Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
TimWall
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Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:02 am

ECF Council meeting April 27th 2019-WOR & TW.pdf
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Ahead of today’s ECF Finance Council meeting in Birmingham, in order to facilitate a full and informed discussion, I am circulating the presentation prepared by the NCCU on the following resolution (Item 8 on the Agenda):

‘(a) Increases in ECF membership fees for the 2019/20 season should be limited at maximum to a rise in line with CPI inflation rate, and preferably to no increase.

(b) That the ECF investigate with great haste the best and quickest way to release trust fund monies to support their proposed youth development plan, and to publish these facts for membership's awareness as soon as possible.’

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Michael Farthing » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:22 am

Well that leaves everyone with lots of time for discussion.

TimWall
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:21 am

Hi Michael, the resolution was posted in the usual way on the Agenda. It is very concise, clear in its intention and everyone is well aware of the issues involved. I am merely posting here a longer version of my contribution this afternoon (almost certainly longer than I will actually give verbally) as the time often allowed for such resolutions (particularly those not supported by the Board) tends to be restricted.
Also, putting things on the record where people can read them in future is what we should be about: transparency.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:20 am

Tim, I find it very depressing that you, of all people, should be supporting this proposal to deliver a massive kick in the teeth to the successful England international teams.

I would have hoped that you would take pride in their achievements.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:11 am

I would have liked more notice of the motion too. I am also concerned that Tim is raising a number of other matters on the day of the meeting. It will make the chairman's job difficult if there is a large amount of AOB.

I was encouraged to see this in the Finance Directors report
David Eustace wrote:The Board’s policy is to continue to budget on the basis that the ECF membership will support the core, on-going operational activities of the ECF and that additional discretionary spend will be funded by contributions from donations, sponsorship and Trust funds as appropriate
So I do not see this as question where we need to decide who is right and who is wrong; rather it is about finding the right balance. The successful England World Teams team had a sponsor. I do not think the proposal is incompatible with successful England teams we can all be proud of.

Asking the board to budget with about 10% lower income and only inflationary membership rises is a serious proposal and I hope Council will have enough time to consider it properly.

TimWall
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:18 am

David, I'm a little confused - I think you're mixing up the two issues. Where does the NCCU resolution mention the international teams? What we are saying is use the £1 million plus in the Chess Trust, John Robinson Youth Chess Trust and the old BCF PIFs to fund the development of junior chess BEFORE levying excessive membership fee increases from ordinary club members.
The international teams can be supported by a combination of PIF money, trust money and sponsorship before we levy taxes on the membership.
What we have lost sight of is the connection between membership fees and the services provided for them.
In the US, Scotland, Netherlands, Norway and a host of other national chess federations, members get a regular chess magazine included in return for their fees. But not in England.
The ECF must be relevant to its members, they must feel that they get services beyond grading, and also a voice. Why are there no direct elections by members for ECF President and the 3 non-executive directors, for example? That would send a clear signal that its members actually matter to the ECF. Then we would see more active support for England international teams from the grassroots.

TimWall
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 am

I'm not going to apologise for raising important issues today that have just come to light (the ECF Academy Tender and excessive charges on parents of England juniors abroad). As for the membership fees issue, there was proper notice of the resolution - and everyone has had months to form a view about whether they support these membership fee increases. As you say, Paul, it should not be an issue where people put ordinary club members against the international teams. It is about the balance between funding sources, and how we develop organised chess before clubs and congresses literally die out.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:47 am

TimWall wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:18 am
What we are saying is use the £1 million plus in the Chess Trust, John Robinson Youth Chess Trust and the old BCF PIFs to fund the development of junior chess BEFORE levying excessive membership fee increases from ordinary club members.
The ECF two major areas of expenditure are and always have been its staffed office and the International budget and its income has been a tax on the chess players whether levied at an organisation level or per head. Restrict the ability to raise money and you restrict what the ECF can spend. Historically the NCCU were always very keen on membership schemes. The downside of such schemes is that it becomes the ECFs primary income source and where ECF directors will look for finance for their pet projects.

As to why it doesn't spend its accumulated savings, that seems to be a long standing policy decision. For at least some of the money, it isn't actually the ECF's to spend since legacies can have independent decision making as dictated by the wishes of the donor.

The ECF doesn't offer any direct benefits in exchange for membership. It's rather the point that the only benefit of membership is to remove charges from local organisations running chess. If it introduced a magazine, the costs to players would be increased to pay for it.

TimWall
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:58 am

Hi Roger,

Two points:

1) The Chess Trust's 2 most active Trustees are ECF Board nominees: David Eustance as Finance Director and Mike Truran as CEO. So actually they have huge influence.

2) Most of the national chess federations I cited have online chess magazines as part of their membership packages. Online magazines cost a fraction of print mags to produce. Another option is to offer discounted subscriptions to existing mags such as CHESS Monthly and BCM.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:03 am

TimWall wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:25 am
I'm not going to apologise for raising important issues today that have just come to light (the ECF Academy Tender)
This came to light only just now?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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TimWall
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by TimWall » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:16 am

Basically, yes. Myself and other Academy coaches have been working with England juniors in Turkey for the last 10 days. The Academy tender decision was announced 2 weeks ago, and a couple of days after that UK Chess Challenge announced unilaterally it was selecting the Academy coaches for the remaining 2019 Academy weekends - in contravention of the Tender Document.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:19 am

TimWall wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:58 am
2) Most of the national chess federations I cited have online chess magazines as part of their membership packages. Online magazines cost a fraction of print mags to produce.
They aren't completely cost free to produce though. In fact the ECF does produce something similar in the form of a regular newsletter. It doesn't restrict distribution to members though. Not should it, as it's one of the ways of bringing over the board competitive chess to the attention of social, casual and internet players.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:49 am

TimWall wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:02 am
ECF Council meeting April 27th 2019-WOR & TW.pdf
Ahead of today’s ECF Finance Council meeting in Birmingham, in order to facilitate a full and informed discussion, I am circulating the presentation prepared by the NCCU on the following resolution (Item 8 on the Agenda):
I see it repeats an old piece of wishful thinking.

At the time of the introduction of the Northern membership scheme at £ 10 a head, the income to the ECF increased. That was without any noticeable increase in the number of players. So charging a flat rate of £ 10 per head, increasing the aggregate income and not having any more players solves for it being a cost increase for the less active players. Much was made of abolishing the per game fee, but with it being around 50p to 60p a game, it was only players who played 15 to 20 games or more who benefited.

The same with the ECF's introduction of per head charging. There has not been a significant increase in the number of games or the number of participants.

Angus French
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Angus French » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:11 am
The successful England World Teams team had a sponsor.
Yes, it did - significant sponsorship was provided. But why did it cost just £21,000 in total to participate when it must have cost substantially more - well over £30,000 I'd guess - for the Open team to participate at the 2018 Olympiad?

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Membership fees resolution (from NCCU)

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:25 pm

Whatever the outcome of the NCCU proposals it does boil down to the same old thing. Yes ECF members should be getting more for their money and the ECF should do more to increase the player base. But where is the strategy and the team of volunteers who are going to deliver it?
Controller - Yorkshire League
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All views expressed entirely my own

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