What do do about members group refusing to follow nat policy

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Phil_Lee
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What do do about members group refusing to follow nat policy

Postby Phil_Lee » 4 Apr 2011, 6:56am

My local members group seem to be unwilling to follow national policy on junior riders.
National guidelines (which I'm sure have been properly researched and are in full compliance with the law) are that from age 13 to 18, riders on group rides should have parental permission, and should only need to be accompanied below the age of 13.

My eldest son is now 13 and a member, and should be able to join rides without my being present - I am disabled, so it's rare that I am in any condition to join them). He has joined me on past rides, but my disability has made it impossible for me to ride on any rides this year.

The policy of the local member group is preventing him from being able to participate in a club THAT HE HAS PAID MONEY TO JOIN.

This cannot be right, but with a bunch of paranoid on the committee, who invent excuses ranging from the children act (it doesn't need any special arrangements for children to participate in mixed age events) to insurance (covered by CTC already.

They even have a youth cup, which can never be awarded if they wont allow youths to participate, although given the average age of the committee, maybe they believe a youth to be anyone under 40.

What can I do to force them to comply with national guidelines on this?

It's reaching the point that I'm wondering if there's any benefit to either of us in remaining members - this fight has now been going on over a year, and I'm starting to think that even if I do manage to force sensible standards on them, the effect will be a feeling of distrust and enmity on rides - hardly a conducive atmosphere.

Promotion of cycling among youth is a key aim and purpose of the club, so if members (much less committee members of local groups) feel unable to agree with this aspect, what are they doing in the CTC at all? They had to agree with those aims when they joined, so were they lying?

Gareth Rees
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby Gareth Rees » 6 Apr 2011, 3:06pm

I have no answer to your question, I just want to express my agreement. It was a shame that the AGM was too scared even to take a vote on the issue. In my (antinomian) opinion, your best bet is just to ignore the policy and send your son along on some rides. He'd be very welcome on any ride I lead. But I wouldn't blame him at all if he decided that he didn't want to ride with us and preferred the CCC instead.

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meic
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby meic » 6 Apr 2011, 3:30pm

In this day and age, you can not have a thirteen year old riding with a bunch of adults WITHOUT them being deemed to be responsible for the child's safety.
This would also apply to their safety if they "ran off" from the group. If they refused to follow the instructions, you could not just refuse to let them continue with you, you would have to arrange for them to be handed over.

The ride leaders are unpaid volunteers and quite free to walk away from any such situation before stepping into it.

My group, long ago, had a very well written and argued application from an under 18 year old wanting to ride with us. He was politely refused permission without a parent present because none of us were willing to take the risk of being responsible for him, it was sad and a sign of our times.

Incidents do happen out on rides and we are powerless to prevent cars from mowing us down, it is very much on the basis that we are all competent adults and able to look after ourselves (or if not, it was not the fault of the group for failing to protect them, which would be the case for a child.)

What training does a ride leader have, firstly to protect the young rider from other road users and then to protect themselves from prosecution?

As a volunteer group we are prepared to WELCOME any riders with open arms but to take RESPONSIBILITY for them is a completely different thing. I am not speaking officially for the group but only as an occasional ride leader. If an unaccompanied thirteen year old turned up, I would rapidly become an EX-ride leader.

Finally I have a thirteen year old son who is a cyclist and I wouldnt expect anybody else to have to shoulder the responsibility of looking after him except his family or school staff. The fact that his Scout Group shoulder this responsibility of their own free will is something that I am very grateful for and equally surprised by their generosity of spirit.
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meic
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby meic » 6 Apr 2011, 4:42pm

"They had to agree with those aims when they joined, so were they lying?"

I have just been searching all the small print and I cant find where I inadvertently agreed to any such thing.
I only joined for the Insurance and the magazine when I first started years ago.

There is a big difference in agreeing with the aims, which I do, compared to taking on responsibility for other peoples' children who I may not even know!

When the child was rejected by our group we all knew that the child would have been a lot safer going out riding with us than out on his own and it is very sad that we felt that we had to refuse him, for our protection.
You can argue forever that "we" are covered but you will never convince some people that this is so.
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Aikon
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What do do about members group refusing to follow nat policy

Postby Aikon » 6 Apr 2011, 6:58pm

We regularly get 13-18 year olds turn up for our (non CTC) club rides, never causes a problem, whoever lives closest to them makes sure they get home.

alicej
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby alicej » 7 Apr 2011, 12:24am

Might disability discrimination law have anything to say about this? http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeo ... DG_4001068

The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides legal rights for disabled people in the areas of:
employment
education
access to goods, services and facilities including larger private clubs and land based transport services
buying and renting land or property
functions of public bodies, for example the issuing of licences

The Equality Act also provides rights for people not to be directly discriminated against or harassed because they have an association with a disabled person. This can apply to a carer or parent of a disabled person. In addition, people must not be directly discriminated against or harassed because they are wrongly perceived to be disabled.


I don't know if your situation would be covered, but many organisations are now required to make "reasonable adjustments" to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, so it might be worth looking into. Perhaps they could make an effort to FIND someone who would be prepared to take on any responsibility for your son that is needed?

There is a range of organisations and charities that offer advice and information on rights and obligations. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Directo ... G_10014892

thelawnet
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby thelawnet » 8 Apr 2011, 9:40am

alicej wrote:I don't know if your situation would be covered, but many organisations are now required to make "reasonable adjustments" to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, so it might be worth looking into. Perhaps they could make an effort to FIND someone who would be prepared to take on any responsibility for your son that is needed?


Doubt it, the young person in question does not have any disability.

irc
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby irc » 8 Apr 2011, 10:23am

I can understand the reluctance of ride leaders to take responsibility for children on rides. A series of bad court decisions have meant that anyone who leads children or adults are open to being sued even where they have taken reasonable steps to prevent incidents. Like the scout leader on a trip to Gaping Gill. Having lunch on land outside the cave a scout asked for permission to explore a small cave which was of course rerfused. The scout then asked his father, a helper on the trip, who over ruled the leader and gave his son a lighter to see with and then entered the cave with him. The scout fell to his death. The father sued the Scouts (after his other son left two years later) and won on the basis that the scout leader should have prevented the father and son (physically??) from entering the cave.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/files ... nities.pdf

Even if ride leaders are covered by insurance from any financial loss court cases are time consuming and stressful.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

alicej
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby alicej » 8 Apr 2011, 10:59am

thelawnet wrote:
alicej wrote:I don't know if your situation would be covered, but many organisations are now required to make "reasonable adjustments" to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, so it might be worth looking into. Perhaps they could make an effort to FIND someone who would be prepared to take on any responsibility for your son that is needed?


Doubt it, the young person in question does not have any disability.


But he does have an association with a disabled person, which is specifically covered in the legistlation.

snibgo
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby snibgo » 8 Apr 2011, 11:35am

As I see this: if you are providing a service, it has to be available to everyone, regardless of disability. This local group (it seems) does not provide a service to unaccompanied children. To ANY unaccompanied children, regardless of disabilities of the child or parent/carer.

So I doubt that disability legislation comes into it. (But I'm not a lawyer.)

alicej
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby alicej » 8 Apr 2011, 11:53am

Yeah, you're probably right. It's so unfair on him though, it's not his fault no one can go with him, and why should he miss out? I guess the only option then is to find someone else who can take him, who presumably would also have to be a member to be able to go on the rides?

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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby Vorpal » 8 Apr 2011, 12:15pm

I don't think my club would turn away a teenaged member who showed up unaccompanied for a club run or training ride. I think the club has standard waivers (one of those things that says 'I, (the parent) understands and accepts the risks...') on file for youngsters who participate in club activities. Club ride leaders have leader training, professional indemnity insurance, and relevant certifications.

I don't see how it differs substantially from something like parents dropping kids off for football training or dance class. However, as Meic rightly pointed out, it does require that one or more adults be willing to take responsibility for the youngster(s). And a casual gathering of CTC members out for a Sunday ride may not feel comfortable with that.

Phil_Lee: I don't believe that anyone can be forced to accept your son on rides. IMO, you'd be better off looking for another place for your son to ride. A local club that is either unaffiliated, or has multiple affiliations might provide more opportunities for your son to participate. And he will be happier if he doesn't feel his presence is accepted only gudgingly or at your insistence.
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swansonj
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby swansonj » 8 Apr 2011, 8:53pm

snibgo wrote:As I see this: if you are providing a service, it has to be available to everyone, regardless of disability. This local group (it seems) does not provide a service to unaccompanied children. To ANY unaccompanied children, regardless of disabilities of the child or parent/carer.

So I doubt that disability legislation comes into it. (But I'm not a lawyer.)


I'm not a lawyer either. But I think that if their blanket policy of not providing a service to unaccompanied teenagers results in the offspring of a disabled parent being unable to join a ride (because the parent can't accompany them) whereas the offspring of a more abled parent can (because the parent can accompany them), that is still discrimination. The test would then be whether the club could accommodate the unaccompanied teenager by making "reasonable adjustments".

My understanding from talking to employment lawyers in two different settings about discrimination cases is that it is relatively easy to show that the adjustments required would be unreasonable, as long as you can show you actually thought about it. Tribunals tend, I am told, to nail you if you didn't actually consider whether you could make adjustments, but if you did consider it, they are less likely to overrule your decision.

Having said all that, I agree strongly with
Vorpal wrote:I don't believe that anyone can be forced to accept your son on rides. IMO, you'd be better off looking for another place for your son to ride. A local club that is either unaffiliated, or has multiple affiliations might provide more opportunities for your son to participate. And he will be happier if he doesn't feel his presence is accepted only gudgingly or at your insistence.
Far better to ride with people who want you.

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meic
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby meic » 8 Apr 2011, 9:27pm

"Far better to ride with people who want you".

I assume that is a swipe at the welcoming of the club, and is missing the point.
Children are welcome to ride and all the parent has to do is find somebody who will accept responsibility for the child. It could be anybody who is willing, even one of the members of the CTC section (that as a group does not accept responsibility) who is doing the ride. To just compel it on the ride leader who has volunteered for something less than that, is not on.

However if taking responsibility for unaccompanied children is part of the role of ride leaders, then let's get it out in the open so that I, for one, can strike my name off the list.
I have enough of a handful keeping an eye on my own offspring!
Or the other ride leaders who are collapsing at the top of each hill.
Or the ride leader who died of a heart attack on a ride.

They are not trained coaches, road safety experts, probably forty years since they had kids.
They are just a bunch of people out for a ride. It could even be their day off from looking after kids!

Only two weeks ago, I was being investigated by the Police for taking my OWN kids out for a ride.

As for signed indemnity forms and waivers of responsibility, I think you will find that they are utterly worthless and dont give you ANY legal protection from your deemed responsibility. Which in many ways is a good thing but too many incidents have been publicised where Judges have found fault with what most people would consider adequate precautions. That is the sort of country that we live in.
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Re: What do do about members group refusing to follow nat po

Postby drossall » 8 Apr 2011, 9:43pm

snibgo wrote:As I see this: if you are providing a service, it has to be available to everyone, regardless of disability.


Vorpal wrote:And a casual gathering of CTC members out for a Sunday ride may not feel comfortable with that.


This is the crux of it really. Is it possible any more to have a group of friends doing something casually, or do they have to be a club which has a duty to follow lots of rules, including safety and disability? I'm not advocating folly, but when someone thinks he is volunteering to find a nice tea stop for Saturday, and discovers he has taken responsibility for a risk assessment and any bad outcome, you wonder if social events can continue taking place.