DMQ Approved Witness Newsletter October 2018

This newsletter contains important information which should be carefully read. It also details notice of significant planned changes which you are being made aware of in advance. Additionally, there is further information regarding General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which you are required to respond to. Your individual response is necessary to safeguard us all in respect of the use of Approved Witnesses (AW’s) and potential GDPR repercussions.

Changes in the Management of Approved Witnesses

Historically, AW’s working as volunteers on behalf of DMQ, have been sponsored and managed on a day to day basis by a sponsoring DMQ Assessment Centre. Given that overall management has in the past fallen to DMQ, it has been agreed by all Assessment Centres and the DMQ Board of Directors that as from 1 November 2018, Assessment Centres will cease all sponsorship and management of AW’s. This function will instead be taken on by DMQ. From this date, all new AW applications will be considered by DMQ directly who will also handle any calls for help or advice.

Previously, many of you will have had contact or communication from Mandy Short who in turn may have answered individual AW queries or channelled them to an appropriate person. From 1 November your point of contact will become the DMQ Working Group. In the event of you requiring assistance, initially all communication in respect of your witnessing role or change of personal details should be by email using deermanagementqualifications@gmail.com If you wish to discuss anything by telephone, please ensure you leave a contact telephone number in your email and you will be contacted as soon as possible.

Annual Subscription to Continue Acting as a DMQ Approved Witness

Applying the resources to manage AW’s which includes the processing of new witness applications, the maintenance and updating of the AW list and the production of newsletters to name but a few of DMQ functions is costly. DMQ does not intend to profit from any AW management but must try to cover its administration cost. The results from the AW survey undertaken in September 2017, revealed that 89% of AW’s either make a charge to a candidate for their witnessing services or would consider doing so. The DMQ Board of Directors have agreed that at some time during 2019, a small representative annual registration fee will be levied on all AW’s wishing to act as witnesses for DSC2 candidates.

The fee which has yet to be determined will be kept as low as possible and will only represent recovery of DMQ’s AW administration and management costs.

When the annual registration fee is implemented, there will also be an initial AW application fee introduced. This fee will be charged to people applying to become an AW and will be a ‘one off’ payment albeit at a higher rate than the annual registration fee.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The May 2018 AW Newsletter introduced GDPR making you aware of how DMQ uses the data you supply to us. DMQ has a responsibility to ensure everybody’s data is protected and includes candidate’s data which is held by AW’s.

Attached with this Newsletter is an overview of what DMQ requires in respect of data security held by AW’s. In short;

  • Any data concerning a Candidate, Assessor, Verifier, Approved Witness or other person involved in DMQ must be held securely and not made available to be seen by any person other than the AW or persons within DMQ with a need to access or view such data.
  • Data includes; names, addresses, email or phone contact details and anything similar that can be directly attributable to an individual.
  • Additionally, data such as completed individual cull records and DMQ Assessor lists also fall with the scope of GDPR. Assessor contact lists will no longer be sent out to AW’s therefore it is important you obtain the name and email contact of a candidates Assessor from the candidate.
  • Any data as described above or otherwise, should be maintained only for as long as necessary after which it should be securely disposed of.

DMQ is required to demonstrate it has taken certain measures to inform and advise. On the second page of the attached DMQ GDPR guidance, there is provision for you to sign and date that you have read and understood the DMQ guidance and that you will comply with it. You may download the guidance document, type in your AW number, name, date and signature then save on your PC before emailing as an attachment back to the email address given on the form.

Alternatively, you can email the address given, stating your name, AW number and writing that you have read and understood the DMQ GDPR guidance and will comply with its requirements whilst acting in the role of a DMQ AW.

Returns will be monitored and if necessary reminders will be sent out. You should attend to this matter immediately as DMQ’s time span to complete is short.

You must submit your DMQ GDPR compliance commitment within 28 days of this notification but would urge you to respond by return if possible.

Please be aware these are not draconian measures undertaken by DMQ, they are Government legislative issues which DMQ is obligated to comply with.

Thermal Imaging Devices

There appears to have been some misunderstanding of the statements made in the last Newsletter concerning the use of thermal imaging devices. Various social media sites and individuals are stating that DMQ have banned or outlawed the use of such devices.

For clarity, other than devices attached to a rifle which DMQ does not allow because of the safety implications, hand held devices may be used to locate shot (presumed dead) or wounded deer.

If they are used to locate live deer as detailed in PC 1.5, then the candidate must demonstrate to the witness that they are also capable of completing the requirements of PC 1.5 without the use of a thermal imaging device.

Thank you all again for your continued help and support in your witnessing roles.

John Thornley OBE – Chairman of DMQ

Thermal Imaging Devices

DMQ recognises the advantages that hand-held thermal imaging devices can bring, both in terms of increasing the capability to detect deer as well as acting as an aid to safety by enhancing situational awareness in some situations.

However for the purposes of the DSC2 witnessed stalks it is currently our view that in order to best assess the field craft and stalking skills of individual candidates the following should apply;

  • For the purposes of DSC qualification, rifle mounted devices are not permitted and may not be used to complete any part of DSC 2 evidence gathering.
  • Independent hand held devices may be used to recover shot (presumed dead) or wounded deer, but may not be used to locate live deer as required under PC 1.5.

Where hand held devices are used to locate shot deer witnesses should satisfy themselves that the candidate has the knowledge to be able to locate deer if such a device was defective or not available.

It is not considered that these requirements will affect the majority of candidate’s evidence gathering. However, we do ask everybody to be diligent in observing the DMQ requirements.

DMQ Approved Witness Newsletter May 2018

Firstly, thank you all for your continued support of the DMQ awards acting as you have in your role of approved witnessing. This is an important and vital part in the structure of our system and your ongoing commitment is very much appreciated. There have been a number of changes and updates to the way we operate in recent months and I would ask you to particularly note the following:

Changes in the completion of the electronic Individual Cull Record (ICR)

A slightly modified version of the ICR has now been introduced, a copy of which is attached with this newsletter. Please save this for future use. This updated version is also available from the download section of the DMQ website www.dmq.org.uk In content, the new version remains unaltered other than the first page which you will observe now requires you to enter the time when a deer was shot. This change is to assist Assessors when reviewing candidate’s evidence to gain a better insight of events particularly when more than one ICR has been witnessed on the same day. Please be attentive to complete this new requirement.

Thermal imaging devices

Please note the following requirements:

  • For the purposes of DSC qualification, rifle mounted devices are not permitted and may not be used to complete any part of DSC 2 evidence gathering.
  • Independent hand held devices may be used to recover shot (presumed dead) or wounded deer, but may not be used to locate live deer as required under PC 1.5.

Where hand held devices are used to locate shot deer witnesses should satisfy themselves that the candidate has the knowledge to be able to locate deer if such a device was defective or not available.

It is not considered that these requirements will affect the majority of candidate’s evidence gathering. However, we do ask everybody to be diligent in observing the DMQ requirements.

Completion of an individual cull record

Frequently occurring are instances under PC 3.5 (Take appropriate action when carcass abnormality is identified, according to legal requirements) when no abnormality is identified and the ‘Yes’ box is ticked and ‘none found’ (or similar) is entered. If no abnormalities are found please tick the ‘No’ box and sign and date as you have done so previously. The Assessor will then cover this aspect by candidate questioning at the appropriate time.

There have been many cases under PC 4.2 (Transport carcass in a hygienic manner to maintain its quality) where the witness has driven their own vehicle to remove a carcass from the field to its destination. In this circumstance, it is the witness who has completed the PC rather than the candidate. Whilst such practice does not impinge on the evidence requirement, if anyone other than the candidate drives the extraction vehicle, please tick the ‘No’ box and sign and date as you have done so previously. The Assessor will again cover this aspect by candidate questioning at the appropriate time.

Issues with completing an editable PDF individual cull record

There have been several instances of witnesses struggling to complete and save the editable PDF cull record. In all cases this has related to the version (or lack of) Adobe Reader installed on a user’s computer. Download a compatible version from: https://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/. Guidance to overcome this has been sent to all witnesses but in the event of this having not been received, it is once again attached.

Approved witness list

Periodically, the Approved Witness List is updated to provide DSC 2 candidates with accurate witness information and to facilitate the addition of new witnesses. If your contact email, phone or address details change at any time, please inform DMQ to ensure any current list is up to date and accurate.

DMQ Assessor contact information

When first engaging with a candidate, they are required to provide witnesses with contact details for their Assessor so that completed ICR’s can be emailed direct to the Assessor. Attached is the most up to date list of all Assessment Centre Assessors to assist you should a candidate neglect to provide it.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Changes to data privacy law comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and has an impact on DMQ and the personal data we hold and how we use it. As an Approved Witness, you have previously agreed to have your name and contact details published on a list which DMQ provides for DSC2 candidates. If you no longer wish to have your personal information included on any list or you no longer wish to receive DMQ newsletters and correspondence, please email or write to DMQ informing us by 10 June 2018.

Please be aware that:

DMQ does use data to enable our customer service which includes tailoring the information we share
DMQ does respect your privacy and works hard to maintain it
X DMQ does not sell your personal data to third parties

Thank you all again for your continued help and support in your witnessing roles.

John Thornley OBE – Chairman of DMQ

Best Practice

Deer Initiative is now in an editorial role for both the Eng/Wales and Scottish Best Practice projects.  Ireland are adapting BP for their use also.

BP events are being held regularly across the country, keep an eye out for them on the Deer Initiative website www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk/best_practice/

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), also known as Cervid Wasting Disease, is a highly infectious, fatal disease which has devastated some populations of wild and farmed deer in North America.

CWD has very recently been diagnosed in four separate cases in Scandinavia, in a wild reindeer and also in moose. The risk of CWD entering the UK is therefore likely to have increased now the disease is present in Europe.

CWD is caused by a prion, a mutant folded protein, and belongs to the same group of diseases as scrapie, which affects sheep and goats, and “mad cow disease” (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “BSE”). This group of diseases are known collectively as “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies” or ”TSE’s” ,CWD is the most infectious of these, the name suggests a body sickness but it is actually degeneration of the brain and central nervous system which is the main symptom.

A Working Group has been established to formulate a Government and industry response, building on the work of the BDS over the last few years. The following information leaflet regarding CWD has been produced by the Working Group.
For details on how to spot chronic wasting disease (CWD), what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread please follow the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/chronic-wasting-disease