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A reminder - following the news of the tragedy on
22/02/2020 By Ray Noice

Email

Dear all,

 

I am sure that you have all now heard of the tragic death of Ben, an Explorer Scout from elsewhere in the country, in August 2018 and share in deepest sympathy for his family and friends as Tim Kidd has expressed in his emails that I understand came to all of us.

 

In Tim’s second email, he reminds us of our collective responsibility for safety and the need to keep our training records up to date. I am already feeling the flow of requirements on us from the Association’s central team through County and expect there will be significant changes and clarifications as the Association tightens its rules in order to reduce the risk of such events happening again.

 

Hence I would like to refresh everyone’s memory of (a) our activity approval system and (b) our competency validation (commonly known as training) requirements. Please read carefully to see what applies to you; there have been some changes in the last few years. If you wish to check the training requirements, the authoritative version can be found in Section 4.9 of the last chapter (The Appointment Process) in the Scout Association’s Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR), January 2020, available from www.scouts.org.uk or use your favourite search engine. I appreciate that this is tedious and this email is over-long but it is important and all of us have a part to play as our current state is open to criticism and the only sensible way forward is to address these two issues – they are not just bureaucracy and red tape – they are how we show that we are providing safe and relevant activities for our young people.

 

Activity approval

We do need to tighten up on our activity approvals. We have a governance system with checking and approval in order to ensure and maintain high levels of safety and an appropriate programme. This can be seen as three tiers:

  1. Each activity is planned and run by or overseen (in the case of activities planned and run by young people or adults gaining experience) by adults whose competence has been validated. This includes the production or identifying of an appropriate risk assessment and incorporating the relevant risk reduction/control measures into the activity. Such a competent person shall be nominated as the leader-in-charge and be responsible for ensuring that the Association’s safety policy [rule 2.3] is adhered to with respect to the activity.

 

  1. Each activity is reviewed and approved under arrangements set in place by the District Commissioner. No activity may take place without prior approval.

This is why sections have to make their programmes visible to their GSL.

POR Rule 9.1(b) states: The District Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities for Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. This will usually be by means of an informal system agreed between the District Commissioner and each Group Scout Leader or District Explorer Scout Commissioner.

Currently (including more delegations than previously gathered together):

  1. In Winchester, the District Commissioner retains the approval of all activities involving nights away;
  2. In Meon Valley, Alan Crabb is delegated for the approval of all activities involving nights away;
  3. ADCs and DDCs are delegated for the approval of each other’s activities organised at District level as long as they do not involve nights away;
  4. All Group Scout Leaders, District Explorer Scout Commissioners and District Scout Network Commissioners are delegated for the approval of activities within their Group or area of responsibility (for a joint activity, the approval of both GSLs is required) as long as they do not involve nights away and the leader-in-charge is not also the approver;
  5. In Winchester, the Chris Floyd (as Activities Manager) is delegated for the approval of activities managed by the Activities Team as long as they do not involve nights away and the leader-in-charge is not also the approver;
  6. In Winchester, the Ian Johnson (as Camp Site Manager) and Martyn Inglis (as Camp Warden) are delegated for the approval of activities (particularly development and maintenance activities) associated with Pinsent Campsite and its environs (this does not restrict the GSLs, DESC, DSNC or ADCs from approving activities at the site – that is the standard approval route for a section’s activities) as long as they do not involve nights away and the leader-in-charge is not also the approver;
  7. In Winchester, the District Commissioner, Ian Johnson (as Camp Site Manager) and Martyn Inglis (as Camp Warden) are authorised to represent the owner of Pinsent Campsite with respect to rule 9.37(f) (Shooting – providing permission to take firearms on to Scout premises).

Approval is not automatic and the approver may require to see a risk assessment, method statement/programme and the arrangements put in place, particularly for safety but also for any other aspect that they have a concern about. Where a delegate is unsure about approving an activity, they should talk to the District Commissioner and may request the District Commissioner to provide approval directly.

Delegates may further delegate low risk activities and the detail of activities so that they are not overwhelmed by detail, e.g. for a beaver craft night in the normal meeting place, the GSL needs to know that information plus be assured that sufficient adults/young leaders will be present to monitor any scissors, knives etc. and any hazardous materials (glues etc.).

 

  1. Executive Committees are required to manage and implement the Safety Policy locally [rule 3.23(b)(ii)]. The safety policy [rule 2.3] requires that:
    1. (d) Every Executive Committee in Scouting is to satisfy itself through appropriate assurance and monitoring activities that this policy is being put into effective use and to engage and consult with members on day-to-day health and safety conditions and ensure it is on the agenda at all meetings.
    2. (e) The responsible body for making sure that these requirements are met for every premises or location operated by a Scouting concern, and therefore deemed to be the Managing Controller of the premises, is the relevant executive committee.

This provides a longer term check on the provision for health and safety. The Executive Committee may require those directly planning, running and approving activities to improve the standards being applied.

 

Competency validation (also known as Training)

Safeguarding and Safety training and validation is required for all those roles/appointments identified in the table below within five months of the role start date recorded in Compass and thereafter refreshed no longer than five years after the previous safeguarding/safety training. The initial training and validation is part of module 1 and 1e. Safeguarding ‘Refresher’ training is in more depth and should alternate between the face-to-face workshops and the on-line training.

 

First Aid training and validation (to at least the first response level) is required for all those roles/appointments identified in the table below within three years of the role start date recorded in Compass and thereafter refreshed no longer than three years after the previous safeguarding/safety training. Some activities require a higher level of first aid training. The District encourages others, e.g. section assistants, to obtain and retain competence in first aid but this is not a requirement.

 

The Module 1, 1EX, 2, 3, 4 and remaining Wood Badge module validations, which differ for leaders and managers/supporters, are required for all those roles/appointments identified in the table below within three years of the role start date recorded in Compass. These do not require refreshing, However several modules require to be revalidated when an adult moves to an age range that they have not validated for (or have not being working with for a significant number of years).

 

An adult who has validated Module 1 counts as having validated Module 1EX. However they are encouraged to look at the online learning for 1EX, especially the section on being a trustee for Executive Committee members.

 

There is no training requirement for Sub-Committee Members, Occasional Helpers or Scout Network Members.

 

 

 

Complete within 5 months of role start date

Complete with 3 years of role start date

 

Refresh within 5 years

Module 3 revalidation for new age range
Module 2 required for each relevant role

Refresh within 3 years

Revalidation of some modules for new age range only

Roles/appointments

Safeguarding & Safety

Module 1 & GDPR

Module 1EX & GDPR

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

First aid

Remaining Wood Badge Modules

Remaining Wood Badge Modules (S&M)

Section Leader

Explorer Scout Leader

District Leader

P

P

 

P

P

 

P

P

 

Assistant Section Leader

Assistant Explorer Scout Leader

P

P

 

P

P

 

P

P

 

Section Assistant

Unit Assistant

P

P

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

Group Scout Leader

Assistant Group Scout Leader

P

P

 

P

 

P

P

 

P

District Commissioner

District Commissioner

District Youth Commissioner

Deputy District Youth Commissioner

District Explorer Scout Commissioner

District Scout Network Commissioner

Assistant District Commissioner

District Scouter

P

P

 

P

 

P

P

 

P

Group/District:

Chair

Secretary

Treasurer

District Appointments Chair

District Appointments Secretary

District Appointments Assistant Secretary

P

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group/District:

Deputy Chair

Trustee/Executive Member

District Appointments Advisory Committee Member

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group/District:

Adviser

Skills Instructor

P

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group/District:

Scout Active Support Manager

P

P

 

P

 

P

P

 

P

Group/District:

Scout Active Support Coordinator

P

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group/District:

Administrator

Chaplain

Communications Manager

President

Vice President

District Badge Secretary

District Camp Warden

Assistant District Camp Warden`

Centre Manager (e.g. Camp-site Manager)

Scout Active Support Member

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that the emphasis is not on training for the sake of it but on competence and the validation of that competence. Training is a route to competence. Training is not required if you can demonstrate competence without it. Some items (notably first aid) do require attendance at a training session but relatively few. Although you may consider yourself competent and others may also consider you to be so, it is important that we secure those validations. Currently Winchester is highly vulnerable to criticism due to number of validations that should have taken place and have not but are overdue. We are very much in need of a cultural shift to securing validations on time.

 

The District Commissioner and Appointments Advisory Committee can provide extensions to the timescales, a second five months for initial training or up to two years for wood badge training in exceptional circumstances. There have been no applications for extensions.

 

The rulebook (POR) is quite clear on the action to take if training is not completed on time. Unfortunately, a large number of our adults are vulnerable to having their roles cancelled. The Gt Orme tragedy makes such cancellation more likely. Everyone with a relevant role has access to Compass, the Association’s adult database, although they may have to register or obtain a new password. Compass holds the master copy of your training record. So actions please:

  1. Please ensure that you have identified the competencies that you should have validated and make sure that they are validated.
  2. If there are any items listed in Compass as not validated that you believe you have validated with then please see your GSL, a Training Advisor or myself as DC and get them corrected. That is likely to involve a validation.
  3. Please also address any gaps in your validation record.

 

In Winchester, we provide good Scouting under many criteria. However, we are currently vulnerable to an accusation of having a poor competency validation culture. We need to urgently turn that round such that we can show that our adults are competent. That needs everyone to promote a good validation culture starting with themselves.

 

In summary

Please ensure that all your activities are properly approved and that you and your team have validated their competence within the required timescales.

 

Yours in Scouting

Robin

 

Robin Cook

District Commissioner - Meon Valley

dc.meonvalley@hampshirescouts.org.uk

meonvalleyscouts.org.uk 

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