Valuing volunteers


And then when you go to the place of exercise you need to complete another risk assessment on the day…


Very simplistic outlook.

Things have gotten completely out of control since Bader and SMS has been brought in

For example our wing needed us to complete a travel RA for a staff member going from our unit to a regional course and have it approved as an activity separate from the regional activity.
So we ended up with the region approving this person to attend a course but the wing could of blocked their travel to the course until they were happy with the travel plan

What a lot of nonsense!


Risk assessments only came into the Air Cadets in around 2000 and NGB requirements 3 or 4 year after that IIRC .
I had been writing RAs for run of the mill, technical and quite hazardous jobs at work for around 10 years prior to that. But in the decades prior to the Air Cadets catching up, we as an organisation were doing all manner of things based purely on the competence of the person running it and as I said no mass deaths etc. God knows how we managed o run 25m ranges indoors or outdoors with one qualified member of staff, just by reading and signing range orders and the cadets didn’t try to kill each other. Now to go shooting cut down a virtual forest first.

As @big_g says it has become sillier and sillier with SMS/Bader and even sillier now we have TSAs added to the mix. We have lost I would say 2 DofE opportunities one towards the end of March and one towards the end of October since TSAs came in, because the organising staff got flooded with knock backs. Some will say they should just carry on, but as with so many things in life, when a problems looms and there is no way round it, don’t bother and just do it when it is deemed safe. Previously all signed off as the Wing DofE and WATTO knew the people and away they went. The only people who suffer? The cadets.


That’s just ridiculous, someone is well outside of their box.


Personally no. But I’m post-BADER as a staff.

But as a Cadet no I wasn’t given JIs for an event. Yes routes were planned on a map…but 10 years previously wgen the exercise was first designed the following ten years it was a copy and paste.

But why does each event need to be treated as my first. Why is there no trust in my experience?
Running my own navigation exercise walk I have as much proof I’m compliant today as I did 7 years ago when I started.

I’ve got the qualification and 7 years experience yet I have to “prove” by uploads thst I’m competent to the very person who first assessed my competency…

I can drive a car yet at no point have I needed to prove to my insurance company I can still drive. In that industry the measure of risk upon me is going down yet a CFAV with 15+ years holding an NGB or even MOD qualification has seen more controls put in place upon them for an activity which hasn’t changed in that time…nor the risk


You say that but I’ve seen the same for camps.

I recall one example for RIAT.

Although there was a national SMS set up Wing expected to see a “event” for the travelling element of the leg…twice, there and back (as it wasn’t a week’s travel) to be signed off by OC and Wing ahead of the event…as if the admin and time ahead of an annual camp isn’t budy enough!


By “floodgates” I simply mean the process of implementing the process - apologies if unclear. The flood of trust encompasses all :slight_smile:

I mention the topic as it appeared on VoV thread VoV thread - Quote - “Additionally, there is still (unfortunately) a steady stream of poor decision making by a very small minority of volunteers, which undermines this argument and only reinforces the ‘legislate for the lowest common denominator’ argument, which is what we are trying to avoid.” - RC(N) 31 Oct post.

I reference the post as I agree with it - some people are wholly capable of handling the trust and some are not - those who can’t, influence policy far more, than those who can lest reputation/insurance loses are incurred.


And the RC(N) has never ever made a poor or wrong decision in his life??


A good question and a wider issue, from observation it sometimes seems to be a perception of necessity resulting in a person (not necessarily the right person) being placed in command (Officer vs NCO vs CI etc). Or, it gives validation to others who are supposed to SME’s in the field and then best qualified to ascertain if there are any flaws in the application.

Many hold quals, some stay current, others do not, the SME therefore serves as a check. I would take my hat off to the OC that stays current in all RAFAC fields to be able to spot errors in the application process and therefore can effectively take ownership of the sign off process.

As you say, even with a perfect SMS application this doesn’t necessarily ensure that all will be followed as detailed - but does offer an audit trail to show that those with a specific role have/haven’t fulfilled their duty.

I think is the current state of play - all are culpable and it is up to us to prove otherwise - I don’t necessarily think its the ideal, but it is, what it is.


Agreed - and a frustration that we have multiple policies at multiple levels.


I’m sure he has, as have we all - through mistakes, we learn.

But I guess from a management that works from a damage limitation perspective (which arguably we all do - prepare for the worst and hope for the best etc) this is what we have to deal with. In an ideal world - our selection processes would be such as to ensure that suitable individuals would be in place in the relevant places to ensure that total trust could be delegated.

I’m not sure how this could be achieved - substantial experience of an individual in a field prior to “promotion” to a decision making / authorisation capable position within that field would seem best but then these are not always the individuals that apply as the additional level of responsibility start to turn the hobby into something more akin to work.

Apologies for the drift - what does VoV mean to you?


You know you can clone events, right? So for regular, repeat events it should be a case of knocking up the docs for your actual first time of running the event and then cloning with a change of dates for each subsequent one.

Sounds to me like you are just doing it wrong. I ran a series of paddling expeds last year. First time I’d done it, so the docs and so on took a little while but it demonstrated I’d planned it well. Next year? Review, changes some dates and clone. Bang, done, about 10 minutes.

SMS is a hell of a lot quicker than the post-a-stack-of-paper to Wing system and then wait two weeks for it to come back we had pre-2007 ish.


Not really we used to do blanket applications for a couple of locations for camping, climbing and canoeing for the period Apr to Sep, as such when we were able / weather looked good we just went. The problem with SMS, unless the attitude has changed is specific activities. My mate did the clone etc for every single weekend date and got told he couldn’t do it.


Fully aware.

But it doesn’t change the process.
Doesn’t matter if I’ve run the event once or 30 times.

I still need permission from two other people to go ahead. And I herb that permission from a SMS application. Yes it gets quicker over time but it still needs doing…there is no recognition for experience.
Be it ten minutes update or a hour to rewrite it’s still an exercise in admin which is time not doing something benefiting the Cadets


I read that on the site and just thought it was conceited, disrespectful and beneath contempt.

You ask what VoV looks like disrespect and conceit from someone like that, is not it, it is not showing you value anyone or thing.


Although I get it that reaction doesn’t move things forward.
Rather than learn from a bad experience we simply stop it ever happening again.

We should be looking at what went wrong and understanding why. Then learning how to avoid the sitatsituation again.
That might mean someone loses a qualification or ticket. Is no longer trusted to run an event in the sane location or time of year.

The errors the Scouts or Army Cadets make don’t influence how I operate so why should an error in Scotland create a block for what happens in Cornwall?


Specific SMS activities have the benefit that other people then know who is out, where and when. So when/if something goes wrong, information is available to be able to help manage and issue.

Absolutely nothing wrong with cloning for multiple dates; if its a regular activity where the stuff is reviewed before then there is no reason why it can’t be approved with a couple of days (or even less) notice. Just needs a little bit of comms.


Presumably with that experience you are also familiar with the heuristic traps that can lead to an incident? Having another set of eyes that haven’t been involved in planning the exercise goes some way to mitigating this.


Could I confirm that this is the correct thread for the Activity Approval?


This I can accept. But does it need a two stage approval for a bread and butter activity?

Whose fresh eyes are these?

The same CFAV lead, the same OC and same WATTO.
Some might not be involved in the planning process but if this us known as an identical event/clone to what was run 3 months ago/12 months ago/the last 4 years what is new??