As you will be aware, as a direct result of Covid-19, the Society’s working test programme including the Inter-Area competition and the Shirley Radburn Nationals competition, along with our shows (and pretty much everyone else’s) have had to be cancelled.
We had hoped however that our Field Trials would survive, being later in the year and taking place during colder weather. We had identified venues which which we were confident would have been able to accommodate one-day Novice and Open stakes, although we were concerned that appointing judges might prove difficult and with training opportunities so far being very limited, filling a card could mean a lot of hard work with the trial still being cancelled due to a lack of entries.
Recently the Kennel Club published an “Operational Plan for the Resumption of Field Trials”. If you wish to read the document follow the link: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities/operational-plan-for-the-resumption-of-licensed-events/operational-plan-for-the-resumption-of-field-trials/.
Of particular note is the following statement:
“All societies must undertake their own Covid-19 specific risk assessment in addition to the normal risk assessment undertaken for all trials. If the risk assessment is not tailored to the Club’s own trial it cannot help it to meaningfully address the risks and it will not be demonstrating that the Club has actively managed the risks for the safety of all participants and visitors. All Clubs and Societies must appoint a Covid Safety Officer, whose responsibility is to make sure that Covid prevention procedures are maintained throughout the day. A log must be kept of any untoward incidents. The Covid Safety Officer must be named on the Field Trial schedule.“
There are all sorts of practical difficulties associated with fulfilling such requirements and I consider that this places an unacceptable and unrealistic obligation on anyone taking this on; I can’t imagine there being a long list of volunteers for the role of “Covid Safety Officer”.
The Society’s Field Trial Sub-Committee have discussed the situation and we have decided that it is now impractical to proceed with the organisation of trials for the 2020/21 season. The recent Government announcement of further restrictions from 14 September 2020 confirms that this is the right decision in the circumstances. It is also entirely consistent with the approach now being taken by many other Field Trial Clubs and Societies, and is a decision which I trust the majority of you will understand.
David Savory – Hon. Field Trial Secretary