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Thread: Is Scouting risk-averse?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    I think there is a difference between an attendance proforma.

    So a slip saying my son Smithy will attend Archery at Dangly Woods Campsite on Thursday 30 Feb, makes your life easier and means you can work numbers out etc.

    A slip saying I give permission for Smithy to participate in Archery is unnecessary and can lead to expectations that you will always ask permission before you do anything.
    If you always send a slip anyway (which we do "virtually" using Whatsapp), what does it matter what it says. I always find the amount of effort to arrange a decent camp or activity is way more than the effort required to drop a note to parents asking to confirm attendance. Try doing paintballing with an external provider for 70 district explorers - that needs 3 sheets of paper for every attendee which is mandated by the provider, not by TSA. Still doesn't phase me - they love it so much that the effort required to send out the forms and hammer home the message that they need to bring them along is worth it.

    I think the NAP process is, for me, the most stuipdly onerous. I mean how much assessment do you need to arrange a weekend camp at the hut? It appears way more than necessary, but as with so many in TSA some assessors will require a full weekend practice camp which is witnessed, others are happy to accept an in depth discussion on programme, menus, safety and organisation. I suspect both methods are equally effective but those in districts which need onerous assessment will be put off the effort I suspect.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    I think there is a difference between an attendance proforma.

    So a slip saying my son Smithy will attend Archery at Dangly Woods Campsite on Thursday 30 Feb, makes your life easier and means you can work numbers out etc.

    A slip saying I give permission for Smithy to participate in Archery is unnecessary and can lead to expectations that you will always ask permission before you do anything.


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    I get the not seeking permission concept - that is potentially a point of litigation if you set a precedent - and there was a case, forgive me, it is lost in the dim and distant where a parent did file a complaint because she had not given permission for her child to participate in an activity and the group concerned had been in the habit of seking permission for everything, but hadn't on that one activity.

    But, I suspect the event pro-forma would pass as a permission to participate in any court in the land.
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  3. #48
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    I think it depends on the tone you've set and what parents are used to.

    At Scouts, we never ask for permission as such, dissemination of information and if the kid goes, that's essentially the question answered. There is however a bit of a hump for parents when their kids move up from cubs - the leaders there do ask for permission, for everything. But that's how they're comfortable doing it so while not completely necessary (the extent to which they do it I mean), it shows they're fastidious in their organisation. As a parent, the forms might be a bit onerous, but I'd be confident that the event was being ran well. (And they are, we've really had to up our game at Scouts to maintain expectations...)

    Meanwhile, at Scouts. As an example, parents know their kid was down the beach when they get picked up and leave a pile of sand on the car seat.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Meanwhile, at Scouts. As an example, parents know their kid was down the beach when they get picked up and leave a pile of sand on the car seat.
    I think you will come unstuck with that at some point - it's reasonable that parents should at least know about what you're doing if it's something a bit out of the norm.

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  6. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I think you will come unstuck with that at some point - it's reasonable that parents should at least know about what you're doing if it's something a bit out of the norm.
    Nope.

    Not getting into that game. Parents know we do it. We're also contactable by several methods. It's scouts, going to the beach, or the woods - is normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Nope.

    Not getting into that game. Parents know we do it. We're also contactable by several methods. It's scouts, going to the beach, or the woods - is normal.
    Until it isn't.

    I get it Paul, I really do. I don't tell parents what we are doing every week, but if we are out they all know where we are. One of our selling points is that we offer safety; that includes peace of mind for parents. If they are not happy, then we don't have their kids. I'd err on the side of information, but it wouldn't stop us doing something.
    Ewan Scott

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  8. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Until it isn't.

    I get it Paul, I really do. I don't tell parents what we are doing every week, but if we are out they all know where we are. One of our selling points is that we offer safety; that includes peace of mind for parents. If they are not happy, then we don't have their kids. I'd err on the side of information, but it wouldn't stop us doing something.
    Agreed. Not only is pabrook_74 setting himself up for a fall, the failure to appraise parents of what is going on is what leads to TSA moving towards increasingly strict and explicit permission requirements.

    In the end, you're taking the most valuable thing the parents have or will ever have away for an evening/weekend, and it's quite reasonable for them to want to know what you're doing with them. It amazes me that so many Leaders don't get that as if "borrowing other peoples' kids" was some sort of entitlement.

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  10. #53
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We give parents the barest idea of what their kids will be getting up to a weekly meetings with a one line description on the programme. Even then we make clear that we can change the programme at any point (e.g. its nice and sunny so lets go up to the park and play some games) and that Scouting activities can involve going outside of our meeting place even if that is where the meeting starts and ends.

    I don't think we have ever had a single complaint about this

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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  12. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Agreed. Not only is pabrook_74 setting himself up for a fall, the failure to appraise parents of what is going on is what leads to TSA moving towards increasingly strict and explicit permission requirements.

    In the end, you're taking the most valuable thing the parents have or will ever have away for an evening/weekend, and it's quite reasonable for them to want to know what you're doing with them. It amazes me that so many Leaders don't get that as if "borrowing other peoples' kids" was some sort of entitlement.
    Nope.

    What exactly is the issue here? It's a point of expectation. The parents of kids you have, have different expectation from the parents of kids we have.

    What exactly is telling them where we'll be, going to do? Absolutely nothing. They know we do it, and are comfortable. Over the past 25 years I've been a leader, we've had precisely zero complaints or issues arising from this methodology. Indeed, we've had compliments - parents who've said that their kids go to scouts - get in the van and have no idea where they're going -and they think it's brilliant. (Their words, not mine).

    In the end, the parents are already trusting us to take their kids away for whole weekends and weeks, not knowing exactly where they'll be from one hour to the next - so for an hour and a half on a Thursday? I don't have to assume it'll be fine, because that's how we've doing it for decades and it's been fine. (Conflating evenings with weekends is lazy. If we're away for the weekend, generally, we do tell parents...)

    This is pretty much what I meant by scouts - or scout leaders perhaps - being risk-averse. I suppose it could be compared to the asking-for-permission thing, if you do it for this, then don't do it for that, then expectations get crossed and then you'll run in to problems. Soon as the kids come up from cubs, parents are informed about the differences between cubs and scouts - and one of those differences is, we sometimes go out at short notice, but since the kids are older - we judge this is fine to do - the parents must do too, because no one has ever commented negatively on it.

    You say it's fine until it isn't. Am I supposed to react to a thing that has never happened? Change the way we do our scouting to address a problem that doesn't exist or to address expectations that don't exist? I take your point, but our parents are happy with it, pretty sure they'd say of they weren't.

    I think it's not a little pious and judgemental to say leaders, (me in other words), think they have the right to 'borrow other people's kids' and treat it as an entitlement. It's also arrogant to assume what we're doing is wrong, and yours is right.

    In the three years since I started setting the tone, we've doubled leader numbers, brought on two - soon-to-be six - YL's. And where before, attendance ran at about 50% on average, we're now closer to 90%. After the summer, our numbers should top 30 - for the first time in the troop's history.

    Definitely setting myself up for a fall right enough... So far we've been setting it up since 1992 - when I got my leader's warrant. What leads TSA to create more rules, are skittish leaders who see risk every where they look, and if they can't find any, create it out of thin air.
    Last edited by pa_broon74; 19-05-2019 at 06:11 PM.

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  14. #55
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    How much we as leaders inform parents of activities is really another aspect of risk management. Pa_broon74 from what I’ve read, considers not being specific to be of low risk, others have assigned it higher risk and use other means to mitigate it. I suspect without specific direction from the TSA or your local DC each of us will continue to do what we feel comfortable with.
    There is risk of a incident occurring resulting in an injury and a parent deciding they did not know the scout would be doing the activity, would not have agreed to it and deciding to sue as a result. The likely outcome may well be the TSA deciding to mandate permission forms for a wide range of normal activities.

  15. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Nope.

    ............I think it's not a little pious and judgemental to say leaders, (me in other words), think they have the right to 'borrow other people's kids' and treat it as an entitlement. It's also arrogant to assume what we're doing is wrong, and yours is right.
    ...
    I'm not saying this applies to anyone here as I don't know any of the individuals here personally. However this is exactly how many leaders come across from reading comments here or on 1st FB:

    "The parents are the worst thing in Scouting",
    "If they don't like it then here's the application form",
    "They don't need to know, I'm the leader and if they don't trust me they should take their child out"
    "I have huge waiting lists and I'm very successful, nothing has ever gone wrong before so I don't care what anyone else says"
    etc

    Ian is right, we are entirely dependant on parents to support us - even if that support is just bringing their child every week. And I'm afraid in my position I've seen quite a few very "successful" leaders crash and burn when they fall out with a better connected parent group, or when something does go wrong and it proves that luck has sustained for all those years. I've also never seen a group fail in the long term after the critical 24/7 leader leaves for any reason. We should treat the parents and the members with equal respect and engage with them both equally.

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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    increasingly strict and explicit permission requirements.

    What are these? I was under the impression that the only thing I am required to get 'explicit' permission for is shooting.

    I guess if there was a time that permission for shooting was not required you could argue that the need for explicit permission has increased - by 1.

    I am usually wrong, but I am not aware of anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    What are these? I was under the impression that the only thing I am required to get 'explicit' permission for is shooting.

    I guess if there was a time that permission for shooting was not required you could argue that the need for explicit permission has increased - by 1.

    I am usually wrong, but I am not aware of anything else.
    It's been added for Nights Away including them being told at the point of giving permission which adults are attending.

  19. #59
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    POR 9.56

    have parental consent (method to be determined by the leader) in which parents are informed of key information about the event including which leaders are present.


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    Quote Originally Posted by claire.shadbolt View Post
    POR 9.56

    have parental consent (method to be determined by the leader) in which parents are informed of key information about the event including which leaders are present.


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    But the important point here is "method to be determined by the leader" along with the absence of the word "explicit". So as "the leader" I can "determine" that the act of dropping off the child at camp is "implicit consent".

    The requirement to list which leaders are present I concede is new (and badly thought through - it should have only included the "main leaders", not all leaders), but it is not a 'strict and explicit permission requirement'.

    I still cling to the clarification on these very forums from Wayne. I do not believe that the position has shifted.

    No Requirement For Permission Forms.png

    The point of the change to the rules is not to require 'explicit consent' (i.e. a signature on a piece of paper) but rather to ensure that a parent is aware of the key information about the camp before they drop off their child, so that their 'implicit consent' is well informed. What that 'key information' is comes down to the nature of the camp. I think the wording of the 'list leaders' element on the NAN form is very poor, but the principle that a parent should have a reasonable understanding of what they should expect of a camp is not a real problem.

    My guess is that this change was a result of parents sending kids off to camp with an expectation that the camp is being run by the normal Leaders that they already trust, only to subsequently discovering that it was being run by a group of adults that they had never met. I have seen this happen with District camps and it really annoys parents because they feel that they have been duped into sending their kids away with people that they do not know. The change to catch this problem has been badly implemented. I for one complained about it during the POR consultation.
    Last edited by hippysurfer; 19-05-2019 at 09:42 PM.

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