Aims of the consultation

** This consultation has now closed. The results will published by the end of March 2022**

We ran this consultation (from 05/11/21 to 17/01/22) to gather views from UK Bat Care Network members and bat groups on the future of how bat care calls are handled in the UK, based around four broad options (as shared in Spring 2021) of:

  1. Volunteer call handlers covering both out of hours and in office hours, supported by BCT staff.
  2. Regional/bat group helplines take bat care calls instead of the BCT Helpline.
  3. Carers are advised of bat finders in their area and given their contact details via an online system.
  4. Carer contact numbers are made available direct to the bat finders via an online system.

These options relate to the handling of enquiries from bat finders, we envisage the continuation of the BCT Bat Care Network in some form irrespective of the outcome of this consultation.

Last summer we piloted Option 1. We have had a wonderful team of volunteers operating the Volunteer Bat Care Helpline (VBCH), providing a service both out of office hours (as volunteers have done for many years) and also, for the first time this year, having volunteers take bat care related calls in office hours. The VBCH service has continued into the winter (in office hours only), for which we have recruited volunteers once again. We are working on improving shift coverage based on lessons from the first season and feedback from volunteers.

Who could respond to the consultation?

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response to the consultation (we received 73 submissions in total).

We invited members of the UK Bat Care Network (bat carers, ambulance drivers, bat hospitals, and existing local helplines) to submit individual responses, and received 49 submissions from Network members. We invited bat groups to each submit a response (collating views form their membership as appropriate), and received 24 submissions from bat groups.

Zoom meetings (inc. Q&A)

We held two online sessions for Bat Care Network members and bat groups to ask questions about the consultation (on Monday 15th November and Tuesday 14th December). Thank you to everyone who took part.

Both sessions started with an introduction to the consultations and then went through any questions that had been received in advance, before opening up to questions from participants. The questions and answers from these sessions (and some sent via email) were written-up. The document is organised by the options presented in the consultation. This isn’t a verbatim record of the discussions but covers the questions asked, although for the sake of brevity in the notes they have been paraphrased as have the responses (and links added where appropriate).

Timeline and reporting

This consultation was launched on Friday 5th November 2021 and closed at 9am on Monday 17th January 2022 (following a week's extension from 10th January).

We will analyse responses and produce a report, proposing the way forward, by the end of March 2022. BCT is committed to implementing a solution that is both financially viable and acceptable to the Bat Care Network.

Depending on the results of the consultation, it is possible we will continue with our current set-up, or possibly a hybrid approach, into summer 2022, while plans are put into place for the launch of a new approach long-term. An outline timeline will be communicated in the report in March.

We will share the report and recommendations with all the bat carers on our network and with bat group contacts when it is available.

Contact point

If you do have any questions about the consultation please email them to hlmanager@bats.org.uk.