Certificate of Merit

Questions and Support regarding the Certificate of Merit.
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:04 am

Matthew Turner wrote:This is a Director of a Company Limited by Guarantee seeming to suggest that the accounts are not accurate. I hope that the accounts will be modified to reflect the true financial position, otherwise I imagine you could technically be in a sticky legal situation?
Normally, this kind of mistake would not be an issue because there would be no effect on the P&L and Balance Sheet.

However, that's not necessarily the case here. CfS is cost which directly affects the P&L, whilst CoM is accounted for as a stock item on the balance sheet with just 1/5 of the cost attributable to the P&L for each of the next 5 years.

If the CfS salary was counted as a CoM salary then there is no need to amend the accounts filed at companies house as there is no change to the overall numbers. However, if the CfS salary was counted as a CoM cost other than salary, that would be a different story.

John Upham
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:19 am

Carl Hibbard wrote: Is it possible to comment further on the number of paid tests and what the profit margin is on the £6 pack once materials and postage has been taken into account?

Gives us a better idea on the number we are aiming for once the true cost is revealed?
AFAIK, the profit margin is not known taking into account production of the badges and the postage costs for them. The certificates are now emailed out, and, down the line, I hope to allow students to locally print their bespoke version.

One piece of good news is that our first CoM teacher (who is not a rated chess player) has taken and passed all three levels with at least a distinction pass. Andrew and I are hoping that something will be made of this with LV=. Currently the LV= sponsorship carries no reference to CoM. I find this somewhat disappointing but I believe that the DoM will address this issue as a matter of priority. See http://www.lv.com/aboutus/sponsorship

Is it normal that a sponsor does not acknowledge their sponsorship or is that an oxymoron?
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David Sedgwick
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:39 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Matthew Turner wrote:This is a Director of a Company Limited by Guarantee seeming to suggest that the accounts are not accurate. I hope that the accounts will be modified to reflect the true financial position, otherwise I imagine you could technically be in a sticky legal situation?
Normally, this kind of mistake would not be an issue because there would be no effect on the P&L and Balance Sheet.

However, that's not necessarily the case here. CfS is cost which directly affects the P&L, whilst CoM is accounted for as a stock item on the balance sheet with just 1/5 of the cost attributable to the P&L for each of the next 5 years.

If the CfS salary was counted as a CoM salary then there is no need to amend the accounts filed at companies house as there is no change to the overall numbers. However, if the CfS salary was counted as a CoM cost other than salary, that would be a different story.
The issue appears to relate to the correct accounting treatment of the cost of employing Kirstie Lapworth, who worked for the ECF during 2009-10 on the administration of CoM and CfS. That cost was not solely her salary of course; there were also employer's NI contibutions.

Surely the mistakes, if there are any, are in the Forecast for 2009-10 and Budget for 2010-11 presented to the April 2010 Council Meeting?

Whilst it would be regrettable if any such errors have occurred, they would only be in internal documentation. The Accounts for the year to 30th April 2010 have still to be submitted to Council - that will occur in October 2010 - prior to filing at Companies House.

There could of course be errors in the Accounts for the year to 30th April 2009, but I think that period precedes the issue in question arising.

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Charles W. Wood
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Charles W. Wood » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:51 pm

I hope it is an error. I never recieved a penny for the work I did and didn't get one phone call paid for or any expenses claimed back by my choice. The ECF didn't have enough money in my opinion. I know most of you think I did nothing on CfS but it was a massive job. Around 50 good quality phone calls a day and a good amount of paperwork at night. I still hope it works though.
Charles W. Wood
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:34 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:
Matthew Turner wrote:This is a Director of a Company Limited by Guarantee seeming to suggest that the accounts are not accurate. I hope that the accounts will be modified to reflect the true financial position, otherwise I imagine you could technically be in a sticky legal situation?
Normally, this kind of mistake would not be an issue because there would be no effect on the P&L and Balance Sheet.

However, that's not necessarily the case here. CfS is cost which directly affects the P&L, whilst CoM is accounted for as a stock item on the balance sheet with just 1/5 of the cost attributable to the P&L for each of the next 5 years.

If the CfS salary was counted as a CoM salary then there is no need to amend the accounts filed at companies house as there is no change to the overall numbers. However, if the CfS salary was counted as a CoM cost other than salary, that would be a different story.
The issue appears to relate to the correct accounting treatment of the cost of employing Kirstie Lapworth, who worked for the ECF during 2009-10 on the administration of CoM and CfS. That cost was not solely her salary of course; there were also employer's NI contibutions.

Surely the mistakes, if there are any, are in the Forecast for 2009-10 and Budget for 2010-11 presented to the April 2010 Council Meeting?

Whilst it would be regrettable if any such errors have occurred, they would only be in internal documentation. The Accounts for the year to 30th April 2010 have still to be submitted to Council - that will occur in October 2010 - prior to filing at Companies House.

There could of course be errors in the Accounts for the year to 30th April 2009, but I think that period precedes the issue in question arising.
I'm hoping that there was no error in the accounting treatment of the salary (ie as a cost rather than a balance sheet provision) otherwise the financial position of the ECF is worse than currently stated.

It does appear that the CfS fiasco has cost the ECF a considerable amount more than the board had Council believe in April. That meeting decided to allow CfS to continue for the moment. Would it have made the same decision had the true cost been revealed?

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:03 pm

John Upham wrote:AFAIK, the profit margin is not known taking into account production of the badges and the postage costs for them. The certificates are now emailed out, and, down the line, I hope to allow students to locally print their bespoke version.

One piece of good news is that our first CoM teacher (who is not a rated chess player) has taken and passed all three levels with at least a distinction pass. Andrew and I are hoping that something will be made of this with LV=. Currently the LV= sponsorship carries no reference to CoM. I find this somewhat disappointing but I believe that the DoM will address this issue as a matter of priority. See http://www.lv.com/aboutus/sponsorship

Is it normal that a sponsor does not acknowledge their sponsorship or is that an oxymoron?
Where are we at with CoM then John, are you able to comment?

I have seen ZERO marketing of the product to be honest, who is responsible for that and is there any sort of plan at all?

Exactly how many people have paid for a test?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:33 pm

Carl,

Thank-you for asking.

There is ongoing addition to the Q&A pool for all levels.

The production of the Level 2 & 3 booklets is well advanced being managed by the Director of Marketing in conjunction with Create Services.

I am hoping to continue further development work but am distracted by a need to ensure a revenue stream for myself following redundancy.

Like yourself, I am hopeful that there will be marketing of CoM at some point in the future.

LV= does not yet acknowledge its sponsorship of CoM via its public web site : http://www.lv.com/aboutus/sponsorship

Interest in CoM since the beginning of June appears to have waned somewhat.

I have agreed to provide pro bono second line support for the time being.

I have reported sales of packages and credits to the DoM but will not report them here until I am cleared to do so.

Hope that helps!
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:00 pm

John Upham wrote:I have reported sales of packages and credits to the DoM but will not report them here until I am cleared to do so.
Would be nice to know the return, my guess is perhaps a 100 at £6 with "perhaps" a profit of £2 a shot - let's hope I am wrong...
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:40 pm

There has been some talk about the contents of the CoM package on the Olympiad thread.
From the ECF webpage we have

"For £50.00, the complete package includes a CoM DVD, Level One Booklet, a copy of Chess Openings – Your Choice!, a CoM exam entry fee, one year’s standard ECF membership, one year’s Premium Membership of ChessCube … and now also a copy of the CoM Level Two & Three booklet."

Assuming most of those who will be interested in this package will be schools I wonder how useful the two memberships will be? Could we make the contents more attractive?

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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Angus French » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:21 pm

Matthew Turner wrote: "For £50.00, the complete package includes a CoM DVD, Level One Booklet, a copy of Chess Openings – Your Choice!, a CoM exam entry fee, one year’s standard ECF membership, one year’s Premium Membership of ChessCube … and now also a copy of the CoM Level Two & Three booklet."... Could we make the contents more attractive?
The contents look pretty complete to me but maybe, if you wanted to do well, a cuddly toy could be added. Or was I thinking of something else?

Matthew Turner
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:54 am

I've just had a look at the ECF shop (not easy to locate from the ECF webpage by the way). I thought I'd look up Chess Opening Your Choice! which is part of the CoM package. There were some very good reviews.

"In 240 packed pages this book gives homely advice on far more than just opening play, which it explains well, without going into too many complexities. Beginners will love it
- B.H.Wood in the Daily Telegraph in 2000

It was clever of Stewart Reuben to find an unfilled niche in what one might have thought an overpopulated territory - books on the chess openings. Chess Openings - Your Choice! seems a remarkably useful and unfussy aid to the inexperienced. It does not pretend to go very deeply into any variations, but sets out all the main lines that anybody would need to know in order to start working out a repertoire, and the assessments are always reasonable and well-balanced
- George Botterill in the Sunday Times in 1980

Chess Openings - Your Choice! is a good introduction for average to weaker players with plenty of useful practical advice
- Leonard Barden in the London Evening Standard, 1980s

Chess Openings - Your Choice! is unashamedly aimed at beginners and it takes them through the range of openings without going above their heads, or insulting their intelligence. Quite an achievement
- Ceefax 1980"

It is a shame that most of the reviews were from 1980, but at least we have one which is more up to date. Apparently B.H. Wood liked it so much that he took time to review it in the telegraph even after he'd been dead for ten years.

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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:02 am

Matthew Turner wrote:I've just had a look at the ECF shop (not easy to locate from the ECF webpage by the way).
I think it's pretty easy, it's in the sidebar on the left, underneath Chess for Schools, and before FIDE and the ECU. As places to put the link to the ECF Shop go, it doesn't seem out of place in that sidebar.

Nick Thomas
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Nick Thomas » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:45 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:I've just had a look at the ECF shop (not easy to locate from the ECF webpage by the way). I thought I'd look up Chess Opening Your Choice! which is part of the CoM package. There were some very good reviews.

"In 240 packed pages this book gives homely advice on far more than just opening play, which it explains well, without going into too many complexities. Beginners will love it
- B.H.Wood in the Daily Telegraph in 2000

It was clever of Stewart Reuben to find an unfilled niche in what one might have thought an overpopulated territory - books on the chess openings. Chess Openings - Your Choice! seems a remarkably useful and unfussy aid to the inexperienced. It does not pretend to go very deeply into any variations, but sets out all the main lines that anybody would need to know in order to start working out a repertoire, and the assessments are always reasonable and well-balanced
- George Botterill in the Sunday Times in 1980

Chess Openings - Your Choice! is a good introduction for average to weaker players with plenty of useful practical advice
- Leonard Barden in the London Evening Standard, 1980s

Chess Openings - Your Choice! is unashamedly aimed at beginners and it takes them through the range of openings without going above their heads, or insulting their intelligence. Quite an achievement
- Ceefax 1980"

It is a shame that most of the reviews were from 1980, but at least we have one which is more up to date. Apparently B.H. Wood liked it so much that he took time to review it in the telegraph even after he'd been dead for ten years.
Matt. There must be a mistake there. It seems unlikely that a 30+ year old book is being used for this purpose :?

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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by John Upham » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:01 pm

Nick Thomas wrote: Matt. There must be a mistake there. It seems unlikely that a 30+ year old book is being used for this purpose :?
Do you think that the book had aged badly?

I've never read it nor have a copy so cannot comment. I would assume that its remit meant it should have a long shelf life : I could easily be wrong.
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Nick Thomas
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Re: Certificate of Merit

Post by Nick Thomas » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:44 pm

I've no idea if it's aged badly as I don't remember ever reading it although it seems unlikely that it hasn't aged somewhat in 30+ years. Reading the reviews worries me though as I get the impression that it's a basic opening book and I can't particularly see a use for that amongst the target buyer. I would think that most 7-11 yo beginners would be immediately put off by anything but the most brief chess notations and most won't need or want to learn chess theory. I'm also not clear whether the book was written for children.

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