Guidance and support for frequently asked questions (FAQ's)
Last reviewed: 1 October at 11.30
Getting back together safely - Information for Leaders
We’re working with youth sector partners and the National Youth Agency government body to make sure that we restart safely. There’s a framework and set of guidance that should be followed when your section gets back together, based on the latest government announcements and current readiness levels.Find out how we can restart Scouts safely
We’re not able to take phone calls at the moment, but we’re still here to support you. Contact us by clicking the purple ‘Chat’ button on the bottom right of the page. You’ll be connected to one of our advisors from 9am – 5pm on weekdays, or you can leave a message outside of our opening times. You can also contact us by emailing email@example.com and we’ll be with you as soon as we can.
Like many charities and organisations during this challenging time, a significant number of our staff have been furloughed but they’ll return to work by the end of the furlough scheme. Most of our staff are working from home as our offices remain closed for all, apart from essential services that cannot be delivered from home Thank you for your patience if it takes a little while longer to respond to your enquiries. Here's an update on how this arrangement affects some of the key services we offer:
- Scout Information Centre: still supporting members but with reduced capacity. We’re not able to take calls at the moment, but contact us by clicking the purple ‘Chat’ button on the bottom right of the page or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Scouts Awards Team: Operating but processing the back log created when the team was furloughed, meaning responses may be delayed. The next deadline for submission of award decisions/nominations is now 31 December 2020. Approved Good Service Awards submitted prior to this deadline, as well as Length of Service Awards (that are achieved between 1 October and 31 December 2020) and Wood Badges (that are recommended between 1 October and 31 December 2020) will then be mailed out by the end of February 2021.
- Scout Store: Operating, but online orders only
- Safeguarding: Still running essential services bit with reduced capacity.
- Scout Adventures: Closed until further notice; customer services still available but with reduced capacity
- Gilwell Park Hotel and Conference Centre: Closed and won't reopen
- 65 Queen’s Gate: both the Meininger hotel and our own events spaces are open, with reduced capacity. We are following government guidelines regarding any events.
- Scout Association Trust Corporation (SATC): Operating, but please expect delays due to physical access to deeds and documents being limited
- Scouts Scotland: Many staff are furloughed or working remotely. However, you can still contact them through email@example.com or find individual contacts on the who’s who page. Find out more here.
- ScoutsCymru: Many staff are furloughed or working remotely. However you can still contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or find other contacts on the who’s who page. Find out more here.
If you have any enquiries related to an existing booking or a new one please, in the first instance, email email@example.com. Our phone lines are currently not being monitored.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way that we work, as well as change the ways we deliver Scouts. We are working hard to make sure that we are supporting our members in the best way that we can. Staff shortages across the organisation has also affected the way we work, and because of this, we need to pause on posting out some of our printed materials and publications from Scout Store.
Most of our resources are now only available by download only from Scout Store. However, we have aimed to keep essential documents available to order (like the Yellow and Purple cards), and we will be reviewing the availability of all materials ahead of face-to-face Scouts starts again. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, but as always, thank you all for your patience and support at this time.
For further information, please visit their website.
Safeguarding Concerns and Safety Incidents
If you need to contact the Safeguarding team about an ongoing case please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Safeguarding Officer using their direct dial.
If you have an accident or an emergency situation at Scouts please follow the steps on the Purple card – Safe Scouting and what to do in an emergency. For more information about emergencies and reporting incidents please refer to our guidance.
Delivering a blended programme
We’ve developed some new activities that can be done indoors, outdoors and online in line with the latest government guidelines. There's example risk assessments and safety guidance too.
- Beavers Socially Distanced Activities >
- Cubs Socially Distanced Activities >
- Scouts Socially Distanced Activities >
- Explorer Socially Distanced Activities >
- Scout Network Socially Distanced Activities >
You can also check out the activities page which has loads more ideas that could be adapted by following our top tips for making activities work online and at home.
There must be at least two adults present at all times during any online activity. Ideally both adults should be Scout volunteers, but you can use a parent rota to support as you would normally do. Young people must never be left in a one-to-one situation with an adult. This protects us all and underlines our commitment to effective safeguarding.
There are various platforms you can use to communicate with young people and families online. They’re all slightly different with different features, and most importantly, different levels of security and privacy. Be sure to check the minimum age requirements.
If you're thinking of producing a local badge, please read these instructions carefully first.
- Groups, Districts and Counties may produce a badge locally to support fundraising, online events or activities, but it must be clearly identified as a local badge (featuring your Group, District or County name) and have the permission of the relevant local commissioner.
- Please note however that no badge should be named or styled after the Coronavirus or COVID-19 illness, as this would be inappropriate.
- Any badge which uses Scout Trade Marks and is intended to be distributed nationally must first have written permission of headquarters as per Chapter 14 of POR.
The Great Indoors Badge
We have launched our Great Indoors Badge to to support Scouts at home. For the first time in history, this badge allows everyone to take part, regardless of whether they’re a Scout or not. Find out how you can get involved today >
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 they are set to take place in the next few months, you will now need to consider cancelling or postponing, depending on the timing of your event. If you have event insurance through Unity, see the updated which they have provided.
The organisers of the European Jamboree 2020 in Poland have decided to postpone this year’s event until 2-13 August 2021. Find out more and if you have any questions please submit them to us, instead of emailing the event organisers.
If applicable, we suggest you regularly check the websites of relevant large-scale events for specific updates from the organisers.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel worldwide. Travel to some countries is currently exempt, however in the Scouts framework all international travel and residential activity is currently not permitted. Please read the the latest information, guidance and travel advice, along with details of any restrictions – which must be followed.
Membership fees and financial support
While our face to face meetings and activities have been suspended, you'll know that you will still need to cover fixed costs. Your District, County and national services are facing the same challenges. We will still need to collect the full membership fee for each young person because these costs are fixed. They cover vital services such as insurance, safeguarding, legal protection, and the development and support of our programme.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a period of uncertainty for many charities and organisations. There are now a number of alternative funding packages that youth organisations may now be eligible for. Find out more on funds or grants you may be able to apply for if your Group needs extra financial support during this challenging 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.
We have approved an amendment to the standard constitutions in Policy, Organisation and Rules (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 POR. 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 and 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.
We'd recommend that Counties/Areas, Districts and Groups in England and Wales should follow the advice from the Charity Commission which is summarised below.
15/05/20 The Charity Commission have provided the following information in relation to holding an AGM during this crisis.
Coronavirus is having a major impact on charity events and the government’s health advice may lead to some charities having no choice but to decide to cancel or postpone their AGMs and other critical meetings. The charity as far as possible should be acting in accordance with the governing document. However, the Commission understands that the charity may not be able to fully comply with the governing document during this current crisis.
- If the trustees, decide it is necessary to hold the AGM by electronic means, they should record this decision to demonstrate good governance of your charity.
- The trustees must assess the risk in postponing the AGM or holding a meeting by another means. They should communicate the decision with the members where practical to do so e.g. via telephone or post or email.
- As a regulator of charities, the Charity Commission will not be taking regulatory action, if the charity has demonstrated the reason for holding a meeting outside of the governing document or postponing the AGM during a pandemic is in the best interest of the charity.
- If decisions are made by a meeting held which are not in accordance with the governing document, the Charity Commission advises the trustees clearly record the decision.
- The Trustees may also wish to think about whether there are any wider or longer impacts of their decision that may need to be considered (independent of the regulator) for any actions during this time.
Please remember it is the responsibility of the individual Charity Trustees to decide what is the best course of action to take for their Charity.
We've also produced a page to give you a few hints and tips for running successful meetings online.
The Government also has some practical advice for Executive Committees. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has also published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support members locally during this time. These both cover issues such as AGMs, remote meetings and other matters. You can read this guidance here.
Charities in Scotland should refer to the advice provided by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), which can be found here.
Charities in Northern Ireland should refer to the advice provided by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland which can be found here.
Annual Report submission
Wherever possible, the Charity Commission asks all Charities to try to get their annual reports submitted on time. However, where the situation impacts on the completion of annual returns and accounts, charities with an imminent filing date may request a filing extension by emailing them at: email@example.com. Delaying the AGM does not stop the submission of the Annual report, which is approved by the Trustees and only adopted at the annual general meeting.
There are also possible funding opportunities that you may be eligible for. Take a look at the potential funding for local Scouting potential funding for local Scouting page for further details.
If your Group receives 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.
Read the guidance about what you can use your buildings for and how to look after your premises as restrictions ease and prepare it for third party hire.
If you hire out your facility to other organisations and clubs you should discuss payment at a local level. It isn’t possible for UK Headquarters to make a recommendation that covers every situation across the UK. The responsible Executive Committee should therefore come to a local view in consultation with all renting organisations or clubs and be mindful of the Government’s safety advice, remembering that this is a difficult time for all organisations.
There may be rate relief available for Scout premises, please contact your local authority for details.
Most local Scout Headquarters (HQs) have been completely closed, but are now starting to reopen. If you aren’t reopening yet, here's a few things you should continue to do to make sure you're still looking after your HQ:
- You can check your Buildings insurance, this will normally include a clause on how long the building can be left without someone visiting, and you’ll need to try to you comply, or notify your insurance company if this is an issue.
- You can make sure the building is secure, with no leaks, and security lighting is operating properly.
- Review where money can be saved by turning off all unnecessary equipment, heating, water heaters, refrigerators, lighting etc. Whilst doing this, you need to make sure that areas are not allowed to get damp, especially in the camping equipment stores.
- You can clear food from refrigerators, and take to food banks or dispose. Also check dried food in cupboards and check 'use by' dates. Once empty, the refrigerator should be thoroughly cleaned and the door left open.
- Continue to carry out maintenance checks, Fire Alarms, Emergency Lighting etc. and continue to carry out essential maintenance.
- Collect post (if appropriate) and pay the bills.
We have been working with our disclosure partners across the Nations (Access NI, Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure and Barring Service) to restart disclosure checking from 6 July 2020.
View more information on this and the temporary guidance on how to process ID checks safely. All reminder emails from Compass related to disclosures must now be acted on.