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Do – how we do things safely

Keeping young people safe is our primary aim in Scouts. Having fun, doing adventurous and new things comes a close second. This means we're always looking to review and improve the guidance and support for members in keeping Scouts as safe as possible.

Changes from earlier in 2020

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Written risk assessments

In July, we consulted members on some changes to how we document and communicate risk assessments within the Scouts. This consultation received over a thousand pieces of feedback; so thank you if one of them was yours. We had lots of support to the updated approach to documenting and communicating all risk assessments, with others offering challenges and suggestions for improvements. Every comment was reviewed and shared with the Safety Committee, as we work to make sure the guidance is focused and helpful.

The guidance is clear and, as requested, includes practical examples. You’ll find the new resources on the risk assessment pages of the website, including guidance documents, FAQs, template risk assessment forms and a bank of examples risk assessments.

There’s always been a requirement to undertake risk assessments for all activities within the Scouts, whether in your normal meeting place, on nights away or out on adventurous activities with the encouragement to document them. This change now requires the documenting of the risk assessment. To help with this change we’ve provided lots of methods you can use.

The guidance also reinforces the need to communicate the hazards, risks and control measures to those involved, including young people. In doing this effectively it will help others to develop the ability to identify and manage risk, building another vital skill for life. Remember too that repetitive elements, e.g. your opening and closing ceremonies only need to be written once and dynamically checked in subsequent weeks, or reviewed if you meet in a different place, e.g. in a park on a summer evening.

It’s also important to remind you this is separate from the restart approval process, which requires a documented risk assessment to be submitted for approval ahead of moving between readiness levels in the restart of face-to-face scouting. The normal risk assessments for activities do not require the approval of someone from the District or County (with the exception of Nights Away activities and Visits Abroad). It’s about the leadership team working together to undertake, document, communicate and review their risk assessments. Making sure that in doing so we are providing Scouts in as safe a way as possible to, and with, all our members.

These changes launched on 18 August 2020 with a transition period through to 1 January 2021, to help you implement the processes locally. We’ll continue to provide more support, so keep an eye on the risk assessment pages.

We’ve also updated our training modules, including the mandatory safety training module, to help members understand the new approach to risk assessments.

 Other changes

As part of the work to constantly strengthen our guidance to keep everyone safe we want to highlight the below changes to how we do things, which have already been published earlier this year.

Read more about managing free time activities safely >  

Read more about the updates on safe supervision of activities >

Read more about the activity approval process for Commissioners > 

More information will be shared on here later in the year about the provision of intimate care for young people and vulnerable adults who may require it.

Watch the webinar where we talked through all the changes in this area and answered some of your questions. You can also read the slide deck.

Learn – having the knowledge you need to keep everyone safe

Find out more about the changes in the training for members.

Find out more

Report – knowing where to turn if you have a concern

Find out more about changes to our policies that support you to manage any concerns or incidents.

Find out more