Drowning in red tape

CRB checks, coaching qualifications, Public Liability insurance, martial arts qualifications, governing body recognition and risk assessment are required in order for me to hire out a training facility to train in. Then everyone training needs insurance cover to protect against ‘no win no fee’ litigation in case of injury.

In principle, ensuring coaching standards are high is a good thing, the trouble is coaching qualifications do not and cannot account for the content of training material delivered to people training with a coach. Qualifications in a given martial art is supposed to provide that assurance but a standard cross Martial Art qualification does not seem to be available. Besides, this would be almost impossible to achieve given differences of opinion regarding technique and approach to training across Martial Arts. Therefore, these qualifications provide minimal assurance of quality.

Public Liability and person-to-person insurance is necessary although it never used to be, not sure they had it in old school China and Okinawa. The cover I have just renewed allows my club/association to have up to 900 people training, which is sufficient for now! The Insurance Company is satisfied with my coaching and Martial Arts qualifications and has provided cover with no trouble at all.

Risk assessment is something that I now do or have done since we were associated with MASA. It’s a good practice, in that if litigation does occur it helps cover my back. Completed once it’s pretty easy to reproduce or extrapolate as required. So while only limited effort is required it’s an artefact of the ‘nanny state’ the British press are so fond of sensationalising.

CRB check requirements are a consequence of Ian Huntley, the vile school caretaker who abused and murdered two little girls and is a major reason for said ‘nanny state’. It was disgraceful how he slipped through the net and legislation now tries to ensure that no-one else does. Fair enough, overkill perhaps but it should help. I have even been asked to provide a CRB check at a place where I’m only training with (non-vulnerable) adults because there may be other groups around with children present. The fact that their supervisors protect them is neither here nor there apparently.

Then there is the governing body issue, sigh, that old chestnut. After all the shenanigans with Karate England I have no appetite for the politics inevitably associated with a GB. I was secretary for a Karate association for a number of years and before that involved in the AGMs and I can safely say we got very little from the GB, either KE or UKGB before that. Our association only had the Insurance arranged for us, while they took a lot of membership money from us, I suppose they organised CRB checks, but we had to pay for these.

I wonder what I could possibly gain from joining a GB, I organise my own insurance and coaching qualifications, my martial arts qualifications don’t expire as such and I have more than one CRB check per year from working at schools or with vulnerable adults. Why should I have to try to locate a suitable GB and pay a lot of money to them for very little, if anything, in return?

The facility I want to hire is insistent on Sport England approved Governing Body recognition. This opens another can of worms as Sport England affiliation is not appropriate for many Martial Arts. All of these requirements are designed to cover the facility against potential litigation in case of injury but actually guarantee little in terms of quality provision. Sadly, not being sued is the most important consideration.

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4 thoughts on “Drowning in red tape

  1. Jon, that’s an honest appraisal of the loops we go through, or chose not to go through, after a while. In hindsight, I think that’s partly why the GKI walked away from GB’s. GB’s are good for less-seasoned instructors, by offering some “best practice” guidance and also the opportunity to network. But for middle and senior “management”, they are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard.

  2. Ha, they’ve walked away from GB’s then, good thinking. Once you realise you can get what you need off your own bat, the GB becomes surplus.

  3. I think that just about says it all very succinctly Jon. I’d like to have seen the original unedited rant though 🙂 Unfortunately, MA GB’s seem to attract self serving egotists and I fear that the plain and simple unbiased overseeing body will never appear. (I had to agree with your post. I was afraid you’d go to Claims Direct if I didn’t and sue for hurt feelings).

  4. Good summary of all the red tape. Everything nowadays is about back covering. By the way I understand there will be a new CRB system in place in the near future.

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