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  1. #1
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Re: Facts are Sacred

    I still think Wayne is missing the point here yes maybe Districts do get census information etc (not sure exactly what info they do get)

    However making access to the full data (not personal data but numbers) public or at least much easier e.g. on request by a Leader to the Info Centre could mean that someone produces a really interesting analysis tool (some sort of google map of growth say) or simply that a District finds out that the similar District to them next door (maybe in a different County though as I think Districts are given comparative info to other Districts in their County already) has grown at x times the rate or has recruited y more adults than them or whatever, knowing this may well prompt the question 'what are they doing that we are not' and even 'is there anythng we can learn from them' etc.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  2. #2
    CSSA and SAS Member marcush's Avatar
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    I've got a fairly good idea how a map could be done Pete, well have several ways which would look good and show it.

    I do think that it would be good to see census data on request.
    Marcus Humphrey


    HERE BE SCOUTS providing custom maps, visualisations and routing

    Rule 66. A map and compass offers no protection against getting horribly lost.

  3. #3
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    There isn't really any reason for the information to be available freely...district level should be low enough...the census website allows access to this information already...space for information on the web is cheap...it shouldn't be too hard to provide a framework for anyone to compare any number with anyone else (county, national, district over there), over any time period...the data is only useful for the people looking!

    Perhaps the website should be improved first then this sort of thing can follow...it isn't Wayne's decision on what to publish or not, but undoubtably he would be part of a decision...

    Data like big Chris produced...

    I do feel the poster could have phrased their responses less...critically/forcefully

  4. #4
    AGSL Russell Corrie's Avatar
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    Hmm! having the figures available on a website could also allow everyone to start becoming statisticians and drawing the wrong conclusion.
    That said I phoned the info centre about 18 months ago and they provided me with the last 10 years figures.
    Has anyone asked them?

    And agreed on the tone of the email
    Last edited by Russell Corrie; 17-05-2012 at 03:23 PM.
    Russell Corrie
    AGSL 1st Southgate
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I believe that this information IS available to Districts, certainly I could access it as a Joint DC.

    A District can make its census figures available if it wishes.

    However, I do not believe that it would make the slightest difference to how anyone does anything. Our neighbouring Districts have somewhat better overall results than we do, and have done for years, I doubt that any analysis of those Districts would give anything constructive to this District because you can only lead the horse to water, as it were.

    We might look at the figures and note that X District has twice as many adults and three times as many youth members, and surmise that the solution for Y District is more adults in position - but heck, we know that anyway. The figures do not tell us WHY X has more adults and why Y has a recruiting problem. What does happen when people look at figures, is that some get demoralised (at best). Statistics are only really of any use if you can realistically do something with them. Otherwise they are just numbers on a page.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  6. #6
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    With figures successful Groups/Districts can be identified by anyone not just DCs and above. From there you might ask that specific Group/District for advice. GSLs might realise their Group is the only one in the District to have lost numbers and be prompted to think and investigate why they are bucking a trend and if there is anything they can do to change that. Or they might find out that all Groups in the District shrank by similar amounts in which case maybe the problem is not Group related but District related or explainable by changing populations in the area (families moving out of the area etc).

    I don't see that TSA has anything to lose in being more open with the census data and it could result in much more use being used of the data and useful tools and analisis of the data being used.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  7. #7
    AGSL Russell Corrie's Avatar
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    Our DC shared this information with the GSL's at a district meeting before the national figures came out.
    But I agree with Ewan, what use will the comparisons make, I'm sure every group strives to give as many YP the best scouting they can.
    Russell Corrie
    AGSL 1st Southgate
    http://www.srfexplorers.org.uk

    "the future's bright, the future's scouting" Tarquin Merryweather

  8. #8
    Grey but not that old Alfbranch's Avatar
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    I have discussed our census figues at district exec meetings on a number of accasions.

    I have filled quite a few censuses myself but fortunately thats now someone elses job in my new group.

    If people wish to discuss this stuff go to a district exec meeting and ask about it.
    Alf

    Scout leader 1st Hensingham Scouts Western Lakes District
    NAA Western Lakes District
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    Only use sharp knives. Blunt knives are more dangerous.

  9. #9
    ADC Mallah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    With figures successful Groups/Districts can be identified by anyone not just DCs and above.
    So, you've decided that numbers = success? I'm afraid you miss the point and the reason why we all do what we do. Think back, why did you start being a leader? I suspect the answer makes no reference to the group being the biggest and most successful, but more to do with being something you felt was worthwhile - and quite probably enjoyed.

    I can honestly say that having seen the results of census information at various levels it has had no effect on the troops let alone the groups that I have been involved with. Pete, we are not in competition with each other and there are plenty of ways in which we as leaders can learn from each other - even if it's pinching the odd idea or two from these forums. Sticking our heads into Statistics is of no use to those of us working at the coal face, and is more than likely to serve to increase greater division rather than the other way around.

    If you enjoy sticking your head into statistics then the information is available, it's just that you may need to ask several people for it.

  10. #10
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    With figures successful Groups/Districts can be identified by anyone not just DCs and above.
    be careful shifty! census figures only tell one part of the story and for some groups that part might be quite small. in the district next to where i live they've just presented their annual awards and the best scout group (if i've got the figures right!) was the next to smallest group and also the one with the fewest leaders.

    success depends on lots of things, not just numbers. i recall way back when i was a SL leading a 'successful' troop which won in one year 7 district and county troop competitions. (most troops at best won one or two and some won nothing at all!) iirc, there were just 21 scouts in the troop that year. that 'success' led to more 'success' as numbers in the troop grew to near 40 soon afterwards. (it then fell to just 7 a mere 6 months after hitting the high!)

    From there you might ask that specific Group/District for advice. GSLs might realise their Group is the only one in the District to have lost numbers and be prompted to think and investigate why they are bucking a trend and if there is anything they can do to change that. Or they might find out that all Groups in the District shrank by similar amounts in which case maybe the problem is not Group related but District related or explainable by changing populations in the area (families moving out of the area etc).
    one could do this but the number of variables involved when looking at this 'level' are large and it's quite often difficult (or near impossible) to draw any meaningful correlations.

    the census figures are best looked at in a much wider strategic view, identifying shifts across a district, targeting resources, looking at 'holes' in the scouting provision, addressing accessibility issues, and such like or even better across a county or region.

    the principal 'indicator' i think one gets from census figures is how good, or not maybe, is the fit that the provision of scouting has to the demand for scouting. that can lead to one looking a little deeper at issues such as recruitment and retention (of leaders), among others. however, taking the figures to the level of using them to assess the quality of programme, for example, is a step too far.

    again looking at local census figures, i see that the biggest increase in numbers were recorded by the two smallest groups (actual numbers as well as %). i'm not sure though that the GSLs from other groups are rushing to the door of these groups asking what their secret formulae are.

    using chalk to measure cheese quality won't work!

    I don't see that TSA has anything to lose in being more open with the census data and it could result in much more use being used of the data and useful tools and analysis of the data being used.
    it could be useful on a strategic level for some, but a GSL i know might find it useful in their development plans looking at it on the district-level but they don't have time to look at it wider and consider their development or targets or plans, &c, in the context of census data from the other side of the country, let alone the other side of the county.

    drawing conclusions from census data is fraught with difficulty and one could quite easily get the wrong answer if they're applied on too simplistic a basis and at an inappropriate level. of course the broader area over which one makes conclusions also risks one losing some detail; for example, saying that there's a positive message to be had from a 5% increase in membership nationally/regionally might hide the fact that this average figure hide the difficult issues faced by, say, urban scouting.

    the devil is in the detail but the detail is hard to read in places!

    cordially yours, TM

  11. #11
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    To take a slight tangent - how would you define good/quality/successful scouting?

    Does it follow that the provision of a good quality programme, meeting the local needs, leads to an increase in membership? Or is it much more complicated?

    Someone has tried to put a definition down - it's in the RAG assessments available to all.

  12. #12
    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    TM, This bit struck me..........

    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    ................census figures only tell one part of the story and for some groups that part might that 'success' led to more 'success' as numbers in the troop grew to near 40 soon afterwards. (it then fell to just 7 a mere 6 months after hitting the high!)
    It is interesting that there was such a large fall in numbers in such a short period of time. Was there a particular reason fro such a dramatic fall?
    Peter

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  13. #13
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBadBaloo View Post
    TM, This bit struck me..........

    It is interesting that there was such a large fall in numbers in such a short period of time. Was there a particular reason for such a dramatic fall?
    yes there was.

    the only record i have at the time says that it was due to the incompetence of the SL and the threat to the viability of the group that they posed. now there is some debate as to the timeline here. the SL will argue that the accusation of incompetence was made when the troop number was 38 and that this fell to 7 after he was sacked from his role for being incompetent. otoh, the GSL who did the sacking will argue that the troop fell in number overnight from 38 to 7 and the SL was asked to move because of the fall.

    so it was either the SL was sacked and the troop numbers fell as a result, or, the troop numbers fell because the SL was incompetent and he was sacked as a result.

    i'll leave it to you to figure out which it was.

    regards, TM

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jshirra View Post
    it's in the RAG assessments available to all.
    what is a RAG assessment and where is it available? Never heard the terminology let alone where to find one. Only RAG I know of is when students dress up in silly costumes and shake buckets at you.

  15. #15
    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitch View Post
    what is a RAG assessment and where is it available? Never heard the terminology let alone where to find one. Only RAG I know of is when students dress up in silly costumes and shake buckets at you.
    http://www.scouts.org.uk/documents/s...nteractive.pdf

    That is the specific one for Young Leaders. There are others available for Groups, Explorers (as a whole), Districts and Counties (that I know of!)

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