The advice from Gilwell is that we should continue to hold Appointment Advisory Committee (AAC) interviews for potential leaders and adult supporters during lockdown. We do need to attract and recruit new leaders despite the lull in face-to-face Scouting. And we are all now learning how to do Scouting in different ways because of the lockdown.

So AAC interviews can be done online, as has been successfully shown by the Craigalmond AAC.

Here’s some advice from Aileen Thomson, Chair of Craigalmond AAC, on how they did this.

Craigalmond, being a large District, often has a number of potential leaders and others needing to attend AAC meetings. We had three AAC meetings set up for March which all had to be cancelled for Covid 19 reasons. By mid-April we had 41 candidates needing to attend an AAC meeting and so we decided to try holding one online.

Here is what we did:

  • We set a date and booked that on Zoom.
  • Put together an AAC Panel – with a slight difference in that all had to have access to Zoom and we had one extra member to run a waiting room for participants.  (This would not need to be a member of the AAC team).
  • Set up a Doodle Poll for the times of the appointments on a first come first served basis.
  • Invites (including the Doodle Poll link) were sent out to possible participants (we only invited 12 for the original one as a trial) The six appointments filled quickly.  We used an updated version of our usual invite.
  • Confirmation was then sent to the six successful candidates with the link to the Zoom details.
  • The AAC panel were supplied with the names of the candidates, a potted version of the AI form, their PVG status and their training status to help with the interview.
  • Candidates joined the Zoom meeting at their allotted interview time and were held in the waiting room until the panel was ready for them. This helped with privacy.
  • After the interview, the AAC panel had its usual discussion and one member recorded the outcomes.

How did it go:

This all turned out to be successful and easier than we expected! And we have scheduled in more! We are also having discussions about using this method for some more AAC interviews in the future.

Candidates seem to appreciate we were trying to do something, and that they didn’t need to travel. The AAC panel members felt comfortable to ask all the appropriate questions. It was possibly harder to create a friendly atmosphere.

What did we learn:

We had allowed 20 minutes per interview as we felt they would be shorter than a face to face session. This proved wrong in fact – some were longer than normal as some candidates seem happy to talk to a screen! So, need to revert back to our usual 30 minutes.

The fourth person was crucial to run a waiting room, to stop the next candidate interrupting the current interview. It also allowed the three panel members to concentrate on doing the meeting and not worrying about the technology.

Needed someone with a Zoom licence to host meeting to stop having to re-join after 40 mins. Some Districts may have a member who can access Zoom. However, the Scout Association has done a deal with Zoom Pro for all to have access for the next few months – coming soon.

I would be happy to answer any questions. You can contact me at ian.harrower2@virgin.net

Do think about it – it does work very well!

Aileen Thomson
Chair of the Craigalmond AAC