ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Jonathan Bryant
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ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:40 pm

Does the ECF have a complaints system for their accredited coach scheme?


I’m aware* of a person claiming he is an ECF accredited coach behaving in a very poor manner at a school chess club. Last year he cancelled several sessions without notice. They were already paid for by the participants. Refunds were promised for this term.

This year ... the entire chess club has simply been cancelled. Again without notice.

The refunds have not appeared and appeared to have been 'forgotten' - on his side if not on the part of the parents of club members.



So my question is, what would the ECF do (if anything) should they receive a complaint about this person.





* I’m aware of this because a rather annoyed parent asked me about the person in question.
Last edited by Jonathan Bryant on Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:40 pm
Does the ECF have a complaints system for their accredited coach scheme.
(...)
So my question is, what would the ECF do (if anything) should they receive a complaint about this person.
I'm sure raising it here is the way to find out - there's certainly no point emailing the ECF or the Junior Director.

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:00 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 pm
there's certainly no point emailing the ECF or the Junior Director.
I assumed that Jonathan had already done that.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:15 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:00 pm
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 pm
there's certainly no point emailing the ECF or the Junior Director.
I assumed that Jonathan had already done that.
I haven’t myself but my understanding is that communications from an involved party to the ECF either have already been sent or soon will be.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:19 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 pm
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:40 pm
Does the ECF have a complaints system for their accredited coach scheme.
(...)
So my question is, what would the ECF do (if anything) should they receive a complaint about this person.
I'm sure raising it here is the way to find out - there's certainly no point emailing the ECF or the Junior Director.

A not unreasonable reply in and of itself.


But the reason for posting here was not only to seek an answer to my question. I also thought it might be a topic of interest to the board - I know many members work in junior chess.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:23 pm

Back onto the topic,

Since posting I’ve had more information about what’s happened. We seem to be talking about a dozen missed sessions over 2-3 years. That’s around £600-700 worth of fees taken and not refunded.

That’s not considering the fact that the sessions that did take place routinely started late. So students rarely if ever actually got the time in chess club that their parents had paid for.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by LawrenceCooper » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:45 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:40 pm
Does the ECF have a complaints system for their accredited coach scheme?
According to this announcement: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-acc ... ouncement/ on the 1st January 2019 the board agreed to "1. Close the ECF Accredited Coaches Scheme with immediate effect."

John Swain
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by John Swain » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:46 pm

There may be some confusion about the ECF Accredited Coaches Scheme. The regulations for becoming an ECF Accredited Coach are surprisingly still on the website in the "ECF Documents" section:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... oaches.pdf

I say surprisingly because there was a New Year announcement scrapping the scheme altogether:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-acc ... ouncement/

The announcement makes clear that some consultation took place, but this did not include the ECF Accredited Coaches themselves, who, if they were not to be consulted beforehand, should at least have been granted the courtesy of an email with the details of this decision, rather than just relying on folks seeing the announcement on the website. It is therefore possible that some coaches are unaware of what has happened and may still be "trading" under the title.

It was not a trivial matter to apply for this position; I recollect having to complete quite a detailed CV including experience of teaching chess and two referees had to go to the trouble of providing references. There was then the process of applying for Disclosure and Barring clearance. I still have the laminated card (of a similar size to a credit card) posted to me by the ECF Office in March 2017 which says that I am an ECF Accredited Coach until 3 March 2020.

I accept that there were many criticisms which could be made of the scheme, which are outlined in the New Year announcement. However, I know of some ECF Accredited Coaches who were very upset by this decision and unsurprisingly expressed their disquiet on social media. I think a more prudent course of action would have been to phase out the scheme and, whilst this was happening, attach a "Government Health Warning" to the top of the list of coaches, explaining that the quality of coaches varied, ECF officials had not observed any coaches in action but had simply arranged for D and B clearance, plus references. Customers would therefore have to judge the calibre of a coach for themselves.

If someone is still using the title of ECF Accredited Coach for their business purposes and is not delivering a proper service, as is suggested in the original post, the ECF can presumably still act under Regulation No.3 (the document I referred to above).
Last edited by John Swain on Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:48 pm

Didn't Alex scrap the accredited coach system, in part because the only qualification was to be an ECF member and have a clean DBS certificate with no other indication of whether they had the capability to coach chess? If I recall Alex got a lot of stick about this but the post here shows why it may have been a sensible call. Unless this individual was working on behalf of the ECF all the federation could really do is send a `cease and desist` letter asking this individual to stop claiming they are an ECF accredited coach on the grounds that such a thing no longer exists. However it would not solve the immediate problem, namely the refund of fees.

I have to admit to a curiosity as to who this individual is, not least because I have a hunch who it might be (although the argument against is that Jonathan is based in a different part of the country).

EDIT - my post crossed with John Swain's.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:24 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:48 pm
However it would not solve the immediate problem, namely the refund of fees.
Does the ECF need to be involved? Make a claim at the Small Claims Court.

Andrew Martin
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Andrew Martin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:37 am

For what it is worth, as a previous Manager of Coaching, I thought the system should have been revised and tiered according to experience and expertise. This would have taken a fair bit of work to sort out.

To me, scrapping the scheme altogether just said that the ECF didn’t have the manpower or time to do this. A pity ,really.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:33 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:24 am
Does the ECF need to be involved? Make a claim at the Small Claims Court.
Even if someone has the level of proof required by a Court, which is likely to be problematic as many of these arrangements are verbal, it's unlikely that s/he will want to resort to Law over sums which are small even by Small Claims Court standards. And they probably shouldn't have to. In an ideal world, any organisation which lends its endorsement (as in "ECF accredited coach") to individuals should have a sanctions process against misuse. But any such process involves organisation which may have been a factor in the ECF discontinuing the scheme.

Of course, in the case instanced here, anyone is entitled to be presumed innocent unless there is enough evidence to the contrary so I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions. All the same, as someone involved in junior chess, I can't be the only person curious as to the identity of the coach involved. Would I be correct in inferring that it's someone from the south-east corner of England?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:59 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:33 pm
it's unlikely that s/he will want to resort to Law over sums which are small even by Small Claims Court standards.
An earlier posert wrote of several hundred pounds in total.

A Congress found itself in the Small Claims Court when it withheld a prize from the winner of a rating restricted section who was technically ungraded. They had accepted the entry and didn't have a clause restricting the prize money of those without a current grade, so they lost.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:31 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:59 pm
An earlier poser wrote of several hundred pounds in total.

A Congress found itself in the Small Claims Court when it withheld a prize from the winner of a rating restricted section who was technically ungraded. They had accepted the entry and didn't have a clause restricting the prize money of those without a current grade, so they lost.
Trouble is, Roger, that - while the total said to be owed by this coach might well run into hundreds of pounds - individual claims are likely to be of much lesser amounts. There's no possibility, as far as I am aware, of 'class actions' or similar in the SCC.

I'm not familiar with the separate case to which you refer but I suspect the prize money might have been enough to make a SCC case more attractive.

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: ECF ACCREDITED COACH: COMPLAINTS SYSTEM?

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:18 pm

A clearly worded 'Letter Before Action' wouldn't hurt, outlining what is owed to who. You can find examples on the Citizen's Advice website, which effectively is the portal to all national Trading Standards organisations now. You would need to have an address for the coach in question for both the letter and any Small Claims action. The Small Claims Court is for claims up to £10,000, and can be used without need for a solicitor. Claims for £600-700 are quite common I know for rogue trader builder/roofer type actions, but I don't know enough about the system to say you can definitely bring a number of smaller claims together easily, and just pay the fees for the action once.

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