So, the DSC2 finally arrived in the post. Some struggle it has been, in particular due to many cancelled Stalks due to averse weather conditions in 2012. This evening I am stalking with a friend (Who has the DSC1 but just doesn't seem to come round to the DSC2) and just to rub it in I will ask him if I should wear the badge on my had, or on my jacket, and if he can please pin it on for me
In my feedback to BASC I have made the following points and suggestions which I decided to post on this open forum as, I have no doubt, they will lead to some interesting and passionate comments.
General observation and suggestion to Basc/DMQ for future improvements on how the scheme is managed and assessed:
When contacting possible AW’s I had the impression that in general AW’s do NOT want to take candidates on to land on which the AW has permission – quite a few claimed that there was ‘nothing about’ on their land ‘at the moment’. This could cause difficulties for candidates who do not have their own land to shoot on.
I suggest you should make efforts to move to a system where every AW charges the same amount for a Stalk – there are some quite large differences, ranging from ‘Petrol money only and you can keep the carcass’ to full professional fees+ cull fees + trophy fees + carcass fees.
In my view, an even better system would be where the initial fee for registering for the DSC2 actually INCLUDES the AW fees for a set amount of AW Stalks. The AW’s would than have to claim their (fixed payments) back from the assessment center. My reasoning is that if a candidate appoints a professional hunter/guide their relationship is one of client/provider, this makes it quite difficult for the AW to fail a candidate, and could potentially lead to a situation where candidates’ ICR’s are signed off despite the criteria not having been met fully. By paying all AW’s equally, and the payment coming from the assessment center, you would create a more level playing field.
For the same reason as above I believe the DSC2 would carry more weight if every candidate has to use at least two, or preferably three different AW’s.
I recommend the assessment centers are more open and forward about the AVERAGE amount of Stalks the AVERAGE candidate requires to complete the three ICR’s. Speaking to several AW’s I understand the AVERAGE candidate requires 15 Stalks to complete the three ICR’s. So assuming a fee of £50 per Stalk the layout is already £110 (Assessment centre) + £750 (AW fees), so not much change from £1,000. Do enthusiastic new candidates actually realise this? I certainly didn't. How many never complete their Portfolio out of pure frustration? On the assumption that some booked Stalks are also cancelled due to averse weather conditions, it must be made clearer to prospective candidate what a long and frustrating and expensive process obtaining the DSC2 can be.
The waiting time from submission of the Portfolio to awarding the Certificate is unacceptable long, in my case 12 weeks+. How can BASC publicly criticise the Police for taking 3-4 months to process a SGC or FAC application, but than be as slow and tardy themselves with processing a DSC2 portfolio, which (I guess) requires just 3 different people to spent just say an hour each on admin and checking through?