I am struggling to say anything positive about the BCGBA Statement of Works as provided on this site yesterday. Now that I have had the opportunity to read it carefully I have a number of observations to share with you. It is not an easy document to read as it jumps about all over the place but I will do my best to translate some of the business-speak into a meaningful interpretation. Please feel free to add any of your own comments at the foot of this posting.
I have just selected 5 sections that I wish to add comments on. They are listed below in blue italics and are followed by my observations. The first selected paragraph offers the BCGBA defence of the annual fees demanded of clubs.
There are some who have questioned the need to pay this fee, the simple answer is that we must keep the sport alive. We are re-working the budget through to October 2021 and where we can save, we have done so. We work on small margins and over the years we have worked without a significant internal reserve. This will need to change and how we fund the organisation for the future will become a major priority.
I don't think anyone would begrudge any organisation financial support if they really felt that it would 'keep the sport alive' whatever that means. However, the report does not mention how giving the annual fee to the BCGBA will do anything to support that very worthwhile aim. The track record of the BCGBA in such matters is not good as they continue to sit paralysed in the clubhouse overseeing the demise of our sport with vastly reducing members year-on-year with no action to address that problem that I can see. Their prime aim appears to be extracting more and more money from less and less members. Certainly this report does nothing to say how the sport is going to be kept alive, perhaps that is the next instalment?
The final sentence of the paragraph says that changing the manner in which the BCGBA is funded will become a major priority. I would have thought that there are a number of other areas that would command a higher priority than funding a central body. How about the saving of our sport for a start. Let's hear what steps are being taken to galvanise our sport. We don't want to hear this constant whinging about money. Show us that you are serious about the real problems and that you are the people to address them and then maybe you will get that support.
The next section has the heading
What we have been working on to achieve this:
Although it gives no indication of what 'this' is!! This is not an easy document to follow. It goes on to talk about a new National Database.
As part of the long-term project we have been working on the National Database of players and this is now at a point where the majority of playing members have been entered and listed under clubs. All new registrations will now be directly entered into the National Database and individual registrations issued (this needs a personal email account to enable your access). New members will receive an e: mail giving access once registered. This is a major step forwards as we will be able to produce statistics on players that are required when bidding for funding.
This really concerns me. What are they going to do with a database with (my estimate, probably more) 300,000 names, ages, addresses, clubs and more? How are they going to keep this database up to date. How will they propose to be made aware of and delete deceased members? How will they track changes to names and addresses?
There is mention of how player registrations will be registered under clubs. If that is important then how will they track player movement between clubs or bowlers who bowl for more than one club? What information will this database generate that will make one bit of difference to 'keeping our sport alive?' How much has this system and data collection already cost? How much will it cost in the future? So many questions.
As part of the package members will shortly be able to sign up for the BCGBA Benefits package which will provide discounts on shopping (currently at over 270 retailers). This should be available shortly. An average family shopping at Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, or Waitrose could save up to £240.00 per year just on food shopping. There is an annual cost of £7.00 for the app or an alternative card is available. To purchase this benefits package, BRITISH CROWN GREEN BOWLING ASSOCIATION you will need access to your go-membership profile. This will be enabled once you have provided an email address.
Now I know what the National Database is for. It is for income generation. £7 a year for access to reduced shopping bills. Is this what I joined the BCGBA for? Have you noted that you only get that deal by providing your email address? Why do you think that is? Large shopping organisations like those mentioned in the document do not give such discounts unless there is something in it for them, that's the business they are in. They pay handsomely for email addresses of current and potential customers. Can the BCGBA reassure me that they will not pass on my email address and any of my other details to these shopping businesses?
Following the launch of the Community Emergency Fund over 400 clubs applied and circa £750,000 has been made available to Crown Green Clubs.
Not sure why this rates a mention in a BCGBA document as the Community Emergency Fund has nothing at all to do with the BCGBA. Surely they are not trying to take credit for anything associated with this funding are they? Are they?
BCGBA is funded by being a member’s association, each Club and County pay an annual affiliation fee which is due from the AGM in January each year. Clubs generally pay via their County Association which is subsequently paid to BCGBA. Revenue is also generated from members registration fees and sponsorship as well as competition fees.
The BCGBA currently charges £12 for new members. They expect to add 5,000 new bowlers each year. That makes an expected annual income of £60,000. Interesting and fair enough but they don't say how they are proposing to cover the 2020 shortfall in such income. In fact there is quite a lot missing from a document which only serves to mesmerise when clarity and leadership is very much required at present.
You know sometimes when you read a report you feel that you are missing a page or two? Well this isn't one of such instances more a feeling that two reports have collided to produce the random ramblings of a confused individual. This is more a feeling that a rogue page or two has infiltrated the document. I could have stomached the final page on its own but as for the rest, it leaves me cold. Disappointing 4 /10. See me.