Chess for Schools : Memorandum of Understanding

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Sean Hewitt

Chess for Schools : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:45 am

As readers will be well aware, the MoU between the ECF and Holloid to produce 70,000 chess sets expires this summer. We don't know yet how many sets will be produced but the betting is that it will fall short of the figure specified.

At the April finance council meeting I asked ECF CEO to give an undertaking that a further MoU or contract would not be signed without specific council approval. Chris replied that he was unable to give that committment at this time and that he would need to consider the matter before responding fully.

Some two months later we had heard nothing so last week I wrote the following email to Chris

From: Sean Hewitt
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 08:50:04 +0100
Subject: Re: Chess for Schools
To: Chris Majer
Cc: President , Andrew Farthing

Chris,

You will remember that at the April 2010 Finance Council meeting I
asked you to give Council an assurance that the ECF would not sign a
further Memorandum of Understanding [or contract] with Holloid
Plastics without the specific approval of Council. You stated that
you were not able to give such an assurance at that juncture and would
take the matter "under advisement".

I wonder if now, some two months later, you are able to give such an
assurance? For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe that a
specially convened council would be necessary for this purpose as I'm
quite sure that the matter could properly be considered at the October
2010 AGM.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Kind Regards,

Sean Hewitt


I haven't had a reply yet so I have today given 7 days notice that unless a reply is forthcoming I shall commence the process to call an EGM. Given the revelations inb the CoM thread that the true cost of CfS has been significantly understated we cannot allow the board to commit the ECF to significant further expenditure on this project without understanding fully the current position.

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Alex Holowczak » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:36 am

I had been in e-mail contact with CEM about an unrelated issue, and there was a period of time from Monday to yesterday where he didn't e-mail. I don't think it was ignorance of your e-mail because it was something he didn't want to reply to.

I gather that there's a Board meeting on Thursday; presumably this would be discussed at that?

Out of interest, what do you have to do to call an EGM?

Sean Hewitt

Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:05 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:I had been in e-mail contact with CEM about an unrelated issue, and there was a period of time from Monday to yesterday where he didn't e-mail. I don't think it was ignorance of your e-mail because it was something he didn't want to reply to.

I gather that there's a Board meeting on Thursday; presumably this would be discussed at that?


I'm sure you're right. Fingers crossed.

Alex Holowczak wrote:Out of interest, what do you have to do to call an EGM?


MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION OF ENGLISH CHESS FEDERATION wrote:Council or the Board may, whenever they think fit, convene an Extraordinary General Meeting, and Extraordinary General Meetings shall also be convened on such requisition, or, in default, may be convened by such requisitionists, as provided by Section 368 of the Act. If at any time there are not within the United Kingdom sufficient Directors capable of acting to form a quorum, any Director or any two members of the Company may convene an Extraordinary General Meeting in the same manner as nearly as possible as that in which meetings may be convened by the Council or the Board.


For a company limited by guarantee, this is 10% of the votes available at the time the EGM is called. I think there are a little under 300 votes available so you would need 30 votes to call an EGM.

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Alex Holowczak » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:12 am

I counted 249 at the Finance Meeting. (I seem to remember adding them all up, but it was two months ago...)

So if nothing else has affiliated, you'd only need 25 votes. You have 4 from e2e4, plus probable support from Leicestershire (not sure how many votes they have), so you'd only need about 20 more votes.

How much does it cost financially to arrange this though?

Sean Hewitt

Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:16 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:I counted 249 at the Finance Meeting. (I seem to remember adding them all up, but it was two months ago...)

So if nothing else has affiliated, you'd only need 25 votes. You have 4 from e2e4, plus probable support from Leicestershire (not sure how many votes they have), so you'd only need about 20 more votes.


I speak for 12 votes as the representative for various bodies so if your maths is right (and I am sure it is) I need 13 more. I have no doubt from conversations I've had that I could have the required support within the hour!

However, I do hope that it won't be necessary. After all, why would the ECF not be prepared to seek Council approval before signing another MoU or contract with Holloid?

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John Upham
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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby John Upham » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:57 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
How much does it cost financially to arrange this though?


I believe that the cost of the Euston hotel basement is of the order of £1500 per day to the ECF.

I seem to recall that the Chairman of the Finance Committee advised (at the April meeting) against an EGM being called on the grounds it would cost money to organise.

Perhaps we could ask for sponsorship from e2e4? :lol:
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:08 pm

John Upham wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
How much does it cost financially to arrange this though?


I believe that the cost of the Euston hotel basement is of the order of £1500 per day to the ECF.

I seem to recall that the Chairman of the Finance Committee advised (at the April meeting) against an EGM being called on the grounds it would cost money to organise.

Perhaps we could ask for sponsorship from e2e4? :lol:


I am sure that this was said in jest. However, we would be happy to accomodate an EGM at one of our events at nil cost to the ECF.

However, I remain optimistic that this will not be necessary because the ECF will give the required undertaking.

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Carl Hibbard » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:49 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:I haven't had a reply yet so I have today given 7 days notice that unless a reply is forthcoming I shall commence the process to call an EGM. Given the revelations inb the CoM thread that the true cost of CfS has been significantly understated we cannot allow the board to commit the ECF to significant further expenditure on this project without understanding fully the current position.

As the deadline approaches has anything further been heard?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby John Upham » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:58 pm

I believe that an ECF board meeting took place on Thursday.

I am confident that AR will update us all on the discussion items that ought to be transparent.

For the secret items I will have to consult my friends in low places :lol:

Here is one of my recent meetings : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8r-YD3FdlE

and my main source is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWXavWsYBR4 :D
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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby David Sedgwick » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:21 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:I haven't had a reply yet so I have today given 7 days notice that unless a reply is forthcoming I shall commence the process to call an EGM. Given the revelations inb the CoM thread that the true cost of CfS has been significantly understated we cannot allow the board to commit the ECF to significant further expenditure on this project without understanding fully the current position.

As the deadline approaches has anything further been heard?

I've been given to understand that Chris Majer will be contacting Sean Hewitt shortly.

I don't wish to comment or speculate about the likely content of the reply.

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:56 pm

I'm pretty sure everyone realised it "was not without significant risk" - clearly they thought it was a risk worth taking. From what was offered to them at the time, I can see why they'd do it.

andrew martin

Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby andrew martin » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:35 am

When it was supposed the 250,000 chess sets were going into 25,000 schools, if the ECF had taken no action then they would have been hounded from pillar to post by the critics. Once they were embroiled in this project amongst all the fanfares, the die was cast. Without a complete and successful rollout of the sets over a reasonable time-frame, the ECF has been stuck in the middle,with nowhere to go.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:36 am

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Majer
Sent: Sun 20/06/2010 10:38 pm
To: Sean Hewitt
Cc: C J De Mooi;Andrew Farthing
Subject: Re: Chess for Schools

Dear Sean

I do not consider that such an undertaking is appropriate. I am however willing to assure you that I will not sign a MoU with Holloid without the agreement of the ECF Board. Currently, there is no significant ECF expenditure on the Holloid element of Chess for Schools. Specifically, Kirstie is no longer employed by the ECF and will not be replaced.

If you still have concerns please get back to me and clarify them.

Regards

Chris

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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby John Upham » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:43 am

Can anyone update us on the decision of the board in this matter : the meeting was on June 18th 2010?

There were other matters discussed that I would like to know the outcome of.
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Re: Chess for Schoolds : Memorandum of Understanding

Postby Alex Holowczak » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:44 am

John Upham wrote:Can anyone update us on the decision of the board in this matter : the meeting was on June 18th 2010?

There were other matters discussed that I would like to know the outcome of.


I'm sure the minutes will be published in due course. :)


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