The RSPBA Adjudicators Panel

The RSPBA Adjudicators panel held their AGM last November, where Convener John Wilson completed his tenure in office to a well-attended meeting online and in person by 51 RSPBA member adjudicators and officials.

Fellow adjudicators unanimously thanked John for his sterling work and input in leading the business of the panel. John is a long serving member of the adjudicator’s panel and will continue adjudicating in 2024, under the old and new, line up on the Adjudicators Panel Management Board (APMB).

The new convener Robert Mathieson stated, “I would like to thank all the panel members for the work carried out in 2023 and look forward to serving the panel on this newly extended membership line up of 10 APMB members.”

The following APMB posts were filled as listed below.

  • Robert Mathieson – APMB Convener
  • Peter Snaddon – Vice Convener
  • John Reville / Paul Brown – Secretary/shared post pro tem.
  • Ross Walker – Piping Representative
  • Jennifer Hutcheon – Ensemble Representative
  • Paul Turner – Drumming Representative
  • John Noble – Drum Majors’ Representative
  • Maurice Rhodes – Adjudication Training Coordinator (NEW post 2023)


The APMB will be embarking on a panel membership expansion program with a firm optimistic view to future growth in pipe band competitions.
The Adjudicators Development Group (ADG) are currently delivering the biggest ever RSPBA Adjudicator Training Course, in March 2024. A total of 28 candidates, 14 attending the piping and drumming course with an additional 14 candidates attending the ensemble course.

The Convener stated “We are fortunate to be hosting this new online training program for some of the very best pipers and drummers worldwide. We have a strong demo graph of candidates some with highly recognized experiential profiles as well as some rising stars of the pipe band world, wishing to serve as attached adjudicators. Hopefully this will be the start of a new era where the adjudication panel can offer a transparent conduit to pipe band education with access to adjudication methods and expectations. Since producing these video modules, firsthand feedback suggests that with a few presentation tweaks, these would be a valuable resource as accessible piping and drumming education modules for pipe bands and affiliated organizations. Hopefully we can explore and develop this theme further.”

Successful applicants of 14 piping and drumming, includes 4 candidates, outside the UK, from affiliated pipe band associations, including Ontario, New Zealand, British Columbia as well as the UK. A further 14 ensemble candidates from within the current membership including 3 outside the UK. A total of 28 pipers and drummers with an experiential profile gained at the highest level, are being offered RSPBA, adjudicator training. As well as the APMB members, Course topic presenters include John Wilson, Stuart Coils, Donald MacPhee and Tom Brown.

To help administer and coordinate this training expansion program, a new appointment of Training Coordinator has been ratified by the membership. This role will focus on the continuous professional development of our panel members and coordinate the courses for our new trainees. The Training Coordinator will facilitate the Adjudicators Development Group (ADG) which is made up of members of the APMB and additional members of the adjudicators panel. The Adjudicators Development Group reports to the APMB, and responsibilities include, training course syllabus, both live and online course presentation, individual mentoring on live adjudication trials, training course feedback and keeping accurate records of individual training performance, continual professional development, as well as a performance monitoring role.

Last year the RSPBA adjudicator panel produced in the region of well over three and a half thousand critique sheets in the 2023 season. A massive administration task for the RSPBA and the adjudicators. Not to mention the mind processing involved to find the suitable wording for each written adjudication critique. Followed by a mandatory first to last written order of merit, compiled in a 10-minute summary period after each event.

As well as 2024 holding the largest adjudicator training course it will be the first RSPBA adjudicator training course offered via an online platform. The online training modules of live commentary and newly completed video presentations from various adjudicators, will be supplemented with live experience adjudication sessions, at minor and major competitions. Look out for these new faces going through their outdoor experience trials this summer, during their training. The Convener stated –“We are looking forward to an injection of new ideas and fresh enthusiasm from these successful candidates joining our ranks.”

Robert Mathieson – On behalf of the APMB.

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