Scouting in the UK is currently Yellow. This means section meetings can take place outdoors or indoors. Residential activities restricted to a maximum of 6.

COVID-19 Support

Through these strange times, we are here to support you.

Readiness level: YELLOW

This means: Section meetings can take place outdoors or indoors. Residential activities restricted to a maximum of 6.

Maximum group size:

  • Activities involving young people: no limit on group size but remain as only one section meeting independently of others.
  • Scout Network programmed activities (non social): no limit on group size but remain as only one section meeting independently of others.
  • Adult activities (non-social) with no young people present: Adults may meet in small groups for the purposes of providing the charity’s purpose. Full details in getting adults involved again guidance.
  • Residential activities: Nights away activities may take place with a maximum of 6 people within the group (including young people, volunteers and carers). COVID measures such as social distancing and good hygiene remain in place (even overnight), groups must remain independent of others and lateral flow testing must take place immediately prior to departure and every 48-72hrs throughout the trip and on return.

Note: Where small sections may struggle to be viable to operate independently, they may join with another section at this time.

Note: The number of adults present should be limited to those who are required to be present to support the activity. It’s important to remember that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and we all have the duty to make sure we’re following the letter and spirit of the guidance. 

Note: Activities (including those away from your usual meeting place) should be planned to minimise risk by limiting travel at all times. Check the guidance on planning activities in terrain zero. Trips should only take place where the outcomes can not be achieved locally and must be in a COVID safe manner.

Link to the National guidance pages from The Scouts

County Group Information Document
County Risk Assessment Template

Your assessor is: Mark Wainwright
Their email is: [email protected]

FAQs

The National guidance link above includes FAQs for each piece of information. Locally, we have collated the most common questions as a first port of call for our volunteers.

1. How many young people can we take at one time?
After a revision to guidance, the following is the limit: 

  • Activities involving young people: no limit on group size but remain as only one section meeting independently of others. (Where small sections may struggle to be viable to operate independently they may join with another section at this time)
  • Scout Network programmed activities (non social): no limit on group size but remain as only one section meeting independently of others.
  • Adult activities (non-social) with no young people present: check local government guidance

Please note that the above guidance refers to meetings taking place internally or externally although limits might apply internally dependent upon the safe meeting capacity of the venue.

2.    Are there limits on Leader Numbers at a meeting?

Whilst there are no ‘hard and fast’ limits, the number of adults present should be restricted to those who are required to be present to support the activity. It’s important to remember that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and we all have the duty to make sure we’re following the letter and spirit of the guidance. 

3.         Do we need to wear face coverings whilst at a meeting?

The short answer is that all leaders, explorers and scouts (including young leaders) must wear a face covering if meeting indoors (medical exemptions apply).  The exception for this would be the leader delivering the meeting may choose to remove their face covering, providing they are distanced from the Group.  Outdoors, face coverings need not be worn, unless social distancing measures cannot be maintained.  You will need to consider whether this is an appropriate measure when undertaking or revising your risk assessments.

4. What about young Leaders?

The same rules apply to Young Leaders when it comes to ‘bubbles’. They cannot be in more than one bubble on the same day and do count towards the numbers for the group size.  National guidance does not currently specifically detail rules relating to Young Leaders, but does state that ‘Adult Leaders’ only are able to move between Groups.  Young Leaders in a Section who are also active members of an Explorer Unit will need to make the choice if both meet on the same night.

5. Can we hold more than one meeting in a day?
The short answer is yes, but only if there is no overlap in ‘bubbles’.  After the change in guidance, Adult leaders can now run multiple meetings on the same day if need be, one after another, but it would be preferable if there are sufficient leaders to run each meeting separately

6. Can we share equipment between bubbles?
Yes, you can.  But you will need to consider hygiene controls and cleansing regimes between its use.  The likely scenario for this will be ensuring equipment is cleansed after the meeting for use in the following days.  However, if you are running multiple Group meetings at the same time (see above), you must ensure that you have all necessary equipment, first aid kits for example, to allow you to safely run without the need to share.  Activity equipment might be set up and used on a ‘rotational’ basis, but you would need to consider how to minimise risk of transmission between ‘bubbles’.

7. We’d like to have a leader’s planning meeting beforehand, can we do this?
Yes, you can.  We’d encourage the use of Zoom, Facetime, Teams and the like, but if you wish to hold a face-to-face meeting with leaders you can do so, in small groups as per current guidance.

8. Has The Scout Association made recommendations with regard to brands of hand sanitiser, PPE etc.?
No, this is a matter for your assessment.  In fact, the entire use of PPE or hygiene products is a matter for assessment.  It may be that alternative controls, for example, could be adopted to negate the requirement for hand sanitiser.

9. Does this mean that I need to carry out a risk assessment for every activity?
There should be some form of assessment in any case, but for the purposes of a return to face to face scouting, we need to be assured that any risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus is kept to an absolute minimum. There is now a requirement from for all activities to have written risk assessments and more information can be found on the National website.

10. The training of some of our leaders is out of date, what should we do?
The Scout Association has made it very clear that ALL leaders should, as a minimum, have undertaken basic training in the form of Safety and Safeguarding.  A First Aid trained leader must be present at all times during a meeting.  If any of your leaders have not yet completed basic training, the safety and safeguarding modules can be found here. Completed certificates should be sent to the County Office or DC.

11. What about toilet facilities?
Clearly, some form of facility need be provided, wherever your meeting is to be held.  You will need to consider how these are to be sanitised – whether that is something that is undertaken by leaders, or by a 3rd party. The first point of call might be liaison with the venue direct and determine if they have any implemented measures as part of their own risk assessment and whether these accord with your Group’s requirements.

12. Is there any need for the use of masks, gloves and aprons etc. in a first aid kit?
You will need to consider the suitability of your equipment to manage an incident should one arise.  HSE have provided guidance on such an occurrence in a non-medical setting.  https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/first-aid-and-medicals/first-aid-certificate-coronavirus.htm

13. Can we have a library of standard Risk Assessments?
Example risk assessments are supplied with the guidance which can be adapted for your use.  Your assessment will be dependent upon a wide range of variables, from the people in attendance, the activities you will be undertaking through to the venue of your meeting.  It is imperative that you fully understand the nature of the risks and controls before a meeting takes place.  It is difficult to provide a library of ‘standard’ risks, as these will be dependent upon these varied factors.

14. If we make dynamic changes to risk assessments, do these have to be approved retrospectively?
All risk assessments are, to a great extent, dynamic and will need to be subject to ongoing update and review based upon the prevailing factors. The COVID specific risk assessments need to be reviewed each month and any significant change resubmitted for approval.  Significant would entail the change of a venue etc.  A revision or update in respect of guidance changes or a small change to you procedures would not require re-approval

15. How do we consider risks where events are in presence of public?
Again, that is a matter for your own assessment.  If a meeting is taking place in a location where public are likely present, then you should consider the risk assessments of the host venue to ensure that you are comfortable with their adopted controls and that they accord with The Scout Association’s current requirements.

16. Should we consider wearing facemasks, (over 11 and adults) during events, face to face, and transport?
See question 3 above.  However, please note, Activities (including those away from your usual meeting place) should be planned to minimise risk by limiting travel at all times where possible, although day trips and visits will become permissible from 12th April onwards should you choose to run these.  Please consider this when planning your meetings. 

Please note that residential experiences, including camps, overnight residential experiences and overseas travel remain prohibited.

17. Will scouting arrange regular testing of high risk section leaders (similar to taxi drivers, care workers)?

You should embark upon a return to face to face scouting only when you are comfortable and feel able to do so.  There is no pressure from the Scout Association, County or District to return to face to face scouting at this time.  However, with a robust risk assessment and the adoption of controls specific to the venue, personnel and activities undertaken, the consensus is that the risk of transmission of the COVID virus will remain low.  The risk cannot, of course, be entirely eliminated at this time.  If section leaders are considered ‘high-risk’, they may wish to consider whether a return is the correct decision for them at this time.  Please note the requirement to carry out rapid flow testing in the case of limited residential activities.

The Government is currently in the process of providing access to testing kits for all UK residents.  Details of which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-home-testing-kits-now-easier-to-order.

18. Can we get approval well in advance or do we have to wait until event planned?
We would suggest and encourage ensuring that assessments are completed, submitted and approved before planning any event. 

Note: Activities (including those away from your usual meeting place) should be planned to minimise risk by limiting travel at all times. Check the guidance on planning activities in terrain zeroNote: In line with the government moving to Step