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Thread: Stockton council

  1. #1
    BillW Guest



    I am speaking to stockton council. have some issues raised by the legal department.

    I'll quote the comments here:

    This would seem to be a fairly low risk type activity to me, but best practice would be for P & C to carry out a documented risk assessment to satisfy themselves that this is the case. It seems to me that the best approach to this would be to go through the procedure using one of the Council's Risk Identification and Assessment model forms using 'Geocaching acitivity in Council owned parks and open countryside' as the risk issue.

    I would have thought that from a legal standpoint you'll be looking at potential risks to Stockton under the Occupiers Liability Act and any other relevant legislation and anything that can be done to mitigate such liabilities eg use of disclaimers or the transfer of risks to the Geocaching Association (who presumably have suitable insurance covers) should be explored. Nevertheless, there are likely to be residual responsibilities on the Council to ensure that the areas designated to be used for these activities are fit for purpose bearing in mind the wide age range of participants. Any social, environmental, reputational type issues should also be considered, although I would not expect these to be of any great significance having regard to the type of activity involved.

    These I would see as being the main risk management considerations to be addressed with a view to mitigating the Council's exposure to legal liabilities and other potential adverse outcomes, but as ever, providing this is formally approved activity falling within the scope of the Council's normal business remit, then our usual insurance covers will apply and afford protection subject to the terms and conditions of the policies.

    Risk and Insurance Manager


    I did contact the councils insurance section about the matter and you will see the very useful response from Jim Bell below. I hope this is of some help to you. From Jims view the risk is minimal and as such I cannot see from a legal view point any reason why the group cannot be permitted to use the land as suggested. Bearing in mind jims comments on insurance you will need to make sure they have insurance in place to cover the risks Jim mentions and also if you require I can draft a short agreement ( only one Page I would hope ) which sets out the liability that falls to the organisation and that we as the council will expect to be indemnified by the organisation in the event of any claims.

    You may find the organisation has entered into similar agreements or arrangements with other organisations in the past and if they are prepared to let you have sight of same we may be able to adopt something on similar lines.

    I hope this helps but if you need anything further please do not hesitate to contact me

    Senior Legal Assistant(Litigation)

  2. #2
    nobbynobbs Guest


    i would send them a copy of the agreement that already exists with the hampshire county council as a worling start point.

    the legal risks.... well that's just smoke screen. at the end of the day we have the disclaimer on each cache page and so on. but unless they are going to open up some special land that was no open access for the public anyway i don't see why they would expect us to carry any of the risk.
    they are legally obliged to make sure that their grounds are safe. the only risk that we add is if the cache placer made a cache container that was dangerous in some manner in which case the placer would be the person who would be sued. though just how far the case would go would bea different matter.

    i'm no legal expert but i think if you go back to them with the hants agreement and the comment that you would not be placing the caches anywhere that the public already have full access to or in any way changing the landscape to increase or decrease any risk i can't see what they have to complain about.

    lawyers.... :angry: :wacko:

  3. #3
    keehotee Guest


    if the cache placer made a cache container that was dangerous in some manner
    Is this not covered by the same GC disclaimer?

    The placer would have to deliberately design a dangerous container - and even then the person bringing the suit might have to prove intent, if not negligence.
    Any cache container can be dangerous - 35mm film canisters fit kids mouths - ammo cans have trapped my fingers, no reason why they wouldn't do worse to a child - and we all got told the dangers of plastic bags when we were young.....

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