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  1. #1
    ESL - Young Leaders
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    And another grey area....

    I recently received through the post and completed the NSPCC "Keeping Children Safe" modules. Goody too shoes that I am, I actually found the three modules interesting and informative.

    Two things it threw up, which I would be interested to know your views on are:

    "Never drive or walk a young person home on their own unless there are truly exceptional circumstances and never take a young person to your home."

    Now the bit about never take a YP to your home is a given of course - however its a bit of a grey area with regard to taking a kid home - what if the Scout is the child of a family friend or someone you mix with socially outside Scouting? Case in hand the other night - my ASL had to leave the meeting early and I offered to take his son/Scout home rather than the Scout having to leave early with his dad. Although I know my ASL through Scouting, we are now good friends and am sure would continue to be good friends, even without Scouting. Should I have done this? What would you have done in this instance or similar?

    Secondly:

    "You and other adults in charge of the children should not drink alcohol - because you are in charge and because of setting a good example. This applies even if you are off duty but around the children."

    My view: YP in bed, camp fire, late at night, adults sharing a tipple, chilling out, laughing, chatting, one of the best parts of the day! This is phrased as though adults can't act responsibly when having a tipple (just like when you're at home but you drink more!) which is not the case. What do you think.....
    Ruth

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  2. #2
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I don't drive but if I did I'd always try and avoid giving one child a lift. There are ways around it such as giving a lift to another Leader or another parent and their child or even just two siblings, and dropping the lone child off first. However ultimately if you are think that the risk of being accused of acting inappropriately or even just driving dangerously or whatever is low enough for you to be ok with then it is your risk to take. Also if you do drive a lone child IIRC the advice is to put them in the back seat.

    Also bear in mind the rules about having child safety seats (even if one off lifts might be arguably except) it would still be your liability if something happended and they weren't in a safety seat when they maybe should have been.

    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

  3. #3
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    IMHO, if you know the family and they give permission, I can't see any problem.

    With alcohol, so long as all the YP are in bed the only caveat I can see would be that at least one adult must be teetotal.
    Chris Hawes, ASL and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group; Webmaster, Watford North Scout District.
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  4. #4
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    yep that what we do if we have a drink one of the leader will be teetotal for the weekend , but next time we go one of the over leaders do it .

    david may
    31st gravesend scout troop

  5. #5
    Scout Leader (Skip) Skip.Craig's Avatar
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    OK I'll start by going back to when I was a Scout (25 ish years ago)

    I used to walk half a mile to my scout leaders house and then get a lift with him (3 miles) to the scout hut

    He would then give me a lift home after scouts mostly after a quick leaders meeting in the local pub

    today as we all know this would not be allowed

    OK now a year ago I was asked by the mother of my SPL who lives on my way home if I could drop him off on my way to drop my son off at home before I went to the local for a "leaders meeting" or he would be unable to continue at scouts

    As I would not be on my own in the car I agreed

    Now my question is was I right..........?
    Craig

    Scout Leader, 70th Portsmouth, Hampshire
    Group Scout Leader, 4th Kenton, GLMW


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip.1sthw View Post
    OK now a year ago I was asked by the mother of my SPL who lives on my way home if I could drop him off on my way to drop my son off at home before I went to the local for a "leaders meeting" or he would be unable to continue at scouts

    As I would not be on my own in the car I agreed

    Now my question is was I right..........?
    I think you are right in this case because you are not alone with your SPL.


    According to these guidelines I can't give my cousin a lift home (who is also a Scout).

    I think these guidelines cannot answer every question and in the end you have to make your own decision and try to limit the 'risk'
    Last edited by MikeJ; 18-01-2009 at 08:07 PM. Reason: fixed quote

  7. #7
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    It's just a situation of common sense. We try never to be alone with children, and in cases where we have had to escort a child home, two leaders have been present. Obviously you know this family well and have good links with them, so if they are happy then that is all good.

    I would be more careful if you didn't know they family as well, and would make sure that their were 3 people present at all times. You never know what accusations could be made!

    On the drink issue, we always have a sober person. You never know what could arise during the night and someone may require medical attention/a trip to hospital etc. And this needs a sober person to be in control.

    We do this on Cub Camps and Network camps (where we are the organisers), the rule is no different.

    Once people start drinking then situations can quickly escalate, if a YP came in with an issue and you had all had a bit too much (accidentally not on purpose) then their is no 'safe' person to deal with the child. Imagine if a parent had to be called out, and found that you had all been drinking... doesn't look to good... for someone that is meant to be looking after their child responsibly...

    You can have a different sober person for each night, so no one is losing out...
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  8. #8
    bit of everything!
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    While I had my own child in the Colony/Pack, I didn't mind transporting other children (I took my neighbour's son for several months). Once he had left, I had to take either 2 children, or ask parents to arrange their own transport.
    When you live in the country, most children need to be transported to Cubs or activities, so parents can usually find someone to car share.

  9. #9
    Senior Member martin1981's Avatar
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    two very seperate issues,

    alcohol first - I have been a very heavy drinker in the past, and i will freely admit that and this includes on Scouts events (but not where I was responsible for young people or where young people are around). Personally I struggle with the concept of drinking whilst being in charge of other peoples children, whether you are on or off duty.

    In the past I have had to deal with some nasty situations on camps, where alcohol has caused an injury or rendered someone effectively useless for the following day. Also I have seen adults behave inappropriately where there has been an incidents and they have decided to get involved in a situation to resolve.

    In the dim and distant past I attended a number of county cub camps in the mid/late 1990s as a "young leader" and the rule imposed by county on those event, was yes there is a bar (drinking in sub camps/groups strongly discouraged - and reserved the right to expel leaders from site!) but that they would also provide sleeping accomodation next to the bar TO prevent adults going back to site till morning. Any breach and it was off site, chat with the DC and possibly a goodbye from Scouting. I have no problem with this approach personally.

    The situation changes where the camps are for adults, and I accept the rules of the game change significantly because there is a much hightended sense of self responsibility!

    Lifts - never comfortable with this. We wouldn't invite unsupervised 1:1 contact in any other Scouting setting, and travelling to and from meetings is an integral part of the activity. Why should this be any different. If unavoidable, the easiest solution to minimise the "risk" is for the YP to travel in the back.

  10. #10
    ESL - Young Leaders
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBowen View Post
    On the drink issue, we always have a sober person. You never know what could arise during the night and someone may require medical attention/a trip to hospital etc. And this needs a sober person to be in control.

    Once people start drinking then situations can quickly escalate, if a YP came in with an issue and you had all had a bit too much (accidentally not on purpose) then their is no 'safe' person to deal with the child. Imagine if a parent had to be called out, and found that you had all been drinking... doesn't look to good... for someone that is meant to be looking after their child responsibly...
    I would just stress that we're not talking heavy drinking here - that's not what we're about at all - just a minor tipple.

    The way the NSPCC guideline/rule reads though is no alcohol at all when responsible for children....
    Ruth

    Lovin' my gadgets!

  11. #11
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    Sorry, didn't mean to imply that.

    However, even one glass of wine/bottle of beer can have an effect. If anything happened this would be brought into account. It's better that you never allow a situation to arise.

    Overall, I think you should play it safe (better safe than sorry). Just as long as one person is sober there shouldn't be an issue.
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  12. #12
    The Daddy
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    When we camp I don't mind the other leaders having a drink after the Cubs go to bed as my wife and I are tee total, but they never have more than one bottle of beer. If a leader was getting drunk I would be having words with them, being the camp leader and the one who is responsible for everything going on, I will not allow another leader to show myself or my pack through poor behaviour. Also these groups who say one will stay sober in case any transport is needed, what if something happens to the sober leader?

  13. #13
    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    We operate a policy of 2 bodies on sober rota at any one time. Yes there would be an advantage of everyone being sober, but there would also be some relaxation lost. Our teams are giving up a week's leave to run these events - it is a big ask to go tee total for them as well.

    Rich
    (of course no parent drinks when they have their kids at home do they? My toddler is asleep (I hope) and I will have a glass of wine. Lets not get too excited by impossibly high standards - but do make sure the sober ones are aware they are on rota that day!)

  14. #14
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeafyLion View Post
    When we camp I don't mind the other leaders having a drink after the Cubs go to bed as my wife and I are tee total, but they never have more than one bottle of beer. If a leader was getting drunk I would be having words with them, being the camp leader and the one who is responsible for everything going on, I will not allow another leader to show myself or my pack through poor behaviour. Also these groups who say one will stay sober in case any transport is needed, what if something happens to the sober leader?
    Well, to start with no-one gets drunk. It's no more than a couple of beers or whatever. And secondly, we could play the "what if" game to kingdom come. It's impossible to remove all risk. But how likely is it that (a) something will happen, and that (b) that will happen at the same time as the teetotal leader getting put out of action?
    Chris Hawes, ASL and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group; Webmaster, Watford North Scout District.
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  15. #15
    The Daddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    Well, to start with no-one gets drunk. It's no more than a couple of beers or whatever. And secondly, we could play the "what if" game to kingdom come. It's impossible to remove all risk. But how likely is it that (a) something will happen, and that (b) that will happen at the same time as the teetotal leader getting put out of action?
    I agree we can play the what if? game forever. But when you have been called out to take a leader to hospital because they broke a leg falling in a ditch, and that was the sober leader it's something to consider. As for no one gets drunk, I can think of 3 occassions where I have come across leaders from other groups who couldn't even make it to their tent let alone get in their tent.

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