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YCCGBA & HVBA use personal bank accounts

Bowling News


This posting is about poor financial management and lax financial controls over £7,000 of funds by Yorkshire CCGBA and over £250 collected by the Huddersfield Veterans League.

The Yorkshire CCGBA has not produced any year-end accounts since the 2020 season. That is two years without any financial accountability to the clubs in membership. During that period the Yorkshire CCGBA has asked for and received increased fees from clubs and individuals for services rendered citing an increase in costs that have to be met.


I asked the Yorkshire CCGBA Chief Executive, Steve Cochrane, for an update on the production of year-end accounts for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He said "I am told they are done and I will have an update later today. I will report back" That was last Monday and I have heard nothing on that matter from him since then. That is a similar response to what he told me last January, 10 days before the organisation's AGM where it was belatedly announced that no accounts were available for a second successive year.


This is clearly a mismanagement of financial affairs of the highest order. But it doesn't stop there. A new personal bank account has been set up in the name of the Yorkshire Chief Executive Officer, Steve Cochrane, through which new bowler BCGBA registration fees have to be made. This fee is now £14.50 per new bowler.

Steve Cochrane told me at the beginning of May 2023 that there had been 408 new bowler registrations this year. He recently updated that to over 500 new registrations in 2023. I make that a total of over £7,000 going through that personal account. This account is not a Yorkshire CCGBA account and is not subject to the normal audit access.

I don't understand why the Yorkshire CCGBA, which has an established bank account, is not using it for such a basic service where every transaction is accountable and available for audit. Why would any individual leave themselves wide open to accusations of bad practice and speculation about financial impropriety by using a personal account for this business?

Financial controls should provide a totally transparent process to reassure everyone that no impropriety has taken place. Such records should then be part of the normal annual auditing process to fully inform the production of year-end accounts.

It is especially difficult to understand the thinking behind such practice, especially in light of the YCCGBA's record of lack of control of its finances. Have they learnt nothing from the financial debacle of the last two years? Maybe it is that record that is the reason for introducing such a badly thought-through process.


It has been widely reported that the previous Yorkshire CCGBA Treasurer left the country mid-year leaving incomplete financial records for the 2021 season. Inevitably there is considerable speculation about the circumstances of that unexpected emigration although the YCCGBA CEOO has repeatedly stated that he has no concerns about the security of these YCCGBA funds. That is a brave statement to make when no financial information has been available covering that period to support such a stance.


Since then, one of the barriers preventing the YCCGBA from producing catch-up year-end accounts, they say, has been obtaining access to their own bank records. In light of this experience, it makes it all the more worrying that the new regime has introduced personal banking into the process which can only exacerbate the problem of such access to its successors in the future.

This year the Huddersfield Veterans League has opened an online payment facility to allow entrants to its individual and pairs competitions to pay online. Hurrah! Long overdue but unfortunately the only means of doing that is through the personal account of the League's Competition Secretary.

I do not understand why this account is being used when the League has a perfectly good bank account in its own name that is open to external audit controls and so avoids any suggestion of a lack of financial control. Over £250 has already been processed through this account this season.

Let me be very clear as regards the Yorkshire CCGBA and the Huddersfield Veterans League that I am not suggesting that anything underhand has taken place. There is nothing I am aware of that even hints at any malpractice. This is all about poor decisions in allowing bad practice to be introduced especially by the Yorkshire CCGBA when they are the subject of such bad publicity because of their appalling monetary management record. To lose control, even more, perpetuates the concerns that people will have as regards their ability to provide proper financial controls in the future.


Both Yorkshire CCGBA and the Huddersfield Veterans League were made aware of the subject matter to be posted online and were invited to comment on the use of personal bank accounts for bowling organisation's business. Their responses are below.


Yorkshire CCGBA

Nobody has raised that with me out of 500 plus registrations this year alone, If anyone is concerned they can write to me with that concern. I will put it to council if you are concerned and the cost of registration will probably go up again to cover bank charges.

- Steve Cochrane, YCCGBA CEO and Registrar


Huddersfield Veterans Bowling Association All entry fees have been deposited in the League’s bank account whether received by the Competition Secretary in the form of cheque, bank transfer or cash. Total receipts are checked against entries for completeness and the accounts presented by the Treasurer to the committee every month. Payment by bank transfer is a convenience many members have asked for. As things stand the League’s bank account does not enable easy checking for transfer payments on a day-to-day basis, which can be required right up to the start of each competition. The current arrangements have been established while we seek to address this. The transparency of competition entries/records and the secondary checks provide strong control and at the same time protect the Competition Secretary. - John Pearman, General Secretary, HVBA

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Guest
Jun 01, 2023

In matters like this there is no excuse for these sort of transactions to be going through a personal bank account. It doesn’t inspire much confidence and is really quite worrying. John Sunter

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paw4647
paw4647
Jun 01, 2023

There’s possibly things going on which we don’t know about and which may help to explain some of the above concerns.

However, there is no getting away from the fact that there’s been no published accounts for 2 years and to open a private account in the name of an official to receive money belonging to the YCGBA is fundamentally wrong.

Perhaps Clubs should be demanding a SGM to get to the bottom of the financial affairs of the YCGBA.

Philip of Lindley

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