This page was updated on: 20 March 2020 at 16.45.
The Prime Minister has said that everyone in the UK should now avoid non-essential travel and contact with others.
Suspension of face-to-face activities
Given this guidance, all face-to-face Scout meetings, activities and events must be suspended from Tuesday, 17 March 2020. This suspension applies to young people and adults, and will be until further notice.
We will continue to follow official guidance; the safety of everyone involved in Scouts, both young people and adults, is our number one priority. That is always at the heart of our decision making.
Contacting Scouts offices
The Scout offices are closed but staff are working remotely to maintain service to members as much as possible.
If you need to contact the Safeguarding team about an ongoing case please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report a new case please call 020 8433 7164. For guidance on carrying out safeguarding processes in the current climate, take a look at these recommendations to adjust our usual practice.
Given the latest Government guidance, we are cancelling the following events:
- Day of Celebration at Windsor
- Beaver and Cub Fundays at Gilwell Park and Woodhouse Park
- Gilwell 24
We will be communicating to specific audiences about these event cancellations directly. We'd ask that you wait for this information to be sent out rather than contacting us immediately, due to the volume of enquiries we are currently receiving.
If you or your team are involved in organising any future Scout events, you will now need to review these plans and risk assessments given this new guidance. If you have event insurance through Unity, they have provided an update here.
Jamborees and other large events
If applicable, we suggest you regularly check the websites of relevant large-scale events, for example, Jamborees and camps, for specific updates from the organisers.
The organisers of the European Jamboree 2020 in Poland have shared this update and continue to add to their frequently asked questions on the changing situation here. If applicable, please continue to monitor these updates.
Scout trips abroad
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued advice on non-essential travel worldwide which could require changes to your travel plans. Please ensure you read this advice if it is applicable.
In addition to the Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website has the latest information, guidance and travel advice, along with details of any restrictions – which must be followed.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation may have implications for your travel insurance. Check with your insurers directly about the levels of cover. If you have taken insurance through Unity, they have provided an update here.
If your Group gets an income or rent from others using your building and you have property and equipment insurance through Unity you can read their blog for more information.
Executive Committee matters
The NCVO has published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support Scouts locally during this time.
Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one. Please see their guidance here.
We have approved an amendment to the standard constitutions in POR which allows meetings to be held remotely. It also allows decisions to be made electronically. This is valid immediately and will be updated in the next update to POR, in early April. The wording is as follows:
- Electronic voting (such as email) is allowed for decision making of the County/District/Group Executive Committee and its sub-Committees when deemed appropriate by the Chair. In such instances at least 75% of committee members must approve the decision.
- The County/District/Group Executive Committee & its sub-Committees can meet by telephone conference, video conference as well as face to face in order to discharge its responsibilities when agreed by the appropriate Chair.
The Government also have some practical advice for in answer to questions from Executive Committees.
Scout Information Centre
The Scout Information Centre will only be able to deal with emails and web chat until further notice. As you can imagine, we are experiencing an unprecedented level of enquiries at the moment, so please use the Government guidance as your primary reference where possible.
Scouting at home
We’ve pulled together some inspiring indoor activity ideas to keep kids learning new skills and having fun now that schools are closing. Take a look at scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors and feel free to share the activities with your team, friends and family. We’ll be posting activities to do in #TheGreatIndoors on social media over the coming days, weeks and months.
We’re also asking members to share their thoughts about how we can keep Scouts going at home – so get your thinking caps on and let us know your ideas!
A message from UK Chief Commissioner, Tim Kidd
I think we all agree that it's in challenging times like these, that our Scout values matter most. We are talking to the Government and other community organisations to see how Scouts can support our country during this crisis. We must make sure that we do this in the safest possible way, and don't put anyone at further risk. We will update you more on this over the coming weeks.
As always, I want to say a big thank you for everything you do for Scouts. By checking and following the latest Government advice and by taking a calm and measured approach, we can continue to ensure that young people and adults stay safe.