The articles were written in 1993 and have had minor amendments since then. Having taken independent legal advice the National Council (NC) agreed that they needed rewriting to address the legal issues and ambiguities identified in the legal advice. The draft articles were written by independent legal advisors to fully reflect the legal and good governance standards applicable in 2018 and represent what is appropriate legal and good governance requirements for an organisation of over 80,000 members and with an annual income of circa £2.9M.
The BMC are currently a Tier 3 funded organisation by SE as per their statement below:
The tier decision for an organisation is dependent on a number of factors. These include: amount of funding; length of relationship with the partner; nature of the relationship with the partner and type of organisation. The amount of funding is one factor but certainly not the deciding factor. All of the National Governing Bodies who we’ve previously funded, and who we continue to fund, have been assessed as Tier 3 of the Code, regardless of their size or level of investment.
Based on the additional governance requirements associated with Tier 3 funding there were 3 additional changes, beyond the changes which we believe are needed to the M&AA anyway, which SE have stated are necessary to meet their requirements and are detailed in the next question.
With respect to why we should continue as a Tier 3 organisation, there are 4 specific reasons this recommendation is made:
- The BMC is the representative body for hill walking, climbing and mountaineering in England and Wales and it is also recognised by Sport England as the National Governing Body (NGB, their terminology not ours) in England. This status gives the BMC a level of authority and respect when engaging with government and national organisations including conservation and land ownership bodies, and other statutory agencies. This authority is critical in our ability to effectively act as a representative body for members on issues such as access; note the lack of Welsh NGB status conversely limits our ability to engage similarly with the Welsh Assembly and exert the wider influence that would bring us (which is recognised in Recommendation 25 of the ORG).
- The BMC is best placed to be the umbrella body for mountaineering. This is recognised in the Sport England’s “whole sport bid” which includes 4 other climbing and mountaineering organisations. NGB status and its tier 3 governance requirements ensure that the BMC can partner with, apply for, and channel funding to the funded partners; Mountain Training UK (MTUK), Mountain Training England (MTE), Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC), and ABC Training Trust (NICAS and NIBAS schemes). Whilst these partners have been temporarily funded directly from Sport England, if the BMC is unable to meet tier 3 governance requirements, then the funded partners will lose access to coordinated bid funding from SE. They consider this funding as critical to their operations. Consequently, they believe, it’s highly likely the funded partners would need to partner with, or create, an alternative tier 3 body, in order to access this coordinated “whole sport” funding. Critically this would lead to the ‘decoupling’ of training and the instructors delivering it, a significant route of new participants, from the BMC, its history and its ethos.
- Whilst the BMC will have to substitute reducing government funding over the next 3 years, currently it forms a significant part of the BMC funding (likely £550-680k over the next 3 years); in addition our funded partners expect circa £400k over the same period). Loss of Sport England funding at this stage would put significant strain on the BMCs ability to carry out many of the uncontentious activities it currently does including access, equity, youth and competitions work. Also, given the current government funding constraints, it is unclear whether the BMC would be able to regain funding if it was lost at this time. By implementing the AoA changes now the BMC can retain funding at this time; thus reduce the potential turmoil and pressure; whilst allowing that any future decision by members to withdraw from the constraints imposed by government funding to be managed.
- UK Sport also uses the same governance criteria as Sport England. Funding for the 2020 Olympic programme would not be impacted (it is being routed via the English Institute of Sport) but failure to comply with the requirements of the Governance Code would remove the possibility of future Olympic related funding coming to the BMC.
 APPENDIX: LEGAL FEEDBACK to the BMC Independent Organisational Review Group Report Nov 17
 BMC 2016 signed accounts (https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1448)