The ECF Academy tender

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Andrew Martin
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The ECF Academy tender

Post by Andrew Martin » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:15 am

It has become possible to bid for the ECF Academy:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... -final.doc

I have viewed the document above for the first time this morning. Does anyone have any opinions on this development?

Matthew Turner
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:22 am

I viewed it too. It seems incredibly cumbersome and to be honest I cannot see anyone bidding for it. On the one hand I guess Alex and the ECF should be applauded for making the process transparent, but it just seems a very strange way to go about it to me.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:37 am

It seems short notice for what will presumably be a lot of work. (On second thoughts, it's probably an enormous amount of work.) The applicant doesn't seem to have any input into what is done. OK, teachers have to follow the syllabus, but this is not quite the same thing. It might take a year to get into the swing of it, then you get replaced. Obviously, you need the ability to ditch people if necessary.

"Make any material purchases that may be necessary (e.g. training materials); and retain ownership of these. If for any reason they cease their involvement with the Academy, these materials must be made passed on to the next successful bidder."

That might be just badly worded, but it looks as if the applicant buys the materials, then has to hand them over when (s)he stops the work! The second sentence doesn't make sense.

"Providing the ECF with email contact details for all Academy attendees" - presumably with suitable agreement of the parents/guardians?

"Outline how the applicant will ensure there are healthy participation rates in the Academy from girls." I don't see how you can "ensure" it.

"The ECF is keen to ensure that the coaches doing the work at these events have both significant experience of coaching juniors, pedagogical skills, and chess strength." "Both" followed by three things... However "coaching" surely covers "pedagogical", so just put "coaching juniors and chess strength".

The change from "make", to "providing" to "outline" looks unprofessional, use one form or the other. Proofreading is usually a good idea.

The figures in Criteria (1) seem to say you're more likely to get the job if you want less money, which is true of course!

I think a lot of interested parties might run a mile at the sight of the document.

Andrew Martin
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Andrew Martin » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:24 pm

It’s a terrible deal for the applicant as it stands.

David Robertson
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by David Robertson » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:14 pm

The trouble with a competitive tendering process such as this is that it assumes a viable market. That is, it assumes there are numerous suppliers willing to bid competitively, and to bear the costs of bidding including the risk of failure. The weaker the supply-side of the market, the more burdensome the process becomes.

There is a second parallel problem. The process assumes that both the party letting the contract (ECF) and the parties competing for it have a reasonable idea of what constitutes a commercially valid/viable price for the contract. Absent clarity in that matter, under-/over-bidding becomes both risk and danger. Local authorities ran into this problem two decades back under CCT. Forced to put their services out to tender, many found either no market, or no clear idea what constituted a fair price. Under such conditions best value (however measured) cannot be guaranteed.

Risks and dangers? The risk falls on both parties to the extent that a supplier can exploit the lack of information (ie price data) of the lettor; or by over-bidding, become unable to see out the contract. The danger is shared too: unable to see out the contract leaves the lettor with no service.

What to do? Do not invite CT in a weak market. Instead, try negotiated tendering: identify suppliers and negotiate terms. Define and fix KPIs, and reward the contract on fulfillment

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:23 pm

I agree with the others who have posted so far. This might be a record.

Nick Grey
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:13 pm

It is terrible that ECF have attempted to specify this for all the reasons above & a lot more.
Yes those first contract agreements were emptying & disposal of dustbins. That may be awful with Brexit...…...

I thought they had been progressive. Why not speak to those that organise English Juniors best & ask how best to deliver overall for Junior Chess in this country?

Are ECF really bogged down in short term contracts? & why?

Roger Lancaster
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:32 pm

This didn't seem to me, either, a terribly good way of going about this. Most organisations will, I suspect, avoid this like the plague. In that case, there are probably just two likely outcomes - either no bidder, in which case the exercise has been fruitless, or a very small number (perhaps just one or two) when the element of competition is illusory.

It is elsewhere suggested that negotiated tendering, rather than competitive tendering, would have been a better solution but the Grayling/ferry experience vividly demonstrates one of the problems there - very simply, that those omitted from the negotiating process may call "foul". Yet another approach would have been to start with a consultation document, a procedure with which the ECF seems quite familiar.

Of course, although no-one will admit to it, there's one further possibility. This may have been devised as a Machiavellian method of demonstrating that running the ECF Academy was something that only the ECF could manage.

Mike Truran
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Mike Truran » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:59 pm

Regulation No 1 requires this process, regardless of what the Board or anyone else may think of its merits.

David Robertson
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by David Robertson » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:53 pm

Mike Truran wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:59 pm
Regulation No 1 requires this process, regardless of what the Board or anyone else may think of its merits.
Regulation No 1 concerns process alone. In practical terms, it's barely worth the paper it's written on. Clause 1.8 gets you off the hook. Use the opportunity, and get the Regs redrafted to fit contemporary business good practice. Bring in the Governance Ctte. Oh, wait... :roll:

Nick Grey
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:59 pm

Mike. Andrew Martin (Head of the ECF Academy) thinks it is a terrible deal for the applicant as it stands so the offer ought to change.

My opinion but all the others here seem to be the same. I think ECF could do better. Kevin & others have made good points.

I have enough in the day job in the collapse of certain so called markets with the monies on offer (tied up with the lack of government funds provided).

Andrew Martin
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Andrew Martin » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:25 am

A new position of ‘ ECF Slave’ would have to be created for anyone wishing to take up the terms of this tender as it is currently written. If you like that sort of thing, go for it.

Mike Truran
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Mike Truran » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:43 am

ECF Slave? I, and I suspect a number of my Board colleagues, know exactly what you mean.

Andrew Martin
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Andrew Martin » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:47 am

Believe me, I have a great deal of sympathy for the last comment.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The ECF Academy tender

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:39 am

"Believe me, I have a great deal of sympathy for the last comment."

Yes, me too.

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