Thinking about returning to face to face Scouting?

The decision about when to return to face to face Scouting is one that every member, young and old must make themselves, but if you’re ready now or are thinking about it for the months ahead we want to support you getting there.  To make things simpler we wanted to draw as much of that support as possible into one place to help you get your head around it, after all we’ve more than enough going on right now.

The Scout Association has a significant amount of guidance on their website about getting back together safely  Theres a framework we should follow that gives you the key information you need to know and there’s some principles we are following:

  • Comply with social distancing requirements
  • Ensure hygiene levels are maintained, including hand washing, as well as surface and equipment cleaning
  • Safely manage any risk to volunteers, young people and the wider community, including a reduction in group sizes where necessary.
  • Make sure vulnerable young people and adults can be effectively safeguarded, both in relation to COVID-19, as well as other risk factors.
  • Volunteers, parents and young people all clearly understand what adjustments need to be made to ensure everyone’s safety, and have had a chance to inform them.

Where can we meet

It’s important we consider where we can meet safely.  This could be really important if the building you normally meet at isn’t ready for you to come back.  The District are working hard to get our own buildings at Overstone and Fernie Fields open and operational we will do whatever we reasonably can to accommodate any of our groups in one of our building should you’re own not be available

The Programme

We need to plan a safe and enjoyable programme for everyone.  The programme is likely to need to be blended ( a mixture of face to face and virtual ) as its important we support everyone over the coming months.  The programme should also be planned with minimal sharing of equipment, in smaller group sizes, and socially distanced.

You can find ideas for covid safe activities for all sections here

The Risk Assessment 

Getting your risk assessment ready and approved may seem a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be.  In the risk assessment think through all of concerns you, your team, or your parents (the hazards) might have about restarting and then think about what reasonable steps you can take to manage them (the controls) you then need to write them down, this becomes your risk assessment.

The Scout Association have created a video to help you

To help you think through the hazards we’ve created this guide, we use this when reviewing the risk assessments so it’s a good idea to ensure everything is covered off.  You can  download it here

Now you’ve got your risk assessments in your head you need to document them, you should use the template which can be found here

We’ve put all of the Districts approved Risk Assessments in one place so you can take a look at them and find out how other groups have identified and managed their risks

You can access it here and can sort by Group, Section or Environment.  We’ve even a few Risk Assessments for special events on there.

When you are happy with the risk assessment it needs to be approved.  To do this it must be supported by your GSL and Group Executive, they need to know that you plan to return, then it is submitted for approval to the District. This is done through an online process, explained in the approval process for restarting.  And uploaded via a tool called smart sheets, you can do that here

Before you send it for formal approval we’re recommending that sections send it through for an ‘offline’ review – in smart sheets the risk assessment can only be Approved or Rejected so getting it checked over means we can quickly sort out any feedback via email, ensuring its right when submitted.

Groups are not permitted to return to face to face until they have the appropriate risk assessment approval via Smartsheets.

Risks change, and as with any risk assessment you will need to dynamically review (keep reviewing) the situation.  You should also be review things more formally, on a monthly basis, especially as we move through the year, as the weather and circumstances will change.  If existing risks are updated the risk assessment should not require reapproval, this would be things such as changes in the maximum number of people present, changes in arrival procedures and hygiene arrangements. However, .If significant new risks are identified and added to the risk assessment it will need to be submitted for reapproval.  Examples of new risks would include meeting in a different environment, moving to meet indoors. These items will need to be added to the existing risk assessment and then submitted for reapproval.




Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls