Posted on 20th April 2019

A note from interim CEO Jude Matthews

As I’ve now completed my first week in role, I thought I’d share with you all some initial thoughts and some information about what the focus will be for me for the coming weeks.


As is well known, we at BE are currently under a lot of pressure.  The website launch has been problematic, and members have, quite rightly, often been frustrated when using it.  The entries process has not been seamless, and the issues with making payments from certain devices have exacerbated the problems.  We hold our hands up to this, and we are all working hard to make sure that the issues you are facing using the website are resolved as quickly as we can. 


A fix went in this week for the payment problems and we will improve the updates we provide to you on key issues and the fixes for these, so that you can easily see what is being worked on.  We continue to ask that you let us know if you experience issues, and that you contact the team in the office if you need assistance.  Feedback for the staff in head office has been positive, although everyone concerned would obviously prefer that you can do what you want on the website in the first instance!  Having worked in a number of different businesses, it has been uplifting to see the work ethic of the team in the office, particularly under what has undoubtedly been a really difficult time for them.  This has also been the case for those I have met out at competitions – our organisers and volunteers.  Thank you to you all.


The website issues have inevitably raised the cost of the IT project again.  There is a great deal of information about the project available already, and we will again be answering common questions raised in the launch of ‘AskBE’.  We are excited about the new launch, with the first of a number of video Q&As at 7pm on April 29th.  You will need to register to take part, and the link to do so is HERE. 


We are also continuing with our face to face AskBE sessions, with a number of the Board being in the BE Pavilion over the course of Badminton to meet members and answer any questions.  We will publish timings shortly.   Please do make use of these opportunities, as it’s so useful for us to meet you all, and for you to be able to speak to us in person.  We have also launched the ‘AskBE’ email address  – whilst there has always been a number of ways members can ask questions of us, we thought it would be useful for there to be one single email address for questions.  We will publish common themes of questions and answers on the website, so that you all have access to both the questions raised, and the answers we have given.  


The 2020 Strategic Fixtures Review has created a lot of poor press for us too.  I believe that a lot of this has been due to poor communication with you all about how the process was run, including the reasons it was necessary, the tendering process, and what the scoring criteria was for the applications.  We will be publishing more information shortly, including details of a review of the process which we are undertaking.  Our sport is dependent on organisers, members and volunteers, and we owe it to each group to be fair and transparent.   I am also keen that we share with the membership more information about the fixtures process more generally, so that you are able to clearly understand why the team here make the decisions they do regarding the event calendar and extra days of competing.  This will also be coming out to you shortly.  The calendar is always kept under review, and will continue to be going forward.


I have already had good interaction with members in my first week in post, and would encourage you all to use the opportunities provided to engage directly with us.  I appreciate that it can potentially be daunting to approach us for a chat when we’re out at events, but the whole team are always pleased to speak to you.  For those of you at the AGM last year, you will know that I firmly believe we are stronger together.  We have a brilliant sport, and lots of really good people involved in it – yes, there are currently some problems, but we shouldn’t forget the good stuff too.  I feel very privileged to have been able to take on the Interim CEO role, and I am committed to addressing the concerns and moving forward in a positive way.  I would ask that you all work with us to make this happen.


The season is now fully up and running, and thank goodness we’ve had a better start with the weather than last year.  I’ve had a number of horse issues which has meant I’m not yet up and running as I’d planned, but that’s horses for you!  It makes the times it does all come together so much more rewarding though (at least, that’s what I’m telling myself!)  I’m also very much looking forward to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, and am keeping fingers crossed for some good weather.  I look forward to meeting some of you there.