Information for leaders
Leaders are required to follow this five step process, where you’ll be guided through all of the information you need to know to get your section back together safely.
This page supports leaders through the process of returning to face-to-face Scouts activities.
Thousands of groups across the UK have already returned to face to face scouting. Young people have been loving the opportunities to take part in activities, see other members of their groups and have fun.
Here are the five steps to getting your section back together safely:
Framework: The Scouts Framework applies in every nation within UK Scouting and walks through:
- the permissions process for restarting any face-to-face activity
- the considerations to be ready to restart face-to-face activities and how these will be phased
- legal and liability conditions
- control measures for everyone to follow
Use this COVID-19 restart checklist to track your progress in getting your section back together.
You’re not alone - Don’t forget you’re not in this alone. Work through this process as a team, with the other volunteers in your section, your Group Scout Leader of DESC and Executive Committee also will support you and your District and County will be able to provide additional support too.
By the end of the prepare step you should have completed the following:
- I’ve read and understood the current Scouts framework for restarting face to face activities.
- I understand the process as a leader I need to go through and what tasks need to be completed.
As with any Scouts activity, planning is key. This step outlines what to consider as part of your planning.
Your volunteer team - If you haven’t done so already, make contact with your team. You need to ask if they are happy to return to Scouts face-to-face. If you need support on how to re-engage your team then check out our guidance.
Meeting places and travel - You may need to find different places to meet if you're not able to use your normal venue. The where to meet and how to get there guidance supports you with finding a suitable meeting place, making sure it’s safe and also looks at how you get your members there safely.
Protecting everyone - We’ve pulled together information on how to protect ourselves and others. In this guidance, you’ll find out how you support those more vulnerable, including keeping Scouts accessible to those who can’t attend your face to face meetings. Circumstances may have changed since you last met, so ask if members need extra support.
Incidents and first aid - You need to have plans for what to do if something doesn’t go to plan. We have guidance to support you with your first aid provision, what to do if someone gets COVID and managing incidents.
By the end of the plan step you should have completed the following:
- I've included the whole leadership team in the planning and preparation for returning to face-to-face activities (including Young Leaders).
- I've read the guidance on finding a suitable place to meet and getting my group there safely.
- I understand the basic principles for planning a COVID safe programme, including how to protect everyone involved and supporting vulnerable members.
- I understand what to do if something goes wrong, including the provision of first aid, responding to an incident and someone contracting COVID within the section.
Risk assessment - Now that you’ve reviewed the guidance for getting back together safely you should have identified how you will operate in this new Scouts environment (make sure you’ve checked the guidance on protecting ourselves and others), so work with your leadership team to document your risk assessment.
We’ve created COVID-19 Risk assessment tools which include a COVID restart risk assessment video and some template risk assessments to help you with this.
If you are thinking of getting your leadership team together, check out the guidance for getting adults involved again.
Getting approval - Once complete, your risk assessment needs to be supported by your GSL and Group Executive, then in some nations it is submitted for approval to your District. This is done through an online process, explained in the approval process for restarting.
Setting expectations - Make sure everyone knows what’s expected and how the meetings will be managed safely. Speak to parents, carers and young people – we’ve provided some example letters which you can download from the guidance in communicating with people.
Consent - You'll need to get written consent from parents/carers after they’ve been informed of how COVID-safe Scouts will be running; this consent can be gained through a variety of methods such as email, text, and OSM, but needs to be stored. When there’s a significant change in how you’re operating, like moving from outdoors to indoors, you should update parents and get their consent. Don’t forget Explorer Scout Young Leaders are young people, so parental consent is also needed for them to restart their activities supporting sections.
By the end of the Communicate step, you should’ve completed the following:
- I've developed a risk assessment for restarting by Section / Group and understand the process of getting this approved.
- I've communicated our plans and consulted with parents, carers and young people.
- I have a process for gaining consent from parents/carers for young people to return.
Planning your programme - Now you have your plans approved and have spoken to everyone to make sure they’re ready to return, it’s time to get your programme up and running.
Meeting in different locations - Some of your activities may be in a different location to the one you use normally, so think about where to meet and how to get there.
Hear from leaders about their experiences of getting back together with their Section.
By the end of the Programme step, you should’ve completed the following:
- I understand that the specifics of my programme don’t need to be approved through the restart process, but have considered what this will look like and involved young people in its development.
- I've considered how we’ll get people to activities if they’re not in our normal meeting place or locality.
- I've read specific programme guidance for the activities I plan to run and explored the socially distanced programme ideas on the programme planning tool.
- I've considered our plans and how this will look to the public, and how we’ll respond to challenges.
Once you’re up and running - We know things can change very quickly, which is why it's important to review and evaluate the safety of your group regularly. Work with your leadership team to review any current plans and to work towards moving to the next readiness level if safe to do so.
Reviewing your risk assessment - As with any risk assessment, you’ll need to dynamically review (and keep reviewing) the situation as things change. If significant new risks are identified and added to the risk assessment, this will need to be submitted for re-approval. For example - meeting in a very different environment, moving to meet indoors, or introducing overnight/residential activities. But if existing risks are updated, the risk assessment shouldn’t require re-approval. For example - changes in the maximum number of people present, changes in arrival procedures and hygiene arrangements.
We’re in this together - Once your section is up and running, consider what support you could offer other volunteers in your group, district or county to get more young people back to face-to-face Scouts.
By the end of the What to do next step, you should’ve completed the following:
- I understand that plans can change and will need to be reviewed.
- I have a plan to work with my leadership team to review our current plans and to plan to move to the next readiness level.
Commissioners, Executives and Approvers
Working safely with the public
Returning to Scouting safely information hub
The following resources are related directly to returning to Scouting safely in line with the COVID-19 pandemic.Check out the resources