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Thread: Coroner's report on the death of a scout in Wales

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    This is one of the issues with suspending - it does tend to cause Sections to collapse, possibly, as you say, when they are perhaps at their most important as a support network for the survivors. I hope the District Team did step in to keep it afloat.
    It' worth saying that in my experience of suspensions - maybe 10 in total, one was a clear malicious accusation withdrawn within 24 hours with an apology. The great majority were, imo, absolutely right and TSA had no option to suspend on receiving a credible complaint. However on investigation not many were black and white. In practice a couple were reinstated and came back to the movement, the rest were either removed or resigned (either before the inevitable, or in disgust at the process).

    We had a situation where a leader was (rightly) suspended but TSA's rules on confidentiality meant we couldn't say a word about it, so the whole of the rest of the group leadership barring the GSL walked out in support. I'm delighted to say the district and the parents stepped up and although about 25% of the group left we recovered and a couple of leaders drifted back and within a year they were back with new leaders and numbers rising.

    Postscript - the leader concerned was convicted just before Christmas of grooming a 13 year old boy (albeit 5 years after his suspension). Sometimes we get it right - though the process itself is a failure.
    Last edited by RisingStar; 13-02-2020 at 09:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Postscript - the leader concerned was convicted just before Christmas of grooming a 13 year old boy (albeit 5 years after his suspension). Sometimes we get it right - though the process itself is a failure.
    I agree - the process is terrible and needs addressing, particularly for minor things or easily provably false accusations. Clearly in this case we got it right, though sadly not before he got in in the first place (not always possible, though).

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I agree - the process is terrible and needs addressing, particularly for minor things or easily provably false accusations. Clearly in this case we got it right, though sadly not before he got in in the first place (not always possible, though).
    Sadly though if these things get reported on TV, radio, papers no matter how long since they generally state Scout Leader or former Scout Leader rarely the day job unless it is a teacher or vicar etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Even with a massive pile of paperwork and the most carefully planned programme and activities, indeed it could. Funnily enough, the risk of a false accusation (even following the Yellow Card) tends to be more of a concern in my mind, but yes, it doesn't take much to turn an accident into something much more serious.
    Following the story of these leaders, i must admit my mind has on more than one occasion had thoughts along the lines of "There but for the grace of...."

    Clearly we cannot judge the circumstances as we only know what has been reported. Would a risk assessment have prevented the death? Would a DC being in place have prevented the death? Were there any POR rules that were broken that, if they'd been followed, would have resulted in a different outcome for the young person. Or would the same outcome have happened for the young person, but the leaders backsides would have been better covered?

    when I was a leader, we allowed our YP a good degree of freedom (scout age). Expedition challenge hikes, night hikes, walking around seaside towns on summer camp, free time at camp, camping on passports. How easy would it have been for a child to ignore our rule that they werent allowed to go into the sea on Paignton beach? How easy would it have been for the scouts on their hike on the coast path to stray from the path? How easy would it have been for someone to put a can of deodorant on the patrol's cooking fire?

    My own Scouting career ended due to politics rather than because of an incident - and as far as I'm aware theres no reason why I couldnt go back, albeit a different district, if I so wished. But for those leaders to have gone through that, to lie awake at night wondering if they could have done things differently, if they could have prevented the accident from happening... that's not something i'd wish on anyone. In my day job I carry a similar level of potential responsibility - but at least i'm paid for the privelage.

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    The coroner's "Prevention of future deaths" report has now been published, including the "20 points".
    https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/benjamin-leonard/
    It doesn't add much, but does clarify a couple of issues.
    Last edited by Baloo62; 26-02-2020 at 11:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo62 View Post
    The coroner's "Prevention of future deaths" report has now been published, including the "20 points".
    https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/benjamin-leonard/
    It doesn't add much, but does clarify a couple of issues.
    Cheers for posting this, I will have a proper read later.

    Edit: a very quick glance and it does clarify something that so far has been unclarified - the T2 leader for Snowdon was external, i.e. the Leaders themselves did not have mountain skills. That is potentially quite significant in relation to "pseudo-Terrain-1/2" which exists in many places that are otherwise T0, i.e. places with objective dangers from T1/2 which are actually in T0.
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 26-02-2020 at 11:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Cheers for posting this, I will have a proper read later.

    Edit: a very quick glance and it does clarify something that so far has been unclarified - the T2 leader for Snowdon was external, i.e. the Leaders themselves did not have mountain skills. That is potentially quite significant in relation to "pseudo-Terrain-1/2" which exists in many places that are otherwise T0, i.e. places with objective dangers from T1/2 which are actually in T0.
    I believe one of the three leaders did have T1 leadership.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo62 View Post
    I believe one of the three leaders did have T1 leadership.
    I stand corrected.

    Edit: I'm surprised this doesn't feature in the report, because it makes a massive difference as to whether the Leadership Team would necessarily have been aware of that kind of risk or not.
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 26-02-2020 at 01:40 PM.

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    18 is something that we already knew - what is said at Gilwell is not what happens at grass roots. Not sure how you get around that.

    19 See 18 - and one wonders how a voluntary organisation can meet those criteria with any real acuracy.

    20 This is going to cause some issues for us all - an any association

    17 - TSA attempted some form of backside covering - well I have to say that I am not surprised, that is what tends to happen.

    I currently working on a project that is apart from Scouting/ Navigators and it comes as no surprise that before we open the doors people are trying to avoid training and the required paperwork... I'm standing my ground on the basics and it is going to make me very unpopular with some people but though removed, the essence of this report is why I will be insisting that we have proper procedures followed.
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    Point 14 - "everybody thought somebody would do it so nobody did it" - is the cause of a great many deaths the world over (and lesser stuff like business failures[1]). The Herald of Free Enterprise disaster is one of the more notable ones - the ship would have been perfectly safe if the bow doors had not been left open, and they were because the guy who should have done it was asleep in his cabin, and everyone else assumed he'd come down and do it later rather than going over and pressing the button themselves, or at the very least giving the captain a ring and letting him know.

    And as for point 19 - isn't it 5 years? So someone's got mixed up there... (I hear on the grapevine it is to be changed to 3 years to align with First Response, perhaps that's why).

    [1] And, for a bit of crossover with other interests, the repeated abject failure of assistance for disabled people on the railway.

    - - - Updated - - -

    FWIW, what's interesting is that the report is not a list of recommendations, but a list of problems. Would the Court have issued recommendations if the Inquest had run its full course, and may the replacement Inquest in June (?) do that?
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 26-02-2020 at 01:37 PM.

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    So we can expect the Districts with no DC and/or no District Exec, or the Groups with no GSL and/or no Exec, or Sections with Leaders still on provisional or pre-provisional after 5 or more years to be closed down?

    All the above is shown in Compass so readily available to Gilwell if they want to look.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    FWIW, what's interesting is that the report is not a list of recommendations, but a list of problems. Would the Court have issued recommendations if the Inquest had run its full course, and may the replacement Inquest in June (?) do that?
    No idea, but it kind of makes sense that the coroner says "these things are wrong...you're supposed to be the experts, what you gonna do about them?" as the coroner can't be the expert in everything.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastor View Post
    So we can expect the Districts with no DC and/or no District Exec, or the Groups with no GSL and/or no Exec, or Sections with Leaders still on provisional or pre-provisional after 5 or more years to be closed down?

    All the above is shown in Compass so readily available to Gilwell if they want to look.
    I don't know about that, but what it could do is prompt a bit of a restructure to something (a) more effective and (b) staffable. I've long thought unitary authorities could and should replace Districts and Counties, and that an alternative Group structure of one Exec for maybe 10-15 Sections would work better than Groups in the majority situation of Groups with no HQs. Or we move to a franchise type structure with TSA just being a support organisation and the Groups genuinely liable for everything (like Ewan's Navigators).

    I don't think for instance that the BMC would be seen as liable (other than via the third party insurance policy they provide to members, which, incidentally, is better than the Scouting one as it is provided directly to members rather than conferred) for the misdeeds of a given climbing club - they are independent clubs that affiliate to the BMC, there is no suggestion or illusion of control - all the BMC can do is make suggestions to them. And importantly a club can de-affiliate, presumably it can be chucked out (but still remains an entity after such a dismissal), and you could choose to found a climbing club that never affiliated at all - none of those things are true of Scout Groups.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    No idea, but it kind of makes sense that the coroner says "these things are wrong...you're supposed to be the experts, what you gonna do about them?" as the coroner can't be the expert in everything.
    True.
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 26-02-2020 at 02:46 PM.

  22. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastor View Post
    So we can expect the Districts with no DC and/or no District Exec, or the Groups with no GSL and/or no Exec, or Sections with Leaders still on provisional or pre-provisional after 5 or more years to be closed down?

    All the above is shown in Compass so readily available to Gilwell if they want to look.
    Our District recently resolved the issue of anyone over the 5 months deadline to have completed the getting started modules by giving GSLs a 2 month deadline to get our houses in order (with a lot of support from District bods) and after that deadline anyone not having completed them and beyond their 5 months would have their role cancelled (as it turns out we all managed to get everyone sorted so not one role was cancelled). So we now have the entire District compliant on that at least. The trick will be to keep any new people or people chaging roles to the 5 months deadline in future but District have increased the number of module 1 courses they are putting on and its now firmly on the radar of us GSLs so hopefully it won;t become a problem again.

    Peter Andrews ESL 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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    It's not the number of mod 1s that are the issue, you can always do it online. The issue is validation, and it's near always that that's taken adults in our Group over the 5 months. The validation for mod 1/3 really needs to be dropped and replaced with an online quiz as per GDPR, perhaps replacing it with a longer-term "miniproject" of running and writing about a Section night (or equivalent) and submitting that for assessment, as they used to do in Leadership 1 between the two halves.

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