Update from Alexis Cheshire

Further to Friday’s update I can confirm that today an interim process went live to ensure we can add new adult volunteers to Compass (via HQ) and process a disclosure check for those new members.

An email with detailed instructions has been sent to those roles who have the permissions to conduct the disclosure process and have a username and password already set up in Compass, as these are required to be able to complete the process.

For information you can view a copy of the email here and see the new guidance in the Appointments and Disclosures area of this Compass user site.

To help keep track of disclosure checks for existing members and new adults we are working on developing an email alert system to go to Appointment Secretaries as soon as a disclosure has been processed. We know this will be a really helpful tool to keep track of progress and so this is a priority to put live asap.

While a lot of work is going into providing interim solutions while Compass is offline we are also working hard with our suppliers to plan the future of how we get Compass back online and I hope to update you more on this over the coming week.

Update from Alexis Cheshire

We have had another week of being focused on providing and testing systems to enable disclosures and Census to take place, here is an overview of where we are at and any new information we have.

Disclosure checks for existing members – progress and new support

For Districts in England and Wales, we are just over half way through sending a tailored email to each District Commissioner providing a report on which members require a new disclosure check. Work continues to provide this information to all remaining Districts and is due to be completed by the end of next week. This information, coupled with being able to use Atlantic Data to process disclosure checks locally, means we are able to ensure all current adult members are kept up to date with disclosure checks.

An updated guide and a video have been created for members, showing step by step how to process disclosure checks within Atlantic Data. This is available on the User Guide and Appointments and DBS page of www.scouts.org.uk/compass.

For Scotland and Northern Ireland, tailored emails showing members that require a new disclosure check will be provided to District Commissioners /Northern Ireland HQ. The normal disclosure application process can be used, sending the paper forms to the Vetting Team at Gilwell Park when completed and the team will work to ensure the rest of your process can continue as before, even while Compass is down.

Disclosure checks for new adult volunteers

The system being developed to allow new adult volunteers to be added to Compass and disclosure checked, if appropriate, has been created and tested this week. The system developed has worked well in testing so we are now preparing to launch this for members to start using from next week.  The final touches are just being completed on the guidance of how to complete this process.


Members heavily involved in completing the Census for their area have been directly communicated with to share the instructions for this year. Any youth data uploaded to HQ by 16 February has been pre-populated into the census record for those Groups/Districts etc who had provided it. If youth data is not already on your census submission this will need to be added yourselves. Unfortunately it was not possible to pre-populate the adult data. Thank you to those members and teams working to input their figures and check their census submissions in time for the final approval deadline on 23 March.

More information on census can be found on the below links:

About completing the census

Additional guidance for those in Scotland

The census submission form

Data protection information related to Compass

Since the launch of Compass we have been fielding many enquiries around data protection, both in terms of how Compass can help us all comply with data protection guidelines and the related requirements for putting information onto Compass. As well as answering queries directly the team have created an FAQ document of some of the most common questions that came up. While we appreciate Compass is not live at the moment we wanted to make this information available now as it may help answer queries many other members had in this area. This is now available in the About section on www.scouts.org.uk/compass for those who are interested to learn more.

I hope this update is useful.  Back in touch next week with more on the latest developments.

Update from Alexis Cheshire

As promised last week I would like to give you all an update on the latest developments regarding disclosure checking and Census 2015.

Disclosure checks in England and Wales
The Vetting Team have started sending individual emails to each District/County/Area Commissioners with details of adults recorded on Compass who don’t have a current criminal record check recorded against their membership record. This could be because their DBS check has expired; they have never completed one for Scouting or have not had continuous service (i.e. a break in service).

We have processed the initial disclosure requests entered into Compass, and applicant’s details are now ready in the Atlantic Data (Disclosure) system so that you can locally complete the rest of the disclosure application. Please use Atlantic Data to complete your disclosures.

Please remember that disclosure applications can now be completed by Assistant Section Leaders, Section Leaders, Assistant Group Scout Leaders, Group Scout Leaders, Group Administrators and District Appointment Secretaries, Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners with a full role recorded on Compass and have registered on Compass. To access the disclosure system you require log in details. If you haven’t received your registration email or have mislaid and require them to be resent, please contact the team on disclosures@scouts.org.uk or call 020 8498 5494 or 020 8433 7186. The Vetting Team can also assist if you are unable to locate applicant in the system, or the applicant has left Scouting and the system needs updating.

Once the disclosure process is completed, the local Appointments Secretary will be notified of the check. There is no change to the current adverse disclosure process.

Unfortunately there is currently no ability to check adults not currently on the Compass system. A method is currently being designed and tested and will be operational as soon as possible. We will keep you updated and notify Commissioners and Appointment Secretaries when this becomes available. Until then, please follow existing protocols and ensure that those who have not been disclosure checked do not work unsupervised with young people.

Disclosure checks are a very important part of our procedures which is why we have prioritised this service to you. We also appreciate that although this process is not ideal and gives you additional tasks, it will help Scouting continue operating safely.

Disclosure checks in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Members in Scotland and Northern Ireland should use the normal disclosure application process, sending the paper forms to the Vetting Team at Gilwell Park when completed and the team will work to ensure the rest of your process can continue as before, even while Compass is down.

Census 2015
As you will know, with Compass down for a number of weeks we will be implementing the previous census system to complete the 2015 census. We are currently preparing and testing the system. Posted letters will arrive next week with Group and District login details to District Commissioners and District Secretaries, and County login details to County Commissioners and County Secretaries.

15 February 2015 is the deadline for census (the day you take count of your current members). You will have a month to submit this information into the system giving time for Counties/Area/Regions to validate and approve the data. The deadline for Counties to approve their Census data is 23 March 2015.

We will be closing the Youth Data Upload service at 10am on Monday 16 February so that we can get a clean snapshot of the data for pre-populating the Census 2015 website. Any uploads submitted after this time will not be included in the Census 2015 return.

Security of youth data
A number of you have raised some concerns regarding the safety and security of Youth data within Compass. I would like to reassure you that this data is safe and is well-protected.
After identifying the potential security vulnerabilities within the Compass website, we took the decision to remove access to the system. These vulnerabilities only existed within the Compass website and not in the Youth Data Upload service or the actual database that holds the data. Both Youth Upload and Database services have been independently security tested and there are no known vulnerabilities. The database itself is fully encrypted and access to the data is strictly controlled. Only certain TSA staff members using the network at HQ have access to view or amend this data, and the data supplied via the youth upload process goes through a strict validation stage and is only imported into the database once it has met certain criteria. As such, all data that currently resides within the Compass Database is secure and continues to be so. We will only restore member access to the Compass website when we know that any and all potential vulnerabilities have been removed and we have had it re-tested by industry security experts to prove so.

As soon as I have more information to share regarding the ability to add new adults into the database so that DBS checks can be initiated, I will be in touch again.

Thank you again for your messages of support and offers of help, they really are appreciated.

Update from Alexis Cheshire

An update from Wayne (UK Chief Commissioner) and Matt (Chief Executive) has been sent today directly to those roles in Scouting heavily involved in disclosure checking their adults and the census process. You can read the content of this email.

We are busy working on building and testing the systems to put the plans outlined in this email in place. I will be back to update your further next week with progress on how this is going and the progress with some of these technical solutions we are trialling to deliver these important tasks for Scouting.


3 February 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

Thank you again for your patience during this time. I would like to provide a brief update on where we are at as of today.

We are about to receive the first draft of the security audit report for Compass undertaken by our security specialists. They have been analysing the system to understand the scope and scale of any potential vulnerability.

Once we have this report, we will be able to begin planning the remedial action required to restore service back to you. A separate report resulting from a Source Code review is expected to be received by the beginning of next week. This will enable us to plan our specific remedial activities over the following days/weeks.

At this stage, I am expecting that Compass, as it was, will be unavailable for a number of weeks rather than a number of days. Obviously this will have a significant impact on the ability to add new adults and for England and Wales members to process disclosure checks.

Rather than attempt to restore ALL aspects of Compass, we will be prioritising and applying our focus to certain key areas of the system – predominantly dealing with Adult records and the management and processing of disclosure checks. A list of these key areas is being worked on and will be shared through this update page.

A contingency plan is being worked on which we hope will allow new adults to be ‘joined’ (including initiating disclosure checks for those in England and Wales) and to allow existing / expired disclosure checks to be triggered ready to be completed through the Atlantic Data portal.

Further details will follow in the next couple of weeks when we have tested these contingency plans and processes to inform you on if and when we can implement this interim system.

With regards to a process to achieve the 2015 census, we are currently working through the options and there will be another update later in the week on this.

Can I take a moment to thank those of you who have contacted me with offers of help. I have been truly inspired by the commitment you have shown and the shared desire to get the right system in place. I honestly believe that in order to make this system a success in the future, I will need to rely heavily on your input and guidance. We did not listen enough and that needs to change immediately.

Alexis Cheshire
Chief Information Officer