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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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Frequently asked questions

Some common questions about being a Transformation Lead and changes to the volunteer experience

Updated 24 January 2024

We'll keep updating these FAQs. You can also send the questions you need support in answering to transformation.leads@scouts.org.uk. We'll then respond directly or add the answer to this list. 

About being a Transformation Lead

Transformation Leads can collaborate on the Transformation Leads Facebook group.

If you're not a member of the Facebook group, you can share your ideas in the chat during Transformation Leads calls or email Transformation.Leads@scouts.org.uk if you'd like to be connected with another County or equivalent.

Setting up a local network of Transformation Leads within neighbouring Counties/Areas/Regions is also a great way to share learnings and collaborate.

Make sure you attend our Transformation Leads call each month as we’ll be sharing the most up-to-date information with you there. If you miss the call, we’ll make sure we record it and share any slides with you via email afterwards. Keep an eye out for any other emails from us.

We’ve also built a dedicated resource hub for you where we’ve stored everything in one place.

Absolutely, the information shared on our calls is not confidential, unless it's specifically stated. You can use the information shared on our calls to help others in your area with preparing for implementation of changes.

We'd encourage that information is presented in context. For example, if you forward slides or videos without supporting information, people may not fully understand why the changes are important. Share wisely! 

We’ll be providing you with additional resources to help throughout our transformation journey, but these can also be tailored based on what each local area needs.

When tailoring resources please ensure you maintain the purpose, meaning and context of the wording used to ensure that a consistent message is being shared across the movement.

If you feel like you’re missing a particular resource, please let us know and where possible we can support the creation of additional resources for the benefit of all Transformation Leads.

The Early Adopters are selected Counties and equivalents who will adopt the new volunteer experience a few months before the rest of the movement. They'll provide feedback that will help the transition to be as smooth as possible for everyone else.

The Early Adopter Cohort includes: Belfast, Berkshire, Coventry, Dorset, Greater London Middlesex West, Guernsey, Clwyd, Humberside, South East Scotland and West Yorkshire.

You can request support for or attendance at an event or meeting about the volunteer experience changes by completing this form. Please provide as much detail as possible about the support you're requesting, so that we can ensure the most appropriate person can help.

We'll do our best to ensure that someone is able to support/attend, but this may not always be possible. Please give us plenty of notice.

Digital champions are volunteers who help other volunteers locally to use digital tools, where they may be unsure about using them, or not have the digital skills to do so. When building your local change delivery team, it’s important to think about digital, and how volunteers will get support with it – you may choose to have digital champions on your team.  

We also have the Digital Skills Tool, a self-service place online for volunteers to upskill, to increase their confidence using digital tools. Through that platform, we have volunteers who have registered themselves as digital champions, too, offering to support volunteers around the UK virtually. We’re working on getting a list of the digital champions in your area ready, so that you can talk to them about how they might support with the roll-out of the new digital system.  

Being a digital champion isn’t a formal role, isn’t recorded on Compass, and won’t be recorded on the new digital system. Digital Champions don’t get early access to digital tools, or have additional permissions within the system. 

 

About the work to improve our volunteer experience

We need to make sure that we can accurately transfer all the data from Compass to our new digital system, so it can offer the best experience to volunteers. Because of amount and quality of the original data we’ve experienced unexpected challenges.  

We’re working to find solutions as quickly as possible with our suppliers, staff and volunteers. But, this means that the go-live dates for the new digital system will no longer be February 2024 for Early Adopter Counties and April 2024 for All Other Counties. We will let you know with plenty of notice when the new go-live dates will be.  

There is still plenty of work we can carry on with to land change locally. Information and guidance will continue to be shared with Transformation Leads.  

The Readiness Checklists are about making sure you’re prepared for change, and the actions they talk about are best completed ahead of transition.

We recommend that you try to complete all of the ‘Important’ actions so they can be RAG rated as ‘green’ at least four weeks ahead of transition, and that the majority of the ‘useful’ elements are also RAG rated as ‘green’ before transition, with no ‘red’ in either section.

 

About the new digital system

Our aim in all this work is to make sure that the personal data held on Compass for each of our volunteers is accurate prior to the changeover.

We understand that some of the incorrect data may have originated on systems that existed before Compass. There'll be some opportunity to rectify this on the new system but now is a great opportunity to update the data as much as practicable.

There are many errors in our volunteers’ personal data held on Compass. Databases are only as useful as the data contained within them, so this transition presents a one-off opportunity to improve the accuracy of our database.

There are restrictions on who can update some information fields on Compass, and more details can be found in the full guide on updating compass. If people find they can't update something they should contact their local District or County team for support.

To be able to log in to your personal record you'll need a unique and personal email address.

This email address will be the username used to log in to personal accounts on the new system, so it won't be possible for two people to have the same login.

The Volunteer Experience Group is helping us to test everything, from ways of working, to learning content, and features on our digital system.

To get involved with testing, join the Volunteer Experience Group, and we’ll be in touch.

We're developing guidance to help ensure that transition and volunteering in during this time, is as smooth as possible.

During transition some interim processes may involve communicating with UK Headquarters in place of using a central digital system, while others may be designed and managed locally. 

The new digital system is simply part of scouts.org.uk - you’ll log in to scouts.org.uk and access all the digital tools through there, using single sign-on. The digital system doesn’t and won’t have a name, as to volunteers, it will appear as part of our website.  

It is important that we speak consistently about the new digital system: we have one digital system, with many digital tools within it, all accessed by signing in to scouts.org.uk.

Volunteers will sign in to scouts.org.uk, using an email address and password. For existing volunteers, they should see the Updating Compass Guidance, to know which email address will be used for their new account.  

The new digital system is not designed to work offline, as, to complete actions, it relies on continuous access to live data. It’s been built like most other websites though, in that, to save/submit a form you need to be online, but that if your connection drops while you’re on a page, you shouldn’t be logged out, you just won’t be able to complete an action until you’re reconnected. 

No – when the new digital system goes live, it won’t have functionality to process Visits Abroad Forms. We are currently looking at the continuous development of our new digital system and will be exploring how we can bring other processes, like the Visits Abroad process into the new digital system.  

Our new digital system has been built with volunteers at the heart of it, making sure it’s as easy to use, and is accessible for everyone. For some volunteers, supporting them by signposting them to public spaces where they can access the internet may work, for others, you may want to signpost them to the Digital Skills Tool, to increase their digital confidence. For some volunteers though, they may need more direct support from a digital champion, or another volunteer locally.  

Some volunteers won’t be able to access digital technology, full stop, and there are ways around that. We expect this to be a very small group of people, and that with some of the support already mentioned, we’ll be able to support volunteers to get online. That said, if there’s no way of getting volunteers online, we can support them with proxy access, allowing a trusted volunteer to access their records on their behalf, to complete a limited number of tasks. 

On the new digital system, you will be able to see who has which accreditations if you have the relevant permissions. For example, a Team Leader will be able to see who has accreditations linked to their team. 

 

About our work to create more Engaging Learning

Before the new digital system goes live, we will transfer information about volunteers’ training from Compass into the new learning tool. This is part of a process called data migration.

To make sure that this is successful, and you have what you need when the new system goes live, please encourage all in your local area to make sure that the information in Compass is accurate, and training modules completed are recorded and validated.

Please talk with your County Training Manager about the need for volunteers to record and validate their Getting Started Training modules on Compass.

Your County Training Manager will already have access to all the information on which training volunteers have done and will have access to the Compliance Assistant.

We’ll be inviting members from across the movement to test the new learning tool and content. We want to have a good mixture of people from different places and backgrounds so we can make sure that learning works for everyone.

Each time testing opens, we'll let you know how, when and who can provide feedback. The latest feedback opportunities are on the Testing Hub. As a Transformation Lead, please continue encouraging local volunteers to visit the Testing Hub and get involved.

The change from ‘training’ to ’learning’ is not just a word change, but a cultural change. The new content and learning system have been designed to engage each volunteer as they learn about the skills and qualities relevant to their individual volunteering experience.

With our current Adult Training Scheme, some training can be focused on compliance, and transmitting information to people, and it can be hard for volunteers to absorb the information they need.

The new system and content will also help us to create a learning culture that recognises all forms of learning. Learning can happen in many ways; as volunteers, we're learning all the time, be that when we’re completing our assigned tasks, talking with our peers, young people, or their parents.

We don’t plan on making any significant changes to how volunteers learn content currently delivered by the First Response course. It is important that First Response courses continue to be delivered locally as per current guidelines.

Before the summer break we will share more information about which volunteers will need to complete First Response in line with our new roles and teams-based approach structure.

Branching Out learning content will take us until 2025 to develop. At the moment, we’re exploring what it could look like, based on opinions shared by members in surveys and focus groups.

When we have a delivery plan, we will start to talk to Transformation Leads and members about the content you can expect in Branching Out and ask for your thoughts and opinions.

Adventurous Activity and Nights Away Permits will continue to be delivered in their current format but will come under Branching Out. Volunteers will need to complete learning in Branching Out to gain a permit.

It will still be up to the volunteer if they would like to hold Adventurous Activity or Nights Away Permits.

We have a ‘digital first’ approach with all our content, and as such, all the Growing Roots learning will be available digitally. For each of the learning courses, learners will be able to complete them at their own pace, engaging with video, written and graphic content. There will also be offline delivery methods for anyone who cannot access digital learning, and Volunteering Development Teams will be able to advise on this, once they are established. 

Branching Out content will have a range of delivery methods, with many courses being available through the new digital system, but with some run by Trainers, either in-person, or on online calls.  

The way we deliver first response is not changing, just the people who might need to do it. We’ll still offer the ‘Face to Face’, ‘Online’, and ‘Blended’ models, all of which require a practical demonstration, so while some of the First Response learning may be completed online, through e-learning and online calls, there is still a practical element to the course. 

When we make changes to First Response, we note them on the ‘First Aid training updates’ page. 

 

About our work to improve how we volunteer together

The Trustee Board are responsible for the Governance of the Charity, part of this being the assurance that it has the funds required to operate, whereas fundraising itself is more of an operational matter, supporting the Charity with the money they raise.

This means fundraising would sit as a responsibility of the Support Team at District or County (or equivalent) level and within a sub-team of the Leadership Team at group level – there's nothing to stop a Trustee being a Support Team Member or Sub-Team member, too.

Yes. On the new membership system, Section Team Volunteers will either be a Team Leader or a Team Member, but in practice, they’ll use whatever they think describes what they do the best. Those outside of Scouts will still know many of our volunteers as Scout Leaders, as will many of our young people and parents.

Read more about how we talk about teams and titles

Yes, please visit the Volunteering Together webpages.

At the moment, there are no plans to introduce a learning requirement for Occasional Helpers. That said, where someone is helping regularly, now may be the right time to talk to them and introduce the idea of becoming a team member.

Read more about team members and helpers.

Visit the Resources page on the Transformation Leads Resource Hub to download the latest presentation materials. We will also be running a webinar for District and County Chairs – dates will be shared via the Transformation Leads Newsletter, and the sessions will be recorded and shared.

All teams, excluding Section Teams, can have sub-teams, including Trustee Boards.

When reviewing which sub-committees exist, it’s important to consider whether the tasks that they’re completing are governance or operational/support, and as such, whether they should be sub-teams of the Trustee Board, or of the Leadership or Support Teams. 

The Lead Volunteer nominating the Chair provides a potential conflict of interest. Going forward, we won’t have nominated and elected Trustees, instead, the Scout Council will appoint Trustees, and the Chair, too. It will be done using a selection process designed by the Trustees.

Yes – some roles will become accreditations when we move to the new digital system, and some will map across directly. On the 'becoming part of a new team’ page, we outline some of those that will automatically map across. 

Compass is structured by section, and role, whereas our new digital system is structured by teams, and your role within a team, so building new team structures on Compass wouldn’t work. It’s important that anyone volunteering with Scouts has a role recorded on Compass, and that that role is ‘full’ before transition. 

We are currently finalising the migration timeline, which looks at who gets access to the new digital system when. When Lead Volunteers get access to the digital system, one of the first things they’ll do is to make sure that their new team structures are reflected on the system, and that volunteers have the right roles within those teams. 

The recruiting volunteer, often the Group Lead Volunteer or District/County Team Leader, needs to make sure that all the required information is in the system. The Volunteering Development Team is there to make sure volunteers have an easy welcome, so they may check in on new volunteers or the recruiting volunteer if they notice someone's been stuck on a particular step for a while. It’s all about making sure everyone feels a part of a supported joining journey. 

 

About our work to give volunteers a Warmer Welcome

Not yet. In the meantime, you can familiarise yourself and your teams with the changes and what to expect.

In the meantime, there is a conversation guide for Appointments Advisory Committees which you could look at to make sure your Appointments Panels are as welcoming as they can be now, though.

The Volunteering Development Team Leader, or Lead Volunteer can give a Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation to any volunteer who has completed the learning and meets the requirements.

We have gathered feedback from Early Adopters on our initial learning content, and have shared the latest version. Once the new digital system goes live, volunteers gaining the Welcome Conversation Accreditation will need to complete the learning within the learning tool, so their Lead Volunteer / Volunteering Development Team Leader can accredit them to carry out the task. 

The learning for this accreditation is online-only by default, however, locally Volunteering Development Teams may choose to supplement this with informal networking opportunities, for Welcome Conversation Volunteers to share good practice, and reflect on how they found the learning. 

The Volunteering Development Team will support Lead Volunteers to ensure that new volunteers have a Welcome Conversation 4-6 weeks after starting their role, and that an appropriate volunteer is chosen to engage them in the Welcome Conversation

Team Leaders / Lead Volunteers will need to have completed the Welcome Conversation Learning, which will be included in Managing Scouts Volunteers, a Growing Roots course. In a Welcome Conversation, only the independent volunteer needs to have the Welcome Conversation Accreditation, so all a Team Leader / Lead Volunteer needs to have done is completed their Growing Roots learning, they don’t need to hold the accreditation. 

There is no time limit on how long a volunteer can hold the Welcome Conversation Accreditation, however after five years, it’s good to have a check that they’re still the right person to be supporting Welcome Conversations. 

Appointments Advisory Committee Members won’t automatically become Welcome Conversation Volunteers. Volunteers undertaking Welcome conversations will need to have a role in another team, and have completed the Welcome Conversation learning, or be the new volunteer's Team Leader or Lead Volunteer. This is a good opportunity to consider who has the best skills and lived experiences to warmly welcome new volunteers to Scouts and carry out the Welcome Conversation.

We would need to work with them to find a role in a team they would like to undertake alongside carrying out Welcome Conversations, as carrying out Welcome Conversations is a task rather than a role.

No. Individuals with a Welcome Conversation accreditation will not form a team. The Volunteering Development Team will have a responsibility to make sure a District/County has enough accredited people to carry out Welcome Conversations.

It doesn’t. Welcome Conversations are a new way to welcome adult volunteers to Scouts, and are quite different from Appointments Panels. For a volunteer to be given a Welcome Conversation Volunteer Accreditation, they will need to complete the new learning, regardless of whether they have completed Module 37 before. 

In most cases, these tasks will be taken on by the Volunteering Development Team or the Leadership Team. Some tasks may be delegated to a volunteer with the Volunteer Safeguarding Lead accreditation.

No – as we operate now, until a volunteer has completed their joining journey, and their role’s full, they should have an appropriate level of supervision until they have completed their checks and learning. 

After the Welcome Conversation, the Team Leader / Lead Volunteer and Welcome Conversation Volunteer should discuss and agree an outcome. Should they disagree, the final decision can be made by the District/County Lead Volunteer, as long as they are sufficiently independent. 

The new volunteer’s team leader is responsible for organising the Welcome Conversation.  

The Welcome Conversation has been designed not only to make sure new volunteers have a great first impression of Scouts, but also to make sure we meet safer recruitment guidelines. The required learning to get a Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation sets out expectations and responsibilities for everyone involved. This makes sure that participating volunteers understand and feel comfortable in what they need to do make sure new volunteers feel welcome, valued and supported.

There will be slight differences across the nations, so do check with your Charity regulator. In England and Wales, you should check the Individual Insolvency Register, the register of disqualified directors, at Companies House, and the register of persons removed as a Trustee, at the Charity Commission. 

More information can be found on gov.uk - we are currently compiling guidance across the nations.  

Trustee Eligibility Checks must be carried out locally, by the charity that the person is a Trustee of. When the new digital system launches, the check should be recorded on scouts.org.uk.  

A volunteer only needs a Welcome Conversation once at Scouts. For many, this’ll be when they start volunteering with us, but for some roles, like Trustee roles, they won’t have had a Welcome Conversation when they start. Using this example, a Beavers Section Team Member moving to a different role won’t need a Welcome Conversation, as they’ll have had one when they started volunteering, but a Trustee, moving to help in a section will. 

The new volunteer will log in to the new digital system on scouts.org.uk and submit details of their references. The system will then contact them and ask for a reference. Satisfactory references will be processed automatically by the system, but if a reference comes back with a concern, this will be automatically sent to the Volunteering Development Team. 

When a new volunteer joins Scouts, they need to share the details of at least two (up to four) referees on scouts.org.uk within the first six weeks of joining. Their referees then have 28 days to respond to the reference request before we send both them and the new volunteer a reminder. It’s important to note that references must be received before the end of the six-month joining journey window. 

Criminal record check is inclusive of all nations in the UK, and many in British Scouting Overseas. In England and Wales, criminal record checks are provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service, in Scotland, by PVG, and in Northern Ireland, Access NI, and what the check and certificate issued are called varies across each.  

Criminal record checks must be started within a volunteer’s first 30-days at Scouts. We know they take different times to come back from the relevant agencies, but as long as they have been started it will not affect the volunteer’s joining journey. Until a new volunteer’s criminal record check is issued and is satisfactory, they won’t have completed the joining journey steps, meaning that their role will be at Provisional, and they’ll need to be supervised when undertaking regulated activity.  

  

Monthly online meetings

Register for upcoming meetings and watch recordings from previous calls.

Meeting registration and recordings

Resources

Discover useful resources to help understand the changes to volunteer experience.

Discover the available resources