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Re: EGM - David Deary - 06-03-2012

David G Congalton Wrote:As for the Operating Procedures - what version am I reading - the original draft, the amended draft? What is the proposal from Ayrshire Chess Association that is to be voted on at the AGM? Is it the document brought up by the link?

"It is hoped that promulgation of these standards throughout the game will be even more effective (than imposing penalties) in reducing the incidence of undisciplined and inappropriate behaviour."

I had to look up promulgation - you learn something every day.

Can you reduce the incidence of undisciplined and inappropriate behaviour, if it's at zero?

The proposal from Ayrshire is the link on the SGM news article. However, only the bits in red are changes and as I have highlighted everything in black is already in place and in many instances very poorly written.

How you reduce the incidence of undisciplined and inappropriate behaviour when it is zero I don't know. In my view this was an ill conceived document in the first place and I begin to question if we need a standards code when it has never been needed before? That said, I'm not naive enough to believe it will never be needed but the present one is terrible. As Steve highlighted its not even independent. Sometimes I despair... at any rate back to my prep for tomorrow. :\

Re: EGM - David G Congalton - 07-03-2012

So at the moment there is a Standards Committe which has in place operating procedures, which the Ayrshire Chess Association wish to amend, as per the news article?

I found the standards code, well a draft from 2009, which is prefaced bt the following.

"NOTE: The Committee invites all interested parties to comment, before the end of September 2009, on this draft code. It is expected that revisions to the Code will not normally be published more frequently that once per annum. For clarity, it may be assumed that this draft Code is operational with immediate effect."

How can you invite interested parties to comment in the first sentence then put the draft code into operation with immediate effect in the last?

As for the standards I have fallen short of at least four of the expected standards of players in the last year or two - Whilst I may consider myself a substandard player I would not consider myself a complete rouge or rascal.

I won't say which standards I've fallen short of but have listed them below for others to ponder.

"In addition to the requirements of the Laws, actions which fall short of the standard expected of players include:

Arriving at the board late without good cause,
Agreeing a result in advance of a game,
Deliberately failing to play one’s best,
Showing disrespect for the opponent,
Unreasonably failing to resign a lost game,
Failing to observe silence in the playing area,
Failing to dress appropriately,
Playing while unfit to do so (e.g., influenza, alcohol)
Failing to submit results promptly to the arbiter.
Withdrawing from a tournament without giving proper notice,
Failing to pay a tournament fee (incl. charges for dishonoured cheques),
Showing disrespect for the officials (arbiter, TD, venue staff, etc)."

I think the standards committee is overkill and beauracracy for the sake of it. As a tournament organiser if someone bounced a cheque for a tournament fee then they wouldn't play the following year unless they settled their debt and paid cash. If they dissed officials they would be barred, same for dissing an opponent.

I could go on (unsurprisingly) but it's late and I've also got prep to do.

Re: EGM - Trevor Davies - 07-03-2012

Perhaps I can shed some light on this debate from my perspective as the principal author of the Standards Code.

1. It's main aim is to provide a means of redress for those who believe that they have been treated unfairly. It is a fact that Scottish Chess has lost the services of good people in the past because they had been treated badly and there was no means of dealing with their grievances. It has other, equally positive, aims. It is emphatically not about interfering in the affairs of well-run leagues/congresses etc, as is abundantly clear from the Code itself.

2. ACA's resolution (first sentence) seeks to, in effect, nullify the code altogether.

3. I understand that ACA does not accept the jurisdiction of Chess Scotland over its affairs. In my view, ACA should submit a motion to that effect (seeking an opt-out from the code) rather than seeking to strip all chess players in Scotland of the protections offered by the Code.

4. It is regrettable that the sponsors of this motion have rejected (ignored) all communications from the Standards Committee including an offer to meet and discuss these questions with them and their (proxy) supporters in Ayrshire.

5. Specific wording improvements can be made of course. This is best achieved by consensus, rather than by a polarised debate, and I again invite the sponsors of the motion to engage with the Standards Committee to find a constructive way forward.

6. Finally, I hold no brief for Chess Scotland: my involvement in chess these days is minimal.

Re: EGM - Phil Thomas - 07-03-2012

Many thanks to Trevor for posting.
The most important opinion of all comes from the man who wrote the document - We do know that he has read every word

It was created too late to be used for situations that are now too historical to fall under its remit and probably were already so at the time if its creation .

For those who think the standards committee is too beaurocratic. Just remember that the ultimate goal of a standards committee is to deal with zero cases. This one is doing very well so far.

Re: EGM - David Deary - 07-03-2012

Trevor a few points to clarify (I'll refer to each of your points using the numbers you used):

1. To not discuss and seek consensus when originally implementing this code goes against what you say now. My understanding is that there was no consensus sought and it was dictated to leagues and associations. If it is abundantly clear that it does not interfere with the affairs of Associations or Leagues can you quote that part of the code?

2. It does not nullify the code at all it just removes the inconsistency of having two bodies doing the same thing.

4. The first the sponsors of this motion heard from yourself was a night before the last AGM when you submitted several pages of objections to the proposal. Baring in mind prior to that the issue had been rumbling on for two years without any response from yourself.

Your objections were submitted too late to be discussed at the AGM but the ACA didn’t try to oppose them actually being discussed at the AGM. As far as I am aware you have made no such offer to meet anyone from the ACA and if you have it has not reached me in my role as Treasurer and as a member of the Management Committee. So I think you might want to rephrase what you have put as it is untrue. In fact, perhaps I should refer a complaint to the Standards Committee? :\

Phil, I have read every word of the document as have many others. It also doesn't make Trevor's opinion any more important than any other member of Chess Scotland. In fact, it is often true that the person who writes such a document is too bogged down in the detail and cannot see the wood for the trees as they say.

Also, self justification of the standard code by saying nothing has been referred to it is hardly a reasoned justification for its performance or for the code being a well written document.

Re: EGM - Ken_Stewart - 07-03-2012

Some comments. Though I am a member of the Standards Committee (SC) these are my own comments.

SC membership: I am the only member of the SC who is also a Director of Chess Scotland (CS). However, I am not a member of the Board. No Board member is on the SC.

Need for a Standards Committee: I think you will find that current best practice requires such a body. In particular, groups in receipt of public funds would be expected by government auditors to have such an arrangement. See also the first post of this thread.

History: The SC was set up by an overwhelming majority at the AGM of 2009 – in what way is that ‘dictating’? The proposals had previously been discussed at length at Council. It is true that since then ACA have proposed amendments, but it is hardly true to say that CS (the Board?, the AGM?) has been ‘stalling’. Had the ACA motion been passed at the last AGM then ACA would have been responsible for setting up its own PVG arrangements – no simple task. See also Trevor’s comments.

Quality of Standards Document: I don’t think anyone is claiming that the document is perfect. Such things can always be improved. However, sweeping assertions about ‘badly written and not fit for purpose’ are not very helpful in themselves. The constructive procedure is to put forward improved wording to the SC. Changing the meaning of the document, which is what the proposal to change Section 1 does, is a different matter entirely. The use of ‘normally’ is, I think, intended to avoid injustice by barring complaints on a technicality.

Section 1 paragraph 2: This is the key part of the ACA proposal. Two comments –
(a) The wording removes the interest of the SC from any body which has its own procedure, whether or not it wishes this. As far as I’m aware, most such bodies don’t want this.
(b) Who is to determine whether the alternative standards code is valid?

CS interest: CS necessarily has an interest in local events where grading, arbiters, etc , are involved. Section 6 of the code makes it very clear that all local procedures would have to be exhausted before the SC could consider the matter. I doubt if the SC would then consider any matter which did not have implications for the national body.

SC meetings: It is true that the SC has not held a formal meeting. There has, however, been a good deal of discussion by email at different times. The rules should perhaps be amended to allow electronic meetings where there is no need for a physical meeting. Not many people wish to attend a meeting with zero agenda. As Phil says, it is a good thing that meetings have not been required.

Re: EGM - David Deary - 07-03-2012

Ken_Stewart Wrote:History: The SC was set up by an overwhelming majority at the AGM of 2009 – in what way is that ‘dictating’? The proposals had previously been discussed at length at Council. It is true that since then ACA have proposed amendments, but it is hardly true to say that CS (the Board?, the AGM?) has been ‘stalling’. Had the ACA motion been passed at the last AGM then ACA would have been responsible for setting up its own PVG arrangements – no simple task. See also Trevor’s comments.

Hi Ken, how many people actually attended the AGM of 2009? How much time was afforded to Leagues and Associations to consider this proposal in 2009 and give their feedback prior to the AGM? How many proxy votes were used to pass this? An overwhelming majority out of 40 people is hardly consensus is it? Its closer to a dictatorship. Also in reading the minutes I note an overwhelming majority how is that determined - 25 votes to 15 votes? Actual physical number of votes should be counted at the AGM as opposed to overwhelming defeated or passed with 40 people it wouldn't have taken long at all.

I will post in more detail later as I dispute almost every point you have made but I would be in interested in your answers to the above questions.

Edit to add:
Also, Ken just out of curiosity when was our last audit by the Scottish Government and what were the findings as I cannot find anyting relating to such an audit? This seems at odds with your comments.

Also can you provide the correspondance from the Scottish Government highlighting as you alluded to that they wouldn't be happy with leagues where they have their own codes administering their own standards? I don't think such correspondance exists and if it does I am unaware of it (in past experience as a trustee of a charity). I would genuinely be interested to see it.

Moreover, if this is such an issue for the Scottish Goverment I am surprised there seems to be little evidence showing that CS has collaborated with the Scottish Government in the creation of the code.

Re: EGM - StevieHilton - 07-03-2012

I opposed the creation of the SC in 2009 because of the inclusion of CS directors, of which there are now 2.
This can lead to the impartiality o of the committe being questioned. Trevor stated during consultation that the committe should be independent. I am not casting doubt on the abilities of the directors involved, but leaving the committee open to such a question is not a good thing.
That is the main reason that I opposed the formation of the SC in 2009 and still oppose it today.

There is another important question to answer. If I were to speak in my IBCA capacity would I be subject to the SC ? I would say no because I would not be speaking out as CS member and therfore not subject to SC jurisdiction.

Re: EGM - David G Congalton - 07-03-2012

I am surmising that this is really just a turf war.

I have been persuaded, by the arguments, to reconsider my original position.

Does the Ayrshire Association have a standards code in place at the moment? If so, how different is it from the draft document published by CS.

Ken_Stewart Wrote:However, sweeping assertions about ‘badly written and not fit for purpose’ are not very helpful in themselves. The constructive procedure is to put forward improved wording to the SC.

I agree with Ken about this.

Re: EGM - David Deary - 07-03-2012


Its not a turf war. The simple fact is there is no point having two bodies doing the same thing. That is what we have just now.

The Ayrshire Chess Association has a Greivance Procedure incorporating procedures for complaints, disciplinary action and appeals. You were at the last Ayrshire AGM where this was discussed at length. Big Grin

On a plus point no Management Committee members make up the panel which is significantly different to CS where Directors and Council members can sit on it. As Steve has highlighted this could lead to questions of bias.

I stand by my comments, I find it badly written and illy conceived. I would also like answers to the questions in my prior post as it goes to the jist of Ken and Trevor's argument about the Scottish Government's view on this.