October 2023 ECF AGM

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Paul Cooksey
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 22, 2023 1:25 pm

I hope I didn't underestimate the amount of volunteer work done in chess. ECF membership at £1000 might be fair. As I said, you can argue £33 is such a ridiculously good deal people should shut and pay up.

But I am uncomfortable with this, in a model where membership is more or less compulsory, and the ECF does not give the members any say on how it uses their money.

EDIT: just to clarify for Mike, who I wish would comment publicly and save us all some games. I meant "paying members". I did mean the ECF not the board. I stand my my point that paying members have no way to influence what the executive spends its money on. I do need to go back to work.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 22, 2023 5:18 pm

"but if the rating team were costed out at commercial rates it would cost something in the £10-£20 range."

Have you left any zeros out?

It would cost less to collect membership fees if there were a flat fee. I know that many people would find that undesirable. The amounts spent on different activities should be listed, at least roughly.

I always worry if people want to complicate things or if they want to hide things. You may think that is cynical, I think it is accurate.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 22, 2023 5:25 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2023 5:18 pm
"but if the rating team were costed out at commercial rates it would cost something in the £10-£20 range."

Have you left any zeros out?
He might mean per head. Against that the on-line servers don't charge anything, but they must have other means of support.

Brian Valentine
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Brian Valentine » Fri Sep 22, 2023 8:51 pm

I was attempting to use the same currency as Paul, that is £10-£20 per member.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 22, 2023 10:20 pm

Thanks Brian

Angus French
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Angus French » Sat Sep 23, 2023 10:28 am

Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2023 8:51 pm
I was attempting to use the same currency as Paul, that is £10-£20 per member.
I can't help but wonder, why the range and why so much (be it £10 or £20 per member)? I have a vague recollection of an estimate - likely unofficial, and from some years ago - that grading services cost £1 per member. I guess this was based for the most part on the honorarium paid to the central grading administrator (which used to be somewhere south of £10K) and estimated number of members (say 10K).

NickFaulks
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Sep 23, 2023 10:54 am

I would be very surprised if the central cost to FIDE of running its rating system for about half a million players exceeds £100k per annum - although that is not enough and the infrastructure is creaking.
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Ian Thompson
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Ian Thompson » Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:12 am

Angus French wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2023 10:28 am
Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2023 8:51 pm
I was attempting to use the same currency as Paul, that is £10-£20 per member.
I can't help but wonder, why the range and why so much (be it £10 or £20 per member)? I have a vague recollection of an estimate - likely unofficial, and from some years ago - that grading services cost £1 per member. I guess this was based for the most part on the honorarium paid to the central grading administrator (which used to be somewhere south of £10K) and estimated number of members (say 10K).
But that's not at commercial rates. A long time ago, a previous grading administrator told me he spent 1500 hours doing the work, and that was without doing everything he should have done.

Hopefully, we have a more efficient system now than we did more than 20 years ago, so the current workload is less now.

Angus French
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Angus French » Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:38 am

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:12 am
Angus French wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2023 10:28 am
Brian Valentine wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2023 8:51 pm
I was attempting to use the same currency as Paul, that is £10-£20 per member.
I can't help but wonder, why the range and why so much (be it £10 or £20 per member)? I have a vague recollection of an estimate - likely unofficial, and from some years ago - that grading services cost £1 per member. I guess this was based for the most part on the honorarium paid to the central grading administrator (which used to be somewhere south of £10K) and estimated number of members (say 10K).
But that's not at commercial rates. A long time ago, a previous grading administrator told me he spent 1500 hours doing the work, and that was without doing everything he should have done.

Hopefully, we have a more efficient system now than we did more than 20 years ago, so the current workload is less now.
The point of my post was to draw a comparison between what rating services might actually cost and what Brian has said they would cost at commercial rates. The figures Brian gives read stupendously to me: if we conservatively estimate the number of members at 15K (right now at the start of the league chess season there are in excess of 16K members), then at commercial rates the rating service would cost £150,000 to £300,000. Is the *value* provided of that order?

Paul Cooksey
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:39 am

£12200 pa is budgeted for grading admin. A bit higher than the number Angus remembers, but not unreasonably so.

When I said grading £1 per member that is the number I had in mind. Brian's number for what the voluntary work would cost is a better guess than I could make. I would not argue if he'd said something much higher.

As I say, I'm a bit conflicted. Do players get a huge amount from volunteers? Yes, certainly. But I still think they should get a say in what the ECF does with their money. We all know grading/ rating is valued. But other things? Less clear.

I am very influenced by a departed friend of the forum, David Robertson. He felt the membership scheme had solved the ECFs financial crisis, but not its democratic one.

NickFaulks
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:57 am

Angus French wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:38 am
then at commercial rates the rating service would cost £150,000 to £300,000. Is the *value* provided of that order?
If you brought in Capita or PWC to do the job, I'm sure it would cost fifty times that. Also, it wouldn't work.
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Mike Gunn
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Mike Gunn » Sat Sep 23, 2023 12:03 pm

Paul, what is your recipe for solving the democratic deficit, then? Alongside most other voluntary organisations with 1,000s of members the democratic participation rate by members of the ECF is very low (instanced for example by the numbers voting to elect Member Representatives on Council). The basic federal structure of the ECF works in a sense because the people being elected are mainly organisers of congresses and local leagues, i.e. the people who do the actual work to run chess events. Essentially we have a democracy of organisers, for organisers. The usual proposal of one member one vote isn't going to work because (as we know) it's very difficult to interest ordinary chess players in the issues which a body such as the ECF has to address and the results of elections from an electorate of a few hundred are going to be fairly random.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Sep 23, 2023 12:30 pm

Politically, I probably shouldn't respond. I want people to recognise the problem rather than argue for a solution I have in mind. Problems without easy solutions remain problems.

David's own solution was voluntary membership with only those paying getting a vote. I'm not sure it is practical, which is what I used to say to David. But looking at our experience with covid, trying to find 2000 people willing to pay £50 in return for the right to elect directors? Maybe.

We do have of course have a democracy of a sort. But to my mind is 13th century Magna Carta democracy. At some point I think the Barons are going to have to give the peasants a vote. But maybe not for another generation.

Extending my analogy, the approach of the ECF Barons to the ECF peasants today is a bit 13th century too. The important question for the AGM is "Will they riot?".

Ian Jamieson
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Ian Jamieson » Sat Sep 23, 2023 12:48 pm

No, but they might withdraw their labour I.e stop playing some or all ECF rated chess.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: October 2023 ECF AGM

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Sep 23, 2023 1:06 pm

they say if you to explain them they aren't funny...

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