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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008 19:14 
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In order to clarify our position on the participation of children and young persons in caving the British Caving Association Council Meeting on 4th October adopted the following statement:

"The BCA is committed to removing barriers to participation for children and young persons who wish to start caving."

I am today writing to The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the NSPCC making clear BCA's position in this respect and BCA is now launching a thorough review of the current Child Protection documents.

Damian Weare
BCA Secretary
9th October 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 23 Oct 2008 14:52 
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Damian

This issue came to my attention when our club secretrary distributed some
documents and statements on child protection.

I am confused by this statement because on the BCA web site there
are two documents in the legal section.

Child protection policy
http://british-caving.org.uk/legal/CP_P ... .12.01.pdf

Child protection policy guidance

http://british-caving.org.uk/legal/CP_G ... .12.01.pdf


Within the policy document there is a clear statement that :


> 2.05 Underlying this it must be borne in mind that BCA does not proactively promote the participation of young
persons in caving or mine exploration. It takes this stance for a number of reasons:-
a. caving can often be a strenuous activity requiring a mature physical and mental approach:
b. a working knowledge of weather patterns & limestone hydrology can be vital for safe caving:
c. caves are a strictly limited physical resource which deserve a mature appreciation of their
conservation requirements.


this policy clearly constitues a "barrier"!


This policy statement "seems" to go beyond that required for the compliance with the Protection of Children Act 1999 and its subsequent legislation.

which only "seems" to apply in certain circumstances. For example when
people are paid or that such trips involving young people are regular.

Our club arranges childrens caving trips several times a year and no one
involved is paid. The parents are usually present and we encourage them to be present.

As I understand it the BCA has several responsibilities due to the legislation: a duty to inform its members and member-clubs, and some required practices for because of the CIC and LCMLA.

The policy statement seems to go beyond this.

Am I missing something? Is this latest statement an indication that this policy statement on the BCA web-site is being revised or does not apply?


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PostPosted: Thu 23 Oct 2008 17:37 
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DaveGrosvenor wrote:
Am I missing something? Is this latest statement an indication that this policy statement on the BCA web-site is being revised or does not apply?


As the last line says:
Quote:
BCA is now launching a thorough review of the current Child Protection documents.
we are currently reviewing our documents (ie Policy & Guidance). It would, of course, be inappropriate of me to preempt the results of the review. For the time being, therefore, the current documents apply, pending the results of the review.

Hope that is clear.

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PostPosted: Thu 23 Oct 2008 19:09 
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Damian

Thanks for your prompt answer.

You seem to agree that the current policy statement is a barrier to the participation of children in caving.

In practical terms what does it mean for the current policy to still stand?

The advice given is clearly weakened by the fact that it is being reviewed
because it is a barrier.

So what are the current consequences of this policy?

Presumably a revised policy would require deeper inspection of the requirements posed for the BCA by the legislation (not the BCA policy documents themselves).

So it is clear that a new policy would take time to prepare!




Dave


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PostPosted: Thu 23 Oct 2008 19:49 
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DaveGrosvenor wrote:
Damian
You seem to agree that the current policy statement is a barrier to the participation of children in caving.


I don't actually think you'll find anything that suggests that.

To be honest, though, my personal views aren't very relevant. BCA's policy is not created by an individual and is all the better for it. Rather it is produced after considerable thought and consultation. That is what is happening at the moment and I could not hope (nor would I wish) to pre-empt it.

In the meantime BCA Policy is as it stands, but with the proviso that BCA Council "is committed to removing barriers ...". Clearly, therefore, all sections of BCA are being encouraged, where possible, to remove barriers.

Quote:
So it is clear that a new policy would take time to prepare!

I think you are right. It is a process that we have just begun. In the meantime there is probably not much more I can say.

If you have a specific Child Protection query, by all means e-mail me (at secretary@) or better the Child Protection Officer himself (at legal@).

Cheers.

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PostPosted: Thu 23 Oct 2008 22:20 
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Well Damian

I did actually ask "what the current policy prevents from happening as regards participation of children in caving?"


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PostPosted: Wed 29 Oct 2008 13:02 
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DaveGrosvenor wrote:
Well Damian

I did actually ask "what the current policy prevents from happening as regards participation of children in caving?"


My best guess (not being involved in the review) is that our Policy does nothing to directly prevent children's participation in caving. Let's await the review and, in the meantime, if you'd like to contribute to the discussion, I'm sure legal@ would be be very pleased to hear from you.

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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct 2008 23:31 
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Thanks for your guess Damian

I am not sure that the policy has no effect. My expectations are
that despite recognised problems there is no help from the BCA
and basically if you organise childrens caving trips you are on your
own.

For example:

#1 There is no BCA sponsored specialised training for caving trips involving children.

#2 There are no BCA sponsored events targetted at children

#3 There are no specialised insurance arrangements

#4 There is no advice on how to organise such trips

#5 There is no need system for vetting, monitoring and review of leaders of childrens trips

I also do not think it is an issue for legal .. there is a need to
decide what it is best to do and a secondary issue is what the law actually requires or constrains you to do.


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