It’s been some time since we updated you on our work on digital solutions. This update is intended to provide you with an insight on where we have been, what we are doing now, and what we will achieve in the future. We are aiming to bring greater transparency to this area of our work and to ensure that you fully understand how it currently affects, and more importantly, will positively impact you in the future to support you delivering Scouting locally.
– Reflections on the past twelve months
This time last year we were cautiously returning Compass to service. We know the impact that it had when it was offline and therefore returning it to service to ease the pressure on routine tasks locally was critically important, we had to get it right! We supported you with the return to service through the Compass Support Centre along with a range of support materials. We are pleased that the system is robust and supporting member administration locally one year on.
Over the summer we developed functionality to support the vetting process so as to ensure that all adults requiring a valid disclosure in Scouting have one. The functionality went live in the autumn and we are hugely grateful for your concerted efforts and support during the introduction of that critical functionality.
– The current focus and priorities
We’re conscious that there are many administrative tasks that you would like Compass to perform, but with limited resources (both human and financial) we have to make some choices and consequently prioritise our work in this area. We’re currently working on the following:
– We’re working hard to improve the quality of our data. The automatic upload process available during the period Compass was offline, showed us that whilst there were processes in place to reduce the possible number of duplicates, they were not failsafe, resulting in a number of duplicate records. We need to eliminate these records utilising functionality to merge duplicate records. This is currently being developed. It is anticipated that this will be completed in the spring.
The impact of us having data which is not accurate for you delivering Scouting locally is, for example, that we are currently unable to produce appointment cards (albeit we are looking at moving to a digital solution to provide you with an electronic appointment card as opposed to continuing to issue plastic cards); and that we are currently unable to print and issue Long Service certificates. We realise the impact this has locally and are working as hard as we can to resolve these issues. It could be a number of months before this is resolved, but we aim to have a solution implemented during the autumn. We may, however, have to look at alternative methods to issue Long Service certificates if we deem we cannot resolve the issue in a reasonable timescale.
In addition, we’re working to restore the training data that was not migrated from our previous membership system. Significant progress has been made, although further work needs to be undertaken before the functionality can be fully implemented. Once ready to be implemented we will provide detailed guidance on what has been achieved and the mechanisms available to deal with any outstanding issues.
– We’re working to future proof our back-end infrastructure so that we have platforms enabling us to exchange data between the various systems we have to provide the range of services we offer to members. This ranges from supporting the delivery of segmented content to members through ScoutingPlus, to the integration of systems that support the important work we do to safeguard young people. Our current plans determine that this area of work will realise benefits over the next year, much of which will be in the background.
– We’re working to make functionality to administer youth data available. This has taken a lot longer than anyone would have wished, however, we are continuing to pro-actively explore and are in active dialogue regarding a range of possible options. We are keen (linked to the previous point on our back-end infrastructure) to potentially work with external partners to support them to develop tools, services and functionality to support the delivery and administration of Scouting locally. The key consideration is that we can maintain the security and integrity of member data, so as to understand who our members are, and ultimately design and deliver services to enhance the experience of young people and adults in Scouting.
– Looking ahead to transforming our services
We are clear that to enhance the experience of young people and adults in Scouting we have to transform our services through a range of digital solutions. It’s clear that our most popular service, the Scout Information Centre, needs bolstering to ensure that we can provide a high quality service to members and to the public. Our website needs an overhaul to ensure we can make tools, resources, services, etc., more accessible to more members. It is our aspiration to radically re-shape how we deliver services to members locally. This ranges from how members access support and advice in ways that work for them, to providing content and resources to support the delivery of the Programme.
We’re currently in the process of recruiting a Chief Digital Officer who will report to the Director of Scouting Operations to drive change across the organisation to make our ambitions a reality.
The journey won’t be quick, but we have learned so much over the last few years and with a renewed approach to developing our services, we’ll succeed. We’re committed to making Scouting simpler to operate locally and more efficient nationally so as to keep the cost of Scouting proportionate, but ensure that we continue to change as many young peoples’ lives as possible.
Once our Chief Digital Officer is appointed and has had the chance to gather their thoughts they will be back in touch (and will be more regularly), primarily to bring transparency to this important aspect of our work.
A blog version will be made more widely available to all adults in Scouting through ScoutingPlus later this week.
Director of Scouting Operations
The Scout Association