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Blog | NEScouts now at Amber
11/03/2021 By Aaron Wappler

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Following the recent announcement from the Scottish Government relating to some easing of restrictions and in line with the strategic framework, I have been working with YouthLink Scotland to update the guidance for Youthwork Activity in Scotland. I can confirm that Scouting in Scotland (along with other youth work providers) will be moving back to the Amber readiness level from Friday 12 March 2021.

As you will be aware youth work continues to link closely with schools and therefore, from tomorrow, we will move to Amber with groups allowed to meet outdoors in group sizes of 15, this includes young people and adults.

From tomorrow you will be able to operate within your local authority until further information is made available about the updated level system later in April. This can include non-contact outdoor activity. However, group travel as part of the activity e.g. outings and trips, is currently not permitted. Please note that adults can cross Local Authority boundaries to get to their normal meeting place.

I am still working with the Government on longer term plans for camping and larger group sizes but we expect these to be introduced steadily throughout the summer. We hope that this will be a phased approach and we will keep you advised.

As with the strategic framework, all target dates are subject to the vaccination programme continuing at the same rate and the rate of infections reducing across the country.

Physical distancing should be maintained at all times between adults, between adults and children/young people and between young people aged 12 and over. This is currently 2m. Youth work leaders should consult the latest Scottish Government guidance for the current default position for physical distancing, including the rules for children aged 11 and under and those aged 12+. Leaders should also continue to follow FACTS. Face coverings are optional outdoors, unless physical distancing can’t be maintained for short periods.

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. We hope that by the spring every young person is able to take part in Scouting provision whether that be online or face-to-face.

In order to make it easier for Leaders to restart, we have simplified the guidance on equipment sharing and we have clarified how our adult supervision rules apply when operating multiple limited size groups close together. This can be found here.

Scout Network organised activity can be carried out in line with these updated guidelines, but adult only groups must continue to adhere to household rules that from 12 March 2021 will be a maximum of 4 adults from 2 households.

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 have not yet had an Amber risk assessment approved then this should be submitted to your District Commissioner before any face-to-face contact can take place. Make sure you've read all of the details about getting back together safely and protecting ourselves and others.

Please remember too, that all adults in your leadership team must have up-to-date training in Safety and Safeguarding, before they are permitted to participate in face-to-face meetings.

This news is welcome and is the first step in what we hope will be a gradual reintroduction to activities and I will continue to work with external organisations and our UK Team to make sure that we do everything to make the process as seamless as possible.