President's Reports

Report back from Council – Feb 2014

Your Council continues to work hard for bridge players in Scotland.  A particularly welcome initiative this month has been the establishment of a Communications working group.  They will be bringing forward ideas in order to keep in touch with all members but also look for advertising and/or sponsorship to keep the excellent SBU News viable.  More next time.

Tournament players will have already observed that some changes have been made to some long established competitions and these have been generally well accepted.  We will also be bringing in some new features for the Peebles congresses, without losing the unique flavour of these popular weekends.

The Mempad project is making progress but it does require the co-operation of club secretaries and treasurers.  If your club is not yet sending results using Mempad do encourage your club to send in the information required to our Master Points secretary.  If your club needs help in order to make progress we have identified ‘champions’ for each district to help you.  Again please contact the MP secretary.

The new website (not so new now I suppose) has proved popular but we are conscious that it still needs improvement.  This now underway but I do stress that we can’t put information or results onto the site unless those responsible either post it themselves or send it to our secretary, Cathy Ferguson, who looks after the front page.

Finally we are coming up to District and SBU AGM’s.  Can I ask all members to take an interest in what is being discussed and make their views known.  Many members have shared views with me during my presidency – and I welcome this – but we can avoid many problems if we know what members want and they are aware of what we trying to achieve.  Check the SBU and your District websites for AGM information.

Report back from Council – November 2013


As is usually the case at this time of year the committees have been very busy and so the November Council meeting had a very full agenda.  Many issues will be covered on the relevant parts of the website but there are a couple I would like to highlight to all members:


The introduction of the Mempad system is gathering pace.  The first clubs are now using it to transfer results automatically for Master Points to be recorded and I know that many individual members are accessing their own accounts regularly.  However here are still a number of clubs who have not yet ‘signed in’ and therefore are no getting the benefits of the system.  In order to help people the team have identified champions in each District who will be able to explain the procedures and provide any other help required.  If in doubt please consult your district secretary or contact the Master Points office.


We are experimenting with a ‘virtual’ club for beginners who are not yet ready to play in clubs or tournaments.  Whilst we have had some ‘teething problems’ we are keen to extend this scheme nationally.  If you are involved with learners who have completed Level 2 or higher of the SBU course, or equivalent, please contact Ann Wickens.


The Member Services Committee has a big remit but one particular area of development is communicating with members.  As well as the SBU News – an excellent magazine that is outstanding value for money but not widely read – we will be looking at regular news based information for ALL members.  If you have any ideas on this please contact Russell Frame, who chairs the committee.


The Better Behaviour in Bridge campaign has received much support and the idea of the monthly theme has caught peoples’ interest – if you haven’t yet put these up in your club, there is still time to do so!


Finally I was delighted to report to Council that I had attended another excellent Highland Congress.  Also, as well as recognising the excellent performance of our team in Bali I gave a special “Thank you” to all of the people who worked so hard to support the team and raise money for them.  I was particularly delighted that our team got coverage on radio and press and it is only fitting that we should recognise Harry Smith’s work on this.


Mike ASH

SBU President

President’s report back – July 2013

[ Please note that this has been amended on 17 July because an unfortunate use of language might have given a wrong impression.]

 At the AGM a few weeks before our Council meeting on 18 June I was able to report pleasing progress on a number of initiatives.  The first full Council meeting of the year took us further forward, with a new Committee structure to more efficiently represent our priorities.  Most significantly we have set up a new Member Services Committee, encompassing the work of both the Membership and Master Points secretaries, a reinstated role of Education Convener and a new initiative on communication, including the SBU News and the new website.  This big and important Committee is chaired by Russell Frame and I know that he would welcome your views and suggestions.  He can be contacted here.

 It would be inappropriate not to mention an unfortunate incident that has taken up a lot of time over the last few weeks.  A member has been accused of inappropriate actions in one of our clubs.  The alleged behaviour was so serious that it was seen as bringing the game into disrepute and a group led by the Chair of the Laws & Ethics Committee have investigated, made some recommendations and suspended a member from SBU sponsored events for 6 months.  The circumstances leading up to the investigation prompted me to ask Council to endorse the statement below - which was agreed before the Group reported - and I repeat it in order to ask all members, and in particular clubs and districts, to take note. 

SBU’s position on complaints on the behaviour of players 

If a member of the SBU is alleged to have misbehaved at an SBU event, the appropriate committee [Laws & Ethics] will investigate and, if necessary, recommend to Council that disciplinary action be taken.  If that action is a period of suspension from playing, all affiliated Districts – and clubs in these Districts – will be expected to uphold this suspension. 

If the misbehaviour is alleged to have taken place at club or district event that is a matter for the club or district.  However if the club/district believes that the alleged behaviour is such that action might be required under section 15.4 of the SBU Constitution [“breaks the Laws of Bridge or brings Bridge into disrepute”] this should be brought to the attention of the chair of the SBU L&E Committee.  The Committee may then decide to investigate and may recommend disciplinary action under section 15.4 of the Constitution. 

It should be noted that the acceptability of alleged behaviour may well differ when an incident takes place in a club or district event and is then referred to the SBU.  Any club/district that is considering referral to the SBU is invited to consult the chair of L&E or the President in advance if they require any clarification of the procedure or appropriateness of referral. 

This statement was approved by SBU Council on 18June 2013 and remains valid until any  subsequent statement is agreed by the Council. 

Finally please make our new website at one of your ‘favourites’ and use it vas your first point of reference for all SBU information.  It is fully operative but still being ‘tweaked’.  However can already communicate directly with Chairs of Committees, enter events via the website and see results immediately after events are completed.  Combined with the Mempad initiative, which is nearing completion and will allow clubs to record all MP allocations electronically and allow members to view their own MP record, I think we are really getting into the e-age!


Mike Ash


SBU AGM – 28th May 2013


Report from the Mike ASH, SBU President, to members.


I am pleased and very proud to report back to members at the end of my first year as your President.  I believe that the year has been very successful and that we are laying down the foundations for more improvements year on year. 


At last year’s AGM I set myself a target to visit every District and as many clubs as possible.  This I have now done, meeting many people who normally would have no contact with the SBU Council.  I also met players from clubs not affiliated to the SBU and one club that has decided to leave us.  I am very grateful to all the people who helped to make these visits possible and also to all those who took part in the ‘Your SBU’ survey.  From the results of this survey we held a workshop in April for Council members and others involved in the follow up work, resulting in a number of action points to take this initiative forward.


At the last AGM the Council identified a number of priorities for this year.  These included:

  • Unify the membership and masterpoints databases, make accessible it by members and allow clubs to register MP’s directly.  This project is progressing well and should be available for next season.
  • Produce a new upgraded website, allowing registered people the ability to keep the site up to date, including uploading results from competitions as they produced and for members to enter events electronically  This will go live at the July Peebles.
  • Establish a more formal basis for training and developing junior players.  This is now well established.
  • Update and promote the SBU teaching materials, available to clubs and teachers free of charge. 

       A PowerPoint version has been produced and it is proposed to appoint a new Training Co-ordinator.

  • Produce a high quality magazine and look at other ways of communicating with all members.  

       The magazine is well regarded.  Other ways of communicating will be apriority for next year.

  • Establish our own simultaneous events, in partnership with other small Unions,  Celtic Sim Pairs doing well.
  • Establish a National League and produce consistent guidelines for the various trials.  15 teams entered in NL!  Trials continue to be well supported.
  • Prepare for the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Glasgow 2014.  

       Continued progress but an important priority for next year.

  • Continue to improve the way the Council works.  Ongoing.


As you can see we have made considerable progress but much remains to do.  We will continue to develop a service for members that combines outstanding value for money with efficiency, utilising technology where appropriate, and maintaining that unique element that make bridge in Scotland the envy of many other countries.


Next year will be a time to ‘bed down’ the IT systems and major new events – the National League, Celtic Sim. Pairs etc – but we are also determined to drive forward an initiative to help clubs recruit more players, in particular looking at how we can convert the very many new players into regular tournament players.  We will review our complete programme of National and International events to make sure that we respond to demand and new types of life styles and, top of our agenda, we will ensure that we are able to communicate regularly and directly to as many members as possible.  To achieve this we will continue to need the active support of Districts and Clubs –

I thank all club and district officers for what you have been doing and in anticipation of even more next year.


May I end this report by thanking my Council members for their work this year – often demanding, mainly unpaid and sometimes unappreciated – and wishing the very best of luck to our Senior team which represents Scotland in the World Championships in Bali this September.  They have put Scottish bridge on the map and we are very proud of their bronze medals, achieved at the European Championships in Dublin.


A number of people who have contributed a great deal are either retiring or having a break from Council next year. 

I would like to thank them all but in particular mention David Liggat who is retiring after being our Secretary for 10 years and also Peter & Helena Cohen who have done such a wonderful job running our Congresses.  Also thanks to John Wilson who has been Chief TD for many years.  A well deserved “Thank You” from us all.


Enjoy your bridge in 2013/14 –

If you think we do well – please tell others,  if we don’t – please tell me!