As promised, I wanted to feedback following on from the deliberative event on campaigning on 10 February and some of the continued discussions about campaigning.
Over sixty members participated from across the Movement, including five who piloted a virtual participation programme and we’re very grateful to those who gave their time to the discussion. I was very interested to see the topics being whittled down from sixteen possible concerns to three – an indication perhaps of just how well Scouting can contribute to public debate on subjects relevant to our Movement and members if it chooses?
In the end consensus was that we needed to act not just on topics that directly impact Scouting (“self interest” topics) but also on issues affecting the young people with whom we work. In addition to the event, 500 members had responded to an on-line survey inviting their views – it was interesting to see the shared priorities, but also some significant differences.
The top concern both online and in debate was gift aid and campaigning to make the system an opt-out rather than opt-in process. It was felt that this will not only raise millions for Scouting but also help other charities who use the service. Second priority identified was doing more to campaign for time off for volunteering. Looking to build on work being done to promote volunteering with employers as a skills development opportunity as well as join with others pushing for more time off for all volunteers (see my blog of 23 February).
Final priority identified was Scouts Speak Up and supporting our young people to advocate for Scouting. Of particular interest for me and a challenge is that this was not identified as a priority for leaders within our online poll but was a clearfavourite with our youth members. Confirmation perhaps that understanding generational change is a big challenge for us and that we need to work harder at supporting both young people and leaders to feel comfortable about campaigning together.
Key to success will clearly be the concerns we choose, and how we go about it? As ever I welcome your views on these issues and the debates that will no doubt continue.