Already reeling from a raft of criticism over the way it is handling Australian rallying, a new report on CAMS’ much-vaunted National Officiating Program (NOP) delivers yet another body blow to the motorsport body.

The 25 page report prepared independently of CAMS by Lizzy Ferme, widely known in NSW rally and motorsport circles, paints a very black picture of the NOP and the way it is being administered by the national body. Ferme’s survey involved 23 car clubs from almost all states of Australia, and 16 individual CAMS members, representing all aspects of the sport.

Foremost in the list of complaints was the belief that the CAMS NOP, while a necessary part of motorsport and highly regarded internationally, failed to deliver what was required for all levels of the sport. The implementation of the program may have been designed to cater for the highest level of motorsport, the survey found, but forced organizers to adopt a program for low-level events such as club motorkhanas which was tailored for a Grands Prix, causing high levels of frustration to both organizing clubs and volunteer officials.

The list of complaints included a lack of faith in CAMS handling officials’ licence applications either on time or at all (instances of turn-around time ranged from a few weeks to six months and, in one case, five years); the NOP’s reluctance to acknowledge an applicant’s prior experience; and that CAMS requirements and procedures were overkill.

75% of survey respondents indicated that communication between themselves and CAMS was one way, and that there was a lack of consistency in the way rules were applied and administered. Allegations of lost paperwork was a constant thread throughout the survey, and there was trepidation about the new national permit processing scheme and how it would be implemented, although respondents to the survey hoped that it would be more consistent than it is at the moment.

Coming in for particular criticism was the introduction of the Compliance Checker’s role and the additional paperwork required where outside contractors, such as caterers and equipment suppliers, was concerned. One respondent instanced the fact that the Compliance Checker’s report for a club motorkhana was identical to that required for a V8 Supercar meeting.

Many organisers found this paper warfare onerous, with the result being that events were being cancelled rather than directors having to complete a mountain of paperwork. Similarly, there was a constant drain on officials who were walking away from the sport because of having to complete paperwork, sit for classroom instruction and spend time being observed in the field.

The survey found that almost all those clubs and individuals interviewed believed that some form of qualification and recognition was necessary in motorsport, but that the program discouraged, rather than encouraged, people to either obtain an official’s licence or have it updated.

The recent introduction of Gold, Silver and Bronze levels of licensing was little less confusing than the previous system. CAMS has made many changes to the NOP, some of which have proved beneficial, but those surveyed had little faith in the administration of the program.

While the intent of the scheme is unquestioned, the report indicated that there needed to be a major overhaul of the program so that the tide of members walking away from officialling is halted.

Footnote: In a strange twist of fate, Lizzy Ferme’s appointment to the National Officiating committee appeared on the CAMS’ website several days before she became aware of her appointment, however she has still not been advised in writing. Her survey results were forwarded to CAMS’ head office shortly after she found out about her new role!

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