Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why


What Reports Can Be Good For

Reports as busywork are bad. Reports as history, public relations and education are good.

Seneschals should be receiving reports from their fellow officers. [1] Local seneschals' reports should summarize the activities of the group. The easiest and most useful way to do this is to list the officers and tell what each is doing. Don't forget to include yourself. Tell about any classes, meetings, demos, events, etc. If you have any questions, or if you foresee any problems, list those near the end of the letter to help assure that the person to whom the questions are directed doesn't miss them or forget them. Better yet, put them on a separate page. These reports may be due once a month or less frequently, depending on the custom in your kingdom.

If you're a local seneschal within a principality, you might send a copy of your report to the kingdom seneschal so that your group becomes better known at kingdom level. You should still direct questions and information to the principality seneschal, and the kingdom seneschal shouldn't need to respond to the copies at all. Potential benefits of this are:

  • Pressure is taken off the principality officers. If they fail to report a certain month, all is not lost.
  • Groups will receive more recognition at kingdom level.
  • When a problem's developing the kingdom seneschal will have more than one person's version/opinion at hand.
  • It will ensure that the prejudices of the principality seneschal don't pervade the files. This may not be a problem in your area, but we've all probably seen at one time or another a biased view of something preserved on permanent record. An unusual feature of principalities is that they serve as a filter (for good or ill) of what the kingdom sees of the local groups.

Domesday Reports

It used to be that each year in January (or soon thereafter for upper levels) each officer at every level in the SCA was required to write a year-end summary report. If you are asked to write such a report, here are some suggestions:

A seneschal's report should be a report on the activities of the group as a whole, and should include full information on the seneschal's activities and projects, short summaries of the activities of their fellow officers (include who's holding each office and list changes in personnel over the year), lists of events which tell how many people attended (approximately) and who autocratted. Be sure to list and describe demos, classes and other educational projects (make a whole section on educational projects).

In small and fairly new groups it may be easiest and most practical for all the officers to meet and compile a single, shared domesday report which each can send to his or her respective superior officer. Even large groups could consider this. (Each officer could highlight the sections his own superior will be most interested in.)

In any case, if there must be a domesday report it is better to have it short and published rather than long and filed somewhere. This is a principle I hope people can apply to nearly everything they do in the Society-that each action should benefit as many people as possible.

"Domesday" is the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday," so pronouncing it either way is fine and spelling it either way is no big deal. The original domesday report (The Domesday Book) as a survey of the land in England which, because of their concepts of land ownership, included information on people and animals and buildings and bridges and all sorts of things.



[1] This could be a copy of their report to kingdom, or a verbal report, or whatever suits the group best.) One of my scariest "old days" stories is when I was first seneschal of Atenveldt, and at the first crown tournament I attended as seneschal, I asked the Aten Herald to send me copies of reports, and was told that nothing that office did was any of my business. That little misunderstanding was cleared up, and I hope you never have a similar one.
Copyright © by Sandra Dodd, 1991
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