The board of the British Mountaineering Council is facing a potential vote of no confidence at the organisation’s annual meeting in April.
A motion has been submitted to the council, which represents hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers in England and Wales, expressing discontent with the body’s executive committee.
At the heart of the complaints are the way last year’s aborted change in name to Climb Britain was implemented.
The BMC’s chief executive Dave Turnbull confirmed a proposed motion had been received by the Manchester-based organisation, but it was not yet clear whether it would be placed on the agenda for the council’s annual general meeting at Capel Curig in Snowdonia, which is due to take place on 22 April.
The motion accuses the committee of withholding information on future policy decisions from members at last year’s AGM at Losehill Hall in the Peak District.
It goes on to say: “Further, this withholding of key and vital information to its membership is an example of very poor governance by the executive committee in their role as company directors, in a registered company limited by guarantee, and does not conform with the recently published Sport England code for sports governance.”
A motion must attract at least 25 signatories for it to be considered for inclusion on the BMC’s AGM agenda. Grough understands the submission had 30 signatories, including some long-standing BMC members and mountaineering luminaries.
Mr Turnbull said: “A proposed motion has indeed been received by the BMC office although it is not yet clear whether it will proceed to being accepted as a formal AGM agenda.
“In the form submitted it is unclear what it is trying to achieve and it does not have the level of proven support required by our [memorandum and articles of association] to be approved as an agenda item.
“We will know by 8 March whether or not the motion will proceed – any motions have to be submitted not less than 45 days before the AGM.
“In the meantime the BMC is putting in place a series of constructive measures to address the main concerns raised, in particular our National Council agreed on 11 February to carry out a governance review of the organisation and our decision making structures.
“This is a work in progress and we are just now trying to establish the scope and parameters of the process.
“In addition to this the BMC AGM on 22 April will include discussion of the high – and low – lights of 2016 as well as a presentation of our draft strategic plan for 2017-21.”
According to the BMC website, the council has seven board members, headed by president Rehan Siddiqui.
In July 2016, the BMC announced it was rebranding as Climb Britain, a controversial move that was seen by critics as failing to recognise the many members who are hillwalkers but not climbers.
The name change followed a £25,000 exercise by a branding agency after the BMC secured funding from Sport England, the publicly funded body that promotes sport.
The BMC was criticised for not consulting its members before the change, unlike the Mountaineering Council of Scotland which changed its name to Mountaineering Scotland at the same time after a membership consultation.
The Manchester-based council used area meetings to gauge members’ views after the name change, most of which were overwhelmingly negative.
In September last year, Mr Turnbull and Mr Siddiqui announced a climbdown and the organisation reverted to its British Mountaineering Council name.
The BMC has 82,000 members, made up of 56,000 individuals and a further 26,000 people from the 300 affiliated mountaineering clubs. Many of these are primarily hillwalkers, a large number of whom will have joined the BMC as part of the compulsory registration process for outdoor qualifications such as the Mountain Leader Awards and Hill and Moorland Leader Award.
- Bob Smith is a member of the BMC and grough offers BMC members a discount on its grough route mapping and route-planning service.