County Commissioner’s Address
Update on County Restructure 14.2.14
To all in Somerset Scouting,
Following the announcements on the evolution of the County Structure, I am aware there have been a lot of comments from many of you across the County. It appears that the majority of you agree that there is a need to change the structure, the concerns from some of you are around how that change is made..
There were many options considered, nine in total were considered more formally, and since last weekend I have listened to the comments made, have discussed with colleagues particularly in Cornwall, who now have 3 Districts for the whole County and in Greater London South East who transitioned from 8 Districts to 2 Districts. There universal feedback was not a surprise to me in that:
- It takes time
- There is no “perfect answer” and everyone can come up with an option that has merits.
- There are pro’s and con’s for every option – including doing nothing
- After a period of evolution the benefits become evident
- In bigger districts (both people and size) team work is key to success
I welcome the debate as it surfaces concerns that you have about the change. To clarify some of the common points
- This is a transition we are undertaking and it will take time to achieve. Starting in April 2014 it may well take 12 months to complete all aspects of the evolution, but the first step in April is to create the DC and executive structure to allow development of the new teams across the geographies, Groups and Sections.
- Any events that are currently scheduled run exactly as planned (although other groups could be invited to attend from the new District if appropriate), but as new events are organised the options below are considered, this may open new opportunities to some groups in the new Districts.
- What we have traditionally known as District events may become either one “Super event” open to the entire District, a number of identical events run at different locations around the area, offering Groups a local event or an option on date to participate. Of course there may be events run at a single location in the District with the anticipation that only Groups from a part of the District would attend, but of course if a group wanted to travel a distance to join in then they could.
- The average sectional leader / assistant would not be expected to travel significantly further than they currently do for “District” meetings. Sectional meetings and venues remain unchanged.
- Consultation has taken place within Somerset. Not directly in terms of “what do you think of option A, B, C etc., but in terms of “how are things in your District, what could we do better / differently to address the issues you have”. This was done by members of my team over a period since last summer and included adult and youth members.
As many of you are aware Headquarters have been consulting on the Youth Section Programme changes. These will be implemented from next year (2015). Starting our transformation now means we will have a settled structure next year to help support these changes into our sections, enabling our Young People and Leaders to be fully supported through these changes.
I now welcome nominations for the posts of District Commissioner for the three Districts, the role description is here (https://members.scouts.org.uk/documents/supportandresources/Roles/FS330076v4.pdf). Applications should be sent in confidence to Graham Hodge by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). The County AAC will be interviewing on 5th March.
To all involved with Scouting in Somerset 1.2.14
I am writing to confirm the announcements made on 1st February 2014 concerning the organisation and structure of Scouting in Somerset after 1st April 2014.
The changes will have no direct impact on young people and sections, except that they should be better supported in the future.
On 1st April we will move from a 7 District structure to a 3 District structure. This will be achieved by combining whole Districts, so Groups will not be moving away from those around them they have traditionally worked with. The 3 Districts will be formed by combining West and Sedgemoor into 1 District, Taunton and South into a second District and Yeovil, Camelot and Frome into a third District.
The names and badges for each new district are to be confirmed by mid-March 2014 and I would welcome ideas for both to be fed into the District teams as they are created in the coming weeks.
The table at the end of this message confirms the Groups by District.
Our existing structure has served Somerset well, but as part of Vision 2018 we need to ensure we remain focused on delivering exceptional Scouting to all our members and this is not going to be possible with so many small districts, so the new structure gives us a base to build on in the coming years.
I am sure you will have many questions, so please look out for further communications, but any immediate concerns either address to your current DC or direct to myself.
The fact that Somerset has over 1,000 dedicated adult volunteers delivering Scouting week in week out to over 4,000 young people is tribute to the contributions you have all made in the past. I am sure with your continued dedication and enthusiasm we can work together to make our new structure deliver even better results for all our members.
Yours in Scouting