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North Oxfordshire Scouts

Disability Discrimination

10th October 2014

You may have picked up on a story that made the national press about an out of court settlement made by TSA on disability grounds. The Mail picked it up: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2765357/Autistic-boy-11-banned-Boy-Scout-significant-health-safety-risk-wins-landmark-legal-battle.html

We have taken some guidance as a Region from HQ on this to understand what we should and shouldn’t be doing. Below is this guidance.

This is with reference to a newspaper article about a settlement made by The Scout Association in relation to a claim made by a Parent under the Disability Discrimination Act. The article talked about The Scout Association learning lessons from this case. Guidance has been provided by Paul Wilkinson at Gilwell about this case.

The bottom line is that there is little to be learnt from this case except doing what we should already be doing! Where an approach to allow any Young Person (or indeed adult) to join is made, then careful consideration of any needs that they may have MUST be made as part of an assessment as to whether the Group/Unit/Section will be able to make the necessary REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS (the phrase used in the Act) to accommodate them. The person must NEVER be "rejected" without such an assessment, which would normally include conversations with the person, parents, carers amongst several others who may be able to assist. Additional support may be appropriate, but whatever is put in place should not generally be to the detriment of the rest of the Group/Unit/Section. Bear in mind also that the fact that this person may have one to one support at a school does not necessarily mean that they need one to one for everything that they do. Such one to one support may only be for educational purposes.
Once an assessment has been made, then a decision as to what needs to be done follows. At all stages it is best practice to keep an open dialogue with the Young Person and their Parents/Carers. Where any Leaders feel unsure or unclear when dealing with such sensitive issues, then support will be provided by DC/CC.
If after making a decision, there is still pressure or worse still legal action threats being made then advice from the Inclusion Unit at Gilwell should be sought. As in the reported case, if legal action is taken then appropriate support will be provided.

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