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The Daily Mail article: 'Scouting for leaders'

Judith Hackitt, Chair, Health and Safety Executive responds

The Editor
Daily Mail
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Dear Sir

If William Bewley's assertion ('Scouting for leaders', 7 May) that health and safety is a barrier to people volunteering to become Scout leaders is true then we should all be very concerned. Children need to learn about the importance of risk and scouting is an excellent way of doing just that. But real health and safety is about living lives, managing risk and enabling people to enjoy themselves.

There is no reason why people should no longer volunteer to be scouting leaders due to risk assessments.

On its own, paperwork never saved anyone. It is a means to an end - action is what protects people. So risk assessments should be fit for purpose, acted upon and certainly not comprise made up risks to satisfy bureaucrats. For most, simple bullet points work very well indeed.

Whatever is stopping people volunteering, it shouldn't be health and safety. The earlier children learn about risk and how to handle it the better.

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive
Rose Court,
2 Southwark Bridge

Updated 2009-04-27