It has been brought to my attention that there are some questions and concerns in regards to how Kingdom Event Bids are chosen by the Privy Council.
I thought I would walk through the process that a bid goes through when it is received by the Kingdom Seneschal, to clarify any misconceptions. The first thing that happens is the Seneschal reviews the bid to see if it meets kingdom guidelines, has a solid budget, and reasonable expectations for attendance, and so on, and will often ask the sponsoring group for clarification or ask for corrections or additions to make sure the bid will answer all the questions put forth by the Privy Council. After the bid is deemed complete, it is sent to the Privy Council email list and the Council reviews and discusses the bid. The Council members may have questions and concerns about the bid which the Seneschal will forward to the submitting group. Their response is then brought back to the council and either there is more discussion or an online poll is conducted to decide if the bid is acceptable as it is or, in the rare case there is more than one bid, a vote by each member of the Council is completed to decide which bid to proceed with. The King and Queen separately each get a vote, the Prince and Princess (if we have Heirs at the time of the vote) share a vote and each Greater Officer of the Privy Council is allotted one vote. It is a simple vote where the Majority wins, but the Crown must support the decision.
With respect to the two bids we received for the March 2017 A&S Competition each person on the Council took the time to examine both bids and we had lengthy discussions in person and online. We clarified and requested some changes and then we held the vote online in order to allow the successful Canton to get started putting their event together. We did follow up with a brief discussion and in-person vote during our Privy Council meeting at Feast of the Hare. The meeting was open to the public. The minutes for that meeting are available in the Library section of the Kingdom website.
When looking at bids, the Privy Council is looking at multiple different details to determine if a bid can result in a successful event. Please remember that the Kingdom relies on the profits from Kingdom events so it is essential that the bids reflect a profitable budget. Different council members may be looking for the things that impact their position on the Council (e.g. the Exchequer may focus on the financials, the Earl Marshal may pay particular attention to the marshal activities and the plans laid out in the bid, etc). Many council members are generically looking at the bid as a whole. Each Council member will ultimately vote for the bid that they feel is the best choice for the Kingdom.
I can assure you that one of the biggest issues I have faced as the Kingdom Seneschal is a lack of bids for Kingdom events. In my time as Seneschal the 2017 A&S bidding process is the only vote between two bids that I have conducted. The others have all been polls of support for the single bid submitted. I would also add that in many cases getting that single bid was stressful, time-consuming and nerve-wracking. I was thrilled to receive the two bids that we received and I am so pleased that both groups are interested in running Kingdom events.
I would respectfully suggest that if you are unhappy or unsatisfied with the way bids are selected, the location of the events or some other aspect of the bidding process that you get involved. I encourage you to apply for a position on the Privy Council when one becomes available and in the meantime volunteer for a position within your group, or volunteer for a position on a local or Kingdom bid to help run an event. Our Kingdom relies completely on volunteers. We can absolutely use more help.
In February at the Service Symposium I will be running a class on how to put together a bid for a Kingdom event. I would welcome anyone interested in learning more about Kingdom bids to join me. We are also working on a brand new Steward’s Handbook that I believe will be a huge asset to all Event Stewards whether they are new to the job or experienced with a question or two.
In service I remain,