Item 1) Appointment of Chairman, 2) Minute's Silence to colleagues passed away, 3) Notices: Passed through without major issues, and not directly relevent to CDCL.
Item 4) Approval of Last Meeting Minutes: Only grammar issues.
Item 5) Matters arising from the agenda:
I asked about the cost of jackets for members of the Open and Women Olympiad Teams (following a earlier discussion of the jackets), roughly £135 per jacket.
I asked who were the suppliers, the International Director, Malcolm Pein, said he would get back to me. (Personal thoughts, £135 seems a bit much.. perhaps I could offer to help in future)
Item 6) Reports:
- 6(a) Board of Director's Report - seemed fine.
- 6(b) Chair of Governance Committee - seemed fine.
- 6(c) Chair of Finance Committee - some delegates commented it was published late.
- General comments: Some delegates raised accountability concerns over ECF overspending.
- President: Dominic Lawson (Comment: Board Members said he put a lot of work in the Shreyas Royal situation)
- Chief Executive: Mike Truran (Comment: I know he runs the 4NCL well)
- Junior Chess Director: Alex Holowcak (Comment: my experience of Alex was a good Home Director, and runs a lot of Junior events)
- Womens Chess Director: Chris Fegan (Comment: I received very favourable support for Chris from members of the University of Warwick, no other thoughts from other clubs)
- Home Chess: Adrian Elwin (Comment: I received some positive comments from University of Warwick members who recommended Adrian, no other thoughts from other clubs; I also considered Tim Wall's candidacy positively, given his and I's past agreement on the benefits of merging silver and bronze membership; ultimately, I was swayed to vote Adrian, as he demonstrated the most experience, and grasp of the job brief)
- Council Chair: Mike Gunn (Comment: voted for)
- FIDE Delegate: Malcolm Pein (Comment: voted for)
- Governance Committee Chair: Robert Stein (Comment: voted for)
- Finance Committe Chair: Ian Reynolds (Comment: voted for)
- Auditor: Goatcher Chandler Audit Ltd. (Comment: voted for)
Item 9) Special Motion to change articles: Nothing too important - only that the ECF Office should be given 2 full working days to calculate the delegate votes.
Item 10) Approve date of Finance Council: 27 April 2019 (Approved)
Item 11) Strategy
The Delegate for Croydon (I believe) suggested that the strategy should have more clear descriptions of the current situation, i.e. where we are, where want to get to, and how.
I agreed. Obviously I could not start explaining how Lean organisations do things, the Board strategy clearly contains a number of good ideas, however, a bit more clarity could be provided by simply presenting the information better, and allow metrics and timescales to be incorporated better.
A3 Planning is something that the ECF could consider when presenting their strategy for each directorate, which makes it easier for metrics and timescales to be monitored.
(The idea was devised as a way of focussing managers and workers alike to focus and keep track for their objectives/metrics/time limits: http://www.leansixsigmagroup.co.uk/a3-report/)
In the near-future, I shall forward useful chess-related examples of A3 plans to the new Development Officer to help professionise the ECF, so the ECF may take small steps towards adopting best practices found in industry, and help focus on developing achievable KPIs.
Item 12/13) Finance
The Delegate for Stockport (I believe) asked why the ECF seems to focus on the £100,000 reserves; answer from the Board: it is a useful backstop, to prevent any bankrupcy concerns.
Then the big topic on the proposals to raise Bronze Membership by 25% to £20, Silver Membership by 28% to £30, and Gold Membership by 20% to £41, from 2018 to 2020, and a request for 18.5k from the Chess Trust, totalling ~£45,000.
Specifically from Membership fees, the increase would increase the budget for 2018-19 for an extra:
- +£5,000 to Women's Chess
- +£12,000 to Office Support
- +£9,000 to International Chess
- Office Staff Budget: £59,000; Office Staff Forecast: £59,172
- International Budget: £32,500; International Forecast: £63,629 [overspend?]
- Women's Budget: £5,000; Women's Forecast: £1,868
- (Figures accurate as of 14/10/2018 C29.12 Revised ECF Budget)
The Delegate for Stockport (I believe) pointed out that it effectively tied the hands of the next Finance Council - to be pressured and be forced to approved the budget 2018-19.
As with most things in the ECF, most people from directors, officers to grassroot League organiser, we volunteer. Unlike Russia, the ECF are not fortunate enough to received a grant from the Government, so I was not comfortable with expecting members to foot the bill for this vast international spending. I think, as long as the Olympaid team is fully covered expenses-wise (food, travel, branded clothing, etc) that should be good, however, the current international spending looks large for such a small number of individuals. Here I did exchange disagreement with Malcolm Pein.
The next issue that I took issue with was the Development Manager idea.. In prior discussion with other delegates on the ECForum, I took issue with the funding structure of the role, by linking individual bonuses to a non-deterministic performance was very unwise. The bonus payments will formally mis-attribute credit of future membership growth, to one individual, instead of the collective achievement of the Board and other officers. This type of idea would be thrown out at conception in any other organisation.
Unfortunately, when I pointed out that 'this type of idea would be thrown out in any other organisation', Malcolm Pein protested that some sports have 6 Development Officers at the national level! Sadly, my point about the flawed funding and bonus was lost (probably unintentionally by Malcolm)..
After these exchanges, one of my friends jest that I probably will never get to arbit at the London Chess Classic - we shall see!
The Delegate for Stockport proposed an amendment to removed the proposed membership fee increases. I was privately worried, as we should have coordinated and proposed a reduction of proposed expenditure increases, before a reduction of membership fee increases, because some delegates would have been privately concerned that keeping the proposed expenditure increase without the membership fee increases would be contradictory, and proceed to reject the amendment. Alas, the amendment to remove the membership fee increases was rejected; I felt this oversight/unfortunate timing, made it inevitable that Council ended up voting 160-103 supporting the fee increases.
In the interlude between the amendment vote, and final vote, I endeveoured to ask the Delegates for Stockport, and Croydon whether we should table an amendment to reduce expenditure to cover only the increase for Women's Chess and Office Support only, allow Delegates more time to go back to their Leagues/Congresses to consult on the International Budget, which was unveiled at short notice onto us. The Delegate for Croydon was more keen capping the International Budget at its current levels, however the Chair said that was not an option. By the point, it was too late to push for another amendment.
Given I received 15 responses from the League, with only one response backing the proposed level of expenditure, unless the situation changes, I shall endeavour to work with other delegates before the April meeting to ensure the budget will have sufficient limits for the near-future, so that members don't have to continuly experience 25% fee rises every 2 years.
Outcome: This will be the future fees, unless we change them at the April Finance Council https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... -rates.pdf
In subsequent discussion post-meeting with fellow delegates (I believe with the Delegate for London), I discussed the former proposal to merge Bronze and Silver membership to a Standard Membership of £20 (instead of £16 for Bronze and £23.50 for Silver) during last Council meeting; if the merger had been agreed by delegates, the Board would not have dared to propose 2 consecutive years of membership fee increases at this meeting... Instead, Bronze Members will get £20 membership fees in 22 months time, anyway... (I do wonder if Council delegates had taken the initiative, whether it would have then be more likely to be capped for a year or two, and former Bronze members would at least get the benefits of Silver at £20)
Item 14) Yearbook
Some discussion ensured about providing an online and full colour yearbook.
I asked whether the ECF would published it on issuu.com or just a pdf which was meet with confusion! What I meant was what something like this (Louise Head's Annual Report https://issuu.com/warwickchess/docs/annual_report_2018, or The Warwick Engineer which I was Chief Editor https://issuu.com/warwickengineeringsociety). If I find out who is responsible for this digitalisation, I shall encourage him/her to utilise issuu.com!
Item 15) AOB - not any that I recall.