Coronavirus

Key Information for Volunteers and Parents

Last Updated 18:00 Friday 3rd April 2020

What’s Changed: DBS, Taking Scouts Online and Badges at Home added with Explorer Activity Badges (more to follow…)

Before reading the information below, please ensure you’re up to date with the guidance at scouts.org.uk/coronavirus and gov.uk/coronavirus

In West Mercia, we’re doing all we can to support local Districts and Groups during this time, by providing access to systems and resources from across the County Team. Check this page regularly, as it is being continuously updated with new information.

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The team at HQ have created guidance which can be found here. To support Appointments Committee and Panel meetings to take place virtually, District Commissioners and Chairs have been provided access to Microsoft Teams.

The County Office team are operating remotely.

To contact a member of the County Team, please follow the link below.

Contact The County Team

Processing disclosure applications and re-checks

While all face-to-face Scout meetings and activities across the UK are suspended, The Scouts have taken the decision to stop processing disclosure applications and re-checks. This will be the case until the suspension on face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is lifted.

Scouts volunteers are not engaging in Regulated Activity while face-to-face Scout meetings and activities are suspended. Therefore, there is no requirement for disclosure applications and re-checks to be processed during the Coronavirus situation.

What this means during the Coronavirus situation

  • Volunteers will not be suspended when a disclosure re-check has not been undertaken and a valid disclosure obtained.
  • Volunteer line managers will continue to receive the reminder and suspension emails as these are automated through Compass. While this isn’t ideal, it isn’t practicable nor cost effective at this time to stop these being sent. During this period please disregard these emails (although they may be of use to create a list of those volunteers who will need to process a disclosure re-check when the suspension on face-to-face Scout meetings and activities is lifted).   
  • Volunteer line managers should not add any new adults during the Coronavirus situation and should not process the suspension of volunteers during this period.

Following the advice to suspend all face-to-face meetings, activities and events, it’s important to consider any events you may have scheduled locally, including St George’s Day. Events organised by West Mercia Scouts are currently under review; as soon as decisions have been made, they will be listed here.

The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) have announced a special edition of Jamboree on the Internet, to take place April 3-5. Details can be found on their website.

The following National events have been cancelled:
• Day of Celebration at Windsor
• Beaver and Cub Fundays at Gilwell Park and Woodhouse Park
• Gilwell 24

The following West Mercia Scouts events have been cancelled or postponed:
• Annual Awards Event
• Annual Review & AGM

The following events are under review, and an update will be provided as soon as possible:
• Cuboree 2020
• European Scout Jamboree 2020
• Kandersteg 2020

If you are attending an event organised by West Mercia Scouts that does not appear here, please contact the organisers.

The NCVO has published some useful guidance to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support Scouts locally during this time.

Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one. Please see their guidance here.

We have approved an amendment to the standard constitutions in POR which allows meetings to be held remotely. It also allows decisions to be made electronically. This is valid immediately and will be updated in the next update to POR, in early April. The wording is as follows:

• Electronic voting (such as email) is allowed for decision making of the County/District/Group Executive Committee and its sub-Committees when deemed appropriate by the Chair. In such instances at least 75% of committee members must approve the decision.
• The County/District/Group Executive Committee & its sub-Committees can meet by telephone conference, video conference as well as face to face in order to discharge its responsibilities when agreed by the appropriate Chair.

All District Chairs have been issued with Office 365 accounts, which have Microsoft Teams enabled. We are working to implement Office 365 for all Group Chairs too.

Annual General Meetings
We’ve received the following advice from the Charity Commission:
“If you feel that in the best interests of your charity and to follow the governments public health guidance it is necessary to cancel or postpone your charity’s AGM (or any other key meeting) that will be fine. You should record the decision you have made to show good governance.

As long as you as a trustee body are satisfied that the decision to not go ahead is in the best interests of the trustees, membership and beneficiaries the Commission will support you in this.

More information can be found here.

The teams at World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and UK Scout Headquarters are in the process of creating Programme ideas to support Scouts at home.

Check here, scouts.org.uk and scout.org regularly.

The Scouts have developed ‘The Great Indoors’, which features (quite literally) hundreds of activities for you to try at home. Take a look here.

Although we’ve had to stop our face-to-face meetings during the Coronavirus pandemic, you can still stay connected with your groups online –  trying new activities, learning new skills and working towards badges and awards.

Keeping everyone safe is the number one concern for all of us at the Scouts. That’s why we all need to continue to follow the Code of Behaviour set out in the Yellow Card when connecting with young people online.

Volunteers whose disclosure expires during this period may continue to meet digitally, following the advice and guidance issued on holding virtual meetings to make sure we keep all members safe.   

All Training due to take place from now until 30th April has been cancelled.

A decision will be provided on 3rd April around Training scheduled for May.

Under new measures, Chairs, Secretaries and Treasurers must now complete mandatory ongoing learning.

As mentioned in National Communications, now is the time to focus on any Safeguarding and Safety training.

For assistance with County Systems such as Office 365, please contact [email protected]

We have created Office 365 Accounts for each District Commissioner, District Chair, Group Scout Leaders and Section Leaders – these have access to Microsoft Teams, which enable you to host meetings and webinars remotely, which can be used for executive Committee, leadership and section meetings.

Media Enquiries

For all press and media enquiries, please contact Scout Headquarters.

Virtual Meeting Guidance

We have developed best practice guidance and tutorials for Microsoft Teams virtual meetings, and are delivering a series of webinars to support you in your role. Click the link below to read the documents and see the webinar schedule.

Office 365 Login

All District Commissioners and Chairs have now been provided with a West Mercia Scouts Office 365 Account. This will enable local meetings to take place using Microsoft Teams.