to close anyhow, due to democratic agreed change, but they should had been debriefed properly and thanked for their significant input by the Board.

This list is not exhaustive just what sprang to the top of my head. Not the symptoms of a well intentioned critic but clearly someone with a fixed agenda. What will the next 18 months hold?

Nothing to see here. Move along please..

Post edited at 12:36
25
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> That's because I think the Board is not the most important thing in the BMC. 

 

And yet you are somehow motivated to write reams and reams defending it meanwhile claiming your wife being on the Board is irrelevant to your stated views. Furthermore you cast aspersions left right and centre on the motives of others and distort facts whilst simultaneously crying foul of others with no sense of irony. 

7
 Offwidth 16 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

It's hardly casting aspertions when you post fairy stories here about the President and Chair conspiring with the CEO to thwart ORG. Also various written statements that the CEO is not competent in his role.

You talk about bias but never tell me where any facts contradict the items on my list. I presented plenty of facts that contradicted yours. I'm pissed off with the Board, the affair contributed to a decline in my partner's health, but as I care about the BMC I want solutions not blame.

I've done more voluntary work for the BMC than any other organisation in my life. I think it is important and am well motivated to defend it.

Yes I'm conflicted with Lynn, who is my partner, but we were both well established key volunteers before she became a Director. What conflicts did you have with Gron?

Post edited at 13:09
16
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Your voluntary work and love of the BMC is admirable but I’m calling time on the rest of the bu11shit as it is long overdue

>You talk about bias but never tell me where any facts contradict the items on my list. I presented plenty of facts that contradicted yours. 

There’s only so many times I’m prepared to respond to the same assertions, accusations and aspersions that only serve you to better to take discussions down a rabbit hole that divert from the main themes. Taking one of your points:

> This includes the Nomination committee recommending an individual to the membership qualified and experienced in accounting, who didn’t have an accounting qualification, something that as far as we know they never explicitly asked for, nor the candidate claimed.

I have repeatedly pointed to the headline of that appointment in the 2019 AGM agenda saying it was for a Nominated Director qualified and and experienced in accounting. Therefore he should never have been put forward if he wasn’t qualified. If hadn’t claimed to have a qualification or hadn’t been asked them that is wholly negligent in recommending that candidate to the membership for a qualified position. 

In previous posts you have claimed that qualified doesn’t mean being a full member of a Chartered Institute which is manifestly untrue. 

Why are you arguing and continue to argue that black is white on this issue???.

I’m going to present a new ‘fairy story. It is plain to me that you are doing is softening the ground if it comes out that he wasn’t qualified and he shouldn’t have been put forward by Nom Com. If this scenario unfurls then Lynn by all rights should shoulder the majority of the blame because she took the lead role on Nom Com interviewing, vetting and putting Huw and others forward because Gareth had only just joined as Chair part way through the process. If so then what you are spreading is wilful misinformation presumably of the sort you railed against with the BMC30.

Now I think about it I was never clear what that misinformation was that you alluded to because it was in private letters and emails of course and we just had your word for it and that word has sadly become increasingly questionable in my eyes.

3
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020


If anyone other than Steve is wanting has questions on any of the other barbs relating to me then I am very happy to respond on or offline

 Steve Woollard 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Joke away.

> I'm an activist who cares about the organisation....

You’re not the only one who cares about the organisation and what it does for climbers, my guess is that everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on these posts over the last few weeks also care about the organisation, I certainly do.

And I don’t consider myself an ultra traditionalist, even though I was one of the BMC 30, neither am I an ultra moderniser; I’m probably like most people a bit of both and a lot in the middle.

But I do expect the organisation to listen to its members and provide the services that they want as frequently restated in the various member surveys, and not go off on personal agendas. I also expect the people running the organisation to act competently.

The last few weeks have been very damaging for the BMC, on a par with the Climb Britain fiasco, with peoples views becoming very polarised and the Board must take the blame for this for their total lack of decisive action and only issuing a few lame public statements that didn’t address the issues and were always too little too late.

I hope that the Board’s action plan and the NC input can resolve matters quickly, but because of the loss of confidence they do need to communicate what’s happening frequently in an open and honest way, no BS or trying to shift the blame.

And I have to say to you personally, you’re not helping your cause. You come across as being in denial and everyone knows your partner is the President so you must be bias. This thread would die if you didn’t keep trying to defend the indefensible.

4
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Good post 

> I hope that the Board’s action plan and the NC input can resolve matters quickly, but because of the loss of confidence they do need to communicate what’s happening frequently in an open and honest way, no BS or trying to shift the blame.

I gather that the BMC board is looking to engage a PR person or firm to help with communication. If so I hope it is made very clear to them that their role is to improve open and honest communication with the membership and not spin the truth and pull the wool over our eyes otherwise there are going to be some very unhappy folk on here

 David Lanceley 16 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> I gather that the BMC board is looking to engage a PR person or firm to help with communication. 

Hopefully not the same outfit who came up with Climb Britain......

Looking forward to their input.

 Offwidth 16 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

The Nom Com at that time included the new Chair The President, the SID (who was the acting Board Chair until just before the Nom Com process), the two other Independent Directors and the NC rep (not a CND). All Nom Com decisions were ratified by the Board so any fault relates to the whole of Nom Com and Board collective responsibility. 

Terms of reference of Nom Com is here:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1789

The history of our arguments on this subject play out from here over several pages:

https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,28127.175.html

Starting from the photo of the election results:

Where Huw got 1549 votes and Gron 470

Which includes the following from me...after Simons complaints led to some investigation

"On the elections none of us know if the outcomes would have changed if Lynn's average discretionary votes were stripped out from the numbers (seemingly round 700 but varying from motion to motion). Anyone can look at the voting total numbers we have and it seems very unlikely to me, except ND, where JR almost certainly could not have won being bottom."

This was Huw's statement

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1745

And this was Gron's

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1744

I voted for Gron and anyone wanting a clear cut chartered accountant would have voted for him.

9
 Offwidth 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

The hit the BMC took because of the Motion of no Confidence you signed, in terms of loss of finance (SE funding was paused) time and energy consumed, was a far bigger fiasco than Climb Britain. The entire handling of this motion from your fellow travellers was undemocratic and riddlled with misinformation and lies. You don't seem as dishonest as you fellow signaturies so maybe you were duped. Will you apologise for their behaviour now: including the letters to Rehan, who resigned as a result, yet turned out to be the only person broadly innocent of the Climb Britain idiocy.

Post edited at 18:11
18
 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I voted for Gron and anyone wanting a clear cut chartered accountant would have voted for him.

You are at it again - you really can’t help yourself.

There is no such thing as a “clear cut Chartered Accountant“.

Either you are a Chartered Accountant or you aren’t a Chartered Accountant. There is no grey area in the middle.

If the Board tries to spin that  there is will push it further into disrepute.

3
In reply to UKB Shark:

> I gather that the BMC board is looking to engage a PR person or firm to help with communication. If so I hope it is made very clear to them that their role is to improve open and honest communication with the membership and not spin the truth and pull the wool over our eyes otherwise there are going to be some very unhappy folk on here

Why not engage an ordinary climber with common sense, for free, to speak the truth and call a spade a spade instead of indulging in a mass of corporate management-speak and business school arse-covering?

DC

 Steve Woollard 16 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> The Nom Com at that time included the new Chair The President, the SID (who was the acting Board Chair until just before the Nom Com process), the two other Independent Directors and the NC rep (not a CND). All Nom Com decisions were ratified by the Board so any fault relates to the whole of Nom Com and Board collective responsibility. 

I don’t subscribe to the concept of collective responsibility; it’s a cop out for not taking responsibility for ones actions and it allows poor performance because no one can be held accountable.

However this does shine a light on why the BMC performs so poorly. Normally an organisation would have Executive Directors and non-Executive Directors and although in company law they are all equally and individually responsible, in terms of their duties they are not as the Executive Directors are responsible for the day to day running of the organisation and non-Executive Directors are there to challenge, question and monitor the CEO and the senior management team.

The BMC has one paid Executive Director and a number of unpaid Directors some of whom are defacto Executive Directors because they are involved in the day to day running of the BMC and some of whom are acting as non-Executive Directors, but the roles and responsibilities are very blurred as to who is doing what.

And so to the NomCom and the assessment of the candidates for the post of Nominated Director qualified and experienced in accounting and finance; the ToR is clear that the NomCom has the duty to assess the candidates on merit and against objective criteria – so was this done and did they verify Huw’s accountancy qualification and were they satisfied that it was acceptable? It is also a requirement under the ToR that this assessment should have been minuted in which case it should be easy to demonstrate. If this was not done then the members of the NomCom who were involved should be held accountable.

In reply to Dave Cumberland:

> Why not engage an ordinary climber with common sense, for free, to speak the truth and call a spade a spade instead of indulging in a mass of corporate management-speak and business school arse-covering?

> DC

I thought that was the President’s role on behalf of the members. 

 IainWhitehouse 16 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> There is no such thing as a “clear cut Chartered Accountant“.

Actually there is. It is members of ICAS which is the only body which can authorise you to call yourself a "chartered accountant" other bodies have one or more extra words added in because the English and Welsh were late to the party.............................

But that's nit-picking even by UKC standards 

To anyone of sense, a chartered accountant includes all the other UK and international chartered accountancy bodies of whichever acronym

If Huw began his career at what is now PwC, the chances are he will have been chartered. It might be a bit odd if he had let his membership lapse but I would think largely irrelevant.

That said, it should have been pretty easy for the nom com to come out and say they have verified his ACCA qualification / membership. Odd that they haven't done so.

 UKB Shark 16 Sep 2020
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

Point accepted. You can be a Chartered Accountant (ACA), a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) and I’m a bit hazy on the CIPFA designation. 

Yes would be normal if at Deloittes to study to become ACA but not unheard of for big firms to support study towards ACCA if you are for example in a department doing SME accounts prep rather than big company audit.

How’s it going anyway? Are you qualified now?

1
 Lucid_Dreamer 16 Sep 2020
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

> If Huw began his career at what is now PwC, the chances are he will have been chartered. It might be a bit odd if he had let his membership lapse but I would think largely irrelevant.

The relevance of a lapse in membership is perhaps down to how much weight you want to place on the relevant CPD requirements. That is of course down to whoever is doing the recruitment.

For the sake of clarity I speak as someone who became somewhat disillusioned and allowed their membership to lapse before reapplying when I realised the value many employers place on CPD.

 babymoac 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

A substantial part of my club subscription goes to the BMC. Its only reasonable that I want to know why Directors feel they must resign.

Its my club not the Board's.

In reply to UKB Shark:

Designation is CPFA, chartered public finance accountant - unless it's changed.

This may be out of date, but personally I wouldn't recommend CIPFA, not because of the quality of the qualification which was fine, but because being "smaller", the quality of the learning materials wasn't as good as all the stuff available for the "larger" qualifications like chartered and certified.

 Offwidth 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Our difference in view is quite simply you are convinced that the BMC had to be looking for a chartered accountant, and I'm not. Professionally I've worked very closely with Business Schools and knew many academics who were highly qualified in accountancy and finance, including Profs researching in the area, who were never chartered, or their qualification had lapsed. That Nom Com wanted a chartered accountant is simply not clear, they wanted someone qualified in accountancy and finance to act as a non executive role.

Huw has been accused of lying about being chartered but even if it turns out he isn't chartered, he didn't state that he was in that election statement and could have been asked about that in the election. You are clearly conflicted in this matter as seconder for Gron and through personal links to Gron. Gron almost certainly got less member votes than Huw so the proxy issue was irrelevant (as the number of discretionary proxies was around 700 and  the winning margin was much larger). JR  clearly got the least number of member votes of the three candidates in his election, irrespective of proxies and you stated he should have been elected. You don't seem to get democracy

10
 Steve Woollard 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

You're correct that it doesn't say explicitly that they should be chartered but it does say qualified. Could you ask Lynn if this was checked by the NomCom and let us know so that we can put an end to this uncertainty 

 Offwidth 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Clearly you're not so honest as I thought, given you completely dodged the issue of the massive damage the Motion of no Confidence that you signed did (in terms of BMC finance and staff and volunteer energy and time and in particular the unfair attacks on Rehan) and seem to have no regrets about that.

Board collective responsibility is a standard matter in company law. The BMC Board structure with the CEO and otherwise non executives on the Board is pretty standard for a membership organisation.

No I wont be asking Lynn or anyone else anything on behalf of anyone here.  If you want to ask questions email or write to the relevant person in the BMC. I've made it perfectly clear I'm speaking as an experienced longstanding volunteer dedicated to challenging these seemingly endless unfair attacks on the organisation and insults to leading positions. I have no problem with fair criticism. I've been clear I have more reasons than most to be pissed off with the Board and have acknowledged where other problems identified by critics here are in my view genuine (these Board problems should not have happened, Board communications could have been way better; a committee seems to have been treated badly when it closed, etc)  

Post edited at 09:02
16
 UKB Shark 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

I don’t think anyone has categorically accused him of lying on these threads.

The original resignation article said he had an ACCA qualification but he doesn’t come up on their searchable database of qualified accountants.

He has been asked by us and now the Board to provide proof in terms of a copy certificate but so far nothing has been forthcoming. 

 UKB Shark 17 Sep 2020
In reply to babymoac:

> A substantial part of my club subscription goes to the BMC. Its only reasonable that I want to know why Directors feel they must resign.

> Its my club not the Board's.

Perhaps a letter on behalf of your club to the Board requesting why the Directors resigned would be in order  

 Offwidth 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Only chartered status is recorded on that database as you well know.

David said

"I have no particular problem with Huw not having a qualification only that the BMC seem to have been misled into thinking that he did." That's business speak for he seems to have  lied. Plus at least one further post from David at the end of the old thread seem to have been deleted by the moderators.

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/bmc_directors_resignations_etc-724145

5
 UKB Shark 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

You are making me repeat myself - chartered status and qualified are the same thing.

As I thought no one had categorically accused him of lying but you had categorically accused me or David of saying he had. Typical.

If you want to see the deleted comment David reproduced it on the Facebook BMC Watch page which is an open group

 Offwidth 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Chartered status and being qualified are absolutely not the same thing except in certain professional areas of work where being chartered is mandatory.

You used categorically not me. Where people are forced to defend their reputation in a legal capacity the weasel words used in these threads would not be much of a defence. The same applies to the insults made towards the competence of other Directors.

11
 UKB Shark 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> You used categorically not me. Where people are forced to defend their reputation in a legal capacity the weasel words used in these threads would not be much of a defence. 

What you said was:

>Huw has been accused of lying about being chartered 

Sounds categorical to me. To say otherwise would be somewhat errr weaselly..

1
In reply to Offwidth & UKB Shark:

Handbags at dawn!!!

In accountancy, qualified will almost without exception mean that you have a relevant qualification from one of the accepted UK & Ireland accountancy bodies.

That will mean that you are a chartered something or other, or you have equivalent status from a foreign or internationally equivalent body to the "home" bodies.

If you are not currently paid up, etc, then you probably won't appear on any online databases unless they show lapsed members (e.g. you won't find me on CIPFA's)

Can you still be "qualified" if you're lapsed, I would say yes, but you can't officially use the designations unless you're "current". Also, all the bodies have integrity as one of their cornerstone values. I would expect any qualified but lapsed accountant to be clear about their status when applying for any position, paid or voluntary.

Of course qualified is only vaguely related to competent, but that's not what you're arguing about.

 UKB Shark 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Chartered status and being qualified are absolutely not the same thing except in certain professional areas of work where being chartered is mandatory.

I’m trying to picture a scene of when I used to work for an agency specialising in financial recruitment. There were four of us working in “quals”. If a candidate had come in claiming to be qualified on the basis of their experience or having passed some of the exams they would have been laughed out of the offices. 

1
 Offwidth 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Except those worlds exist, notably in academia, including some Profs. They are not acting in a particular professional capacity where they need to be chartered but they are qualified in that professional role.

9
In reply to UKB Shark:

> You are making me repeat myself - chartered status and qualified are the same thing.

Is accountancy a different beast from other professions? I’ve been chartered for ever such a long time as an engineer, but when recruitment says ‘qualified’ it means my experience, accomplishments and academic quals. Serious question, I don’t know this.

However, ‘Chartered’ is usually there as an ‘E’(essential) separately on the person spec. If it was essential, it would have been included as an E by the BMC HR process, unless:

a it wasn’t essential

b it was but it’s another mistake

c it was but it would make it difficult to recruit and was explicitly decided as such

d preferred candidates don’t have it

I think this can only be cleared now by a statement from BMC which I guess is on its way.

 Keith C 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

With respect offwidth do you really think accountancy is one of those worlds?  I only really know about surveying and what you are saying would be laughable in this industry. If accountancy isn't even more tightly regulated I would be amazed. Although yes of course lots of reasons for membership of a professional body to lapse. It's usually not cheap beings a member and CPD is an onerous commitment. I'm sure an explanation will be provided by the BMC soon. 

 Andy Say 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Actually what the original article regarding Huw's resignation said was "With a qualification from the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (which later became ACCA)".

ACCA do offer Foundation Diplomas....

1
 SteveX 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

As one of the fairly silent majority, my opinion of the BMC following the past few years, is its too big, too complex and trying to do to much. And as such should be broken up or trimmed right back to an organization representing people who take part in activities in the Outdoors where its got bigger bumps.

2
 Andy Say 17 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Not particularly aimed at you, Steve, but I'm afraid that next to non-communication the biggest sin is this sort of thing:

"The Nom Com at that time included the new Chair The President, the SID (who was the acting Board Chair until just before the Nom Com process), the two other Independent Directors and the NC rep (not a CND). All Nom Com decisions were ratified by the Board so any fault relates to the whole of Nom Com and Board collective responsibility. "

For any average member of the BMC that is just total gobbledegook. We really do need to discuss this in terms that are understandable even if it means more keystrokes.

 neilh 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Reading Huw’s statement I cannot see he makes any reference to any accountancy qualifications. The difference with the other contender’s statement is quite clear and visible in that regard. The accountants that I know and work with always state their qualifications m.

Huwcould easily within PWC have used is degree in other areas such as it consultancy which PWC do like all of the big 4.

There is no reason at all why he could not have built up considerable finance experience. His statement does suggest that he is IT focused. 
 

I would suggest that next time if the B MC wants a qualified account then they tighten up their remit and learn a few lessons. 

 steveej 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Been following all the posts/threads but this is the first comment from me.

Why the hell haven't the management team been bulldozed out the way! Or at least had the decency to resign?  This has been caused by a complete lack of leadership, respect for the membership and quite frankly, the BMC has been a complete shit show for the last few years.

It is not OK, to hide behind excuses relating to corporate, management or governance structure.  The buck stops with the individuals in charge!  I bet for many members, the complete cloud cover over who is actually is in charge, helps the leadership get away with it time time after time, year after year - there is no accountability!

Personally, I think all of the top brass needs to go, and I cannot think of any other corporate, charitable or professional organisation where this type of crap would have been allowed to go on for so long.

@Offwidth - I have never heard of so many excuses from a single individual, and quite frankly if I took your approach in my business life, I would have been managed out of the business years ago. It's one excuse after the next, whilst everyone who should be responsible shirks responsibility - a complete lack of Leadership, but your constant excuses do your reputation no favours! You strike me as the kid in school who keeps saying his dog ate his homework!

I have a certain amount of sympathy for the volunteers, but none for the paid leadership.

I am now of the view that the BMC is an extremely amateurish organisation, run by dictators who think they know better than the membership.

Has it ever crossed their mind that the broad and diverse climbing community may have individuals who know more about running organisations than them and will not have the wool pulled over their eyes?

I will not be renewing my membership.

4
In reply to steveej:

> I have a certain amount of sympathy for the volunteers, but none for the paid leadership.

I'm under the impression that the only person in the leadership that is paid is the CEO.

 steveej 17 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I have absolutely no connection with Huw, but I think the focus needs to be steered away from him as we are at risk of damaging the guys reputation when the guy may have done absolutely nothing wrong.

I know quite a few chartered accountants who I wouldn't trust to manage my credit card statement that might well have passed a few exams but couldn't tell their arse from their elbow, and builders who have a more streetwise view of how the money works. Just because you can pass an exam, doesn't mean your any good at what you do, and is quite frankly a view from a bygone era.

So, again we are masking the real issues by laying blame on an easy target.

In reply to UKB Shark:

I am chartered, although in a different profession.  Whilst I would instinctively tend to assume that "qualified" means "chartered", in ordinary usage it can have a wider meaning.  In my profession job adverts are usually very specific when chartered status is required.

The BMC could very easily have specified that they wanted a Chartered Accountant for the role.  That they did not may have been deliberate, to allow them flexibility in appointing someone to what is after all a voluntary role.  Or it could just have been careless wording.

The statement about Huw's resignation simply said that he holds "a qualification from the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants".  This too may have been carefully worded. It does not say he is Chartered, and his written application for the post makes no claim to Chartered status.  It seems (again from the resignation statement) that he was appointed because he could demonstrate he met the requirements of the skills matrix.  Perhaps the appointing committee felt that this carried more weight than formal qualifications, and the loose wording of the job spec gave them that latitude.

It is far from clear to me either that Huw misled the BMC about his qualifications for the role, as some posts have come very close to alleging, or that the BMC failed to carry out due diligence.  Some clarification on how he came to be appointed might resolve the issue, but unless it can be proved that he actually lied then it seems entirely possible that the appointment met all the requirements for the role, and the BMC acted entirely properly in appointing him.

.  

 steveej 17 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

Agreed, consultancy is where the brains are and where the big revenue streams are for the big 4!

The 'chartered' accountant auditors, whilst good at counting beans are by no means financial wizards and is why they earn less than the consultancy teams - even though they are 'Qualified' or 'Chartered' take your pick.

It's a bit like a saying I've been to Plas y Brenin, I've been taught to place rock gear, ice screws and set up a belay, and passed another coarse to learn to walk in crampons and swing an ice axe, so that makes me in theory qualified for the north face of Les Droites.  Afraid to say, to much emphasis on qualifications and not enough on experience and is in anyway masking the issue of a complete lack of leadership!

Post edited at 22:31
In reply to steveej:

Since returning to the UK ten years ago, I have not been inspired to join this organisation that seems to be suffering from committeeitis. How come every other country I know seems to manage its climbing and mountaineering with much less fuss?

These threads on UKC are not exactly and advert for the organisation. I think they probably turn many climbers off.

Post edited at 22:25
 steveej 17 Sep 2020
In reply to John Stainforth:

Well in my view it has become a commercial organisation designed to make money for a load of people with vested interests in trying to make money out of climbing.

It is a wolf in sheep's clothing, which is self serving and in reality is no longer a membership organisation that has the best interests of the membership at heart.

Post edited at 22:39
4
 facet 17 Sep 2020
In reply to John Stainforth:

Totally agree.. The bickering between UKshark, Offwidth and Andy S isn't helping. It's like a school yard spat but obviously much more dysfunctional. Why they can't talk to each other directly is beyond me!

 steveej 17 Sep 2020

In reply to Alkis:

Jee Whizz.......That is not what I am saying at all! Where did I mention corruption? Do you actually know what you are talking about?

I'm talking about a lack of accountability, excuse after excuse, a complete lack of respect for the membership. If this is not a leadership issue, I don't know what is!

What is the point of having senior positions - leaders, if they are not leading the organisation? Anywhere else, they would be sacked.  But some snowflakes think it's ok, because it's the BMC and they do good work so that makes it ok.....in my view that is not good enough!

I'm not accusing them of tax evasion, or bribing Sport England!

Not to be rude, but may I suggest you stop commenting on things you clearly know nothing about!

Post edited at 22:52
2
In reply to steveej:

I have deleted my comment. I read too much into your comment that you feel the organisation is designed to make money for a few people with vested interests and for that I apologise.

In reply to Howard J:

> It is far from clear to me either that Huw misled the BMC about his qualifications for the role, as some posts have come very close to alleging, or that the BMC failed to carry out due diligence.  Some clarification on how he came to be appointed might resolve the issue, but unless it can be proved that he actually lied then it seems entirely possible that the appointment met all the requirements for the role, and the BMC acted entirely properly in appointing him.

This may well be correct. But if it is, why has a simple statement clarifying this not been issued. There's something wrong somewhere, even if it's "merely" appalling communication.

In reply to Michael Hood:

> This may well be correct. But if it is, why has a simple statement clarifying this not been issued. There's something wrong somewhere, even if it's "merely" appalling communication.

I agree the communication has been appalling. However this particular issue seems to be the obsession of a couple of individuals on here, starting with with innuendo about his private business affairs and seemingly based on their own interpretation that the job spec asked for a chartered accountant.  No one is obliged to engage on UK.  Perhaps the BMC and Huw Jones have decided that a dignified silence is the best response.

The BMC seems to be tying itself in knots in pursuit of good governance, and this seems to be having the opposite effect.  It seems to be creating a large and unwieldy structure devoted to churning out masses of incomprehensible management-speak, and clearly riven by internal dissent.  I suspect the resignations may be only the tip of an iceberg.

 johncook 18 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I have been following these threads about the BMC for some time. I now think they have degenerated into personal mudslinging, individual arguments and a forum for people with an axe to grind. This is coming from people I know and respect, for their knowledge and commitment to the BMC. 

Both sides of these mudslinging arguments need to return to the main point of these threads: The BMC leaderships lack of communication with the members, the apparent lack of leadership, the extremely slow progress of the restructuring, and the lack of respect for the (subs paying) membership who are the lifeblood of the organisation.

Personal feuds should be carried out elsewhere (In the pub or outside over a pint!) as keyboard warriors gain little respect.

The BMC should be open about it's problems and issue a clearly worded statement about where things stand, without management speak, weazle words and get out clauses and without trying to pass the buck and the blame to elsewhere and other people! It may be a longish statement and would need a few days to compose, but it is not an impossible task. 

The organisation I respected has, over the last few years, essentially fallen apart, and no one seems to want to accept this fact. We need leadership now, and not in some future time when an assortment of committees, boards and individuals, has deliberated and fought over and resigned from the fray!

I am a member of the BMC, attend most of the Peak Area meetings, and I am easily identifiable from my name above and will not hide behind pseudonyms when I am in a public domain. I stand by my words until proved wrong!

Post edited at 09:12
 Offwidth 18 Sep 2020
In reply to Howard J:

Thanks for bringing this debate on the qualifications back to organisational reality.

I'd rather the BMC avoid these threads in the main as some political and personal motivated members will always abuse the forums for their own ends and it is not the job of a confident leadership to respond to every internet critic. I'd rather UKC lead any more serious debate and look forward to Natalie doing that. The threads are good for robust debate between members and others but not for serious debate on organisational issues.

The organisation has plenty of more formal routes to deal with member issues and member feedback. As I said before the BMC website has very little feedback despite the furore here nor much in the virtual Area Meetings (more than half of the ten) that I listened to the debate on this, including the most contentious discussions at the Peak Area meeting (that Shark attended and where even his question if the fallout was related to ORG was answered "absolutely not", let alone his fairy story presented here, of the Chair and President conspiring with the CEO to thwart ORG); those highly vocal on the matter could be counted on less than the fingers on two hands, despite it never being more convenient to attend an Area Meeting. This doesn't mean members are not unhappy with what has happened, its a mess, but that most do trust their representatives to help sort it out and have other local and national issues they regard as an equal priority.

On Facet's point what does he expect? If posters make false claims about the BMC in this public forum I certainly will always challenge them. UKC forums look like a church meeting compared to comment forums on national newspapers. Brexit debate is more angry here than BMC debate.

Steveej complains about emphasis on commercial development, ironically that was Sharks old job in the BMC. The big Cotswold deal brought in extra money but it also damaged links with independent retailers and pissed off a lot of members. Climb Britain came from overstretch of commercial ideas (I still think as a sub-brand for the indoor and competition areas it would have worked well). Steve Woollard signed the Motion of no Confidence that abused the ease of calling such a nuclear option and did serious damage for months to the good work of the BMC from staff and key volunteers (they, the 'engine room' of the BMC good work spoke up in their hundreds to complain) and cost us a good President in Rehan. Andy Say led the more traditional side of the governance debate in a recent AGM (and lost 92% to 6% ).

This is about BMC politics and those who want most movement, one way or the other, from the current compromise will always be the loudest. The organisation currently sits between these two noisier political positions and all the evidence is most members are OK with where we currently are (some commercial work and memberships growth is OK as long as it remains within the values demonstrated in the organisational surveys). Both of the unhappy political wings seem to want the CEO to go, but he is an employee and under good governance that requires failues to meet targets in a SMART performance framework. David wants only the CEO to stay. This is an odd coalition indeed.

18
 SteveX 18 Sep 2020
In reply to johncook:

> The BMC should be open about it's problems and issue a clearly worded statement about where things stand, without management speak, weazle words and get out clauses and without trying to pass the buck and the blame to elsewhere and other people! It may be a longish statement and would need a few days to compose, but it is not an impossible task. 

>

I agree with  your sentiments, but wonder if it is possible to draft a statement short enough that a majority of BMC members would read all the way through, its just a complex organisation and does things that many members are not interested in. ie, I do not care at all about competitions, other than that I do not want my money spending on them, however I am pretty sure many who do comps, do not care about walking or climbing, and would rather that the money was spent on comps, and I can understand their point of view.

I am kind of Semi Interested in the BMC, and could not be bothered to read the recent consultation https://www.thebmc.co.uk/media/files/2021%20Strategic%20Plan%20Review%20Consultation%20v1.pdf from the BMC.

Of my group of about 6 climbing partners, who are all hugely experienced, only one of them I would think may possibly have read it or even thought of reading it, but he if is not climbing, is training to climb or sitting in his Lair, reading about climbing, the others could not give a toss about the BMC.


So as I say, whilst I would not consider the task impossible, IMHO its as close to impossible as you will get.
 

Post edited at 10:06
2
 Offwidth 18 Sep 2020
In reply to johncook:

Go talk to the staff and key volunteers you know. The BMC that does the work most members appreciate hasn't fallen apart in any sense, any impression of such is just smoke and mirrors of the critics. The Board did seemingly nearly fall apart and that is very serious, but the covid crisis and extreme stress from that is reasonable mitigation. Yet if they can't sort out their issues under the National Council plan a new Board will be needed and the main functions of the BMC will continue during that period irrespective.

When the Organisation Development Group (ODG) were formed, after the Organisational Review of Governance (ORG) made its recommendations, ODG made a plan and informed the membership of that with regular updates on the web and in area meetings and AGMs. The only time where governance change deadlines have seriously slipped is during covid. Most remaining recommendations were always scheduled to be debated at the 2020 AGM and would have been ready for that if not for covid.

I agree entirely about you point on communications.

Some of the accusations made in this thread are highly insulting to good volunteers and in some cases seem to me to approach libel. Pointing this out is not mudslinging, its the exact opposite. Conflicted members rightly point out I'm conflicted in any discussions on The President but refuse to fully acknowledge their own conflicted positions.

18
 Offwidth 18 Sep 2020
In reply to SteveX:

I could write a decent and honest apology, that should have been the first action of the Board, in about 4 lines.

Where I disagree with the critics is the possibility let alone the wisdom of knowing more than we already do of the detail, as it will inevitably depend on differences in individual Director perspectives. Knowing more will make the problems harder to resolve.. some critics want that, as they want the whole Board gone anyway but that will be a lot more damaging. In nine months the Chair and President reach the end of their terms and the following year all but the CEO and one Independent Director reach the end of their term.

Post edited at 10:43
13
 profitofdoom 18 Sep 2020

In reply:

There's a little-known Doomsday device built into the UKC forum software - when the BMC threads reach a total of 1,000,000 million words, all connected computers explode in a cloud of dust

Beware - I reckon we're almost there

 Chris_Mellor 18 Sep 2020
In reply to johncook:

I agree with what you say John Cook.

Post edited at 12:34
1
 SteveX 18 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

You keep mentioning volunteers. Now volunteers do much good work, and the volunteers in the club world I take my hat off to, Hut Custodians, paitence of a saint, club secs and treasurers, how do you do that, in fact I consider it a shame that more members do not volunteer to do things for the club they joined voluntarily. And there is the rub, I never volunteered to join the BMC, and other than about one club, it is not possible to be in a climbing club in the UK without being in the BMC, you just tythe my money. In fact in one club I am in, a member could not be a member beacuse he did not want to associate with the BMC, he did not leave and he was not chucked out, he just could not be a member of the club.
Also these BMC volunteers you mention, they are volunteering to do what they are interested in, in fact obsessive about, not to storm a machine gun nest full of the hun ,but  yes many do great work and thank you. 

However something you should understand is the world does not revolve around the BMC, if the BMC disappeared tomorrow, the world would still turn, people would climb and walk. I bet you and your gang drone on about the BMC endlessly, on and on, in a circle of insanity, like some kind of religion. 

Now if you would just stop tytheing my money to fund your obsession and make membership voluntary that would be grand.

6
 Andy Say 18 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

"Go talk to the staff and key volunteers you know. The BMC that does the work most members appreciate hasn't fallen apart in any sense".

I agree. But you are rather trying to have your cake and eat it?

The MoNC wasn't 'immensely disruptive' to that work either.  The debate over Governance should not have affected the work of the BMC.  Except for those parts of the organisation who went into panic mode about 'threats' to the BMC.

Let's be honest here. Those people who challenged the status quo, and I include myself, haven't done so from any desire to wreck the BMC. I think all of those people have done so from a sense of affection for the organisation. Even those we disagree with do actually care.

I also agree with the sentiment expressed above that the kerfuffle regarding accountancy qualification is a started hare that is in danger of masking the real problems. And we are simply no nearer an answer to the question of what caused the apparent rift, in-fighting and resignations.

And, finally, any plan for remedy of the situation created by National Council can only be as good as the information they have based it upon. The flow, and control, of information through the 'tiers' of the BMC's governance structure has been an issue in the past. Let's hope they are fully informed about the issues that have led us to this.

1
In reply to SteveX:

Bit like pubs - all the best pubs have loads of locals and no tie, best of all are free houses, not funding the stock market.

So for the BMC, abolishing the tie seems an eminently sensible proposition.

DC

2
 spenser 18 Sep 2020
In reply to SteveX:

The member who you cite wouldn't be able to be a member of any BMC affiliated club as the club can not have members who are uninsured for the club's activities. I won't discuss the specifics of that particular situation on here as I remember it being quite a sensitive subject when we discussed it.

Part of the reason for this situation is so that membership secretaries don't have to keep records of who is and is not a BMC member and so that you don't get subclasses of membership who can't run meets, visit huts, attend meets, volunteer to support the club via committee work or participate in the club's intended activity without the protection of the club's insurance. The club's insurance covers quite a lot more than just going to the crag, I'm happy to dig out the notes from a committee members' training day which explained the coverage in more detail if you would like?

I hope you're well.

1
 SteveX 18 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

I am great thanks, plenty of walking and climbing, maybe see you next weekend 😁

I would consider it may be appropriate for our shared club to investigate other insurance options, they are out there.

Hope the Munro's are going well.

1
 spenser 18 Sep 2020
In reply to SteveX:

It was discussed at a committee meeting but I can't remember if we found anyone offering alternative cover. There was a general feeling of the committee wanting to support the good stuff the BMC does at the time (the good stuff IS still happening, I was at a tech committee meeting last night planning what we will do next year, I've seen various access updates etc etc).

Possibly see you next weekend if weather is nice and we're not all in lockdown again...

 Offwidth 18 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

Yes I want the BMC Board recovered as painlessly and quickly to functionality as possiible. For the nth time, National Council clearly think they do know enough about what happened to cause the two Independent Director resignations: as stated a few issues of lack of respect and process. Such things should be easily fixable under the National Council plans (and the consequence to those resisting this on the Board likely terminal to their role). From the communications so far on the website and made to area meetings its clear the Chair, President and remaining Council Nominated Directors at least strongly support the action.

On the Motion of no Confidence I beg to differ almost completely. If it had been handled democratically, honestly and fairly by those who submitted it, the damage would have been a lot less; but the reaction was less panic in the leadership and more fearful realisation in the levels below, that 30 people could use our Articles to produce such a dishonest and undemocratic attack.  First of all the original motion was a rather random collage of stuff like Climb Britain and Bob's dislike of Marco Scolaris; where a few signaturies soon after said they didn't even sign it. Then a formal resubmission of vague waffle about Governance that could be used to pin almost anything on it. The loss of Sport England funding was very serious for the BMC and it's partners. The time and energy it took from all volunteer committee levels of the organisation very serious. Pretty much all the staff said it was serious for them. It did for Rehan, a good President who was largely blameless.

I'd regard your actions as potentially wrecking as there was never any guarentee the alternative governance option plans, you very passionately presented, at the AGM had any Sport England agreement for the 'tier' you claimed and certainly would not have enabled any further Sport England funding for the BMC (and would have seriously disrupted arrangements in the area for our partners). Climb Britain support was well intentioned in the National Council vote. So, its perfectly possible to wreck through good intentions and much easier through bad ones (like the MoNC and insulting good volunteers and making up fairy stories). I think a good intentioned shift to a much more commercial organisational response, to shore up the financial hole in the 2021 accounts, could also wreck as I don't think most members would tolerate such a shift, unless clearly alongside our values; on top of everything else in the last few years it could be the end of the BMC as we know it. This is the bigger current risk in my view, despite being normally on the side of the modernisers. I think the next year with all its ongoing covid uncertainty is a time for conservative rather than radical change.

Post edited at 15:57
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 neilh 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

You are very forum obsessive on this for a volunteer!

I will be tactful and suggest  this thread would have died along time ago if maybe you did not post replies .

Your a good guy , take a break from it 

2
 Offwidth 19 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:

Obsessive on threads about the organisation I care about the most on a web forum I use the most? Surely not!?.

I thought it must be pretty clear by now I don't want the threads to die, I want the dirt presented by dishonest critics in public and properly challenged  (mainly from ordinary members) and for it all to be available for the historic record. It's easy for dishonest critics to create a lot of hot air when a problem becomes news but when the information becomes clearer in time, hindsight is never kind to them. It is always possible to debate real issues in the BMC without resorting to insults, misinformation, lies or fairy stories.

19
 profitofdoom 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I thought it must be pretty clear by now I don't want the threads to die, I want the dirt presented by dishonest critics in public and properly challenged  (mainly from ordinary members) and for it all to be available for the historic record.... It is always possible to debate real issues in the BMC without resorting to insults, misinformation, lies or fairy stories.

OK, but I wonder if a BMC meeting is the best place to do all of that? I don't know. I'm just wondering. And I've nothing against UKC threads

IMO you are owed thanks for your work and contributions. Volunteer work CAN be a thankless task in some respects and sometimes, as I know all too well

 Offwidth 19 Sep 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

Talk to people who actually go to area meetings, the last things most of them want is this debate. Governance fatigue is a major problem with area attendance as it is. They don't need to know how the BMC vehicle works but they do want to know it will work (and can trust the National Council rescue service to get the Board back on the road).

I think debate outside the formal BMC processes (consultations, the National Council and the AGM) are  much better here in public online, or if an additional more formal setting is needed,  in specially arranged meetings like the Manchester governance discussion a few years back, where compromise was made to improve AGM support of the current governance structure, with improved National Council input (it's why Andy Say only got to 6% support despite his eloquence... most who were worried with the initial governance structure proposals were satisfied with the new compromise, including most notably Jonathon White and Crag Jones who led opposition to the original plans, some big names like Chris Bonnington, and Les Ainsworth who was the other Presidential candidate). Without this compromise the National Council would have been much more limited in the help they can now provide to the Board.  

I see posting here in support of what is important in the BMC as volunteer work (most of my BMC volunteering has been in guidebook production and associated access work) and would expect Andy Say does as well. The Directors on the Board are temporary custodians of BMC strategy, they are not the key area of the BMC that makes the organisation important.. that is the staff and hundreds of extensive long term volunteers on committees and area meetings and access teams and thousands more who help out from time time time...

Post edited at 10:49
5
 profitofdoom 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> Talk to people who actually go to area meetings, the last things most of them want is this debate. Governance fatigue is a major problem with area attendance as it is. They don't need to know how the BMC vehicle works but they do want to know it will work (and can trust the National Council rescue service to get the Board back on the road).

> It's much better here in public online, or if a more formal setting is needed,  in specially arranged meetings like the Manchester governance discussion a few years back, where compromise was made to improve AGM support of the current governance structure, with improved National Council input (it's why Andy Say only got to 6% support despite his eloquence... most who were worried with the initial governance structure proposals were satisfied with the new compromise, including most notably Jonathon White and Crag Jones who led opposition to the original plans, some big names like Chris Bonnington, and Les Ainsworth who was the other Presidential candidate). Without this compromise the National Council would have been much more limited in the help they can now provide to the Board.  

> I see posting here in support of what is important in the BMC as volunteer work (most of my BMC volunteering has been in guidebook production and associated access work) and would expect Andy Say does as well. The Directors on the Board are temporary custodians of BMC strategy, they are not the key area of the BMC that makes the organisation important.. that is the staff and hundreds of extensive long term volunteers on committees and area meetings and access teams and thousands more who help out from time time time...

Thanks for your reply, Offwidth. I'm learning....

 Offwidth 19 Sep 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

I just edited the above to be clearer that the debate I favour here is what is outside the more formal standard BMC structures that exist. People can choose to read threads and contribute and area meetings don't need to be so dominated by governance that time to discuss other important work is compromised and too much of  the fun and utility of an area meeting is 'sucked out' (talks and networking with like-minded people who care about the hills mountains, crags and walls are important). Hopefully at some future point the BMC website will have a similar effective facility as well.

Post edited at 10:58
3
 neilh 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

The issue as I see it is you are the only person outlining the BMCs position and with out realising you have become the de facto spokesperson. 

it also does not help when you are the Presidents partner no matter what you say  

Let others do the spade work if they want to otherwise you just look like becoming a lone voice. 
 

After all a few posts on this forum really do not matter in the overall scheme of things. 
 

2
 Offwidth 19 Sep 2020
In reply to neilh:.

Actually Andy Syme, Deputy President, is the defacto spokesperson here, representating National Council (who are the most important BMC committee in this situation). He has a life and probably can't post daily and there is probably nothing new to say.

I'm just a dedicated ordinary member of the BMC pointing out what I think and what the known facts are and what is public from the Board and National Council. Also where things said by critics are clearly inappropriate (being insulting) or untrue or wild speculation that contradict known facts (which given I'm not posting on behalf of the BMC, I can call a fairy story, a fairy story). I know many who agree with my views but won't enter what they see as a bit of a 'snake pit' of current UKC forum debate on the BMC. Despite accusations to the contrary I don't think a 'move on nothing to see here' attitude to debate is appropriate for a forum. Such a view also does not apply to what the National Council have done... as there are very real consequences if the Board doesn't make progress.

I'm as well informed as any ordinary member (who doesn't hold any formal position in the organisation) and almost certainly the only one who has listened in to more than two area meeting debates on the current Board problems. This happens as my partner can't climb or walk when in a BMC meeting and Area Meetings are open to visiting members, so I can listen in if I want.

I've also been doing the 'rare public voice' thing for decades as a trade unionist and governance and quality committees member who stood up to both bad management and far left idealists (who would sacrifice people for political gain). A life like that makes one rather thick skinned 'in combat' but rewarded with many greatful friends (from good management and most fellow activists to the the countless people I helped and those involved in difficult problems I helped solve).

Post edited at 13:13
14
 gallam1 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Whilst there is a natural inclination to revel in earlier victories it is not reasonable to think that the victors should have unfettered scope to write and re-write the history.

Clearly the MONC procedure was democratic and conducted within the articles current at the time. The MONC would not have appeared on the AGM agenda otherwise. Any breaches of the articles at that time were by the BMC management and Executive intent on denying the democratic rights of members engaged in the MONC.

Views on the honesty and fairness of the actions and comments of those involved in the MONC, on both sides of the argument are subjective and dependent on one’s point of view. But no one should doubt Andy Say’s dedication to the BMC and his good humour in all circumstances, including the current debate.

All these diversionary arguments should not be allowed to obscure the issues currently facing the BMC membership who own, finance and guarantee an entity where the Board has become dis-functional, having now lost four directors to resignations in the last few weeks.

The Board of the BMC now includes an unelected Chair who does not want to be in the job, an elected President who is apparently off-the job and the CEO who is part-time. This situation cannot continue for long. Even though the power of the membership to call a general meeting has been deliberately circumscribed, led by those currently running the BMC, it is still open to members in sufficient numbers to call a general meeting and ensure change.

Amongst the issues to be resolved is the question of whether or not the Nominations Committee discharged its duties and responsibilities under 9.1 (iv) of its terms of reference when “assessing” the suitability of Huw Jones for the position of director. Were these actions minuted under 8.1 of the terms of reference?. Were the minutes approved by all members of Nominations Committee?

Did the Nominations Committee do its job of due diligence and conduct the necessary background checks in to the candidacy of Huw Jones and others for director posts? If it did not do so effectively, or at all, thereby misleading the Board and subsequently the members at the AGM, should those remaining Board members who sat on Nominations Committee at the time now offer their resignations? If not, then why not? This matter amongst many others should not be kicked down the road until the next AGM. Without accountability there can be no progress. Without honour amongst the directors there can be no trust.

4
In reply to Offwidth:

I find it surprising you are still claiming critics are dishonest. These threads have demonstrated several important points you initially claimed were "fairy tales" to be true, and produced much evidence for others. You are the one increasingly coming over as dishonest in your claims about others 

4
 Andy Say 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

"I want the dirt presented by dishonest critics in public and properly challenged".

Could you summarise what you regard as 'dirty' or false or dishonest in the recent threads?

 Andy Say 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

" Andy Say only got to 6% support despite his eloquence".

Why thank you young man 😉

 Andy Say 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

"Actually Andy Syme, Deputy President, is the defacto spokesperson here, representating National Council (who are the most important BMC committee in this situation)."

Why? Surely the BMC has a fully functioning President who represents National Council and hence the membership?  Why does Andy Syme cop for the job?

 SteveX 19 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

Are you two still at this.

Andy Say meet offwidth he seems okay.

Offwidth, meet Andy say, he is a decent bloke.

Now why do you  two not meet up and go climbing, I am sure you will have lots to talk about.

8
In reply to SteveX:

> Are you two still at this.

> Andy Say meet offwidth he seems okay.

> Offwidth, meet Andy say, he is a decent bloke.

> Now why do you  two not meet up and go climbing, I am sure you will have lots to talk about.

I’ve met both. They both seem decent to me.  I’m not sure that’s the issue

 Blanche DuBois 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I want the dirt presented by dishonest critics in public and properly challenged

You keep making this assertion, and at one point started throwing about the term "libel", yet I don't see much evidence for this in the thread.  Does it relate to deleted posts, else can you maybe summarise the dishonesty that you refer to.  Thanks.

An ordinary BMC member.

1
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

Go read the list of quotes I copied above. If you still don't understand go read up on libel law and what has been actioned in some recent libel cases.

10
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

It's been stated several times that National Council have asked the Deputy President to lead on these Board matters for them as the Directors on Council are conflicted. The President and Council Nominated Directors have said they fully support the National Council actions to help the Board.

The Chair of the Board always speaks for the BMC Board.

I'm pretty sure you know all this anyway but if it helps highlight to ordinary members how odd the talk of a 'missing President' is, in the context that the President did co-sign Board positions over the last few weeks and attended every Area meeting that didn't clash (and answered questions). Talk of a missing CEO throughout August and September when he was clearly at work (if anyone cared to check) was even more odd.

On the dirt: I've highlighted insulting quotes (even collecting together some of the worst), fairy stories and incorrect information presented as facts throughtout my posts on these threads. I've not seen a single fact I presented challenged by anything more than accusations of bias. I've apologised when I was wrong to doubt one point Shark raised (without clear evidence) that relates to bad treatment of a committee nearly a year ago now.

Post edited at 10:20
17
 spenser 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

They were both absent around when all of this kicked off so it's understandable that there was confusion about that, however it's not like there is a notification on the BMC website when staff or volunteers come back from sick leave/ holiday (nor would it be appropriate to have this) so it is not too surprising that members who don't go to area meetings and aren't at least aquaintances with the individuals concerned wouldn't know when they had come back to work (I queried whether or not Dave was back on a public post on Facebook about 3 weeks ago when someone accused them of having been absent and a mutual friend on NC informed me that he was back).

I would be concerned if I saw NC communications coming from Lynn/ Chris etc on this matter, simply because they are caught up in the mess and it can be difficult to provide a subjective view of things.

3
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to gallam1:

Hi Rodney. The original Motion of No Confidence (MoNC) had signatories who did not sign it and did not agree with it. The second submission of the MoNC was submitted under the articles but Id argue it was borderline acceptable as it didn't really say anything. However, letters that were circulating around some clubs were soon leaked containing lies and misinformation. I have never objected to the political concerns of the BMC 30 just these dirty tactics. The same dirty tactics recurred during the options debate. Your points on the current accusations have been dealt with already in these threads.

7
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

I get that for the ordinary member when dealing with these very long threads but the obsessive critics know that the fact they had returned (over a month ago now) has been raised before in these threads. 

8
 Steve Woollard 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I have never objected to the political concerns of the BMC 30 just these dirty tactics. The same dirty tactics recurred during the options debate. Your points on the current accusations have been dealt with already in these threads.

Would you like to confirm that I was never personally involved in these "dirty tactics" as you have implied in these posts or you may be subject to liable action yourself

1
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

I've never seen anything involving dirty tricks copied by you, but I do think you should acknowledge the bad behaviour of some of your fellow signatories.

In case you forget how dirty this was this is the thread dealing with the original and subsequent motion.

https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,27926.0.html

Post edited at 13:04
8
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

Here is the old UKC thread  where you claimed the same thing until evidence was posted what I said was true

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/ukc/bmc_release_presidents_statement_on_no_confidence_vote-659967?v=1

The leak of Bob's views (I'll give Bob one plus point he is the only person I've challenged extensively on all these threads who still approaches me to speak in person, and was always polite face to face) 

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/bmc_motion_of_no_confidence_-_bob_pettigrew_speaks-660614

Post edited at 13:54
6
 Steve Woollard 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> I've never seen anything involving dirty tricks copied by you, but I do think you should acknowledge the bad behaviour of some of your fellow signatories.

> In case you forget how dirty this was this is the thread dealing with the original and subsequent motion.

Not sure what you mean by “dirty tricks” as all I can see in this thread is people ridiculing Bob Pettigrew and wording of the motion and the audacity of it, which was similar to what was happening on UKC, but that’s social media for you and as a frenetic poster you are well aware of this.

I don’t know anything about the alleged bad behaviours you refer to, neither then nor now, but I certainly don’t condone personal insults which are totally unacceptable and I’m sorry if this happened, but I suspect they happened on both sides including a drink being thrown publicly over Bob after the AGM which would have been very insulting to him and legally an assault.

2
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Bob, Leo and Doug distributed letters in secret to clubs, that when leaked and looked at in public contained clear lies and much misinformation.  One of Bob's letters is linked in one of the threads to MG above as is one of Doug's. I cant find an online copy of Leo's letter to the Vagabond club (arguably the worst) as it was taken down after complaints. It was copied somewhere in one of these historical threads and maybe someone else who remembers can link it? If the issues were serious enough to justify a 'nuclear option' why were they not raised when that became obvious: this should have involved a Motion of No Confidence being called six months earlier (why the wait?) 

I don't want to get at you too much as you were the only member of the BMC 30 who was honest enough to openly post on these threads (albeit it turned out Rodney had been posting under his son's account, as Neil later exposed) but it would be nice if you disowned the behaviour of some of your fellow signatories and apologised for the damage the motion caused.

I think the ageist comments about Bob and the 30 was insulting and said so. Two wrongs never make a right.

Post edited at 14:51
5
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Bobs letter part 1

BMC A.G.M. AT PLAS Y BRENIN, SATURDAY 22 APRIL 2017

MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE IN THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE B.M.C.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE “BMC THIRTY”

THIS PAPER REPRESENTS MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS WHICH I SHALL PUT BEFORE
THE “BMC THIRTY” AS A WAY FORWARD.

OUR AIM IS STRAIGHTFORWARD AND COMPLIES WITH GOOD SPORTS GOVERNANCE
IT IS TO RESTORE DEMOCRATIC PROCEDURES TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
(AGM) OF THE BMC, NOW AND HENCEFORTH.

IF OUR MOTION WERE TO BE CARRIED THEN IT IS FOR THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
THROUGH ITS DIRECTORS, TO TAKE REMEDIAL ACTION ACCORDING TO THEIR LEGAL
DUTY UNDER COMPANY LAW.

OUR RECOMMENDATION TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WOULD BE TO SET UP AN
INDEPENDENT REVIEW BY ACKNOWLEDGED EXPERTS IN THE FIELDS OF
MOUNTAINEERING AND ADMINISTRATION DRAWN FROM A BROAD SPECTRUM OF THE SPORT.

WE ARE NOT WRECKERS SO WE WOULD ADVOCATE THAT THE MAIN OPERATIONAL
DIVISIONS OF THE BMC CONTINUE TO SERVICE THE MEMBERSHIP DURING THE
INTERIM BY STRICKLY ADEHERING TO ESTABLISHED POLICIES AND WORK
PROGRAMMES UNTIL THE REVIEW IS COMPLETE AND IMPLEMENTED.

IF OUR MOTION WERE TO BE DEFEATED THEN IT MIGHT HAVE SERVED ITS PURPOSE
IN REMINDING THE GRASS ROOTS MEMBERSHIP THAT, IN THE CONTEXT OF THE AGM
OF THE BMC, THEY ARE THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY TO WHICH THE EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE STANDS ACCOUNTABLE ONCE A YEAR FOR ITS FUTURE POLICIES,
PROGRAMMES AND EXPENDITURE.

QUI CUSTODIET CUSTODES – WHO IS IT THAT GUARDS THE GUARDS THEMSELVES?
JUVENAL A.D. 60 –c.130

IN OUR CASE – IT IS THE AGM SERVICED BY A FULL AGENDA OF FUTURE
POLICIES AND WORK PROGRAMMES PRESENTED FOR APPROVAL BY THE EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE NATIONAL COUNCIL THROUGH THE AREA
MEETING NETWORK – WHICH I KNOW HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME BECAUSE OF MY
OWN LONG EXPERIENCE OF THE VOLUNTARY WORK OF THE AREA ACTIVISTS, AMONGST
WHOM I STILL HAVE MANY FRIENDS.

ROBERT PETTIGREW – 19.03.17

BMC AGM 22ndAPRIL 2017 at PLAS y BRENIN NATIONAL MOUNTAIN CENTRE.

5
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Bobs letter part 2

I am Robert Pettigrew, one of thirty listed proposers of the Motion of
No Confidence in the Executive Committee of the British Mountaineering
Council. Because I am entrusted with the Moving of the Motion, I have
become the first among equals for this considered action.

Since I shall open the debate as the Mover of the Motion, supported by a
Seconder of the Motion, I believe that fellow members of the BMC are
entitled to know our reasons for this step, and the aims and objectives
of my co-signatories and many other supporters of the Motion so that
they are better equipped with the background to form an opinion and
either turn up, participate in the debate and cast their vote in person,
or, if unable to attend, cast a proxy vote before the time limit of
Monday 17th April next.

For my part I am a former president of the Loughborough University M.C.,
the Oread M.C. and the British Mountaineering Council, of which I am an
Hon. Member and holder of the George Band Award. I have also served as
chairman of the Training Committee, the South West and Southern Area
Committee, and the North East Committee of the BMC. I have also served
as chairman of the former Mountain Leadership Training Board for England
and Wales. In addition I was chairman of the CCPR/SRA, the Standing
Forum of 320 NGBs (Governing Bodies of Sport and Recreation} as a
mountaineering representative, following my distinguished forbears, Lord
Hunt of Llanvair Waterdine, and Sir Jack Longland.

Like so many of my contemporaries in the BMC, I have had a deep passion
for the mountains since I was a schoolboy and became steeped in the
mountain literature which is surely unsurpassed in range and content of
any sport in the world, and gives our sport a spiritual and
philosophical content like no other. This I have shared and enjoyed
with fellow members of the A.C., the CC, the Wayfarers, and the
Himalayan Club over the years.

I have had the good fortune, and with good companions, to make a number
of first and second ascents in the Lyngen Alps of Arctic Norway and in
the Indo-Tibet (China) border region of the Punjab Himalaya (Himachal
Pradesh). All my expeditions are recorded in the Alpine and Himalayan
Journals of the period, and”Lyngsalpene” Universitetsforlarget. All were
great adventures with loyal companions and a lot of fun, even in
retrospect, the broken limbs!

By profession I served as an Inspector of Schools in the Further
Education Divisions of the counties of Hampshire and Cleveland.

My aims and objectives in proposing the Motion of No Confidence in the
Executive Committee of the BMC is to restore the democratic process of
accountability to the grass-roots membership of the BMC in the
governance process. It is undeniably the very essence of the
democratic process and it must be restored and maintained.

I have attended every one of the BMCs AGMs since I had the honour to
serve as president of this great institution and I have observed with
growing dismay the diminishing of the AGM in form and content so that
the opportunity to hold to account the Executive Committee and the
National Council (formerly the Management Committee), and a better
title, has also dwindled – to be replaced by an Open Forum – in other
words a “Talking Shop” with no constitutional imperatives, and whatever
is proposed disappears into the ether with no consequent action of the
measures advocated.

I personally regard Open Forums as an improper and cynical device to
inhibit debate and advocate their removal from the annual programme of
events. That would give members more time to discuss and comment on
major policy issues – of which there are many.

This deplorable decline in the democracy of the BMC reached its nadir at
the AGM of last year, the 16th April 2016, when external events, such as
the admission to the Olympic Games of Competition Climbing were reaching
a climax.

Both Mark Vallance, a distinguished former president and alpinist and me
were given leave by President Rehan Siddiqui to make speeches warning
that momentous changes in our sport were impending due to external
forces, for which the BMC must make provision, but the debate was
curtailed by what has since been revealed as an hidden agenda known only
to the Executive and a privileged few.

I emphasise that the bulk of the grass-roots membership assembled in
Losehill Hall, Castleton, Derbyshire on Saturday 16 April, 2016, were
kept in total ignorance of the momentous events about to evolve.
On a lighter note I was even persuaded to buy a T shirt with the BMC
logo, when the decision had already been taken to change the name of the
BMC! Was anticipated old stock already being sold off? However – all
is well since I can still wear it with pride!

I had my first intimation that something was badly wrong when a member
of the Executive Committee who had listened to my speech came up to me
at tea and said:” We don’t want to rock any boats, do we?” Did he really
mean – “We don’t want to upset the International Olympic Committee, do
we?” We shall probably never know.

It occurred to me then that some momentous changes in the BMC were in
the making without the knowledge of the grass-roots membership, or any
process of consultation with that membership in the democratic process
of an AGM when the elected members and paid staff stand accountable for
the implementation of policies and strategies and financial probity
according to the Code of Good Governance laid down by the Department of
Culture, Media and Sport.

Subsequent to the AGM of 16 April 2016, a series of revelations about
proposed momentous changes in the status, name, international relations,
commercial projects, and Olympic ambitions of the BMC began to emerge,
none of which had been sanctioned by the grass-roots membership, but all
of which had been conceived, planned and developed by the Executive
Committee in secret over a time period of several months prior to the
AGM of 2016.

4
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Bobs letter part 3 (the missing text is a link to the BMC registration of Climb Britain as a domain name)

FOR EXAMPLE THE MOMENTOUS NAME-CHANGE FROM BRITISH MOUNTAINEERING
COUNCIL TO CLIMB BRITAIN – THUS JETTISONING 75 YEARS OF HISTORY, WAS IN
PLANNING FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AND ACTUALLY MADE ON 3 MARCH 2016, MORE THAN
A MONTH BEFORE THE AGM AT CASTLETON ON 16 APRIL 2017, AND AT A COST OF
£75,500 – NOT£25,000 AS PREVIOUSLY STATED (SEE THE BMC “RECENT HISTORY”
BY MARTIN WRAGG – SOME OF WHICH IS INACCURATE!)

MR WRAGG IS HOIST BY HIS OWN PETARD! IN HIS REPORT HE CLEARLY STATES
THAT THE EXTRAORDINARILY EXPENSIVE RE-BRANDING WAS NOT A CHANGE OF
NAME. SINCE RE-BRANDING INVARIABLY MEANS A CHANGE OF NAME NAME – HE-
HE GOES ON TO STATETO STATE IN HIS REPORT THAT A CHANGE OF NAME WOULD
NEED THE APPROVAL OF AN AGM!

WHY THEN DID THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WITHHOLD FROM THE AGM AT CASTLETON
IN 2016 NOT ONLY THE CHANGE OF NAME (ALREADY MADE IN MARCH 2016 – THE
PRECEDING MONTH) BUT A RAFT OF OTHER MEASURES SUCH AS THE INEVITABLE
CHANGE OF STATUS OF THE BMC FROM A REPRESENTATIVE BODY TO A GOVERNING
BODY OF SPORT AND RECREATION?

FORTUNATELY THETHE AREA COMMITTEES SAVED THE DAY AND CAME INTO THEIR
OWN WITH A MASS REVOLT
WHICH FORCED AN HUMILIATING CLIMB DOWN BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT
LEAST OVER THE ILL-FATED NAME CHANGE. BUT HAS THE LESSON BEEN LEARNED?
WHAT OTHER PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE NATURE AND FUNCTION OF THE BMC ARE
YET TO BE REVEALED?

PROOF THAT THE NAME-CHANGE WAS IMPLEMENTED ON 3RD MARCH, 2016 CAN BE


****** Text missing here ******


My fellow proposers and I then determined that the time had come to
bring matters to a head and seek a full debate at the AGM to demand
transparency and accountability to the membership in the future
operations of the BMC. The BMC is a company limited by guarantee and
is governed by an Executive Committee, so the conventional process of a
Motion of No Confidence in the Executive Committee, is intended to
initiate a debate on the Executive Committee’s corporate failure to seek
a mandate for its future policies and work programmes from the
membership at the annual general meetings, now a chronic annual failure.

Should the Motion succeed and become a Resolution I would further
propose that an Independent Review of the Structure and modern purpose
of the BMC should be set up with the aim of making the BMC fit for purpose.

Since the Alpine Club is not only the senior club in the world, it is
also the founder of the BMC and has the corporate philosophy and
expertise to advise on the personnel able and willing to conduct such a
Review under an independent chairman I and my fellow proposers would
recommend that it is invited to undertake the review.

If on the other hand, the Motion falls, I sincerely hope it will at
least have restored the central importance of the Annual General Meeting
as the principal agency of governance of the BMC where future policies,
strategies, work programmes, staff structures and finances, are openly
debated and endorsed or amended by the membership assembled at the AGM.

Robert Pettigrew – on behalf of the “BMC THIRTY”

19th March, 2017

5
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Dougs letter part 1

This just got sent round AC members from Doug Scott, I have to say its the best written piece supporting the motion so far - that said I still don't get where there coming from and don't agree at all.

Members may find these comments useful with the meeting on Saturday in mind.

I read with interest your open letter appealing to Bob, Dennis and myself to withdraw the motion of censure. I note that you wrote this having followed an Email stream of letters from others alarmed at the thought of this motion and also after you had something of an Epiphany at the Westway Climbing Centre. That of course is where we last climbed together and where I was again last week. You seem to be inferring that Bob, Dennis and myself are against indoor climbing and indoor competition climbing. I can assure you that I shall be there watching our young competition climbers on the TV over in Tokyo at the next Olympics and cheering them on as I will our gymnasts and other Olympic competitors. I mention this so I don't appear alienated from the "inclusive church" you write about. Don't forget it was Dennis who actually organised the first indoor climbing competition in the UK back in the 80s. It will only confuse the issue to link competition climbing and the Olympics with this motion of censure of the BMC Executive. By the way, the motion of censure is, of course, Bob Pettigrew's initiative supported by not just Dennis and myself but 30 other recorded names altogether and thousands of others who are concerned at the present state of the BMC and the direction it is taking.

I am surprised at the depth of feeling and the extreme alarm the motion has engendered even amongst seasoned volunteers of the AC, CC and of course, the BMC. Every organisation goes through a cycle whereby the origins and reasons for it are obscured by the passage of time and the inevitable distortion of the original pure impulse that always happens, driven by the same old drivers - the quest for fame and fortune, status and power. It would seem there is no exception to this rule. All great religions, all paths to self-knowledge, every spontaneous gathering of like minded people to preserve a much valued idea, all lose momentum and end up doing the opposite of what was first intended but still retaining the original name - the classic of course is Christianity itself that moved on from "loving thy neighbour as thyself" to launching the Crusades, instigating the Inquisition and more recently of priests abusing small children.

The BMC, as with all social life, has deviated from the direction set out in the beginning. The BMC was set up to represent a common interest in the 1940s when climbing was becoming ever more popular with high wages and longer holidays and also the stimulus of the successful of Everest. The BMC was never seen as a single, national club and in fact the founders talked openly of avoiding the way climbing had evolved on the Continent. The BMC was seen as an "umbrella" body representing the collective interests of its members and never a governing body. There were no government grants or paid staff, no-one even charged expenses. The hard-working Hon Secretaries were hugely supported by volunteers who put in vast amounts of time voluntarily - such names as Rawlinson, Starkey, Solari and Nea Morin amongst many others. At an early committee meeting in March 1945 it was reaffirmed there should be no publicity given to mountaineering and popularisation of it should be avoided.

In 1966 John Hunt and Hilary Sinclair met with Walter Winterbottom of the newly formed Sports Council that had been set up to encourage more activity in sport. The Sports Council requested the BMC to submit a five year plan with expenditure and wanted the BMC to open up to individual members. Seeing the writing on the wall the BMC representatives stressed that, unlike competitive sports, the BMC was not and never would be a governing body but would always remain a representative body. This ethic, peculiar to climbing, was reinforced during subsequent years and appreciated by the Sports Council thanks to sensitive diplomacy and eternal vigilance.

Fifty years on exactly, for all to see, the current Executive of the BMC lost their way, caving in to government pressure to re-brand and to be match fit to become more commercial without reference to the membership - a clear reversal from representation to out and out governance.

As I have pointed out these situations are not unique in organisations. The Royal Geographical Society a few years ago, lost their way and the Beagle Campaign was instigated that highlighted the problems. It was the new President Michael Palin, who was able to reconcile the differences between the executive and the members and help put the RGS back on a track that appealed to most of the membership.

continues on next post......

5
 Offwidth 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Steve Woollard:

Doug's letter part 2

The problems facing the BMC are much bigger than those of the RGS and therefore require a major review that must be entirely independent. The BMC, AC, CC, Rucksack Club and just about everyone else who has looked into it agrees that a review is necessary. The President of the BMC in his statement [10/03/2017] said that a "far reaching, independent review was instigated by the national council on 11 February 2017 before the no-confidence motion was filed." Apart from this being somewhat disingenuous since the executive knew long before 11 February of the motion, how independent will this review be when, even before the President put out his statement, the CEO was asking climbers to take part in the review group. Naturally we will all be thinking of asking turkeys to vote for Christmas or not!

I see that the AC, whilst encouraging members to support a review of the BMC, have not actually stated that it should be fully independent. In regard to the AC's attitude to the motion of no confidence, it does seem a bit alarmist in suggesting that if the motion was to succeed it would lead to a year of chaos before a new executive could take over. This opinion is shared by other respected clubs and their officers who forget that the graveyards are full of those we once thought were indispensable. Surely an organisation of 80K plus members can more quickly find suitable replacements for those who have to step aside?

I was not that impressed with Martin Wragg's account of the situation, who like Rehan Siddiqui, has been asked by the CEO and his executive to defend the status quo. He does, at least, acknowledge that "unrelated governance issues have been identified by the executive". He has, however, failed to grasp as Steve Town has pointed out, that although the BMC has done nothing wrong legally, "he totally misses the point that the BMC has not so much 'drifted away' from both the intentions of its founders and the interests of the great majority of its members, it has "willfully" charged away in a direction that has little regard as to why people go to the hills." Steve, in relation to Brian Smith's led paper on engaging with hill walkers, also makes the point that at the same time as the BMC was pushing the idea of "Climb Britain" it was also planning to attract some of the 2.4 million hill walkers into the BMC. So the BMC, it would seem, to survive must for ever increase its status and power - at one end of the spectrum from competition climbing and at the other from inducing everyone that intends to venture onto an incline into the organisation.

Unfortunately I have no time to continue as I have to drive to Andover where I am doing a lecture for CAN this evening. Still, I hope I have made the point that there has been a considerable drift in the last year or so away from representing the membership of the BMC. There is probably no need for me to go over old ground re the lack of transparency with regard to funding e.g. it wasn't apparently £25,000 of tax payers' money from Sport England that went into making the BMC match fit to go more commercial but £75,400 according to the BMC and Martin Wragg's own figures.

You can gather from the above that I will continue to support the motion of no confidence in the BMC's executive that was prompted by the attitude of the CEO of the BMC to the need for repairs at the Harrison Rock complex of ablution block and car park who unfortunately said it wasn't his or the BMC's job to fix lavatories. I notice that at the AC dinner Rehan Siddiqui could not see that this is but a symptom of the wider malaise when he said that "since the ablution block has been fixed there is no problem". I will attach Bob's report about this for your interest.

There have been some positive steps taken towards sorting out the problems between UIAA and IFSC thanks to Bob, Dennis and myself prompting Nick Colton to contact the UIAA's Executive and Management Committee when in Sheffield earlier this month. According to one national council member the BMC's competition climbing rep cowered away from confrontation with IFSC over its wild assertions that it represents all recreational climbers, is prepared to have competition climbers on natural surfaces and not to mention the fact that IFSC hi-jacked the name Sport Climbing from sport climbing. This failure was put down to the head long rush towards competition climbing and the Olympics. Hopefully an independent review will also redress this situation.

Nick did a good job there as he and the majority of the BMC executive and volunteers have done in many other areas that have helped to preserve the best traditions of mountaineering for future generations.

10
 Oceanrower 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

FFS. Give it a rest!

2
 Steve Woollard 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Hardly dirty tricks and I seem to recall the Executive using the BMC resources to mount a strong defence including the use of solicitors and a statement in the Summit magazine which I don't believe we had the opportunity to do.

But it's a long time ago and things have moved on so like Oceanrower says – give it a rest

Post edited at 16:19
1
 SteveX 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

No, but rather than washing washing in public, they could do it in private.

And remember, I am not the greatest fan of the BMC 

TBH, most clubs would chuck this lot out for bringing into disrepute 

1
In reply to Offwidth:

Err, that is from 2017 and utterly irrelevant to what's happening now!! I suggest you move on.

2
In reply to MG:

Abolish the BMC

11
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

> Abolish the BMC

No. Much of the work is excellent but let down by poor structures and leadership, which is what must be addressed.

1
 SteveX 20 Sep 2020
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

No, some of the work is excellent, but sadly let down by some who think it's the meaning of life.

 Offwidth 21 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

I think it's pretty relevant for you as your posts are in there for posterity.

These political attacks based on insults and misinformation are not just another internet spat. They are about real people and can have real consequences. The Motion of No Confidence, led by the BMC 30, including Steve and Rodney, cost us Sport England funding for a while. People lost jobs. Many thousands of hours of volunteer time and energy were lost dealing with it that could have been used for something constructive. A blameless President resigned because of the effect on his life.

Why? Because some people were so obsessed with BMC politics they didn't care about honesty or good behaviour or the potential consequences. Going through those letters (and there were much worse private communications to the President and CEO) nothing said turned out to be as it was presented. No clear blame or serious governance failure was ever identified. Climb Britain was agreed democratically by the National Council (NC), our representatives who at the time had primacy. When the mistake was realised, given members reactions, the BMC and NC reversed the decision as quickly as any mistake I've ever seen by any organisation.

The same dishonest behaviours with secret letters containing misinformation arose before the Options debate of 2018. Misinformation became a public internet phenomenon after the elections of 2019. We now have an ex volunteer and an ex employee and members of the BMC 30 exercising their personal beefs by using the crisis for their own ends.. including insulting Director competence and making up really serious conspiracy stories. The context of these awful times we live in and the huge increase in workload (nearly all unpaid) is seemingly irrelevant. It lacks humanity.

There is simply no need to behave in these ways. If the problems the critics see are real, facts and respectful arguments are enough.

Just upthread I was being accused of trying to close the thread down to hide real issues. What about these real issues and the people who were and are hurt by them. Nothing to see here, move on.

Post edited at 08:08
19
In reply to Offwidth:

No one except you is obsessing about events from three years ago and writing reams of text re-living them.  It is events over the last six months that are of interest here.

7
 Andy Say 21 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

He does write well, does Scotty.

1
 Offwidth 21 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

If you don't learn from mistakes in history you are doomed to repeat them. Those past bad behaviours around the Motion of No Confidence had real consequences and the debate now involves some of the same people, still clearly in denial of the damage they caused to people then, and risk now.

Huw has resigned because of accusations on these threads that we cant unlearn if it turns our the BMC didn't see a chartered accountant as being neccesary in the role, providing other qualifications experience and skills made up for that (almost certainly the case) or if he didn't lie about his qualifications (innocent until proven guilty and his statement shows no such lie).

Yes, I'm obsessed but only with undemocratic behaviour and misinformation because they can have concrete impacts in an organisation and people in it that I care about. Insulting the basic competence of Directors is simply not acceptable behaviour nor is making up conspiracy tales, nor is basing a nuclear option governance case entirely on misinformation.

Another point I'd make is the critics don't stick to current issues. Especially when we discuss the 2018 accounts issue, where legal advice and governance advice to the BMC at the time was these 'mistakes' were not serious, and immediate actions were taken to prevent future recurrence.

Post edited at 09:39
13
 UKB Shark 21 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

> No one except you is obsessing about events from three years ago 

Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. National Council also seems intent on raking up the past and connecting it to current events. 

“The resignation of Huw Jones, caused largely by unacceptable behaviours on social media, comes at what the Council sincerely hopes will be the end of an era when Past Presidents Rehan Siddiqui, Nick Kurth, and many of the current Directors have all been subjected to allegations and aspersions, often in an unpleasant and seemingly vindictive manner, online and via email”

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-update-september-2020

On second thoughts maybe Offwidth helped out with the drafting 😀

I’ll get my coat..

1
 Offwidth 21 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

Keep proving my point for me.

19
 Stoff 21 Sep 2020
In reply to MG:

"No one" ?? 

Please restrict your comments to your own views. You have no right to speak for me.

5
 Offwidth 21 Sep 2020
In reply to Andy Say:

It's classic problem with a long tradition in dishonest British politics. Florid rhetoric and no actual serious content.

17
In reply to Offwidth:

> It lacks humanity.

Totally agree. The lack of humanity shown on these threads is horrible.

> There is simply no need to behave in these ways. If the problems the critics see are real, facts and respectful arguments are enough.

Again, totally agree. Bad blood poisons productive organisational change.

Mick

7
In reply to Stoff:

Fine, if you want to dredge up historic arguments too, carry on.

2
 Rob Parsons 21 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

> “The resignation of Huw Jones, caused largely by unacceptable behaviours on social media ...”

That is a another thoroughly weird and cryptic statement from the BMC. The original statement regarding his resignation (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/resignation-from-the-board) says the following:

"Huw submitted his resignation from the Board on Tuesday, indicating that this is in light of the behaviour of minority groups of BMC members who, whilst small in number, are in his view intent on undermining the good work that has been undertaken by the Board and by National Council in its role of holding the Board to account. This has occurred to such an extent that Huw feels unable to make further progress with his work on behalf of the BMC."

But now the reason is 'largely' (what exactly does that mean? and what are the other factors) 'unacceptable behaviours on social media'?

Did he write a resignation statement? If so, what did it say?

The communications from the BMC over the course of this entire saga have been appalling. Months (?) in, and we still don't know the detail of the actual disagreements which underlie all this.

Post edited at 10:18
 spenser 21 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

It's not like the organisation has had a smooth 4 year period is it? I'm interested in the BMC getting on and doing, you know, BMC stuff (access, safety, training, comps, equity, guidebooks, crag cleanups etc).

All of this stuff about governance takes time and effort from volunteers, some of whom would likely be much more interested in doing something which actually interests members rather than something which is seen as a tedious necessity (yes, making good decisions and properly documenting finances etc is necessary, that doesn't mean the technical detail is of any great interest to people who don't already have a professional involvement in the area).

There is a difference in raking up a previously resolved issue where people have acknowledged there was an error made and processes have been introduced to avoid a repeat and in recognising that the organisation has lost volunteers as a result of the way in which they were treated by small subsets of the membership at various points over the last 4 years. If it transpires that Huw did not misrepresent himself to the nom com and the members will you apologise to him in a fashion at least as public as those accusations which you made?

2
 UKB Shark 21 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

> If it transpires that Huw did not misrepresent himself to the nom com and the members will you apologise to him in a fashion at least as public as those accusations which you made?

Spenser, I’m not sure what you think I wrote but I didn’t accuse him of representing himself to Nom Com or the members

I asked Huw two direct questions:

Me

>Thanks for coming back on. Off climbing and just pulled over - so in brief can you confirm whether you were the same Huw Jones who was a Director of Cornerstone Training Solutions and the Director referred in the liquidators report (Item11) of receiving payments whilst the company was insolvent.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07213929/filing-history 51

Huw

>I was a Director yes, but not one that received payments whilst the company was insolvent

Me

>Thank you. Can you also confirm the specific accounting qualification you hold - the AGM paper wasn’t clear

Huw....no answer

Clearly there has been a lot of talk of what ACCA qualification he had and whether it amounts to being qualified.

There are also many answered questions regarding his track record as a Director from publicly available documents. The most important document to focus on is the liquidators report of Cornerstones Training Solutions linked above. This is a company that was placed in compulsory liquidation. In answer to my direct question on UKC Huw confirmed he was the named Director of that company. Huw was notably the sole Director at the time of liquidation and the Director cited in the liquidator’s report but said he is not the Director who received payments which doesn’t on the face of it make sense. These payments from the company when it was insolvent has led to “claims for Preference, Wrongful Trading and Malfeasance identified”. Furthermore, the document goes on to describe Director in evading the liquidator’s investigation which is still ongoing. A legal action is also mentioned elsewhere in the report. There are also other questionable activity relating to other wound up companies he has been a Director of. Even for his current company his confirmation statement is several months overdue.

I accept that many think that the thread wasn’t the right place to ask these questions but Huw was on the thread and I took the opportunity to get some direct answers. My experiences of attempting to get answers through ‘official’ channels has been frustrating and for example I was promised answers to questions about the elections and recruitment for the 2019 AGM   and over a year later they remain unanswered.

I then supplied the Board via Jonathan with the info collated and I understand there is an investigation into the material flagged up.

Irrespective of whether Huw is exonerated or found wanting the above are questions that should be asked of one of our Directors who is publicly accountable and should be open to member scrutiny.

3
 galpinos 21 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

Steve, the raking over of old coals isn’t helping anyone. It informs the conversation, but blurs, imho, the current debate/issues.

In reply to the thread – The BMC still seems to be functioning as, from a personal point of view, the Tech Committee had a good meeting last week and are embracing the change in approach our current situation demands whilst putting together a positive plan for work in 2021 and the north west area meeting was well attended and covered interesting ground.

The most interesting, to me, side of the north west area meeting was that is was only myself (attending virtually) and John Roberts (emailed questions) that raised any questions regarding the board issues. I don’t know whether that is because people aren’t worried/don’t care/are intimidated in asking but it certainly wasn’t the hot topic that this forum makes it out to be.

Despite the lack of interest from the majority of BMC members, I still believe the issues that have come to the fore over the last few months need sorting to allow the BMC to be as well governed and as operationally affective as it can be.

  • It needs regular clear communications on what it is doing with the ability to respond quickly and with clarity to issues, to avoid the conspiracy theorists time to take hold. Also, issue meeting summaries and minutes on time!
  • It needs to sort the issues out on the board before it recruits any more board members – If there is a problem, it needs fixing before adding more volunteers to the mix.
  • It needs to be a transparent as possible. Board nominations and appointees, Nominations Committees, proxy votes, voting systems, finances, all need to be undertaken to a written procedure with transparency and honesty. Hopefully this will also stop the rumours festering and genuine issues will be plain to see and can be acted upon and corrected quickly.

The BMC is still a great organisation imho and those who seem hell bent on dragging it down and pulling it apart are doing it a disservice. It is far from perfect, but I would suggest threads like this, that end up an “argument of personalities and past grievances” instead of a discussion of the current issues do little to help improve the BMC.

 spenser 21 Sep 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

You were kicking up a fuss about whether or not he was chartered and I interpreted it as you saying that he had lied to Nom Com (which he may have done), or that Nom Com had been derelict in its duty (which it may have been, possibly influenced by feeling pressure for there to be an election rather than a simple confirmatory vote). The third possibility is that the board didn't feel it needed someone who held the necessary qualifications for chartership as long as they had experience.

I read through the relevant sections of the document a few weeks ago, barring the possibility of Huw outright lying in his post on here it didn't raise as much concern in me as seeing the way in which people were treating each other. David's posting manner on these threads has been sufficiently appalling that it leads me to question the ability of the FAC to actually fulfil its role if such an abusive individual was allowed to remain on the commitee for so long.

Maybe I am letting my opinion of self important abusive old men colour my view of this situation.

11
 Andy Say 21 Sep 2020
In reply to Offwidth:

> It's classic problem with a long tradition in dishonest British politics. Florid rhetoric and no actual serious content.

But it is hardly illustrative of the conspiracy, libel, dirty tricks and character assassination that you keep raising!

 Andy Say 21 Sep 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> The most interesting, to me, side of the north west area meeting was that is was only myself (attending virtually) and John Roberts (emailed questions) that raised any questions regarding the board issues. I don’t know whether that is because people aren’t worried/don’t care/are intimidated in asking but it certainly wasn’t the hot topic that this forum makes it out to be.

I'd have 'been there' but in reality I was in the Vosges with no phone signal. I would have asked some questions. It might be instructive to do a quick online survey of BMC members to find out just how many even know there is a current issue 😉

> It needs regular clear communications on what it is doing with the ability to respond quickly and with clarity to issues, to avoid the conspiracy theorists time to take hold. Also, issue meeting summaries and minutes on time!

Apsobloodylutely! An ongoing issue has been late provision of information - it's just not good for National Council (and the Board?) to get papers presented 'on the day' which need a response.

I'm sure I recall a meeting where there were no hard copies of the paper but 'it had gone online' during the meeting.

> It needs to be a transparent as possible. Board nominations and appointees, Nominations Committees, proxy votes, voting systems, finances, all need to be undertaken to a written procedure with transparency and honesty. 

Agreed. I thought this was exactly what the members had been promised three years ago.

> The BMC is still a great organisation imho and those who seem hell bent on dragging it down and pulling it apart are doing it a disservice. 

I've said it before: I'm not convinced anyone is trying to 'drag the BMC down'.  Everyone wants a properly functioning BMC; it's just that there are different views of what that organisation looks like!

 Andy Say 21 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

> Maybe I am letting my opinion of self important abusive old men colour my view of this situation.

I thought we were getting on sooo well 🙄

 Steve Woollard 21 Sep 2020
In reply to galpinos:

Well said, sums up where I'm coming from

Post edited at 17:05
 UKB Shark 22 Sep 2020
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> We sent the BMC a series of questions on Tuesday which we hope to publish answers/a response to next week.

BMC have sat on this for two weeks now

 UKB Shark 22 Sep 2020
In reply to spenser:

> You were kicking up a fuss about whether or not he was chartered and I interpreted it as you saying that he had lied to Nom Com (which he may have done), or that Nom Com had been derelict in its duty (which it may have been, possibly influenced by feeling pressure for there to be an election rather than a simple confirmatory vote). The third possibility is that the board didn't feel it needed someone who held the necessary qualifications for chartership as long as they had experience.

It is more likely that he stated what he had verbally or on his CV or both and Nom Com took whatever he said to mean he was qualified in the sense most would understand it.

In the articles the duty of Nom Com is set out as "In the case of nominations being sought from the wider membership, if the Nominations Committee,following review of the qualification of the proposed candidate(s), agree that the person(s) nominated by the Members has the required skill/expertise". In this case it was for the "Election of a Nominated Director qualified and experienced in accounting and finance, also having other relevant skills and experience"

If it was the case that he wasn't fully or formally qualified in the sense most would understand it they should have flagged it up on the AGM personal profile given that the role was stated as being for a qualified person. I certainly took it as read that he was a fully qualified chartered accountant from the information provided and as mentioned before I have a background in accountancy recruitment. If he wasn't then I was misled.

Incidentally I was later informed (by Jonathan I think) that these AGM personal profiles where part written by the candidate and part written by Nom Com but that wasn't made clear in the profiles or elsewhere that was the case let alone which party wrote which bit. Reading them they came across as wholly written by the candidates.  

3
 UKB Shark 22 Sep 2020
In reply to David Lanceley:

> If you take the trouble to check Huw's very limited LinkedIn profile you will see that he refers to himself as a "Chartered Accountant"

Not sure what happened there - must have deleted last post by accident.

Anyway I was sent a link to a more active Linkedin profile last night which for whatever reason didn't crop on my or David's searches. This provides more detail on Huw's employment history but doesn't reference an accountancy qualification. The one David references was either an old one of Huw's or belongs to someone of the same name who states they are also based in Newport.     

4
 JR 13:05 Wed
In reply to galpinos:

> The most interesting, to me, side of the north west area meeting was that is was only myself (attending virtually) and John Roberts (emailed questions) that raised any questions regarding the board issues. I don’t know whether that is because people aren’t worried/don’t care/are intimidated in asking but it certainly wasn’t the hot topic that this forum makes it out to be

Happy to share that these were the questions I emailed in, I know they were asked (and subsequently emailed to Lynn Robinson and Chris Stone, who I think were both present online, by the area secretary) but I have not had any confirmation that they are being responded to or actioned. 

Can the President/VP, on behalf of the National Council, please commit to publishing, within 10 calendar days of the meeting next NC meeting (19th Sept):

• a statement relating to the current issues with the Board, the timeline for recruiting new directors, and the status/outcome of the ongoing investigations with previous Directors,

• and a summary of the minutes of the National Council meeting that took place on the 19th Sept.

And in the same timeline can the National Council ensure that any outstanding Board minutes or National Council minutes are published on the BMC website (redacted as required).

Post edited at 13:07
 SteveX 14:13 Wed
In reply to spenser:

> It's not like the organisation has had a smooth 4 year period is it? I'm interested in the BMC getting on and doing, you know, BMC stuff (access, safety, training, comps, equity, guidebooks, crag cleanups etc).

>

  • Access, yes a good thing.
  • Safety, like what exactly?
  • Training, do we really need the BMC for this?
  • Comps, nooooooo.
  • Equity. Hills are there, anyone can buy some Boots and go, move on.
  • Guidebooks. Plenty of those, we need no more.
  • Crag clean ups, some person says lets cl;ean up the shit routes that never get climbed, people turn up, clean them, realise they are shit and they do not get climbed and re vegetate. Waste of time. Belay stakes and stuff though are pretty good.

Generally I think most BMC stuff that I care about could be organised by locals down the pub and with a Facebook group, for maybe a fiver a year.

33
In reply to SteveX:

Christ you're a miserable bastard, the safety stuff the Bmc do in terms of bolts and testing of dodgy gear is dead useful.

Equity, go and buy some boots?? Not quite as bad as get on your bike but getting there!

I for one would be very sad if the BMC stop there excellent guidebooks, you can never have enough guidebooks. 

Clean ups, I have been incredibly grateful for crag clean ups that have meant I have been able to have a great time on 3* classics in out of the places that would be lost if it wasnt for the work of volunteers.

6
 Ian W 14:25 Wed

> Generally I think most BMC stuff that I care about could be organised by locals down the pub and with a Facebook group, for maybe a fiver a year.

Go for it! Let us know how you get on......

2
 SteveX 14:29 Wed
In reply to ebdon:

> Christ you're a miserable bastard, the safety stuff the Bmc do in terms of bolts and testing of dodgy gear is dead useful.

>

Please do not be abusive, I have a right to an opinion.

I always assumed the IIAA or something like that tested bolts and gear, I honestly never knew that the BMC had a testing facility. 

The Outdoors is there, no need to evangelise or promote it, unless of course someone wants to make more money out of it, you know sell more boots.

Clean ups on 3* Classics, how often does that happen?
 

15
In reply to SteveX:

>  I have a right to an opinion.

Absolutely.

> The Outdoors is there, no need to evangelise or promote it, unless of course someone wants to make more money out of it, you know sell more boots.

So here's another opinion: some people are not comfortable about certain types of people getting access to the outdoors and therefore resist calls to increase access.

7
 SteveX 15:36 Wed
In reply to TobyA:

> >  I have a right to an opinion.

> Absolutely.

> So here's another opinion: some people are not comfortable about certain types of people getting access to the outdoors and therefore resist calls to increase access.

Are they not? 

1
 Rob Parsons 15:47 Wed
In reply to TobyA:

> So here's another opinion: some people are not comfortable about certain types of people getting access to the outdoors and therefore resist calls to increase access.

This has flown off on a tangent now, but what you've written sounds like nonsense. Who are the people you have in mind who 'are not comfortable'? Who are the 'certain types of people' they're not comfortable about? And how is the BMC involved in all this?

3
 spenser 16:23 Wed
In reply to SteveX:

Access - We agree

Safety - Contributing to new standards for equipment (technical representative with the UIAA and BSI), bolting safety guides, investigation of equipment failures (organised by BMC, lab work done by 3rd parties as we don't have our own testing facilities), liasing with notified bodies to help address issues where it is identified that a manufacturer has inappropriately brought a product to market, technical advice for clubs and instructors using pooled equipment. Here are the terms of reference:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/media/files/Technical%20Committee%20ToR%202020.pdf

I am a member of technical committee, although my contributions are typically focused on stuff relating to compliance with standards as this was my main area of professional expertise until recently, albeit dealing with trains rather than climbing equipment.

Training - This is around skills rather than physical training to support people coming into the activity in a safe way and supports the development of mountain training awards etc. Also deals with climbing walls to ensure that they are promoting good practice around belaying and so on (given the number of old boys with shocking belay technique compared to the Yoof it seems pretty effective).

Comps - I suspect they pay for themselves, they also get people involved in BMC activities and young people seem to enjoy them.

Equity - Support for people with disabilities who want to get involved in climbing and helping make things less intimidating for under represented groups, similar to the role played by the Women's Only Mountaineering Clubs.

Guidebooks - The BMC maintains the definitive record for the Peak and Lancashire, this is highly unlikely to be done on a commercial basis. I am also not entirely certain if the BMC is planning on doing another series of guidebooks in future as I understand that the member of staff responsible has now moved into a different role in the BMC.

Crag Clean ups - Tell that to all of the geordies who climb at Crag Lough thanks to the excellent work done there after it fell out of fashion, it was really popular when I was working up there the year after the last clean up. I understand other areas benefit from local area organised clean ups too, the take up from local clubs for this kind of thing is pretty small from experience of trying to organise one myself. The BMC also has a stock of tools which it loans out for this kind of event (although people need to contribute their own ropes which do get horrifically dirty).

You do have a right to an opinion, ebdon also has a right to criticise your rationale for holding that opinion. I really don't see what the reason to be grumpy about any of these areas is.

3
 spenser 16:26 Wed
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Grouse moor owners, anyone who doesn't pay money to shoot birds, BMC involved by negotiating access and contributing toward access legislation/ policy at a national level and purchasing certain significant crags where access may be lost.

 WVRox 17:35 Wed
In reply to SteveX:

> Access, yes a good thing.

> Safety, like what exactly?

> Training, do we really need the BMC for this?

> Comps, nooooooo.

> Equity. Hills are there, anyone can buy some Boots and go, move on.

> Guidebooks. Plenty of those, we need no more.

> Crag clean ups, some person says lets cl;ean up the shit routes that never get climbed, people turn up, clean them, realise they are shit and they do not get climbed and re vegetate. Waste of time. Belay stakes and stuff though are pretty good.

> Generally I think most BMC stuff that I care about could be organised by locals down the pub and with a Facebook group, for maybe a fiver a year

Tell me this isn't a serious post?

2
In reply to SteveX:

> Access, yes a good thing.

> Generally I think most BMC stuff that I care about could be organised by locals down the pub and with a Facebook group, for maybe a fiver a year.

So a group of a few mates down the pub could have successfully lobbied Parliament during the right to Roam legislation. Or successfully bought and managed a few crags.. Or successfully lobbied for crags to be re-opened during Foot & Mouth. Even if all they did was access related stuff it would still need more than you apparently think.

1
In reply to SteveX:

> Generally I think most BMC stuff that I care about....

It's not all about you, although, as you appear to be the typical entitled middle-aged male, I realize this is a concept you'll find difficult to comprehend.

8
In reply to spenser:

> You do have a right to an opinion, ebdon also has a right to criticise your rationale for holding that opinion. I really don't see what the reason to be grumpy about any of these areas is.

He called him a miserable bastard - hardly a straight discussion as to why he disagrees with his points. 

Bang out of line, cheeky fker

1
 SteveX 08:22 Thu
In reply to spenser:

Like I have said, BMC does some good work, however your list looks like a list of justification.

It's always seems to be the same with organisations, they seem to become self serving, a people seem to be "into" the organisation, rather than what the organisation was actually formed for.

Ultimately they can become so identified with the organisation that they will defend against all comers.

Post edited at 08:22
3
 Andy Say 08:51 Thu
In reply to ebdon:

> I for one would be very sad if the BMC stop there excellent guidebooks, you can never have enough guidebooks. 

I thought that was on the cards as part of a re-focussing? 'Wired' guides to take over?

 SteveX 09:04 Thu
In reply to ebdon:

> I for one would be very sad if the BMC stop there excellent guidebooks, you can never have enough guidebooks. 

Sounds to me like you are into guidebooks.

There are plenty of guidebooks, and nowadays plenty of people prepared to produce them.

However, where the BMC can help is in supporting and inspiring people, possibly through clubs, to have the skills and confidence to go into the hills and mountains, to walk, run, climb or MTB, without guidebooks, to set their own challenges and find their own paths.

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 spenser 09:32 Thu
In reply to SteveX:

Of course it looks like a list of justification, you posted a list of things you didn't think the BMC needed to be involved with and I responded with what they do and why those things are good.

I'm not particularly into the BMC, beyond feeling that it generally does good work and wanting it to get on with that (which it mainly does) without having a bunch of people pissing and moaning about the fact that it represents things in addition to their own interests (paid for by people who ARE interested in the additional stuff).

 David Bibby 09:37 Thu
In reply to SteveX:

It's Pournelle's Iron Law at work:

"In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

I have yet to find an institution that has proven immune to this Law!

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 UKB Shark 09:42 Thu

There is definitely a lot of affection for guidebooks out there. It should be recognised by devotees that this is a secondary BMC activity and one where technology is likely to make that activity obsolete or at least lossmaking.

To a large extent commercial operations notably Rockfax, the UKC database and other web resources provide the base need for information whereas in the distant past there was only guidebooks and word of mouth. Therefore what was essential before for climbers is now only desirable. In general I think the BMC should mainly get involved when other parties aren’t already providing a service and think seriously about stepping aside when they are. 

Having said that I think the BMC should support any group of climbers who are keen on this sort of thing whether it is a bunch of locals or a club to for example Provide advice and stump up a loan for print costs provided the likelihood it is repaid - like a community bank. In fact any community endeavour that meets BMC vision and objectives should have that sort of BMC support.

As I understand it the definitive guidebook series for the Peak/Lancs is now finished so the key objective for in-house production has come to a natural conclusion.
Collaborations like Wired look to be a sensible way forward. I think that the BMC in general should focus more on being a good facilitator than a doer.

 nomisb 10:35 Thu
In reply to UKB Shark:

"To a large extent commercial operations notably Rockfax, the UKC database and other web resources provide the base need for information"

I don't know about anyone else but I'm happier handing over money for a guide to a charity - BMC / Climbers Club etc than a commercial organisation who have no mandate to add back to the greater climbing community.  

"whereas in the distant past there was only guidebooks and word of mouth." You mean something that doesn't need a battery or a phone signal??? 

7
In reply to David Bibby:

> "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

Pretty well sums up the BMC over the last couple of years - and why National Council meetings last 7 hours.....

 UKB Shark 10:48 Thu
In reply to nomisb:

> I don't know about anyone else but I'm happier handing over money for a guide to a charity - BMC / Climbers Club etc than a commercial organisation who have no mandate to add backto the greater climbing community.  

I agree and know where you are coming from but it is a question of needs, priorities and resources. If the BMC was perfect and efficient in everything it does it would be a different matter.

> "whereas in the distant past there was only guidebooks and word of mouth." You mean something that doesn't need a battery or a phone signal??? 

Top tip: use your phone to capture the relevant info beforehand 

In reply to nomisb:

> I don't know about anyone else but I'm happier handing over money for a guide to a charity - BMC / Climbers Club etc than a commercial organisation who have no mandate to add back to the greater climbing community.  

As far as I am aware, neither the BMC nor the Climbers' Club are actually charities.

I suggest you give your money to whoever is offering you the service you want be it a great printed guidebook, a comprehensive website database, or a digital guide service on your phone.

As for mandate to add back to the greater climbing community - what does that actually mean? Is there something that UKC and Rockfax do that doesn't add back to the greater climbing community?

> "whereas in the distant past there was only guidebooks and word of mouth." You mean something that doesn't need a battery or a phone signal??? 

This is a pretty ignorant dismissal of all the great advances that have been made in the last 30 years in documenting and presenting climbing information in books, web sites and apps.

Alan

Post edited at 11:23
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 SteveX 11:35 Thu
In reply to nomisb:

>

> I don't know about anyone else but I'm happier handing over money for a guide to a charity - BMC / Climbers Club etc than a commercial organisation who have no mandate to add back to the greater climbing community.  

But clubs must be commercial as they claim small business rate relief, and many of them have benefited from the business support grants to the tune of £10k per hut.

 nomisb 12:49 Thu
In reply to SteveX:

If the BMC and CC have claimed assistance from the government then great - they are showing that they are doing all they can to make sure they continue to exist to the benefit of their members. 

4
 spenser 13:21 Thu
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think bits of the BMC are charitable (Mountain Heritage Trust and Access and Conservation Trust), to the best of my knowledge the CC is still an unincorporated members' club.

Rockfax produces excellent guidebooks and seems to have provided a kick up the backside of definitive guidebook producers, however I don't feel comfortable with the idea of the definitive record of routes in the UK being held long term by anything other than The BMC, or by the clubs working in each area. Rockfax is a small business and it's not clear what will happen to it when you decide to pack it in (presuming that you don't stay involved indefinitely). 

My general feeling is always against concentrating information with a small group of people when it is in the public interest (so engineering designs are fine to keep to small numbers of people, historical records less so).

4
In reply to nomisb:

Oh the irony, posting on UKC, a free to use community resource that is paid for by the same UKC that produces guidebooks.

In reply to UKB Shark:

This is fantastic entertainment. I’ve cancelled my subscription to Netflix and just follow the ‘BMC latest’ thread now. So please keep it going.

And can I ask the script writers to get that ‘offwidth’ character back into the show please, he is very entertaining if somewhat loquatious.

I’ll use the money I’m saving to buy a guidebook!

Post edited at 16:36
1
 Andy Say 16:49 Thu
In reply to spenser:

> Grouse moor owners, anyone who doesn't pay money to shoot birds,

Isn't that a relatively dead issue with the CRoW Act? And is, surely, under the label 'Access' rather than 'Equity'?

At first glance I thought the BMC was in a fight with people who don't want 'them blacks in our mountains'!

In my view the BMC's Equity work is not so much about people saying 'you can't' (though there is some of that in disability work!) as about people believing 'they can't' because of a whole range of socio-cultural issues.

But it has to be acknowledged that it comes low in the priorities revealed in member surveys. And that might, again, be an equity issue 😉

In reply to spenser:

> ..., however I don't feel comfortable with the idea of the definitive record of routes in the UK being held long term by anything other than The BMC, or by the clubs working in each area. Rockfax is a small business and it's not clear what will happen to it when you decide to pack it in (presuming that you don't stay involved indefinitely). 

There is a lot to say about you comment here Spenser but it really needs a thread on its own since it could derail, or get lost in, this one.

Alan

 Andy Say 17:02 Thu
In reply to the thread:

We are wandering a tad chaps and chapesses.

There is scope for a 'Whither guidebooks.. ?' thread. And a 'What has the BMC ever done for us!' thread. And a 'Why should we promote climbing?' thread. And a 'Why is there a lack of minority participation in this fantastic pastime?' thread.

I'd quite like to engage in some of those myself 😉.

But I'm currently keeping my channels open waiting for news if all the investigations ) reports / conclusions about what has gone wrong at our BMC.

 spenser 17:31 Thu
In reply to Andy Say:

I was responding to a post responding to another one about people wanting to deny other's access to the countryside (which I had presumed to be an access issue, rather than a race/ religion/ sexism/ disability type issues which Toby was referring to).

My understanding of the equity work is roughly what you have said, helping people say "I can" rather than stopping people saying "You can't". 

Sorry to Alan for threatening to derail the ongoing trainwreck!

3
In reply to spenser:

I would have thought a train wreck will already be thoroughly derailed?

Sorry. I'll get my coat.

 SteveX 18:11 Thu
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

And the people who do pay to use UKC, the supporters, do it totally voluntarily, as opposed to the BMC who use a position of power to create a monopoly which compels anyone who wants to be on a climbing club in England and Wales, to be in the BMC.

Two clubs I am in, it's £35,  £14 to the Club, £21 to the BMC.

Post edited at 18:12
7
In reply to SteveX:

You don't need to pay the BMC part twice, a refund is available if you do, and any club is free to not join the BMC.

In reply to SteveX:

Apart from the members of the country's biggest club the Army club, plus another quite big one the RN&RMMC

Post edited at 18:36
 SteveX 19:00 Thu
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

I believe that the Achille Ratti have another insurer to, and that's not an allusion to God watching over them

I think this thread has run its course.

Closing it now.

Alan

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