What is the history of the ecf office

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William Metcalfe
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What is the history of the ecf office

Postby William Metcalfe » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:08 pm

As the office is the largest expenditure of the ECF i was wondering what is its history.
How long has the ecf had a office.
Why was it located in hastings.
How many staff did it used to have.
How much off the work could be tendered for [would that work out less expensive].
How much work could be done from home in these days of fast communications.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Roger de Coverly
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:50 pm

William Metcalfe wrote:How long has the ecf had a office.


Mrs Thatcher allowed the government to start giving the ECF money when she was Education Secretary up to March 1974. Paul Buswell was "General Secretary" and a paid employee when based in Norfolk in the late 1970's.There might have been an office back in the 1950's as part of "The Chess Centre".

William Metcalfe wrote:Why was it located in hastings.


The owner/editor of the BCM died suddenly in 1980. To ensure the continuance of the magazine, the BCF bought it. The BCM had premises in Hastings and the BCF moved in as well. Paul moved from Norfolk at about this time.

William Metcalfe wrote:How many staff did it used to have.


I think Paul was a one man band for a while at the start. I don't think the staff numbers have ever exceeded five.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:05 pm

What happened to the 1950s "Chess Centre" then?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:19 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:What happened to the 1950s "Chess Centre" then?


Was it closed and replaced by part-time or volunteer staff because it couldn't be afforded?

William Metcalfe
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby William Metcalfe » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:42 pm

Thank you Roger i only learned to play chess 9/10 years ago so i have very little knowlage of what happened before then.
I am very slowly filling my knowlage gaps lol i have a awefull amount of things to catch up on though.

My main question is there a need for a office these days with the amount of things that can be done at home with the perilous state of the ECF finances there are other things the 60k the ECF spends on the office can be spent on.Now we have a new team at the ECF it is time to start making radical decisions about cost cutting and how much we all pay to play chess it can not be a one way street just loading everything onto the players as happens now.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:05 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Matt Mackenzie wrote:What happened to the 1950s "Chess Centre" then?


Was it closed and replaced by part-time or volunteer staff because it couldn't be afforded?


Is that a genuine or rhetorical question?? :)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:29 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:Is that a genuine or rhetorical question?? :)


The 2004 diary contained a 100 year history which also appeared in the Year Book. I think the authors were Stewart Reuben and John Poole. Some extracts

In 1949 there was serious concern about the BCF's financial position, our poor international status and lack of support from the grass roots.
....
In 1946 we had a paid secretary FE Chetwynd. In 1951 we reverted to an honorary secretary, the post being filled first by HG Arnold and until 1965 by AF Stamwitz. By then the volume of work had become too much for a voluntary officer and it also became possible to pay for a professional secretary
.

In 1951 the National Chess Centre re-opened in London. ..... Due to financial and accommodation difficulties the centre closed in 1957.


The most important financial change for the BCF was that the Government started to provide a grant in 1970.


So this history tells us
(a) financial difficulties are nothing new.
(b) in the 1950s and 1960s the BCF had paid staff only when it needed and could afford them.
(c) the paid staff predate the Government grant.

added later

George Simmons became a professional, highly valued General Secretary of the BCF in 1966.


George Simmons got around a bit. He must also have been an arbiter (or its then equivalent) as he was Chief Controller at the British Championships of that era.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

William Metcalfe
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby William Metcalfe » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:51 pm

Thanks once more for the imformation Roger it makes fasinating reading.It looks like the ECF has never learned from its previous mistakes.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Angus French
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Angus French » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:57 pm

William Metcalfe wrote:Is there a need for a office these days with the amount of things that can be done at home with the perilous state of the ECF finances there are other things the 60k the ECF spends on the office can be spent on.


William, I wonder if you're confusing the value of the Government grant - which is £60K - with the cost of rent and rates for the ECF office - which the accounts for the y/e 30 April 2009 show as £8, 417?

John Upham
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby John Upham » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:00 pm

Does anyone know the total spend on salaries / wages? I would hope to know about non-Office staff also if possible.

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JohnPaines
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby JohnPaines » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:27 pm

John Upham wrote:Does anyone know the total spend on salaries / wages?


From the financial statements distributed on Saturday, the spend on office salaries in 2008/09 was £75,185.

I would hope to know about non-Office staff also if possible.


Depends who you regard as staff, and where you draw the line between salary and expenses. Graders' fees were £8,311.

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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby John Upham » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:38 pm

JohnPaines wrote:Graders' fees were £8,311.


Do we know the amounts per person received by the rating team?

William Metcalfe
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby William Metcalfe » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:39 pm

The cost off the office was £120k so no i am not confused the government grant covers 60k but that still leaves 60k out of ECF funds
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Scott Freeman
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Scott Freeman » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:58 pm

This is a subject that really interests me because my boss (Howard Curtis) was responsible for the BCF office (as it was) 10 years ago when he became Director of Management Services. Howard is a former civil servant and so understands management and the way government and business works, etc, so very quickly realised that the BCF were on a downward spiral to financial disaster even then. He warned the board at the time that they would lose their grant if they didn't change the way they were structured. I understand it has now recently been suspended pending government requirements including a rescue plan.

Furthermore he could see that there were a number of problems in the staffing structure of the ECF office. He could see that a management change was needed but was immediately and vociferously attacked by the person's supporters in the chess world when he started to deal with it. Also, because of what he could see (even then) was happening to the BCF finances, he offered to facilitate the office here at CCF (for a small peppercorn rent) to free finance back into the organisation. Instead of people being grateful for an offer that would haev cost us logistically and financially, he was violently attacked by a number of (probably suspicious) people (including someone still on the ECF board) for that so withdrew after a few months as he could see he was wasting his time. But it would have saved a lot of money for the national federation. A pity.

Looking back from 10 years later, the management change in the BCF office that Howard advocated was enacted by the next Director of Management Services and now (I understand) runs a lot better (it would shock anyone to know certain things that had been going on prior to that! - not for this forum!). And now the ECF is in financial difficulty. So I think Howard was proved right about that as well.

Too often, when qualified people were prepared to put their heads above the parapit and make changes, they were held back by the "dinosaurs" of the chess world who were sadly unable to see the path needed. Various people accused Howard of wanting to take over the world, etc. I have seen others involved since be accused of the same. All crazy accusations when the posts are voluntary posts, but indicative of chess politics I feel. And now we all wish that changes had been made some years ago!

There are a lot of sensible suggestions I have read on ideas for the future (times have changed and technology improved) and I hope that the people now in post who have the mandate and the power to make these changes can now do so for betterment of chess but hopefully by finding a way of including the trained staff that the office has. I wish the new board all the very best in doing whatever needs to be done.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: what is the history of the ecf office

Postby Carl Hibbard » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:30 pm

John Upham wrote:
JohnPaines wrote:Graders' fees were £8,311.

Do we know the amounts per person received by the rating team?

Err why is this of any relevance to anyone?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard


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