7 October 2015
The Chief Executive
The Scout Association
I refer to to my previous correspondence with Byron Chatburn regarding the behaviour of the Rev John Simmons the CC of Northamptonshire and acting DC of Northampton District.
I was informed that at a meeting between John Shrewsbury (Chair Appointments Committee), Michelle Swain (Field Development Manager), Alistair Cochran (acting County Commissioner) and myself, that Ms Swain would investigate my complaint regarding The Rev Simmons undertaking a vendetta against me, which had resulted in my exclusion from the Scout Association and a ban from entering Scout premises, despite no formal complaints having been proven, or even made.
At the time of writing, I have not received any updates as to the result of the investigation, nor details of which Scout Association articles or rule the ban on entering Scout Association property is enacted under.
As an honourable person (a Queens Scout award holder, former member of the Queens Scout working party and having held various warrants throughout my 40+ years in Scouting), I have refrained from entering scout association property, or property owned by Scout districts or individual groups while attempting to obtain from the Scout Association details of the rules under which the ban has been imposed. This has, and continues to cause me some distress, as in addition to preventing me from undertaking certain social activities in which I am involved, it also precludes me from attending the Wakes and Celebrations of the lives of a number of Scouting friends and colleagues who have passed away, or who's ashes are scattered or interred on Scouting premises.
While I understand that the Association can, without giving any reason, exclude any individual (or group of individuals) from the property it directly owns, I am at a loss as to how the Association can impose a ban on myself entering property owned by another charity (my understanding is that any group / district etc. which owns property is a separate registered charity who's trustees are responsible for its control and maintenance).
This situation has been ongoing for a number of years, and a less charitable person than myself might conclude that certain staff members of the association prefer to ignore the situation in the hope that it will go away.
To this end, I am requesting the following information:
A copy of the report produced by Michelle Swain (Regional Development Manager) and Byron Chatburn (Regional Commissioner), as a result of their investigations into my complaint regarding the behaviour of The Rev John Simmons or an update as to the current status of the investigation if it is still ongoing.
2) A clear explanation, including details of the associations articles / polices that apply to an individual group / district that permits the Scout Association to impose a ban on an individual from entering the separate charities property.
I will continue to refrain from entering Scout Association property and property of Scout Groups / districts etc., for the next 30 days while I await your response, but will conclude at the end of that time that if I have not received a satisfactory explanation from yourselves regarding the ban, that there are no such rules, and that the ban, as well as being unenforceable (except by my own honour) was actually invalid in the first place.
After telephoning The Scout Association asking for a response, I was originally informed that one had been written and would I like a copy sent by email? I said "yes, please" and after a few days of waiting, I 'phoned again. Eventually I received the following letter:
28 January 2016
Dear Mr Maryniak
I am writing in response to your letter dated 7 October 2015. I apologise for the delay in responding to this.
For information, I am enclosing copies of two letters which have been sent to you previously. The first, from Matthew Hayday is dated 15 June 2009 and clearly explains that you were excluded from Scouting due to your decision to take Northamptonshire Scout County to County Court, and not because of any action taken by the Rev Simmons. This letter also confirms that you may not enter Scout premises. The second letter from Richard Thornton dated 1 July 2009 confirms once again the reason for your exclusion.
It should be noted that in an email from the Rev John Simmons dated 19 July 2007 he writes "I also confirm that I will be writing to Scout HQ to inform them of your non-cooperation to this reasonable request.
I can also confirm that your actions make it necessary for me to seek advice on your continued membership of The Scout Association. It will be my recommendation that it be cancelled. " So, HQ says one thing and Rev John Simmons says another!!
In answer to your points:
1. I am not aware that any investigation took place regarding Rev Simmons. As mentioned above, his actions were not the reason for your exclusion.
My letter dated 5th August 2007 to the Regional Commissioner registered a complaint about the treatment I was receiving from the County Commissioner, which in effect was causing me emotional harm and was not looking after my welfare, the extraordinary meeting of the District Exec was called on 16th August 2007 by the person I was complaining about, and the first response acknowledging my letter, from the Regional Commissioner was dated 22nd August 2007.
So, the Regional Commissioner was aware of my complaint and whilst I am unable to prove it, so was the Acting CC and the Regional Development Manager!
2. The Scout Association is incorporated under a Royal Charter which gives it authority to make Bye-Laws to govern its operational framework and to also make the Policy, Organisation and Rules of the Association (POR) which are applicable to all its Members. As you will be aware, POR provides the rules pertaining to appointments as well as suspensions and cancellations of membership. In your case and in accordance with POR. your membership was cancelled by national headquarters in 2009 and, as a result, your were and remain excluded from participating in any scouting activities. Whilst Scout Units may operate as separate charitable entities in relation to how they are governed, they do not exist in isolation: each delivers scouting under the auspices of the Association and each is bound by the rules of POR. To this end, as you have been excluded from participating in any scouting activities, you are also not permitted to to enter the premises of any scout unit registered with the Association which, to be clear, all deliver scouting under the auspices of the Association and its rules. Please note, if you do enter scout premises you will be trespassing and those in charge will be entitled to call the police to have you removed.
I trust the above is clear and addresses your queries. By way of confirmation, and as previously stated in letters we shall not be entering into any further correspondence on this matter.
This was my response to the letter from Matt Hyde.
22 Feb 2016
Mr M Hyde
The Scout Association
Dear Mr Hyde
Thank you for your letter dated 28 Jan 2016. Unfortunately, it poses more questions than it answers. You say that you are not aware of any investigation regarding Rev. Simmons. This brings into question the reliability and honesty of Michelle Swain (paid employee) and Byron Chatburn, Regional Commissioner, East Midlands of England.
Whilst I have no proof of the meeting with Ms Swain and the acting CC Alistair Cochran in January 2009, you will find on record a letter from me dated 5 August 2007 to Mr Chatburn in which I make a complaint of a vendetta being waged by Rev Simmons together with one or more other local members of Northamptonshire Scouting. You should also find on record copies of emails to/from Mick Capon (paid employee – Field Development Officer) where I say that I didn’t want to make the complaint formal, but will do so if Rev Simmons will not speak to me. You will also find a letter from Mr Chatburn dated 30 August 2007 saying that there is no evidence to support my allegation.
So, as you can see, I made my allegation to three different officials of TSA at different times all of which were made before TSA decided to exclude me. As my exclusion of TSA followed my exclusion from Northampton & County Scouts spearheaded by Rev Simmons, he must be the cause of my exclusion. This is an extract from an email written by a former DC: “I have already gone on record as not wanting, or in any way being inclined, to become embroiled in the Reverend Simmons continuous victimisation and harassment of Peter Maryniak. Whilst this position has not in any way changed, it would not be right for me to simply allow him or anyone else to besmirch the reputation of good people like you, Peter and Xxx, have given many years of good service to Scouting, just because it suits his particular agenda.”
As you can see, this whole episode was started by Rev Simmons and whilst the reason given for my exclusion did not refer to Rev Simmons, he was the driving force and no notice has been taken as to the reasons why I was forced into taking such action.
As Mr Chatburn made some preliminary investigations, it follows that there should be some record on file, as there is nothing on file, then two members of your staff have failed in their duty to TSA and to the stakeholders, in this instance, myself.
Mr Chatburn wrote stating that he could not further my complaint as I provided no evidence, but I could have his response reviewed once, in line with TSA’s complaints procedure. I responded, asking direct questions, but eventually received a response from Mr Shelmerdine instructing me not to contact TSA again. So, TSA has not complied with its own complaints policy.
The order of events:
5 August 2007, allegation of a vendetta to Mr Chatburn
16 August 2007, the kangaroo court called by Rev Simmons to exclude me from District Scouting
22 August 2007, an acknowledgement from Mr Chatburn to my letter dated 5 August
30 August 2007 a response from Mr Chatburn.
27 Sept 2007 letter to Mr Chatburn asking questions
27 November 2007 letter from Mr Shelmerdine telling me not to communicate again.
August 2008 my claim to the small claims court filed.
15 June 2009 exclusion from TSA.
As you can see, there is a time gap between my letter and the acknowledgement. I suspect that someone contacted Rev Simmons to tell him of my complaint and that is why he suddenly called an extraordinary district executive meeting solely to discuss my membership. You will also note that whilst I was allowed to have Mr Chatburn’s response reviewed, this was not actioned.
If TSA was convinced that it was correct in its actions, why did it not challenge my claim in court? If it had won, then I would have been liable for TSA’s costs, but no defence was lodged.
Since all this started, further information has been received and I am led to believe that Rev Simmons was required to resign from his position as CC with one of the reasons being the way he did not manage the situation that I found myself in.
I have been given a copy of TSA’s document entitled ”When Adults Disagree” where the opening sentence reads “Winston Churchill once said ‘Jaw, Jaw is better than war, war’” and It is obvious from the lack of response to questions, that the answers would cause embarrassment to TSA and the answers would also prove that I am correct in my allegations of a vendetta and that Messer’s Simmons, Layt, Cochran, Chatburn and Ms Swain are liars, the lies being condoned by TSA as no attempt has been made to rectify incorrect statements made by these people.
Most of the truth about this matter can be found on the internet at this address http://northamptonscouthistory.webspace.virginmedia.com/index.html and I would ask that you pay particular attention to my appeal letter as published.
Due to a change by Virginmedia, my website is now northamptonscouthistory.uk
Thank you for clarifying TSA’s authority regarding premises however you have not clarified how any exclusion is monitored. It appears from your letter, that those in charge of the premises will monitor people present, but how do those people in charge know who is banned and who isn’t? Does TSA publish a list of banned former members? Or are we back to my point that any ban is self-policed? I have been threatened with the police by a previous DC however he found that they have rather more pressing matters than taking any action regarding a civil matter. At least if the police were to be involved, I would receive a fair hearing, which is more than TSA has given me. I also understand that the civil offence of trespass would not be applicable if I were on the premises for a legitimate reason or was invited onto such premises.
It would appear that the way TSA handles complaints is to ignore them and to tell the complainant not to contact TSA again. Totally contrary to the complaints procedure and the expectations of the Charity Commission.
Much time and effort could have been saved by someone in authority from TSA had sat down for a couple of hours with myself to discuss the situation and this could have been put to bed many, many months ago, instead, TSA refuses to answer questions, refuses to communicate, refuses to accept that errors may have been made, refuses to right the wrongs (despite the fact that I have a letter from Derek Twine agreeing with my comments) and will not follow its own policies on complaints.
You may feel that the only way to conclude this matter is to refuse to respond, however I am happy to discuss anything in this and previous letters. With this in mind and taking into account TSA’s complaints procedure, I would be grateful if we could make a mutually agreeable appointment in order to discuss this whole matter. Please advise when would be convenient to you. Failing you being prepared to meet with me and in accordance with the hand-out “When Adults Disagree” and in with the letter received from Mr Chatburn, I now require a complete review of my situation and the way members of TSA have treated me and I wish to take this matter to arbitration.
I enclose £10 cheque and would ask that you pass on my request to your data controller for copies of ALL paperwork/records and anything else TSA holds on me. As you have confirmed that all Scout units come under the auspices of The Scout Association, this request also includes anything held by Northampton District Scouts and Northamptonshire Scout County.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of
THE SCOUT ASSOCIATION