Red – Virtual Scouting only
As you may be aware the readiness level for returning to Scouting has changed from Red to Amber which means that restricted activities can be resumed once the return process has been fully completed by Sections, Groups or Units. This covers ANY activity where a young person is in attendance.
Adult volunteers must follow the governments social distancing guidelines where young people are not involved (planning meetings etc) – including the guidance around the number of households that can meet indoors and outdoors at any one time.
No face to face scouting can take place until your section/group or unit risk assessment(s) have been approved by the district and you have received the approval confirmation email from them. The risk assessments need to be carried out by the relevant leadership team in collaboration with their group executive committee.
However, please do not feel pressured to return to face to face activities before you and your fellow leaders, parents and young people are ready.
Oxfordshire return to Scouting documents to help your return can be found below:
Quick Guide to Returning – overview of the levels and the process to be followed
Return to Scouting – full details of the Scout Framework, return process, forms and guidance available
Risk Assessment ideas – risk assessment example with some ideas and further guidance
Return to Scouting Activity Form – please complete and upload this form alongside your risk assessment – it will provide all the additional information your district will require to approve your return.
As scouts, we deliver a range of activities in a range of environments (places/locations). Each group/unit must complete a written risk assessment and action plan for each section and for every environment they wish to operate in. The risk assessments used to authorise re-starting face-to-face activities are for the environment a section is planning to operate in. If that environment changes significantly enough for the risks to change, a new risk assessment must be completed and authorisation sought. These risk assessments do not replace regular weekly risk assessments in relation to specific activities, these should be complementary.
Examples of different environments for risk assessments: meeting outside of your normal meeting place, water activities at an approved centre, water activities on public waterways, meetings in public locations (local park, town centre, etc).
Getting back together safely: The COVID Code
In getting everyone back together safely the following code must be followed at all times:
- A COVID-safe risk assessment has been completed and we have communicated control measures to volunteers, young people and parents and all are encouraged to raise concerns
- Additional hygiene measures are in place
- Social Distancing will be observed (check current distance determined by your Government)
- Maximum group sizes will be limited and determined by scouts.org.uk and members will be consistent where possible
- Make adjustments for young people and adults vulnerable or affected by COVID, and consult to make sure return plans are accessible and inclusive
We can confirm the following changes to the rules for Amber readiness in England:
- Indoor activities are now allowed, but outdoor activities are preferred and should be encouraged
- Numbers change to 15 young people and up to five leaders (carers can be in addition and will not be counted in these numbers) – this applies both indoors and outdoors. Leaders can also include Young Leaders.
- Young people must stay in their limited group size but adults will now be able to move between these groups, i.e. across the 25m spacing if outdoors or to a section meeting at a different time on the same day.
- Leaders don’t need to wear a face covering when delivering activities – however, it’s recommended to wear one in all other circumstances while indoors.
- Scouts and Explorers must now wear face coverings indoors. Exceptions as per national guidelines are permitted.
For now, all young people in all sections must continue to social distance by 2m from each other where possible and from adult volunteers at all times.
For anyone who has already had a risk assessment accepted, you will not need to start again, but simply amend the risk assessment. If you need help to understand these possible changes, please contact your local management team.
If significant new risks are identified and added to the risk assessment this will need to be submitted for reapproval. If existing risks are updated the risk assessment should not require reapproval, this would be things such as changes in the maximum number of people present, changes in arrival procedures and hygiene arrangements. Examples of new risks would include meeting in a different environment, moving to meet indoors, introducing overnight / residential activities. These items will need to be added to the existing risk assessment and then submitted for reapproval.
Returning to Scouting
We are all really keen to make the process as quick and efficient as possible to avoid any delays to Sections returning, which is why the guidance above has been developed.
Whilst we appreciate the return to Scouting form is a further form to fill out, it will avoid us having to reject risk assessments due to lack of information. In looking at the risk assessment template alongside the Commissioner approver checklist, we realise that there will be additional information needed to enable approval. By completing all the questions on the form, your District Commissioner should have all the information they need to be able to review the risk assessment and provide feedback on any adjustments necessary or give you the green light.
We can do virtual scouting and we encourage all groups and units to continue (or start), to do this to stop a potential drop off in numbers of both young people and adults. If you need help, please contact your District Commissioner who will be able to point you in the direction of ‘someone’ in your District that has become an expert in it!
What you can (and should), do is start to think about, plan and prepare for when you feel ready to return to face to face activities. This means thinking about what activities you may be able to do and where you can do them – don’t forget whilst in Amber you can only plan outdoor activities for young people you will need to wait until we move to Yellow to be able to do activities inside (although the numbers are likely to continue to be restricted).
Once you have a plan in place for returning to face to face activities:
- Discuss it with your Group Scout Leader
- Obtain the approval of your Group Executive Committee
- Your Group Scout Leader then needs to submit the risk assessment(s) and Return to Scouting Activity Form to your District Commissioner via Smartsheets
- Wait for your approval email
Thank you for all your continued support
This page was last updated on 11th February 2021