I’ve just been reminded by a colleague who joined at exactly the same time as me that it’s now five years that I’ve been working full-time for the EBU, and also now almost four months in my current role. In both cases the time seems to have passed very quickly, in no small measure due to the pleasantness and professionalism of my colleagues in the office.
In my last blog I mentioned the General Data Protection Regulation, which will be introduced in May next year. Its purpose is to give individuals more protection and a greater say in how their personal information is used. I have now found out some more information about this and its implementation is unlikely to cause as many problems as we had feared. However, all of us – EBU, counties, clubs – will need to review and tighten up all our data protection procedures and policies. All our staff are undergoing training for it this month and we intend to publish our own new procedures and policies by the middle of January, so that there is lots of time for us to deal with unexpected issues and to help clubs and counties in making whatever changes are necessary for them. As I said before, please don’t be tempted to ignore this: it is important, but its requirements will not be too onerous if approached properly. I think we can all benefit from seeing it as an opportunity to put all our data issues in order, which is what I’m sure our members would want.
Following the County Chairmen’s meeting in July there has been a move to revitalise the Regional Counties Working Groups, with their borders being slightly re-drawn to suit their members. The Northern and the Midlands ones are active and I recently went to a meeting of the Northern one at which many interesting points were raised. The hope is that the new RCWG's will provide a bridge between the county volunteers, the board and the staff at Aylesbury. I’m intending to go to those meetings of the other regions too when they are all up and running so that I can hear first-hand from our counties both their concerns and their successes.
One idea that came up at the Northern meeting was that we could provide more ways for different groups to discuss topics online. As a result, we have started a forum for all tournament directors (and others interested in TD matters). It is easy to access and has already generated quite a lot of constructive discussion – it can be found at https://www.ebu.co.uk/forum. Other forums could be created on the same model if there were enough interest.
Another innovation that I’ve been closely involved with is our weekend Funbridge Robot Games. They run every Saturday and Sunday, from midnight until 10pm, and 20 hands can be played at any time during the day, leaving off and picking up as necessary. I can attest that they are great fun and good value at 2€ per game, with master points and a monthly ladder with cash prizes. Currently we are averaging over 100 players a game. Perhaps you would enjoy joining them?