From:                                         Angus French [angus@angusf.myzen.co.uk]

Sent:                                           16 April 2019 12:07

To:                                               'council.chair@englishchess.org.uk'

Cc:                                               'Gareth Ellis'; 'nex.chairman@englishchess.org.uk'; 'ceo@englishchess.org.uk'

Subject:                                     ECF Finance Council meeting - comments on the agenda

 

Dear Mike G,

 

A few comments, if I may, on the agenda for the upcoming Finance Council meeting:

 

1.       The draft minutes for last October’s AGM record (correction/approval of the 2018 FCM minutes - minute 5, page 2) that I asked for a breakdown of the 2018 Olympiad budget. What I asked for was a breakdown of the *actuals* - at the AGM I was at pains to emphasise it was the actuals I was after, not the budget figures!

2.       As you will know, I have asked Malcolm Pein for updated breakdowns of the expenditure on the 2018 Olympiad. (Malcolm did provide some initial figures but a) the headline figures in the latest management accounts are different; and, b) I was after more detail, with figures for the two teams and a breakdown of the fees figure – as I requested at last year’s FCM). I don’t yet have a response from Malcolm. I wonder, given that the original request was approved by Council and that the response ought, I think, to be published, could I ask you, as Chairman of Council, to chase?

3.       Again on the draft minutes for last October’s AGM: Minute 17 (Vote on Composite Finance Motion) has the result of the card vote as 160 for the motion and 103 against the motion. When the breakdowns of the card votes were published, wasn’t the ‘votes against’ figure corrected to be 107? Wouldn’t it be an idea for the minutes to have a note to this effect?

4.       Following on from the previous point, what has happened to the document which recorded the card vote breakdowns? Shouldn’t it be available on the Council Papers page of the website, next to the minutes?

5.       Item 7 on the agenda – to receive the report of the Finance Director – asks the meeting to ‘note and approve the proposed budgets for 2019/20 and 2020/21’. Please could it be made clear that the 2020/21 budget is notional only?

6.       Following on from the previous point, should not the meeting also note the accounts for 2017/18? I think there should be a specific item or sub-item for this: Council ought to be reviewing the outcomes of previous budget decisions. (I am concerned, for example, that £10,000 was spent in 2017/18 on the League Management System when the budget was only £2,000 – so far as I can see, no explanation has been provided for this.)

7.       Perhaps the meeting should also note the forecast outcome for 2018/19. Again, I think there should be more focus on performance against budget. (Of particular concern to me is that a Development Officer is yet been appointed and that Board meeting minutes show that the terms for the Development Officer role may have changed and that there has been a delay in arranging or getting approval for the release of funds from the chess trusts.)

8.       Also concerning agenda item 7, the proposed 2019/20 charge for non-Gold+ members to play in FIDE-rated events is given as £11. Shouldn’t it be £12 – the difference between the proposed fees for Silver adults (£27) and Gold adults (£39)?

9.       I wondered whether items 8 (which includes the proposal to limit increases in membership fees) and 9 (the proposal to cap expenditure on international chess) might be swapped. Wouldn’t it be better to identify/agree changes to expenditure before setting subscription rates?

 

There’s something else I’d like to mention: I am seriously concerned about the federation’s finances. The Board is banking on increases in membership numbers (as well as increases in membership fees) to turnaround the financial position after four years of losses or projected losses which will significantly deplete the reserves. But where will the increased membership numbers come from – already the forecasts for 2018/19 are significantly down on what was budgeted and the breakdowns of future increases by membership category baffle me. I’ve posted on the EC Forum about this: https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10192&sid=f67609cf00a5705373cf678cfa90ed38.

 

 

 

Regards,

Angus French, ECF Council representative for Bronze Members – and as your assistant?

 

Cc Julian Clissold (as Non-executive Chairman), Mike Truran (as Chief Executive), Gareth Ellis (as fellow Bronze members’ representative)