Judging – Providing Feedback

Dear Member Club

SCPF operates a feedback process for judges.

This scheme has been highly successful since its launch in 2016. Providing feedback is optional, but it provides vital information for us as a judging community to know how we’re doing. We recognise that judging is an important part of your club programme and we are keen to ensure that we are improving continually and that competitions are a positive experience for everyone.

What is ‘Feedback’?

Feedback, in this context, is structured information given to another person about their behaviour or performance.

Feedback is often thought of negatively,  i.e. provided only when there is something to complain about. That should not be the case. Thoughtful feedback, given in a positive way, is invaluable in helping everyone to do better, whatever their role or profession.

  • Feedback should be constructive, as we would expect a judge to be about our images.
  • Feedback need not be free from criticism but criticism should be expressed in a positive way.
  • Feedback should be specific, covering what went well and any areas for improvement.
  • Feedback should take into account a judge’s current level of training and experience.
  • Feedback should be written in a way that is respectful and that we would give personally.

People are most likely to take feedback on board for the long term when there is an optimal ratio of 3:1 – three positive, reinforcing comments to one criticism.

By contrast, negative feedback – criticism expressed in a negative way – is always destructive. It is often aimed at the person rather than their behaviour, has nothing good to say  and no positive intent. When negative feedback is given by judges about our photographs, we are understandably upset.

Why is feedback necessary and useful?

Feedback is useful for the SCPF in monitoring how judges are performing in general and in helping us to tune the help we provide to our judges and the training we provide. However, it is not the main purpose. Feedback is really of most benefit to the judges themselves, so that they can work to continually improve.

When should feedback be provided?

As a reminder, you don’t have to provide feedback every time, but please do so:

  1. Always when using a Level 1 Judge
  2. When a judge asks you personally for feedback
  3. When a judging is especially good and you feel praise is due
  4. When either we or a judge asks you to support a request for upgrade
  5. When you feel that a judge could be helped by providing constructive feedback

The feedback process should not alter anything about the letter of thanks sent to a judge after the event offering thanks, which should still be a normal courtesy.

What forms are there?

There are two forms and one supporting document, available on the SCPF website :

  1. A Feedback Form – available in Word format (and soon as an electronic form)
  2. A Competency Checklist – to help you to identify those areas where you feel specific praise or criticism is due. It is for your guidance; you do not need to have someone sitting at the back of the room filling in this checklist in full. Neither do you have to return it, though you might wish to.
  3. Definitions – definitions for each of the specific elements on the checklist. We hope this will be useful for judges and clubs alike in helping to understand our expectations.

Completing the Forms

The forms are self-explanatory and include a section for scoring against our competencies and a free comments section.

In the free-comment section of the form, please always recognise where you feel the judge did well, as well as highlighting any areas that could be improved. Please also ensure that your comments reflect the scores you have provided, much as you would expect for your images.

Who can provide feedback?

We will only accept feedback compiled officially on behalf of a club, not from any individual. At least three people should contribute to the process and it must be ‘signed’ by a named committee member.

How do we raise a complaint?

If for any reason your club should feel the need to raise a complaint with us, please follow exactly the same procedure and accompany the feedback form with an official letter from your club stating your reasons.

We are unable to deal with complaints via the email grapevine, and we especially urge all clubs to discourage any adverse criticism of judging on social media.

Where should feedback be sent?

Initially, send your feedback to me at SCPF only – judging(at)southerncountiespf(dot)org(dot)uk until we have been able to monitor and improve the process for a short time.

The information is assumed to be allowed under the Data Protection legislation as it is an essential part of the administration of judges. Judges are entitled to see all such information and so we will ensure that feedback is passed on to them. Ultimately, after a trial period, we will be asking feedback to go to the judges themselves.

Our Judging Levels

Level 1 judges have been trained and are gaining experience in club competitions. All feedback is valuable learning and clubs can play a vital role in helping them to gain confidence. We ask that you provide feedback every time you welcome a Level 1 Judge to your club.

Level 2 judges are accredited by SCPF and have gained experience over at least a year in club level competitions. To be accredited, we would expect a judge to be generally competent, showing higher skill levels appropriate to their experience. Some judges at this level are highly experienced.

Level 3 judges have the highest accreditation from SCPF and have demonstrated over a period of at least five years and / or by assessment that they are confident in dealing with all levels of work in club and inter-club competitions. They are expected to be able to work with the higher standards of regional and national events and to be confident before bigger and more demanding audiences.

In particular, Level 3 judges are expected to be competent in all areas, especially the core qualities. We would also expect them to be able to respond articulately to the expressive qualities in a photograph as well as the craft and technical elements.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you for your help and co-operation.

… Ken Scott ARPS
Judging Advisor