New release: Group Finder and updates to Programme Planning

The Scouts beta website has been updated to include a host of exciting features, including a new sample Group Finder search and improvements to our programme planning feature.

In a new release, the website now gives visitors the chance to search sample data for Scout groups in their area, providing details on the sections run there, what day of the week they are running and contact information for the section leaders. Currently, the system uses ‘dummy’ information to demonstrate future functionality, and users are warned of this when searching on the site. This will, however, be updated with live information, and we hope this simple tool will be incredibly useful to new and existing members.

The programme planning feature has also seen its fair share of updates, with the inclusion of staged badges in the badge and activity search pages, and the ability to delete activities in planned programmes. These changes help to make the creation of interesting and varied programmes even easier for section leaders.

We’re really excited to be launching these new features and we can’t wait to hear what you think.


  1. Avatar Paul S 08/07/2019 / 8:29 pm

    The beta site is generally looking good. However, I’m rather concerned by the data that been used to seed the new Group finder. It’s not true ‘dummy’ data e.g. lorem ipsum, but is real personal data (name, email, phone number). The data for Groups in my own District includes PII for people who left Scouting some years ago. The data for my own Group is my personal contact details that have never been the public contact details for our Group. I appreciate that robots.txt has been set to *ask* crawlers to not index this site yet (which they may or may not do), but I really don’t think you should be publishing out of date personal data or otherwise incorrect data.

    • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:53 pm

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment and you’ll see I’ve responded to a few other points raising similar concerns. When setting up the beta website’s group finder, we inadvertently used an incorrect snapshot of data which meant we weren’t just replicating the data publication of our existing site. We have now updated the data sitting behind the beta site’s group finder to ensure it’s up-to-date, as well as making sure we’re showing the correct data for groups. If there is any data you can see that is still incorrect, please could you let us know by emailing so we’re able to locate and update the information. Thanks, James.

  2. Avatar Bloory 08/07/2019 / 9:05 pm

    Could you see your way to removing my old, incorrect data from your beta. Also, not sure why a made up district is plastered all over the address… A district in Scouting might not mean anything to the wider world.
    Love the idea though – keep up the good work.

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:29 pm

      Hi Bloory, thanks for your comment. When setting up our beta site group finder functionality, we inadvertently used an old snapshot of data but we have now refreshed the data so it is as up-to-date as the current Scouts website. In terms of the district you mentioned, could you provide some further information to investigate what data you might be referring to? Thanks, James.

  3. Avatar Kevin 08/07/2019 / 9:11 pm

    Looks good, but I have some privacy concerns especially with the test data for Group contact.

    I think you may need to look at the dummy data in the Beta site for Group Leaders from a GDPR point of view. Although there is the warning that the data may be out of date or incorrect, you appear to be exposing real names and personal email address of individuals which has not been publish in the public domain before. Looking at the groups near me, 4 for the 5 have the personal email address of leaders who have now left the groups nationally you must be exposing the names and associated emails of some 7000-8000 individuals.

    I would suggest you generate some test data for the beta phase as you are exposing linked data between a name and an email address.

    It is well known that spam mailers harvest email addresses from websites. Most modern websites protect email addresses behind a form. This would be a sensible precaution in the final version, Ideally with a captcha to restrict spamming.

    Will the final email address be linked to the Group registration in Compass so that Groups can update their own detail?

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:45 pm

      Hi Kevin, thanks for your message and for raising this issue. As I have explained to another commenter, we inadvertently selected an old snapshot of group data when setting up our beta group finder – we have now refreshed the data so there should be the same information as is currently displayed on the main Scouts website. In terms of updating group finder information, we are working on this and it would be our preferred destination. The current objective is to add further options to the contact type drop-down for emails/phone for Groups in Compass so that Groups/Districts can put in their preferred contact methods. In this scenario we would also start to use the section schedule fields to enable filtering by day of the week, and show meeting times if the information has been entered.

  4. Avatar Trevor Watson 09/07/2019 / 6:21 am

    The new Group search tool looks good. My only current concern is that although understanding the site is using out of date data, it is so old you are exposing email addresses of people who have left Scouting certainly in one case I have looked at in my District from over 5 years ago. Surely this breaks GDPR and potentially publishes an address of someone who has been removed from Scouting over this period

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:18 pm

      Hi Trevor, thanks so much for your comment. When selecting the sample data to demonstrate our new beta site’s group finder functionality, we inadvertently selected an old snapshot of the data. We have now refreshed the data so it should contain up-to-date information, as the main Scouts site currently does. If you see something that shouldn’t be there – please email details to and we’ll ensure it’s removed. Thanks, James.

      • Avatar Alan Sharkey 12/07/2019 / 2:31 pm

        How do we ask to change data that is incorrect?

        • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:36 pm

          Hi Alan, as the tool states, the data on BETA is likely to be incorrect as we’re only using a snapshot to demonstrate functionality. However, if you visit the existing website’s group finder ( and find the information is still incorrect, you can email and we can change the information where necessary.

  5. Avatar Charlie Anderson 09/07/2019 / 10:50 am

    It would be great if you could add links to these posts so we can quickly try out the new features!

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:15 pm

      Hi Charlie – apologies! In my haste I posted without the appropriate links but I’ve added them back in now. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you felt should be linked to in the post.

  6. Avatar Kerry Harrison 09/07/2019 / 11:53 am

    So trying out the group finder tool to find explorer units. I know I am not getting my nearest units coming up on the list. How can I help ensure all the units in the County are visible on the tool?

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:11 pm

      Hi Kerry, the beta website’s group finder is currently using sample data to demonstrate functionality, so it may be that your nearest units aren’t included in that. However, we have recently refreshed the data so if you try again your nearest units may now appear? Let me know whether this is the case.

  7. Avatar Pete Jeffreys 09/07/2019 / 8:27 pm

    On the ‘get involved’ box on the group finder, why is it still only sparse information that’s collected? I’ve left comments elsewhere on this blog before explaining how this isn’t helpful in handling either youth or volunteer joining enquiries.

    The made a backwards step around 2012 when it removed a very useful form to help the recipient to immediately put them in touch with the right person, or to have the right conversation. We’ve spent 7 years with this sparse form giving not much information at all, and I’m disappointed to see we’re not learning lessons from this experience as we move into the new website.

    Please take the opportunity to look at this again otherwise it will just perpetuate an already flawed system.

    Thanks, Pete

    • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:12 pm

      Hi Pete, thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in replying – I wanted to make sure I passed on your feedback to our UI/UX developer looking at group finder. As this is a beta website, this is just phase one of our development so our work won’t stop here. We’re working with users, taking them through the volunteer journey to understand their needs to see what changes and improvements can be made. If you’re not already involved in our community of interest, you can join by emailing – you can then be involved in future test cycles and provide more direct feedback to help shape our beta website. Thanks, James.

  8. Avatar Neil 09/07/2019 / 9:52 pm

    I’m very worried about the dispay of *real* personal data on this site, in particular sensitive data such as names, phone numbers and email addresses.

    I realise some people won’t mind this, but the site is showing personal emails and in some cases home phone numbers without any forewarning.

    I’m unclear if consents are in place to show it in this way, whether people will be expecting this?

    I appreciate this is a beta site but I really don’t think showing real data in this way is appropriate, and this could be a privacy breach?

    • Avatar James Calmus 12/07/2019 / 1:09 pm

      Hi Neil, thanks for your message. The beta website’s group finder functionality replicates that of the current Scouts site, which also displays this data, however we are currently discussing the best ways for prospective volunteers or parents to get in touch with groups to see if there is a better solution for managing this process.

  9. Avatar Paul Austin 10/07/2019 / 8:10 am

    Just had a scan around and can find nothing to do with Adventrous actvties? things I think would be helpfull on a new web site: details of courses, links to some videos of what an assesment looks like in real life, guidnace documents, maybe a list or map of actvtiy SASU’s and contacts. Lessons learnt from incidents, ideas for games and actvies within adventrous actvities. maybe some links or information on changes/ideas and updates for the various actvities.

    • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:45 pm

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. As we mentioned in our beta website release blog post ( content is currently focused on Cub leaders. This is so we can build out the beta website’s functionality – showcasing badges, activities and allowing users to plan programmes with them – and demonstrate it to users. We are, however, constantly updating the website’s content and functionality, so more section information will appear over time – something we’ll be posting on this blog about.

  10. Avatar Richard Hunt 14/07/2019 / 2:34 pm

    Hi – tool looks good but the data is wrong. How do we fix that?

    • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:33 pm

      Hi Richard – the information used in the beta website is currently just a snapshot to indicate functionality rather than provide accurate information so it may be this is why the information you’re seeing isn’t correct. However, if you head to the existing website ( and see the information is also incorrect there, please email to help us locate and update the information.

  11. Avatar Pete Jeffreys 14/07/2019 / 6:39 pm

    James, thanks for your responses to a few people’s posts where you’ve explained that you’re now using up to date Group and contact information.

    I can see you’ve also acknowledged your desire to have the contact done through a form which doesn’t expose the end destination email address.

    You haven’t directly answered the concern about publishing the ‘group contact’ details which were raised by a few people as GDPR concerns as not having a basis in consent or legitimate interest. I can see from the beta site that this box has been removed, leaving only the ‘enquire about volunteering’ and ‘enrol your child’ options – as per the existing site, which is a much better solution. Thanks for taking action on this.


    • Avatar James Calmus 15/07/2019 / 1:22 pm

      Hi Pete, I’ve just replied to your other comment, apologies for the delay on that. As I mentioned in a couple of replies, it was an oversight on our part to use an older snapshot of data that meant we were publishing different information, but as you’ve noted, we have taken action to make sure we’re replicating the current website’s functionality while also providing some extra features that’ll hopefully be really useful to users.

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