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Thread: Is the Appointment Committee a waste of time?

  1. #1
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    Is the Appointment Committee a waste of time?

    I've been Scouting for almost 10 years now & last year I joined the appointments committee. Very happy to do so as I remember the interview itself being quite unpleasant and intimidating. I've now been on 4 panels and I'm starting to question what the point is.
    In the last year, we have seen some cracking adults - some with no experience. Some with very little. Some are Network members who are new to 'adulting' but have years of experience as a Scout often coming up from the younger sections through Explorers. Some are parents who just want to help out a bit.

    What I am finding is by the time they get to the AAC, is that they have been in role for a number of months and they see it as part of a formality which isn't necessary.
    A couple of times, we have suggested the leader should change from a section leader to a SA or visa versa due to the training the really want to take on. These recommendations are passed on, but are something their line manager should have picked up on.
    On one occasion we have been unable to recommend an appointment for a leader, who had come from out of county, with little experience of Scouting. He did not understanding his role (was going very off tangent in what he thought his responsibilities should be as well as being rude and having an attitude problem.) We were ignored by the DC. (Hay ho, we'll see how that goes in the future )

    The AAC has changed since I was grilled by several older Scouts 10 years ago & it's more of a chat over a cuppa, so that's more positive, what are they enjoying doing, are they happy to do the necessary training, what's the best thing they have done with the YP...... etc
    But I really do feel like it's a formality with little point. There are two things that the AAC should be looking at. Do they understand the role? Are they happy uphold Scouting values & policies? The GSL goes through the adults putting them on the system, some fall by the wayside before getting to us. The GSL is responsible for the line management of the leader, their suitability, training ect.



    So, maybe I'm feeling like I'm wasting my time.

  2. #2
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I must admit I agree with you more and more. Also frankly as a GSL I would be pretty pissed off if after a 10 minute chat an AAC thought they knew what role someone was more suitable for than me who has probably by that point observed them in action to some extent and chatted to them about the different role options etc.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbb View Post
    On one occasion we have been unable to recommend an appointment for a leader, who had come from out of county, with little experience of Scouting. He did not understanding his role (was going very off tangent in what he thought his responsibilities should be as well as being rude and having an attitude problem.)
    See? Worth it just for that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbb View Post
    We were ignored by the DC. (Hay ho, we'll see how that goes in the future )
    Oh.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Yes.

    And no.

    I think in a big city/urban district (say), where groups are a bit less community orientated (if you see what I mean), then they could be really useful. For smaller groups however, in semi-rural districts, I must admit, I don't see the point. Everything the AAC is supposed to do is done by the local community - usually from the very beginning of someone expressing an interest. I can see how that wouldn't be the case in a town or city.

    I don't actually agree with language round getting folk on board, so interviews and appointment committees (I think) don't send the right message.

    Otherwise, I feel the AAC process is part of a best practice, or best case scenario that is set out by HQ via POR that is not necessarily followed. I have no idea what the stats would be on that. But I've been involved for 25 years, swapped positions loads of times and never been to an AAC meeting. We've taken on several new leaders, they've never been to one either. I think most recently they may have, but as you say, they'd been in for months.

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    And while we are talking about a waste of time lets put references on the table!

    Of course Fred, Bob and Alison are all "wonderful and will be an asset to Scouting". The applicant gets to choose who we approach and has anyone ever given a bad reference!

    About 50% of emails from my DC at GSL level is problems with referees not responding. Across 500+ adults in a District I hate to think how many man hours this box ticking practise consumes. Enough that we now have a paid appointments secretary!

    Last week while sitting on the AAC for our District I interviewed a former DC for an Assistant Section Leader- Scouts role. The tension in the room when we asked stupid questions from the sheet like "Are you aware of the yellow card" and "what do you know about the Scout Promise" was painful. Surprise surprise he passed.

    Looking forward to what the new "Volunteer Journey" project comes up with for sure...
    --
    Dan Sheehan
    Group Scout Leader
    9th Muswell Hill Scout Group

    District Training Adviser
    District Executive Member
    District Appointment Advisory Comittee
    North London District Scouts

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsheehan View Post
    Of course Fred, Bob and Alison are all "wonderful and will be an asset to Scouting". The applicant gets to choose who we approach and has anyone ever given a bad reference!
    I have given an adverse reference before, suffice it to say the person in question had no idea I was going to do so or else i am sure they wouldn;t have given my name. NB they weren't a safeguarding risk or anything like that they just were not suited to working with children

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

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    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by dsheehan View Post
    And while we are talking about a waste of time lets put references on the table!

    Of course Fred, Bob and Alison are all "wonderful and will be an asset to Scouting". The applicant gets to choose who we approach and has anyone ever given a bad reference!

    About 50% of emails from my DC at GSL level is problems with referees not responding. Across 500+ adults in a District I hate to think how many man hours this box ticking practise consumes. Enough that we now have a paid appointments secretary!

    Last week while sitting on the AAC for our District I interviewed a former DC for an Assistant Section Leader- Scouts role. The tension in the room when we asked stupid questions from the sheet like "Are you aware of the yellow card" and "what do you know about the Scout Promise" was painful. Surprise surprise he passed.

    Looking forward to what the new "Volunteer Journey" project comes up with for sure...
    I think this is where so much of the process falls down. It's applied regardless of circumstances. It's such a bizarre situation generated, to have people who have a proven track record (I'm assuming this about the former DC) yet are still put through the hoops.

    Apparently, I now need a restricted permit to take scouts up a hill I've been up with scouts hundreds of times. There's a fair bit of it about.


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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I sometimes wonder if there are GSLs out there who tip the wink to the AAC if they don't actually want a volunteer to be accepted for a role so that they don't have to deal with it themsleves by having a slightly difficult conversation with the person involved they can just blame it on the AAC instead. Or worse GSLs who just hope that is the outcome the AAC comes to.

    I think intervieiwing people who already hold a role in Scouting is a total nonsense and should be stopped immedietly as we have clearly already decided they are a suitable person to hold an adult role in Scouting. It should be up to line managers to decide if someone is suitable for a specific role in Scouting.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    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

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    Senior Member Airobat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I must admit I agree with you more and more. Also frankly as a GSL I would be pretty pissed off if after a 10 minute chat an AAC thought they knew what role someone was more suitable for than me who has probably by that point observed them in action to some extent and chatted to them about the different role options etc.
    Some GSLs do not discuss suitability for a role. They go "I have a slot. Would you like to fill it? Only 2 hours a week".
    Before or after our AAC they also meet the Training Manager and the DC. All done and dusted in one tidy package. Any concerns can be discussed at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    I sometimes wonder if there are GSLs out there who tip the wink to the AAC if they don't actually want a volunteer to be accepted for a role so that they don't have to deal with it themsleves by having a slightly difficult conversation with the person involved they can just blame it on the AAC instead. Or worse GSLs who just hope that is the outcome the AAC comes to.

    ...

    Oh absolutely. I've seen it. Some one who absolutely shouldn't have been in role because he got on so badly with the other leaders. He'd been in role a while as the AAC always takes a while and the GSL primed the AAC with some thoughts which they probed, and rightly turned him down based on his responses.

    Point is we don't train Scouting managers to have hard conversations, and indeed many wouldn't stay in role if they were pushed so to do. So there's one example of a useful AAC.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that the question is about the need for an AAC, but rather it should be about the eficacy of the AAC.

    I've seen AAC refuse, yes, refuse, to approve applicants. I have discussed that here before - it was down to the religious beliefs of a particular AAC member who was also an ADC. Personnal beliefs should not really come into a decision in that way, but they sometimes do. Equally, I have seen people approves on very thin questioning, when they had been refused as unsuitable in another District.

    There is a place for an unbiased and fair appointments interview, but in many places in Scouts that is not possible due to the internal politics and local influences.

    TSA has a huge branding and coverage and is the "go to" youth movement, statistically it will attract more "unsuitable" applicants than any other organisation. There needs to be a filtration system to try an weed out those who do not suit - maybe i would never have become a Leader had such a thing been in place, I don't know.

    I can say, that as an independent, with no fallback, if someone doesn't fit they don't get to stay - but, if we had a "district" of say four or five units feeding a Group, then I would for sure want some process in place that would resemble an AAC.
    Ewan Scott

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    Are we not forgetting about existing leaders in sections? Should they not get a say in who they have to work with?

    This is isn't work, it's a hobby, or pastime. We've seen it before - where someone comes on board, and the essentially alienate what is an effective existing team. The decent folk leave, and you end up with an arsehole in their place.

    Our process goes something like

    1. Someone is referred or someone approaches us.
    2. All adults communicate with each other and take the time to ask around a bit.
    3. We invite the person to a committee meeting, (or the leader for the section they're interested in meets them).
    4. More chit chat.
    5. We say yes, ask them to come down to meet kids. (Then we ask the kids what they thought, although mostly you can tell by this time is someone is going to fit in...) If we're thinking no, we say no thanks.
    6. Issue paperwork.
    7. Get them started.

    The section leader has the final, final say.

    In the meantime, stuff goes back and forth with who ever happens to be covering appointments at district, I dare say someone will be ticking boxes somewhere. However, it's up to the group, not the district.

    Bearing in mind, many of the adults involved are also parents, so they have a bit of an interest...

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Are we not forgetting about existing leaders in sections? Should they not get a say in who they have to work with?

    This is isn't work, it's a hobby, or pastime. We've seen it before - where someone comes on board, and the essentially alienate what is an effective existing team. The decent folk leave, and you end up with an arsehole in their place.

    Our process goes something like

    1. Someone is referred or someone approaches us.
    2. All adults communicate with each other and take the time to ask around a bit.
    3. We invite the person to a committee meeting, (or the leader for the section they're interested in meets them).
    4. More chit chat.
    5. We say yes, ask them to come down to meet kids. (Then we ask the kids what they thought, although mostly you can tell by this time is someone is going to fit in...) If we're thinking no, we say no thanks.
    6. Issue paperwork.
    7. Get them started.

    The section leader has the final, final say.

    In the meantime, stuff goes back and forth with who ever happens to be covering appointments at district, I dare say someone will be ticking boxes somewhere. However, it's up to the group, not the district.

    Bearing in mind, many of the adults involved are also parents, so they have a bit of an interest...

    I think that is a given. I cannot imagine a Leader being imposed from on high... oh, hang on, that was me 25 years ago... I guess they were left with the arsehole...
    Ewan Scott

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I think that is a given. I cannot imagine a Leader being imposed from on high... oh, hang on, that was me 25 years ago... I guess they were left with the arsehole...
    I think there are some instances where a person may need to be imposed on a situation. But I'd hope that would be the exception. Of course, these things can be subjective...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I think there are some instances where a person may need to be imposed on a situation. But I'd hope that would be the exception. Of course, these things can be subjective...
    GSLs are often "imposed" by the District, unless the Group can find one themselves.

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