child abuse (are social worker’s hands tied)

Social workers must be given the powers to enter a home where a a child is suspected to be at risk.

The recent case of Khyra Ishaq who was starved and badly abused until she died, is an example of social workers inabilities to do their job, as they do not have sufficient powers.

They visited this house on at least seven occasions and only twice briefly glimpsed poor Khyra. They were unable to assess her condition.

Social workers should be able to call on police if necessary to force entry and insist on seeing a child in a way sufficient to enable them to assess the mental and physical condition of the child properly.

Why is this idea important?

Social workers must be given the powers to enter a home where a a child is suspected to be at risk.

The recent case of Khyra Ishaq who was starved and badly abused until she died, is an example of social workers inabilities to do their job, as they do not have sufficient powers.

They visited this house on at least seven occasions and only twice briefly glimpsed poor Khyra. They were unable to assess her condition.

Social workers should be able to call on police if necessary to force entry and insist on seeing a child in a way sufficient to enable them to assess the mental and physical condition of the child properly.

Pensions

The Labour government was a major factor in the decline of Final Salary pensions over the past q0 years. The Coalition can change laws to make them more attractive.

Factors Making Final Salary Pensions Less Attractive

  1. Demographics – Aging Population
  2. Allowing Risky Investments
  3. Banning Over-Funding
  4. Showing Pensions As A Liability
  5. Share Collapses

Point 1 – pensioners living longer and a lower birth rate – is not the Government's fault

Point 2 is directly the fault of Westminster. The law was changed to allow pension funds to invested in riskier shares and other investments. Pension fund managers are competitive and went for maximim growth. This exposed pension funds to the 2001 Tech Share Collapse and the 2008 Banking Crisis, both wiping out 50% of the value of some funds. If pensions had stayed invested in Bonds most funds would still be in surplus.

In the run up to the 2001 Tech Share collapse some companies actually wanted to put more into their pension funds, but were banned by Government rules preventing what the Government saw as "over-funding". A few years later and those companies have sadly been proved correct – the funds are now in serious defecit and closed to new entrants.

Also if a pension fund is technically over-funded the company becomes attractive to predators. It can be taken over and run with zero employers pension contribution until the surplus has evaporated. Close the company and the so-called surplus can be "returned" to the new owners.

Company pension funding is formally assessed every 3 years, but under accounting changes introduced in the 1990s, a pension fund defecit has to be shown as a liability on the companies books every time they are published. For companies that have 1/4ly reporting this can have a massive impact on the apparent value of a company every 3 months as the stock market fluctuates. This is despite the reality that pensions are investments accumulated over 40 years and paid out over 15-20 years, enabling them to smooth out short term fluctuations and rely on "underlying value".

The chilling effect of showing short-term shared-price based pension liabilities on company books is that even if a company is well run, stable, profitable, and has a well funded pension fund, the company's official book value can fluctuate wildly. Regardless of how much money the employer has to put in, just this fluctuation makes a Final Salary Scheme threatening.

Most of  these points can be addressed by Government making changes to UK law.

As for demographics, the real figures are not as bad as the scare stories quoted in the papers. One factor is the number of people who could work but do not, and what figure is used for "working population". Secondly the pension age will inevitably rise,even if only to equal Male and Female retirement, improving the Worker:Pensioner ratio. Taking millions of teens out of employment and encouraging them undertake 5 years of Further & Higher Education is a deliberate political decision that has an obvious impact on the size of the workforce. However it makes sense if it increases productivity over a person's lifetime – that increased productivity should be taken into account.

Why is this idea important?

The Labour government was a major factor in the decline of Final Salary pensions over the past q0 years. The Coalition can change laws to make them more attractive.

Factors Making Final Salary Pensions Less Attractive

  1. Demographics – Aging Population
  2. Allowing Risky Investments
  3. Banning Over-Funding
  4. Showing Pensions As A Liability
  5. Share Collapses

Point 1 – pensioners living longer and a lower birth rate – is not the Government's fault

Point 2 is directly the fault of Westminster. The law was changed to allow pension funds to invested in riskier shares and other investments. Pension fund managers are competitive and went for maximim growth. This exposed pension funds to the 2001 Tech Share Collapse and the 2008 Banking Crisis, both wiping out 50% of the value of some funds. If pensions had stayed invested in Bonds most funds would still be in surplus.

In the run up to the 2001 Tech Share collapse some companies actually wanted to put more into their pension funds, but were banned by Government rules preventing what the Government saw as "over-funding". A few years later and those companies have sadly been proved correct – the funds are now in serious defecit and closed to new entrants.

Also if a pension fund is technically over-funded the company becomes attractive to predators. It can be taken over and run with zero employers pension contribution until the surplus has evaporated. Close the company and the so-called surplus can be "returned" to the new owners.

Company pension funding is formally assessed every 3 years, but under accounting changes introduced in the 1990s, a pension fund defecit has to be shown as a liability on the companies books every time they are published. For companies that have 1/4ly reporting this can have a massive impact on the apparent value of a company every 3 months as the stock market fluctuates. This is despite the reality that pensions are investments accumulated over 40 years and paid out over 15-20 years, enabling them to smooth out short term fluctuations and rely on "underlying value".

The chilling effect of showing short-term shared-price based pension liabilities on company books is that even if a company is well run, stable, profitable, and has a well funded pension fund, the company's official book value can fluctuate wildly. Regardless of how much money the employer has to put in, just this fluctuation makes a Final Salary Scheme threatening.

Most of  these points can be addressed by Government making changes to UK law.

As for demographics, the real figures are not as bad as the scare stories quoted in the papers. One factor is the number of people who could work but do not, and what figure is used for "working population". Secondly the pension age will inevitably rise,even if only to equal Male and Female retirement, improving the Worker:Pensioner ratio. Taking millions of teens out of employment and encouraging them undertake 5 years of Further & Higher Education is a deliberate political decision that has an obvious impact on the size of the workforce. However it makes sense if it increases productivity over a person's lifetime – that increased productivity should be taken into account.

Abolish all laws which punish people for what they ‘might’ do in the future

basically anything where people are punished for 'being a risk' of doing something in the future rather than for having committed an offence

Why is this idea important?

basically anything where people are punished for 'being a risk' of doing something in the future rather than for having committed an offence

Amend all ‘child protection’ legislation so that it does not apply to teenagers

Teenagers are no longer little, sweet children who need mollycoddling and protecting as though they are still toddlers.  They are adolescents, who are in the process of turning into adults and thus need to learn to behave as adults and be guided into the adult world. 

Protecting them as ‘children’ encourages rebellion, as they are prevented from doing anything vaguely exciting, risky or grown up, or from taking any responsibility for themselves and so turn instead to illicit and often particularly dangerous thrills such as trespassing on railway lines, drug abuse or joy riding.

Teenage boys in particular, when treated like weaklings and starved of risk, danger, competition and responsibility are prone to acting ‘macho’ and being violent in order to prove they are tough and strong enough to be a ‘real man’.

Treating teenagers as ‘children’ also prevents them from gaining the vital skills and qualities required to face the real world, leaving those who do not rebel ill-equipped to face the challenges adult life when they are finally thrown out into the real world at 18 and suddenly told they are different now because they are an ‘adult’.

All ‘child protection’ legislation should therefore be amended so that it only applies to those aged under 13 years, as it does more harm than good when applied to teenagers.

Why is this idea important?

Teenagers are no longer little, sweet children who need mollycoddling and protecting as though they are still toddlers.  They are adolescents, who are in the process of turning into adults and thus need to learn to behave as adults and be guided into the adult world. 

Protecting them as ‘children’ encourages rebellion, as they are prevented from doing anything vaguely exciting, risky or grown up, or from taking any responsibility for themselves and so turn instead to illicit and often particularly dangerous thrills such as trespassing on railway lines, drug abuse or joy riding.

Teenage boys in particular, when treated like weaklings and starved of risk, danger, competition and responsibility are prone to acting ‘macho’ and being violent in order to prove they are tough and strong enough to be a ‘real man’.

Treating teenagers as ‘children’ also prevents them from gaining the vital skills and qualities required to face the real world, leaving those who do not rebel ill-equipped to face the challenges adult life when they are finally thrown out into the real world at 18 and suddenly told they are different now because they are an ‘adult’.

All ‘child protection’ legislation should therefore be amended so that it only applies to those aged under 13 years, as it does more harm than good when applied to teenagers.

Health and Safety

Health and Safety continues to be used as a means of preventing individuals from taking a personal, risk based approach to their individual lives.  Whilst I understand the need for key H&S controls to be mandated across the nations, I feel that the H&S agenda has become all pervasive and would like to see a review with a focus on simplifying and restricting the legislation in this area.  I think allowing individuals more personal freedoms strengthen their personal understanding and assessment of H&S issues and associated risks and enable people to set their personal risk tolerances for their personal situations.

Why is this idea important?

Health and Safety continues to be used as a means of preventing individuals from taking a personal, risk based approach to their individual lives.  Whilst I understand the need for key H&S controls to be mandated across the nations, I feel that the H&S agenda has become all pervasive and would like to see a review with a focus on simplifying and restricting the legislation in this area.  I think allowing individuals more personal freedoms strengthen their personal understanding and assessment of H&S issues and associated risks and enable people to set their personal risk tolerances for their personal situations.

Health & safety used to justify universal freedom infringements

Jobsworths use HSE legislation to prevent traditional pleasures: Guy Fawkes bonfires; hanging flower baskets in high street; horses on village greens during Borders common-ridings; 'risk-assessment' before I take teenagers for a country walk; etc.

The existing framework for such curtailments of liberty and common sense should be repealed: this might require fresh emphasis that there is indeed such a thing as an 'act of God'; and it might require parallel restrictions on 'no-win no-fee' trophy-hunters

Why is this idea important?

Jobsworths use HSE legislation to prevent traditional pleasures: Guy Fawkes bonfires; hanging flower baskets in high street; horses on village greens during Borders common-ridings; 'risk-assessment' before I take teenagers for a country walk; etc.

The existing framework for such curtailments of liberty and common sense should be repealed: this might require fresh emphasis that there is indeed such a thing as an 'act of God'; and it might require parallel restrictions on 'no-win no-fee' trophy-hunters

Repeal the risk averse society

A common thread running through a lot of overreaching laws is risk aversion.

There are 3 main categories:

  • Terrorism
  • Health and safety
  • Anti paedophillia laws

There are potentially100s of examples in these categories.

(These all help with "bad things" but the risk is generally over stated, and laws overly restrictive and expensive).

Why is this idea important?

A common thread running through a lot of overreaching laws is risk aversion.

There are 3 main categories:

  • Terrorism
  • Health and safety
  • Anti paedophillia laws

There are potentially100s of examples in these categories.

(These all help with "bad things" but the risk is generally over stated, and laws overly restrictive and expensive).

let children play freely

to stop silly health and safety laws that are stopping our children from being able to play freely. health and safety of course is important but when children are stopped playing conkers, musical chairs etc due to worry of them getting hurt or compensation claims its getting silly. the law shouls state that if an injury occured due to playing and not fault of equipment then no compensation allowed then hopefully we can go back to being a reasonable society. 

Why is this idea important?

to stop silly health and safety laws that are stopping our children from being able to play freely. health and safety of course is important but when children are stopped playing conkers, musical chairs etc due to worry of them getting hurt or compensation claims its getting silly. the law shouls state that if an injury occured due to playing and not fault of equipment then no compensation allowed then hopefully we can go back to being a reasonable society. 

Reduce Risk Assessments required

Any requirement for risk assessments should be removed from all but the most risky occupations, such as those originally covered by Health & Safety legislation (eg the construction industry). Completion of risk assessments are a heavy paperwork burden and often accidents arise from situations not thought about when the assessments were made.

Risk Assessment guidelines call for risks to be eliminated where possible. This creates a cotton-wool culture of over-protection and does not stimulate the need to develop individual common sense.

Risk assessment is also a crutch for sueing in both the public and private sector, where the frequency and cost of such actions needs to be reduced, with responsibilities returned to the individual. Children also need to handle and experience risks and minor injury needs to be seen as part of a learning process rather than something to be eliminated completely.

Why is this idea important?

Any requirement for risk assessments should be removed from all but the most risky occupations, such as those originally covered by Health & Safety legislation (eg the construction industry). Completion of risk assessments are a heavy paperwork burden and often accidents arise from situations not thought about when the assessments were made.

Risk Assessment guidelines call for risks to be eliminated where possible. This creates a cotton-wool culture of over-protection and does not stimulate the need to develop individual common sense.

Risk assessment is also a crutch for sueing in both the public and private sector, where the frequency and cost of such actions needs to be reduced, with responsibilities returned to the individual. Children also need to handle and experience risks and minor injury needs to be seen as part of a learning process rather than something to be eliminated completely.

health and safety legislation and practice

the health and safety at work act was intended to reduce and prevent industrial accidents, not to provide excuses for all kinds of civil servants and local authorities for not doing their jobs. the scope of the act needs to be seriously  curtailed and interpreted accordingly in the courts

Why is this idea important?

the health and safety at work act was intended to reduce and prevent industrial accidents, not to provide excuses for all kinds of civil servants and local authorities for not doing their jobs. the scope of the act needs to be seriously  curtailed and interpreted accordingly in the courts

Insuring yourself against risks that you opt to take

Life is, and always has been, a risky business.

I think that you should, if you wish, insure yourself against those risks, not rely upon other people's insurance so that you can sue them. Only use other people's insurance when there is no option but to use their services.

For example, going to school is more or less compulsory, so you have to rely on other people to look after your child. Hence the school should have insurance to cover this. But opting to send your child on a school trip is your own choice and therefore you should bear the risk and insurance.

Branches do fall off trees, conkers do split; there have always been risks in most things that we enjoy doing. So let us take out our own insurance to cover these, if we feel it necessary, don't put the onus on other people. Only be able to sue on other people's insurance when there is no choice but to use their services, eg at work or at school. Accidents happen, so let us live with this fact and insure against it ourselves. We are all human and it is human to err, even if there may be unfortunate consequences for someone else.

Why is this idea important?

Life is, and always has been, a risky business.

I think that you should, if you wish, insure yourself against those risks, not rely upon other people's insurance so that you can sue them. Only use other people's insurance when there is no option but to use their services.

For example, going to school is more or less compulsory, so you have to rely on other people to look after your child. Hence the school should have insurance to cover this. But opting to send your child on a school trip is your own choice and therefore you should bear the risk and insurance.

Branches do fall off trees, conkers do split; there have always been risks in most things that we enjoy doing. So let us take out our own insurance to cover these, if we feel it necessary, don't put the onus on other people. Only be able to sue on other people's insurance when there is no choice but to use their services, eg at work or at school. Accidents happen, so let us live with this fact and insure against it ourselves. We are all human and it is human to err, even if there may be unfortunate consequences for someone else.

Health and Safety legislation versus loss of fun

Heath and Safety laws are generally good, despite the public perception, and have delivered an enormous reduction in accidents. But it’s a question of balance. On the one hand we don’t want accidents, on the other we don’t want to be killjoys. We have reached the point at which any drive for a further reduction in accidents may lead to too much restriction on activities which could go ahead as long as the participants agree to take the risks.

The problem is in the Law where the official test is the risk being “As Low As Reasonably Practicable.” So things are banned or modified for safety reasons no matter what the consequences are to loss of “fun” because a Court deems that it is practicable (cost effective) to reduce the risk. So this test needs so be replaced by “as low as reasonably possible until cost or loss of amenity, etc. outweigh the reduction in risk”.

How this would actually be interpreted in a Court of Law is difficult to foresee as how do you assess loss of amenity against improvement in safety?

Also people should be allowed to waive their right to comeback if they are prepared to take the risk with eyes open.

Why is this idea important?

Heath and Safety laws are generally good, despite the public perception, and have delivered an enormous reduction in accidents. But it’s a question of balance. On the one hand we don’t want accidents, on the other we don’t want to be killjoys. We have reached the point at which any drive for a further reduction in accidents may lead to too much restriction on activities which could go ahead as long as the participants agree to take the risks.

The problem is in the Law where the official test is the risk being “As Low As Reasonably Practicable.” So things are banned or modified for safety reasons no matter what the consequences are to loss of “fun” because a Court deems that it is practicable (cost effective) to reduce the risk. So this test needs so be replaced by “as low as reasonably possible until cost or loss of amenity, etc. outweigh the reduction in risk”.

How this would actually be interpreted in a Court of Law is difficult to foresee as how do you assess loss of amenity against improvement in safety?

Also people should be allowed to waive their right to comeback if they are prepared to take the risk with eyes open.

Health and Safety

There is too much health and safety regulation.  There are other members of the EU who have signed up and then appear to ignore it all.  It will reduce costs to business in terms of Health and safety officers and it might also reduce the 'where there is blame there is a claim' culture we have at the moment.  I know that it costs local councils £100,000's in claims just through people not using their common sense.  They would rather settle with a large payment instead of toughing it out.

Why is this idea important?

There is too much health and safety regulation.  There are other members of the EU who have signed up and then appear to ignore it all.  It will reduce costs to business in terms of Health and safety officers and it might also reduce the 'where there is blame there is a claim' culture we have at the moment.  I know that it costs local councils £100,000's in claims just through people not using their common sense.  They would rather settle with a large payment instead of toughing it out.

Scrap the Health & Safety Executive

This organisation had grown completely out of hand.  Ridiculous rules abound.  ( teachers wearing safety goggles when using PritStick, for example)   Companies now have to spend huge sums of money having risk assessments carried out. Let the people become responsible for their own actions, and not look to blame someone every time they do something .

 

 

Why is this idea important?

This organisation had grown completely out of hand.  Ridiculous rules abound.  ( teachers wearing safety goggles when using PritStick, for example)   Companies now have to spend huge sums of money having risk assessments carried out. Let the people become responsible for their own actions, and not look to blame someone every time they do something .

 

 

Personal injury

Not so much a repeal, but a necessary action. It appears to me that the biggest intrusion into my ability to do anything is 'health and safety', an excuse used to cover the real fear which is that of being taken to court if anything happens. This occurs at all sorts of levels:

My local council won't sell anything from the tip – reuse is far more environmental than recycle – this restriction is incase I hurt myself and sue.

My son isn't allowed on the footplate of a steam engine in a local museum in case he falls…

My sons school tennis courts are locked up all summer in case someone trips on them…

I had to fill in an accident form when I pulled a muscle at squash just in case….

Woodpeckers have no where to live because dead or dying trees are chopped down in case they fall on someone…

All of this rubbish (and far far far more) erode our way of life, fail to protect enough people to warrant the intrusion and are largely because judges refuse to tackle the real problem – baseless claims for compensation. If I walk in a wood next to a dead tree in a gale its my fault if it falls on me, if I play squash and pull a muscle its my fault, if my son falls off a steam engine its my fault, if I am playing …. well you get the idea. If I sue the council then the judge should turn around and bankrupt me completely for trying to blame someone else for my stupidity. And until they are instructed to do just that this 'personal injury' rubbish will continue to wreck all our lives…. I mean, that advert -I climbed a ladder I hadn't been shown how to use, fell off and got 20k, if you are that stupid you don't either ask for training or more intelligently just know what to do then you shouldn't get 20k you should get locked up to keep you safe from yourself.

Why is this idea important?

Not so much a repeal, but a necessary action. It appears to me that the biggest intrusion into my ability to do anything is 'health and safety', an excuse used to cover the real fear which is that of being taken to court if anything happens. This occurs at all sorts of levels:

My local council won't sell anything from the tip – reuse is far more environmental than recycle – this restriction is incase I hurt myself and sue.

My son isn't allowed on the footplate of a steam engine in a local museum in case he falls…

My sons school tennis courts are locked up all summer in case someone trips on them…

I had to fill in an accident form when I pulled a muscle at squash just in case….

Woodpeckers have no where to live because dead or dying trees are chopped down in case they fall on someone…

All of this rubbish (and far far far more) erode our way of life, fail to protect enough people to warrant the intrusion and are largely because judges refuse to tackle the real problem – baseless claims for compensation. If I walk in a wood next to a dead tree in a gale its my fault if it falls on me, if I play squash and pull a muscle its my fault, if my son falls off a steam engine its my fault, if I am playing …. well you get the idea. If I sue the council then the judge should turn around and bankrupt me completely for trying to blame someone else for my stupidity. And until they are instructed to do just that this 'personal injury' rubbish will continue to wreck all our lives…. I mean, that advert -I climbed a ladder I hadn't been shown how to use, fell off and got 20k, if you are that stupid you don't either ask for training or more intelligently just know what to do then you shouldn't get 20k you should get locked up to keep you safe from yourself.

Removing the compensation culture

The balance of power in compensation cases needs to be shifted, to make it harder to prove negligence, and to increase personal responsibility for one's own actions. If you trip on a paving slab, or slip on ice, this should not result in a negligence case against a local authority/business. If a child gets hit in the eye with a conker, or falls out of a tree, again this is part and parcel of life and of children playing. However, if a business fails to declare a building site a hard hat area, so is deliberately negligent, this should remain prosecutable.

Why is this idea important?

The balance of power in compensation cases needs to be shifted, to make it harder to prove negligence, and to increase personal responsibility for one's own actions. If you trip on a paving slab, or slip on ice, this should not result in a negligence case against a local authority/business. If a child gets hit in the eye with a conker, or falls out of a tree, again this is part and parcel of life and of children playing. However, if a business fails to declare a building site a hard hat area, so is deliberately negligent, this should remain prosecutable.

Change the presumption of risk applied to everyday items

Would it be possible for the courts to assume that everyday household objects, such as kettles or screwdrivers, are not dangerous to any reasonable adult as long as they are kept in good working order? Things that any intelligent person already knows how to use should not give rise to lawsuits.

 

I am not a lawyer and I do realise this would be complicated to carry out…..!

Why is this idea important?

Would it be possible for the courts to assume that everyday household objects, such as kettles or screwdrivers, are not dangerous to any reasonable adult as long as they are kept in good working order? Things that any intelligent person already knows how to use should not give rise to lawsuits.

 

I am not a lawyer and I do realise this would be complicated to carry out…..!

End health and safety madness & healthy attitude to risk!

Far too many laws conspire to ban activities with almost imperceptible risks creating a burden of stifling nanny state regulation that has stopped many of the simple adventures of life which previous generations took as their right. From banning conkers & snowballs in schools, to CRB checks for parents who dare to offer to help with youth groups, the UK has gone bonkers.

What is so wrong with our modern society and laws that it is necessary to post signs on a nature reserve informing visitors that a piece of natural grassland has risk? Why is it necessary for schools to ban parents from taking pictures of their own children at a nativity plays? Why did I worry last winter whether I should clear the snow outside my house in case someone might sue me if they happened to slip?

So many activities, events and organisation which previous generations just took for granted have recently had to shut down simply because they can't get insurance to cover such dangerous activities like a group of people standing around in a field enjoying a few games.

It is the cumulation of “risk aversion” that is at fault, so action is needed in many areas but here are a few suggestions:

  1. Put the onus on insurance for normal “everyday risk” back onto the individual. Why do people expect to be able to sue a voluntary youth club if a kid falls over when running around. If they want to be insured, why do they expect voluntary groups to carry insurance they themselves do not have? This type of selfish behaviour has to be stopped else voluntary groups will disappear leaving kids with nowhere to go except expensive commercial activities or “finding some way to entertain themselves” (graffiti, drugs, etc.)
  2. Schools are scared witless by the raft of rules and regulations that try to stop risk taking by children. Teachers are now so afraid of letting children do simple things just because of minuscule risk and more and more overweight with nothing else to do except talk about the TV they are going to watch. This is particularly harmful to boys who are naturally more risk taking than girls. We need to give children the right to take risks at school, to by taught how to deal with risks, in as safe a way as possible, but for the good us all by the very nature of risk taking, there will be accidents, and we must have the courage to accept this.
  3. After each and every major accident there is usually a hang wringing exercise trying to work out “how to stop it ever happening again”. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of all these doubtless well intentioned recommendations aimed at each individual tragedy, seems to more stifling rules and regulation that effectively “ban the activity” to get rid of the minuscule risk. We must stop such inquiries taking the easy way out and recommending restrictions based on one off incidents where there is no evidence of wide scale harm reduction and when there is the huge risk of wider social harm by further ingraining anti-risk rules and regulations.

Why is this idea important?

Far too many laws conspire to ban activities with almost imperceptible risks creating a burden of stifling nanny state regulation that has stopped many of the simple adventures of life which previous generations took as their right. From banning conkers & snowballs in schools, to CRB checks for parents who dare to offer to help with youth groups, the UK has gone bonkers.

What is so wrong with our modern society and laws that it is necessary to post signs on a nature reserve informing visitors that a piece of natural grassland has risk? Why is it necessary for schools to ban parents from taking pictures of their own children at a nativity plays? Why did I worry last winter whether I should clear the snow outside my house in case someone might sue me if they happened to slip?

So many activities, events and organisation which previous generations just took for granted have recently had to shut down simply because they can't get insurance to cover such dangerous activities like a group of people standing around in a field enjoying a few games.

It is the cumulation of “risk aversion” that is at fault, so action is needed in many areas but here are a few suggestions:

  1. Put the onus on insurance for normal “everyday risk” back onto the individual. Why do people expect to be able to sue a voluntary youth club if a kid falls over when running around. If they want to be insured, why do they expect voluntary groups to carry insurance they themselves do not have? This type of selfish behaviour has to be stopped else voluntary groups will disappear leaving kids with nowhere to go except expensive commercial activities or “finding some way to entertain themselves” (graffiti, drugs, etc.)
  2. Schools are scared witless by the raft of rules and regulations that try to stop risk taking by children. Teachers are now so afraid of letting children do simple things just because of minuscule risk and more and more overweight with nothing else to do except talk about the TV they are going to watch. This is particularly harmful to boys who are naturally more risk taking than girls. We need to give children the right to take risks at school, to by taught how to deal with risks, in as safe a way as possible, but for the good us all by the very nature of risk taking, there will be accidents, and we must have the courage to accept this.
  3. After each and every major accident there is usually a hang wringing exercise trying to work out “how to stop it ever happening again”. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of all these doubtless well intentioned recommendations aimed at each individual tragedy, seems to more stifling rules and regulation that effectively “ban the activity” to get rid of the minuscule risk. We must stop such inquiries taking the easy way out and recommending restrictions based on one off incidents where there is no evidence of wide scale harm reduction and when there is the huge risk of wider social harm by further ingraining anti-risk rules and regulations.