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Getting everyone back together safely

Coronavirus (COVID-19) County status: update 04/01/2021:

The Scout Association (UK) current readiness level for England for Scout Groups, Explorer Scout Units and Scout Network Units

The framework for face to face scouting should be applied to whatever the readiness level is in your nation or jurisdiction . Click here to check the readiness levels.

Please click HERE to see a national update by Tim Kidd, UK Chief Commissioner and Matt Hyde, Chief Executive


We know that many of you are keen to get back to face-to-face beaver, cub, scout and explorer meetings and activities. But we can only do that when it is safe to do so – for both young people and adults.

As you are hopefully aware, The Scout Association are beginning to think about and make plans for a return to face to face scouting. There are a number of things your section leadership team in collaboration with your group executive committee will need to do before we are allowed to meet up. If you would like to watch the initial announcements and discussions, they can them here (It starts at 29 minutes 35 seconds):

Let’s start by saying that “face to face” does NOT mean the full indoor / outdoor scouting as we used to have. It means ANY scouting activities, be it indoor or outdoor, where beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers or network members and / or volunteers and parents can be in the same location at a social distance apart.


The associations guidance is based on the following principles:

  • Our priority is to keep young people and adult volunteers safe.
  • A national framework will help volunteers locally to focus on delivering high quality programme activities to meet the needs of their young people.
  • We actively consider inclusion and accessibility for all in our decisions to resume in line with our values and equality legislation.
  • Returning to face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is voluntary and needs to be with consent of volunteers, parents and young people.
  • Our approach will be solutions-focussed and in line with government guidance and health and safety legislation.

This framework contains the following areas:

  • Permissions process including sign off
  • Key considerations to be ready to restart face-to-face activities and how these will be phased
  • Legal and liability conditions
  • Key control measures (‘the COVID code’) for everyone to follow, as shown below:


Getting back together safely: The COVID Code

  1. A COVID-safe risk assessment has been completed and we have communicated control measures to volunteers, young people and parents and all are encouraged to raise concerns

  2. Additional hygiene measures are in place

  3. Social Distancing will be observed (check current distance determined by your Government)

  4. Maximum group sizes will be limited and determined by and members will be consistent where possible

  5. Make adjustments for young people and adults vulnerable or affected by COVID, and consult to make sure return plans are accessible and inclusive


​National update....

19th December 2020


It is important to note that all Scout Group and Explorer Scout Units will make their own decisions about when to resume face-to-face meetings and activities, and this must be done in consultation with your GSL and DC. These decisions need to be made within a national framework (‘The Scouts’ Framework’) designed to help everyone stay safe.

The current readiness level issued by TSA can be found HERE


We can do virtual scouting and we encourage all groups and units to continue (or start), to do this to stop a potential drop off in numbers. If you need help, please contact your DC who will be able to point you in the direction of ‘someone’ in your District that has become an expert in it!

What advise, if you haven't already, is start to think about, your plans and preparing for returning to covid safe face-to-face scouting (amber and yellow). This means thinking about what activities you may be able to do and where you can do them.


We also have to complete various activities before we can restart any group or section face to face activities.

One of the main things we have to do is to complete a risk assessment relating to any activities, locations and sections for the move from one state to the next. This needs to be done by each section leader (hopefully, working with others in your group) and reviewed by your GSL (or Group Administrator if you do not currently have a GSL) and a representative from your group executive.  Once this is done it needs to be sent to your DC who will review and approve it, and then send your GSL (or you if you currently do not have a GSL), a confirmation email. Your DC can approve individual section risk assessments – in which case that section can start. You could also create a risk assessment for your whole group – in which case the group activities can start.

Our decision making process

Your DC in partnership with your district executive committee have recognised roles for health and safety . They need to be assured that all necessary checks, controls and preparations have been considered and adopted before agreeing that any face-to-face scout meetings or activities may take place in your scout group or explorer scout unit.

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. GSLs and DCs have a legal responsibility to protect other volunteers, young people and those who come into contact with the groups from risk to their health. This means they need to assess the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. At the same time, we need to recognise that we cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19. Districts are responsible for supporting leaders to have rigorous written assessments and achievable action plans.

As scouts, we deliver a range of activities in a range of environments. Each group/unit must complete a written risk assessment and action plan for each section and for every environment they wish to operate in. The risk assessments used to authorise re-starting face-to-face activities are for the place or environment a section is planning to operate in. If that environment or place changes significantly enough for the risks to change, a new risk assessment must be completed and authorisation sought. These risk assessments do not replace regular weekly risk assessments in relation to specific activities, these should be complementary.

The approval process for restarting

Most of the restart decisions will happen at a scout group level (or district level for units), 

Need help with your re-start risk assessment

CLICK HERE to watch a video which provides guidance on completing your COVID-19 re-start risk assessment.

Remember, you will need to update your assessments everytime things change or if we move to a diffrent readyness level.


We have been asked, a lot, about what the process is if someone is found to have Covid-19 after attending a section meeting. After a lot of investigation, here is what we have been advised to include in your risk assesment and processes:
Infection – what happens if any members / participants test positive after an event 
Who is affected                               
Parents / adults / young Leaders to advise GSL immediate a positive diagnosis is received.
GSL / leader in charge to contact all other members involved in the event to advise (without identifying individuals), and to suggest that medical advice is sought.
All attendance records to be retained for at least 21 days after the event in case of contact from NHS England or other statutory body.  Participants to be advised of this retention.
Any records retained, and if any have to be passed on, must be GDPR compliant but should hold the persons name and their  contact details.


Once you have completed the risk assessment for your section / group or unit

  1. Discuss it with your Group Scout Leader

  2. Obtain your Group Executive Committee's approvial 

  3. Your GSL then sends it to your DC for appoval using the smartsheets process CLICK HERE

  4. Wait for your approval confirmation email 

Very important:
No face to face scouting can take place until your section/group or unit risk assessment(s) have been approved by the district and you have received the approval confirmation email from the DC.

As well as providing the risk assessment and checklists templete for your group/unit leaders and executives to complete, we’ve also developed a a templete for a CODVID-19 policy document* for you to download and edit .


QR codes for your meeting places. 

If you have your own venue, you now need to provide a printed QR code so that those who are 16 and over can use the NHS Test and Trace app. You can generate a unique code for your venue here. Leaders still need to keep records of attendance for your meetings.


There is lots more guidances available on the national getting everyone back together safely webpages, these include:


                *our thanks to the 13th Wimbeldon Scout Group