Youth work guidance update November 2020

 "The Scottish Government acknowledges youth work as a priority service, alongside the provision of school-based education. This service ensures that priority is given to safeguard the health and well-being of young people."

- Youth work supporting young people through and out of lockdown 2020

The Scottish Government introduced a strategic approach to outbreak management based on five protection levels, on 2 November 2020. The government has now provided updated guidance for the delivery of youth work activity.

In providing this update we strongly emphasise that priority must be given to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our members, their families and the wider community. The safety measures that are contained within the guidance on protecting ourselves and others remains unchanged and all Scout Groups, Districts and Regions should continue to follow the UK Framework for face to face activities and all related guidance which can be found here.

In reviewing the updated guidance, the Scottish Government continues to highly recommend a blended approach to youth work activity, which should include a mixture of digital and face to face activity both outdoors and indoors. It is necessary for leadership teams to continually review their existing risk assessments and consider changes that will support and strengthen this approach.

Leadership teams are reminded to respect the feelings of young people and volunteers who may feel anxious and prefer to take a gradual approach to programme delivery models.

Determining Capacity

The updated guidance advises as follows:

Tiers 0, 1 & 2

Activity can be undertaken outdoors and indoors to a maximum of 30 people (including young people and adults), subject to an appropriate risk assessment being approved.

Tier 3

Whilst the absolute maximum numbers still remain at 30 (including young people and adults), we recommend that leadership teams should review their current offering to make sure it's a fully blended model and consider both the length of meetings and a reduction in numbers in attendance, so that we can provide more targeted support to young people.

Tier 4

Following careful consideration, all Sections must revert to Amber Readiness Level, with a maximum of 20 (including young people and adults) meeting face to face. This means outdoors only, but whilst still adopting a blended approach that includes digital activity. If you currently have a Yellow Risk Assessment then there is no need to resubmit.

What Tier?

To find out what tier your local authority falls under you can use the postcode checker. Please note that this can change.

Physical Distancing

The current position for physical distancing between adults, adults and all young people and between young people aged 12+, is two metres and this should be maintained at all times. Where this is not possible for a short period then a face covering must be worn.


On dedicated transport, all adults and all children and young people aged 5 and over are required to wear a face covering, in line with Scottish Government guidance for public transport.

Face Coverings

In line with Scottish Government guidance for Youth Work, face coverings should be worn where people of all ages are moving about in corridors, confined communal areas (including toilets), and other areas of buildings where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain. For clarity, leadership teams and young people are not being asked to wear face coverings in meeting spaces, unless, in exceptional circumstances, where a 2m distance cannot be maintained.


The Scottish Government asks Groups to operate within their local authority area and avoid unnecessary travel outside of that area. Leadership teams should avoid planning activities that require travel outside of this jurisdiction.

Leaders and Young People

In line with Scottish Government Guidance, it is acceptable for young people and adults to travel to their normal meeting place if they are happy to do so, even if this is outside of their immediate local authority area.

Scouting plays a key part in supporting the health and well-being of our young people and our programme has never been more needed. If you need some ideas for programmes online you can find these here and here.

These measures are being introduced to help supress the virus and make sure that we can continue to provide a fun and engaging programme for our young people, supported by all our amazing volunteers.

Thank you for the part that you are playing in providing opportunities for our young people.


Andrew Sharkey
Chief Commissioner of Scotland

Katie Docherty
Chief Executive

Gordon Robertson