Looking back and moving forward


Induction days for District Commissioners are held at Gilwell every 6 months, and provide an opportunity for newly appointed DCs to learn about the various initiatives, get to know the workings of HQ and put faces to names as well as an opportunity to quiz me and members of the Senior Management Team.

It is also an opportunity for DCs who were appointed some time ago but who wish to refresh their knowledge and ideas to do so. All in all a great way to start the week.

Keeping an eye on the programme

I also took the opportunity to catch up with members of the Programme Team to discuss the review of the programme which we are presently undertaking and elements of which appear in the programme roles currently being advertised.

Celebrating the past and looking forward

Back to Guernsey in time to join the Guernsey Scouts for their centenary dinner on Thursday, where members gathered to celebrate the past through the launch of a book on the early years of Scouting in Guernsey by Eric Grimsley, as well as a refreshed local website and branding.

It was also a chance to catch up with many friends, although I have to confess to cursing the late night when my alarm went at 5.30am the following morning for the early flight to Gatwick.

Saying thank you

Friday was an opportunity to thank those volunteers who work at national level in a wide variety of roles, along with our staff who have received St George’s Day awards, for their commitment and dedication to Scouting.

With the Board having its meeting on Saturday, it is also an opportunity to catch up with a variety of people who are arriving early.

Getting down to business

The Board meeting started with a working dinner on the Friday evening where we took the opportunity to receive additional background briefings especially for some of the more complex issues that the Board were considering the following day.

We had a very full meeting and decisions included the following:-

Working more efficiently

We completed our review of Reporting Committees (those that the Board delegates particular decisions and operational matters to), most notable perhaps being the decision to amalgamate the General Purposes and Operations sub-committees.

It was felt that the large amount of overlap of these two key committees would be better achieved though one. Other committees have been streamlined and the Board reaffirmed its commitment to youth involvement by ensuring increased participation by young people in our committees.

Key initiatives to support scouting

Key strategies including Internal Communications, Fundraising and Ambassadors and Celebrity Endorsement were all approved by the Board.

As you know, I am particularly keen on the Internal Communication strategy, and we will be sharing key details of this with you in due course. What else would we do with a communications strategy, after all?

Getting IT Right

Many of you have participated in the survey and focus group discussions over the past 6 months, and the result of this work and much detailed research was presented to the Board along with significant proposals for a new system to achieve the objectives that were highlighted through the consultations.

The Board gave its general approval to the project with additional information to be presented through the General Purposes sub-committee. Details will be shared with you over the coming weeks.

Any other business?

Other business included a review of the reserves policy (the amount of money we have to keep for a rainy day), the defined benefits pension scheme for staff, the budget for 2011/2012 and the approval of the proposals regarding our fundamentals, previously considered by the Operations sub-committee.

All in all some key decisions to fulfil our commitments to better support members in developing Scouting where it really matters. Further details will be shared through the usual channels.

Keeping the eye on growing

A quick departure from Gilwell got me to Hinckley in Leicestershire in time to join the Regional Commissioners (England) and Regional Development Managers for dinner before their quarterly team meeting and, of course, an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues and topics, many of which were highlighted to County Commissioners through their own local meetings.

We had a particularly interesting debate on maintaining our focus on growth, and in particular how we can achieve this without being distracted by other initiatives seeking to improve the quality of Scouting programme quality, social inclusion, youth involvement and much more.

Training - a family affair

I finished the week with a great morning joining the Muslim Scout Active Support Unit at one of their regular training courses, this month held at Kibblestone Activity Centre in Staffordshire.

I learnt so much during my morning that I will share it with you in a separate blog later in the week. The first thing I noticed however was the family-friendly nature of the course, with activities provided for children who were camping with their parents, enabling more people to participate without the need for childcare.

And finally...

As I have mentioned before, I am always pleased to receive ideas and information from around the UK, and this week I was particularly interested in Merseyside’s latest production to promote Scouting locally.

It has been produced by Alex William, their Media Development Manager, who hopefully won’t be too embarrassed if I mention that he is 26. It does strike me that the MDM role is a wonderful opportunity to involve young people in key management roles and to capitalise on their knowledge of social media that eludes many of us, certainly me. Well done Alex and team.

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