Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Brian Valentine
Posts: 434
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:30 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Brian Valentine » Wed May 01, 2019 5:19 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 4:11 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
But I swallowed at least some of the `grassroots players are being taxed to pay for international chess` argument that was not entirely dissimilar to the `leaving the EU will free up 350 billion for the NHS` claim ... and now has as much credibility.
The ECF's principle source of finance is levies on grass roots players. One of its principle expenditures is the financing of international chess, mostly the teams in the Olympiad and European championships. It's something of an accounting rabbit being produced out of a hat to assert that it's only the Gold members who finance International spending. It's not a point that's previously been made when setting differentials between membership costs.

That doesn't make it not a valid notional allocation of income to expenditure, but curious that it is first made when the Bronze and Silver representatives are critical of International spending and the Gold representatives are supportive.

But once you start allocating different types of membership income to different categories of expenditure, it could be done across the board, so that the costs of the salaried office are attributed to areas of director's responsibilities.
My main criticism of the table produced at Council and repeated here is that the membership get substantial benefit from all the voluntary work put in. In seems to be a rather narrow interpretation of costs to exclude these. If anyone thinks Tim or the rest of us are being inefficient then evaluate the benefits rather than the persperation, but don't ignore it.

NickFaulks
Posts: 5086
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by NickFaulks » Wed May 01, 2019 5:28 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 4:11 pm
It's something of an accounting rabbit being produced out of a hat to assert that it's only the Gold members who finance International spending.
Absolutely right, although I would have struggled to avoid the use of a less polite term.

In any case, if Silver and Bronze members are not paying to support the national teams, what are they paying for? Presumably the office, because on a net basis there isn't much else. And what do they do? Primarily, they make sure that membership fees get collected.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18101
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 01, 2019 5:32 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:19 pm
My main criticism of the table produced at Council and repeated here is that the membership get substantial benefit from all the voluntary work put in.
Surely it washes through with the advantage that there's no VAT.

Thus add to Expenditure
"Cost of grading"
add to Income
"Value of Unpaid work on grading"

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18101
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 01, 2019 5:36 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:28 pm
Presumably the office, because on a net basis there isn't much else. And what do they do? Primarily, they make sure that membership fees get collected.
I get the impression that there's quite a bit of work supporting the British Championship Congress. But arguably an estimate of that should be charged back to the Congress, or the Congress run to generate a surplus to defray such costs.

David Sedgwick
Posts: 3461
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed May 01, 2019 5:39 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:28 pm
In any case, if Silver and Bronze members are not paying to support the national teams, what are they paying for? Presumably the office, because on a net basis there isn't much else. And what do they do? Primarily, they make sure that membership fees get collected.
When I last visited the Office, I was quite surprised at the amount of time being spent answering queries from members.

Angus French
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 1:37 am
Contact:

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Angus French » Wed May 01, 2019 5:50 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
… in response to a direct question Council were told that bronze and silver membership does NOT fund international spending.
I don’t recall the direct question. I do recall, though, a presentation made by Tim Herring giving an alternative view of the accounts which attempted (crudely in my opinion) to allocate costs (possibly only administrative costs, I’m not sure – it would help if the presentation was published) to the membership categories.

Anyway, arguments were made against the analysis:
- that the expenditure might be looked at more closely (it can’t all and shouldn't all be related to membership enquiries and acquisitions) with an attempt to assign some of it at least to directorates (which I think is not uncommon accounting practice);
- that an allowance might be made for the average number of graded games played by each member in each membership category. Bronze members play substantially fewer games on average than Silver members who, in turn, play substantially fewer games than Gold members; and
- that an allowance might be made for the fact that memberships acquired through Membership Organisations (and also by club secretaries), which I believe are substantially Bronze memberships, ought to impact less on the Office (unfortunately processing of these memberships isn’t yet automated at the ECF Office end).

You could also consider other ways of looking at things:
- That the increases in the adult Bronze membership fee since inception of the membership scheme – from £13 in 2012/13 to £18 in 2019/20 with £20 indicated for 2020/21 – are and will likely be somewhat higher than the rate of inflation for the corresponding periods. What has or will the extra money be used to pay for?
- What it would cost to provide a grading-only service, available on a subscription basis. I reckon this could be done for about £10,000 a year or the equivalent of £1 a member (12,000 members with VAT at 20%).
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
That Malcolm Pein had provided a detail breakdown of international spending. If certain individuals (I'm looking at one in particular) refuse to accept the answer given then that is their privilege. It's politics.
What Malcolm did not provide was the split in expenditure between the Open and Women’s teams and a breakdown of the “fees” figure to show, in particular, the total amount spent on appearance fees. Malcolm was asked for this information at the meeting and he was asked for it quite a few times before the meeting. Relevant here is Roger Emerson’s report to Gold members which is grossly misleading.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
But I swallowed at least some of the `grassroots players are being taxed to pay for international chess` argument that was not entirely dissimilar to the `leaving the EU will free up 350 billion for the NHS` claim ... and now has as much credibility.
I want to highlight this comment because I am stupefied by it.
Last edited by Angus French on Wed May 01, 2019 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian Valentine
Posts: 434
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:30 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Brian Valentine » Wed May 01, 2019 6:33 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:32 pm
Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:19 pm
My main criticism of the table produced at Council and repeated here is that the membership get substantial benefit from all the voluntary work put in.
Surely it washes through with the advantage that there's no VAT.

Thus add to Expenditure
"Cost of grading"
add to Income
"Value of Unpaid work on grading"
I'm not suggesting that the ECF starts paying volunteers. It's more a matter of determining what bronze members get in value. I think Angus' £1 a year is ignoring what goes on behind the scenes. There were over 2,300 submissions last year from over 150 graders. Surely there is more benefit in that activity than £1 per member. From another angle as a customer, roughly speaking, I pay £1 for each golf card that I put in for handicapping and I don't begrudge this, say £30pa.

And there is much more volunteering in other areas of the ECF beyond grading that is not fee collection. If we only look at salaries we get into the spiral of assuming the office just collects the fees to pay for itself. That is not what the membership gets by a long way.

Angus French
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 1:37 am
Contact:

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Angus French » Wed May 01, 2019 6:38 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:33 pm
I think Angus' £1 a year is ignoring what goes on behind the scenes. There were over 2,300 submissions last year from over 150 graders. Surely there is more benefit in that activity than £1 per member.
I think I know pretty much what happens and what the volumes are. I've been a local results officer for some time and have implemented a results system for the Croydon league. I was a senior software developer with Fujitsu Services.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 2967
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed May 01, 2019 7:45 pm

"I was wondering, Andrew, if there was some kind of equation, some kind of way of working out who, exactly, is entitled to have a go at whom, how often and for what length of time. Such information would be tremdendously useful to many of us and enable us to plan our time more effectively."

I don't always agree with Justin, but I do this time.

I would have thought you can't really tell what money goes where. And it would cost too much to produce a semi-accurate figure anyway.

NickFaulks
Posts: 5086
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by NickFaulks » Wed May 01, 2019 8:49 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:33 pm
I'm not suggesting that the ECF starts paying volunteers. It's more a matter of determining what bronze members get in value.
So are you suggesting that if the ECF's membership scheme were abandoned tomorrow, the volunteers would all down tools? I'm not trying to be argumentative, just wondering what the basis of this discussion really is. I question whether the volunteers do what we do out of love for the ECF.

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1716
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed May 01, 2019 11:49 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:45 pm
"I was wondering, Andrew, if there was some kind of equation, some kind of way of working out who, exactly, is entitled to have a go at whom, how often and for what length of time. Such information would be tremdendously useful to many of us and enable us to plan our time more effectively."

I don't always agree with Justin, but I do this time.

I would have thought you can't really tell what money goes where. And it would cost too much to produce a semi-accurate figure anyway.
I wasn't going to rise to Justin's bait but the (rather obvious) answer is that of course you can't quantify who is entitled to have a go at whom. As somebody who volunteers in several aspects of chess I occasionally receive feedback (generally friendly, occasionally robust) as to how I could do things differently. Which goes with the territory. At the same time there comes a point where the, `Are you offering to do it? No, then shut the (dash) up then.` card can be played and it seems this was an example. Reading some of the thread here you would think that the board were the ones who should take it on the chin while those people who only come out of the woodwork at meeting time are somehow immune to criticism.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1716
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed May 01, 2019 11:54 pm

Angus French wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:50 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
That Malcolm Pein had provided a detail breakdown of international spending. If certain individuals (I'm looking at one in particular) refuse to accept the answer given then that is their privilege. It's politics.
What Malcolm did not provide was the split in expenditure between the Open and Women’s teams and a breakdown of the “fees” figure to show, in particular, the total amount spent on appearance fees. Malcolm was asked for this information at the meeting and he was asked for it quite a few times before the meeting. Relevant here is Roger Emerson’s report to Gold members which is grossly misleading.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
But I swallowed at least some of the `grassroots players are being taxed to pay for international chess` argument that was not entirely dissimilar to the `leaving the EU will free up 350 billion for the NHS` claim ... and now has as much credibility.
I want to highlight this comment because I am stupefied by it.
Well no credibility in my eyes anyway.

It occurred to me that there has only been one recent initiative of a request for grassroots specific funding presented at council. That was the request from Casual Chess at the previous finance council. Without wanting to go through that debate again it was a flawed proposal that would have, at best, only benefited London and was rightly rejected. But at least it was a proposal. So why can't those people who storm into council meetings waving an `I am representing the paying members` flag put forward credible proposals for spending, rather than simply nitpicking and wanting to cap this, that and the other?
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Nick Grey
Posts: 1153
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Nick Grey » Wed May 01, 2019 11:57 pm

angus -Roger Emerson’s report to Gold members which is grossly misleading.

I disagree with you on this matter. it was joint up, well thought out asked for comments before on voting intentions. so what more could I want.

it seems there is too much I in team ECF - we volunteer in all sorts of ways for English chess.

NickFaulks
Posts: 5086
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by NickFaulks » Thu May 02, 2019 12:06 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 11:49 pm
Reading some of the thread here you would think that the board were the ones who should take it on the chin
If "taking it on the chin" is defined as giving truthful answers to reasonable questions asked in a civil fashion - or even explaining why it would not be proper to give those answers - then yes, they should do that.

J T Melsom
Posts: 570
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by J T Melsom » Thu May 02, 2019 12:15 am

Bit rich coming from you Nick Faulks !

Post Reply