Oct elections - Candidate statements

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:35 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote
Which reminds me - I've been meaning to ask what the ECF Governance Committee does and what its history is
I see no reason why I should not respond on the Forum rather than through a PM: this is hardly as off topic as some of the earlier ground covered on this thread!

The Governance Committee is one of two Standing Committees that currently exist for which the Chairman and Members are elected by Council: the other Committee is the Finance Committee. I think of the Committees as being part of the checks and balances that need to exist in any properly run organisation: in a previous stint as Chairman of the Finance Committee I summarised my job as "asking the awkward questions about the Federation's finances" and a significant aspect of the Governance Committee's role is also to be prepared to ask awkward questions.

It is, of course, more than that. The official description of the Standing Committees in Article 17(6) is as follows:
(a) A Finance Committee, of which the President shall be a member ex officio, which shall regularly review the financial affairs of the Company and offer such advice as it may deem appropriate. Members of the Finance Committee shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all the financial records of the Company. The Council shall elect the Chairman of the Finance Committee (who shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all Board papers) and shall elect or appoint such other persons as it sees fit to the Finance Committee.

(b) A Governance Committee, of which the President shall be a member ex officio, which shall advise the Board and Council on the governance of the Company and in particular on the texts of Bye Laws and Regulations made, added to, altered and repealed pursuant to Article 82. The Council shall elect the Chairman of the Governance Committee (who shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all Board papers) and shall elect or appoint such other persons as it sees fit to the Governance Committee.
Various tasks stem from this description of the Governance Committee or have managed to get themselves added, in some cases because the present Chairman considers them important and suspects that they may not be dealt with satisfactorily unless the Committee takes a lead. In particular the work can involve:

1. Ensuring that there are definitive texts of the various sets of rules, and that the current definitive text is the version that appears on the website (which has not always been the case in the past).

2. Advising the Board or anybody else proposing changes to those rules, so that the proposals are properly formulated (in many cases the Board or Council may have a general idea for which detailed drafting needs to be provided by the Committee) and that the knock on implications for other rules are considered.

3. Challenging areas where the internal rules appear not to be complied with. In some cases apparent non-compliance with external rules (e.g. Companies House filing requirements) may also be challenged.

4. Challenging areas where good governance procedures do not appear to be complied with (e.g. the concerns that I expressed in my previous post). In this area I will also consider whether decisions previously taken have been actioned: while the Board or Council can always change its mind it is not acceptable that a previous decision should simply be quietly forgotten about.

5. Pro-actively proposing enhancements to the rules and internal procedures.

6. Ensuring the proper management of the nomination and election process (strictly speaking this should be the responsibility of the Company Secretary).

7. Assisting with the drafting of the agenda and Council documentation, and providing a report to the AGM.

8. Providing one of the AGM tellers. Traditionally this used to be the Chairman (with the Chairman of the Finance Committee as the other teller) but I will freely admit that my own attendance record at Council is not particularly good for reasons not totally unconnected with my avatar (although I hope that the work I do behind the scenes makes up for this).

I am sure there must be more, but I think this gives the flavour. A key point is that the Committee is independent of the Board: although I receive Board papers and have a standing invitation to attend Board meetings, I am not a Director of the ECF and reserve the right to challenge the Board on behalf of Council, whose interests I am here to serve.

In terms of the history, Paul Buswell probably knows better than I do. The BCF used to have an equivalent Standing Committee known as the Constitution Committee which I seem to remember Paul chairing, although I cannot recollect precisely when this was created.

One other point is worth making. There is no limit in the Articles on the size of the Committee, but it is currently relatively small - myself as Chairman, Richard Haddrell, Andrew Leadbetter and John Paines as elected members plus the President ex officio. Additional volunteers are always welcome, but would need to be duly nominated by the 8 September deadline. As Chairman I am a requisitionist in my own right, and my nomination would be sufficient to ensure that a candidate's name was included on the AGM agenda.

Neil Graham
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neil Graham » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:35 pm

All very interesting - but are there actually going to be any contested elections? I looks to me at the moment that there will be some posts that might have no candidates at all.

The ECF has plenty of critics in chess circles - many of whom believe that some sort of clique runs the Federation. In the real world very few people are prepared to stand for office and actually having different candidates to vote for is extremely unusual.

Perhaps the Chairman of the Governance Committee can advise on how many people the ECF/BCF has had as Directors in, say, the last twenty years and how many elections there have actually been? My guess is that there have been roughly ten appointments of Directors per year making 200 appointments or so and that over that period less than 10% of these have been put to a contested vote.

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:46 pm

Neil Graham wrote
Perhaps the Chairman of the Governance Committee can advise on how many people the ECF/BCF has had as Directors in, say, the last twenty years and how many elections there have actually been?
Probably, but I will need time to research this.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:59 pm

Neil Graham wrote:Perhaps the Chairman of the Governance Committee can advise on how many people the ECF/BCF has had as Directors in, say, the last twenty years and how many elections there have actually been?
The closest elections in recent years have been between Gerry Walsh and "not" Gerry Walsh. In some cases between proxy of Gerry Walsh and proxy of "not" Gerry Walsh.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:08 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Neil Graham wrote:Perhaps the Chairman of the Governance Committee can advise on how many people the ECF/BCF has had as Directors in, say, the last twenty years and how many elections there have actually been?
The closest elections in recent years have been between Gerry Walsh and "not" Gerry Walsh. In some cases between proxy of Gerry Walsh and proxy of "not" Gerry Walsh.
When the history of the BCF and ECF AGM elections is published, I will carefully look these up! :)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:20 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:When the history of the BCF and ECF AGM elections is published, I will carefully look these up
The SCCU website is "instant history"

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm
2009 elections wrote: President CJ de Mooi 164, John Paines 34. Home Director Adam Raoof 131, Cyril Johnson 77, None of the Above 2. Non-Executive Directors John Wickham 146, Alan Martin 112, Sean Hewitt 95 (2 elected). FIDE Delegate Nigel Short 101, Gerry Walsh 98, None of the Above 6.
2006 elections
http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/0607/bcf.htm

The election results are somewhat longer so I won't quote them in full.

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:50 am

Roger de Coverly wrote
The closest elections in recent years have been between Gerry Walsh and "not" Gerry Walsh. In some cases between proxy of Gerry Walsh and proxy of "not" Gerry Walsh.
I would be surprised if there had been anything closer than Martin Regan's 119-116 margin (after two recounts) against Roy Heppinstall in the election for Chief Executive in 2006.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:55 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:When the history of the BCF and ECF AGM elections is published, I will carefully look these up
The SCCU website is "instant history"

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm
"Shall we have a card vote to decide if it's one-thirty?" :lol:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
2009 elections wrote: President CJ de Mooi 164, John Paines 34. Home Director Adam Raoof 131, Cyril Johnson 77, None of the Above 2. Non-Executive Directors John Wickham 146, Alan Martin 112, Sean Hewitt 95 (2 elected). FIDE Delegate Nigel Short 101, Gerry Walsh 98, None of the Above 6.
2006 elections
http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/0607/bcf.htm

The election results are somewhat longer so I won't quote them in full.
Indeed, but thanks for pointing those out. It is nice to see them on the SCUU website, but there is a question of verification there. How can anyone be sure that what is posted there is genuine? Well, as genuine as something posted on the ECF website, I suppose, but I hope you see my point. Any researcher writing a history would have to verify that to an earlier source, but for people wanting stuff online it is great!

I liked this:

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/old.htm

"The Site's attic space is huge. Nothing has been thrown out so far, and there's room for a few years yet."

Hmm.

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/trophies.htm

Impressive! Now where is the history of the BCF and ECF trophies!! :)

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:57 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Indeed, but thanks for pointing those out. It is nice to see them on the SCUU website, but there is a question of verification there. How can anyone be sure that what is posted there is genuine? Well, as genuine as something posted on the ECF website, I suppose, but I hope you see my point. Any researcher writing a history would have to verify that to an earlier source, but for people wanting stuff online it is great!
Hang on... I've been reading through that page. Have I been completely fooled here! :? (I will laugh at this later, I'm sure)

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:36 am

It will take longer to factor in the last 15 years of the BCF, but I can now report the statistics for the first five years of the ECF (2005 - 2009). The Articles prescribed a maximum of nine directors to begin with, increased to ten in 2008. Primarily because of posts for which there was no candidate, the number of directors elected at these five AGMs totalled 42. There were 10 unsuccesful candidates (Andrew Leadbetter and Brian Smith as NEDs in 2006, Brian Driscoll as President, Roy Heppinstall as Chief Executive, Andrew Moore as Junior Director and Cyril Johnson as Marketing Director in 2007, Peter Wilson as International Director in 2008, John Paines as President, Cyril Johnson as Home Director and Sean Hewitt as NED in 2009), suggesting that at least for the ECF era the proportion of contested elections is somewhat higher than the 10% postulated by Neil Graham.

Christopher Kreuzer wrote
It is nice to see them on the SCUU website, but there is a question of verification there. How can anyone be sure that what is posted there is genuine?
I am really looking forward to seeing Richard Haddrell's response!

David Sedgwick
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:53 am

Perhaps this is a good moment to recall John Saunders's famous description of the SCCU as "the organisation which exists to tell people what's going on in the BCF".

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:56 pm

John Philpott wrote:Christopher Kreuzer wrote
It is nice to see them on the SCUU website, but there is a question of verification there. How can anyone be sure that what is posted there is genuine?
I am really looking forward to seeing Richard Haddrell's response!
You mean other than to point out I mis-spelled SCCU? :)

Richard Haddrell

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Richard Haddrell » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:04 am

John Philpott wrote:Christopher Kreuzer wrote
It is nice to see them on the SCUU website, but there is a question of verification there. How can anyone be sure that what is posted there is genuine?
I am really looking forward to seeing Richard Haddrell's response!
Christopher may be assured that the SCCU website’s accounts of ECF meetings are written by genuine SCCU persons. By the genuine Richard Haddrell, mostly. There have been no recent sightings of body snatchers in the southern counties.

They are certainly not “genuine” ECF minutes. Whether this makes them less trustworthy is another question. They have not the ECF’s official seal, granted by the next Council meeting when it approves the minutes six months later. But they are written by someone who was there, and they are published a few days after the meeting with an open invitation for corrections. There usually are some corrections. They are quickly acted on, and are reflected in the dates appended to the reports.

Or you can have the official minutes which appear in draft on the ECF website months later. I think it was three months plus, for the April 2010 meeting, and the stamp of approval is due in October.

Christopher’s historian will form his own opinions, and they need not concern us. But he will see that one version rightly reports the minutest and dullest of details which the other eschews; while the second is discursive, not to say digressive, in ways which would be inappropriate in an official document. You pays your money and you takes your choice. Or you takes both, why not. But don’t forget which one you found more prompt and informative.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote: Hang on... I've been reading through that page. Have I been completely fooled here! (I will laugh at this later, I'm sure)
I’m baffled. What page has Christopher been reading? It is known that SCCU items dated 1st April should be approached with caution, but can he have found one of those already? The SCCU website does not otherwise seek to mislead its readers.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:22 am

Richard Haddrell wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote: Hang on... I've been reading through that page. Have I been completely fooled here! (I will laugh at this later, I'm sure)
I’m baffled. What page has Christopher been reading? It is known that SCCU items dated 1st April should be approached with caution, but can he have found one of those already? The SCCU website does not otherwise seek to mislead its readers.
It was mainly because I had assumed that this page:

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm

...was a copy of the official minutes.

It was only on reading it properly later that I realised the tone was less than official. And when I managed to stop laughing, I had the fleeting thought that it was all made up. And on still closer reading, I see that there is a serious point to the discursive tone, so I will await the next edition of these "not the official AGM minutes (but more informative and interesting)" with interest.

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:18 pm

John Philpott wrote
It will take longer to factor in the last 15 years of the BCF, but I can now report the statistics for the first five years of the ECF (2005 - 2009). The Articles prescribed a maximum of nine directors to begin with, increased to ten in 2008. Primarily because of posts for which there was no candidate, the number of directors elected at these five AGMs totalled 42. There were 10 unsuccesful candidates (Andrew Leadbetter and Brian Smith as NEDs in 2006, Brian Driscoll as President, Roy Heppinstall as Chief Executive, Andrew Moore as Junior Director and Cyril Johnson as Marketing Director in 2007, Peter Wilson as International Director in 2008, John Paines as President, Cyril Johnson as Home Director and Sean Hewitt as NED in 2009), suggesting that at least for the ECF era the proportion of contested elections is somewhat higher than the 10% postulated by Neil Graham.
I have now look at the last 5 years of the BCF, which was an interesting (and in some ways nostalgic) exercise, although I doubt whether I will summon up the enthusiasm to go back a further 10 years any time soon.

The BCF Management Board was a much larger body than the ECF Board, and normally had 19 or 20 members. There were no elected NEDs as such, but seats were reserved for representatives of the seven Constituent Units (the five Unions plus Manchester and the London League) plus the two largest payers of Game Fee (the Birmingham and Bristol Leagues if I remember correctly). As these nine members of the Board were not elected by Council, I have excluded them from the following figures.

There were more Executive Directors than there are currently. Posts elected between 2000 and 2004 included the Director of Congress Chess, the Director of Women's Chess, the Director of Coaching and the Director of Grading (or Game Fee and Grading or Strategic Planning and Grading - the title varied). The 2001 AGM agenda included an election for the post of Director of Internet Chess, but no candidate was forthcoming. Previously there had been a Director of Management Services.

I calculate the total number of Directors elected by the BCF Council at the 2000 to 2004 AGMs as 50. In this five year period there were only two contested elections: Stewart Reuben defeated Nigel Johnson for International Director in 2001 and Alan Ruffle defeated Pauline Foster and Scott Kenyon for Junior Director in 2004. If the analysis were to be extended back to 1990, I am almost certain that Neil Graham's perception that less than 10% of the elections had been contested would be justified. However, it does appear that contested elections have become somewhat more common since the shift from the BCF to the ECF. As to whether there will be any contested elections in 2010, we will all just have to wait and see what nominations are made by the 8 September deadline.

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