BCA: fee increase explained

Zac Woodford, the British Caving Association’s new Publications and Information Officer, explains why BCA needs to raise membership fees and demonstrates why BCA still provides excellent value for money for cavers and mine explorers.

BCA Finances

BCA Finances and membership fees

In light of the BCA Treasurer’s recent report on the state of the organisation’s finances the BCA Council has voted to adopt measures to attempt to eliminate the deficit we currently face. The most immediate effect of this is a rise in BCA subscription fees which will come into effect next year.

2024 fee (£) 2025 fee   (£) %
Caving member (DIM or CIM) 20 24 20
Non-caving member 6 8 33
Student 8 10 25
‍Under 18 free free
Group (Club) 25 36 44
Club hut or Access Control Body 60 72 20
‍Associate 25 25 0

The context for this decision is that ten years ago the BCA decided that its financial reserves were too large and in an attempt to lower them, cut subscription fees and spent more resources on benefiting the community. These policies were effective at lowering the reserves year on year to the point where they are now at the currently set minimum reserve. A continuing deficit therefore puts us at risk of eroding these essential funds.

It was with this in mind that the Council voted to seek measures to eliminate the current deficit. The rise in fees is only one such measure. We are also asking Working Groups and Regional Councils, if possible, to identify additional sources of funding as well as try to be more efficient with the money they already have.

This is in addition to conducting a BCA wide review of how large our reserve should be with the aim to ascertain whether the currently set reserve minimum is too high. This features as part of a broader exploration of non-financial measures to reduce risk within the organisation.

Shown below is a chart detailing how the BCA currently spends its resources for the benefit of its members.

Administration & IT 16%, BCRA & Library 10%, Cave Conservation and Access 5%, Expeditions & international 3%, Insurance 53%, Technical <1%, Training 5%, Youth & Development 6%, Descent Magazine 2%. 11% of this expenditure was delivered through regional councils.

This serves to illustrate that BCA membership confers more than just public liability insurance. It facilitates safe, accessible, sustainable caving practices across the whole community. For instance, many of the resin bolts installed across the UK were funded either directly or indirectly by the BCA. As shown above, the BCA also spends a considerable amount of its budget on the cave library, which is an invaluable repository of information. All this as well as helping to fund many of the community’s expeditions abroad and access to caves at home.

We appreciate that the current financial climate is leading people to consider their own expenditure but we feel that we, as an organisation, don’t ask for much in comparison for what you get in return and it is only with support from you, the members, that we can continue to do the great work we do for the community.

Correspondent: Zac Woodford, BCA Publications and Information Officer