CAJ Notes on ESC Council meeting 29th July 2000
(CAJ and David Greig attending on behalf of LSERSA)
The ESC continues to be exercised by what it perceives to be the problem of proprietory clubs (i.e. clubs in which the "owner" is not the members but the a commercial concern e.g. a slope owner). The concern is whether these are real clubs in which the members have a degree of autonomy sufficient for the club to be a voting member of the ESC - or whether they are commercial ventures entitled only to be non-voting associates. ESC are particularly concerned about the John Nike "empire" of slopes covered by a single club with all "club" activity controlled by the company not by the members. This has been going on for some years and appears to make little progress.
The issue of Equal Opportunities is now firmly on the agenda but ESC director Jonh Hill does not seem to have progressed the formation of an effective committee very far if at all. LSERSA put forward the names of Joe Keyes (Adaptive Skiing) and Rupert Barnes (Womens Lib!) for Hill to contact. (It would be a good idea for LSERSA to speak to Joe and Rupert to see whether any contact has been made). Ros Humphrey (ERSA) suggested that Council might make a start by encouraging all regionions to ensure that one of their 2 representatives be female (LSERSA have already done this).
Prior to the meeting CAJ had down loaded a print of the ESC map of the regions. This clearly showed LSERSA reduced to London within the M25 and Southern Region including Kent Sussex and Surrey. Hill (who appears to be the moving force behind the proposal for change and responsible for this element of the web-site) justified the position by saying that boundaries on the map accorded with the Sport England boundaries. CAJ stated that if we wanted Sport England boundaries we would visit the Sport England website. Hill then said that in fact he had done nothing further since the last (20th May) meeting and that Southern Region clubs had told him they didn't want a boundary change because the area involved would be too big. LSERSA received the personal assurance of the Chairman that the website map would be corrected (it has been) and the matter was taken no further. (I would suggest that LSERSA should renew its contacts with SRSA - and indeed ERSA - to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen in future).
Peter Heath (NWRSA) reported on the BSSF Congress held 21st May 2000 in much the same terms as John Shaw's report to LSERSA. He commented on the general unhappiness with the financial position particularly the complete absence of sponsorship raised by the Commercial Director (now resigned). The issue of whom ESC would vote for at the forth coming BSSF board elections was raised. The Chairman said that there would be consultation and a decision by the ESC board when the nominations were known.
Alpine: There are new FIS regulations in the pipeline. These relate particularly the height of "risers" (boot/binding height to be reduced to 45mm) and to a limitation of 25 FIS starts for 1st year Junior1. Ros Humphrey pointed out that this referred to starts (not competitions) thus British and BARSC championships could give say 8 starts which would severely limit the rest of the season. Peter Heath pointed out that the proposal had come from the Youth and Childrens Committee and that any action on ESC's part should await the formal decision of the FIS Council.
Ros Humphrey also said that she was unhappy about the appointments to the squad and would raise the matter later. (She was probably referring to ESC Squad training appointments but she left early so this might arise at the next meeting)
Freestyle: The British Championships are at Sheffield (including use of the new-ish water ramp) on 23rd September. It was reported that there were active Freestylers in LSERSA region (particularly at Bromley) but no club. (LSERSA have attempted to pursue this in the past without success. However with increasing use of blades and kickers at a number of slopes maybe this is the time to look at it again)
Schools: Tony Archbold (ESSkiA) reported that a revised Schools handbook was being prepared. It was suggested that this be published on the website (either ESC or Britski or both). (LSERSA should have a copy when it comes out).
Despite all the efforts of John Shaw and others (including the present board) it is still possible for there to be £3000 unaccounted for in such a small (in financial terms) organisation. Graham Pickles (YHRSA) agreed with CAJ that this was unacceptable and said that he had made this clear forcefully to the staff involved. Otherwise it was reported that Sport England grant remained at £40,000 (£70k applied for) and that this would remain constant for 2001/2/3.
There is a £4000+ provision for employment claims which remain subjudice.
In passing it is worth noting that "Activity" income provided for in the budget (£80K+) broadly means "parental contributions"!
ERSA were going to raise an issue regarding lost sponsorship opportunity but their reps left before this was raised.
There appears to a gradual change of mood within the Council towards an acceptance that skiers are individuals who need to try to find the coaching/club ambience which best suits them and their skiing. Proposals restricting movement between clubs infringe that basic freedom. It was recognised by all that clubs needed to know who were "their" racers and that changing used up administrative time and money. It was eventually agreed that racers wishing to change clubs could do so provided that by close of entries for the race in question they had notified ESC of the change (and paid an administration fee), notified in writing their old club of the change and their new club (producing copies of both letters and new club membership).
There have been changes to the manual which racers should be aware of. Details available from www.britski.org.
Slopes should be receiving a copy of Alan Jones' (NWRSA) strategy document for national provision of skiing facilities. Comments and input would be appreciated by Alan.
These regions have many ski clubs but only 2 race clubs (1 in each region) between them. They want to be able to put in a combined team for the Inter-regional. The general feeling is that no-one would really object unless they started winning!
Many of the bigger clubs declare only part of their membership - on the basis that not all members benefit from the ESC. In future ESC benefits particularly the civil liability insurance (running fun races etc.) will apply only to those members nominated by the club to the ESC.
The concept of direct individual membership of the ESC is at last in the ascendant. Graham Pickles in preparing proposals for a phased introduction.