MIdlands Counties WG - current task list

The Midlands Counties WG has been looking at the issues facing the future of bridge in this country, and have chosen the following six strands as those areas which they feel ready to tackle during 2018. A task leader is assigned to each.
Other counties facing the same issues, with either inputs or relevant experience, are invited to get involved (provide a POC and we'll get in touch)

ISSUE 1 : The County and National bodies are not well placed to provide support to bridge teachers whom they cannot identify or communicate with. TASK : to uncover ways in which identification can happen and a dialogue can be initiated.

ISSUE 2 : A serious proportion of those going through classes do not progress to duplicate bridge. TASK : to identify the causes and the remedies for this, noting in particular the ideas put forward by Abbey Smith.

ISSUE 3 : There is a growing gulf between the non-competitive duplicate player and the competitive duplicate player and this impedes the transition of newcomers to the latter camp. TASK : to understand why this is so and to propose solutions to it.

ISSUE 4 : Many duplicate clubs are not affiliated to the EBU and many are not known to the county associations, and therefore not supported by these bodies. TASK : to understand if and how a county and a national body can provide support to these clubs in order to better promote bridge.

ISSUE 5 : There is a lack of understanding of where EBU revenues come from and go to; concerns and any false perceptions need to be addressed. TASK : to understand what the true position is and to find a way of presenting this that is informative and transparent.

ISSUE 6 : The IT systems managed at Aylesbury cause frustration for a number of county and club managers, and some fixes would be very helpful. TASK : to identify (with GR) the best approach to aligning the interests of clubs and counties with the capabilities of the EBU in the future.

Patrick Shields


  • On issue 5 accounts are published on the EBU website (see http://www.ebu.co.uk/documents/official-documents/accounts-2016-17.pdf). This is not only figures but has also an explanatory commentary. Can you assist with what else is wanted? Incidentally where does Gloucestershire publish its financial data for members? I looked on the website but either it is not there or I couldn't find it.
    On issue 6 the transition to Workbooks has not been totally smooth although most aggravations are internal. I'm not disputing that things might be done for counties that are not done now but Gordon has already said this won't happen until after the end of May when the new GDPR comers into force. It would be helpful if you could let me have a list of areas where the system is causing frustration for clubs and counties. At present the Board receive, as part of the General Manager's report to each meeting a spreadsheet with the IT work being done or scheduled to be done so having greater knowledge of the possible problems you have or know about would help inform this list.

  • Patrick, I think that the idea of "following the money" is a lost cause. It will not help with the main issue which is, I believe, ISSUE 3. In this issue we are in "Donald Rumsfeld" country in that we don't know how many play social duplicate bridge ( with non affliated clubs) and who are not members of the EBU. Hoping that non-affliated clubs will join the EBU without using some sort of encouragement is basically "pie-in-the-sky". I am aware of one area where there are at least three non-affliated clubs and they have duplicate sessions during the day time (and evening) and regularly get 13 to 19 tables. So whilst day play is an advantage to some why don't they play in an EBU afffliated club or become EBU mambers? Asking members if they are "happy" isn't the way to get the non-members to join. We have to start approaching them and possible offer them some sort of advantage. Perhaps we need to offer these clubs the ability to be registered with the EBU but the results of some/all events do not get registered for the NGS and that the "bridge Tax" is substantially reduced. We would at least be able to get some sort of handle on what happens in the great unknown. I would also like to know what happens in other Countries and how they have tried to deal with the problem. Have any approaches by EBU management been made on this front? After all we don't need to re-invent the wheel!


  • I totally agree with most of what you say here, CMOT, although I think it relates more to Issue 4 than Issue 3. My instinct is that, as you say, some kind of "registration but not affiliation" is required but I can also see dangers in that. However, I'm always nervous about making strategic recommendations without being able to construct a logical argument underpinned by firm evidence. I've taken on the task of addressing Issue 4 with the Midlands County Working Group (see minutes here http://www.ebu.co.uk/documents/minutes-and-reports/counties-working-group/2018/18-jan.pdf) and so have been identifying and talking with a number of non-affiliated clubs. I'd be very interested to share knowledge/experiences with you (or anyone else!) - my contact details can be found on the Worcestershire CBA website (Information|Committee).

  • In response to Jeremy69's question " Incidentally where does Gloucestershire publish its financial data for members? I looked on the website but either it is not there or I couldn't find it."

    we hand out the financial data to those present at the AGM. It does not appear on the website (on which we do not run any restricted access areas).

    I am interested to know the practice of other counties, and what would be recommended as best practice.

  • Why would you need a restricted area? If you are like most counties then the attendance for an AGM doesn't represent a great % of the membership. Is there anything confidential and why would you mind anyone finding the website seeing? To answer your question about other counties, I had a look and would say under a third publish any financial information

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