BMC Board of Directors: July 2019 meeting summary

Posted by Gareth Pierce on 09/09/2019

A scheduled meeting of the Board was held on 22 July (11:00 until 18:00), preceded and followed by 90-minute phone meetings on the evenings of 17 July and 27 August. Ten directors attended the scheduled meeting and ten also participated in the phone meetings (every director was involved in at least one of the three engagements).

Taking the three meetings together, the main matters covered were as follows:

a. Liability Insurance Working Group: The final report of the working group was considered, on the basis of which renewal of the liability insurance policy on the terms available for a 3-year term was approved. The BMC will consider the potential impact of a further large claim within its financial planning. The Clubs Committee is asked to consider the appropriateness of Student Clubs being required to be affiliated to their Students’ Union. The BMC Participation Statement is under review in the light of the group’s report, with legal advice being taken and some re-drafting options subsequently under consideration.

b. “Digital/Blue” Membership business case: Through consideration of a substantive paper and a presentation by Jon Chittenden (online marketing co-ordinator) and Alex Messenger (head of marketing & communications), the Board approved the trialling of this proposed initiative, with the details to be provided to areas and with National Council’s approval also being sought as a Reserved Matter.

c. Related Trusts:  The Board has recognised the need to address some governance matters relating to trusts within the sector with which it has a key relationship. For the Access and Conservation Trust it was resolved to increase the number of directors to 12, to re-appoint the BMC as a corporate director/trustee and to appoint Tom McPhail, Louise Davis and Richard Holland as directors/trustees. For the Land and Property Trust and Land Holdings Limited, decisions were deferred pending further advice on the appropriateness of some suggested changes to the membership of their boards. In relation to the Mountain Training Trust, it was agreed that a closer relationship needed to be re-established in order to develop a greater awareness of the issues that need to be addressed and with a view to being supportive of the incoming CEO, Ruth Hall.  There was nothing to discuss at this stage in relation to the Mountain Heritage Trust.

d. Strategic Plan 2020-24: The latest draft documentation relating to strategic themes was considered and some amendments agreed prior to its distribution for consultation to members, areas and National Council.

e. Organisational Development Group:  It was noted that within the Policy workstream, the BMC’s equity action plan has been updated and sent to Sport England. The Membership Engagement proposals have been further reviewed ahead of being shared with members; recognising the need to engage with potential members as well as those already in membership, priorities will be reviewed further in the context of technology and financial implications. Proposals from the Partnerships workstream in relation to the proposed Partners’ Assembly were discussed in detail, with the direction of travel within the paper being endorsed. For the Competitions workstream an update was presented by Rab Carrington, outlining three strategic options that were under consideration; following further work, these will be discussed further by the Board in September. It was agreed that the review of “subsidiaries” being led by Ray Wigglesworth QC should have its remit broadened to include the ORG recommendation relating to governance of existing trusts that have a relationship with the BMC.  Fiona Sanders was appointed Chair of the ODG.

f. Board Culture:  There was a substantial discussion of Board culture, leading to the conclusions that there is a need for greater clarity on role and priorities, taking account of capacity; that focus should be derived from the strategy, business plan and risk register, using metrics to monitor progress and success; that efficient use should be made of technology to support clear channels of communication; that we should explore the potential of having a director to lead on each item, with papers being cleared by CEO and Senior Leadership Team (SLT), providing the basis for a working relationship between the Board and the SLT.

g. Risk Register: The risk register was reviewed in terms of content and also in the context of a new format having been developed for it, to which further recommended improvements were identified.

h. Financial Report:  The financial report for the first six months of 2019 was reviewed, noting that the projected deficit of £175k was somewhat greater than the budgeted deficit of £144k, mainly as a consequence of the unexpected loss of income from a commercial sponsorship arrangement, the adverse variance not being as great as had been initially feared.

i. Hill Walking Implementation Group:  The Board agreed to provide a positive steer in terms of the further work that the group could undertake in the context of the BMC’s emerging strategic plan as well as some initiatives that could be pursued in the short term.

The next meetings of the Board are on 25 September and 25 November, with the dates for five meetings during 2020 in the process of being finalised.

Gareth Pierce
Chair, BMC Board of Directors

READ: previous Board meeting summaries and minutes


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

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

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


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