That cost buys trust.
ShootCert is now well established and has developed a working model that is trusted both by the Police Firearms Departments and most General Practices alike. This means quicker service for our applicants. The GPs are, on the whole, willing to release your notes to us in a timely fashion and with our certificates, the Firearms Department can process your application that much quicker. Whilst this is hugely advantageous to our applicants, it is inevitable that this hard-earned trust comes at a cost.
The police need to know pertinent medical facts and a matter as serious as someone’s mental health requires an expert review of your entire medical history. Professional and confidential scrutiny takes experience, care and time from a highly qualified medical doctor.
There is no margin for error. If anyone makes a mistake, and there are repercussions because of this, then it will be yet another, possibly final, nail in the coffin for both gun ownership in this country and our sport in general. This will affect everyone.
We have aimed to keep costs down so that our sport is affordable to many but there are now two problem areas that have developed.
Firstly with the changes in legislation that came about in November 2021 we now have to scrutinise your entire medical history (from childhood) and not just the last five or 10 years as was the case previously. This is now for every single application.
Some medical applications are relatively straightforward but others are very complicated with medical notes frequently running to several hundred pages. However, there is no way of telling this before we receive your notes.
Secondly, lack of cooperation from your general practice. Whilst many do engage in this process, there are still those who do not and these are frankly unhelpful and obstructive in allowing legal access to your medical history and cherry pick the law to suit their own agenda.
These can cause unnecessary delays and add considerably to our workload with an increasing amount of our administrative time dealing with these difficult GP practices. Whilst this can reflect poorly on us if your application is delayed we have to operate within the legal guidelines from the ICO and the Home Office and we have become adept at pointing out the misunderstanding of some GP practices.
Having completed an audit relating to our administrative process it is now inevitable that the cost of a ShootCert certificate must increase. That increased cost will be the same for everybody as we continue to take the attitude that we must take the rough with the smooth and not unnecessarily penalise an applicant if their medical history or general practice is not straightforward.
We are mindful that the firearm department fee may also rise quite soon and in our attempt to prevent shooting from becoming an elitist sport we have decided on a simple small increase to £75+VAT with effect from 1 November 2022.