In what are increasing challenging and uncertain times for us as a country and an organisation, we need to remind ourselves of a few Scouting fundamentals. We are here to deliver ‘skills for life’ through safe, fun and adventurous programme. We also need to ‘be prepared’.
With these two points in mind, there are a couple of topics I need to share with you.
First, with the rapid progress of the Coronavirus across Europe and the changes to UK Government advice last week we need to consider our approach as a Scout County.
1. Health Advice – Continue to follow the NHS and Public Health England advice. Primarily this is based on robust hygiene procedures for hand washing and use of sanitiser.
In addition the new advice is that anyone with a new continual cough and/or fever of 37.8+ should self-isolate for 7 days. If they are not better after 7 days (or increasingly ill sooner) then they should contact 111 (ideally via online service).
2. Weekly Scouting cancelled until at least the end of May.
3. Large events – cancelled until at least the end of May.
4. International trips until end of May should be cancelled or postponed. This is in line with the guidance to Schools. For trips later in the year, please consider public health and travel advice from the UK Government and the country you are travelling to.
The existing advice regarding people who have travelled to affected countries or been in contact with an infected person remains the same.
5. Look after each other – Consider the needs of all our members and be understanding if people need to socially distance themselves.
Every District will have local considerations around these points, so please follow (or seek) advice from your District teams.
As part of ensuring we deliver safe Scouting, it is important that we are all up to date with our mandatory safety, safeguarding and first aid training. Alongside the permit scheme, this is a key element of making sure the safe of young people is assured and risk appropriately managed. At present several hundred people need to complete a refresher of Safety or Safeguarding training. Both of which can be completed online.
Mandatory learning – To address this, all Leaders, Section Assistants and Activity Instructors must have in-date safety and safeguarding training by 30th June 2020. If you are out of date, then please complete the online learning in the same timeframe. You also need to ensure that your first aid is up to date. If it is overdue or runs out before 30th June, then please ensure you have booked on a refresher by that date.
In addition to these training requirements, the following requirements around Nights Away and permitted activities are now in place. With immediate effect, no Leader or Section Assistant will be permitted to go on a Night Away unless the above training is complete. District Commissioner will be verifying this when NAN forms are submitted. As appropriate, the same requirement will be applied for Activity Permit holders for exercising their permit privileges. Event organisers should verify this.
Lastly, from today (16th March), a Risk Assessment must be sent along with the Nights Away Notification to the DC/CC. This is a compliance check to ensure that Risk Assessments are being completed. It does not remove responsibility from the Leader in Charge / Event Organiser.
We are in difficult times and we need to do what we do well, namely work together for the benefit of young people. Everything outlined in this update is about ensuring safe Scouting for all our young people.
If you have any questions, please contact your District Commissioner or County Office and continue to follow NHS advice.
County Commissioner – Dorset Scouts