Competition Climbing Performance Group Review
- Monday 4th September 2023
Following the restructure statement in July the BMC have now published a review of the Competition Climbing Performance Group (CCPG).
Faced with a projected financial deficit of over £275k the BMC committed to a restructuring exercise in July. Click here to read a report on that. It the wake of that crisis, the BMC have just published a review of the CCPG; that too paints a bleak picture of the internal operations of the CCPG as well as GB Climbing (GBC).
The CCPG review itself was commissioned in April 2022 and presented to the Board Chair in December 2022. However, the publication of that review has only just made visible for the first time the shortcomings highlighted by the review.
The review looked at the performance of the CCPG between its inception on April 9th 2020 and September 29th 2022. The review identified a number of areas of concern; specifically, within the processes, the culture and the approach within GBC. Since receiving the review the BMC Board has both accepted that changes are needed within GBC and has been working on implementing changes to address the identified shortcomings.
The CCPG Review identified several areas of concern with GBC; specifically
1) Safeguarding and risk;
2) Financial Management;
4) Commercial Contract Management;
6) Partners; and
7) GBC and CCPG
The CCPG Review – a relatively short five-page report - conclusion is deeply concerning and is reproduced below. Firstly, the review confirms the ‘Purpose’ of the CCPG saying:
‘The ‘Purpose’ of CCPG, as drawn from its current Terms of Reference, are:
The purpose of the CCPG should include, but not be limited to:
• Advise and report to the Board • Support and challenge GB Climbing • Develop its strategy and long term aims • Advise GB Climbing on the management of resources at their disposal • Exercise the delegated authority of the Board in accordance with these terms of reference • Assess the performance of the CCPG and GB Climbing against set criteria to ensure that competition climbing is being governed in the best possible manner’
The CCPG Review conclusion reads:
‘We have not seen any evidence that would lead this Review to conclude that any of the above criteria have been met. This is clearly a breach of the operating mandate which CCPG and GB Climbing were duty bound to deliver, and a failure to comply with the Terms of Reference which were set out and agreed by the BoD and for which they are accountable.’
Read the full CCPG Review report here.
Read the CCPG Review Recommendations here.
A statement published on the BMC’s website addresses the issues raised and goes on to list the improvements already made, namely:
‘The CCPG Review also suggested that changes be made to the existing CCPG Terms of Reference (ToR), to ensure clarity, to support the function of CCPG and to ensure that appropriate oversight could occur.
‘The Members Council acknowledged that changes and improvements have and are being made, but urged the Board to go ‘further and faster’ to support and encourage the cultural changes within the BMC and GBC; ensuring that our National Governing Body (NGB) functions are delivered effectively and in line with our responsibilities to all our members and our role as National Representative Body (NRB) for the wider community of hillwalkers, climbers and mountaineers.
‘The subsequent Board Task & Finish Group (T&F Group) highlighted that several of the areas of concern and the resulting recommendations made, were likely to be the result of the current ToR for CCPG being too broad. It went further than the CCPG Review Group in recommending that the board considered reviewing the scope of CCPG and then amend the TOR accordingly, at the same time the relationship of CCPG to GBC and the BMC should be made clearer. It recommended these questions be answered as a priority and that work be conducted by the CEO and chair of CCPG, of which a significant amount has been completed resulting in new ToR and Schedule of Delegation which is now going through consultation.’
There have been significant changes and improvements in safeguarding since the employment of a full time Safeguarding Officer in September 2022. The release of new safeguarding policies in September 2023 will further enhance safeguarding across both the NGB and NRB functions of the BMC.
The Board wishes to reiterate the following principles:
- It is the responsibility of anyone involved in any of our activities (athletes, parents, members, volunteers and staff) to report any safeguarding concerns to the BMC.
- With regard to competition climbing, reporting a genuine safeguarding concern will never affect any individuals’ selection for national representation either on a GB Team/Squad or in a volunteer role. Disciplinary action would be taken were this to happen.
- Anyone reporting a concern should be reassured that this can be done confidentially and that all safeguarding concerns are investigated and, if necessary, escalated for review by the expert volunteers in the Case Management Team – who will decide if the concern warrants further actions being taken. These actions could range from further investigation to immediate action to impose a sanction, some of these actions may be visible, for example in the updating of policies and procedures, but due to the needs of confidentiality other actions may not.
The BMC board regularly review the number concerns raised and their progress towards resolution.
Over the last 12 months there has been significant work undertaken to introduce better financial reporting and management across the whole of the BMC. This is providing enhanced financial control, reducing the risk in all parts of the BMC.
With specific respect to CCPG & GBC, the role of CCPG in reviewing and approving GBC budgets and spending has been improved, and the Board are working with the Chair of CCPG to ensure this delivers an appropriate level of oversight whilst retaining the legal accountability and responsibilities of the CEO as the Accountable Officer for all UK Sport (UKS) and Sport England contracts.
Contract and Procurement Management
Processes and procedures have been reviewed and the Board are now satisfied that our procurement policies and procedures are appropriately delivered for all contracts with third parties, partners and athletes.
With respect to the procurement of Unit E (the GBC performance facility in Sheffield), the review has highlighted a number of outstanding questions and therefore a Director has been appointed to identify whether a more detailed assessment would be beneficial. If necessary, this would be done by an independent party. It is recognised this has taken longer to reach a conclusion than the Board would like, but the intention is to reach a conclusion within the next three months.
Since his appointment as Chair of CCPG in September 2022 Paul Ratcliffe has taken several steps to address the obvious communication issues both with the Board and with the athletes, coaches and parents. This has included establishing much clearer communication channels, and ensuring that athlete and where appropriate parent voice is brought into the CCPG. Their participation in developing the 2024 selection policies, is a visible and very welcome first step in ensuring athletes always remain at the heart of GBC objectives and actions.
While the Board recognises that improvements are being made, there remains significant work to achieve the open dialogue that we desire and that is required to ensure GBC is central to a world class performance pathway within the UK. We ask the community to work constructively with Paul Ratcliffe, the CCPG and GBC to develop this dialogue particularly by engaging in the listening sessions with coaches, athletes, parents and partners which will be run later this year.
Governance and the future of CCPG
It is clear that the very broad original remit of the CCPG along with the way that it was originally constituted, has meant that the CCPG has not been able to meet the many demands within its ToR and consequently the expectations of the community.
The Board is clear that the structure of the CCPG needs to change to allow the full scope of all structured competition in the UK to be appropriately overseen, from grassroots to elite, but also to include all structured competitive activity within the sports for which the BMC is the NGB.
The Board agreed that a separation of oversight role, between all GB related competitive activity (to include both able bodied and Para disciplines within Sport, Ice and SkiMo) and grassroots and recreative competition would be beneficial, and an initial proposal for a revised and strengthened structure was drafted in May. Board approved the creation of a GB Performance Group to focus specifically on GB related competitive activity and supported the concept of additional volunteer led ‘Commissions’ to support grassroots and recreative competition in each of the sports; provided the changes were implemented as a wholistic approach. Initial consultation on these ‘Commissions’ has indicated that there is support for the concept, but it also identified that much more consultation is required to arrive at a structure that will serve the community in the way that we wish to. UK Sport have offered to provide partnership support to this consultation, which will allow us to bring together the wide range of partners and stakeholders that we need to work collaboratively with to develop a shared structure. This is something that we anticipate starting in October this year, with a desire to bring a proposal to Board in early 2024 to be implemented ahead of the start of the LA 2028 Olympic Cycle.
What will 2024 look like?
While there have been improvements between 2022 and 2023, CCPG and the Board recognise that there remain significant challenges for CCPG and GBC in the short term. GBC will be focussed on ensuring that everything we do in 2024 is done well and in consultation with the athletes and those who support them.
Planning for 2024 and beyond will start with the proposed listening sessions and we will have an agreed plan for 2024 by November with the future plan aligned to the bid process for UK Sport grant funding for the LA 2028 cycle. We will ensure that athletes always remain at the heart of GB Climbing objectives and actions and will clearly communicate what they can expect of GB Climbing in 2024 and in future years.
The sport of competition climbing is developing at pace, both nationally and internationally, and we have stated our ambition to be a world-leading climbing nation. It is a journey we are all on, we accept there will be challenges, and that we are unlikely to get everything right first time. We are, however, committed to working together with the community on this shared journey, to continue to develop our athlete-focussed performance infrastructure, to support our athletes to achieve their ambitions, and in turn realise this aim.