THE lives of Scouts are being put at risk by the way the organisation is run, according to a coroner.

In a damning 20-point report aimed at preventing future deaths David Pojur, assistant coroner for North Wales East and Central, said the Scout Association’s failure to recognise “the inadequacies of their operational practice” had played a part in the death of 16-year-old Ben Leonard.

The teenager died in August, 2018, when he fell 200 feet on the Great Orme in Llandudno while on a weekend trip with Reddish Explorers’ Group from Stockport. He and two of his friends had become separated from the rest of the group.

The five-day inquest came to an unexpected end on Friday and the jury, which had retired on Thursday, was discharged before being asked to return a conclusion.

The coroner decided on the unusual step after it emerged that the three Scout leaders had been put on restricted duties after the tragedy.

The jury had not been told that fact – it emerged only while he was discussing with legal representatives whether to issue a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths.

Mr Pojur said he was taking the step to discharge the jury “without any enthusiasm” because he needed to preserve the integrity of the inquest and the jury should have been given the full picture.

He told the jury that Jess Kelly, the Scout Association’s safety manager, should have volunteered the information about the action taken against the three leaders, Sean Glaister, Gareth Williams and Mary Carr, while giving evidence.

The coroner said that although no conclusion had been reached - there will now be another full inquest in July - he was still in a position to issue a Regulation 28 report to the Scout Association because of his concerns.

Those concerns were:

The arranging of the trip did not adhere to the Scout Association’s own safety policies

Such policies were not adequately understood at grass roots level

Safety policies existed but are not implemented

There was no written risk assessment

There was no dynamic risk assessment

There was not a full understanding of what a risk assessment was

There was not a full understanding on when to do written and/or dynamic risk assessments

There had been no approval sought for the trip from the District Commissioner, as required

There was an absence of a District Commissioner to oversee the leadership of the group

There was no meaningful discussion among the leaders about the trip to the Orme

The leaders did not have a list of the boys’ phone numbers

There was no route planned for the walk up the Orme

No instruction or briefing was given to the boys

Each of the three leaders wrongly assumed the three boys were with one of the other leaders

There was no effective leadership of the group

The Scout Association had failed to provide the court with full information about action taken over the leaders following the death

The Association created a misleading impression in evidence about the actions taken regarding the leaders

The Scout Association is distant from its membership through its federated branches of 8,000 charities and layers of hierarchy, meaning it cannot know how health and safety is executed at ground level

The health and safety training intervals for leaders is said to be every three years with no way of assessing their competencies

The lives of young people are being out at risk by the Scout Association’s failure to recognise the inadequacies of their operational practice and the part this played in the death of Ben.

Ben’s mother Jackie Leonard, of Thornley Road North, Stockport, wept as the coroner read the action he intended to take.