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FCI and KC sign new agreement

Issue: 14/04/2017

Following on from the high profile vote on the FCI/Kennel Club judge's agreement which caused such controversy at the time, the KC and the FCI signed a new Reciprocal Agreement on judges at Crufts in March, to replace the previous arrangement signed in 2013.
The old arrangement had been voted down by a 57% majority of KC Members at last year's KC AGM, on a proposal by Alan Hedges. Mr Hedges' KC Membership has since been terminated by the KC Board as reported in OUR DOGS over the last few weeks
The original agreement was voted out mainly because it allowed certain FCI Judges to be automatically approved to award CCs in the UK without the completion of a KC questionnaire. This was considered to be inequitable to UK judges who have to go through a full approval process.
Doubts were expressed at the time of the original announcement on March 17th that the new 2017 agreement seemed to differ very little from the old agreement in fundamental terms, though assurances were given that the means of applying the new arrangement would be rather different.
The Kennel Club has now given details of how the new agreement will be operated. Under its terms, all judges resident in a FCI member country will be required to fill out a contract to judge at a Championship Show in the UK. No nominations to judge under the old agreement received by the KC after 30 April 2017 will be accepted.
The contract now being introduced states that all nominations will continue to be subject to the approval of the KC Board. It will need to be completed by all judges resident in FCI countries, not just those judging a breed for the first time. It will be used for all judges awarding CCs and judging Groups and BIS at KC championship shows. 
A similar contract will be used for UK judges to award CACIBs and judge groups and BIS at FCI shows. The new arrangement becomes active on 1 May 2017. It will be valid for five years subject to the right of termination by one or other of the parties, no less than six months prior to the expiry date. Changes to it can be made if both sides agree.
Revised Code of Practice
The new arrangement will require to be carried out under a revised Kennel Club Code of Best Practice for the Selection of Judges. This states that after 1 May 2017, all judges resident in an FCI country must complete a new KC/FCI judges' contract. This contract must be sent to the KC at the time when the inviting society submits its nomination to the KC, preferably electronically. The contract will form part of a UK Show Societies' judging contract procedure.
To be eligible to use this route, FCI Judges must previously have awarded CACIBs to the relevant breed in countries other than their country of residence for a minimum period of five years prior to their first UK appointment for the breed. They must also be  listed as designated 'International Judges' in the Judges' Directory published by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. If they are not, they will continue to require to complete a normal KC Overseas Judges' Questionnaire. 
Details of experience
Under the new arrangements, if nominated to judge a breed at CC level for the first time, the proposed FCI international judge will be required to give details of where they have judged the breed. The wording of the Contract asks the judge to state his or her experience in judging the breed at championship level, including some of their most important appointments in the breed and 'if possible' to provide the dates, names of shows and countries where they have judged the breed.
All those people awarding CCs for the first time will continue to be evaluated on their first appointment in the UK and the inviting society will be required to pay travel expenses to the evaluators.
The documents accompanying the announcement also make it very clear that the inviting societies will be held to account for the quality of the nominations they submit. The Code of Practice comments: 'The nominating society will be held responsible for the performance of its overseas judges. Should a pattern of poorly performing overseas judges emerge at any particular show or shows the organising society will be asked to explain and mitigate the observed pattern which may be taken into consideration when determining the renewal of championship show status.'
It is also confirmed by the KC that at any General or Group Championship Show the number of overseas judges nominated to award Challenge Certificates and/or judge Groups and Best in Show must not exceed 20% of the total number of judges appointed. In calculating this percentage, even if a judge is invited to judge several breeds. the judge need only be counted once.
Jeff Horswell, the KC Board Member who gave a presentation on the drawing up of the new agreement at the KC SGM in November, said: 'As was explained to members at the SGM, the changes to the wording of the agreement, although small, are significant. The inviting society and the Judges Committee will review the evidence provided, to decide if the proposed new CC judge is suitably qualified to judge that breed in the UK. There is no automatic approval and the Kennel Club Board will look closely at nominations where necessary.'
For OUR DOGS comments see our Opinion Column on page eight of this week's issue.

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