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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - We are in the process of returning to face to face activities and currently in the Amber Readiness Level. For the latest updates, please check out our dedicated page by clicking here.

Leading and managing

Take the lead, work effectively with others

Our volunteers should be having just as much fun as the kids – but it’s only possible with the right kind of support. We’ve collated some useful resources for our Managers that will help them carry out their role.

Activity Approval

POR (rule 9.1b)

“The District Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities for Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. This will usually be by means of an informal system agreed between the District Commissioner and each Group Scout Leader or District Explorer Scout Commissioner”.

POR (rule 9.1c)

“For Scout Network the relevant Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities for Scout Network Members at that level, i.e. a District Commissioner for District Scout Network Activities and the County Commissioner for County Scout Network Activities. This will usually be by means of an informal system agreed between the District Scout Network Commissioner, Assistant County Commissioner Scout Network or County Commissioner.

POR (rule 9.1d)

“The relevant District or County Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities for groups of adults (i.e. where each individual is aged 18 and over). This will usually be by means of an informal system agreed between the relevant Commissioner and the County Scout Network Commissioner (in respect of Scout Network), Scout Active Support Manager (in respect of Scout Active Support) or other person recognised by the relevant Commissioner.

Authorising Activities in Mersey Weaver

This documents the delegated responsibilities for authorising activities under POR Rule 9.1 in Mersey Weaver.

  1. Group Scout Leaders are responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Beaver, Cub and Scout sections in their Group (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). Group Scouts Leaders* will need to see and consider every section’s programme and section leaders have a responsibility to ensure Online Scout Manager is kept up to date in good time with sufficient detail including risk assessments.
  2. The District Explorer Scout Commissioner is responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Explorer Scout Units in the District (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). The District Explorer Scout Commissioner* will need to see and consider every Unit’s programme and section leaders have a responsibility to ensure Online Scout Manager is kept up to date in good time with sufficient detail including risk assessments.
  3. The District Scout Network Commissioner is responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Scout Network in the District (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). The District Scout Network Commissioner* will need to see and consider the Unit’s programme.
  4. The relevant Scout Active Support Manager or Activity Centre Manager is responsible for approving all activities for groups of adults (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). The relevant Scout Active Support Manager or Activity Centre Manager will need to be aware of all activity taking place especially in regards to lone working.
  5. If, in any instance, a Group Scout Leader, the District Explorer Scout Commissioner, the District Scout Network Commissioner, an Active Support Manager or an Activity Centre Manager is unsure whether to authorise a particular activity, they must discuss it with the District Commissioner or their delegate.
  6. In any of the following circumstances an Adventurous Activity Notification must be submitted via https://mwscouts.org/aan to ensure all the the information provided on the form complies with the requirements for that particular activity. Once notified, the District Commissioner will seek appropriate advice on suitability ahead of approving the activity to take place.
    • In the opinion of the GSL/DESC/DSNC/ASU Manager, the activity presents a greater risk to participants than ‘general’ Scout activities.
    • The activity is provided by an ‘External’ or commercial source (see POR 9.9, FS120086).
    • The activity requires a leader with an activity permit (incl. activities in “Specialist Terrain” under POR 9.31, FS120084).
    • The activity requires additional third party insurance (Factsheet FS120084) e.g. Motorsports.
    • The activity requires a notification to HQ e.g. Air Activities, GoKarting, Trampolining (FS120084).
    • The activity is a High ropes activity (see POR 9.78, FS120423).
    • The activity takes place on or near bodies of water (including class C FS120623 and swimming pools FS120620).
    • The activity involves a public performance e.g. Gangshow (see POR 9.22)
  7. All Nights Away Notifications for Nights Away activities (including events involving adults only) will be approved directly by the District Commissioner (or their Deputy) and must be submitted via https://mwscouts.org/nan to ensure all the information provided on the form complies to the requirements for Nights Away.
  8. Visits Abroad will be approved by the District Commissioner directly in conjunction with the ACC(I).

Approval of activities will be discussed at District Team/GSL/ASU meetings to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the process outlined above and applying consistency, also providing an opportunity for the system to be reviewed and amended as appropriate. 

Please consult https://scouts.org.uk/a-z/ and https://scouts.org.uk/por/9-activities/ for advice and rules on delivering activities.

*In the absence of either a GSL/DESC/DSNC/ASU Manager/Activity Centre Manager they are replaced by the District Commissioner or Deputy District Commissioner

N.B. In order to be able to submit an AAN or NAN form and verify who it was sent from you will need to be able to authenticate using your Office365 account. If you do not have access to your account please contact the Technology ASU.

Appointments Panel

The Appointments Panel, is a small group of people who meet with new volunteers to make sure they are suitable for their role. It’s a very friendly, informal chat, but they’ll ensure the new leader understands the responsibilities of the role as well as provide some pointers and guidance on what help is available.


During suspension of face to face scouting

To continue to welcome and support our adult volunteers in Scouting we have been running online versions of the Appointments Panel.

The appointments committee have been able to meet much more flexibly and frequently and invites have been sent on a fortnightly basis. Much of the backlog has been cleared and meetings will be run as they are required.

We have offered a mixture of daytime and evening sessions to cater for people no matter their current circumstances. We recognise a lot of families may be using their evenings to catch up with family who are self isolating or working difficult shifts.

The appointments panel chat will be with three members of the advisory committee and will take place using our Microsoft Teams video conferencing system. Each chat will last 20mins. Attendees will be sent invitations to participate in the online meeting directly.

To participate in the appointments panel attendees must have a working video camera and microphone on their phone or laptop. Please connect to the meeting a minute or so before the assigned time. When you first join you will enter a virtual “waiting room” and then brought into the meeting when the panel are ready.

Appointments process

When Scouting is at its most successful, it is often because of the skill, commitment and ability of the adults involved.

That is why the appointment of adults into appropriate roles is one of the most important responsibilities in Scouting. To help us do this we have a simple appointments process which is made up of three stages, these are:

Stage 1:  Application

During the application stage new volunteers will have a discussion with their lead volunteer, eg: Section Leader, Group Scout Leader (GSL) or District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) as to what tasks/ role they would like to do, what skills they would like to use, and how much time they are able to commit.

The Manager will talk them through the training for the role they have agreed and how the appointments process works. They should also receive information on Safeguarding and a copy of the Yellow Card.

Once they have completed an Adult information form and a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), their details should be put onto our volunteer database (Compass) and move to the next stage.

Stage 2:  Approval

Route A: for all roles (except Executive Committee members, Administrators & Scout Active Support members).

Once a cleared DBS check and references have been received we will invite the new volunteer to a short meeting with our Appointments Advisory Committee. The purpose of this is for the panel members to ensure that all adults applying for a role in Scouting are suitable for the appointment and understand the role/ tasks and training for which they are agreeing. What will happen at the meeting?  Firstly, it’s nothing to worry about!  The meeting will be with three experienced volunteer members of Scouting from the area and will last around 30 minutes.  They will ask the volunteer questions to find out if they are aware of the values and policies of The Scout Association and that they understand the requirements of the role to which they have agreed. The committee make a recommendation on their appointment to the District Commissioner. As soon as possible thereafter, they will receive notification of the decision.

Route B: for Executive Committee members, Administrators and Scout Active Support members

For Executive Committee members:  
Your Scout Council (normally at the Annual General Meeting), will approve their election or nomination.

For co-opted members of Executive Committees or Administrators: Your Executive committee will approve their appointment.

For members of Scout Active Support:
The relevant Scout Active Support Manager will approve their appointment.

A list of the adult roles that do or do not need to attend a meeting with the appropriate Appointments Advisory Committee can be found in the appointments process section of the current edition of The Policy, Organisation and Rules (PO&R) of The Scout Association. This can be found at: www.scouts.org.uk/por

Stage 3:  Appointment

Once the role has been approved (using route A or B), they will then move to the appointment stage of the process.  At this point, their induction will start, they will meet your induction mentor, complete their Getting Started induction training and learn more about training opportunities and ongoing learning. At the end of this stage (within 5 months) they should have completed the process and be ready to fully take on their role with support and guidance from your Group/Unit.

Assessing risk

POR (rule 9.14a)

Leaders must carry out risk assessments before and during every activity.

Risk Assessments are essential for every activity whether that be doing crafts in the HQ or parascending at a local airfield. Despite what most people might think, risk assessments are not about creating huge amounts of paperwork but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your activities. They are in fact a great enabler for participating in adventurous activities, they allow you to rationalise and explain how something that, at face value might sound quite risky or unsafe, is a perfectly acceptable activity. On the flip side they also help us not to overlook things for what may sound like a low risk activity. Of course they also force us to consider how we keep all adults and young people safe which should always be our number one priority.

Activities encourage the development of young people and they can experience a great sense of achievement in completing them. Some degree of risk is unavoidable but it is – and should be – much less than the participant perceives. 

In Scouts we seek to provide: Excitement but not DangerAdventure but not Hazard.

Everything we do involves an element of risk, so we need to put a plan in place.  Accordingly we need to assess and control the risks associated with activities in order to minimise the chance of injury. It is also key that once completed, risk assessments are shared with all involved.

It is good practice that all risk assessments and stored in an accessible location such as OSM or on Sharepoint.

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It is the responsibility of the manager (GSL/DESC/ASU Manager) and the appropriate executive committee to ensure that risk assessments are taking place and that they are effective. For some activities and as well as nights away experiences you will be required to submit a risk assessment to the DC or their delegate prior to the event taking place as an objective and independent second pair of eyes to make sure nothing has been missed.

Awards & Recognition

We want to thank all our volunteers for their contribution to Scouts – we know how important it is to recognise their brilliant achievement.

Census

Learn more about Census and how to complete it. Access FAQs, downloads and more.

Compliance Assistant

To assist Managers and exec committees with identifying risk and ensuring adults complete both the appointments process and mandatory training within the required time frame (five months) the compliance assistant can be used to generate a report which can be shared at the executive committee.

To use the compliance assistant you will need a desktop copy of Excel.

1. Download the Appointments Report in Compass

  • Click over the blue symbol with the green arrow then click ‘CSV’ then follow the instructions being mindful of GDPR and where you should store the file

2. Download the Compliance Assistant

  • Go to scouts.org.uk/compliance-assistant
    – Do this each time as it constantly updates, don’t keep a local copy on your PC.
  • Double-click the file named Compliance Assistant….
  • Click Download from the top right after reading the instructions in the green box
  • Open the downloaded file and complete the instructions about enabling the macros and possibly Edit depending on your Excel version.

3. Run the Compliance Assistant

  • Click the Start button
  • Follow the instructions to select the file you downloaded in the first step
  • Wait a few seconds or a little more depending on your PC and a new Excel file will be created and opened for you
    – Tip: Save this new file straight away to save generating it again, being mindful of GDPR and where you should store the file.

4. View the Compliance Assistant Report

  • The first sheet gives you an explanation
  • The second sheet “Summary” gives you the stats
  • The third sheet “Appointments” gives info on each role held in your area.
    • Each beige line has something of note
    • Pink/Red are overdues
    • Orange will shortly become overdues
    • Each column has filters – click the little down arrow and you can control what is displayed. For example, in the ‘Safety Training completed date’ column, you can Filter by colour and select Pink/Red then you only see overdues.
  • The report is only as good as the data entered into Compass. Liaise with your LTM to add information and correct errors.

Disclosures

Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK Government are aware that organisations are having difficulty following the DBS ID checking guidance.

Processing disclosure applications and re-checks 

On the 6 July 2020 the Scout Association restarted disclosure checking with the following temporary guidance in place.

There will be limited period of 90 days from that date for volunteers without a valid disclosure to obtain one. We will keep this period under review based on processing volumes both for the respective disclosure bodies, who anticipate a peak in demand immediately following the Coronavirus situation, and the Safeguarding team’s ability to process disclosures returned with information. Please note we will be increasing capacity in the Safeguarding team to meet the anticipated demand.

It goes without saying that keeping young people safe is our number one priority and volunteers whose disclosure has expired should make every effort to start the process to obtain a valid disclosure as speedily as possible to avoid suspension.

Support for you 

If you have any questions relating to disclosures, please let us know at vetting@scouts.org.uk or by emailing the Scout Information Centre at info.centre@scouts.org.uk. We can then provide clarity and co-ordinate enquiries with the disclosure bodies if needed. Whilst we will aim to respond to questions as speedily as possible, please note that due to the planned furloughing of a number of staff it may take a little longer to get a response.

Driving a minibus

To drive a minibus in Mersey Weaver, volunteers are required to complete MiDAS training or passed a separate (not inherited) D1 Driving Test within the last five years.

MiDAS

MiDAS is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme, organised by the Community Transport Association and used by many Councils, schools and other youth organisations.

The course is inexpensive and provides participants with the legal information and practical experience needed to drive a Minibus confidently. There is both a theory and a practical element. It allows parents to be assured that their children are in safe hands when being driven in a vehicle.

We ask that leaders complete the training to ensure the safety of young people and to give everybody the opportunity to gain experience driving a vehicle of this size with a qualified instructor.

The training takes up as little as three hours of your time.

The Theory

The safety training can be delivered on a group or individual basis and covers a number of areas:

  • Legal Responsibilities of a Minibus Driver
  • Passenger Safety
  • Child Passenger Safety
  • Driving for Safety and Economy
  • Manual Handling Awareness
  • Health & Safety Awareness
  • Accident & Emergency Procedures
  • Personal Safety for Drivers

The Driving Assessment

This is a 90 minute on-the-road driving assessment to ascertain practical driving skills. The Trainer/Assessor will identify issues that need to be addressed and encourage the delegate to improve their driving skills.
It includes:

  • A demonstration drive to show the standard required
  • The opportunity to familiarise yourself with the vehicle
  • An assessment of your driving skill and competence

If you hold a District appointment i.e. you are an Explorer Leader, ASU Member, DC/ADC we will pay for you to participate in the course. If you hold an appointment in a Group, speak with your GSL about funding the training.

District Minibuses

We are extremely fortunate to have two Minibuses which are available to use for Scouting by our local groups and enable more adventurous activities and nights away experiences

Emergencies and reporting

What to do in an Emergency

It is important to know what to do in an emergency and for all involved in an activity to be on the same page with what is going to happen. It is also important to have clear processes for reporting of incidents, both locally, nationally and where appropriate to other agencies.

  1. Deal with the immediate situation and alert the appropriate emergency services, if required.
  2. Alert the District Commissioner or their designate via the Mersey Weaver Emergency Line:
    +44 1928 352122‬.
    (Whoever is available first will pick up. If no one is available please leave a voicemail with your name, number and the nature of the incident and someone will get back to you ASAP).
  3. Alert the emergency contact of those individuals involved.
  4. If you are abroad, alert any agencies required by the insurers.
  5. For incidents involving air activities or water activities in coastal or deepsea waters notify the appropriate government agency.
  6. Inform UK Headquarters at the earliest opportunity if:
    • someone suffers a personal injury or illness requiring a doctor, nurse,paramedic, dentist or hospital.
    • someone requires an emergency service rescue.
    • third party property is damaged.

In the event of a critical incident (one involving loss of life, near loss of life or collapse of a structure):

  1. Deal with the immediate situation and alert the appropriate emergency services, if required.
  2. Alert UK Headquarters (you will need to provide a basic overview of the incident, who is involved, where the incident occurred and Group information). A Critical Incident Manager will assist you and guide you through the management of the incident.

The contact telephone number for the Duty Media Officer at Headquarters is: 0345 300 1818

After office hours a recorded message detailing the contact telephone number of the Duty Media Officer is available.

The purple card contains essential Information to help you plan safe activities and the necessary prompts to aid you in the event of an accident.  You can also get a handy pocket sized card from either the District Store or main Scout Store. In Mersey Weaver, we ship every leader uniform with a yellow, purple, green and white card free of charge.

Reporting an incident

Should the worst happen and an accident or incident occur, this needs to be reported especially where a young person or adult seeks medical assistance (even after the fact) or the emergency services are involved even if they weren’t ultimately required. You have the option of reporting an incident by calling the Info Centre or by completing the online incident reporting form yourself. When reporting an incident you will need to provide the following information:

  • Name of injured person, membership type, Group/Unit, District and County
  • Date of incident
  • Activity being undertaken
  • Nature of the injury and severity (were they kept in hospital overnight)
  • Any external agencies involved
  • Who is reporting the incident and how can they be contacted

Please ensure your Group Scout Leader/District Explorer Scout Commissioner/Manager has been informed and incident logged with the DC team in addition to reporting to HQ.

Near Miss Reporting

As well as reporting incidents where injuries occur it is also important to log and track incidents which could have resulted in significant injury or impact or could have been much worse given a few minor changes to the situation. 

The Scout Association have an online near miss form which allows members to share information about these incidents which can then be learned from to prevent future incidents.

An accident or near miss that takes place at a Mersey Weaver Activity Centre

At Mersey Weaver Scouts, the health and safety of all our customers and volunteers is vitally important. If you experience or witness a Near Miss or Safety incident while using one of our facilities (Clogwyn, District Scout Centre, Mobile Climbing Wall or Queen Charlotte’s) please let us know so we can ensure it can’t happen again.

Local Recording

It is important to make local records of any incidents, this will allow you to pass relevant information to parents following an incident. Recording of incidents needs to be done in a sensitive way and meeting all data protection regulations. The learns from the incident should be shared and discussed at the relevant executive committee and leaders meeting to help prevent it from happening again.

Gift Aid

Scout groups are very fortunate in that they are able to take advantage of the Government’s Gift Aid scheme for both donations and subscriptions.

Given that all the Groups are registered charities, and where your contributing parents/guardians are at least basic rate tax payers (it is recognised that not all are), then for a simple signed statement in OSM from each parent/guardian and a fairly simple on line application, then the Government will donate a further 25% or all their contributions.

In Mersey Weaver we calculate each group would be eligible for approximately £1600 per year on average. This money could be used to support the level of fees for the year or enhance the scouting opportunities for young people.

Group Scout Leader support resources

As well as the resources available on the national websites we are producing useful local resources. A few of them are available here:

  • Link to District welcome pack – draft – work in progress
  • Slides used at October 2019 round table Read More>
  • Notes and resources mentioned at October 2019 round table Read More >
  • AGM Checklist Read More >
  • Updating Charity Commission register Read More >

Growth & Retention

Get more people involved with scouts

How is Scouts managed locally?

Each Scout Group consists of different ‘sections’ – which may include a

  • Beaver Colony (for 6-8 year olds),
  • Cub Pack (for 8-10 ½ year olds),
  • Scout Troop (for 10 ½-14 year olds),
  • Explorer Unit  (for 14-18 year olds) and
  • Scout Network (for 18-25 year olds).

Group Scout Leader (GSL), is responsible for overseeing and supporting volunteers in each section and manages the Scout Group.

In Explorer Scout Units, a District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) takes on this role.

Both Group Scout Leaders and District Explorer Scout Commissioners are responsible to a District Commissioner (DC). Where a group does not have a GSL, Leaders report directly to the DC.

The DC is the volunteer manager responsible for a wider geographical area. The DC in Mersey Weaver is Oliver Chambers

If you’d like to contact your GSL, DESC or DC then ask your local leader for their contact details or speak to the National Scout Information Centre on 0345 300 1818. Alternatively, contact us:

Insurance

All our Leaders, Active Support Members and Executive Officers are covered by a range of comprehensive insurance policies while taking part in Scouting, these are:

  • Public Liability
  • Personal Accident and Medical Expenses
  • Trustee Indemnity

Further details on the cover these policies provide can be found at: www.scoutinsurance.co.uk

Mersey Weaver also takes out some additional insurance for non-members such as supporters and occasional helpers that covers all groups in the district.

Leadership

Whether you’re the peace-keeper, the big-thinker, the motivator or the tea-maker, leadership is all about setting a positive influence for those looking your way.

Management best practices

Our volunteers should be having just as much fun as the kids – but it’s only possible with the right kind of support.

Managing a premises

Many Scout groups are fortunate to have their own premises, but there are some legal responsibilities that come with that. It is the relevant executive committee who is responsible as charity trustees to ensure all buildings comply with all the legal requirements.

This guidance takes you through a selection of common areas requiring safety checks and provides signposting to further guidance.

Microsoft Teams / Office365

Office 365

In Mersey Weaver, we require all volunteers to use a Scouting email address issued by our Technology ASU. Not only does this allow you to maintain a Scout/Life balance and but it also allows us demonstrate to parents that we take all reasonable steps to protect personal identifying information and comply with GDPR. It is important that you have access to this account so you don’t miss any important communication.

Office 365 provides anywhere access to professional email, calendar, HD video conferencing, and more. Designed to help charities do more good, this fantastic suite of tools provides volunteers with access to Office Online and Microsoft’s best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration software. This is provided to all all all leaders and exec members for free!

  • Outlook – email, address book and calendar
  • OneDrive – 1TB of cloud storage to securely store scout documents
  • Sharepoint – group document storage
  • Teams – Instant Messaging, Calls, Video Conferencing and integration with Sharepoint, Planner, Forms and more..
  • Planner – Kanban (think trello style) project management software
  • Forms – securely collect data, surveys, forms
  • Yammer – a private social network just for leaders
  • Power Automate – automate processes and data without code
  • Sway – produce interactive newsletters and presentations

Login to your Scout Office365 Account

All volunteers in Mersey Weaver have an Office365 account. To login use the link below. If you need assistance setting you account up contact our Technology ASU for support.

If you are not sure if you have access, you will either need to reset the password or if you’ve never had access, get in touch with the Technology ASU. Ideally your line manager should have requested an account for you prior to attending an appointments committee. If not you can ask a them or a colleague to request a new account for you.

New to Scouting and don’t have an account?

Your line manager or another leader in the district can request an account for you provided they have access to your profile in Compass. The process is automated, so once your account is approved you will receive setup instructions and a text message with a temporary password.


Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication platform that combines chat, video meetings, file storage and application integration. The service integrates with our Office 365 system and also features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is comparable to services such as Slack, WhatsApp and Zoom and is the evolution from Skype for Business. Teams allows communities, groups, or teams to join online voice or video meetings through a link or invitation. Presenters are also able to host live broadcasts. Every leader and exec member has access to this software for Free.

Every Group, Group Exec and Section in the District has been setup with their very own ‘Team” which can be used to host video conferences as well as instant message about Scouting in the private and secure way.

We have setup channels for cross collaboration across Mersey Weaver for people in the same role so you can share tips, best practice and ask each other for advice or support. There are also some social spaces for leaders to chat with one another. E.g. on the “District All Leaders” Team there is a channel called the “District Café”.

Setting up Teams

Download the App

First you’ll need to download the teams app on your PC, Mac, Android or iOS device. Make sure you login using your district or group email account. Not got access? Then email the Technology ASU for support.

You will then need to login in with your Scout issued Office 365 account. If you don’t have access to it you will either need to reset the password or if you’ve never had access get in touch with the Technology ASU.

Once you are logged in, you will be able to see any upcoming meetings you have been invited to, send direct messages to other leaders in your group (or the rest of the district) and have conversations in Channels that have been setup for you that are relevant to your role.

Help & Support

If you need assistance or help don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Technology ASU who are happy to support you in getting up and running.

Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

Interactive Demo

We’ve also collated some videos that will help introduce Microsoft Teams

Our Values & Key Polices

Part of being a Scout is going on a journey to understand who you are and what you stand for. Everyone is unique, but there are some things all Scouts can agree on. We call these Scout values. They’re at the heart of who we are and what we do. And we think they’re rather important:

Integrity – We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.
Respect – We have self-respect and respect for others.
Care – We support others and take care of the world in which we live.
Belief – We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.
Co-operation – We make a positive difference; we co-operate with others and make friends.

Reasonable Adjustments and the Parent/Carer Framework

All Scout groups have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to support the participation of young people with additional needs. Developing a positive relationship and working in partnership with parents or carers is key to supporting the successful inclusion of young people with additional needs in Scouting.

Where a young person with additional needs or disabilities is joining Scouting we advise an initial meeting with the parent or carer. This will enable you to identify the young person’s individual needs and plan any support needed to enable them to access Scouting. 

Ideally, this conversation would take place face to face. The conversation should involve the leader, parent or carer and, if appropriate, the young person themselves. It may be helpful to involve someone in a local inclusion role or who has particular expertise in this area. Ensure that the meeting feels like a conversation, not an interview; it is just the starting point of an ongoing relationship.

It is important to be positive but realistic, and to establish expectations by helping parents or carers understand our policy and approach within the context of Scouting. There is a FAQ for parents or carers around inclusion at scouts.org.uk/parents . Introducing the parent or carer to the Programme and offering a sense of what a typical section meeting looks like will help them to anticipate the aspects of Scouting that their child may particularly enjoy or find beneficial, and any aspects they may need some additional support with. 

Be honest about your level of knowledge and skills, and explain you are keen to learn from them. Ask about how the young person is supported at home and at school, and discuss any strategies or approaches that could be used in Scouting. Explain to the parent or carer how you plan to store and share information, and ensure that they agree to this. 

Further guidance, along with suggested topics and questions, are available within our parent or carer conversation framework

Prior to the meeting, it may be useful to gain some background knowledge of the type of additional need the young person has. The Additional Needs Directory has lots of introductory information. Remember that each young person will be different, so avoid making any assumptions, and take the lead from the parent or carer in the language they use to describe their child’s additional needs. Look again at the Scout Association’s page if you need more information.


Support with inclusion

In Mersey Weaver, we are extremely fortunate to have the knowledge and expertise of Matt Pilling who is our ADC Inclusion. Matt is also part of the national volunteer team for inclusion. Matt’s responsibility is to ensure that all young people no matter their ability, faith, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background can access Scouting. If you need help, advice or hands-on support please don’t hesitate to contact him and he will do what he can to help or signpost you in the right direction.

Recruiting and appointing

You don’t need to be Bear Grylls. You don’t even need to know how to put up a tent. Our door is open, so here’s how to walk on through.

Red, Amber, Green (RAG) Surveys


Inclusion Survey

The Inclusivity RAG (Red, Amber, Green) Assessment is a new tool to support the delivery of the Skills for Life plan. The Inclusivity RAG is a tool to help you assess the types of people who are joining and taking part in your Scouting provision, and consider how it operates. 

Our Skills for Life plan sets out our shared aspiration to enable even more young people to access the best possible start in life. To do this we need to ensure that Scouting is diverse (reflective of society) and that we operate in a way which is inclusive. 

The tool should be used to start powerful conversations about diversity and inclusion in Scouting. 

Is Scouting inclusive?

Regardless of how welcoming we think Scouting is, if the young people and adult volunteers we attract, retain and promote into leadership positions are all very similar, then there are opportunities to make the Group more inclusive. Scouting acheives amazing things and we want to ensure that even more young people get to experience all that it has to offer. 

This tool will help you work out where your local Scouting is and where things could be improved in the future. The red, amber and green catergories can be used to support the leadership to consider:

  • the types of people who are attracted to Scouting (demographics)
  • how welcoming and supportive the local Scouting culture is (culture)
  • how easy it is for all young people and adult volunteers to thrive in Scouting (processes) 

There are Inclusivity RAG Assessments for:


Community Impact Survey

Scouting provides so many incredible opportunities for young people, we support them to develop ‘skills for life’ through a balanced and exciting programme of social, emotional and physical activities. “Helping other people” has always been an integral part of the Scout method because BP knew that how much engagement our young people have within their local community can have a big and lasting impact on their lives.

Interestingly only 5% of adults think that young people are ‘very likely’ to engage in social action. Despite 68% of young people saying they took part in such activity in the last year. Words often used to describe young people are “Selfish” (29%), “Lazy” (27%) and “Anti – social” (27%) however nothing could be further from the truth…

We are really interested to know and understand how your group/unit has been involved in the community projects in the past 12 months.


Quality Programme Checker

The Quality Programme Checker is a tool designed to help you to review your programme, and make sure that you are delivering quality Scouting to the young people that you support. 

This is a tool that can be used by Section Leaders and their leadership team, as an opportunity to reflect on the programme from the term or year. It uses a Red Amber Green (RAG) system in order to help identify successes and any areas where the programme can be improved.

A quality Programme definition has also been developed. A quality Programme is challenging, relevant and rewarding for every young person. A further breakdown of the quality definition and what this means is below. 

A Quality Programme is Challenging, Relevant and Rewarding for every young person. 

What we mean by Challenging

  • More opportunities for outdoor and adventurous activities in safe environments 
  • Young people gaining confidence by participating in new or less familiar activities and stepping out of their comfort zones 
  • All young people regardless of their abilities, can enjoy and achieve 

What we mean by Relevant 

  • Young people shape the programme based on what they want to learn and explore 
  • Ensuring the needs of every young person are met
  • Responding to what young people are currently inquisitive about and reflecting this in the programme 

What we mean by Rewarding 

  • Developing skills for life, including teamwork and leadership 
  • Supporting young people with their progression through the sections 
  • Young people are excited about Scouting, having fun and increasing in confidence

Reviewing the Programme with your section

There are activities to help you review the Programme with young people in your section. Find out more on the Youth Shaped Programme page here


Review information for managers

Sometimes we all need a bit of a hand to do better. The review process gives us the opportunity to do just that.

A review in Scouting is simply an opportunity to look at what has happened since someone started their role, or since their last review, and to see what further support and guidance they might need. It should not be confused with the performance appraisals that many people have experienced at work.

Formal and informal reviews help ensure adults feel supported as they develop local Scouting. 

A formal review of an appointment must take place at the end of each appointment period (a maximum of five years), or earlier if required by the relevant commissioner. It can also take place at other times if the line manager thinks it is needed.

An informal review is held at least annually, to build on the discussions you have during the year. It is a chance to take stock and plan for the future. 
A review with someone who is doing well is a much easier prospect than one with someone who really isn’t performing as we would like but difficult reviews, if properly carried out, are much more powerful in making Scouting better.

These links in the National Scouts website will help you follow formal review process procedures:

Review guidance 

POR: the appointment process  – the key rules for the review process. The rule regarding the timing of the review is 5(b) and requires a formal review at the end of each period of the appointment (or earlier if required by the relevant commissioner).

Dealing With Difficult Situations – guide to help you develop management skills for the review process.

Dealing with Difficult Reviews
 – some tips on how to tackle difficult reviews

Review process

Appointment Review Form (AR) – this form should be used to record the formal appointment review meetings. Once complete, line managers should send a copy to the appointments secretary for the appointments committee to consider.

Running an AGM

Running an AGM can seem daunting at first but we’ve got your back and put together a few resources to help you navigate both requirements by the charity commission and POR.

Scout Speak (Glossary)

LingoExplanation
Adventurous Activity Notification (AAN)Whenever taking part in activities of an adventurous nature or which takes place outside of the HQ we ask that you notify the District Commissioner using this form.
Assistant District Commissioner (ADC)An Assistant District Commissioner is a key role which has responsibility for ensuring that adult leaders working directly with young people are supported and that a quality programme is being delivered. Each ADC has a specific area of responsibility or expertise.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)An Annual General Meeting, commonly referred to as an AGM, is a formal meeting which is held once a year. It is an opportunity to review the year and deal with issues such as the election of committee/board members and review the annual accounts. Although it is a formal meeting, it can also be a good opportunity to communicate with members, parents and host a social event.
Appointments ProcessThe purpose of the appointment process is to ensure that all adults that the Movement accepts as volunteers
are appropriate persons to volunteer with The Scout Association.  Namely, that they are appropriate for the roles they are undertaking, that they fully accept the responsibilities of the roles and, where appropriate, the responsibilities of membership of The Scout Association. There are three stages of the process: Application, Approval, Appointment.
Charity CommissionRegulatory body established to support charities in England.
CompassNational Scout Adult membership system.
ComplianceCompliance is a measure of risk and exec Committees should use the reports to monitor leaders.
Disclosure (DBS)Certain roles within Scouting require a Disclosure (or criminal records) check to be completed as part of the Appointments Process.
District Commissioner (DC)Manages and supports the Scout District to ensure it runs effectively and that Scouting within the District develops in accordance with the rules and policies of The Scout Association.
District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) Manages and supports all Explorer units in the District.
Emergency General Meeting (EGM)Similar to an AGM. Very occasionally an EGM may need to be held where approval may need to be sought by the Scout Council.
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulations.
Executive CommitteeAdults who manage the administration of the Scout Group on behalf of the Group Scout Council and act as trustees POR 3.b. See below for POR.

The committee consists of:

Chair
Secretary
Treasurer
Ex-officio members
Nominated members
Elected members
Co-opted members
Scout CouncilAdult members of the Group, parents of Group members and Scout Patrol leaders are part of the Scout Council. The Group’s Exec Committee act on behalf of the Scout Council.
POR 3.a.1
Group Scout Leader (GSL)Person appointed by the District Commissioner to manage the Group.
InTouch processInTouch is the system used to manage communications at all Scout activities and events. It is flexible to allow those organising events to implement a system best suited to their particular circumstances. See HQ factsheet for more information.
Local Training Manager (LTM)The local training manager line manages and supports Training advisers. In Mersey Weaver they also organise the First Aid Training and Getting Started courses. A key part of the LTM is about the development of training and identifying local needs.
Nights Away Notification (NAN)Whenever taking part in Nights Away experience we ask that you notify the District Commissioner using this form.
Online Scout Manager (OSM) Youth membership system used for all manner of things such as youth data, badge management, event bookings, payments, gift aid etc.
Personal Learning Plan (PLP)A Personal Learning Plan specifies the learning and validation required by that person for their training requirements, including the award of the Wood Badge for those roles to which it applies.
Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR)A set of rules and guidance that define the operation of The Scout Association in the UK.
Red, Amber, Green (RAG) Assessment RAG (Red, Amber, Green) Assessment is a tool that we can use to identify areas of success and opportunity. It is a great starting point for a development plan.
Risk AssessmentIdentifying potential hazards when participating in Scouting, and how likely these are to cause harm. A detailed description appears elsewhere on this page.
Training AdvisorA person assigned to support an adult undertaking the Adult Training Scheme.
Volunteer Journey The 12 steps of a happy volunteer (PDF) (video)
Wood badgeThis is awarded to an adult on completion of their core adult training. They are wooden beads worn on a leather thong around the neck.
Young LeaderThis is an Explorer Scout who works as part of the leadership team in one of the first three sections. Young Leaders belong to an Explorer Scout Unit and have a recognised training structure to help them in their leadership role.

Systems Support

For assistance with District Systems such as Office 365 and Online Scout Manager, please email the Technology ASU

Training Assistant

To assist Managers with the progression of mandatory training, the training assistant will help identify completion of the wood badge or other training required by all roles.

You will need a desktop copy of Excel.

1. Download the Training Report in Compass

  • Click over the blue symbol with the green arrow then click ‘CSV’ then follow the instructions being mindful of GDPR and where you should store the file.

2. Download the Training Assistant

  • Go to scouts.org.uk/compliance-assistant
    – Do this each time as it constantly updates, don’t keep a local copy on your PC
  • Double-click the file named ‘training Assistant….
  • Click Download from the top right after reading the instructions in the green box
  • Open the downloaded file and complete the instructions about enabling the macros and possibly Edit depending on your Excel version.

3. Run the Training Assistant

  • Click the Start button
  • Follow the instructions to select the file you downloaded in the first step
  • Wait a few seconds or a little more depending on your PC and a new Excel file will be created and opened for you
    – Tip: Save this new file straight away to save generating it again, being mindful of GDPR and where you should store the file.

4. View the Training Assistant Report

  • The first sheet gives you an explanation
  • The second sheet “Summary” gives you the stats
  • The third sheet “Appointments” gives info on each role held in your area.
    • Note that it’s for each role so some people could have several entries with relevant info for each of their roles
    • Each beige line has something of note
    • Pink/Red are overdues
    • Orange will shortly become overdues
    • Each column has filters – click the little down arrow and you can control what is displayed. For example, in the ‘Safety Training completed date’ column, you can Filter by colour and select Pink/Red then you only see overdues
  • The report is only as good as the data entered into Compass. Liaise with your LTM to add information and correct errors.

Updating Charity Commission register

As well as Compass, it is important that throughout the year the group keeps their charity registration up to date.

Volunteer Inductions

Induction is the first step on a new adult’s journey to getting involved in Scouting. It is essential to make sure they are supported, welcomed and understand how they will be involved. 

It is essential that new volunteers are given a full and consistent experience. Across Mersey Weaver we are encouraging the use of our Appointments Committee, Assistant District Commissioners, County Training Advisors and dedicated mentors to assist the Group Scout Leader (GSL), District Explorer Scout Commissioner and other Managers with inducting new volunteers. Below are a few useful resources which may help Mentors, GSLs, and others to welcome new adults into their teams. 

Volunteer welcome pack

Please ensure that all new volunteers whether they are a section leader, assistant, exec member or active support member are provided with or have been sent a copy of the Mersey Weaver welcome pack

Recruiting and managing volunteers

You don’t need to be Bear Grylls. You don’t even need to know how to put up a tent. Our door is open, so here’s how to walk on through.

Find out more >

Grants and funds for your local group

Whether you want to take your Scouts on an adventure, or need to do repairs on the Scout hut, there could be funding available to you.

Find out more >

Finances and insurance

This section covers types of insurance available, details on Scout group bank accounts, including VAT, accounting and reporting requirements. As well as Gift Aid FAQs. 

Find out more >

Data protection and record management

Here you will find details on everything you need to know about GDPR and what records you must keep.

Find out more >

Your Scout building

We provide guidance on managing your Scout building, including advice on building insurance, maintenance, safety and sponsorship. 

Find out more >

Training and support

Looking for support in training your volunteers? We outline how you can provided training for all our amazing volunteers.