Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Farthing
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:10 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote: No. What we're proposing to do is to grade both sides of the game and publish the grades of all players.
.
So the proposal now is to put Game Fee up to some astronomic level in the hope that players or organisations will buy the season ticket of membership in order to get a discount. That's different in principle from both the April and June proposals. It is still, I think, shifting the funding burden away from the more active players towards the less active. As I recall, it was an option which a number of people mentioned in the run up to the April meeting. At the time it was rejected.

The April Council vote was a bit pointless really as the scheme now proposed really isn't the same at all. In fact the retention of a Game Fee element makes it look very much like one of the family of possible Option 2 schemes, namely a hybrid between individual and organisational membership.
You can't have it both ways, Roger. Yours was one of the voices arguing repeatedly that it was a dangerous mistake to shift to a single source of income at a stroke. I accepted the argument and introduced a transitional element which maintains a financial safety net while the Federation moves towards the membership option that a majority supported.

It was quite clear at the April meeting that, while a majority supported the principle of a membership scheme, many of those voting for it felt that the proposals needed reshaping. The June document was a consultation paper designed to elicit feedback to help with that reshaping process.

The final proposals are out there now, and Council members can choose whether they support them or, if not, how they would like them modified (or rejected outright). If the majority view is that I have strayed too far from the original mandate, naturally I'll accept this and seek to implement whatever Council asks the Board to do.

I've done the best that I could within the mandate as I understood it and with the benefit of extensive feedback - direct and via the forum - which was helpful but a long way from a consensus. The fact is, there is no consensus. It's a question of the acceptability of the overall direction and the extent to which people are prepared to live with compromise compared with their own preferred solution. If Council's verdict is that my best wasn't good enough, I can live with that too. I don't take these things personally.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:13 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mr Giddins, as we know, doesn't like people who disagree with him. But is there anything unique about chess? Surely most amateur sports, games, pastimes and hobbies rely on unpaid volunteers for their organisation?
For once, I agree with Steve Giddins on this point.

Someone recently asked me to score a cricket game for them; I did it briefly at school and it's the sort of mundane administrative task I tend to get lumbered with. The first bit of the conversation was that you could get money to do it. This was only for a local league, and nothing very prestigious in terms of the national scheme of things. It turns out that all umpires and scorers in the local league are paid (paltry sums), even though the players themselves are playing at an amateur level.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:15 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:It would have been better for the April vote to just note rather than endorse the scheme and to require additional debate over the summer.
That's not quite correct. It was important for the Board to understand whether the majorioty of council wanted membership, game fee, or a hybrid of the two. Council then gave the Board that steer.

You are correct that an element of game fee appears to have been retained in the proposal. That could be removed by the AGM but I suspect it's a sensible and temporary transitional measure.

It does seem a bit rich though to argue that the Board would be rash to move to 100% compulsory membership in one fell swoop and then, when they heed your advice, criticise them for doing so. :D

Simon Brown
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Simon Brown » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:19 pm

Andrew, it's very different in my mind. I play extremely rarely - twice in the last 13 years - and I am indifferent as to what I pay, so if I want to play, I will pay however much it costs. Last time I played one game and it cost £15, next time it will cost more - it's my choice, chess is extremely cheap compared to others things I choose (or choose not) to do, that's life.

But Platinum membership, if I understand things correctly, is a voluntary gift to the ECF, bringing the same benefits as Gold if you ignore the value of the Yearbook. The current full membership can be an economically efficient way of paying for your chess, so there may not be any element of gift. Correct me if I misunderstand.

My view is that you will see a material increase in Platinum members if you carry out sensible constitutional reform. Government by Council is not consistent with a compulsory membership scheme, but I don't see many of them being like turkeys voting for Christmas...

I will personally guarantee you two additional Platinum members (my daughter, age 9, and me) even if I never play again, once reform has taken place.

Good luck - you will need it.

Simon

John Upham
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by John Upham » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:23 pm

I am pleased to say that I agree with the sentiment behind SGs posting, notwithstanding the reference to this Forum.

There is a flawed assumption that the chess world should be organised by unpaid volunteers and also that we should not strive to improving playing conditions etc. I this context I can safely mention Robert James Fischer, Stewart Reuben and Sean Hewitt in the same sentence!
Last edited by John Upham on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:24 pm

Simon Brown wrote:The current full membership can be an economically efficient way of paying for your chess, so there may not be any element of gift. Correct me if I misunderstand.
You misunderstand. Standard Membership plus all the benefits you get with it work out to be less than the price of Full Membership. There's a significant proportion of it that's a donation. (It took me a while to cotton on to that too...)

Simon Dixon
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Simon Dixon » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:24 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mr Giddins, as we know, doesn't like people who disagree with him. But is there anything unique about chess? Surely most amateur sports, games, pastimes and hobbies rely on unpaid volunteers for their organisation?
The whole country relies on charities, even Cameron the self serving millionaire ponce tells us we should all volunteer, the big society. If we are to respect Mr Giddins views, we should do away with the lot of them.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:29 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mr Giddins, as we know, doesn't like people who disagree with him. But is there anything unique about chess? Surely most amateur sports, games, pastimes and hobbies rely on unpaid volunteers for their organisation?
I can only speak for amateur football.

The referee gets paid about £25-£30 plus travelling expenses for a Sunday morning parks game. The league secretary and referee appointment officer get paid an "honourarium" which varies league by league put circa £1000 per annum is not unusual.

Each local county fa has a number of full time paid staff administering local football.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:30 pm

The discussion of Steve Giddins post is interesting, but maybe would be better moved to the thread: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3371

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:33 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: It was quite clear at the April meeting that, while a majority supported the principle of a membership scheme, many of those voting for it felt that the proposals needed reshaping. The June document was a consultation paper designed to elicit feedback to help with that reshaping process.
It's still missing the point that there are enough players who want neither compulsory membership, nor per head funding who could embarrass the federation financially by walking away from the ECF if or perhaps when it adopts either or both. This is regardless of what the talking heads on Council may or may not vote for or what the ECF directors think is morally right.

I don't think the vindictive attitude adopted towards internationally rated players who don't play in English events is helpful either.

Simon Brown
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Simon Brown » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:33 pm

Thanks Alex. How much is the donation under the current Full membership scheme?

Paul Cooksey

Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:37 pm

I'll throw in my reason for voting "No" in Alex's poll.

I am in favour of membership, and with a few minor quibbles like the proposal as drafted. However it will take considerable expense and effort to implement. It is impossible to make a judgement on whether the investment is justified without understanding the ECFs strategy.

I think if the ECF needs to reform, it should focus on this as its priority.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:41 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mr Giddins, as we know, doesn't like people who disagree with him. But is there anything unique about chess? Surely most amateur sports, games, pastimes and hobbies rely on unpaid volunteers for their organisation?
I think it depends on the sport.

I can't claim any expertise on what happens in chess in other countries, but my impression is that there is a greater paid element. The latest issue of the USCF's magazine Chess Life that I have (admittedly, 3 years old now) lists 18 different people under the heading "USCF Staff", all given with a contact number based at their "Main Office" in Crossville, Tennessee. My assumption would be that these people are all paid, since the USCF usually makes a clear distinction between "volunteers" and "staff", but others may know better. (There are also 7 more named individuals responsible for the magazine itself.)

If I were honest, based on the hours I do, the type of work and the responsibility involved, and using my past employment experience as a guide, I'd expect to be able to obtain an annual salary of £25,000 for what I do for the ECF. However, I signed up for it knowing that it was unpaid, so I'm hardly going to start complaining now!

The impact of Steve Giddins's closing recommendation - that everyone should start demanding a commercial rate for their services - would be devastating in terms of the price of playing chess.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:42 pm

Simon Brown wrote:Thanks Alex. How much is the donation under the current Full membership scheme?
It's not far off the £20 quoted for Platinum - perhaps £17/£18.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Summary of Funding Proposals for AGM

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:45 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:However it will take considerable expense and effort to implement.
Will it? We're back to the old argument that the current MOs consider it not to be an effort. I don't see where the expense element comes from?

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