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June 2024

Online Speakers & Judges

When a judge or lecturer (I’ll call them speakers for convenience) is listed in the PAGB Handbook, he/she has entered into a compact with all the clubs affiliated to the Alliance. That compact says, in essence, that the speaker will give his/her time to the clubs for no remuneration. Reasonable expenses are payable and those are listed on pages 44 and 107 of the PAGB Handbook and on our website. In the main, they cover travelling expenses, subsistence and consumables. At no point are we seeking to make money by visiting a club. We do it because we feel that we want to give something back to the hobby that has given us so much enjoyment over the years. We want other clubs to benefit from what we have to say, even if it’s only the fun of pulling us to pieces in the pub after a meeting.

It is different for the relatively few lecturers who do make a charge. There is a note on page 44 regarding Expenses that says, “Please note – some lecturers will charge a fee, or additional expenses, over and above the PAGB expenses. “Lecturers who charge a fee or additional expenses are listed under a separate section at the foot of each federation’s entry. Lecturers who charge a fee of £50 or more are required to pay a one-off fee to the PAGB for their entry in each new edition of the handbook – currently £20 at the date of this edition – in return for which they are able to list additional information such as website, additional distinctions etc. Such additional lecturing fees must be agreed at the time of the booking.”

Covid-19 and the onset of online speaking have not changed any of that. The few who charge a fee may continue to charge a fee at the same level as before and the majority who may not charge a fee still may not charge a fee. Of course, no expenses are normally chargeable by the speaker either because there will have been no expenses.

It appears that some clubs feel that they should be paying something to an online speaker. Those clubs have no reason whatsoever to feel that way. Of course, there has never been any reason why a club may not make a gift to a speaker if they feel that they have been part of something special. That has also not changed in the current circumstances. While a fee is taxable, a gift is not. However, a request by the speaker for a gift turns it into a taxable fee. I understand that a post has been made on Facebook saying, “In my experience, nothing that is ‘free’ is ever valued.” Clearly the writer does not understand the system. I am aware of one Federation that has recommended that a club may make a gift of up to a certain sum of money. I’m not in favour of that. A recommended maximum will become a norm, not a maximum. Some clubs rely on their weekly subscriptions to cover the costs of an evening.

They will be unable to afford the new norm.

As a member of my own Federation said, “I always enjoy an e-mail of thanks or a signed card”.

Peter A Young LRPS CPAGB AFIAP APAGB – WPF President & PAGB Treasurer

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