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Thank you for Volunteering

Welcome to Mersey Weaver. Here’s some useful information to get you started

Essential information

There is a large amount of help and reference material available for Leaders. Here are a few that a new Leader might like to know.

Activity Approval

Last updated: 23 March 2021

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 e.g. a hike, bike ride or other activity even if it takes place in Terrain 0 or does not necessarily require a permit (see POR 9.28, POR 9.77, FS120426).
    • The activity is provided by an ‘External’ or commercial provider (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.

Adult code of conduct

We don’t want to go on about rules & regulations, we’re all here to have fun after all, but there are a few things we’d like you to remember.

All our volunteers are expected to behave in accordance with our code of conduct which is detailed below. By agreeing to take on a role in Scouting in Mersey Weaver, you agree to abide by the code of conduct and the policies, rules and procedures which are relevant to volunteers as detailed in the current edition of Policy, Organisation & Rules (POR) as well as this agreement.

  1. If you are unable to attend a section meeting or adult meeting please let your section leader or the appropriate chair know in good time and preferably at least 24 hours before.
  2. All adults are required to take responsibility, with the other leaders in their group, for the activities they provide both indoors and outdoors.
  3. Make sure that every activity you do has a named Leader in charge, and that this person, the other adults, and the young people know who it is. There must always be a leader with a full appointment present at every meeting. If this means a meeting might have to be cancelled, reach out to your ADC, GSL or DESC who will help you find cover/support.
  4. Complete the mandatory training for your role within the time frame required.
  5. Be aware of the number of young people taking part in the activity, take a register and store it in OSM. Ensure you do a frequent head count to be certain that nobody is missing.
  6. Complete a risk assessment for every activity you do, preferably write it down and crucially share it with your team and the young people taking part.
  7. If you are taking the young people away from the normal meeting place, participating in an activity that requires a permit or meeting outside of your usual hours, you are required to let the District Commissioner know through a Nights Away Notification or Adventurous Activity Notification as appropriate .
  8. Only adults with the appropriate permits may run adventurous activities or events which involve a young person having a night away from home.
  9. Young Leaders are young people and must be treated as such. Adults should not be alone with them and during nights away experiences separate sleeping arrangements must be provided.
  10. All accidents and near misses must be reported to the Group Scout Leader, logged with the DC team and reported to Unity or via the near miss form.
  11. No smoking is allowed during section meetings. Any smoking on a designated break must be in a safe place away from the activities and young people .
  12. Drug/alcohol abuse will not be tolerated. 
  13. Do not use your personal email account for Scouting.
  14. Keep records on Compass and Online scout manager up to date.
  15. Adults should try and ensure that all young people have equal opportunities to take part in activities. Support and advice is available to help with this as well as advice on making reasonable adjustments.
  16. Adults need to be aware of any disruptive, bullying or aggressive behaviour of any young people and seek help from others in dealing with them. Try to have a consistent approach to these situations throughout the team.
  17. Physical restraint of children is not permissible, unless it is to ensure the safety of the child, other children, volunteers or other people. All incidents must be recorded and reported to your Group Scout Leader/District Explorer Scout Commissioner as appropriate.
  18. If a child talks to you regarding a child protection disclosure or any other personal issue the correct procedures must be followed. Please refer to our Young people first code of practice (The Yellow Card) for further guidance.
  19. Any grievances received from parents or members of the public should be referred to your Group Scout Leader, District Explorer Scout Commissioner or District Commissioner as appropriate.
  20. You should avoid taking responsibility for young people’s personal belongings.
  21. Please don’t go to straight to the media about getting press coverage for your Section or Group. Instead contact our Media and PR Manager who will help coordinate this with you and get the maximum impact.
  22. As stated above, adults should familiarise themselves with POR. This is available to view and download from www.scouts.org.uk/por
  23. If you’re not sure about something ask! 😊

Alcohol in Scouting

All our adults need to be physically and mentally fit to undertake the responsibilities of their role. When responsible for young people, adults must not drink alcohol.

During ‘off duty’ periods, adults in Scouting also need to take into account the effects alcohol can have and how it may affect their fitness to fulfil their Scouting duties for the duration of the section meeting, activity or event.

Further guidance on alcohol can be found in the information sheet – ‘Alcohol and Scouting’ 

Conflicts of interest

As a member of The Scout Association you should not engage in, or be associated with any activity, person or organisation which operates against the interests or values of Scouting, or could be seen to affect your impartiality in carrying out your role. Volunteers are expected to clear any potential or actual conflicts of interests before joining us. If we are unable to manage any such conflict of interest you might have, we may need to remove you from your volunteer role.

Data protection – GDPR

We hold and process data on you for a number of purposes connected with your role as a volunteer In taking up your appointment you consent to the Association retaining your personal data during your membership and also beyond to facilitate any present or potential future involvement with Scouting.

The security of your personal data is important to us and we make every effort to ensure that any data held about you is accurate, relevant and not misused. 

The Scout Association’s Privacy and Data Protection Policy

The Scout Association takes the protection of privacy and personal data very seriously. All adults operating within Scouting, whether at National UKHQ or within local Scout units (i.e. Scout Groups, Districts, Counties, Areas, Regions (Scotland) or Countries), must comply with data protection law which includes the EU General Data Protection Regulation “GDPR”.

(The Scout Association’s Data Protection Policy provides key definitions and details of how it protects personal information. A copy, which also provides guidance to staff, members and volunteers about how to deal with the personal information they handle, can be found here)

Your responsibilities within the Privacy and Data Protection Policy 

The Scout Association at national UKHQ level and each local Scout unit (as defined above) operate as separate, independent charities in their own right. Each collects and handles personal data and is responsible, as a separate data controller, for such data it collects and uses.

As a larger organisation, The Scout Association is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a data controller. However, data protection law applies to all data controllers (whether registered with the ICO or not) and therefore applies to each local Scout unit.

All adults in scouting have a responsibility to comply with data protection law when handling or dealing with any personal data. However, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place, lies with the relevant Executive Committee (as the charity trustees) and they are responsible for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place for their respective local Scout units.

Whilst the charity trustees and Executive Committees are responsible for ensuring that these systems are in place, each adult operating within scouting whether as staff, members or volunteers is also responsible for ensuring that they handle all personal data in compliance with those procedures and the law.

The Mersey Weaver Privacy and Data Protection Policy

This policy sets out Mersey Weaver Scout’s commitment to data protection, and the rights and obligations of Adult Leaders, Young People, the District Scout Council and others involved with Mersey Weaver in relation to personal data and its compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR).

Training to support you

To support you with your data protection responsibility, The Scout Association has produced a short GDPR e-learning module.

Digital Skills

We’re moving into an increasingly digital world. The Scouts have collated a whole host of skills which may be useful in your voluntary role . We suggest starting with the basics to make sure that you’ve got them nailed and then start exploring the other pages.

Disclosures & Vetting

Disclosure and Barring Service – Criminal Records Check

Adults who are volunteering some of their time to Scouting on an ‘occasional basis’ in ‘regulated activity’, (defined by the UK Government as ‘on 4 or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight’), or may have unsupervised access to young people, or will be involved with the handling or management of money, but are not adult members of the Association are required to complete an enhanced DBS record check through The Scout Association.

The Scout Association does not accept DBS criminal record checks from other organisations. This is because the nature of the information that may be disclosed on a Scout DBS criminal record check may differ from that provided to another organisation.

Our checks are an important part of the process in order to safeguard our young people, as well as giving assurance to parents and the general public. New volunteers (members or non-members), must not attend any organised residential events until their DBS disclosure has been successful.

It is important that your DBS check is completed in a timely manner and within 14 days of commencing your role. A failure to do so will result in your temporary suspension from Scouting until it has been completed.

We seek to be open and accessible to all. A criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent an individual from volunteering. This will however, depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of the offences.

The Vetting Policy

It is the policy of The Scout Association to check all adult volunteers to ensure that only adults appropriate for a role are permitted to undertake responsibilities in Scouting and that regular reviews are undertaken to ensure their continued suitability.

Accordingly The Scout Association is committed to:

  • following a defined process for appointing adult volunteers that establishes the applicant’s suitability, taking into account the fundamentals of Scouting discussed elsewhere on this page;
  • refusing offers from applicants that are found to be unsuitable;
  • putting in place robust vetting arrangements and ensuring that these arrangements are made clear to applicants and to the public;
  • taking into account relevant information from The Scout Association’s records, police forces, relevant statutory authorities, personal references and other credible sources.

As part of the vetting arrangements, The Scout Association will undertake a Personal Enquiry which involves a check made against records at Headquarters for all adult volunteers and, for certain roles, a Criminal Record Disclosure Check. For foreign nationals or British Overseas Territory citizens operating abroad in British Scouting Overseas and Overseas Branches, checks must be made according to arrangements authorised by the Head of Safeguarding at Headquarters.

District Booking System

In Mersey Weaver we are extremely lucky to have access to all sorts of fantastic equipment, resources, events, residential accommodation and activities. In 2016 we launched our online booking system bringing the booking of all our services under one easy to use portal. It’s incredibly important to us that all our resources are easily accessible and visible thus improving the scouting experience for young people and saving groups time, effort and money.

To use the booking system, you can just log on using your Mersey Weaver Office 365 account. Once registered we manually apply a special membership profile which gives you access to the full catalogue as well as preferential pricing and discounts.

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

Email

All volunteers in Mersey Weaver are issued with a Scouting email address with the format firstname.lastname@nthxscoutgroup.org.uk. This will be setup ready for when you attend the appointments panel, if not before.

You are required to use this email address for all Scouting communication. This helps us to meet our data protection obligations (GPDR) and also helps maintain a scout/life balance by keeping your personal life and Scouting separate. It also gives a good and professional impression to parents and external organisations and makes it easy to contact one another..

All email accounts are provided through an Enterprise-level license of Office365 which is extremely secure and includes a whole host of useful and powerful tools you can use to make Scouting easier. A few worth mentioning are:

  • ‘Sharepoint’ for securely storing and collaborating on documents ensuring important files do not get lost when roles change hands.
  • 1TB of personal storage on ‘OneDrive’.
  • ‘Teams’ for secure messaging and video conferencing.
  • ‘Power Automate’ for automating different processes.
  • ‘Forms’ for secure collection of data.
  • ‘Planner’ for project management.
  • Online versions of ‘Microsoft Office’ so everyone can access and open documents.

Help is available to get you up and running from our Technology Active Support Unit.

We are also able to provide desktop subscriptions for Microsoft Office at a significant discount for leaders here.

Filming and rights in works created by you

As part of your volunteer role, you may be filmed, photographed, or recorded. In taking up this role, you agree that Scouting (and any third parties who are authorised by us) is entitled to film, photograph or record you, and that we (and our authorised third parties) will be entitled to use and reproduce these images or recordings and your name in connection with Scouting.

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.

Minimum standards

In addition to setting the minimum ratios of Leaders to Young people (see the section labelled ‘Ratios’ on this page), the Scout Association sets standards for the operation of meetings:

  • There should be a high quality balanced Programme.
  • Opportunities for youth members to take part in the decision making process.
  • Any forum or committee should have both Young People and Leaders working together.
  • Every Beaver/Cub/Scout/Explorer should have the chance to attend at least one nights away experience every year.

The District Commissioner, with the District Team, is required where necessary to assist Sections to reach these minimum standards and we encourage you to reach out if you need any help or have concerns about meeting these standards. There are lots of solutions such as partnering with a neighbouring section/group or taking part in a district event or camp that may resolve the difficulty.

If a section fails to reach the minimum standard for 2 consecutive years, the District Commissioner, with the approval of the District Executive Committee, may close it. POR dictates that if it fails to reach the minimum standard for 3 years, it must be closed.

Online Scout Manager

Every section in the District is provided with a Gold+ license for Online Scout Manager at no cost. OSM is a youth membership system and provides leaders with a whole host of tools for reducing admin and securely storing personal information about young people. OSM lets leaders track youth attendance and very easily extrapolate badge progress, thus ensuring young people are rewarded for their effort. Parents can book and pay for events and subscriptions online which saves time collecting payments as well as having to pay them into the bank.

Please note it is mandatory in Cheshire that all sections use OSM to record youth data, badge progress and attendance registers.

Your GSL or District Explorer Scout Commissioner should be able to set you up with access to OSM once you have been issued with your Scout email address and completed the appointment process.

Our commitment to diversity

We are firmly committed to diversity in all areas of our work. We believe that we have much to learn and gain from diverse cultures and perspectives, and that diversity will make our organisation more effective in meeting the needs of children, young people and adults.

We are committed to developing and maintaining an organisation in which differing ideas, abilities, backgrounds and needs are fostered and valued, and where those with diverse backgrounds and experiences are able to participate and contribute.

The Equal Opportunities Policy

Young People

The Scout Association is part of a worldwide educational youth movement. The values, which underpin and inspire its work, are embodied in the Scout Promise and Law and in the Purpose of the Association.

Within this framework, the Association is committed to equality of opportunity for all young people.

Accordingly:

The Scout Association is committed to extending Scouting, its Purpose and Method to young people in all parts of society.

No young person should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of, nor suffer disadvantage by reason of:

  • class or socioeconomic status;
  • ethnic origin, nationality (or statelessness) or race;
  • gender (including gender reassignment);
  • marital or civil partnership status;
  • sexual orientation;
  • disability (including mental or physical ability);
  • political belief;
  • pregnancy;
  • religion or belief (including the absence of belief).

All Members of the Movement should seek to practise equality, especially in promoting access to Scouting for all young people. We should make adjustments where possible to support all young people with disabilities to access Scouting – see the section on Reasonable Adjustments on this page.

The Scout Association opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. All Scout Groups, as independent charities, have a duty to comply with relevant equalities legislation.

Further information about equalities legislation and Scouting is available via the members area of the www.scouts.org.uk

Note: With reference to gender, membership of the youth Sections of the Association is open to boys and girls, and young women and young men of the appropriate ages subject to the rules set out in 3.6, 4.6 and 5.6 in POR.

Leaders and other volunteers

To carry out its work the Association seeks to appoint effective and appropriate Leaders, and to involve other volunteers in supporting roles, all of whom are required to accept fully the responsibilities of their commitment.

The overriding considerations in making all appointments in Scouting shall be the safety and security of young people, and their continued development in accordance with the Purpose and Values of the Association.

Accordingly, all those whom the Movement accepts as volunteers must be appropriate persons to undertake the duties of the particular position to which they have been appointed (including, if relevant, meeting the requirements of the Sponsoring Authority) and, where appropriate, the responsibilities of membership.

In making an appointment to a particular leadership or support position it may be appropriate to consider the gender and/or ethnicity of the potential appointee, in particular to ensure appropriate composition of leadership or supporting teams.

The physical and mental ability of a particular potential appointee to fulfil a particular role will always be a relevant factor to consider.

Within these constraints no person volunteering their services should suffer disadvantage by reason of any of the issues already listed above for young people. Nor should they be discriminated by age.

Note: Sexual feelings directed towards children and/or a sexual interest in children is a bar to any involvement in the Scout Movement.

Personal expenses

We strongly believe that expenses and fees should not be a barrier to any adult’s participation in Scouting and, in principle, volunteers should not be out of pocket. Please refer to your group’s policy on personal expenses for more information.

Advice

  • Do accept volunteer expenses. You can always give them back as a donation to your Group if you do not need reimbursing.
  • Don’t ever accept money as payment from someone you have helped in the course of volunteering. Explain to them that they can make a donation to Scouting if they so wish.

Ratios

SectionIndoorsOutdoor activities held away from the usual meeting placeNights away experiences (led by Nights Away Permit Holder)
BeaversMinimum 2 adults present1 adult to 6 Beavers plus the leader in charge1 adult to 6 Beavers plus the leader in charge (Minimum 2 adults must be present overnight)
CubsMinimum 2 adults present1 adult to 8 Cubs plus the leader in charge1 adult to 8 Cubs plus the leader in charge (Minimum 2 adults must be present overnight)
ScoutsMinimum 2 adults present1 adult to 12 Scouts1 adult to 12 Scouts plus the leader in charge (Minimum 2 adults must be present overnight)

For all Explorer Scout regular indoor meetings a minimum of two adults must be present and a minimum of two adults for all nights away activities. 

For all meetings and activities, leaders should assess the risk and arrange for sufficient adults (aged 18 or over) to ensure a safe environment for the operation of the section. This risk assessment may mean that more adults are needed than the minimum ratios above indicate. 

*It is possible for young people to hold a Nights Away Event Passport, which allows them to run a nights away event for their peers, without adults present, in which case the ratios will not apply. 

For more information please see POR

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. 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.

Review process

Most people perform better if they have the opportunity to discuss how they are doing and where they are going from time to time.

A review in Scouting is simply an opportunity to look at what has happened since you started in your role, or since your last review, and to see what further support and guidance you might need. It should not be confused with the performance appraisals that many people have experienced at work. Reviews can be both formal and informal, depending on what stage you are at in the course of your appointment.

An informal review is held at least annually, to build on the chats you have during the year. It is a chance to take stock and plan for the future.

A formal review takes place with your volunteer line manager at the end of your agreed appointment period, although you can be called for a formal review at any time. During the meeting you will both get the opportunity to express your views. Your review will then go on to look at the successes you have had in your role, the progress you have made on your training (if appropriate), where you can best contribute to Scouting in the future and the role you would prefer in Scouting going forward. The kind of things you will discuss are:

  1. are you happy in your current role?
  2. what challenges have you faced in your role?
  3. do you wish to continue, or would your expertise be best used in another role,
  4. or should you retire from Scouting?

At the end of the review a decision can then be made about your future role, and any support that you will require. 

Risk assessments

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 a great enabler for participating in adventurous activities as they allow you to rationalise and explain how something that, at face value might sound quite risky or unsafe, is a perfectly acceptable 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.


However here’s a few guiding principles and tips

  • Do share your risk assessment with everyone involved with running the activity.
  • Do review an old risk assessment and see if it needs updating or adapted.
  • Do show your risk assessments to your line manager or someone else for advice.
  • Do ensure the risk assessment is shared with all young people and adults taking part.
  • Don’t be afraid to change a risk assessment on the fly (a dynamic risk assessment) but make sure everyone is informed of what has changed and why.
  • A risk assessment can be aural but it should still be written down and it filed securely ready for next time or in case something goes wrong. There is a facility in OSM to store and share risk assessments and we strongly recommend all leaders use this facility or the space provided for each group and section on Sharepoint/Teams .
  • For nights away experiences and adventurous activities you will be asked to submit your risk assessment accompanied with the notification before the event takes place.

Running activities

Running Safe Activities

  • Activities – the A-Z of Scout Activities will guide you through the planning of running exciting and safe activities for your young people.
  • Programme – get some practical ideas of how to bring safety into your programme.
  • Camping and Practical Skills – find out more top tips for staying safe whilst doing practical skills and in a camping environment. 
  • Events – guidance for those planning, managing or responsible for approving events within Scouting to ensure that they are delivered in a safe way.
  • Managing a premises – top tips for managing a Scout premises safely.

Emergencies and Reporting
Its important to know what to do in an emergency and what plans to have in place before an activity to ensure that you can respond efficiently should one arise.

InTouch

InTouch 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.

Whenever any activity, event or meeting is run within Scouting it is a requirement that an InTouch system is put in place (POR 9.3).  This is to ensure:

  • everyone involved is aware of how communication will take place between Leaders, participants, and those not on the event
  •  there are details of who is present should anything go wrong, and there is a system in place in the event of an emergency.

The procedures put in place to ensure this are likely to vary at different types of events due to the differing circumstances and needs. To facilitate this InTouch is a process that you must follow to ensure that everyone is clear as to what will be put in place for every Scouting event.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfF6ZTKkiDg?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-GB&autohide=2&wmode=transparent&w=640&h=360]

Training

All adults in Scouting undertake training which includes content to help them deliver safe Scouting. The aim of the training is to enable adults to plan and run exciting, safe and developmental activities for the young people in their section.

Permits and adventurous activities

The adventurous activity permit scheme is an internal assessment scheme designed to ensure that all those leading adventurous activities for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so. Full details are available on how the scheme works and support for you through the scheme, whether you are a leader applying for a permit, an assessor assessing an applicant, or a commissioner granting someone a permit.

Safeguarding young people

We have a clear code of behaviour called ‘Young people first’ also known as the yellow card. You should have a copy but if you don’t please ask your volunteer line manager. This applies to all adults working in Scouting, regardless of their role. It is also included in the training that you will receive and provides guidelines about how young people should be treated. We expect everyone to follow it.

The Law and Scouting – A duty of care

Under the terms of the Children Act 1989, Leaders have a duty of care towards the young people in their custody. This means that adults should adopt a common sense approach when dealing with injuries and illnesses. If you act reasonably when dealing with a problem, it is unlikely that you can be accused of unreasonable action after the event.

Safeguarding – How to prevent incidents 

The Child protection policy

The Scout Association acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and is committed to ensuring that safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities and government guidance and complies with best practice and The Charity Commission requirements. This policy is in process of being updated and the revised version will be published in September 2020.

This policy:

  1. applies to all adults including the Board of Trustees, volunteers, paid staff, agency staff and anyone working on behalf of The Scout Association;
  2. recognises that the welfare and interests of children and young people are paramount in all circumstances; and
  3. aims to ensure that all children and young people have a positive and enjoyable experience of Scouting in a safe and child-centred environment and are protected from abuse whilst participating in Scouting and otherwise.

The Scout Association acknowledges that some children and young people, including those disabled and those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and accepts the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.

Resources

The training has been updated in June 2020 and the new elearning video resource available follows the September update to our protection policy.

Who should take the training?

If you are up-to-date with your Safeguarding Mandatory Ongoing Learning, you’re not required to re-do this new module but, to stay up-to-date, we’d encourage you to complete it (it doesn’t take long). 

What’s included in the training?

There are five lessons in the module and an assessment at the end. You will need to score 100% in the assessment to unlock the certificate of completion. 

There is a reference guide to the content of the Safeguarding Mandatory Ongoing Learning. This guide can be used for reference before, during or after you do the e-learning, read it here >

What are the training objectives? 

By doing this e-learning you will: 

  • understand the Safeguarding Policy and how to keep young people and adults at risk safe 
  • understand the code of practice in the yellow card
  • know how to recognise abuse 
  • know how to report concerns 
  • know what to do to keep Scouts safe.

Safety

We are committed to being a leading organisation in health and safety management. Together, we can all help to ensure the health and safety of ourselves and others. This is why you are expected to follow our safety in scouting guidance which is detailed in the ‘Staying Safe checklist’ which you can download here.

The Safety Policy

The Scouts sets out to deliver everyday adventure and develop skills for life in a growing movement of adult volunteers and young people aged 5-25, in the UK and internationally. 

The Scouts recognises that life is not risk-free, and in its turn Scouting is not risk-free.  As Scouts, we believe that our members benefit most from our activities when we manage these risks to well-being to be as low as is reasonably practicable.  Identifying and proportionately managing risk is a skill for life that we wish to kindle, develop and enhance in all of our members.  

All those involved in Scouting must, so far as is reasonably practicable and to the extent of their role, ability and understanding;

  • Properly assess the risk of every activity undertaken in Scouting.  This assessment should be suitable and sufficient for the activity being undertaken, and it follows that activities with higher risk should require more in-depth assessment. 
  • Provide and receive clear instructions and information, and adequate training, to ensure members are competent to undertake their task.
  • Prevent accidents and cases of ill health by managing the health and safety risks in Scouting.
  • Maintain safe and healthy conditions, provide and maintain plant, equipment and machinery, and ensure safe storage/use of substances.
  • Review risk assessments as often as necessary when circumstances and conditions change.
  • Never be afraid to change or stop an activity if risk increases.

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 (video) (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.

Taking photos

You don’t need written permission to take photographs and in a lot of cases, you could get yourself into a world of agro if you asked for it and were refused! Check your wordings carefully if you are making policy on photography. You should however ask for permission to share photographs this is best done via OSM.

The Mutual Agreement

All new appointments within Scouting involve a number of responsibilities and commitments and everyone taking on a new role will have hopes and expectations. Some of these will be realised and some won’t. Therefore, a realistic compromise needs to be worked out and we call this a ‘mutual agreement’.

The success and quality of the partnership between our new adults and Scouting will ultimately depend on how open it is. From the outset, the mutual agreement needs to explain what we expect from you and what you expect from Scouting. We also need to be clear about what help and support Scouting can provide you in your role.

The agreement is a step towards this and covers the principal aspects of volunteering with Scouting in Mersey Weaver but you will need to discuss more local matters with your line manager.

A good mutual agreement consists of:

  1. a description of the role you have agreed to undertake,
  2. the specific tasks involved and the time we expect them to take,
  3. details of the support required and expected,
  4. an agreed date when we will review the agreement,
  5. an understanding that you, as a new person to scouting, accept the fundamentals of Scouting and this volunteer agreement,
  6. what we hope to offer to you.

Volunteer expectations and responsibilities

Volunteer expectations

Everyone who volunteers with Scouting within Mersey Weaver is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. You have a right to:

  • accurate information on scouting at local and national level
  • a clear description of the role you have taken on
  • a safe working environment
  • negotiate a choice of roles and tasks on a flexible basis
  • a named person (volunteer Line Manager), you can go to for advice, support and peer mentoring and a Training Adviser
  • protection from exploitation by other volunteers and service users 
  • be able to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty 
  • have your contribution valued by all areas of the organisation
  • receive constructive feedback on your contribution
  • have opportunities to develop skills
  • have opportunities for training
  • have local scouting deal with disciplinary and grievance matters
  • volunteer in a friendly atmosphere
  • have fun.

Volunteer responsibilities

In return, you are required to abide by the ‘Adult Code of Conduct’ described elsewhere on this page.

You will also find details here on following procedures related to Safety, Safeguarding, Diversity, Risk assessments, Training, Data Protection (GPDR) and Vetting.

You should also:

  • wear Scout Association uniform as appropriate to your role.
  • refrain from public criticism of scouting.
  • avoid revealing any confidences entrusted to you in the course of your day to day volunteering (i.e. things discussed at team or Executive Committee meetings).
  • enjoy yourself and encourage others who may be interested in volunteering with Scouting.

Further details on all these policies can be found in the current edition of The Policy, Organisation & Rules of The Scout Association (www.scouts.org.uk/por)