ECF Finance meeting 2018

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:18 am

I don't think I'm unreasonably impatient and twelve months ago I was as understanding as ( nearly ) everyone else, but I'm afraid that in terms of the timeliness of financial figures I feel that the ECF is now beyond being able to claim the benefit of the doubt.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:44 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:57 am
Michael Farthing wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:52 am
I happen to know that there are legitimate reaons why update was administratively difficult yesterday. Give it another day Nick.
But why leave it to the last day anyway? It's not as though three weeks is very long for delegates to dissect and then consult with the membership on a complex set of numbers.
This ain't 1980 - no-one's waiting for a Xeroxed copy to hit their doormats. 100% of the members who care about the ECF budget, will start dissecting it themselves as soon as it appears one the web page.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:48 am

Chris Goodall wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:44 am
100% of the members who care about the ECF budget, will start dissecting it themselves as soon as it appears one the web page.
I look forward to your own analysis, which will presumably be shared on this forum.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:53 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:48 am
Chris Goodall wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:44 am
100% of the members who care about the ECF budget, will start dissecting it themselves as soon as it appears one the web page.
I look forward to your own analysis, which will presumably be shared on this forum.
How presumptious of you.

"This budget, like all ECF budgets since we lost the government grant, assumes, requires and is predicated upon a net flow of cash from the grassroots to the elite. The playing of chess has, unfortunately, declined in value since the 1970s, yet the corps of so-called professional chess players in England has carried on expanding. Given the economics of chess - the scarcity of sponsors, the active resistance of chess fans to paying for anything, the media allergy that afflicts serious players - there should be 2 or 3 full-time professional chess players in England, not 50.

"The fact that there are 50 means the ECF spend a lot of their time "promoting chess" to the very last people in the country who need to have chess promoted to them. We talk about "support for aspiring IMs and GMs" as though collecting lots of relatively weak titled players were an end in itself. The race to be England's first GM inspired casual fans to take up chess; the race to be England's 42nd GM does not. Nor does finishing 9th instead of 19th in a tournament that bears no resemblance to the Olympics. The people who care about such achievements are already hardcore chess fans. They don't need chess promoting to them.

"The ECF should adopt the principle that any money spent on chess must benefit women at least as much as it benefits men. Any spending that fails this test is almost certainly promoting chess to people who don't need chess promoting to them, and/or propping up an artificially large professional player corps."
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:06 pm

Where does this quote come from? The Budget to which it refers must be quite old, since we haven't seen one for a year.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:28 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:53 pm

"The ECF should adopt the principle that any money spent on chess must benefit women at least as much as it benefits men. "
Much of the ECF's spending goes in paying for its employed office in Battle.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:20 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:28 pm
Chris Goodall wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:53 pm

"The ECF should adopt the principle that any money spent on chess must benefit women at least as much as it benefits men. "
Much of the ECF's spending goes in paying for its employed office in Battle.
We had this discussion before. It turned out that asking office staff to write down what they spent time on today, is too difficult. Is that still the case?
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:25 pm

" It turned out that asking office staff to write down what they spent time on today, is too difficult. Is that still the case?"

It is frequently a waste of time. My former employer thought this was wonderful so they could track costs. The problem was that if you said you spent x hours on "y" contract, your manager would say, "don't put that, it will look as if the costings are wrong. Put it down to "z" contract, we have spare money on that one." You could waste a lot of time filling in timesheets. A colleague always insisted on putting down an hour a week for "filling in timesheet".

It might work if it's fairly general, but asking someone to write accurately how much time they spent answering the phone, dealing with emails etc. really is pointless.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:19 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:25 pm
" It turned out that asking office staff to write down what they spent time on today, is too difficult. Is that still the case?"

It is frequently a waste of time. My former employer thought this was wonderful so they could track costs. The problem was that if you said you spent x hours on "y" contract, your manager would say, "don't put that, it will look as if the costings are wrong. Put it down to "z" contract, we have spare money on that one." You could waste a lot of time filling in timesheets. A colleague always insisted on putting down an hour a week for "filling in timesheet".

It might work if it's fairly general, but asking someone to write accurately how much time they spent answering the phone, dealing with emails etc. really is pointless.
Absolutely, I wouldn't expect anything like that. It would be "AM - membership. PM - British championships." Three employees doing that would give us over 1,000 data points a year. Then we could get a proper sense of how much things cost to do, in terms of the % of yearly office costs. I can't believe that isn't done already - it's just accurate accounting, isn't it?
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:38 pm

Right well this afternoon I was doing voting register.
pm = Voting Register One half day

Except that half way through I realised I hadn't typed up an urgent report my wife needed to send in.

Oh, and the dog walker came to walk the dog and I asked him to do tomorrow too as I'm out of action with a gammy leg. And he's a very talkataive man.

And then there were half a dozen phone calls..


Actually, today was quite focussed.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:40 am

Michael Farthing wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:38 pm
Right well this afternoon I was doing voting register.
pm = Voting Register One half day

Except that half way through I realised I hadn't typed up an urgent report my wife needed to send in.

Oh, and the dog walker came to walk the dog and I asked him to do tomorrow too as I'm out of action with a gammy leg. And he's a very talkataive man.

And then there were half a dozen phone calls..


Actually, today was quite focussed.
PM = voting register, then.

Distractions are a given. I'm not interested in how long things take a theoretical hyper-focused individual. I'm interested in how long things take after an ordinary human level of distraction is factored in.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:17 am

My real point was that it's not that simple.

Take for instance a tiny task like sorting out someone's membership. On the above reckoning this is a "distraction" and would never feature* so the Board would be left thinking that this is an insignificant part of the Office work. That would be a very inaccurate assessment.

*In fairness, in early September it would be The Task, all else being a distraction. [I know 'cos I was there (as a distraction)].

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:39 am

Michael Farthing wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:17 am
the Board would be left thinking that this is an insignificant part of the Office work.
A previous CEO believed that collecting revenue from two or three hundred chess organisations was more expensive than collecting revenue from around ten thousand individuals. Even the current board believe it's easier to collect revenue once a year than once every three years.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 am

Michael Farthing wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:17 am
My real point was that it's not that simple.

Take for instance a tiny task like sorting out someone's membership. On the above reckoning this is a "distraction" and would never feature* so the Board would be left thinking that this is an insignificant part of the Office work. That would be a very inaccurate assessment.

*In fairness, in early September it would be The Task, all else being a distraction. [I know 'cos I was there (as a distraction)].
Anything less than a high-definition video recording is a simplification. Part of being organised is to simplify in meaningful ways. If dealing with a membership query is a distraction that comes up a lot, keep a tally on a Post-It pad every time you deal with a membership query. Very useful information for no effort at all - in fact it'll reduce your stress level, because in the back of your mind you'll know that if anyone pesters you about the voting register, you'll have a written record of the thing you were doing instead.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:52 am

Chris and Michael are both right, and Michael raises the further issue that the Board may not understand what the Office is doing (I mean in specifics, not in general). This is why costings are frequently wrong.

"Take for instance a tiny task like sorting out someone's membership" - that might take a minute, it might be a lot longer if someone has a common name, or if some details have gone astray, or the member is an idiot and has got their own details wrong, or if you get stupid (or vital) interruptions and you have to start again as you forgot where you had got to! These things are difficult to quantify...

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