Getting back together

From 12 April 2021

The next stage of relaxing restrictions commences from Monday 12 April.

The key changes set out by HQ are:

  • Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers will be able to meet indoors, with no legal limit on youth numbers, however you should keep it as one section meeting at a time with flexibility for smaller sections to join together if required. It’s important to remember that physical space will be limited and social distancing of two metres between everyone will be required. You should continue to take all measures to stop transmission and we would recommend most sections to continue meeting outdoors if they can.
  • Scout Network may also meet indoors but will be limited to maximum group sizes of 15. We continue to encourage outdoor meetings where you can.
  • Adult activities can only take place outdoors and should follow the current Government guidance.
  • Trips and visits are now accepted, however these should only be done where you cannot stay local to achieve the outcomes and each must be completed within a day as residential activities remain prohibited.

Scout HQ have updated the information on our readiness levels with the full list of what you can and can’t do from the 12th April. Remember if you want to find any information to help with your return to Scouts, you can find it on the Scout HQ ‘Getting back together safely’ pages, which now includes a detailed information hub.

Things to think about

Sections should stay local for trips and visits, including hikes, but if necessary can travel “a bit further” – for example, where they have no outdoor space. However travel should be minimised.

It’s really important that social distancing and other COVID-19 safe measures are adhered to whilst we still have restrictions. We always need to consider the risks as we’re dealing with different strains of the virus and the majority of people at our meetings will not have been vaccinated yet. Outdoor meetings are being relaxed initially due to the lower risk of transmission outdoors, and we would recommend meeting outdoors where you can in the spring and summer months.

Taking part in Scouts is voluntary for all leaders and young people and nobody should be pressured to return to face-to-face meetings before they are comfortable doing so.

In order to make it easier for Leaders to restart, Scout HQ have simplified the guidance on equipment sharing and we have clarified how adult supervision rules apply when operating multiple limited size groups close together. The status of youth group camping in the UK remains under review and HQ will update the guidance for England as soon as they have news. You can read full guidance on the ‘Getting back together safely’ pages.

Section Leaders should be reconsulted about starting their section and if they are comfortable with indoor Scouting as well as outdoor Scouting. If your consultation letter to parents/carers/young people included for outdoor Scouting only, it may be appropriate to reconsult on the plan to return to indoor Scouting, relaxation of social distancing between Young People only and wearing of face coverings indoors.

If Groups have had an amber risk assessment approved this will still be valid, but we’d encourage them to review their risk assessment before meeting again. There is no requirement to resubmit the risk assessment to Districts for approval unless they’re making a big change to the way they plan to operate. For those Groups who’ve not yet had an Amber risk assessment approved, we would encourage you to reach out and the District team can provide support if you need it.

Don’t forget that it’s also a requirement for all member’s to be up-to-date with their mandatory safety and safeguarding training before they return to face-to-face activity. Now is a great time to encourage members to get ahead with this. It’s easy to complete and can be done online.

QR codes for your meeting places. If you have your own venue, you now need to provide a printed QR code so that those who are 16 and over can use the NHS Test and Trace app. You can generate a unique code for your venue here. Leaders still need to keep records of attendance for your meetings.

What means for risk assessments

You can still choose to plan and submit a risk assessment (RA) for Amber Level  – outdoor activities only.

If you have submitted a RA for Amber level – outdoor activities – and now want to add indoor activities, then you will need to add to your risk assessment as appropriate and resubmit.

If you are updating existing risks then they do not need to be submitted. But if significant new risks are identified and added to the risk assessment this will need to be submitted for reapproval.

HQ guidance states that:

  • If existing risks are updated the risk assessment should not require reapproval, this would be things such as changes in the maximum number of people present, changes in arrival procedures and hygiene arrangements.
  • New risks would include meeting in a different environment, moving to meet indoors, introducing overnight/residential activities. These items will need to be added to the existing risk assessment (if already submitted) and then submitted for reapproval.

On group size we would suggest saying that you will have group sizes that meet the Scout HQ rules and that way you won’t have to change your RA if they change again. The plan is that the numbers change to 15 young people and up to five adults (carers will not be counted in these numbers).

For indoor meetings, in your RA you will obviously need to address the Covid risks related to the use of the indoor premises/equipment, including the need for those of Scout and Explorer age to wear face coverings indoors.

If you have already submitted a risk assessment which is under review could you please advise whether you would like to update it to include indoor Scouting or whether you still want it to be considered for only outdoor activities. Let the District team know by e-mailing:

If you have already had your risk assessment approved and would like to add indoor activities then please add the risks for indoor activities to your existing RA, update the group size limits and resubmit.

Please note that when you submit any amended COVID-19 Risk Assessments to the District Risk Assessments Team you must resubmit them in the same way as the first submission was done, i.e. By using the Smartsheet which you can access here

The District email Approver address must be:

By just emailing the Risk Assessment to us means that the system that informs HQ and County of Risk Assessment submission and approval will not work and also the District will not be able to formally approve the revised Risk Assessment.

So the e-mail addresses you need are: – for all queries about the process, issues, questions etc – only for your submissions – plans and risk assessments via the Smartsheet.

Don’t use other e-mail addresses for these purposes!

Scouts UK Webinar

You can access the Scout UK Webinar broadcast on 2nd July 2020 on Returning to Face-to-Face Scouting here (starts approx. 4 minutes into the recording)

District Communications

Here are DC Phil’s e-mails sent out on 14 July 2020 in pdf format. These messages give you the links needed to the essential information on the Scout website and set out what needs to be done but it is recommended that you use the links on these website pages:

Message to all GSLs and Group chairpersons

Message to all Explorer Scout Leaders

The GLS meeting on the 30 July 2020 included a Powerpoint presentation by the DC. You can find a copy of the presentation here in PDF format: DRAFT Getting Back meeting 30 July

Many of the documents which are linked to within these pages may be updated. We will endeavour to keep these links up-to-date. We understand that any new versions of documents will be posted by Scout HQ on a Thursday.

The District Getting Back Team

The District has set up a team to support groups and sign off risk assessments, so that Scouting can restart whilst complying with the guidance and requirements.

The key team put together to assist with the process is: Alison McCormick, Donna Wilson, Pam Dixon, Alan Brewer and Ian Hardy. You can contact the team for advice if you get stuck or want more advice by using the e-mail address:

As well as the key team, others from the District team will be playing a part in the process to assure that Groups are compliant with the requirements for safe Scouting. Ultimately Phil Hunt, as District Commissioner, and Jill Fielder, as District Chair, are accountable for Groups restarting.

Key Information sources

The main page for HQ information on restarting Scouting can be found here

The most recent version of the Guidance for section leaders starting face-to-face meetings and activities (version 3) can be found here

Restart process

The key document is the Scouts Framework which you can also download here (PDF).

The process for restarting is summarised in the following flow chart: Restart (PDF)

Next steps

Click on the links below for pages covering the various subject areas that need to be referred to by Section Leaders, GSLs and Chairs of Executive Committees. The key one is “What you need to do” and sets out the steps to be followed, from planning restarting through to actually restarting Scouting in accordance with the current Amber level.

The levels of safety (updated 23/3/21)

What you need to do (updated 12/9/20)

First aid, safety and safeguarding (updated 19/8/20)

Further matters to consider

Reading list

Return to this page by clicking “BACK” at the bottom of each page.

I want the public to know how Scouting continues to open young people’s eyes to a world of extraordinary promise and possibilities.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls