THE compromise deal with the Wickham Hotel and the facilitators of the Gay Community Periodic Survey (GCPS) involving an unstaffed dropbox will no longer be going ahead.

In an update to a story from earlier today, the Star Observer can reveal that the Wickham management’s offer to provide Queensland Positive People (QPP) spaces around the venue to leave unmanned dropboxes for the GCPS has been rejected by survey facilitators.

The UNSW Centre for Social Research for Health’s associate professor and lead GCPS and COUNT investigator Martin Holt confirmed that after discussion with QPP, both parties agreed that the dropbox option was not feasible.

“One of the reasons we do face-to-face recruitment is that it is quicker and more efficient than passive (dropbox) recruitment. Also, with a dropbox we can’t assess the participation rate (who took part out of the eligible people approached),” Holt told the Star Observer earlier.

“That’s important for assessing the acceptability and representativeness of the survey, so for those reasons I’ll be recommending we don’t take up the Wickham’s offer. Hopefully it gives us a basis to discuss their participation next year.”

Holt highlighted the fact that an unstaffed dropbox with surveys could potentially compromise results and data, seeing as there would be no way to screen respondents for eligibility.

“I only found out about the dropbox discussion after the Wickham and QPP discussed the issue. When I found out [about the compromise deal] I spoke to QPP and explained why it wasn’t appropriate —because it violates the normal recruitment protocol,” Holt told the Star Observer.

The Wickham Hotel issued a press release earlier this morning stating that the compromise arrangement had been reached between the hotel and GCPS facilitators.

“The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) has reversed its original position on the COUNT study/GCPS initiative, stating surveys could be conducted via a physical dropbox as opposed to in-person until September 28, one of the suggestions that was offered by the Wickham as a compromise during original discussions,” the statement said.

However, Holt said he never agreed to the dropbox and said the Wickham’s statement was issued too hastily.

“These kind of decisions need to be checked with me [or] the research team first,” he said.

“The hotel may have offered a number of ‘compromises’ but they need to fit in with the research design — otherwise it’s not research, it’s making it up as we go along.”

Both GCPS and COUNT study will be distributed throughout Brisbane at other LGBTI-friendly events and venues, particularly at Brisbane Pride Festival’s Fair Day tomorrow at New Farm Park.

(Main photo: The Wickham Hotel in Brisbane. Photo: David Alexander; Star Observer)

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