From: Angus French [email@example.com]
Sent: 26 September 2016 18:01
To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'
Subject: ECF AGM – Questions on the financing of the Junior Academy
Dear Traci, David, Christelle and Tim,
I would like, if I may, to follow up on two questions about the financing of the Junior Academy which I raised before last April’s Finance Council meeting.
My original questions are in the email below this one. The questions I’d like to pursue are questions 2 (concerning John Robinson Trust and sponsorship income) and 3 (concerning an apparent discrepancy between the two budget options presented to Council). Taking these in turn:
Q2 Revised. The budget for the Junior Academy is dependent on increased contributions from the JRT and from sponsorship. These now total £18K for both of 2016/17 and 2017/18 and £20K for 2018/19. At the time of Finance meeting no agreement had been reached to secure funding. Can I ask: Has the Junior Academy funding, in its entirety, now been agreed with the JRT and with sponsors (so far as I can see the Board’s report to Council does not say either way)?
Q3 Revised. Two budget options were presented to April’s Finance Council meeting. Budget A had extra expenditure covered by extra income. Budget B had no extra expenditure and no increase in membership and game fees. For the Junior Academy, we were told that budget B expenditure was the same as for budget A but without expenditure on the Elite programme (sources: Budget B spreadsheet, ‘Junior’ sheet, cell A57; and the Finance Director’s report) and also without expenditure of a further £3,100 (source: Budget B spreadsheet, ‘Junior’ sheet, cell A58). Given that Elite student counts are 10 for 2016/17 and 20 in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 and given that expenditure on each Elite student is £1,000 (source for counts and costs: document provided by Chantelle), I would expect the differences in expenditure between the two budgets to be:
- (10 * £1K) + £3,100 = £13,100 in 2016/17;
- (20 * £1K) + £3,100 = £23,100 in 2017/18; and
- (20 * £1K) + £3,100 = £23,100 in 2018/19.
However, the differences (taking the Budget A figures and subtracting the corresponding Budget B figures) are:
- £51,511 - £47,811 = £3,700 in 2016/17;
- £67,502 - £59,802 = £7,700 in 2017/18; and
- £71,142 - £63,442 = £7,700 in 2018/19.
So: either I’ve misunderstood, which is of course quite possible, or the Budget A figures are understated or the Budget B figures are overstated or the figures for both budgets are incorrect. If the Budget A figures are incorrect then I think this could be of serious consequence because these are the figures which have been carried forward to the new Budget C and the five-year plan.
Thanks and regards,
Angus French, Bronze Members' Direct Representative
Dear Traci and David,
While not wishing to detract from the huge effort I know has gone into setting up the Junior Academy and appreciating, as a measure of its success, that subscription applications are above expectation and greater than the number of places available, I have some concerns about the Academy's (projected) budget. Please could I trouble you with some observations and questions:
1. Last year’s budget had Academy net expenditure for 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 at, respectively, £4,200, £2,500 and £1,500: not too large and trending to £0. This year’s budget, for the same years, has £4,200*, £8,178 and £13,669: not insignificant and getting larger. With the changed figures, it seems to me we have a different proposition to the one presented to - and approved by - Council last year. The Academy would no longer be self-financing and would, instead, require investment.
2. The increases in net expenditure would be greater still were it not for increased contributions from sponsors and the John Robinson Trust**: up from £7K to £18K in each of 2016/17 and 2017/18. The notes to the Option A spreadsheet make clear these contributions are not guaranteed. What happens if there is a shortfall in income from grants and sponsorship?
3. The Finance Report for Saturday's meeting indicates that part of the reason the figures have changed is because there was no previous allowance for funding of an Elite tier. However, what’s not provided is the new cost of the Elite tier. I've tried to derive the figures by subtracting the budget B total expenditure figures from the corresponding budget A figures and then subtracting the further £3,100 which the Budget B notes say would also not be spent. However, this produces expenditure figures of £600 for 2016/17 and £4,600 for 2017/18 and these seems too low. Please could you state the budgeted expenditure figures for the elite tier? Please could you also confirm that the total expenditure figures provided in the budget spreadsheets are correct?
4. The Finance Report seems to imply that the Elite tier is new (and that this is the reason no allowance was made for it previously). I'm surprised by this because a description of the Elite tier was included in the presentation to last year’s Finance meeting and, further, one of the features was provision of financial support to assist players in securing norms.
* I assume. The breakdown in the Budget A spreadsheet has £254 net expenditure forecast for 2015/16 (cell E83, junior sheet) but this is based on an expenditure figure (£17,087 – cell E82) which is different to the (£21,033) figure given in both the summary section of the same sheet (cell E46) and in the Option B spreadsheet.
** The Option A spreadsheet has (see note 1) income for the Academy from the “JRT and other sponsors” at £18K in both of 2016/17 and 2017/18. It also has (note 2) income from the “John Robinson Youth Chess Trust” at £18K (the same amount) in both 2016/17 and 2017/18. And it states (note 6): “A new sponsorship program/initiative has been started to further develop the ECF Academy. The sponsorship program will initiate in the next 6 months. A meaningful sponsor has already shown interest.” I’m confused by this: how is the £18K - on which we would be reliant - made up?
I'd be grateful for a response on each of the points raised above.
Angus French, Bronze Members' Direct Representative