The ECF Board: Leakgate

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Upham
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by John Upham » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:56 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:The disturbing thing is not so much what they discuss, but what they don't discuss.
What would be your top ten bullet points for discussion?

1. The membership scheme
2. - 10. ?
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:00 am

John Upham wrote: What would be your top ten bullet points for discussion?
They seem to be rushing ahead with the charity status proposal without it appears, giving any thought to the potential problems of the charity's interactions with FIDE.

For that matter, they aren't discussing possible reforms to voting structures either.

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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by John Upham » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:20 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: For that matter, they aren't discussing possible reforms to voting structures either.
Would ECF Council have to vote on bringing in the reforms to the voting structure or can the board force this through?
Specifically, what reforms would you like to see? Brass tacks would be useful.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:40 am

John Upham wrote: Specifically, what reforms would you like to see? Brass tacks would be useful.
The former CEO put forward the notion that voting reform, some element of OMOV, could be part of the constitutional changes for charitable status.

Personally I think you still have to have an assembly of voting members of the ECF and that formal voting rights can be limited. That shouldn't preclude more of the voting members being directly elected as representatives by individuals or the existing handful being given enhanced voting rights, or for that matter, having some of the Board directly elected by the individuals.

Constitutional change, whilst accepted or rejected by the voting members is something that should be progressed either by the Board or on behalf of the Board.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:35 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:I'm doubtful that dispute played any significant part in Adam's non-election.
Council are now wary of electing to an Executive post particularly Marketing, a known promoter of non-ECF events. But hasn't Adam now said on the S&B blog, that he was only prepared to do the Marketing and Membership job if he had the full support of Council and that a lacklustre campaign for election was part of testing this?

Angus French
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Angus French » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:43 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:I could also take issue with the more recent S&B piece questioning whether it is acceptable for the CEO of an Organisation to make a judgment on whether money has been properly spent.
Where does the S&B piece question "whether it is acceptable for the CEO of an Organisation to make a judgment on whether money has been properly spent"? The decision was made by the Board, wasn't it?
Paul Cooksey wrote:But then again, Council have approved a pointless investigation into Istanbul expenses.
I suspect that Council was concerned about:
- What benefit was derived from CJ's trip to Instanbul;
- The size of the expense payment made to CJ; and,
- The Board's decision to contribute towards CJ's expenses.

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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:50 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Someone should take a look at the ECF's own site, as for 2012 it contains not summaries, but actual reports on each of the Board meetings. The disturbing thing is not so much what they discuss, but what they don't discuss.
Certainly seems to be a possible source for Leakgate, doesn't it?

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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Paul McKeown » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:01 pm

Paul Cooksey: as usual, you have hit the nail on the head. Perfect description of the dysfunction in / surrounding the ECF. Awful mess, no prospect of resolution in the immediate future.

David Pardoe
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:15 pm

I think one of the problems is that we have a body run by unpaid, part time, amateurs/volunteers who are freely giving there spare time for UK chess.
They are surrounded by a complex corporate structure which imposes various standards, and it might well be that our directors, without considerable professional advice, cannot hope to adhere fully to the rules and constraints.
Should we drop this framework, go back to being simply a federation, and redesign our rule book so that it makes governance, understanding, management, and general operations much more simplified and understandable and within the grasp of the membership, many of whom must be totally bamboozled by what is going on.
The board is clearly lightweight in numbers currently, and appear to be better at de-selection than they are at selection.
The board should be more substantial in my view, incorporating several regional directors to ensure that regions are more fully represented....and to give greater general stability. One example of the weakness is that directors are on `all change` every year, so that, as you approach the election time, you may be loosing half the board or more. This is not good for stability, and I imagine that `handover` could be a pretty hit and miss business.
I`ve just read the notes on the SCCU website regarding the April ECF board/finance meeting. It sounds quite an acrimonious session, with virtually no time available for key items of business.
I see the latest board meeting last week (ECF website), mentioned the moves to charitable status, and the splitting up into separate amateur and professional bodies.
This looks like a potential disaster. What will the `amateur` leg consist of. The crown jewels will be gone...professionals off to a separate place, international chess off the map, and the British Championships no longer part of ECF activity. It thus loses huge chunks of its interest value, and presumably needs far less financing. What would it actually be left with. What would it do that was meaningful. Would it need any significant funding, and therefore would there be any need for the grants and funding that it hopes to get from trying for charitable status.
Then we have other matters, like the Membership and OMOV issues.
Its been said that the new Membership scheme system is easy to change and maintain. So lets do it.
Rates and categories need modification. At the bottom end, we need a more economic category that allows (low level users, ie, those who play few competitive games.. say 8 or less per year), to access membership at a low rate....say £10 to play limited games in any category.
The key point here is the need to drive up membership numbers. We really need to strive to increase number significantly over the coming years. Thats more players playing every type of chess...League/club/county/junior, congress, & FIDE rated....up to perhaps 30-50,000. There are absolutely shedloads of players playing online chess. Its an interesting curiousity, allowing you to play players from across the globe. I`m currently playing two guys who were former IM standard in one tournament. Its an eye openner.
OMOV has been discussed at length. The essence of this is to give all individuals a direct say, if they want to exercise it. This would add a useful element of independance to proceedings. DR correctly pointed out that 95% of chess players simply want to play chess, and have nothing to do with all the politics. This is perfectly sensible and understandable (and nothing whatever to do with apathy). So allowing the 5% who do want to contribute should be easy to achieve, and might just stimulate enough interest to balance some of the controlling voices. The present AGM voting/Delegate/Proxy system has come in for heavy criticism, and is clearly flawed and open to abuse.
RE has mentioned that he wants to listen to grass roots views. Thats never a bad idea, and this forum certainly throws up a wide variety of opinion. How much weight you attach to these views is another matter.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:23 am

David Pardoe wrote: This looks like a potential disaster. What will the `amateur` leg consist of. The crown jewels will be gone...professionals off to a separate place, international chess off the map, and the British Championships no longer part of ECF activity. It thus loses huge chunks of its interest value, and presumably needs far less financing. What would it actually be left with. What would it do that was meaningful. Would it need any significant funding, and therefore would there be any need for the grants and funding that it hopes to get from trying for charitable status.
With the ECF's major expense being the Battle office, the expenses stay with the ECF if it continues to finance its office.

Did you notice that they want to bring back the BCF to be the "new" professional body? How that will work has yet to be defined as the voting membership of the BCF is now defined as the County associations, the regional Unions and the London and Manchester leagues.

John Philpott

Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by John Philpott » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:53 am

Roger de Coverly wrote
Did you notice that they want to bring back the BCF to be the "new" professional body?
Oh no they don't!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:01 am

John Philpott wrote:Oh no they don't!
from the published minutes of Board meeting 59 (January 2012)
Formal proposal to a special meeting of the British Chess Federation to change its legal status to a Company Limited by Guarantee and to take over the responsibilities for the British Chess Championships and International Chess.
Overtaken by events, perhaps. But is there a proposal to create a brand new body "Chess England" and leave the BCF in place?

John Philpott

Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by John Philpott » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:25 am

Roger de Coverly wrote
Overtaken by events, perhaps. But is there a proposal to create a brand new body "Chess England" and leave the BCF in place?
Andrew Farthing wrote, in the paper on charitable status presented to the October 2012 AGM
As has been previously advised to Council, it will be necessary to move those aspects of the ECF’s activities which do not fit the defined charitable goals (promoting amateur sport or education) into a new, non-charitable organisation, intended to be called Chess England Ltd.
Even if the Permanent Invested Fund is moved out of it, the BCF will need to remain in existence in order to receive any legacies for which it is the named beneficiary.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:37 am

John Philpott wrote:Even if the Permanent Invested Fund is moved out of it, the BCF will need to remain in existence in order to receive any legacies for which it is the named beneficiary.
That's always been a given for the continued existence of the BCF. How many British or English chess bodies will there be? Is there a proposal of a trinity, the ECF, the BCF and Chess England?

John Philpott

Re: The ECF Board: Leakgate

Post by John Philpott » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:56 am

Do not forget that there is also Chess Centre Ltd as an asset of the Permanent Invested Fund and the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust. The structure going forward is to my mind a key matter for consideration by the EGMs planned for January or February. An item that has been on my wish list for quite some time is that however many different legal entities there may be, a set of consolidated accounts covering all of them should be produced to provide Council with an overall picture, even if these entities may not technically represent a group for the purposes of the Companies Act. This is now somewhat more feasible given that the change in the year end of the ECF and BCF to 31 August has the incidental benefit of bringing this into line with that of the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust.

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