Moving forward


Sometimes you look back at your diary and wonder how you managed to cram so much in - a combination of things last week meant that it was just one of those weeks, for meetings in particular.

Turning the objectives into work streams

An overnight stay meant an early start on Tuesday for a variety of meetings at Gilwell and later in central London. We kicked off with a review of the progress towards our strategic objectives and work plans for the coming year, with Andy who has the unenviable task of collating the plan.

Helping with a culture of safety

Developing our safety culture, as I have mentioned before, is a priority, and we reviewed the work to date and proposed actions in preparation for a report to the operations sub-committee, along with recommendations for their meeting in April. 

Ensuring we have the money

All of these of course require funding, and so a meeting with Lindsay who has recently joined us as director of finance was an opportunity to review the budget in some detail, including medium and long-term capital-funded priorities and the finance strategy.

Time for the odd call

The journey into central London was an opportunity to make a couple of phone calls to my team members, and in particular tp chat to Debbie, UK commissioner for adult support, on the progress with their work plans.

Making the most from insurance

Another of our regular meetings with Derek and Alan allowed us to catch up on a number of issues, before we were joined for dinner by Tim Ablett. Tim has recently volunteered his time to chair the board of Scout Insurance Services Limited (Unity) having been a director of several leading international insurance companies. He is also involved with the trading arm of Aged UK, which gives him a great insight into supporting the development of our own insurance services, both for members and others in the not-for-profit sector. 

Tim is another great example of the growing number of professionals willing to offer their services to Scouting on a pro bono basis as I have previously mentioned.

Ensuring our youth involvement strategy is on course

I was lucky enough to have an opportunity on Thursday to catch up with Gordon Weston, regional commissioner of South West England, as he was visiting Guernsey for their AGM in the evening. In addition to a brief overview of Scouting in the region (ahead of my joining them for their team meeting shortly), Gordon is chair of our youth involvement working group, and so this was a great chance to review the group's progress and in particular look at the challenges.

This is an area in which I believe we still have a lot to learn, and it was great to hear that many counties and countries are making good progress with youth forums/councils [the latest to cross my desk was that for Cheshire, held at the weekend.

Making the most from communications

Back to Gilwell on Friday for a flying visit on my way to Worcester, and the chance to catch up with Rob Halkyard regarding the recent readership survey for Scouting magazine, and some proposed changes we may make, along with an update on the digital strategy and our plans to increase the pace and progress we are making.

Joining the extended county team in Hereford and Worcester

The evening in Worcester ahead of Hereford and Worcester’s extended county team day on Saturday provided an opportunity to catch up with the regional commissioner for the West Midlands, Dave Bramston, and a further high level review of the initial census and development plans for the region.

When I first met Derek Barnes following his appointment as county commissioner just over a year ago I mentioned that Hereford and Worcester was on the list of counties that I hadn’t yet been invited to or had an opportunity to visit. That was quickly rectified, and I was pleased to join them to share our Vision 2018 and to participate in a longer than usual Q&A session, helped by Dave, along with a short discussion on youth involvement. The questions were varied and gave us a great opportunity to explore in some detail the many key issues faced by GSLs and DCs in particular, as well as unpicking some of our current strategies and plans we have to make life ever easier. 

There was a great buzz in the audience and I left in no doubt that the future of Hereford and Worcester Scouting is in great hands.

Valuing recently appointed district commissioners

Back to Gilwell on Sunday evening to join 14 DCs who were in early for their induction day on Monday, and so we took the opportunity over dinner and in the group room later in the evening to get an early start on some of their questions and experiences being relatively new to the role.

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