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Thread: Hardship policy

  1. #31
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Actually, Chris, tax is based on both income and expenditure. However, the argument is difficult. How do you make the judgement call? Do you make a judgement call? If you don't, what is to stop everyone from asking for free membership?

    Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions. I'm not happy with a policy, which should be written down and visible to all - otherwise we stand to be accused of being selective. I think, and this flies in the face of all the rules, we use discretion and allow subsidy by default to those most in need. If we can't diferentiate between the kid from a both parents unemployed and on Universal Credit and someone who has the money, then we probably don't have the right reationship with our members and their kids.

    Had a kid last night who missed an activity. When I asked what happened he outright declared, "Oh, mum couldn't afford it" - We had words. ( I suspect his mum would have killed him for telling me.)
    I'm not saying it's an easy judgement call, but it's one leaders with a good relationship with their YP should be able to make and be able to see through the guff (be they taking advantage or need support but not wish to request it).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    It's always interesting when this thread pops up. It usually ends up polarized.

    Being 'fair', and being overly concerned that someone might be getting something you don't think think they deserve, is not the same thing at all.

    For what it's worth, I agree with Ian. I certainly won't get all bent out of shape because someone who may or may not have a specific type of telly, car of fridge, ends up getting a kid subsidised for a camp. How much a family has is not measure of how functional that family might be - as has already been intimated by others, it's not that simple.
    That's literally missing the entire point I've been making. It's simply about ensuring that we do not subsidise the feckless at the cost of the conscientious.


    I actually have some quite personal experience with this. Back in the late 80's my parents split up. While I don't remember each time they did it, I do remember that sometime around 1987-ish, my Dad moved out and into another house. (Usually they just argued and my mum would take us to the pictures or something.)

    In 1989, I went to Discovery 89 at Scone Palace. My parents didn't pay anything for it, both were working. We lived in a four bedroom house in the village (expensive, even then). Both my parents worked, my dad had a brand new (company) car - might have been a Nissan Bluebird at that point... We had a remote control TV, a front loading VHS VCR (still rare at that point) and as I recall, loads of MFI furniture all on HP. (I think the cost of all of it is what they argued about, that and rather a lot of empty bottles of Famous Grouse. What can I say, I liked a drink... I'M JOKING! It was my dad, bless him...)

    Anyway, the point is, I know the other leaders knew what was going on because my Dad had only recently left the Scout Group after years of involvement in various forms. I have a very specific memory of a leader saying that I shouldn't worry about the cost of the camp - which was a good bit more than a normal summer camp.

    I think when we talk about this sort of thing, we forget the kid's view. From my own experience (and it has happened many times since with other people's kids), I don't actually care how well off a family is, if it's breaking up, I'll make any allowances I can to keep that kid on board as seamlessly as possible - because I know how much that continuity meant to me back in the day. And I'm certainly not going to put that kid's continued membership at risk by sniffing around and making judgements about what telly or car they might have.

    If that means the group ends up taking a hit? Then it takes a hit.
    There's a big difference between a family breaking up with the all the attendant issues that brings up and a "whole" one with a generally wasteful approach to money. If they can afford all the nice new things, they can afford any of the camps we put on.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    That's literally missing the entire point I've been making. It's simply about ensuring that we do not subsidise the feckless at the cost of the conscientious.


    There's a big difference between a family breaking up with the all the attendant issues that brings up and a "whole" one with a generally wasteful approach to money. If they can afford all the nice new things, they can afford any of the camps we put on.
    And you've missed my point entirely. What if, in all the poking around you're doing to make sure, (god forbid), some fiend won't be getting something you don't think they're entitled to (presumably based on your perception of what constitutes a 'conscientious' person), the kid involved finds out you've been sniffing around his or her family?

    What if you get it wrong? What if there is a family break up but you don't find out about it and the kid misses out? Heck, what if all their 'nice stuff' comes from Bright House? What if the parents are just feckless? Should the kid be penalised for that?

    This could loosely be correlated with means testing - by which I mean, the only reason you'd ever means test anything is to save money. If you're not doing it for that, then all you're doing is spending time and money on a petty exercise in making sure someone doesn't get something you don't think they deserve - which rather flies in the face of it being a money-saving exercise. For us, we wouldn't be paying for the means testing with money, we'd be paying for it (potentially) with the well being of a young person.

    All so your group could save a few quid? To me, it's not worth the bother.

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    Hardship Policy - Claire's original query

    To come back to Claire's original query, our Group has never attempted to write down in detail a formal Hardship Policy because that would raise all sorts of issues that are indicated by the comments raised in this thread. What we do, is have a similar wording in our Welcome Pack and our subscription requests to that mentioned by ianw earlier in this thread. Such wording is advised and something like that is essential to meet the conditions of charities not to exclude beneficiaries on economic grounds.

    The decision on whether to reduce the payment for an event or for subs (or to collect it by instalments) is made only by the section/camp leader and the GSL so only two people will ever be aware of the person requesting assistance. Once a year the GSL is required to submit a report to the Trustees (Committee) indicating the number of people and the amount of relief requested; this is to ensure that the amounts are not becoming excessive (a judgement call for the committee).

    In our group the sums involved have never been large and I do not think that we have ever thought that anyone was taking 'unfair' advantage of the scheme.

    I hope that these ideas help you.

    RH from Nottingham

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    In this game we all make judgement calls. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. That's life.

    There is a risk with subsidising individuals. We make a decision whether to take that risk or not. Equally, there is a risk in not offering a subsidy.

    I know that when my wife and I paid in full for three of our kids to go to Mexico - the group subsidised them each by 100. It actually subsidised all the kids who went to Mexico by the same amount regardless of parental ability. We did the same with a trip to Ghana. Subsidising kids is not really an issue, in itself. It is all the context that comes with it that makes the difference. The how it is done, the why, and perhaps, sometimes the who.
    Ewan Scott

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    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    Its never an easy call - our group introduced our policy because of one parent (on benefits but later seen advertising for a cleaner) who once just wrote 'subsidised space' across her consent form and then sent her child along to the camp with 30 spending money. The other parents (who had subsidised her child through their children's subs) went ballistic. This was an example of someone abusing the system.

    However, for all the hatred this generated within the group, the child got a lot out of the camps (if nothing else it was a break from a truly horrendous parent) and I've never felt easy about not offering scouting to that child once the policy came in. Ok, so the parents sniff or drink their income away or have a lifestyle we don't necessarily agree with, but ultimately its the child that loses out. being a bad parent shouldn't mean scouting isn't open to your child, often its the best thing that happens to them.

    So, we have a publicised policy which is drawn to everyone's attention with every subs/camp demand, but we then monitor who is attending events and try and ascertain why not, where applicable. As the leader team ages however, we don't see so much of the parents at school gates etc so we don't know themand their circumstances as well as previously. As pointed out above we can't spy or try and dig deeper into a decision.

    Not an easy subject.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    Its never an easy call - our group introduced our policy because of one parent (on benefits but later seen advertising for a cleaner) who once just wrote 'subsidised space' across her consent form and then sent her child along to the camp with 30 spending money. The other parents (who had subsidised her child through their children's subs) went ballistic. This was an example of someone abusing the system.

    However, for all the hatred this generated within the group, the child got a lot out of the camps (if nothing else it was a break from a truly horrendous parent) and I've never felt easy about not offering scouting to that child once the policy came in. Ok, so the parents sniff or drink their income away or have a lifestyle we don't necessarily agree with, but ultimately its the child that loses out. being a bad parent shouldn't mean scouting isn't open to your child, often its the best thing that happens to them.

    So, we have a publicised policy which is drawn to everyone's attention with every subs/camp demand, but we then monitor who is attending events and try and ascertain why not, where applicable. As the leader team ages however, we don't see so much of the parents at school gates etc so we don't know themand their circumstances as well as previously. As pointed out above we can't spy or try and dig deeper into a decision.

    Not an easy subject.
    I seem to recall discussion about this "incident".
    Ewan Scott

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    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I seem to recall discussion about this "incident".
    I've still got your email somewhere and still appreciate that you took the time to reply given what was going on at the time. That offer of a beer still stands should you ever venture down south.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    Its never an easy call - our group introduced our policy because of one parent (on benefits but later seen advertising for a cleaner) who once just wrote 'subsidised space' across her consent form and then sent her child along to the camp with 30 spending money. The other parents (who had subsidised her child through their children's subs) went ballistic. This was an example of someone abusing the system.
    ......t.
    That's outrageous, not for the reasons you think, but that the other "parents" were even remotely aware of this one child. The group with which I'm most familiar has a hardship policy adminstered by 3 members of the exec who are the only ones who ever know who is the recipient and who present requests and recommendations with complete anonymity to the exec.

    No one would ever apply if it was public as you imply.

  15. #39
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    That's outrageous, not for the reasons you think, but that the other "parents" were even remotely aware of this one child. The group with which I'm most familiar has a hardship policy adminstered by 3 members of the exec who are the only ones who ever know who is the recipient and who present requests and recommendations with complete anonymity to the exec.

    No one would ever apply if it was public as you imply.
    I agree entirely and our policy is operated between the camp leader and the Treasurer. The Exec aren't given a name, just how many spaces are being subsidised.

    However, in this instance the 'leak' didn't come from the Group - the mother herself had been bragging about it at the school gates; 'rubbing their faces in it' was how one parent described it. There is history with that particular parent at nursery, church & school and the group got dragged into it with other consequences I won't go into here. As leaders we naively thought the child deserved a chance to enjoy the benefits scouting can offer. In the end our poor judgement cost us a lot more than just a subsidised camp place.
    Last edited by Keith at 2M; 16-03-2019 at 05:50 PM.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    That's outrageous, not for the reasons you think, but that the other "parents" were even remotely aware of this one child. The group with which I'm most familiar has a hardship policy adminstered by 3 members of the exec who are the only ones who ever know who is the recipient and who present requests and recommendations with complete anonymity to the exec.

    No one would ever apply if it was public as you imply.
    I think that "outrageous" is a tad judgemental. If I recall there was more to this. It only takes one person to see the form handed in. One parent to vocalise their demands and everyone knows. I've seen "confidential" issues broadcast by parents. It happens.

    We have Juniors paying weekly, one parent may see another not paying. The only way to avoid this is to handle all payments in complete isolation.
    Ewan Scott

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    To be fair, there is another side to this. If parents are taking advantage of a hardship fund, then other parents will be coughing up for it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    WE are not subsidising them. the OTHER PARENTS are. Many of whom are likely to make their own sacrifices in order to send their child(ren) on camps and so on
    That is not always true. For example our Group receives regular donations from a couple of former members specifically to help enable kids to participate in Scouting who might otherwise struggle to afford to do so, we also do external fundraising (bag packs etc) where the funds raised are not coming from parents.
    Last edited by shiftypete; 17-03-2019 at 10:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    That is not always true. For example our Group receives regular donations from a couple of former members specifically to help enable kids to participate in Scouting who might otherwise struggle to afford to do so, we also do external fundraising (bag packs etc) where the funds raised are not coming from parents.
    You've taken my quote out of context. I said it because there are some groups where other parents would end up covering it.

    We also fund raise, if a kid (for what ever reason) couldn't afford or pay for a camp, other parents wouldn't be paying for it.

    The next thing to say about that though is, there are some parents who turn up to help at all the fund raisers, and some parents who we wouldn't know if we packed their bags or sold them some crap at our jumble sale.

    At the end of the day, you just have to stop keeping score at some point. I know it's important to some people, but life is too short. (Unless it triggers my taking-the-piss meter, in which case I'll say something.)


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    The next thing to say about that though is, there are some parents who turn up to help at all the fund raisers, and some parents who we wouldn't know if we packed their bags or sold them some crap at our jumble sale.
    One of the benefits of the smaller group is that we tend to know all of the parents. We insist that upon registration a parent comes and fills out the form - we use that to have a quick chat and get a "feel" for them.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    You've taken my quote out of context. I said it because there are some groups where other parents would end up covering it.
    I did not quote you out of context, go read your own posts, you specifically said other parents will end up paying for it, you even said it twice in the same post there was no wider contact or else I wouldn't have picked up on it. You didn't say they may end up paying for it or in some Group's they will end up paying for it you basically stated it as a fact that all hardship payments are funded by the other parents in a Group which is clearly not the case in many Groups.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I did not quote you out of context, go read your own posts, you specifically said other parents will end up paying for it, you even said it twice in the same post there was no wider contact or else I wouldn't have picked up on it. You didn't say they may end up paying for it or in some Group's they will end up paying for it you basically stated it as a fact that all hardship payments are funded by the other parents in a Group which is clearly not the case in many Groups.
    Look at what I was replying to. That was the context. I was giving a bit balance, or thought I was.

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