February 28, 2010

‘International’ RSPBA judges reinstated . . . or so they think

After more than a year since the RSPBA’s decision to place the six “international” judges on its panel in “suspense” over their alleged non-compliance with the organization’s policy that calls for all judges to provide example score sheets, it appears that the judges in question may have been reinstated, although none have been contacted directly by the organization.

The affected judges – Brian Niven, Nat Russell and Sam Young of Australia, and Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall of Ontario – learned of the apparent lifting of their suspensions by seeing the RSPBA’s judging allocation tables, posted online as a “first version” on February 6th, inferring that they are now in good standing.

Inquiries by pipes|drums to the six judges returned five responses, all of which said that they had heard nothing directly and formally from the organization regarding their status.

Asked directly about the judges’ status, with several messages left, the RSPBA has not responded.

“One would have thought it would be procedure/courteous to inform the adjudicators of their allocation before publication,” said one of the suspended judges.

While the judges have been assigned to major championships, none so far have been put on Grade 1 events.

“Interesting to note that none have been allocated Grade 1 anywhere, and raises the subject of equity of allocation in the first instance,” one of the international judges said on condition of anonymity. “I’m not sure the bands are interested, [but it raises] the subject of representation from the international adjudicators at the World Pipe Band Championships in the Grade 1 arena.”

Typically there are few, if any, bands from Canada or Australia that compete at RSPBA events other than the World’s, where the top two grades have the highest ratio of international competitors.

At least a few of the judges did not receive availability forms from the RSPBA. Another adjudicator added, “This season we were not even sent an availability form as is the usual practice, so we emailed the RSPBA off our own backs giving them the contests that we would be available for this season.”

While Russell and Worrall have served on the RSPBA’s panel since the mid-1980s, in 2005 the organization put additional candidates through a rigourous vetting and testing process, even though all of them had judged in some cases for decades with their home associations and competed at the highest levels for many years.

While the RSPBA involves the international judges’ home associations in the process, the adjudicators consider themselves simply to be also on the RSPBA’s panel directly and, as such, not “international,” but simply RSPBA-panel judges.


  1. Wow – they get reinstated and people still complain….I get the part about not being informed (courtesy costs nothing) but why start getting all petty with that crowd”…they have been reinstated

  2. Why aren’t these overseas judges doing what they should have done two years ago and told RSPBA to stick it?

  3. Maybe it’s just me but I would want to get the word out about fixing this bizzarre situation to the biggest news source there is for the people who might be interested?? I agree–why would these judges want to still be involved with this crowd??

  4. I agree with Daz. You should stop moaning, they’ve been reinstated, isn’t that you wanted? As to the RSPBA not answering this magazines questions, i’ll ask my question again – why should they? This magazine is meerely that – a magazine. It holds no authority in piping and therefore the RSPBA are not answerable to it! Member bands are allowed to ask the questions, this magazine is not!

  5. Just to clarify, the point about the RSPBA not responding is only included to ensure that readers know that the organization was given the chance, several times, and always has the opportunity to have their perspective included. Certainly, if it chooses, it’s the association’s prerogative to say nothing.

  6. Sorry, I’d have to disagree – I’m struggling to see a way in which anyone can think the RSPBA authorities have acted sensibly here. I’m not talking about the reinstating of the judges – that’s good that they’ve resolved the issue there. But come on – you suspend someone and then don’t let them know they’ve been reinstated until they read that you’ve allocated them to a contest. Sorry but that’s just crap. I’m struggling to see how anyone could think otherwise.

  7. The point that Daz and The Speaker fail to recognize is that these individuals have ‘supposedly’ been reinstated, but have not being informed of said reinstatement by the RSPBA. In my opinion, until the affected gentlemen receive notification AND an apology from the RSPBA, this issue is still very much a contentious one. By failing to respond to repeated requests by pipes|drums, the RSPBA further demonstrates that it has something to hide in regards to this issue. While they are certainly not obligated to provide a commentary on this, or any other subject, it seems highly suspiscious that the RSPBA NEVER comments on issues where its actions and decisions are called into question. In my opinion, if a body isn’t prepared or willing to comment publicly on a decision it has made, it is a good sign that said organization recognizes that such a decision is unfounded and/or poorly-made.

  8. So, your name gets posted. That’s enough? I don’t think so. Let’s assume you’re someone who likes to plan a just little bit ahead, especially when it comes to doling out over a thousand dollars in airfare. Normally—and I emphasize the word normally—most people begin thinking about arranging international trips more than 6 months ahead of time. Kinda makes me wonder. Forget the apology—that’s never going to happen— how about very a simple request for availability? I suppose that would’ve been too much….way over the top, bordering on groveling. Still, it’s good to see that at least they’ve been reinstated…begrudgingly, methinks.

  9. what your sayin is that this particular group of judges want to pick and choose where and when they judge..if they can’t afford it..or don’t have the time then they don’t have to judge..thats why the reserves are there

  10. Gregor – I fully understand the point. That’s why I mentioned that courtesy costs nothing and they should have recieved a communication of some description. The point of my last post to say that people are still not happy – even with the reinstatement of these guys. The RSPBA are damned if they do and damned if they don’t…I never thought the original suspension was a good move and thought that the RSPBA were completely inflexible on the issue but i’m not in the echelons of power there so don’t know the full story. Let’s just be thankful that these guys are back judging over here. Regards Daz

  11. That’s not what I said, cammy.. your spin, your schtick. It’s about common sense and common courtesy. Imagine having an employer call you back to work after a layoff, but doesn’t notify you about it other than posting something on the company bulletin board. Since you’re no longer ‘at work’ you don’t read the board. You get the message second or third hand. You get my point? But, they’re back on the job, fair enough.

  12. The judging allocation list is now back up, and it was down due to a network glitch – there was nothing intended or hidden” in this problem. “

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