Earlier this week, Scouts Scotland issued updated guidance to all members in response to the five COVID protection levels which have been brought in by the Scottish Government. We are aware that this updated guidance has led to some discussion about how this will affect us locally, particularly as parts of the Region are in different tiers.

Therefore, we thought it important to provide an update to all our members on what this means for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Within South East Scotland the majority of our districts are current under Tier 3 regulations with one, Borders, under Tier 2 – although as with everything at the moment, these are subject to continual review and may change. If you are not sure what tier you are currently in, you can use the Scottish Government’s postcode checker
It is important to note that as none of the Region is within Tier 4, all Districts within South East Scotland remain at Yellow readiness level at the current time and thus face to face Scouting, both indoors and outdoors, can be undertaken subject to an appropriate risk assessment being approved. However, the latest guidance does require some additional areas to be considered. 

As we have said throughout the pandemic, we want to be clear that there is no pressure to return to face to face Scouting until you want to. You know your young people, your adult volunteers and the other aspects that they have to consider and you know the limitations of your meeting place so we recognise that the decision on whether or not to meet face to face has to be made at the local level  (usually Group/Unit) and reflect what is best for member’s health and wellbeing. 

Scouting in all Tiers

For those groups which are meeting indoors, the guidance has been updated to specify that face coverings should be worn by people of all ages where they are moving about in corridors, confined communal areas (including toilets), and other areas of buildings where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain. Whilst they are not required in meeting spaces, they should be worn in any situation, indoors or outdoors, where social distancing of 2m cannot be maintained between adults, adults and all young people and between young people aged 12+.

Scouting in Tier 3

For those groups within Tier 3 who are meeting face to face, a fully blended model should be in place combining face to face and virtual meetings and the programme being run should be reviewed in detail to ensure that this is the case. To help us to Keep on Scouting we have pulled together some programme ideas which can be run virtually or socially distanced.

Whilst the maximum numbers remain at 30 (including young people and adults) you should consider what numbers are most appropriate for a section meeting and also consider reducing the length of meetings.

Travelling Between Tiers


We have had a few questions about adult volunteers moving between tiers for the purposes of delivering Scouting. Under the latest YouthLink Scotland guidance, as an essential part of the education system in Scotland, travel to and from Scouting youthwork activity is permitted to take place, even if it involves moving between local authority areas and tiers.

However, groups and sections are asked to limit travel for meetings and activities which involves moving between areas that have different protection levels. So, for example, we would ask that sections in the Borders do not travel to Bonaly Scout Centre for a meeting as this currently involves moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Risk Assessments

The UK Framework for face to face activities remains unchanged and should continue to be followed for groups and sections looking to meet face to face. In particular, risk assessments should continue to be completed and submitted for approval to the relevant commissioner.

It is also important to remember that existing Risk Assessments should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet the current situation. They do not need to be resubmitted unless significant changes are made.

Further guidance on completing risk assessments including a model risk assessment can be found on the Getting Everyone Back Together Safely page of the Region’s website and Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer, is also happy to help any members looking for guidance or support with the risk assessment process. Our upcoming November Newsletter will also have an article on Risk Assessments which covers the requirements in more detail.

We expect there to be further updates next week and ongoing as the situation develops so please look out for these from Scouts Scotland and SES Region.

Finally, in the current challenging times, we both hope that you and your families remain safe and want to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything that you have done and continue to do for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Simon Cocker and Martin Elliot, Acting Regional Commissioners
Email: rc@sesscouts.org.uk