When organising any sort of event, function or activity which might involve
members of the public, by law you need to do a “Risk Assessment” (a written
summary of the event and any possible risks associated with it, together with
details of how you, as organiser, will remove or mitigate such risks).
The other thing you need, of course, is a Public Liability Insurance Policy –
proof of the existence of which forms part of your Risk Assessment.
The question of Risk Assessments in connection with the proposed culls has been
mentioned briefly in various social media conversations and GABS did enquire of
Gloucestershire Police only to receive (we understand) a rather brusque reply.
So B-R-A-V-E went hunting for these Risk Assessments!
We contacted DEFRA, Natural England, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset
County Councils and the police in Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset as well.
We would have like to have contacted the Health and Safety Executive as well but
strangely (or perhaps not) their website has no public contact form!
In all cases we have cited the Freedom of Information Act and have requested who
has done the Risk Assessments, who checks them and whether they are open to
public scrutiny, comment and opposition. It would, perhaps, be useful if lots of
other people were to do this as well!
So far, we have had acknowledgements from almost everyone we’ve contacted, with
promises that further information will follow.
The one organisation that has actually responded is Natural England. They “do
not hold” any Risk Assessments and have suggested we “contact the NFU”.
We have done so – no response as yet………………….
Here is the timeline:
April 2013 - Contact known bodies concerned.
April 2013 - Email Acknowledgements - all, except DEFRA, Somerset CC & Gloucestershire
May 2013 - Response:
Natural England - do not hold Risk Assessments - contact NFU.
May 2013 - Contact
May 2013 - Acknowledgements from DEFRA & Somerset CC. Both promise actual
replies within 15 days.
May 2013 - Acknowledgement from Natural England to B-R-A-V-E's submission of
second more detailed request. Plus another acknowledgment form Somerset CC.
May 2013 - Yet another acknowledgement from Somerset CC (now three in total).
May 2013 - Response from Gloucestershire CC - "GCC does not hold any records
regarding Risk Assessments relating to the culling of badgers".
May 2013 - Acknowledgement from DEFRA who aim to respond by 29 May 2013.
May 2013 - Absolutely nothing further to report.
May 2013 - Still nothing further to report.
May 2013 - Late afternoon - Email response from DEFRA.
B-R-A-V-E seeking further advice as, at first glance, this information shows
little, if any, regard for public safety.
May 2013 - Late afternoon - Avon & Somerset Police - Quote:
"I write in connection with your request for information dated 29th April
concerning the proposed badger culls.
I regret to inform you that Avon and Somerset Constabulary will not be able to
complete its response to your request by the original date.
I now advise you that the amended date for a response is 26th June 2013. This is
due to consideration being given to the application of a qualified exemption,
concerning law enforcement, and as such will require further consideration
regarding the public interest test. I can assure you that every effort will be
made to ensure an appropriate response will be made within this new timescale.
May I apologise for any inconvenience caused."
July 2013 - 16:19
Follow the link below to read an excellent article in The Observer by Damian
Carrington regarding public safety risk assessments (or the lack of them!):