District update 6th March 2021

  • County are looking for a new ACC (Scouts). 
  • County plan a conference or actual meeting in November, aimed at everyone to GSL and Group Chair level. Is there an appetite for this? What would be on the agenda? A questionnaire will be circulated in due course.
  • Census: the County picture is “not as bad as we’d thought” with Surrey adults falling 7% (-9% the SE) and youth falling 14% (-20% in the SE and -24% nationally). The message from the County Commissioner Joe Rogerson is this: “Surrey has done superbly well” and well done to every single Scouter, helper etc at Group level. Please pass this on. Surrey is (after Hants) the second-most numerous Scout County in UK.
  • Safer Scouting: various metrics and graphs were displayed; Module 1 compliance (done in less than 5 months) is > 90%. Wood Badge compliance (done in less than three years) is >75%. Basic training and MOGL, and validation of, remains the highest priority. The County Commissioner is unrepentant and hard on this, and says that those who “don’t want to do training” have no place in Scouting. But, he notes it’s an issue of processes, not people. Get the processes right – make training and validation easy – and people will do the training. 
  • Risk assessments: 
    • COVID-19: Existing risk assessments should be reviewed and it is not necessary to resubmit UNLESS there are major changes. Groups and Sections without such approved risk assessments, need to liaise with me to get going. Whatever happens, if ALL your people (including the Exec) have not got their Mandatory Ongoing Learning updated (safeguarding, safety for the present) you may NOT restart Scouting face-to-face.  Again: NO MOGL, no face-to-face Scouting. It’s that simple. 
    • Mandatory general activity risk assessment: since January 1, ALL Scouting activities need to have documented risk assessment which has been shared with all adults present. It don’t need to be printed – but it does need to be suitable, sufficient, and shared. For most of our people this is not a big deal; it is the one or two excellent Scouters we have whose skills are more practical than IT-oriented, that may need help with this. Esher District are working on a database of generic risk assessments; we in East Surrey have such a list though it is a little older. I am here to help on this and there are others within the District who understand and are not daunted by, the concept of written risk assessment. Please ask!!
  • Explorer Scouts and Young Leaders: we listened to an excellent presentation from Jonathan Perkins and Andrew Carvell, relating to a proposed Young Leader training programme. Being a Young Leader – “a whole set of skills that aren’t taught in school”. A conference on this matter is scheduled for SUNDAY 10th OCTOBER at Bentley, as well as sundry meetings in the year. Of interest to many of  you esp. Ron, Amanda and others. 
  • Korea WSJ: 
    • Unit Leader selection – for them as are interested – will be more rigorous and careful, with changes from last time. Unit Leader selection will start early June, and the County selection weekend will be 18/19 September. 
    • Candidate (youngster) selection – late 2021/early 2022; fee not confirmed but likely to be at least as much as it was for the USA. [Nick notes: one thing I can tell you for free, is that East Surrey District does not have and is unlikely to have, the financial resources to sponsor candidates at a £1000/head as in the past.]
  • County Chair James Burge proposes a Chairs/Executive committee members forum or meeting – for District and Group officials – later in the year. 

Locally:

  • St George’s Day: Whilst Scouting will have “gone amber” at that point (the last Sunday in April) permitting small groups to gather, there is no possibility that we can all meet as a District.  What we suggest is that everyone – from leaders to Beavers – puts on their uniform and goes out the front of their house, or in the garden, or whatever, according to what is appropriate, and makes their Scout Promise anew, all at the same time (1400 hrs) on Sunday 26th April.  We can’t mandate that of course; we can’t require it, but we can encourage it and I think we should. Small groups within the COVID-19 “amber” regulations can gather as the leaders see fit. Groups can do as they please within that loose arrangement. Photos can be taken, videos shot. The main thing is that we come out of it having had a majority of young people and adults in uniform outdoors at once, saying the Scout Promise. 
  • Awards: On that note, I have a box of awards, badges and medals to give out. I shall prepare a Roll of Honour to send out by email, under separate cover to this, and posted on the above-mentioned link on our web page. And then as things get going in the late Spring, I’d hope to come along to see each of the sections doing stuff, and present these badges and awards to you at the belated but appropriate time. I shall not appear without warning though – all by appointment and agreement.
  • Recruitment: District is advertising for a new District Treasurer in various volunteer forums. It is a less onerous but wider role than Group Treasurer. District needs the following persons, sooner and later:
    • District Treasurer
    • District Secretary
    • Chair for the District Appointments Advisory Committee
    • Members for the District Appointments Advisory Committee
    • ADC (Beavers)
  • All these roles, with the possible exception of ADC (Beavers), are – at least in a small District like East Surrey – less onerous and demanding of time than the corresponding Group roles, where applicable. Feel free to ask around or pass the word to your parent list, looking for volunteers.