The British Mountaineering Council's headquarters in Didsbury, Manchester. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The British Mountaineering Council's headquarters in Didsbury, Manchester. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Members of the British Mountaineering Council are being urged to vote on crucial proposals ahead of the organisation’s annual meeting in Kendal.

The council’s members are asked to choose between two different governance regimes, as well as electing a new president.

The poll follows a turbulent year for the Manchester-based body, after a 2017 annual meeting saw its executive council survive a vote of no confidence but its chair Rehan Siddqui resign.

An organisational review group was set up to look at the governance of the BMC, which has more than 84,000 members, under the leadership of Crown Court judge Ray Wigglesworth. The results of this review were revealed at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November.

The annual meeting was put back from April to June and will now take place on Saturday at the Castle Green Hotel. Members who cannot attend in person are urged to vote online.

One resolution, backed by 858 signatories, calls on the BMC to implement the changes recommended by Wigglesworth’s group, and to ‘seek to achieve the tier three governance standard as defined by Sport England’s code of governance for the purposes of working with, and receiving funding from, Sport England and UK Sport’.

Sport England funding was suspended when the motion of no confidence was tabled and has not been reinstated. UK Sport funds elite athletes and its support is viewed as vital for competition climbers hoping to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The BMC received just short of £319,000 from Sport England in 2017 compared to £568,000 the previous year.

Nick Kurth has acted as president since Rehan Siddiqui's resignation. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Nick Kurth has acted as president since Rehan Siddiqui's resignation. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The council says to secure funding in future from Sport England, it needs to attain ‘tier three’ compliance. A motion to that effect has been tabled with the backing of the national council, the current executive committee and the organisational review group.

An alternative motion asks members to choose option B and was signed by 44 members, though the BMC said some of these have subsequently withdrawn their support.

This proposes a lower tier-one compliance, with the national council ‘determining high-level policy’ and the directors and staff implementing this policy.

The changes to the BMC’s articles of association are necessary because they do not comply with the Companies Act.

Members are also being asked to choose between two candidates for the presidency: Les Ainsworth, nominated by Henry Folkard and Ian Carr; and Lynn Robinson, nominated by former president Rehan Siddiqui and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk. Acting president Nick Kurth will step down after the election of a new head.

The deadline for online proxy voting is 1pm on Thursday 14 June. Eligible members should have received an email from Electoral Reform Services with a link to the voting form.

More information about the annual meeting is available on the BMC website.

  • Bob Smith is a BMC member.

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