Step 2: Developing your Risk Assessment & Action Plan

As we move to restart face-to-face meetings and activities, there are specific things you as leaders will need to do ahead of getting approval to restart. Our number one priority is making sure that all our members are kept safe. If we don’t feel we can do that, we shouldn’t feel obliged to restart activities.

You should be supported in putting plans in place and completing robust risk assessments before any face-to-face Scouting restarts. Remember, you are not alone. Work with your leadership team and ask for help where you need it. Executive Committees and Commissioners are responsibility for making sure that face-to-face activities return safely and within a rapidly changing national framework.

You’ll need to use your thinking and plans to undertake a thorough risk assessment of the restart process. You’ll need to do this in order to move from each level of alert and also when any significant changes occur. Therefore, if you think you will use a variety of meeting locations in the coming months, outline them all on your initial risk assessment. This way, you won’t have to revise and get approval again.

Risk assessment and planning can be done as an individual section or a group of sections if they are planning on restarting at the same time, using the same facilities and with a similar plan. Please make sure that you risk assess and document section specific hazards and control measures, if you complete this for a group of sections.

Young people’s parents or carers will need to give explicit consent to section leaders to allow their children to return. There might be a number of ways to achieve this.

Programme Planning

When planning sessions leaders need to consider venue, format, session length, leader availability, facilities, hygiene routines and communications, with specific individuals allocated to monitor distancing, cleaning, arriving and departing.

When selecting activities, leaders need to consider social distancing, equipment sharing and inclusion. This is a great opportunity to catch up on the outdoor activities our members have been missing. When adapting activities to comply with social distancing guidelines, leaders need to consider group management, hand hygiene, shared equipment, face-to-face working and activity timing. Checks should include ceremonies/presentations at the beginning and end, adapting them to reduce contact that could transmit the virus.

Consider planning a blending approach - involving both face-to-face and online or 'At Home' activities. This helps to include those who need to shield, or are not ready to come back to face-to-face meetings yet.

Remember to keep a virtual programme in reserve, as infection rates, and therefore, the readiness level may change at short notice.

The guidance document provides some useful checklists to help you with the planning of your meetings.


When planning face to face activity, getting everyone there safely is just as important as a safe venue and programme. Public transport shouldn’t be used by young people to get to a meeting until the readiness level is at least at Yellow.

Where you use transport, other than relying on parents/carers to transport their own children, you’ll need to complete a written risk assessment. This could be included in your overall activity risk assessment if it doesn’t over complicate the document.

Transport Guidance Document

Meeting Place

You should consider your meeting place - How will this be managed. It required some key points to be considered. Therefore, we recommend following the detailed guidance for this.

Communicating with Parents & Young People

You should be open and honest with parents and young people, giving clear communication from the time you start planning to return to face-to-face meetings. You must get formal consent from parents/carers BEFORE te young person can take apart in face-to-face activities. You could do this in a number of ways, but ensure you are able to collate the records, so you can refer back to them easily. This consent requirement also applies to young leaders volunteering with a younger section.

One way to gain this consent could be through Online Scout Manager. For example, by using a 'Return to Outdoor Scouting' Event, including the relavent details and risk assessment, stating that if they sign up to the event this would be their explicit consent for returning to face-to-face scouting. Another alternative might be through replying to an email or online form. If you need support setting this up please contact your GSL or DC.

You should also ensure that young people are informed about why and how we need to do things differently. 

Example letters to parents

Incident and First Aid

This handy checklist highlights the major points to consider:

  • Share the ‘What to do in an emergency’ (purple card) with all adults
  • Develop a plan for the management of incidents in your activity locations
  • Check all first aid kits are current and well stocked
  • Ensure enough first aid kits for each group to access
  • Make sure leaders are up to date with first aid training (remembering the extension issued to cover the COVID19 pandemic)
  • Refresh adults on current CPR practice – don’t use mouth to mouth, only chest compressions
  • Ensure adequate access points for emergency services to activity locations
  • Consider adult ratios and what happens when an adult has to administer first aid

You can find more detailed guidance here

Leaders Safety Checklist & Completing your Risk Assessments

This is based on the 'normal' leaders checklist, but also has additional elements to consider the risk of coronavirus. Use it to guide you through creating your action plan and risk assessment.