Change to the COVID-19 readiness level in Scotland

As lockdown measures start to ease we have been working with UK Headquarters, Youthlink Scotland and Public Health Scotland alongside the Scottish Government guidance to understand what a safe return to face-to-face activities may look like when the readiness level reduces from red.

From 12pm today (17 July) we are moving to the Amber readiness level in Scotland.

This means for most Scouts in Scotland you can now organise COVID-19 safe face-to-face activities outdoors only with a maximum group size of 15. 

Please note that:

Leaders need to be included in this maximum group size number. 

No young person or adult volunteer can move between different groups of 15 on the same day.

This is for all Sections except for Scout Network, as the law covers under 18s only. Scout Network must follow the same rules as adults in social settings. 

Household restrictions do not apply to any gatherings for the purposes of education, training or voluntary services.


Take the time to plan, it is perfectly ok to continue to offer a digital programme.

No face to face activity can take place until you have done all the preparations to ensure a safe return, and these written risk assessments and plans have been approved locally.

All adults working in Sections must have up to date Safety and Safeguarding Training completed before face to face Scouting will be permitted.

Adults must physically distance from 12+ age group.

Residential activities and international trips are not currently permitted.

Read all the guidance and steps that need to be taken before any face to face activity can resume.

Risk Assessments

In the current situation what is required is a much more generic risk assessment to ensure that the Section/Group have taken all necessary measures to support the welfare of our members both young people and adults. The District Commissioner and District Executive have the recognised roles for health and safety in a defined geographical area. They need to be assured that all necessary checks, controls and preparations have been considered and adopted before agreeing that any face-to-face Scout meetings or activities may take place in each Scout Group and Unit within their District.

The key things that need to be included in that Risk Assessment are covered within the Covid Code as follows:-

1. A COVID-safe risk assessment has been completed and we have communicated control measures to volunteers, young people and parents and all are encouraged to raise concerns

2. Additional hygiene measures are in place

3. Social Distancing will be observed (check current distance determined by the Scottish Government)

4. Maximum group sizes will be limited and determined by the Scottish Government. The current guidance will be a total group size of 15 people. (young people and adults)

5. Make adjustments for young people and adults vulnerable or affected by COVID, and consult to make sure return plans are accessible and inclusive

Local Lockdown Measures

Over the coming weeks we may see local lockdown measures in Scotland. Your Regional Team will be in touch to let you know if your local readiness level is different from the rest of Scotland at any point.

Processing Disclosures

In supporting you to return to face-to-face activities locally, we are processing PVG applications again with immediate effect. You can read the guidance on this which includes temporary adaptations to the ID checking process.

Share with your teams

Please share this update with your teams and start to make your plans for a safe return. There is no expectation of when you should hold your first outdoor meeting and there is no rush. Every Section and Group will have different circumstances and will know what is right for them. Plans must be carefully considered and safety is the priority. If you are unsure if you can stick to the guidance set out, you should not go ahead with any face to face activity.

Thank you for everything you are doing.


Andrew Sharkey
Chief Commissioner of Scotland