February 25, 2017

RSPBA quietly restores judging family

Grade 1 Buchan Peterson of Scotland and Manawatu Scottish of New Zealand. Brown and Mordaunt also reportedly voiced their opposition to the anti-nepotism rule at the meeting.

Office bearers of the Adjudicators Panel Management Group are John Wilson, convenor; Peter Snaddon, vice-convener; Robert Mathieson, secretary; John Noble, drum-major adjudicators’ representative; Donald MacPhee, piping adjudicators’ representative; Paul Turner, drumming adjudicators’ representative; and Cameron Edgar, ensemble adjudicators’ representative.

Another RSPBA member who also spoke on condition that his/her name isn’t used, said that “a well-planned and researched presentation considering all aspects including the lack of evidence to support last year’s proposal, which was not properly thought through, was made. This is more about conflict of interest than family members and there are other conflicts also that must be addressed through better monitoring and the opportunity for judges to declare conflicts when they believe they exist.”

Judges affected by the rule reportedly considered it an attack on their creditably, rather than addressing a particular problem.

While anti-nepotism rules are common with associations running organized adjudicated events, particularly ones with subjective decision-making, piping and drumming associations have rarely confronted the matter, let alone taken measures to mitigate perceptions of conflicts of interest. The Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing has had stringent rules prohibiting judges from adjudicating family members and pupils for more than three decades. The SOBHD governs Highland dancing competitions worldwide.

The Pipers & Pipe Society of Ontario has had such a rule in place since the early 1990s, and it has rarely if ever been up for serious discussion since.

The Solo Piping Judges Association unanimously voted at its AGM in November 2016 that judges would not be allowed to adjudicate their students going forward, starting with the major gatherings.

+ Carried: no judging pupils at big UK events

The decision, approved 17-0 in a vote, is considered to be a landmark move for solo piping. The decision has been followed with a handful of adjudicators who disagree with the rule, but who were not present at the meeting, protesting to anyone who will listen, including active competitors.





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