Organisers’ Questions for British Eventing 2nd May 2019
Held in the presence of BEOA Members & the following representatives from British Eventing
Jude Matthews British Eventing Interim CEO
Paul Graham BE Interim Sport Manager
Chris Farr BE Fixtures
Bruno Breninckmeijer BE Regional Co-Ordinator
IT, EARS & Website
Organisers asked that more information could be made available for them concerning development.
Website – There were many concerns expressed about the problems within the website. Poor communication from BE has been an issue. Organiser’s appreciated the efforts made by the BE Office Staff but were disappointed that many problems still had not been resolved. Inaccuracies in event schedules were particularly worrying. Other concerns were that the system was not intuitive & difficult to navigate.
Jude Matthews explained that BE was equally frustrated. Work was going on all the time & improvements being made.
It was felt important to keep informing BE about areas that appeared not to be functioning well. It was agreed that Organisers should inform Jan Cottam of any concerns, so that a record could be kept by the BEOA. These would be passed onto BE.
Urgent problems should be addressed to Jude Matthews
EARS & Entries – Organisers expressed huge concern about the progress of this part of the IT project. We were told that testing would be started in July & that not having a system ‘fit for purpose’ & ready the 2020 season was not an option. Organisers expressed concern about there being sufficient time to test the system adequately.
The inadequacies of the current BE Entries system were spoken about & Jude Matthews said this would be looked at. A meeting of Developers, Entries Secretaries & Scorers was being booked. Performance requirements would be concentrated on.
BDWP will be continuing with Unaffiliated competition plus some 4* & 5* International competitions. Jude Matthews stated that validation problems would preclude other systems from being integrated with British Eventing data.
Live Scoring – One Organiser is spending £2700 on trail bikes for score collection at their 2 day duration event & therefore asked about more universal ‘Live Scoring’. It was generally felt this was an excessive amount to be spending on score collection. Poor connectivity at many events, would cause too many problems, making mandatory Live Scoring impossible.
Communications – Not always easy to find the right person to speak to or get an answer to a question.
Jude Matthews agreed this has been a historical problem that will be improved.
An Organiser asked who could be asked to offer ‘physical’ support when negotiating with their landlord. Paul Graham explained that the RC’s should be doing this but if this was not possible, he would be able to assist.
Sponsorship– The questions were raised concerningNovice to BE80(T) events receiving no BE generated sponsorship money, rosettes or prizes for national classes (apart from help for BE80 trainers from Virbac). How does the Marketing department plan to address this anomaly and help organisers at this level?
Jude Matthews explained this was a difficult problem which the Marketing department was working on.
She also asked if Organisers would like to have the Commercial Guide updated. It was agreed this should be done.
Evaluations – How useful/effective are the officials post event appraisals? Are these monitored by HQ?
Organisers agreed that most were receiving their Evaluations but some arrived rather belatedly. It was felt essential that Officials spoke to Organisers about comments that were going to be included in the report. An ability to feedback from Organisers about their Evaluations was asked for. British Eventing explained that comments should go to their RC but Organisers wanted a more formal process for comment. This is something Jan Cottam would take to the Sport Committee meeting.
Chris Farr felt completion of the Evaluations could be improved. They need to be a true & honest reflection of the event.
Social Media – Jude Mathews spoke of recent unacceptable behaviour on Social Media from members & urged Organisers to record & report to BE, so this could be correctly dealt with. She was keen to reassure that this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated & BE would support anyone being maligned in this manner. She was emailing all members on this matter
JM asked that Organisers did their best to keep Members informed when there were difficulties in order that there is a clearer understanding of complexities of the sport.
CEO, Board & Governance
CEO – Organisers asked why the CEO job description states that a knowledge of equestrian sport is only considered as highly desirable? Surely this should be essential. Jude Matthews explained that the role of CEO would require an individual to have a very good business understanding plus knowledge of the sport. JM said she had not been involved in writing the job description. There was concern voiced that if the CEO lacked experience of our Sport, would the Board ensure the understanding & value of our Sport is strengthened within BE.
Board & Governance –Questions were asked aboutthe Board’s role within BE & who would be running the sport. JM stated this would be the Board’s responsibility. Organisers felt the roles of the various committees within BE, particularly those of the Sport Committee & Risk Management Committee, should not be undermined.
There was concern about the recent, public appeal on social media by an event, asking for an extra day to run a Novice class. An addition of this nature would have been against all agreed protocol between BE & Organisers. This point was approved of with BE.
The question was asked about International events having a limit on the number of National entries they can accept? It was explained that only 300 horses can run cross country in one day, so this does restrict acceptance of entries.
It was asked when BE will consider running a FEI CCI 1* level as some Organisers were keen to see this happen? Chris Farr explained that currently there were only 13 events running 105 classes. The focus is currently on viability, consideration of MER’s etc. but it was a strong possibility for the future.
Strategic Fixtures Plan – The Strategic Fixtures Plan is being reviewed. Organisers asked who was conducting this review? It was explained that the panel had not yet been decided. A full review would be carried out, which would be very thorough & therefore take some time.
It was asked if the scores of events in the recent Strategic Fixtures Process could be seen. BE said they were happy to share an Event’s own score but would not give out information about other applications.
In the last few days an International proposing to run in 2020 has been cancelled, due to the loss of their venue. Chris Farr explained that tenders would be invited from all Organisers, for these dates, in order to find a replacement.
A question was asked about tendering for National Fixtures. CF stated there were two options
- A new date becomes available, so tenders would be invited.
- A National Fixture loses their venue but were able to locate to a new site. In this case, tendering would not be required.
There were additional questions asked by Organisers but there was not enough time to submit these on the day. Jude Matthews has provide responses as below, which are shown in italics.
1. Ballot date is now the same day of the week . An Entries Secretary has experienced more phone calls than normal from people trying to enter & not being able to get through to BE. Would Ballot days on Tuesdays & Thursdays make it easier for 2020.
This shouldn’t be necessary once the website and entries systems are working as we need them to. However, I don’t think we should rule out this if there are still problems towards the end of this season.
2. Training was booked at an event venue in November, for a March date. The invoice was sent as soon as completed. Despite chasing, this remains unpaid.
I’m afraid I don’t know what this relates to, but if the relevant person can give me more information, I can look into it and get it resolved.
3. Why was there no deployment list circulated to Organisers this year
Due to GDPR an event was only provided with its own deployment, not deployment for all events.This will be the norm going forward.
4. What was the total number of members eligible for competition at the end of April 2018 & April 2019?
At the end of April there were 14,783 members (competing members is 10,631) this is ½ a % up on 2018. Horses are 9241 which is 3 less than 2018.
5. Prize giving etiquette is verging on disgraceful. This impacts on sponsors leaving them feeling deflated & undervalued & wondering about the value of supporting the event. Could BE address this behaviour?
My personal view is that the only way people will consistently turn up is if they forfeit their prize if they don’t (money or in kind). I’ve been both sides of the fence, and it is frustrating to have to wait several hours to get a rosette, but equally, having handed out prizes on behalf of a sponsor, it is not good when most competitors don’t make the effort to attend. How many organisers do not give prizes to competitors when they don’t attend? If would be useful to have a feel for what current practice is, and BE can work with organisers to find a solution which works for all. The rulebook is clear that the BE Steward and Organiser have the discretion not to give prizes to competitors who do not attend.
6. Are events allowed to refuse access to those using mobility vehicles? Should they have their own insurance?
We would expect all events to be accessible and provide equal opportunities to all. Mobility vehicles are used at the responsibility of the user and they should adhere to all H & S directives issued by the event. The mobility vehicle should be insured by the owner of the vehicle.
7. There is a continuous problem with names of all owners appearing in programmes
We are aware of this and are working hard to find where the problem is arising. The data on the BE database is correct, so the issue is in how the data is being extracted. This is currently a key issue for the team to resolve, as we are aware of the problems it causes both organisers and owners.
8. Is it true BE only consider an event to be viable when they have 300 entries?
The rulebook states maximum number of horses a day, and I think there has been some work done prior to my time on viability levels. However, if an event is happy to run with less than that, and can make the numbers work for them, that is fine!
9. Is there too much consultation & seeking of opinion?
Sometimes, yes! It’s a difficult balance to strike, as we are a membership organisation, with a wide stakeholder base. We need to consult on the right things, at the right time, and quickly – which I think we have probably not always done well. We also need to accept we will not please everyone all of the time, and that is fine too. We just need to explain more clearly why we have done what we have so that people understand.