Step 2: Plan – Risk Assessment & Action Plan

As with any Scouts activity planning is key, so this step works you through the various things you need to consider as part of your planning. 

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.

Meeting Place and Travel

Finding somewhere to meet is key, you may be restricted to outdoor venues, you may not be able to use your normal meeting place. The where to meet and how to get there guidance supports you with finding a suitable meeting place, making sure its safe and also looks at how you get your members there safely. 

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.

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. You can also find a combined activity planning matrix and risk assessment template on the risk assessment tools page.

Communicating with Parents & Young People

You must get formal consent from parents/carers BEFORE the 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.

 Guidance on protecting ourselves and others, and gaining consent. 

One way to gain this consent could be through Online Scout Manager. For example, by using a 'Return to Outdoor Scouting' Event, including the relevant 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

You can also find links to parent and young person surveys in the resources section

Incident and First Aid

Don’t forget that as well as planning to keep things safe you need to have plans for what to do if something doesn’t go to plan.

You can find more detailed guidance here

Leaders Safety Checklist & Completing your Risk Assessments

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.

The COVID-19 Risk assessment tools include a COVID-19 restarting face-to-face Scout risk assessment template some and the video below to help you with this. If you are thinking of getting your leadership team together check out the guidance for getting adults involved again.

Getting approval - Your risk assessment once complete needs to be supported by your GSL and Group Executive, they need to know that you plan to return, then it is submitted for approval to the District. This is done through an online process, this explained in the approval process for restarting.