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Date: Monday, 21st January 2013
Contributor: Alistair Aitken - Adjudicator Panel

RSPBA Adjudication - Procedure for Allocation


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The allocation of Adjudicators to RSPBA competitions is a complex exercise each year. The Association maintains a list of Approved Adjudicators which is reviewed annually. There are 4 categories of RSPBA Adjudicator – Piping, Drumming, Ensemble and Drum Major – all of whom are required to undergo stringent initial training as well as participate in compulsory continuing professional development on an annual basis. Piping, Drumming and Drum Major Adjudicators can be Unattached (no longer registered Band Members) or Attached (still registered and competing Band Members). All Ensemble Adjudicators are Unattached. There are also a small number of Approved International Piping and Drumming Adjudicators, all of whom are Unattached. In the interests of fairness to the competing Pipe Bands, only Unattached Adjudicators are allocated to Major Championships other than in exceptional circumstances.

In allocating Adjudicators to contests the prime aim of the RSPBA is to ensure that all Adjudicators are treated as fairly as possible subject to availability and experience, and to the needs of the Association. There are, however, a number of barriers to achieving this aim as inevitably there are wide variations in the availability of Adjudicators for a variety of reasons (i.e. other commitments, personal preferences, the extent of travel required, the desire to avoid judging/teaching conflicts etc.). .Some promoters of local competitions also prefer not to have to meet the costs of Adjudicators who have to travel long distances and stay overnight. On occasions some Adjudicators also have to be stood down at short notice when band entries for local competitions do not meet expectations.

Adjudicator Allocations Team Membership
To ensure transparency in the process, the RSPBA has in place a formal Adjudicator Allocations Team which reports to the Board of Directors. The allocations are conducted in January each year under the leadership of the RSPBA Chief Executive. The Adjudicator Allocations Team comprises:

  • RSPBA Chief Executive (in the Chair)
  • Convener, Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board
  • Minute Secretary, Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board
  • One RSPBA Director (normally one of the Board of Directors’ representatives on the Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board)
The RSPBA Chairman may also attend any meeting of the Adjudicator Allocations Team as an observer. Should either of the Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board representatives be unavailable it is the responsibility of the Management Board to appoint a substitute.

Role of the Adjudicator Allocations Team
The prime objective of the Adjudicator Allocations Team is to provide, for the approval of the RSPBA Board of Directors, an unbiased and varied selection of Adjudicators to officiate at the 5 Major Championships and local competitions run under RSPBA rules. The emphasis should be on ensuring:
  • fair and consistent usage of Approved RSPBA Unattached Adjudicators across all grades in the 5 Major Championships, subject to the needs of the RSPBA;
  • a cyclical allocations process which avoids duplication between years;
  • fair and consistent usage of all Approved RSPBA Adjudicators for local competitions, where possible avoiding repetition year on year due to the limited availability particularly of Attached Adjudicators; and
  • wherever possible, the same Unattached Adjudicators are not allocated the same grade/s at local competitions the week before a Major Championship.
General Principles for Major Championships Allocations
Subject to the availability of the individual Adjudicators and the needs of the RSPBA, the following general principles apply:
  • Before they can be considered for any allocations Unattached Adjudicators must have made themselves available for a minimum of 3 Major Championships and 6 local competitions; and Attached Adjudicators must have made themselves available for a minimum of 6 local competitions. All Adjudicators must also have returned their completed Availability List to RSPBA Headquarters by the due date. It is accepted, however, that Approved RSPBA International Adjudicators will be unable to meet these availability conditions.
  • The Adjudicator Allocations Team should consider confidential recommendations made by the Adjudicators’ Training Group relating to individual Adjudicators undergoing training; the annual performance review of RSPBA Adjudicators; and the appropriate time to introduce new Unattached Adjudicators to officiate at Major Championships.
  • Adjudicators should not be allocated the same Discipline/Grade at different Championships within the same season.
  • Cyclical allocations should be fair and consistent.
  • Adjudicators should not be allocated the same Grade at the same Major Championship in consecutive years.
  • To ensure fairness in individual allocations, an approximate ratio of allocations to availability should be applied broadly for Major Championships (i.e. Adjudicators available for 5 Championships no more than 4 allocations; those available for 4 Championships no more than 3 allocations; and those available for 3 Championships no more than 2 allocations).
  • As a contingency against emergencies, a Reserve Adjudicator should be appointed for all 5 Major Championships, who should remain in that role regardless of any withdrawals prior to the day of the Championship.
  • Any allocated Adjudicator withdrawing prior to the actual day of a Major Championship should be replaced by another available Adjudicator, ideally ensuring that the replacement allocation does not distort or duplicate the Grade allocations at other Major Championships.
The Adjudicator Allocations Team must ensure that the first version of the allocations each year represents a fair and equitable distribution of Adjudicators subject to availability and the needs of the RSPBA. It is recognised that throughout the year circumstances outwith the control of the Adjudicator Allocations Team may demand that the Adjudicator allocations are reviewed and revised.

General Principles for Local Competition Allocations
  • Ensure wherever possible that Unattached Adjudicators are not allocated the same Grade at a local competition the week before they are due to officiate at a Major Championship.
  • Where possible avoid repetition of allocations to the same local competition year on year, subject to availability.
  • Ensure a fair distribution of Adjudicators across local competitions subject to availability. Inevitably Unattached Adjudicators are likely to be allocated more local competitions in view of the limited availability of Attached Adjudicators.
  • Try to ensure that Attached Adjudicators are allocated at least 1-2 local competitions each year in order to continually develop their adjudication skills.
Requests for Adjudicators from Other Countries
Invitations for RSPBA Adjudicators to officiate at competitions in other countries should be made direct to the RSPBA by the relevant Affiliated Association or other Pipe Band organisation. Ideally such requests should be submitted to the RSPBA by 30th November of the previous year, to ensure that they are included in the Availability Lists sent to RSPBA-approved Adjudicators. If they are not received by this date there can be no guarantee that Adjudicators will be provided as RSPBA competitions must take precedence.

Other principles include:
  • Requests for specific Adjudicators may be met subject to the RSPBA requirements and to their availability, provided that they are considered to be suitably experienced to represent the RSPBA.
  • When individuals are not specified, suitable Adjudicators should be considered only if they have made themselves available for the date/s in question.
  • A fair distribution of opportunities should be given to those Approved Adjudicators who are considered to be suitably experienced.
All Adjudicators allocated to competitions within and outwith the RSPBA are expected to comply fully with the provisions of the RSPBA Adjudicators’ Code of Practice.

RSPBA Adjudicators’ Training Group
January 2013


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