About General Council

General Council 2021 - 17 April

Update 18 January: The board is continuing to keep these arrangements under review. For the time being we are not opening registration for the meeting, but motions and all nominations may be submitted as usual with a deadline of 6 March. See below.

Next year's General Council AGM will take place at the Birmingham NEC on Saturday 17 April. This will be a shorter one-day AGM in a venue with an auditorium and refreshment areas larger than required for our numbers to allow more spacing. The board chose Birmingham, and the NEC in particular, as it is a central location and we hope the most easily accessible option by public transport or private vehicle for the majority of attendees.

The intention is to allow as many people who can to arrive and depart on the same day. Although there will be no fringe events (including the conference dinner) all the formal GC business can take place, in particular there will be ample time for motion debates which have not been possible this year.

The board decided on a one-day meeting last year as there was concern about holding our traditional weekend conference next year when uncertainty remains about the effect and impact of coronavirus into 2021. Even if it were possible to proceed with a residential conference, the board’s primary concern is obviously the health, safety and concerns of members, volunteers and staff attending such an event, especially those who are in at-risk categories or who live with or care for people in those categories.
The board will develop plans for 2022 later in the year.


Current dates and deadlines

  • Trustee recruitment and nominations will open on 25 January 
  • Motion and nomination submission deadline: 6 March
  • Circulation of motions to Areas: 9 March (target date)
  • Formal notice and papers sent to Council members: 19 March 

General Council 2020 

The rearranged Ramblers’ AGM took place on 15 September as a short broadcast-only online meeting, with Council members having formally participated and voted in advance by appointing the chair as their proxy and submitting a proxy form ahead of the meeting. These particular arrangements were required given ongoing social distancing requirements, and guided by general advice from Companies House and the Charity Commission as well as professional legal advice, particularly in light of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. Over 100 people joined the online meeting and 103 Council members participated by appointing a proxy and voting on the formal business.


Informal Zoom session to discuss 2020 motions

As we were unable to hold a formal motions debate at our AGM this year, Council members were invited to join a Zoom meeting on 19 November to discuss the nine motions submitted by Areas this year. The session was chaired by Kate Ashbrook, with trustees and members of the senior leadership in attendance along with around 45 members. This was an informal discussion session and did not replicate our usual General Council debate format as set out in the standing orders.


About General Council

Our annual general meeting is commonly referred to as General Council. 

Each Ramblers Area, and each national organisation affiliated to us, is entitled to appoint members of General Council.  Whilst our Groups and individual members are not directly represented, they can influence the policy of the Ramblers via their Area's Council members. Trustees, our president, vice presidents and members of the Motions Review Committee are also members of General Council.

General Council elects the board of trustees which runs the organisation on behalf of members and for the public benefit. Council considers the annual report and accounts and provides guidance on policy by debating policy motions. It also approves changes to our constitution.

Ramblers is a company limited by guarantee, and General Council is the body of people who are defined as company members for Companies Act and other legal purposes.  Members of General Council are entitled to attend the annual general meeting, but remain company members at other times.