Step 1: Prepare – Framework & Process

The Scouts Framework is aligned with Government-approved guidance for the Youth Sector developed by the National Youth Agency. This framework will apply in every nation within UK Scouting and walks through:

  • the permissions process for restarting any face to face activity
  • the key considerations to be ready to restart face-to-face activities and how these will be phased
  • Legal and liability conditions
  • Key control measures for everyone to follow

Read the full framework here

We’ve also got a simple step by step guide for leaders to work through the process, providing you with a COVID-19 restart checklist to download and complete which will help you track your progress in getting your section back together.

Framework Summary

Sections themselves, with the agreement of both the Group Scout Leader (or DESC/DSNC) and Executive Committee, will make the decision about when to resume face-to-face meetings and activities. These decisions need to be made within a national framework (‘The Scouts’ Framework’) designed to help everyone stay safe, and be approved by the District Commissioner and District Executive Committee before resuming activities.


  • 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.

The COVID Code

Each point of this code must be considered and complied with in order to ensure our safe return:

  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

Using 'readiness level' for a phased return

In line with government-approved Youth Sector Guidance, we expect to see a phased approach to returning to
face-to-face Scout meetings and activities.

When levels change (as confirmed by the NYA and equivalents), Scout Groups will need to revisit and, if necessary, update their written risk assessments and action plans. They will also need to gain permission from their District to enter into the next phase. However, if lockdown measures increase and the readiness level escalates (e.g. Amber to Red), Groups are expected to revert back to previous practice immediately and notify line-managers, rather than ask for approval.

Adult volunteers may meet together in line with current Government Guidance regarding adults in social settings

Decision Making & Risk Assessments

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19.

Volunteer line managers 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.