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Updated 29.6.04

Saturday 19th June 2004 at the Exmouth Arms, Starcross St, London NW1
rjh 29.6.04
15 attended. Main points:
(1) Accounts 2003-4. There had not been time to get the Accounts audited. The Treasurer said this seemed likely to be a recurring problem, given the short time between the end of the financial year and the AGM. He would like to see the financial year adjusted. No decisions were made, or could be without formal notice, but this is probably something the Executive Committee will be looking at.
     The Accounts showed a surplus for the year of £486, due largely to Junior events not held. We had also received donations of £320 for Junior activities, and had saved a fair amount on travel to meetings. We had reserves of nearly £2400, and the Treasurer felt we should aim to increase this to £3000 in the not too long term.
     The Executive was given authority to approve the Accounts after audit.
(2) Budget 2004-5. An element had been allowed for revaluation of our silver trophies, last valued about ten years ago. No one was proposing any change in subs or entry fees or Bulletin subscription. Accordingly these remain at £50 County subscription (NCMs half of this); £20 per team entry in the Counties Championship; and £9 Bulletin subscription. Entry fees to other competitions are normally fixed by the Executive.
(3) Juniors. It had not been possible to arrange the Junior Jamborees for a date this term, and it was reluctantly agreed that the 2003-4 events be not held. The U14/90 Finals would be on Sunday 4th July, at a venue to be decided.
(4) Election of Officers. No change, except that Bruce Birchall felt he should perhaps stand down as Junior Organiser in view of his unpredictable state of health. He would be willing to come back, preferably with a deputy in place, if the Executive could not find a suitable candidate to take over. The position is accordingly vacant for the moment, and the Executive are looking around.
     There was actually one further change on the Junior front. David Millward, Assistant Junior Organiser, has never really been that and it was agreed to change his title to reflect more accurately the job he does do. He is now the U14/90 Organiser.
     The Officers are all in Who's Who as usual.
(5) Non-County Representatives on the Executive. The rules allow for five, but only two nominations had been received. These two were accordingly declared elected (see Who's Who), and further nominations will be invited.
(6) U180 & U135 Jamboree Rules. The meeting adopted the Union's very first set of Rules for these competitions. (In the past, we have got by with ad hoc rules on a year-by-year basis.)
(7) BCF Membership. This is the topic already mentioned in the next meeting down (item 5). It was to determine SCCU policy in advance of the Extraordinary BCF meeting to be held a week later. By the time you read this the BCF meeting will have happened, and we refer you to our account of it in the BCF page (26.6.04). We'll be fairly brief here. One County said it had discussed the question at its recent AGM, and voting had gone 7 in favour of the NCCU proposals, 11 against, and 13 in favour of a transitional hybrid between Membership and Game Fee. One thing Council agreed on was that you can't calculate grades for non-Members and publish them as a row of asterisks. Another was, "What's £10 for goodness sake, however you pay it?" Another was that you just couldn't take the risk of switching to a completely new scheme blind. It was pointed out that a hybrid scheme was not on the Agenda for the BCF meeting, and some wondered if we should propose it as an amendment. In the end it was agreed, by a rather large 12-0 majority, simply to vote against the proposals.
     The meeting also spent some time on a red herring, but it's of interest anyway. It appears that the BCF Management Board wants to move towards the status of a company limited by guarantee. As an unincorporated association, if that is the correct term, the BCF enjoys no financial protection for its members. This is apparently the case whether it changes its Membership structure or not.
     The meeting closed at 5.01 pm, and most of it then attended the traditional post-AGM

This meeting is for routine things like appointing delegates and Sub-Committees. Those appointed are all in Who's Who. It also fixed the date of the next Executive meeting: Friday 17th September.

David Smith, County Match Controller, writes:
Below are the fixtures for next season's Open Championship. As many will be aware there are only five competing Counties next year (Essex, Herts, Kent, Surrey & Sussex) but the Match Captains decided that they would prefer to play just a single round of matches rather than doubling up.
     Please note that at this stage the fixtures are provisional and Match Captains are at liberty to re-arrange, by mutual agreement, any dates that are impossible. Do please advise of any changes to both myself and Webmaster / Bulletin Editor Richard Haddrell as quickly as possible.
     Please note also that whilst every effort has been made to preserve the yearly alternation of Homes and Aways, this has proved impossible in a small number of cases due to the varying impact of losing two currently competing Counties.
SCCU Open Fixtures 2004/2005
Oct    2
Oct  23
Nov 13
Feb    5
Mar   5
KSy   HSx
SyH   EK
HE   SxSy
ESx   KH
SxK   SyE
In making these fixtures I have avoided known SCCU-based congresses in London, (Metropolitan) Hitchin, Hastings, Portsmouth and St Albans together with all 4NCL dates as currently published.
     Match Captains remain the same as at present with the exception of Surrey who will be managed by a committee comprising Scott Freeman and Howard Curtis
     If anyone has queries, please contact me asap. Otherwise best wishes to all for an enjoyable and trouble-free competition.

14.5.04: Update
We were a bit cagey about Item 5, in our Report below, because we were waiting for things to happen. They have now, and here's some more detail.
     The "holdup" was that, for reasons your Webmaster has not mastered, the Extraordinary Meeting could not, after all, be held unless called for by two Unions. The NCCU clearly wanted one, and they had previously been offered the support of another Union; but it had fallen through. A large part of the Executive's deliberations was about whether we should jump into the breach and offer our support instead.
     There were complicating factors. But in the end it was resolved, by a healthy majority, that we should offer our support. This would not imply our agreement with the NCCU proposals, but simply our feeling that they were entitled to a meeting if they wanted one.
     Contact ensued, and the upshot two days later was that SCCU and NCCU simultaneously called for the Extraordinary Council Meeting. Both Unions specified that its agenda should be restricted to Item 13 of the April agenda in Bristol. (If unsure what that was, see the BCF page 24.4.04.)
     We know, as one of the calling Unions, that the Meeting is now positively fixed for Saturday 26th June in Nottingham, to mesh with a Management Board meeting (and, incidentally, some chess). You can't take this as formal notice. We are the SCCU. Formal notice from the BCF should reach all Members within a week or so.
rjh 28.5.04

Friday 14th May 2004 at the Exmouth Arms, Starcross St, London NW1
Nine attended. Main points:
(1) Juniors. The Junior Jamborees have still not been arranged, due largely to Bruce Birchall's spell in hospital. He has just been re-admitted, and it looked as though the Jamborees might have to go by the board this year. However a Coulsdon person said it might still be possible to arrange something at Coulsdon later this term. Consultations proceed.
     The U14/90 Finals also are not definitively arranged. A date had been more or less fixed, but it turned out not to suit one of the teams. Last-ditch efforts are being made to find a date everyone can manage, perhaps in early July.
(2) Money. The Treasurer was reasonably content, as Treasurers go. At the moment expenditure was well below budget with Junior activities, for obvious reasons. Otherwise we were near enough on target, and he saw no reason to propose changes in fees at the AGM. It was noted that BCF fees are going up - meaning Game Fee and the Counties Championships entry fees - but you knew that.
(3) SCCU County matches. It was noted that Cambs and Bucks have both officially withdrawn from the Open competition for next year. Both have had difficulty raising teams, and maybe travel has had something to do with it. We shall now only be entitled to two qualifying places for the BCF stage.
(4) Child Protection. The Executive adopted an official SCCU Child Protection policy, but in a provisional form which is still the subject of consultation. In its final form it will hopefully go to this year's AGM for ratification (and, of course, appear on this Site).
(5) BCF Membership. This is the item that should have got decided at the BCF's Bristol Council meeting (see BCF page) and didn't. That meeting called for an Extraordinary Council Meeting to resolve the unfinished business. There seemed to have been some kind of holdup in arranging it, but it would probably be on Saturday 26th June. [rjh 17.5.04: I hear that's now definite.]
     The Executive had previously (see next report down, item 7) decided not to support the NCCU proposals, at least until more detail was available. With more detail available now, it reviewed the topic but still felt unable to reach clear conclusions without direct input from Member organisations. The impression was that some were strongly opposed to a "compulsory" Membership scheme while others would support it. Fortunately the SCCU AGM (19th June) is a week before the likely date of the BCF meeting, so it should be possible to form a definitive SCCU view and send delegates bristling with mandates.
     It was agreed that an extra meeting was an awful waste of time and money - a BCF figure of £1000 probably isn't far off the mark - when the whole thing could have been decided at Bristol. But the Executive felt that the NCCU were entitled to a meeting, and if they wanted one they should have one.
(6) U180 & U135 Jamboree Rules. These have never been to an AGM, and it is probably time they did. Anyway, the Executive briefly considered a draft and the Rules & Appeals Sub-Committee will be working on it with the AGM in mind.

The meeting closed at 9.04 pm, which is so early it's unheard of. The agenda was not as light as you might suppose, from the brevity of this report. We have omitted a fair amount of routine business, and here and there we have compressed many words into few.
rjh 17.5.04

Friday 12th March 2004 at the Exmouth Arms, Starcross St, London NW1
14 attended. The meeting welcomed Gary Kenworthy, newly elected as the fifth NCM rep.
(1) Money. It was reported that everyone was paid up except for one Non-County Member: the Hastings International Congress. Income had been boosted by £330 in donations for junior activities, and entry fees were £20 more than expected. We also had two Patrons under the new scheme [rjh: it's three now: see Who's Who?]. Thus far we were well over budget. It was harder to tell in terms of expenditure, as at least one event had not happened yet and other officers still had claims to submit.
(2) Insurance (or, Money again). Our premium of £230 covers equipment to the value of about £2000, trophies about £8000, plus public liability. Not for the first time there was discussion about whether the trophies should be insured, and the consensus appeared to be "yes, for the moment". It was agreed to get the four silver trophies re-valued, as the existing valuations are about ten years old. (Which are the four? Look in the Trophies page.)
(3) SCCU Youth Chess Trust. Or, Money again. The mooted YCT is a proposal of Bruce Birchall, who presented a paper on it. Advantages would be (potentially) funding from charities, and a 28% tax windfall on donations given in Gift Aid. There are start-up and administrative costs, but a Trust might pay for itself in perhaps a year. We have a fair amount of expertise on tap which would help in setting it up.
     It appears that there are quite a few such trusts in English chess, some of them very successful. Someone thought it would make more sense to have just one trust, administered centrally. There is, in fact, a BCF Youth Chess Trust but it confines itself to BCF business and it was said not to be active in seeking funds these days. Bruce was asked to pursue his investigations and come back with a detailed feasibility study.
(4) County matches. One concern was that a couple of Counties were finding it hard to field a full Open team, and might have to drop out. There had been numerous defaults. Cambs, indeed, had just announced apologetically that they were defaulting a match next day. The strength of Cambridgeshire teams has fluctuated wildly year by year. (In the last six seasons their positions have been successively 1st, 8th, 1st, 6th, 3rd and 7th.) No decisions have been made, but it is possible the Cambs first team might return to East Anglia next year.
     Someone remarked that a central venue would cut out a lot of difficulties with travel. We used to have one of these, a long time ago, and pressure to revert to it has not been intense.
(5) Junior events. The U14/90, after a slow start and the loss of one or two teams, had picked up speed and was all set to produce four qualifiers on schedule by the end of term. No one had actually qualified yet, and no arrangements had yet been made for the Finals.
     The Junior Jamborees had suffered from the organiser's prolonged stay in hospital (he had only emerged a couple of weeks before the meeting), and the original February plans had fallen through. Negotiations for a new date had made little progress. But two people at the meeting said they could probably find venues, perhaps on two different days. We are not left with very many suitable dates, but investigations proceed.
(6) British Championship Qualifying places 2005 and SCCU Individual Championship 2004-5. Five congresses had applied for places. Everyone got three votes, and the BCQ places were awarded to Coulsdon, Hitchin and Ilford. The SCCU Championship, for once, was awarded separately and went to Southend. (Coulsdon have a choice of suitable events but their Easter one clashes with Southend. Their December one is the probable choice.)
(7) BCF matters. Two interesting proposals had been made for the forthcoming April Council meeting.
     (a) "Grading Membership". Durham (who can't make proposals but they are thought to have the support of the NCCU who can) had proposed a new class of BCF Membership, with grades of non-Members not published. Details, originally very vague, had started to emerge. The projected fee for Grading Membership was £8 and would not cover any of the benefits of the existing classes of Membership. Grading Members would not pay Game Fee. [rjh: - all clear now? Nor me. Perhaps other details will emerge with the papers of the meeting.]
     The Executive decided that the SCCU would not support this as it stood, pending more detailed development of the ideas. The BCF already has a sub-committee looking at the way forward on Membership, though your Webmaster is not aware that it has made any progress.
     (b) Junior Game Fee. Junior events (that is, events which are exclusively junior) are exempt from Game Fee. The BCF Management Board will propose removing this exemption, and has not announced whether it intends a concessionary rate. It is understood that the money raised would be ring-fenced for junior activities. On last season's figures the money might be in the region of £6000 a year if you charged at half-rate and everyone paid. That is, everyone who had their event graded last year. (This is your Webmaster's figure.)
     After a long digression on the UK Land Chess Challenge, nearly all of which is not graded, the Executive debated a proposal to oppose the MB's idea. This proposal was lost. It then debated a proposal to support it, and that also was lost.
     (c) The level of Game Fee 2004-5 wasn't mentioned. But the MB are known to be hoping for an increase.
     (d) Players with Disabilities. Not a proposal. But it was noted that the BCF's promised guidelines had been circulated to interested parties, though they had not yet appeared on the BCF website. [rjh: They now have.]
(8) The Behaviour of Juniors at chess events. One delegate was very concerned about the behaviour of some, apparently unsupervised, juniors at congresses. The consumption of alcohol was mentioned. It was agreed to ask the BCF to draw up a set of guidelines on supervision.
(9) BCF Presidents / BCET Awards. Members were invited to make nominations (to the SCCU President, by Easter). It was regrettable that the Union had made no nomination for an Educational Trust Award last year.

The meeting, having started 20 minutes late through an element of double-booking with the venue, still finished at 10.14 pm.
rjh 15.3.04

at the Golden Lion WC1, 19th September 2003
12 attended. (Or 11, for the first 40 minutes. Hamsters on the line at St Leonards Warrior Square.)
(1) SCCU Deputy President. After all these months with no candidate, suddenly there were two names on the table. The Executive appointed Mike Gunn of Surrey.
(2) Money. The Accounts are now audited, and the Executive approved them as provided by Council. Insurance of Trophies came up again - see two meetings back - but inconclusively, and talk was more of upping the insurance than discontinuing it. The Trophies are bound to be under-insured. For the coming year, at any rate, it's the mixture as before.
(3) Junior Budget
The U14/90 was fixed already. Entry fee £10 per team, as agreed by the AGM even if we didn't say so at the time, and running expenses are what they are. Running expenses largely means hire of venue for the Finals. We haven't paid anything at all for this in the last two seasons, but you can't count on that every time. It was lucky, really, considering there wasn't an entry fee then.
     Junior Jamborees. Again, there hasn't been an entry fee in the past. The Executive had been thinking of £10 per team this year, or £5 for the Girls events (which are over fewer boards). In the event it decided to fix the entry fee at £1.50 per board, in line with the adult U180 and U135 Jamborees. This will mean £18 for the Open over 12 boards, and varying amounts for the Girls teams since they play over varying numbers of boards. It was remarked that the U14/90, which is a season-long league, gives you much more chess for your pound than the one-day Jamborees. This is true, but the U14/90 entrants have their own venue expenses to bear.
     SCCU Junior Individual Championships. Firstly, it was agreed to buy permanent trophies to go with all the titles that don't have one already. By "permanent" we mean permanent from the Union's point of view. The sort we get back annually, or lose. Finding out which are required could be a harder job than we thought. Our Trophies page lists three silver-plated cups "acquired December 2002", but there now appears to be some doubt whether these really were permanent in that sense. (We've never seen them. The ones acquired a year earlier we have, and they are permanent.) Once thus equipped, we will stop giving prize money and instead give each winner a cheaper trophy of the keepsake variety.
     The effect of all these decisions adds up to a deficit budget, for juniors, of about £260 for 2003-4, including a one-off provision of £120 for buying permanent trophies. Obviously the whole thing depends on unknowables like how many teams will enter. The "adult" part of the budget is roughly in balance.
     The Executive briefly discussed the possibility of setting up a charitable trust for junior activities. This will be looked at, with a view to fuller discussion at a later meeting.
(4) SCCU Open Individual Championship. None of the above affects the Open Championship. But the Executive confirmed, while it was about it, that prize money would be shared just as the title is. For the British Championship qualifying places, tie-break rules would be whatever rules the congress was using elsewhere.
(5) Under 14/90 2003-4. Invitations to play went out long ago, but some people have not been heard from and the list of entries is not yet finalised. So, not much news.
(6) Junior Jamborees 2003-4 will be held on Sunday 29th February 2004, at a venue to be fixed. This is the Girls' events as well as the U18 Open. Normally it would be preferred to hold the Girls' events separately, but we are short of dates this year.
(7) Patrons of the SCCU. The AGM had asked the Executive to explore the possibility of a new, paying, category of Vice-President. The Executive decided to go straight ahead with this, but preferred the word "Patron". It is now possible to support the Union by becoming a Patron, for an annual sum of £20 (or such higher figure as you wish). This is a donation and confers no special rights except your name on the Site, and in the BCF Yearbook.
     The Treasurer (details in Who's Who?) will be pleased to hear from you at any time.
(8) BCF Council meeting. At the forthcoming meeting 27th September the BCF was to consider, in principle, whether to go ahead with a change of name to English Chess Federation. The Executive, when asked for a steer by one of its BCF reps, unanimously supported the change.
(9) Dates of future meetings. Executive: Fridays 12th March and 14th May 2004. AGM: Saturday 19th June.

This time the meeting (7 o'clock start as always) finished at 9.36. It used to be rare for meetings to finish much before 10.30, and the modern record is 10.53. We're just not getting value for money these days.
rjh 21.9.03

Saturday 21st June 2003 (2 pm) at the Fountains Abbey, Praed St, London W2
rjh 22.6.03
18 attended. Main items:
(1) Money. The Accounts were unaudited, because the Auditor had some questions which the Treasurer had not yet had time to answer. No one doubts the basic accuracy of the Accounts, and normally Council would have said "adopted subject to audit". But at the Treasurer's request it said instead, "Not adopted and we authorise the Executive to adopt after audit". Perhaps this is a distinction without a difference.
     Anyway, you know what the Accounts said. Deficit of nearly £1000 for the year. There is a copy you can download by clicking here. Various economies were spoken of. For most of these, see the Executive meeting 9th May a bit further down the page. A new one (not favoured) was to stop giving prizes to the SCCU Junior Champions. Obviously the Executive will be actively seeking economies.
     Council devoted much attention to the Executive's proposals on Junior finances, and the (eventual) outcome was: "Budget adopted except for its Junior aspects, and the Executive is requested to look further at these at its next meeting." So the whopping increases in affiliation and (adult) entry fees went through almost on the nod.
(2) Election of Officers. No revolutions. The willing incumbents were re-elected, and the vacant Junior Organiser's job was taken by Bruce Birchall. Bruce has been junior Organiser before, for five years in the nineties. There is still no Deputy President, but it's not a job there's much need for unless the President goes to Peru. All Officers are in Who's Who?.
(3) County matches. The Controller said it looked as though Sussex would manage to find a First Team captain for next year. Cambridgeshire, also between captains at the moment, would presumably find one. They always do. We were still, however, without Oxon in the Championship. (They would continue to affiliate to the Union, so there was no problem with their U14/90 team.) As for the current BCF Stage, the SCCU was having a poor season. We're not sure whether David actually said this, but if he didn't others were saying it. Only two SCCU teams at Finals Day is a record we must try not to beat.
(4) U14/90 Finals. It was announced that the much-delayed Finals would be held on Saturday 5th July at Potters Bar.
(5) Grading. Howard Grist said his grading was done. This means all County matches, the U180 and U135 Jamborees, the U14/90, and all the Junior Jamborees (plus anything else we haven't thought of). He had no reason to think the grading list would be late. Howard is closely involved with the production of the list, and in a position to know about things like this. The BCF's Grading Database Manager, who was sitting a few feet away, said nothing but concurs.
(6) SCCU Bulletin. The Bulletin Editor said, and some of you will know, that publication had been getting later and later this year. The "May" issue, due three weeks before, was not even embarked on. He blamed the pressure of other things, combined with his own dwindling enthusiasm. The Bulletin these days was no more than an extract from the Website, and he had come to regard its production as a chore. Circulation, well over 100 a few years ago, was now in the 60s and falling. Presumably the Website was the culprit, and irregular production would not help.
     One of the Bulletin's functions is to provide a permanent record, and it was suggested that two or three Bulletins a year, or even one, would satisfy this. It might not cater for the people who can't (or won't) read websites, but to what extent should we go out of our way for them? No decisions were made.
(7) Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Some time was spent on this, mostly regretting the BCF's tardiness in doing anything about it. We would press the Management Board for an indication of progress. Should we contact congress organisers on our patch and tell them how the Act was going to affect them? Easier said than done, because much would be unclear until the lawyers had had their go at it. In the meantime HMSO have published Guidelines, which were recommended by people present who had read them.
(8) Child Protection Policy. It had been intended to put a draft policy paper to Council. However, there have been delays with technical inquiries and it will have to wait until next year now. The Executive will continue its investigations.

The meeting closed at the remarkably (for SCCU AGMs) early time of 4.10 pm.

Fountains Abbey 21.6.03
The Executive met briefly, as always, after the AGM. It did routine things.
SCCU Representative to BCF Management Board: D Smith
SCCU Representatives to BCF Council: RJ Haddrell, R Heppinstall, D Smith, Z Ryle
SCCU Representative to London Chess Association: M Gunn. He said the LCA had not met last year.
SCCU Rules & Appeals Sub-Committee: M Gunn, RJ Haddrell, R Heppinstall, JT Melsom, JA Philpott
     It also discussed arrangements for the election of Non-County reps on the Executive. They would be the same as last year (a postal/email/telephone ballot of all NCMs, assuming more than five were willing to stand). [Later note: only four were.]
Next meeting: Friday 19th September 2003 at the Golden Lion

David Smith, County Match Controller, writes:
To all SCCU Open Match Captains, County Secretaries and Executive
I have had to revise the fixtures following the recent withdrawal of Oxfordshire. The revised set is being sent to the people I have on file, but if you will not be your County’s Open Match Captain next season please forward this to your successor if known.
     Impending changes include Oliver Cooley and Paul Watson, who will be relinquishing their posts as Match Captain for Cambridgeshire and Sussex respectively. As yet replacements for these two officials have not been found, and if no such appointments are made before the start of the season neither County will be able to fulfil its fixtures, resulting in byes for the published opponents in each round.
     Match Captains will notice that due to the change in competing Counties it has not been possible to maintain the established sequence of venues in all cases. The opportunity has however been taken to alternate home and away fixtures throughout the season, as opposed to the somewhat irregular sequence which had built up in recent years.
     Please note that at this stage the fixtures are provisional. Please check the dates carefully for suitability and if it is necessary to alter any (after consultation and agreement with your opponents) advise both myself and the Webmaster/Bulletin Editor without delay.

Oct   4   ESx HSy KBu Jan 17    




18     31   KE BuC SySx
25   SyK SxH CE Feb  7    
Nov   1     14    
8     21    
15   HC KSx BuSy 28   CSy EBu HK
22     Mar  6    
29   SxBu CK EH 13   BuH SyE SxC
Dec   6     21    
13     28    

Entries for the grading-limited divisions will be taken after the grading list is out. Entry deadline 15th August.

Golden Lion WC1 9.5.03
A well attended meeting (13 present) discussed some weighty things.
(1) Money was the weightiest, but you expected that. The draft accounts 2002-3 showed a deficit of more than £1000 [subsequently revised to £985], and a bank balance of less than £2000. In 1998 we had more than £4000 in the kitty. No one suggested we ought to have £4000 in the kitty, but we couldn't go on losing money at this rate. (Not for long, that's certain.) The situation would have been worse had it not been for substantial donations offsetting Junior costs. The Executive, after full discussion, agreed on various measures. The major ones, at least, must go to the AGM.
     (a) County affiliation fee to go up from £30 to £50 (NCM affiliation is automatically one half of the County rate). Will go to AGM.
     (b) Entry fee, Counties Championship to go up from £12 to £20 per team. Will go to AGM.
     (c) Other entry fees. It is not clear that this has to go to the AGM, and we're not sure what the intention is. The Executive proposes no change to the U180 and U135 Jamboree fees (currently £15 and £9 and always set, so far, by the Executive). However it proposes entry fees, for the first time, for the Junior team events. Figures: Girls Jamborees £5; Open Jamboree and U14/90 £10. (The Girls Jamborees are over fewer boards.)
     (d) Adult Individual prize money to be cut. And diverted to a more appropriate recipient. At present it takes the form of a free entry (currently £160) to the British Championship, awarded at the congress that hosts the SCCU Championship; and it goes to the highest-placed eligible player who hasn't got a free entry already. This need not be the SCCU Champion, or even an SCCU player. The SCCU Champion can win the tournament outright and get nothing. The Executive thought this wrong, particularly as all our Junior Champions get prizes (ranging from £25 to £50). Accordingly, in future years, the British entry fee will be scrapped and replaced by an SCCU Championship prize of £100. This does not apply to the forthcoming Ilford Congress, at which we are already committed to paying the entry fee.
     (e) Economies. The Executive inconclusively discussed economies with room hire and travel. (Do we need three Executive meetings a year, or four SCCU reps present in person when the BCF has a Council meeting in Leeds?) It wondered, also, whether we really need to insure our trophies. We'll do so this year, but look at it later. One economy that's forced on us is our £50 donation to the Ron Banwell International at Coulsdon, because the event will not be happening. [That's what was said at the meeting, and we thought it meant the Ron Banwell was no more. We've since learned that it has been relocated to the Blackpool Hilton Congress 4-9 August.]
     There was also a suggestion that we might save money by emailing the Bulletin instead of snailing it. Probably not a lot, because most of the subscribers with email addresses will have emigrated to the Website already. The subscription list is down to 64, and 21 of those are getting it for free as a Union service. Oh, County Secretaries, members of the Executive, that sort of thing.
     After all this we are still going to be left with a budget deficit of maybe £300 or £400 for the new season. Details are still being worked out.
(2) BCF entry fees. This emerged incidentally out of the above. We had assumed that the Home Director's plan to increase the Counties Championship entry fee to £20 had been dropped, since he sat all through a Finance Council meeting the other week and didn't mention it. But he has since said that he hasn't dropped it at all. Some Executive members thought this odd, some didn't seem too worried, and one became slightly more worried when informed that it isn't just for the BCF Stage. Everyone pays it who enters at Union level. (Yes, you pay two entry fees. An SCCU one and a BCF one.)
(3) BCF Finals: central venue. The person who always makes noises about this wanted the question raised again at the BCF's September Council meeting. This year's venue was "even worse than last year's". He had in mind accessibility by public transport. Uppingham School is in a rural location several miles from the nearest railway station. (In nearly all other respects, in your Webmaster's opinion, it is a far better venue than Rushey Mead.) The Executive thought that, having unsuccessfully proposed the abolition of central venues in October, we could not resurrect the proposal after only one year. But it agreed to propose that the BCF in future choose a venue reasonably accessible by public transport.
(4) SCCU Championship 2003-4 and British Championship Qualifying places 2004. Four congresses had applied for the Championship and the three qualifying places available. On a close vote, the SCCU Championship went to the Hitchin Congress 6-7 December 2003. The BCQ places go to Hitchin, Southend and Ilford. The one that lost out was Coulsdon, perhaps because of doubts about their playing space.
(5) U14/90. The Organiser reported that the qualifiers were known (but you knew that: see the U14/90 page) and two of them had offered venues. The Finals were not arranged yet.
(6) Child Protection policy. A draft was agreed, or near enough, and will be presented to Council in June subject to technical enquiries.
(7) SCCU Officers. It was announced that Pat Aarons, Junior Organiser, had resigned. No successor has come forward for next year. Otherwise we are OK for next year except for Deputy President.

The meeting closed at 9.45 pm, having got through its important agenda with time to spare.

Golden Lion WC1 7.3.03
The Executive met in a new venue, down the road from Kings Cross station. This is a nice venue and looks like being our regular one for a while at least. A modest eight attended. Main points:
(1) Money. Pin your ears back, County Treasurers. SCCU Treasurer Richard Quin, new in the job this year, said he still had no proper feel for expenditure. Each event ought to have its own budget in future. He asked all officers to tell him, as soon as possible, their expected spending for the rest of the season. But he was very concerned about continuing deficits. If things were as bad as they looked we could easily lose well over £1000 in the season and end up well below the £2000 reserves thought acceptable a year ago. Another year like this and we could have almost nothing left. He understood that we had been deliberately running our reserves down, but thought we'd gone far enough. He would wish to see a big increase in affiliation and membership fees. He suggested maybe £20 per team entry fee in the Counties Championship (currently £12) and a £50 County affiliation fee (currently £30). The affiliation fee for Non-County Members is, of course, automatically one half of the County fee.
     There was some feeling that you don't push fees up in huge leaps like this, you do it gradually. On the other hand it had been gradual to the point of non-existence in recent years. No one knew how long it was since the fees had gone up, but everyone knew it was a long time. [Your Webmaster has looked it up since, and it's eight years.] Interestingly the BCF are thinking of putting their bit of the entry fee up to £20 as well (currently £12.50 if we've got it right, but we don't know how long it's been there).
     There was also concern about Junior expenditure. Maybe we should be looking at grants, or entry fees. There aren't any of either. We had relied quite heavily on donations in the last year or two.
     Perhaps we should have said earlier that all due entry and affiliation fees to date have been paid. This isn't always the case in March. But it's not the problem. The Executive will have another look at all this at its May meeting, hopefully with fuller information available, before coming up with recommendations to Council. Don't assume things are going to go on the way they have been.
(2) County Matches: SCCU Stage. The Controller, in a written report, said the number of defaulted games was down from 84 last year to a more modest (but still unsatisfactory) 58 with a handful of matches to come. There had been only one match default, though a couple of others had threatened to happen.
(3) County Matches: BCF-Stage Draw. The Executive was disturbed by the late additions to the draw in the U150 (see BCF-Stage page). It did not see why teams with no entitlement to play should have been been added, especially as an afterthought, in a competition which was one over the eight already. One of them actually seemed to be a Union's second nominee out of two competing teams. It was agreed to ask the Management Board (which met next week) to have these teams removed.
(4) County Matches: proposed BCF rule changes. The Management Board papers included notice of two proposals by the Home Director.
     (a) To relax the rules on qualification to play in the BCF Stage. At present a County can lose out through no fault of its own because some other County has defaulted a match. We won't detail the proposals. The Executive discussed them briefly and had reservations, but made no formal resolution.
     (b) To change the grading limits to mean-grade ones in the interest of flexibility. The Director had no personal view on this, or if he had he wasn't saying. He was proposing it to see whether people wanted it. The Executive took no view either, beyond remarking that it would need more careful rules than the draft ones the Director had provided. However it was clear on one thing. The Director proposed this change without altering the figures (so that, for example, U175 full stop became U175 on average). This would completely alter the strength of the teams, which presumably was not the Director's intention. It would also bring the U175 dangerously close to the (mean U180) Minor Counties. If the Director wished to make this proposal we would press for a reduction in the figures by (say) ten or fifteen points.
(5) Grading. The Grading Secretary, in a written report, had nothing to say on the SCCU front but remarked that the BCF's new software looked to be working, processing of results was going much faster than last year, and he did not expect the grading list to be late.
(6) Under 14/90. The Controller reported that Surrey had qualified, but the other three groups were as yet undetermined. One of them had fallen to two teams after a County withdrew, and another team had defaulted either once or twice. (It was thought to be twice, but no one had actually told the Controller.)
(7) Junior Jamborees. Nothing seemed to be happening about the BCF U18 Jamborees, and it was agreed to ask the Management Board to fix (and announce) next year's dates well in advance, and make sure somone was appointed to run the events. It turned out that someone present had heard, indirectly, that this year's events did have a date and venue, though no announcement had been made. He knew when and where, but we won't say until we have BCF confirmation. [Note 21.3.03. There is confirmation now, though the BCF still aren't going out of their way to announce it. See Management Board report 15.3.03, item 7.]
     This year's SCCU U18 Jamborees had not been arranged too far in advance either, and it was agreed that in future the dates should be known before the season got under way.
(8) Equipment. The Curator of Equipment said, as Curators of Equipment will, that the equipment was all there. (He had no precise figure but it was something like 40 of everything.) The Treasurer remarked that equipment - and Trophies - ought to show up in the Accounts.
(9) SCCU Championship 2003-4 and British Championship qualifying places 2004. These will be awarded to three SCCU congress at the Executive's May meeting. Applications from congresses are invited (deadline 19th April). A couple of congresses had said it would be easier for them if places were awarded in March in future, and it was agreed to do this next year.
(10) BCF Presidents and BCET Awards. We can nominate one of each. Anyone with suggestions in mind should contact the (SCCU) President by the end of March, giving details.
(11) Child Protection Policy. We have no policy. The President, believing this to be wrong, tabled a paper outlining the sort of thing we ought to have. It will be discussed at the May meeting.
(12) Disabilities Working Group (BCF). This working group was reported, by Bruce Birchall who is on it, to be "dysfunctional". [rjh: it may not be the only one.]

We finished at 10.20 this time. It was a heavy agenda.

Exmouth Arms 6.9.02
The Executive met for the first time since the AGM in June. Fourteen attended, equalling but not surpassing the AGM. Main points:
(1) Treasurer. The Executive ratified the appointment of Richard Quin as Treasurer. Richard has held senior positions in investment banking. His contact details, if you've missed them, have been in Who's Who? for a while now.
     The new Treasurer said he had had an excellent handover notice from his predecessor. Beyond that it was a bit early for him to start making reports.
(2) BCF meetings. Our first point is about BCF Council meetings. This was first raised at the SCCU's May Executive meeting, though it came up at the AGM later. The Union President wrote to the BCF in May expressing concern about the amount of talking done at Council meetings by some Management Board people, depriving others of the opportunity to speak (and making it that much harder to get to the bottom of the agenda). He had recently had a reply, which seemed not quite to address our concerns. We would wait and see what happened at the October meeting. Your Webmaster suspects that one or three people will be jumping up and down making noises if it happens again.
     On Management Board meetings, the SCCU's representative said the last one (22.6.02) had been "pretty dire". The whole morning had been taken up with the minutes of previous meetings (three meetings, we think it was). This brought them nearly up to date with minutes of previous meetings. One more, the most recent one, and they would have been up to date. They conducted some business in the afternoon, but we'll leave that till item 10.
(3) Grading. Howard Grist said he knew of no problems with the new list except that some Sussex games appeared not to have gone in. Someone else remarked that the list seemed pretty accurate this year.
(4) SCCU U180/135 Jamborees. It was reported that these would be on Sunday 6th April 2003, at a Middx venue to be announced.
(5) SCCU U14/90. David Millward reported that "on the face of it" there were 12 entries: Berks, Bucks, Hants, Herts, Kent, Middx, MGCA, Oxon, Richmond Juniors, Surrey, Surrey Girls, and Sussex. But there could be a question mark over Berkshire. Then someone mentioned the Coulsdon CF, which had expressed an interest. Either they'd decided against, or they'd forgotten to put their entry in. [rjh 8.9.02: Or their entry went astray. It seems that's what happened. They did enter, and DJM knows now.]
     At any rate this was the biggest-ever entry, and it could be four groups this year instead of three. David said he would try to have all the groups sorted, and the competition under way, in a week or two. He was thinking of having the groups decided by Easter, and the Final in the summer term.
(6) SCCU U18 League. David had also sounded out the Members about an U18 on similar lines to the U14/90. Only three had expressed an interest. One of these wanted a grading limit of U105 or so, and another said U160, so the idea looked to be a non-starter. But friendly matches might be possible. [rjh 8.9.02 again: It turns out that Coulsdon also expressed an interest. I don't know how far that changes things.]
(7) Surrey CCA. The Executive noted that Surrey had not yet paid their Union dues for 2001-2. The matter would be actively pursued.1
(8) SCCU Trophies. It was suggested that the Union might in future impose a fine when Counties failed to return their Trophies for the AGM. At least two organisations on our patch do this with their own competitions, and it is said to work wonders. But the County Match Controller wasn't keen. He felt that Counties were pretty good on the whole, and this year's offences were largely due to the fact that he had not been able to chase them as thoroughly as he usually did. The idea was not pursued.
     (The two offending Trophies have been chased now, and both are on their way to their rightful owners.)
(9) Grading: copyright charge. The BCF, as you will know, has announced a copyright charge for local grading lists using BCF data. Local reactions have not been favourable. The SCCU will put a motion on the agenda of the October Council meeting, to the effect that this charge be dropped. The charge will undoubtedly be resented, but the Union's principal reason is that it sounds almost impossible to police.
(10) BCF Meetings again (and related matters). Reference was made to a recent MB decision, and also to a Council one, which appeared not to have been properly implemented by the officer or officers responsible. The Executive spent quite a lot of time on this. Everyone knows all is not well with the Management Board, but it got a bit more specific than that. We'll say no more unless things come of it. They may do.
(11) Future meetings. Executive Committee: Fridays 7th March and 9th May. Annual General Meeting: Saturday 28th June. [Note 16.9.02. The AGM date may be changed in the light of a clash.]

The meeting, having started at 7 pm, finished close to 10 o'clock. That's not late by Executive standards, especially considering the weight of some of the items.
rjh 7.9.02, with amendments to 16.9.02
1 18.9.02. The money has now been paid.

Earlier material is in the Archive.

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