Compass Updates

11 November 2015 – Movement Readiness – a blog by Hamish Stout

This blog is focussed towards line managers (especially County/Area/Region (Scotland) Commissioners) and is made available to everybody as part of our ‘open’ approach.

We continue to make good progress towards preparing local access to Compass for January 2016. The supplier has completed what we expect to be the release version of the software and the final sequence of functionality, performance and security tests is currently being performed.

Right now we need to focus on ensuring that we are all (in our Groups, Districts and Counties/Areas/Regions) ready for Compass and prepared so that we can make full use of it as quickly as practicable.

When an adult logs on to Compass, we want them to see accurate data about them, and can access functions that work to help them in their role.

For the movement to be ready requires local leadership (County/Area/Region (Scotland) Commissioners) to support. There will be many questions raised by individuals when local access to Compass is restored, especially relating to data that is only available locally, for example training or permits detail.

So, what are some key local ‘projects’ to prepare for the restoration of Compass:

  1. Updating roles and Disclosures.
    Each County/Area/Region (Scotland) needs to ensure that Compass is updated so that it is up-to-date for every adult currently active in Scouting, so that:
  • All currently active adults have a Compass record and are showing their current open role(s) on Compass. It is important that all roles are there but please put an initial focus on the roles in the table at the end of POR that show as Criminal Records Check Required.
  • All open roles are at the correct status – pre-provisional, provisional, full (because this affects their access to Compass, and to Atlantic Data in England and Wales).
  • All ‘past’ roles, those that are no longer active, are closed on Compass.
  • District Scout Network Commissioner role is now available within Compass.
  • All adults who SHOULD have a Disclosure DO have a Disclosure.

These updates are made using the current offline processes and need to be completed by mid-December. Disclosures are processed using the processes appropriate in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  1. Permits (nights away and activity permits)
    It is important that all permits are recorded on Compass.
    When local access is restored the Compass database will have been updated to reflect the permits data that was in MMS as well as data added to Compass prior to January 2015. So, once Compass is locally available, a project will be required in each County/Area/Region (Scotland) in order to update adult records with permits awarded since January 2015.
  2. Training data
    It’s very important that each adult members training is accurately reflected in Compass. This supports adults having the correct role status (pre-provisional, provisional and full) and is necessary in order to award Wood Badges.
    When local access is restored, the database will have been updated, as far as is possible, to reflect the training data that was in MMS, plus any Wood Badges awarded since then. So, once Compass is locally available, a project will be required in each ‘County’ to input training data in order to ensure that each adult’s record accurately reflects their training. Each module entered will need to show, as a minimum, validation date and validator membership number.
  3. Local support
    Because Compass data will reflect all data that was in MMS, and any added to Compass while it was locally live in 2014/early 2015, it is inevitable that the majority of user questions that cannot be answered by the new Compass support materials will require local answers. The data to support those will simply not be available at Gilwell Park.

So each County/Area/Region (Scotland) needs to consider:

  • How users will register their support questions? Phone? Email? Local drop-in sessions? – and how will you tell your users how to access support?
  • How will the questions get answered? Again, phone or email or …? And who will do this?
  • How all users in your County/Area/Region (Scotland) will be made aware of and use your support route?

We know that every County/Area/Region(Scotland) is different in size, organisation and culture so there is no ‘one size fits all’ right answer to any of the above ‘projects’. But if you need advice, or have questions, please contact us via

Please help restoring local access of Compass to be as smooth as possible by ensuring that local support and action is fully in place by the time the Compass restoration starts in January.


28 October 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

During this Autumn we continue the long process of testing so that Compass is ready for local access. We’ve been working with our supplier to check security and performance of the system as well as testing by external experts, staff and volunteers.

When local access to Compass is restored, youth data will not be available. Our current focus is re-launching the system to support adult records. We’ve concentrated efforts to ensure that the adult functionality is working correctly before progressing to the next stage. Youth records are securely retained and we will update you at a later date for plans on youth data access.

Local access to Compass is taking a long time to restore as we want to be confident the system is secure and working effectively. We have involved volunteers in complex programmes of testing and we’ve been methodical to work with our suppliers to ensure everything is ready for use.

The phased roll out to Compass adult records will start with focused access to specific roles including local line managers and Appointment Secretaries. Over the coming month we are developing a range of support resources to assist these roles and will update this website with new materials. Guidance around interim processes will also remain available during this time.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers and staff who have supported testing and to thank you for your continued support.


30 September 2015 – Compass update

Last month we wrote to you with an update on our progress to restore local access to adult records on Compass, our national membership database. We promised to write again with an update.

Volunteers and staff have been testing the system, and we’re pleased to say that test results look very promising. We have been working with the developers of Compass and the world’s largest security testing company to restore local access once we are confident it is secure and working effectively.

As we said in our last update, before we switch the system back on we will have to carry out further testing, including a full security test. If this testing is successful, our estimated restoration date will be January 2016. A phased roll out to Compass adult records will start with focused access to specific roles including local line managers and Appointment Secretaries. As part of our preparations we will be making some changes to over the coming months, however we will not remove any guidance around interim processes.

Thank you for your patience

Access to Compass will only be restored once we are confident it is secure. We have added additional staff to the Scout Information Centre to assist you to keep adult records up to date and we have extra staff in our Vetting Team to help deal with the volume of enquiries. If you need support or have questions please contact the Scout Information Centre.

Our Chief Information Officer Alexis Cheshire writes our Compass Update Blog, which has more details and technical information for those that are interested. We will write to you again in November with a further update.

We are acutely aware of the inconvenience and frustration experienced while Compass has not been available locally. We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult period.

Many thanks

Wayne Bulpitt                             Matt Hyde

UK Chief Commissioner            Chief Executive

The Scout Association



13 August 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

We have now completed the majority of the work on how Compass functions and over the past few weeks volunteers, alongside staff members, have been testing it out.
We are pleased to say that the results are promising. Our volunteers and security experts are positive about the changes we have made to ensure that your information is kept safe.
We will initially be concentrating on reintroducing the core functionality of Compass, managing adult members, disclosure and vetting processing, training records and reports to allow our managers to carry out the critical needs of the movement.

Before this can happen though, we have to undertake a process of load testing to ensure the system can cope when thousands of volunteers use Compass at the same time. Before the end of the year we will also carry out a final security test before we switch the system back on, which (assuming the testing is successful) is estimated to happen in January 2016.
We are acutely aware of the inconvenience and frustration experienced by volunteers while Compass has been offline. We’d like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this difficult period.

Digital Adventure

As part of our wider Digital work, The UK Adventure Programme Team are recruiting a team of Digital Programme Advisors to help us on our digital adventure.
We are looking for a diverse team, with a variety of skills, from social media to coding and everything in-between. There are no specific qualifications required for this role, other than a love of all things digital and the ability to pass this to others. For more information about joining our digital adventure click here.

13 August 2015 – Compass update

As many of you will know, web access to Compass was restricted in January 2015 because a potential security vulnerability was discovered. No personal information was compromised and the potential vulnerability was only present to those securely logged in to the system (and not from anyone outside of the Movement). We took immediate action to ensure that the information on the system was kept safe.

Unfortunately the knock-on effect has been a significant inconvenience for a large number of volunteers who have been unable to access the system. Since January, we have been working with the developers of Compass and the world’s largest security testing company to fix these problems. To be frank, it has been a frustrating and challenging process which has taken much longer than we would have liked. But we have made progress to restore critical services to you.

Progress made

First, the good news. We have completed the majority of the work on how the system functions and volunteers have been testing this together with staff over the past few weeks. We’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in the testing, particularly our volunteers who have given up their time to help get the system functioning. We’re pleased to say that the test results are promising. The experts who are security testing Compass are also positive about the changes that have been made so far to keep information safe.

Initially we are focusing on reintroducing core functionality relating to adult members as we know this is critical to enabling you to carry out your roles.

However, we also need to ensure the system can cope when thousands of volunteers use Compass at the same time. The new security protocols which have been built in are making the computers running Compass work much harder. In order to prevent the system slowing down or stopping altogether when lots of people log on at the same time the developer is making additional improvements which we are then stress testing. We need to resolve this in order to get up and running again, but it’s proving very complex and it means we’re not ready to switch the system back on yet.

Before we switch the system back on we will have to carry out further testing, including a full security test. If successful, this testing means our estimated switch on date will be January 2016. We will keep you informed of developments throughout this period, with the next update at the end of September.

If you are interested in more detail, you can read the latest Compass Update Blog, which is written by our Chief Information Officer Alexis Cheshire.

The Board of Trustees have commissioned an independent review of the Compass project (going back to its inception in 2009) so we can ensure we learn from the issues, risks and challenges we have faced. This review will be taken to the Board of Trustees at the end of September.

England and Wales: The disclosure process

We have also made good progress with the disclosure process. We use an online system called Atlantic Data to process our disclosure checks in England and Wales. We have provided wider access to the system so that volunteers who have multiple roles can have their identification checked at Group, District or County level.

Many of you have asked for a paper form to use when checking disclosure identification at the Scout HQ or places where you don’t necessarily have access to a computer. We are therefore introducing a new paper ID checking form in September which can be uploaded to Atlantic Data when you’re back at a computer.

More support for volunteers

We understand the additional pressure that the Compass issues have put on volunteers, so we have brought in new staff to the Scout Information Centre to support record updates. We have also put more staff in our vetting team to help deal with the extra volume of enquiries.

Thank you for your patience

We said earlier in the year that we would not restore Compass until we were confident it was secure and working effectively and that remains our position. We also said we wanted to be transparent about progress hence this communication.

We are acutely aware of the inconvenience and frustration experienced while Compass has been offline. We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult period.

We will be writing to you again at the end of September with another update. In the meantime, if there is anything you are unclear about, if you need support, or if you have questions that we can help with, please contact the Scout Information Centre.

Wayne Bulpitt                             Matt Hyde

UK Chief Commissioner            Chief Executive

The Scout Association



15 July 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

We’ve spoken a lot about testing throughout the development of Compass, but what are all these different types of testing? I’d like to outline the different types of testing that Compass will undertake, or is currently undertaking

Regression Testing
This is an assessment of all of the functionality of the system. It’s undertaken to ensure that fixing a problem in one place actually works and doesn’t create an issue elsewhere in the system. We are using this test to make sure that changes to the system have been positive changes and haven’t introduced any new problems of their own.

Field Testing
Field Testing allows volunteers to check and test Compass in their own environment. By using artificial information real users can trial and experiment with the system, to make sure everything is working.  It is a simulation of how the actual system will run to make sure it if purposeful and easy to use.

Load Testing
The method of putting user demand on the system and measuring its response. Similar to Field Testing this process mimics several users accessing Compass at one time. This is to evaluate its ability to work for multiple users at the same time.

Security (Penetration) Testing
Security Testing is designed to assess the quality and effectiveness of the controls put in place to protect the valuable and sensitive information held within Compass.  Expert security specialists are using a combination of manual and automated techniques to try to gain access to data they should not be able to see or edit.  This is a vital activity designed to ensure that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data is maintained at all times.


29 June 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

We are currently in the final sprint phase of development and a significant number of volunteers from across the country are supporting a period of robust testing. As we predicted, a number of minor issues have been identified and these are currently being addressed.

We took Compass offline due to potential security issues being identified and all of our work to date has been focussed on this aspect of Compass. Whilst we have been working on these security fixes we have been also resolving a number of bugs and minor issues that had been raised by members. We do recognise that there are a lot of improvements that could be made to the usability or design of the system, but our priority to date has been to restore the basic functionality in a secure fashion as quickly as possible.

Soon a report to support the Appointment Secretary role will be available. In the first instance it will only be available to members in that role, then rolled out to relevant commissioners thereafter. The report will provide pre-provisional, provisional or full role status as well as appointment status (including disclosure, approvals, references, Getting Started, wood badge and safety/safeguarding/first aid training). Feedback from members when the last set of reports were released has been utilised in this new report especially around the auto choice of columns and the format of PDF and Excel output.

As we continue to test and develop the system, work continues to develop a variety of support resources and systems to assist system users when Compass returns. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has participated in or offered support during testing, even if you’ve been unable to help directly. Thank you for your continued support.


21 May 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

As I shared in my last update, we are using an Agile development approach to returning Compass back to you. This is progressing well.

We have now completed 3 ‘sprints’ in line with our plan and schedule. This week, we have a dedicated team of staff from across the association testing the fixes and functionality as part of the development process. These testers come from different areas of the organisation. Once we are sure we have this stage completed we plan a period of extensive and detailed testing by the wider volunteer team by adults undertaking all roles within the Movement. The details of this process are being planned and will be shared shortly. It is at this stage you will be able to test how the system functions and give us the detailed feedback we need to help Compass serve your needs going forward.

As is to be expected at this stage, some minor bugs have been identified and these details have been passed to our development partners for resolution in the next sprint. Each of the sprints is being tested for security by our specialist security partners and prior to go-live, we will be undertaking a full security test to ensure all possible issues have been resolved.

Can I also take this opportunity to thank you all for the feedback you have provided regarding the reporting portal delivered last month. Your input is greatly appreciated and all feedback is extremely welcome. We can see that it is being actively used by many of you in the field and we hope that it is delivering some level of support. We do still recognise that the data is not 100% accurate and we have been receiving a steady stream of requests for updates to the records. Please do keep the requests coming in to and for more information on using the reporting portal please see the userguide. Further reports are in development and will be made available as soon as possible.

Again, thank you for your feedback, support and continued offers to help, they are sincerely appreciated.

Disclosure Checking:
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all that when you are verifying someone’s identity for a disclosure request, if you have taken any scan, photocopy or written record of an applicant’s identity details the identity checker must ensure that this information is immediately destroyed after use by secure means, i.e. by shredding, pulping or burning. Whilst awaiting destruction, it is vital that you keep this information secure.


30 April 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

As Matt and Wayne outlined on 14 April, the work to restore Compass continues. Our focus is to deliver the functionality that was provided by MMS in the first instance (Managing Adult Members, Disclosure & Vetting Processing, Training Records and Reports) as these are the things that you have told us are critical in supporting you in your roles in scouting.

As has been previously described, that scale and scope of the works required to restore a secure portal are not insignificant and we have an extremely detailed plan in place to ensure the technology delivers a safe platform for managing our data online. In order to bring a greater element of confidence that we can deliver what is required with our partners, we have agreed a more agile approach to the way we develop and test the software. As some of you may be aware, the Digital world is built predominantly using Agile software development methods as these processes are often quicker to deliver tools to the users that more traditional ‘waterfall’ methods. Given where we are currently in the project, I felt that an Agile way of working was an appropriate approach to resolving the challenges we face.

I personally have worked using Agile for over 10 years in many different organisations from Global Enterprises through to SME’s and Public Sector, however this approach to working is new to both TSA and our partners.

Our approach to this way of working has been to break down the work required into a long list of specific tasks and plan a series of ‘Sprints’ with our partners that will deliver an agreed number of these tasks during a fixed-time period. At the end of each sprint, the software is delivered to us, tested for security and core functionality and any changes or fixes required are then fed into the next Sprint. We will keep this rolling pattern of Sprint then Test until we have completed all the required tasks to the right level of quality.

We have now completed 2 full sprints to date and the progress we are making is almost exactly in line with where we hoped to be at this stage.

We are very close to releasing the Reports described by Matt and Wayne below. I would personally like to thank those of you who have contributed your time testing these reports and given us your valuable feedback. The feedback received on the reports has been incorporated and we will be undergoing the final round of testing imminently with a view to going live shortly after.

As I have said in previous Blogs, we need your support in the testing and feedback of the tools and services Compass provides in order to ensure it meets your needs. In the coming weeks I will be making a more formal request for volunteers willing to commit to testing Compass in readiness for its return to service as I believe that your voice is critical to the success of any Digital service we provide.

Again, I would like to apologise for the continued disruption and pressure placed on you by the lack of access to Compass. I believe we have a clear plan to move forward and the right approach to ensure we can deliver what is needed. I thank you for your continued support and patience and will be back in touch shortly with further updates.



30 April 2015 – Compass Update

Since our last update in mid-April we have been working to introduce some standard reports that show adults disclosure status and a directory of all adults in a Group, District, County/Area or Region.

We have made good progress to produce the reports and we are now refining them to ensure they support your needs. Access to the reports is anticipated to be released to Appointment Secretaries and Regional, County/Area/Region (Scotland) and District Commissioners (and all acting Commissioners) next week.

The disclosure reports will help you identify who has a disclosure due to expire in the near future as well as those for whom a disclosure has been started. This report will also enable you to identify those adults whose roles should be closed. The Member Directory report lists the core details for adults in your local area and will enable you to review member details. With access to adult core details you’ll be able to email UKHQ with your data updates, where a team is ready to help update your details. Further details about these reports and how to access them will be shared shortly. We want to manage expectations upfront in this respect as this will take some time to make the changes requested. We are experiencing unprecedented volume of enquiries in to the info centre and have recruited additional staff but our priority is to support people with disclosure checks.

Interim Compass arrangements

The full list of interim processes can be viewed at Currently you are able to upload records for new adults to be added to Compass to request a disclosure check. We are also automatically requesting disclosures for those adults who are on Compass and their disclosure is about to expire. Wood Badges are now being issued to those whose records on Compass show they have completed their Wood Badge training.

Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation. If you have any questions please contact the Scout Information Centre.

Please do share this email with any local members you feel would benefit from receiving this update direct.

Yours, The Scout Association



14 April 2015 – Compass Update

Firstly we want to say again that we know the transition to Compass and especially the past three months have been extremely difficult to carry out many Scouting tasks without a functioning database. Your feedback and support during this period is greatly appreciated.

We are now in a position to be able to give some clearer information on the plan for Compass going forward.

We have said throughout this offline period that we are not going to restore Compass until we are confident the system is secure. As you know we conducted thorough testing on the system during this offline period which identified the security challenges, but also other matters that need to be addressed before we go live again. All this has meant that it has taken longer to restore Compass than any of us would have liked.

Many of you have additionally fed back that we should not go live again until we are confident the system works and also that we should stagger releasing functionality bit by bit, rather than releasing it all in one go.

Taking into account the range of views expressed, going forward we will restore Compass in several stages, testing at each stage as we go. This will provide ‘MMS’ (the previous membership system before Compass) equivalent functionality from early autumn.

This date is a best estimate of what can be achieved as we write this note in April. As dates firm up we will be tighter and more specific on timeframes. We will communicate this as soon as we are able.

Later in April we will give Appointment Secretaries and Commissioners (Regional Commissioners, County/Area/Region (Scotland) Commissioners, District Commissioners and all acting Commissioners in the same roles) registered on Compass the ability to:

  • Run a standard report listing adults with their disclosure status. This means you can identify who has been through the disclosure process. This list will also enable you to identify those adults whose roles should be closed.
  • Run a standard report listing the core details of all adults in a Group, District, County/Area or Region; the data contained in this report can be exported into many formats, such as Excel.

Further details about these reports and how to access them will be shared with members who are able to access the reports shortly.

Looking to the medium and longer term we are considering a range of options to ensure we have a digital platform that is future proofed and makes the delivery of Scouting easier.

What are the interim arrangements while Compass is offline?

Currently you are able to upload records for new adults to be added to Compass to request a disclosure check. We are also automatically requesting disclosures for those adults who are on Compass and their disclosure is about to expire.

From last week we have been issuing Wood Badges for those whose records on Compass show they have completed their Wood Badge training.

You can see the full list of interim processes we have put in place at

It is worth being aware that as part of our work to get a system back online as quickly as possible, we are looking at the possibility of turning Compass back on for a limited number of users so that there is at least one person in each Scout District and County/Region/Area who can access and update the system. However, this does require a full assessment of this potential solution taking external advice and a full assessment of the security risks. Once we have completed this assessment we will communicate with you letting you know the outcome. This will be investigated in parallel with the work to restore Compass as mentioned above.

How will we learn from this experience?

We are instigating an external, independent review of the Compass project over the last five years to ensure that we have learnt all the lessons we can. Clearly your input and feedback to date will be fed into this process and has been incredibly helpful in this work to date.

Census 2016

We are proceeding on the basis that the Census for 2016 will be carried out using the same online system that has been used for the last ten years.

DBS (England and Wales only)

We are also very aware that there are problems with the whole DBS process and we shall be reviewing this, listening to the feedback we have been given, with a view to making improvements. This will not be possible in 2015, but we wanted to assure you that we will act on concerns that have been raised.

Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation. If you have any questions please contact the Scout Information Centre.

Wayne Bulpitt                             Matt Hyde

UK Chief Commissioner            Chief Executive

The Scout Association


10 April 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

Since Compass was taken offline at the end of January 2015 we have been acutely aware of the impact this is having locally to administer the tasks required for day to day Scouting.

We are prioritising all work that provides interim solutions for processes that should be done on Compass, as well as developing the right long term plan for restoring Compass for members.

You can view more on the interim solutions advice on the Compass Offline Support area of this site and the Appointments and Disclosures area.

A full update on how these plans are progressing will be posted here on 14 April 2015.

Alexis Cheshire


8 April – Latest communications

While Compass is offline this Latest Updates section of is being used as the central place to share all updates and latest developments.

Some roles in Scouting receive targeted emails when there is a development that directly impacts on a task their role is involved with, but all information is shared here too.

Please see below the emails sent to specific roles in Scouting during the last week regarding Compass or an offline process in place.

A thank you to Appointments and Administrative roles

Update on disclosure check alerts

Update on issuing Wood Badges

30th March – UPDATED: Intermittent Problems with Youth Upload / Add Adults Portal

Update:  The services now should be fully restored.

On Friday night a planned change was made to the infrastructure hosting the Youth Upload and Add Adult portal.  The change should have had no impact on these services, but it appears that this did affect the ability for some of our members to access the login screen.  The change was reverted at 11.00 am on Saturday morning.  Unfortunately some of our members are still experiencing ‘Page not Found’ errors when they access the site.  We have identified that this is still affecting many of our members who use Virgin Media broadband and we are investigating to see if others are affected.   We are working closely with our suppliers to restore full service to all our users as urgently as possible and I would like to personally apologise to those of you who have been affected over the weekend.

Alexis Cheshire

12 March – New page on

While Compass is offline we know there are many tasks members want to action for their Scouting records and administration that are no longer possible. Our focus to date has been developing interim solutions for disclosure checking to ensure this important process could still continue.

A new page called Compass Offline Support now provides an overview of all the other administration tasks you have told us are causing most issues locally in the absence of an online membership system. This list provides information on either the interim solution for local Scouting to adopt while Compass is offline, or provides an update on whether an interim solution is being worked on. We will keep this page updated as new solutions and advice becomes available.

5 March 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

This week I wanted to take the time to answer a couple of the pressing questions I am hearing from many of you which I hope provides more information on the current situation.

Why can’t we turn MMS back on?

Many of you have asked a very sensible question regarding whether the MMS application (the old membership system) could be restored to service whilst Compass is offline. Whilst it may appear to be a simple solution, unfortunately the reality is not as straightforward as it may seem. Whilst MMS was extremely unstable and difficult to support it did provide a basic level of service. One of its biggest problems however was the underlying database. Not only was the database technology very old, but it was also extremely complex and difficult to maintain. This presented huge challenges to the data migration into Compass and in order to restore the MMS service, we would need to perform a reverse data migration from the current Compass dataset back into MMS. This process would take many weeks to perform and test. One of the challenges with MMS was that it allowed data to be stored in a very unstructured format and continued use of MMS would further complicate the migration of data back to Compass when it is ready to be restored. We believe at this stage that the time and effort invested in restoring MMS would be better spent restoring Compass. In addition, the changes to the disclosure process instigated by the Ministry of Justice meant we had to change the way in which we process disclosure applications in England and Wales. We are unable to make these changes in our system linked to MMS which means that even if we could restore MMS we would not be able to operate the revised disclosure process through MMS.

When will Compass come back online?

We have now completed the external security review of Compass. The results of the audit have only just been received and we are now working closely with our partners to fully understand the scope, scale and impact of the results. While we are still working through the results I would like to repeat my reassurance that there was no breach or hack of Compass. We identified a potential vulnerability and to prevent this vulnerability from being exploited, we took the decision to take Compass offline. Along with the security reports we are also reviewing all other known issues with Compass and continue to plan the work to remediate all issues identified and to restore Compass as soon as it is ready to deliver a good and safe service to you. All of these things take time and so I do not have an exact timescale for this yet but as soon as we get a clearer picture I will share this with you all.

What next?

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing my vision for Compass and how we will be looking to develop the platform further, including how we may work with other platforms in the future like OSM, as I know this is another burning question from many members. Compass was originally conceived to be your tool; designed by you but delivered by us. It appears from the feedback from many of you, that ‘something got lost in translation’. Our immediate focus is to restore service to you, but to make Compass as useful to you as possible; we will need to address all of your concerns directly. I alone cannot fix everything, but together we can.


24 February 2015 – 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.

20 February 2015 – 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

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 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.

13 February 2015 – 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 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.


6 February 2015 – 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


30 January 2015 – Update from Alexis Cheshire

Firstly I would like to echo Matt and Wayne and apologise to all our members and volunteers regarding the current situation. You all work extremely hard to deliver scouting and the current situation with Compass has put an increased pressure on you all. It is unacceptable.
Through these updates, I hope to provide you with some reassurance that I honestly do understand your valid frustrations and I deeply care about providing you all with the tools and support you need to deliver the life-changing experiences for our members.

It is my responsibility to deliver this for you and this is my number one priority.
A number of things have gone seriously wrong, and I need to be honest with you. At the current moment we are investigating a potential security issue around the access rights for existing members registered with Compass. As a result I made the decision, that to protect the data we hold, we should switch off Compass. This decision was not taken lightly, but I believe that the protection of this data as our highest priority. Any risk to its integrity should be treated with the utmost importance.

We have no evidence that a breach of our systems has taken place but please be reassured we are investigating this thoroughly using independent, professional and accredited expert to assess the potential risk, scope and scale of this issue. We contacted the Information Commissioner ourselves and are keeping them updated with the progress of our investigations.

At this stage I am unable to provide an exact timescale today as to when Compass will be back online. Honesty is the best policy in situations like this and what I do know is that I will have a clearer picture on this issue next week and will provide you all with an update then.
Whilst we work closely with our suppliers on the Compass to investigate the issues we flagged on Wednesday, we are also dedicating our time in a number of important areas. These are as follows:

1) Ensuring we can provide members in England and Wales with a way to complete disclosure checks whilst Compass is offline. A system to allow this is being tested and we will update roles who process this task directly next week.

2) Providing a way in which the census can still take place with the member and youth data that has been collated and prepared locally. The youth data upload process is a secure system that can work independently from Compass. Work is being done now to get this back online as soon as possible. Please do continue to prepare your youth data spreadsheets ready to upload as we continue to work towards 15 February deadline. More information will be shared next week with those roles heavily involved in this upload process once we have a clear solution for this.

3) Take the time to review all bugs, issues and areas of confusion you as members have reported to us since the launch of Compass and be able to share the areas being worked on, or will be scheduled for work so there is more clarity over the known issues and the priority the fix to that issue is being given.

4) We will also be taking the time in the offline period to reflect and radically rethink how we reintroduce Compass when it is ready to ensure lessons learned from the first few months are taken on board and to act on what you have fed back to us about Compass as a system and also its implementation.

I am sorry that I cannot give more firm timelines at this stage but it is important we are honest with you about this and not set a false hope or expectation. Please be assured that all feedback is being listened to and collated in order to make Compass the system you deserve. We will share this list on soon so you can openly see the areas required for improvement.

For all members wanting to keep track of progress on Compass and next steps please do keep watch on the Latest Updates page on where I will personally be logging all progress and updates.

30 January 2015

The February issue of Scouting magazine will be arriving with members around now and we want to acknowledge that the Housekeeping section on Compass went to print and distribution before the decision to take Compass offline on 28 January. Our apologies the information in the magazine is therefore not reflective of the situation right now with Compass and for any confusion this may cause.

28 January 2015

As part of our investigations into an issue raised by one of our members, we have identified a potential security vulnerability in Compass. To our knowledge no breach has occurred but in line with our commitment to you that the confidentiality and security of our data is our number one priority, and in agreement with our development contractors, we have made the decision to turn Compass off with immediate effect.  This is to ensure that the potential vulnerability cannot be exploited.

You will remember that Compass is only accessible to registered members of the Movement.  We would like to thank our members for their vigilance and support in identifying this issue and welcome any input that helps improve the overall quality and integrity of Compass.

With the agreement of our contractors, we have engaged a global provider of information security that has the world’s largest security testing team at our disposal . This company has not been involved in the system security work up until now and will be performing a full audit of Compass at the source-code level, combined with in-depth penetration testing.  It is expected that this will validate the security audit work already undertaken, whilst providing a valuable second opinion.

The system will remain offline until any and all security issues are resolved satisfactorily and we can turn on the system with the knowledge that the data held on it is secure. It is not clear at this stage just how long this will take but we will keep you updated regularly via the user forum on and through the usual channels.

Leaders should continue to populate their youth data upload spreadsheets as before, ready to upload when advised. Work is being undertaken on the contingencies to enable us to complete census using the youth data upload facility, which remains secure and cannot be seen.  We are also working to ensure that new volunteers and disclosure checks (for those in England and Wales) can continue to be processed.

20 January 2015

Compass – Restricted Functionality

Compass is online but we have restricted some functionality whilst we investigate reports of a critical bug. This affects BOTH Adult & Youth Joining Processes but does NOT affect the Bulk Youth Upload process.  This also includes the ‘Add Parent’ functionality when editing a Young Persons record.

16 January 2015

We are aware that adding badges and awards to Scout Network members is currently not possible along with Scout Network members being able to register for awards. This is a bug in the system and will be worked to be fixed as soon as is possible after membership wide bugs have been concluded. Focus at the current time is on registering and uploading all member data to Compass for the census. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes while the Network badge and award functionality is not working.

14 January 2015

Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner, Matt Hyde, Chief Executive and Andy Lannin, Head of Membership Services, held a conference call with District Commissioners recently to address queries on Compass. You can listen to extracts from this call on the following topic areas to help provide you with more information on the areas you may be interested in.

Click the title to listen to each topic area:

7 January 2015

Please watch the Forum Thread **Compass Status Update** for updates to system status

22 December 2014

Enhancements to Compass:

To address issues with Compass and as part of the ongoing development we will be updating the system regularly. A new release of the system last week delivered the following solutions:

  • The ability to move an adults role between different sections within the same Group, District or County/Area/Region(Scotland).  This allows certain roles to move an adult volunteer without creating a new role.
  • Fixed the search function for email addresses
  • Improved the speed of searching
  • Resolved issues with saving data once changes had been made.
  • Improved system performance when using Chrome internet browser.
  • Fixed the issue with the system automatically logging the user out of the system.

Recent data fixes within Compass:

The migration of data from the previous membership system (My Backpack, or MMS) did not go as well as we wished. There are a number of areas where we are aiming to substantially improve the data within Compass.

We have fixed the vast majority of issues where Section Leaders were in the wrong section, this coupled with the ability to move people to a different section should allow any outstanding problems to be resolved.

We have also fixed the vast majority of missing youth records transferred from MMS, although a small number remain and we continue to work on these.

We are now focussed on:

  • Identifying those in active support roles who are not appearing in the correct section
  • Ensuring that the pre-provisional, provisional and full role statuses are accurate
  • Improving the training data, including validated modules are correctly displayed
  • Resolving issues with some awards information
  • Identifying those with roles in the wrong Group or District, this manly applies to those in Districts which had been closed or merged in the past.

We are fixing these as quickly as possible, prioritising those areas which prevent people from using Compass.  We aim to have the majority resolved by the end of January 2015.

27 November 2014

Today all members for whom we have an email address received an invitation asking them to register as a Compass user. We know that we have not got an email address for everyone in every role and so if there is a member who does not receive their invitation to register please ask them to contact their local administrator. An email address recorded in Compass is a requirement for registering as a Compass user. This means that a personal email address needs to be added to each member’s record so that the member can then register as a Compass user using this email address.

A small fraction of members may still spot some errors in their location (which Section/Group etc they are assigned to) due to the data being incorrect in the old membership system. We are working on a function for Compass that will allow the location of a member’s role to be edited locally, so an update on how to amend this will follow. If it is really urgent to amend a member’s role location then this can also be overcome by opening a new role in the correct location, then closing the role in the incorrect location.

Members may still see some errors in their past training history and Awards history. We are currently working on some additional data migration fixes to this. If an error is spotted on a training record that was migrated to Compass from the old membership system please do not try and amend this as we are continuing to work on ways to fix this. However, if your training record looks correct then it is fine for members with a training role (e.g. Training Advisers, Administrators, Training Managers etc) to make updates and edits to your record. All members can currently edit their personal details, communication preferences and emergency details.


14 November 2014

All Group Scout Leaders in England and Wales have now been invited to register for Compass in order to help process disclosure checks for Leaders using the system. Work continues on the data quality fixes within Compass and all members will be invited to register as soon as these are complete.

6 November 2014

Work continues to fix as many issues with the data quality in Compass as possible and good progress is being made on processing all new appointments and disclosure checks.

With regard to vetting checks please find below an update on the England & Wales DBS disclosure process now Compass is live.

The Scout Association’s move to a third party broker to support our disclosure checking process means that the previous Adult Application, Occasional Helper Application and Repeat DBS (CRB) Application forms can no longer be used to apply for a disclosure check. To comply with the legal requirements for disclosure checking more information is now required than was currently available on the previous application forms.

Process requirements- Reminder

This new DBS system is paperless and is in two parts:

1) The first part involves an identity check where both the applicant and the identity checker must be physically present to enter the relevant details into the system. The applicant must provide original identity documents in order to complete this part of the process. (a full list of acceptable ID can be found here)

2) Once the ID details have been submitted, the second part of the process involves completion of the applicant details. The applicant can either choose to enter the details straight away, in the presence of the identity checker, OR, they can choose to receive an email link that will allow them to complete the rest of the process independently.

We hope the above information on disclosure checks is useful. If you have any queries please do call the Scout Information Centre on 0845 300 1818/020 8433 7100.