Evaluation of Restructuring Project (ERP) Executive Summary. with. Recommendations. Agreed and Adopted by The Scottish Board

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1 Evaluation of Restructuring Project (ERP) Executive Summary with Recommendations Agreed and Adopted by The Scottish Board on 28 th August

2 Foreword It could be said that those of us who have encounter NAOMIE throughout our Scouting lives are very familiar with the concepts of setting objectives and then evaluating the outcomes. The Training sector have been doing it for years, most of us do it in our professional lives or require it to be done and it has often been the subject of discussion around the Board table. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Scottish Board has responded to the very significant step they took in April 2008 to restructure the way that Scouting in Scotland operated and was supported, by setting up an evaluation project. The project has been interesting, challenging and rewarding. However as a result of a small team of people going around Scotland talking to folk and listening to what they have to say, as well as the other opportunities to contribute, that may have had an additional impact. We would hope that by talking about monitoring and evaluating, by encouraging leaders to engage in the process and now by sharing the outcomes of their input, we will have made a contribution to a culture of measuring ourselves. As a young Scouter, I remember being inspired by the then Chief Scout who spoke of always having a measuring tape handy so that he could check that he was measuring up. Perhaps he was even more visionary than I realised at that time! I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for the opportunity to lead this team. I have found the work interesting and stimulating. I am grateful to the team for their work and to Jim Duffy, David Tripp and MaryAnn Reid at SHQ for their support throughout the project. I hope Board members find the report useful in helping, at this early stage in the restructuring process, to identify the issues which need to be addressed in order to further steer us towards achieving the objectives set. This report is based on the best evidence available as a result of interviews and surveys and gives a snap shot picture rather than an authoritative image. It may also, I hope, inspire the Board to consider a proactive approach to more extensive use of data collection, monitoring and evaluation. Isabel McNab Evaluation of Restructuring Project Team 2

3 Context The Scottish Board considered the Evaluation of Restructuring Report at their meeting on 28 August In addition to reading the report the Board received a context setting presentation which highlighted the following:- The decision to restructure was probably the biggest single change to Scottish Scouting since It was a brave and visionary step for which there is general support and recognition of the need for change. The evaluation was undertaken after about 18 months of the new structure and took about 5 months to gather information from all those who were targeted or wanted to contribute. This was early in the process which the project team would expect to take around 5years until the system was embedded and fully operational. Restructuring can be likened to a journey along a road with laybys, coffee stops, wrong turnings, dead ends and one way systems. There is a need to revisit the route planner and sometimes to divert. There was no baseline data as at 1 April 2010 which the project team could use to measure actual progress. Most of the information which informed this work was drawn from interviews with key role holders. Key role holders for this work are Scottish team, Regional teams, District team and GSLs The evidence used in the report is a mixture of objective and subjective. Much of it is based on people s views, experience and perceptions. This is not a research project. The Board accepted all the recommendations as published. The Board decided to publish the Executive Summary which accompanied the Report and make copies of the Report available on request. The Scottish Board and the Evaluation Project Team would like to thank all those leaders from across Scotland who contributed to the evidence gathering stage of the project. Without their help it would not have been possible to undertake this project. 3

4 Executive Summary 1. The Scottish Board set up an evaluation project in September 2009 to identify where we are towards achieving the objectives which lead to restructuring. The objectives are listed below:- Objectives for Restructuring Reduce the number of roles that leaders have to do. (Roles) Improve the deployment of our people (Deployment) Improve the quality of communication between different levels within the Scouts (Communication) Improve how groups feel about the level and type of support they get (Support) Sustain and increase the growth of the Scouts (Growth) Improve our engagement/connection with the local community. (Community Engagement) 2. The project has taken almost one year to complete and during the evidence gathering stage 250 people were interviewed and 143 contributed through an online survey. The evidence has been anonymised, unattributed and no individual s views have been identified. 3. The wide range of people interviewed and the different settings in which they work might have led to a significant variation in views but the team were surprised that there were recurring themes throughout the evidence. There was a lot of support for the concept of restructuring and an acceptance that the structure prior to April 2008 was not sustainable. However, the geographical size of most Regions was a concern. Although this may not seem significant a lot of the lack of personal contact was attributed to geography. This may not actually be so, because there is evidence of other factors, but it does appear to be an important perception. The headline findings were:- Roles: There was a greater awareness of the need for a Group to have a GSL and the number of GSLs has increased. There continues to be a strong culture of multiply roles at all levels despite a commitment to reduce the number or roles held by one person. Deployment: The expected reappointment of adults whose roles disappeared does not appear to have happened. There continues to be vacancies in a number of key posts Communication: Electronic communications, which are not attributed in the main to restructuring, have improved overall but the personal interaction has in lots of areas been lost. SHQ responded to the new 4

5 structure by mailing directly to leaders with information relevant to their appointment, however, this is not recognised. Support: This is seen as reactive. It is there if you know where to get it. There is a lack of clarity and understanding about roles and responsibilities. The support, both programme and management, for Districts needs to be revisited. Growth: There has been growth particularly in youth recruitment. This is not generally attributed to restructuring although there is hightened awareness of the need for development planning. Community Engagement: Only limited new engagement has been reported. Some report less engagement since April Two priority areas were highlighted at the Board meeting in May These were support and communication. Support particularly to Districts is seen as only reactive and many report the there is little or no support from Regions. The exception is in adult training and in some cases development. The other priority area: communications is considered to have improved. Some Regions. Report an improvement in the availability of information. This is considered to be as a consequence of improved use of IT rather than restructuring. There is a feeling that person to person communication has suffered. However, management support, mentoring and personal support to District Commissioners is perceived to have been reduced and in some cases it is reported as non existent. Regional Advisers are a particularly disengaged group within Regions. 5. The number of roles held by one person is still high. This shows no sign of reducing at present. More work on growth and community engagement might benefit this objective. Despite best efforts there is a very strong feeling that some of the key appointments have been personality driven and that many role holders do not have the skills for the job. While it could be argued that things were ever thus the present structure where, for example, a Regional or District Commissioner holds the key to success or otherwise the impact of a less effective leader is huge. 6. There has been an increase in the number of Groups who benefit from a GSL. Clearly this has been taken up as a priority in most Regions. There are still vacancies in key posts and it is unclear whether priority to GSL post is being given. There is a concern that a number of key role holders do not consider that to be their prime role. 7. Community engagement may be little understood. The engagement with the community is low and a number of cases much less than before 5

6 restructuring. While not considered by most as a priority more effective community engagement is potentially the key to recruiting more adults and so addressing the number of roles, better deployment and more groups with a GSL. Conclusions Generally there is widespread support for the restructuring of scouting into a regional structure. The adult leaders who participated in this project are passionate, engaged and committed to the movement and to the jobs they do. There is a willingness and enthusiasm to get on with their work with and for young people regardless of all the changes around them. Restructuring of Scouting in Scotland into the present Regional and District format has not yet achieved its objectives. Unless there is active intervention it is unlikely to achieve its objectives in the foreseeable future. A key weakness is the leadership capacity: there may need to be changes in key role holders, skills, competency and culture. There has been a lack of effective and sustained leadership from key role holders in driving the implementation of regionalisation and the understand of the fundamental changes involved. There is a failure in the understanding of the roles and relationship between regions and Districts. The leadership at key role holder levels within Scouting has been found wanting. Regionalisation has not been implemented consistently across the 8 regions in Scotland. There is a pervasive lack of clarity and understanding of the responsibilities of Regions and Districts, which includes appreciation of the distinct and altered responsibilities of key role holders. Practicalities impact on the effectiveness of the restructuring, i.e. the high numbers of posts unfilled, the number and nature of multiple roles people fulfil and the lack of training completed by key role holders etc The geographic size of some Regions makes their management and effective engagement difficult. In some, the financial and time costs entailed are prohibitive. As a result personal contact is reduced or lost. People continue to hold multiple roles, commonly around 3 with some reaching 5 or 8. A significant range of key role holders consider their secondary role primary, this can mean a sectional role is prioritised before a Scottish, Regional or District appointment. 6

7 There are still significant gaps in key role holder appointments. Some of these are masked by acting appointments or caretaker style appointments. The selection and appointment process has not consistently delivered on the right people for the job. There appears to be a culture of filling a post regardless rather than finding the person able (or with the potential) to fulfil the requirements of the role. Communication is perceived to have improved as a result of direct communication from SHQ and HQ. (e bulletins etc) This is not attributed to Regionalisation. E communication is now the main medium used and widely regarded as effective. Against this face to face and direct communication has reduced to the detriment of relationships between and across all levels in scouting. Wide use of the membership management system (MMS) results in masking gaps in the communication lines which currently cannot be identified. Groups do not feel support has improved as a result of regionalisation. Groups feel they have access to support but this is not due to regionalisation. At all levels support is considered to be reactive rather than proactive. Of the other levels in Scouting, ADC sections feel particularly isolated and unsupported since regionalisation; this issue has been recognised by the SHQ team who are responding. Similarly Regional Advisors experience a lack of support and cohesion. More widely there is a lack of networking and peer support opportunities across different levels. The lack of proactive support has also been subject of adverse comment from Regional teams and DC s. Scouting in Scotland has been successful in growing over the period since 1 April 2008, this has not been attributed to regionalisation. At all levels there is a lack of understanding of what community engagement should be and its benefits, There has been no improvement in community engagement and in some significant instances regionalisation has negatively impacted on previously effective community engagement. Given the very considerable number of people who have contributed to this work, the nature of responses received, the credibility of SHQ now rests on the publication and implementation of this report. 7

8 Recommendations Agreed and Adopted by the Scottish Board 1. Explore and reaffirm people s understanding of the responsibilities and distinction between Regional and District roles. 2. The structure and organisation at SHQ should be reviewed to ensure proactive support and leadership is provided to all Districts and effective support to Regions. 3. SHQ, Regional and District team appointments should focus on developing their dynamic, inspirational and effective leadership skills and qualities. 4. Targeted training for all managers both formal and informal to help clarity about roles and responsibilities, and to ensure effective management, support and accountability. 5. Introduce explicit operational guidelines for all key role holders, to include contact and support to those in their area of responsibility. 6. Establish measurable objectives for all key role holders to share practice, ensure that appropriate support and management is provided and mutual support is available. 7. Key role holder appointments should prioritise these as their prime appointments. 8. This report should be made available to those involved in Scottish Scouting and HQ. 9. An implementation group be set up to respond to this report, the recommendations and take forward actions to address the conclusions and issues raised. The decisions and discussions of the Scottish Board at the meeting of August 2010 should be reflected by the Group. The Group should include representatives of all levels in Scouting in Scotland. 10. The Board should take forward a culture of monitoring and evaluation and positively promote this across Regions and Districts by providing data collection, storage, retrieval and analysis facilities and expertise. Better use should also be made of on line and remote facilities to gather information on a regular basis on a variety of topics. 28 August

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