CEO Update – 4th May 2020
Firstly, I hope that you continue to keep well. There is hope that we will start to see some light at the end of the tunnel following the government’s next announcement, due this Sunday. However, there is no doubt that we will be facing a new ‘normal’ for a long time to come.
I thought it would be timely to give you further updates following from the communication from the Chair of the Board last week.
Work continues on sport resumption planning, and we are confident we could operate a socially distanced sport if that were necessary for us to be able to restart. There is no doubt that this will look and feel different to the sport we are all used to, but I think the majority of us would prefer this to not having any sport at all! Maintaining event standards, appropriate medical support and safety will be our key priorities.
We are also looking at our championships, and the qualification routes to these, and will be able to release more information about some of these shortly. Inevitably, there will remain a level of uncertainty for some of these until it is clear when, and how, we will be able to recommence.
We have received an initial response from the underwriters, which has not resulted in an immediate settlement. It would be rare for an offer of payment to be made so soon in the process. The next step is for us to respond, which we will do so robustly. We continue to do all we can to get the right outcome for the membership. We know that this issue impacts a lot of you and it continues to be a top priority for us.
As you will have seen in the update from last week, we are continuing to do all we can to protect the financial position of BE. We have furloughed most of our staff, and Wendy McGowan and I have taken a reduction in pay. We are all in this together, and we need to all work together to come through this.
With the drop in income from memberships and horse registrations, and with anticipated lower numbers from COVID19, impacting through 2021, BE will continue to make changes to adjust head office costs in line with reduced memberships to secure our long term future.
We also know that a lot of members will find themselves with less income and we need to do what we can to reduce the cost of competition where we are able do to so.
We are close to the end of the IT project and the investment made has been significant. We launched EARS at the start of this season and we recognise there were problems with some parts of the system. We are taking advantage of this next few weeks to focus the efforts of the BE IT team and EARS working group to address these. In short, we will keep working on EARS, including looking at ways we can use other technologies to work alongside the system to improve functionality and efficiency, which will ultimately result in future cost savings.
As mentioned above, with additional staff furloughed from 1st May, we are now operating on minimum staff and the focus is on business critical work as a priority. This means that timescales for responses to queries will inevitably be slower during this period, and we thank you for your patience. We ask that you use the ‘Contact Us’ facility on the website, as emails via this link are being checked more regularly.