Inaugural Meeting of Contest Controllers' Forum

Published: July 9, 2024

The inaugural meeting of a new Contest Controllers’ Forum took place on Saturday 22nd June, led by AoBBA Vice Chair, Martin Heartfield.


Set up to create a forum for AoBBA to engage with all interested contest organisers and relevant organisations, the forum aims to have open and transparent dialogue regarding all aspects of adjudication and contest organisation. Martin Heartfield outlined the key objectives of the forum to those present:


  • To ensure consistency of approaches and information for bands across all contests.
  • To encourage more participation and retention at contests from bands
  • To further develop the quality of band experience at contests
  • To further develop transparency for the banding movement
  • To provide contest organisers a vehicle to share best practice


The Association of Brass Band Adjudicators successful trainee programme was highlighted as a mechanism from which a range of new initiatives have been incorporated into current practice, including: better reporting skills and comprehensive remarks, interactive workshops, improvements on addressing an audience regarding contest remarks, a comprehensive conflict of interest policy, introduction of a mobile phone policy, and where adjudicators are requested to hand in mobile devices (and associated devices) at the draw.


Other areas of discussion included: open vs closed adjudication, refined marking schemes, continuity within schemes with simpler paperwork, and diversity.


AoBBA Vice Chair, Martin Heartfield, commented: “I was delighted with the response to this new forum, with the meeting providing a great opportunity to share models of good practice and positive feedback about working more closely together moving forward. We all hope that this new partnership will ultimately be to banding’s benefit in the future.”


The next meeting will take place in early 2025 with a biannual meeting structure moving forwards.

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