Meeting the OSM team

Last Monday, the team behind OSM visited Gilwell. We were keen to meet to better understand OSM and how it works, as well as to find out about the OSM team’s plans for the future. We also wanted to share where we are on the Scouts digital journey and the timeframe for the development of our digital plan.

Ed Jellard, OSM’s creator, started the day with a full demo of the key features on offer to section leaders and took us through the functionality available to some of OSM’s other customers. It was really interesting for the team here to understand the current capabilities of the system, as well as the way other organisations are using different features. Ed talked through the work they have undertaken with the New Zealand Girl Guides national office, which now uses their equivalent of OSM for their membership data and as a tool for their volunteer leaders. While we all appreciated that we are a very different organisation, it was great to see the flexibility of the system and the different ways it could be used to support the delivery of Scouting.

The Scouts Digital team and Ed and Zoe, from OSM

Ed and Zoe Chamberlain, the OSM Marketing manager, also shared a sneak preview of the latest release of OSM, due to launch in the new year. It has been designed to be fully responsive and work across all devices (mobile, tablet etc.). It was interesting to see how OSM is evolving and what the team are planning to deliver next.

We then talked about where we are currently with digital at TSA and some of the (very early) stages of our thinking around digital tools to support Scouting. We will share more on this in future blog posts…

It is clear that there are many similarities between what OSM is doing and what we are doing. The next steps are for us to explore, in more detail, how we might work together in the future. We are planning further meetings in the new year and will keep you updated through this blog. So if you haven’t already, please do sign up to follow our posts.

Are you currently using OSM as a section leader? If so, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Please leave a comment.


  1. Avatar Ian 11/12/2017 / 12:03 pm

    A glimmer of hope towards a joined up approach! OSM works and TSA need to embrace it rather than reinvent the wheel.

    • Avatar Justine Turner 11/12/2017 / 6:48 pm

      I use OSM for all my admin as a BSL we collect all our payments, parents sign up for events and camps. I plan my programme, link it to badges, find activities and keep track of badges earned and badge stocks. It’s brilliant.
      I find compass impossible to navigate and POL fiddly.
      Scout association please take up OSM don’t reinvent the wheel. It will take hours I don’t have to transplant all my data, that is if you ever get a new system to work

    • Avatar Jacqui 21/12/2017 / 8:16 pm

      I was an IT consultant for over 20 years and have been a scout leader for nearly 8 years. I have used OSM extensively for a number of years and found it to be very helpful and intuitive and it works. The Scout Association should hand all their systems over to Ed and his brilliant (and competent) team as the scout website/computer systems etc are totally unintuitive, often don’t work and are the biggest load of rubbish I’ve had the misfortune to use. It reeks of not being system tested fully or by independent users (or if it is they must have had little experience of using good websites/computer systems). Do yourself and all us volunteers a massive favour and let Ed bring the Scout Association into the 21st century!

      • Avatar Steve Riley 27/12/2017 / 12:18 pm

        Here here

    • Avatar Mike 21/12/2017 / 10:05 pm

      My Group have used OSM across all sections and it has improved our record keeping and assisted greatly in tracking thru the weekly programme badge work and ensuring as badges are completed they are awarded. We collect Subs, Events & Camp monies via the link with GoCardless and it even helps with the annual census! I would encourage TSA to work with the OSM team on a joined up system for use by Leaders.

    • Avatar Samantha Sharp 21/12/2017 / 10:34 pm

      OSM works brilliantly, Compass doesn’t. No brainer really.
      Good to see that HQ are finally realising what loads of leaders worked out for themselves ages ago.

      • Avatar Andy Loring 15/03/2018 / 10:25 am

        The problem is that OSM and Compass are very differnt systems, which EACH have their pitfalls:

        OSM is a ‘bottom up’ system, so it works well from a section presective, but has little concept of; groups, districts, counties, areas, regions or nations! (certainly in the UK, this may work better from a New Zealand perspective). It therefore allows multiple records to be created for the same person (eg. a Young Leader helping with a Cub pack may have a record in that pack which isn’t connected to their record in the Explorer unit they also belong to), this isn’t an issue for the individual sections, but would be if you wanted a system that holds unique records for everybody at a UK level. Members are transferred on a ‘push’ system, so it is up to the old section to make sure a record is passed to the new section as a member moves (which isn’t always the prioirity of the old leaders, as that member is no longer their concern and they may not even know that the new section uses OSM, or how to find that new section on OSM!)

        Compass is a ‘top down’ system, so it maps how each individual belongs to a section, group, county… all the way up to a HQ level (via a unique membership number), but that causes issues when you can only see data that is held as a section level when other data is being held at a group level or above (eg parent helpers are ‘group occassional helpers’, not assigned to individual sections), it’s biggest flaw is that it was based on a set of rules drawn up from POR, which don’t match how the processes actually operate. It transfers members on a ‘pull’ system, where the new section can search for a member who has joined them and request that their data is pulled into their section, but this has DP issues!

    • Avatar Helen Barnby-Porritt 21/12/2017 / 11:09 pm

      I have been using OSM for 5 years and have always found it easy to use and suits my needs. Have never understood why TSA developed Compass, which turned out to be of no use for section work and took extensive re-working to even be useful for tracking section leadership.
      I’d love to see TSA adopt OSM rather than design something else that we haven’t time to get our heads round using.

    • Avatar David Day 22/12/2017 / 8:28 am

      My section leaders would all resign if I cancelled OSM for 6th Ripon Scout Group. We just keep finding more ways to use it. TSA should negotiate to buy into OSM.

    • Avatar 22/12/2017 / 8:34 am

      Dear All at HQ
      I do hope the Scouting Association can use OSM! I’ve always felt I’m a bit of a technological dinosaurs, but I quickly got to grips with OSM and find its a lifesaver. In fact, I think if it went, I’d go too! We have a full section of Cubs and we currently only have myself and a very new leader. Without the help of OSM, I simply wouldn’t be able to lead the Cubs and do my full-time job. Compass, by comparison, is unwieldy.
      I do hope this partnership works! Best of luck!

    • Avatar Andrew 22/12/2017 / 12:11 pm

      I totally agree. TSA – swallow your pride and adopts something that works, works well, is extensively used already, has been tried, tested, validated, etc, etc.
      Let’s not have another Compass that takes YEARS to implement and then only with limited functionality.

    • Avatar Nic Atkin 23/12/2017 / 11:02 am

      I work in IT and find the same story again and again. “Not invented here”. Sorry TSA, you need to embrace OSM. OSM does what it does very well. There is strong OSM user base who understand how it works – very simple! TSA should concentrate on its strengths of delivering great experiences for young people, not IT. This is why most businesses are embracing the cloud for back office and administrative functions, in the main they are not IT companies, they deliver a service to their customers. Please concentrate on doing the best for our young people.

    • Avatar Amanda Seago 24/12/2017 / 9:37 am

      OSM is awesome and changed my life as a leader, from impossible never-ending spreadsheets that I couldn’t keep in top of, to a slick, supportive and fantastic tool, clearly designed by scouts. How is it possible that TSA are only just talking to OSM now? Compass is dire and OSM should be adopted into the DNA of how we do things in The Scout Association as soon as possible. Thank you Ed!

    • Avatar David Elliott 05/01/2018 / 10:00 am

      Please use OSM its the best thing since sliced bread, I use it as GSL and a scout leader and it does everything our group needs including helping to make census returns easy, it even tells me what and how many badges I need to order, swallow your pride and go for it………

  2. Avatar Chris Taylor 11/12/2017 / 12:04 pm

    I use OSM to manage my large Scout section and the Group’s subscriptions and events income (currently over £3500 per month) and it’s a brilliant tool although does lack some Group management features. Happy to give my views anytime.

    • Avatar Anthony Metcalf 11/12/2017 / 12:29 pm

      As Chris says, there are some things that could be improved at the group level, that I understand come from the systems origins as a section level tool.

      I’d struggle to run my Section without OSM. I wouldn’t give it up if you paid me.

  3. Avatar Kim 11/12/2017 / 12:06 pm

    I find it very useful for keeping an eye on badge work achievement of the young people and attendance and lodge points

  4. Avatar Mark Arnold 11/12/2017 / 12:07 pm

    I could not run my troop without OSM. It is so helpful and useful in both the longer planning and in the day to day running. We use the full suite of features in my troop and also across my group and others in the county.

    Up to now there has been nothing that TSA has provided that has helped me (except for POL).

    It always seemed crazy to me that TSA wasted so much money trying to create their own system (Compass) when OSM was already there, was so much more evolved and was loved by leaders.

  5. Avatar Neil Williams 11/12/2017 / 12:11 pm

    I think TSA would get near 100% buy-in if they adopted OSM as our membership system as some countries have done.

  6. Avatar John 11/12/2017 / 12:13 pm

    I don’t use OSM at County level however I do know many of my groups and districts do. One area that I have seen that I really (really) like is the messaging facility. Compass messaging inserts loads of ‘>’ which looks messy and unprofessional. If you can sort this that would be great. Thanks

  7. Avatar Chris Bamber 11/12/2017 / 12:14 pm

    OSM transformed how I run my Troop. Our Badge awarded numbers are higher than ever due to the ease of checking requirements.
    We run more events than before due to the automation of inviting, reminding and managing the event attendance and information.
    My.Scout also gives parents access to the information they need with leaders spending additional time replying to emails text messages and phone calls.
    We have also extended some functions via our own website to further reduce Leaders time.

  8. Avatar Joanne Charlton 11/12/2017 / 12:18 pm

    OSM is fantastic. We use OSM across our group and find it really helps with our admin. I love the activities it has as a resource and how it can link to so many badges I hadn’t realised, which means more badges for the kids, which ultimately means more kids. The kids want recognition regularly for what they have done, not once a term or worse still once a year, they need to know what they have done is worth something and OSM makes that so easy to do. Thanks to Jed and his team for creating it.

  9. Avatar Ian Silvester 11/12/2017 / 12:20 pm

    Hello, we have rolled out OSM across our County over the last few months and are already at over 50% uptake. We are seeing so very useful data, at the County level. We are looking forward to helping and supporting more Adult Volunteers in Sections, Groups and Districts across the County make best use of the system, to help support great programmes and automate as many admin tasks as possible. We’d be very happy to share our insights, if you feel they may be of benefit.

  10. Avatar Trevor Yeoman 11/12/2017 / 12:22 pm

    I’ve continuously used OSM since 2012, it has been a life line for pack and group organisation. Basically I couldn’t envisage running sections without it. I can see quite easily, with a separate front end, how OSM could easily cater for District/County/UK needs. In the end it’s how you manage the data under the hood and how this is exposed to the appropriate audience. Happy to give feedback on this anytime.

    • Avatar Beccy 11/01/2018 / 6:33 am

      I’m a new ACSL, who joined a cub pack that uses OSM. It’s not only a really useful administrative tool, but also really helps me in my training, especially thinking about what constitutes a balanced programme and how to deliver it. The activities database is also a fantastic resource: it’s an intuitive system, and allows me to plan meetings on my morning commute

  11. Avatar Peter Day 11/12/2017 / 12:23 pm

    I’m a Scout Leader and OSM is an essential tool to help me with the administration of my section. The ability to easily record who did what and when which indicates where I need to focus the future programme to get the YP through the challenge badges is made easy. OSM is not perfect but is value for money.

    I am also a manager of an national Active Support Unit and for that Compass is the correct tool for that role as it is adults only.

    My professional role is a computer systems architect so I can see and understand the different ways that OSM could support or integrate with Compass. I’m really glad that you are having these discussions and hope that it leads to something that will help and support me, and other leaders, in the future

  12. Avatar John Buchanan 11/12/2017 / 12:43 pm

    I know many leaders who use OSM and they all speak very highly of it. It has great potential, so I spoke to OSM about a year ago to see whether it could be adapted to work fully for Explorer sections. Their view was that it could be, but the structure would have to be modified.
    At present, some Explorer Units do use it. Typically, they have a Partnership Agreement with a Scout Group meeting in the same location. They set themselves up as a section. They seem to manage to keep their finances separate so that they can submit accounts to the District.
    The problem is that Explorers are a District function and Units normally take in Scouts from different Groups, and that the ESL is managed by the DESC, who is responsible for all Units in the District. Unlike the GSL, who has access to all sections in OSM for their own Group, the DESC does not have access to individual OSM accounts set up as above.
    So how can we ensure:
    • That the DESC and DESA can access OSM for all Units, and the DC can be given access if those roles are vacant.
    • That moving-on information is passed from a Scout Group to an Explorer Unit at District level.
    • That the system copes with Young Leaders who may be: part of a regular ESU; ‘only’ a YL; a DofE helper who is not a member of TSA.
    • That the right people have access to an individual Explorer’s personal information: their (A)ESLs, the DESC and the DESA require this; GSLs and leaders of the younger sections do not. This may become particularly important when GDPR comes into force.
    I hope that, in the discussions with OSM, the integration of the Explorer section will be made a priority.

    • Avatar Ian Wilkins 11/12/2017 / 1:06 pm

      I partly agree, it’s certainly a little lacking in being the perfect solution for Explorers. the sharing of events is a little clunky for example. I guess that’s a consequence of a product designed for sections that’s being used for a section that sometimes needs to be treated as an individual unit (i.e. looking up personal details of an explorer, or attendance records) and sometimes as a district unit (for district programme evenings/events). And yes, YLs is an issue.

      As for your specific problems, I think that’s just a case of the admins of the OSM accounts adding the DESC/DESC in as a user, that’s what we have, and don’t have the GSLs as users. I’m a DESC and I can see all 4 units in my district, as that’s how we set it up.

    • Avatar Mark S 11/12/2017 / 2:05 pm

      In our district we have the district set up as a ‘group’ with all the ESUs as ‘sections’ within them. Simples.

    • Avatar Colin Sills 11/12/2017 / 4:52 pm

      To be clear: in OSM, each individual has a unique record. That record can be shared/transferred across between sections, so it can be a member of multiple sections simultaneously. For example an ESYL could be in one section (at their Explorer unit) and also in a Cubs section at a Group. The section(s) they are in determine the appropriate people with permissions to view/edit details. In the case of the ESYL, GSL/section leader of the section they are leading do need to see that data, since they fall within that section’s duty of care. A different example would be where a Scout moves up to Explorers (but is not a YL): in that case, their record can be simply transferred from the Scout section on to the Explorer Unit section within OSM. OSM handles all this really well, imho. It is up to the leaders/administrators of a section to determine which people have which permissions for their section. Where is ‘the problem’?

      • Avatar Mark S 11/12/2017 / 5:05 pm

        Thats exactly what we try and encorage with the ESL(YL)s in my district. One set of personal contact details as there is only one set of data.

    • Avatar Mark Gibson 11/12/2017 / 5:37 pm

      Crouch Valley District Explorers use OSM for all 4 of it’s Explorer Units and it works brilliantly. The DESC (me) and the DESA maintain the central admin database and explorers are copied into their individual units for attendance and programme access. It has made the administration of Explorer Scouting so much better and easier

    • Avatar Andrew Sutherland 11/12/2017 / 9:23 pm

      Key for interoperability between sections and Groups (which would be key to solve your explorer problem) is to get everyone to agree to resist the temptation to add extra data fields in OSM… the capability to do this exists but it makes it far, far harder to move records between sections, either within a group or within a District.

    • Avatar CLIVE RICH 12/12/2017 / 1:15 am

      We use OSM for our explorer units and we have a specific Young Leaders OSM section too. Sharing members function works very well for Explore units to YL unit, and YL to lower sections. Everything remains synchronised. As DESC I can see everything, so can DESA. Makes moving on from Scouts so easy. For explorers sharing events could be better, and being able to have multiple programme events on one night. We use myscout for event invitations and monitoring and sharing programme with parents electronically. Census is so easy with OSM data. Couldn’t work without OSM now. If you write the user requirements I’m sure you would find that OSM would meet the majority of functions.

      • Avatar John Buchanan 12/12/2017 / 9:57 am

        Clive, that is encouraging. Can you tell me how you have set up OSM to allow this integration? Are all the Explorer Units attached to a Scout Group? If not, how does an ESU run by the District have access to the moving-on information from a Scout Troop?

        • Avatar Mark Brett 21/12/2017 / 8:48 pm

          John, the Pink Panthers in Craigalmond would be happy to chat through how we do this with our four feeder troops

  13. Avatar Norma Brandon 11/12/2017 / 12:51 pm

    At Greater Manchester North Scout County we took the decision to fund OSM for all sections throughout the county last March. Feedback we have had since introducing it is that leaders really appreciate the ease of use, like the programme/badge links and agree that it has made tracking badges earned much, mucn easier. Sections are slower at taking up the payments features but all agree it is safer for parents to pay online rather than leaders collecting cash and cheques.
    We’ve got 136 Beaver, Cub, Scout and Explorer sections registered under the County code and can see stats at district and county level. Subscription is growing at a rate of ten a week at the moment.

    I feel good that the County are leading an intitative in providing groups with the encouragement and support they need to keep their records and data secure and feel that scout groups will be better prepared to meet GDPR requirements than without OSM.

    At a section/group level, I have to admit that it makes it much easier to track member’s progress through badges, and link badge work to the programme administratively so the members get full credit for their achievements.

    • Avatar Steve Wright 04/07/2018 / 10:20 am

      We in Warwickshire are looking to do something similar Can you PM me please

  14. Avatar Dawn 11/12/2017 / 12:57 pm

    OSM is fantastic, it saves me so much admin time. Please embrace it TSA.

  15. Avatar Lisa Williams 11/12/2017 / 1:08 pm

    I am an Explorer Scout leader in Wales and OSM is an essential part of our attendance and badge attainment recording, especially for the Chief Scout/Queen’s Scout awards. For us, its best features are the ability to track parts of badge requirement completion and that each of our three leaders can access information on the system if necessary. I keep track of progression on record cards as well, but the fact that OSM flags up when one of our Explorers has completed a badge is a huge help. I could not do my administration without OSM, and am encouraging our local Scout group to join (I have even offered to add their record card information to the system I’m so passionate about the benefit).

  16. Avatar Roger Liscoe 11/12/2017 / 1:10 pm

    it is a pity that Compass is not usable on all systems. Doesn’t work on IOS or Android tablets. Why not

  17. Avatar Philip Moseley 11/12/2017 / 1:14 pm

    Have used OSM for my Cub Pack for several years and it is invaluable to tracking badge progress, event management, programme planning and much more. About to start using payments early next year. Trying to persuade our Beavers and Scouts to start using to fully integrate across the group, but even without that we could not function the Pack as effectively without it.

  18. Avatar Richard Hunt 11/12/2017 / 1:18 pm

    OSM works. It is adoption on the basis of features further than compulsion, couldn’t run the group without it

  19. Avatar Richard Taylor 11/12/2017 / 1:58 pm

    I am GSL for a group with 9 sections. All sections use OSM. We also use OSM to record our adult volunteers (in addition to recording them on Compass) and waiting lists for Beavers, Cubs and Scout. In addition, we have a Group Subs section that all members are added to and remain in for the whole time they are with the group. This Group Subs section is used for payment of subs so that Direct Debits are not cancelled when a child moves from Beavers to Cubs and Cubs to Scouts.

    OSM is clearly the only game in town at the moment and it has many great qualities.

    However, for a large group it is missing some elements that cause some pain e.g.:

    1 – terms can not be set for the whole group. So, with 15 OSM sections we have to manually synchronise the term dates.
    2 – direct debits are linked to sections, so when a member is moved from one section to another their payments are cancelled – (hence our work around of using another Group Subs section).
    3. leaders access can only be controlled at the section level. So with 15 sections and 30+ leaders, it is a nightmare to keep tabs on who has what permissions in which sections.

    These examples show the primary problem (and a big selling point) of OSM – it is designed around the Section. Group, District and County functions are an add-on.

    As a GSL, it is the Group level functionality that I am most interested in. It would be nice to see OSM provide a roadmap for adding Group management functions.

    One major plus of OSM is that it has an API that can be used to script additional capabilities. We use this extensively to overcome some of the Group management missing functions.

  20. Avatar FRANK BRIAN FOULKES 11/12/2017 / 2:17 pm

    Have used OSM since SMS “died”. It is an excellent system and makes running a Cub Pack much easier. With littler effort we are always up to date with badge work and awards..Really helps in forward programme planning,and the Activities section is very useful. I really dreaded having to use Compass and breathed a sigh of relief when it was cancelled. Even though it spoiled the Christmas when I had to work to put all that information in,remember.

  21. Avatar Stewart Watkiss 11/12/2017 / 2:27 pm

    Our group have just recently started using OSM.

    A secure way to store contact details (including offline) is important as it means we don’t need to carry around a paper copy of all contact details.

    The way it provides tracking of badges is a huge help. It makes it much easier to know when to issue a badge and to see what other steps are required to complete that badge.

    I don’t use the other features much at the moment (eg. finance) and I’m not sure that many of our parents would use My.Scout at the moment (hard enough getting them to use emails / text messages etc.) at the moment.

  22. Avatar Sandy Woods 11/12/2017 / 2:39 pm

    Hi TSA digital, stop wasting time and money just buy OSM, SANDY Gsl, Blackburn

  23. Avatar Annette Payne 11/12/2017 / 2:46 pm

    All the sections in the District I serve use OSM even the Gang Show use it. We also have adapted it to use it for our leaders. Much easier than Compass so only use Compass when we have to. Seen more awards and badges presented since using the system. So many brilliant features the sections wouldn’t be without it.

  24. Avatar Michael Leadbetter 11/12/2017 / 3:24 pm

    OSM is a great tool us. As many have said above I can’t imagine trying to run a section without it. The other key feature it enables is that it allows sections to share admin responsibilities easily between a number of parties.

    We’re currently working to take our group paperless, so anything that supports this is welcomed.

    If you want anything new trailing please let us know we’d be happy to get involved.

  25. Avatar Graham Harrop 11/12/2017 / 4:56 pm

    Many groups in our district use OSM. Would be good if the new digital tools included OSM

  26. Avatar nele 11/12/2017 / 5:26 pm

    OSM is great, all our sections use it, some more than others, and it makes everything so much easier, especially passing on details between sections and badge progress. Still on the wish list would be for better group management for those who do events at group or multi group level and for payments etc to work for BSO groups too.

  27. Avatar Keith Bryce 11/12/2017 / 5:31 pm

    Great to see Gilwell’s understanding of leaders’ digital needs is catching up with the rest of the movement. OSM is the best thing that has happened to me as a section leader. As an ADC I now have all of District using it. Leaders can’t get enough of it! It has even been put to use to coordinate District brass monkey camp – reducing paperwork and increasing quality of data available for In Touch.

  28. Avatar KAREN YOEKE 11/12/2017 / 5:35 pm

    Ed is clearly a genius and I AM is the best thing to happen to scouting. Any joined up thinking should have been encouraged a long time ago.

  29. Avatar Fiona Gage 11/12/2017 / 5:40 pm

    OSM has made my life so much easier and means I can support the YP with badge information as my fingertips, The system reduces paperwork and also has increased subs collection and well, claiming gift aid could not be easier. Ed and the time help out so quickly if there is a problem for us that may not be tech savvy. An amazing company well done Ed the scout ass could learn lots from you .

  30. Avatar thewisebunny 11/12/2017 / 5:57 pm

    I wouldn’t be a scout leader if I couldn’t use OSM. The amount of administrative tasks in running a section is immense, and detracts from what we should be doing e.g. formulating and running the programme. In addition to the functionality it offers, Ed and the team are amazing examples of how technical support should run, sorting out problems quickly, and listening to what the users want.

    Please please please work with OSM. With it, the SA could become a benchmark for how a complex membership organisation should operate.

  31. Avatar Claire Greener 11/12/2017 / 6:01 pm

    We’ve been using OSM in all three sections since it came into being. It saves hours of work on all aspects of scouting from badge records to keeping track of finances on large week long camps to hosting our website. No more envelopes of money and cheques to account for, no spending hours updating badge spreadsheets after meetings and a seamless transition between sections. We can even see who’s coming up to scouts when as soon as they join beavers. Really hoping TSA finds a way of working with OSM rather than setting up a separate system. It a works and it works very well so let’s find a way of using it even further.

  32. Avatar Peter Morris 11/12/2017 / 6:04 pm

    All my section use, OSM and we find it very useful. going as far as sorting out events etc on it. works Brill, TSA and OSM should be working together on this.

  33. Avatar Niall Williams 11/12/2017 / 6:09 pm

    I use it for many different groups, and love it. the tool is so easy to use and the online payment part makes my life so much easier. TSA should go down this route.

  34. Avatar Julie 11/12/2017 / 6:21 pm

    OSM is amazing. It’ is all under one roof and accessible by all leaders so others can share the load. We all use it in our District and it is fab. It also is very user friendly and fast to react. I like the fact that you can use on different interfaces. The support team are the best I have ever encountered when it comes to customer care and they respond within hours if not minutes. I would be overjoyed if Compass were as good and Ed could help to integrate the two of whatever the plan is. Honestly I cannot say how highly I think and appreciate OSM

  35. Avatar Andrew 11/12/2017 / 6:28 pm

    I’ve been using OSM since the early release with my beaver colony. I am a software developer by day so I can evaluate the app from both professional and scouting viewpoint. I have found it useful for planning our programme, awarding badges and attendance. The app is easy to use and stable. Well done to all.

  36. Avatar Catherine 11/12/2017 / 6:28 pm

    Osm is invaluable, have used it for a number of years now and would recommend it to all. Would be great if there were discussions with scout association to add functionality into osm rather than creating a largely duplicate suggestion

  37. Avatar Gareth Thomas 11/12/2017 / 6:34 pm

    About time TSA acknowledged that OSM is there and being used by many Counties and Districts. Unless TSA start accepting that OSM isn’t going away, and work out how they can both work together, then Compass is going to stay the way it is now and be as useful as a chocolate fireguard for managing sections… Let alone individual YP


  38. Avatar Shane Clark 11/12/2017 / 6:34 pm

    Compass is a disaster – how much has it cost and who has been held to account for this corporate mistake. I have used OSM and it is everything and more we were promised that Compass would be. Even our county are offering the gold package for free – a bit useless without the Gold+ features. So if the scout association are going to buy into OSM then you need to pay for the Gold + package..

  39. Avatar Sarah stallwood 11/12/2017 / 6:39 pm

    Absolutely love using OSM, we have used it for our Beaver section for years and have now managed to get the whole group using the system.
    It is an excellent way of ensuring we can keep the young people’s records in order and show progression through the sections.
    It make life so much easier when it comes to planning as you can so easily see the gaps.

    We do not use the system to its full potential as have been waiting for compass but I have never understood why the Scout association has been reluctant to fully embrace this system, why try and reinvent the wheel, most groups in my district and county seem to be using it anyway.

  40. Avatar Sue McCartney 11/12/2017 / 6:41 pm

    I / we have used OSM for years and wouldn’t be able to manage without it, as everyone knows it isn’t one hour a week but I dread to think how many hours it would be without OSM.

  41. Avatar Andy Bushman 11/12/2017 / 6:41 pm

    I have been using OSM from the day it was first released. It has come a long way and just keeps getting better with new features and look and feel. I feel Parton the OSM family and will always stick with OSM, no matter what. I always try and encourage other scouts groups I meet to use it, if they aren’t already. I even offer them training on OSM if they want it.

  42. Avatar Beverley Scragg 11/12/2017 / 6:41 pm

    I’ve just started using OSM with Beavers, I really like the achievement tracking for badges & SMS function so far – transformed the administration in those areas already, TBH. Would really like to NOT have a duplicate system – don’t want to do things twice!

  43. Avatar Fiona 11/12/2017 / 6:44 pm

    OSM is great for organising events and keeping track of contacts. It’s a little clunky when using the email facility, and it could do with being more like a ‘proper’ email (with inbox, sent emails which can be forwarded/resent, storage for more than 30 days etc.); the transfer between sections as members move up could be a little more cohesive as well. The badge links with section meetings are really useful for updating badge records though, and make it a lot easier to track achievements and see if there are any gaps.

  44. Avatar Allison Rhodes 11/12/2017 / 6:52 pm

    We have found OSM to be a hugely useful tool that as a GSL, I would not wish to be without. We use it to manage our sections in a really joined up way, attendance, programme planning, waiting lists, badge records – but the value has really been in the direct invites to events and collecting subs and fees. Invaluable – improved the timeliness of permissions and monies coming in, eliminated the accounting hassle that came with cash collection. Any closer integration can only be a worthwhile move. Accept though that people use it in a flexible tailored way that suits their groups.

  45. Avatar Michael 11/12/2017 / 6:53 pm

    If the group did not pay for OSM I would pay for it out of my own pocket, or somebody else takes over the section admin.
    That is what OSM means to me, it is my one stop shop to running the section and since we started using it the Cubs, Beavers and even our technophobe Explorers leader loves it.

  46. Avatar Marissa 11/12/2017 / 6:53 pm

    OSM is brilliant. We use it across our groups sections and couldn’t be without it. Badge tracking is amazing, as is the waiting list feature, emailing and register.

  47. Avatar Bethan 11/12/2017 / 6:55 pm

    I am an explorer leader in Leicestershire and we have used OSM for all sections in our group for a number of years. Nothing would convince me to be without it. We use it for payments of subscriptions, payment of events, programmes, badge records and it makes our lives so easy. It is constantly being updated by the osm team to keep it at the cutting edge for scouting admin.

  48. Avatar Gary Hornbuckle 11/12/2017 / 7:02 pm

    Trying to run my cub section would double
    my workload. It is so helpfull managing the badges, even down to being able to print off a label for each cub and all the badges. We have added MyScout so the parents can input their details and also see what badges their child have been awarded. We are about to start collecting Subs and camp payment through OSM, and they do the gift and stuff as well. All our sections use it plus Cub and Beaver Waiting lists and a Leaders section, with all their training info. Getting the info for the census last year was so easy thanks to OSM. It is invaluable for leaders.

  49. Avatar Anthony Eeles, GSL, Purley 11/12/2017 / 7:08 pm

    I cannot tell you how encouraging it is to see TSA speaking to the OSM team. OSM is a real scouting success story – one of our own, seeing a need and filling it. I really hope TSA will look at partnering with OSM for the youth component of our national membership database – I know building your own is always a compelling option (and have been there often myself) but here we have a better one – a system designed by an end user, field tested by 1000’s of other end users, and availabile relatively inexpensively. I really look forward to a strong TSA/OSM partnership and I suspect many other TSA leaders will value that approach from Gilwell if that’s the chosen route!

    • Avatar Mark S 12/12/2017 / 9:34 am


  50. Avatar Tim 11/12/2017 / 7:09 pm

    Although immitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Please TSA dont attempt to take a working system and replicate it.

    I started using OSM many years ago, back close to when it started. I used my own money for it in my section before convincing the then GSL to pay for my section. I then convinced the committee to pay for all sections to have it.

    Since then i have become the GSL and have introduced all my leaders to it. And they all love it. OSM makes it easier to keep track of what is going on in a section, plan events and most recently for us collect payments. Today i sent our invited for summer camp. Planned when the deposite needs to be paid and then the balance. Within 10 minutes several parents have signed their scouts to the camp and 2 deposits have been paid.

    I agree that the group level use could be improved and ive not seen district or county access. However TSA please, after seeing what OSM can do, the feedback here from leaders that use it, and for my sanity talk to Ed about adopting OSM as a national membership system and work out what else OSM would need to have to deliver what HQ needs.

    No leader having used OSM would want to then have to use a mandatory system that delivers less and is more cumbersome.

  51. Avatar Marc 11/12/2017 / 7:39 pm

    OSM is absolutely fantastic. It makes life as a leader much simpler and gives you more time to focus on actually scouting rather than sorting out admin. Communicating with parents is super easy, events are far simpler to plan and everything is available wherever you are!
    I do not understand why the scout association have not adopted this system already. Never have I met a leader who uses OSM who has anything bad to say about it.

  52. Avatar Chris 11/12/2017 / 7:47 pm

    Every section in my group use it and we couldn’t be with out it anymore. We use it to manage our Subs as well. We love it and I fully agree with everyone that says TSA digital should buy it, today, and fully roll it out as the ‘youth’ half of Compass. (as GSL, I quite like Compass too – but only for Adults).

  53. Avatar Andy Beaumont 11/12/2017 / 8:08 pm

    We have a group of 140 youth members all using the gold package from Beavers to Explorers, having ran a Cub section before we bought osm I don’t know how large groups keep on top of admin without osm, online payments and badge records are so much easier, the sooner TSA join the OSM community the better for everyone, fingers crossed

  54. Avatar Jona G 11/12/2017 / 8:13 pm

    I am the GSL of a group with 9 sections plus an affiliated Explorer section. 220 Young People & 60 Adults. We adopted OSM fully around 2 years ago. We did not adopt it as group previously as we were waiting for Compass. A couple of our sections did use it but we adopted it as a group when the Youth membership side of Compass failed.
    On the whole OSM is a good, if at times idiosyncratic, system which has benefitted our group and leaders especially in the areas of badge record administration, In Touch details, gift aid & census details capture and to some degree management of events and communications with parents. It has provided much more transparency throughout the group and improved group communication although the group (multi-section) functionality is still very weak.
    The addition of new functionality and improvement of existing functionality has slowed considerably over the past year as other organisations around the world seem to take more of the focus for the management and development team at OSM.

    The Event management side of the system is still poor especially in the area of multi- section events which we do a lot of in our group. This area does not seem to be a focus of the team and has seen little change in a long while.
    We have used the GoCardless payment system for collecting subs in the Explorer Unit and for a couple of events. This works well for simple, one price to all events and for subs but is not very flexible if you have variable costs to different people (family camps, events with options etc.) and is annoying in the way that it does not pass across sections for subs. The cost is also high but I will come to that in a moment.

    All in all OSM is a boon to our group and it is difficult to understand how we would have coped with our 40% increase in member number over the past three years without it.

    One thing however that no-one on these comments has spoken about so far is the cost. Our group pays over £400 for OSM each year without collecting any subs through it. If we collected subs through it which we would like to do, the cost would jump to £1200 per year. If we collected the money for all our events through it we would pay OSM something like £1800 per year. In my view this is not a justifiable expense from Scouting funds. It would be approx. 4.5% of our income from subs. As volunteers we can spend an extra hour or two per month administering a Standing Order Based system and have the same subs collection rates and save £800, which we would otherwise have to spend much more time fund raising. We will suffer the £400 while there is nothing better but it is always under review and if something comes into being that will save us this money we would move without hesitation. One thing that I find very surprising is that OSM takes a higher fee per payment than GoCardless do. I suppose the reality of needing/wanting to make larger profits is driving this even if those profits are supplied by Scout Groups. I would like to understand how groups that do collect the subs through OSM justify the expenditure of this level of charitable funds.

    Many leaders and groups are enthusiasts for OSM – they were either early adopters or have been very grateful for the time saving that OSM has given them. As a result there is much discussion and enthusiasm for finding work around solutions to functionality deficiencies and sometimes bugs (although OSM is very stable). A great community has been built which rarely criticises the management or the development team as they feel that they have a personal relationship with them. This is a real asset at the moment but as a software professional who has acquired and managed small software companies and managed their growth into larger corporates this enthusiasm and understanding can quickly diminish when more users (that don’t have this perceived personal relationship) demand more features and value for their money while at the same time the management demand higher profits.

    So all in all we are very grateful for everything that OSM has done for us – yes we do wish it still moved as fast as it used to in terms of functionality improvement and yes we would like it to be much cheaper especially when it comes to the thorny issue of collecting money. I just hope that as it becomes more of a money making machine that it does not lose its shine.

    • Avatar David 12/12/2017 / 4:07 pm

      I would agree with your observations of cost – its easy for the Leaders to forget the hidden levy on the fees they are setting. It does seem as though core development of new features has slowed to a snails pace despite the fact that OSMs income must have increased significantly -> think about how the number of Groups using Go Cardless has increased.

      UK Scouting has funded the growth of OSM so much so that it can afford a Marketing Manager (which isn;t really needed for its UK market) and is targeting all Youth organisations globally as OYM. It would be interesting to see how much UK Scouting contributes to OSMs bottom line.

      I agree OSM is good as a section leader but it could be a lot better

  55. Avatar Tracey Knight 11/12/2017 / 8:27 pm

    I don’t know how I would keep on top of the admin without OSM.
    Events or so easy to keep track of.
    Badge records are a breeze.
    OSM anywhere when your on the move.
    I do not use the payment side of OSM.
    OSM is easy to use asthecticly pleaseing to use.
    Highly recommend OSM

  56. Avatar Brian 11/12/2017 / 8:33 pm

    I took the decision to transfer the our groups scout group information into OSM about 5 years ago.
    That was the day I stopped having to write ‘Lists’.
    OSM has been, since that day, invaluable. Like the vast majority of users, Scouting would quite simply be impossible to carry out effectively without this tool.
    We have all 3 sections currently running, with a new Beaver Colony about to open soon.
    Knowing that we have OSM ready to use for our new section, will make life so much easier than starting from scratch.
    New leaders will have, access to contact details, a program (we can share one of our existing programs), and an ever changing / improving set of activities ready to be put in place and used.
    Gone are the days of trying to keep track of Participation Badge dates (“I started before him…….., “Er. no, sorry, you started a week after, 5 years ago!).
    MyScout, the parent portal is invaluable. This is a fact. The parents tell me this and enthuse about it.
    We have every payment to the group paid to us via the GoCarless payment system.
    Not one penny is missed.
    I would thoroughly recommend TSA adopt this system, and let Scout get on with Scouting.
    Its what we all want.

  57. Avatar Richard Gann 11/12/2017 / 8:48 pm

    Our group adopted OSM several years ago and we simply couldn’t run Scouting in Potten End without it. I think some of the improvements already set out by others above would be fantastic and it would be great to enhance the Group view and administration. The ability to run Group and section finances is ok but could also be better. The direct debiting has been a massive plus and has driven up subs collection and gift aid claims. This alone pays the fees OSM charge for the service. The programme and badge work functions make these aspects of Scouting very easy to run. OSM should be adopted as the Scout Associations official system.

  58. Avatar Louise Crascall 11/12/2017 / 8:54 pm

    Love OSM. Would be **lost** without it. Incredibly intuitive and easy to use. So many features to may my life easier — as a consequence the young people get badges awarded more quickly, get an interesting programme developed etc. Always being improved and developed. It’s brilliant. Ed and team have always been helpful and supportive right from the start.

  59. Avatar A 11/12/2017 / 9:13 pm

    OSM is a fantastic tool as an SL the troop admin time has been halved. As a big group we use OSM for group events and it has cut the GSLs admin down too. After much discussion we have agreed to use online payments but 2.5% per transaction is a sticking point.
    It’s user friendly and simple to learn.
    As an ADC it would be amazing to use the features OSM gives to give a District wide approach.

  60. Avatar Clive Hailey 11/12/2017 / 9:26 pm

    The most useful tool that has ever been made available to help leaders in my 40 Year’s as a Leader! Created by somebody who actually understood how scouting works, what was needed and above all keeps OSM up to date and responds to requests and queries extremely fast. No waiting for an annual upgrade!

    The more you use OSM the better it gets! Payments facility saves so much time and my Group has 100% take up with payments coming in so much quicker. My.Scout is a tremendous feature which speeds up efficient communication and planning of all our events – these can be across the whole Group if you wish.

    I both manage a Section and am responsible for teaching Leaders in our District how to get the best out of OSM. Our District pays the Gold subscription and we currently have 72 Sections signed up – over 90% take up. Think that speaks volumes and sends a strong message to TSA.

    The experiences we had/have with Compass should be enough to persuade those in charge to recognise a world beating tool when they see it! Embrace it, don’t try to copy it.

  61. Avatar Sue Martin 11/12/2017 / 9:39 pm

    I use o.s.m because it is easy to understand, and so far I haven’t managed to muck it up.
    If your efforts are going to be anything like compass, stop now. Compass is slow, hard to use and I use it because I have to.
    Please until you have compass user friendly don’t touch anything else.
    O.S .M is so good, I’m always promoting it, and even run training on it.

  62. Avatar James Gallagher 11/12/2017 / 9:42 pm

    OSM is easy to use, even from the get go of allowing leaders to access different party of the system with just an email address.

    The whole thing is just so user friendly!!

    Events are so easy to set up and use and parents find My.Scout a great tool.

    Badges and automatic assignment based on attendance is a huge relief of leaders.

    Overall, OSM is a fantastic tool for leaders, every part of it is useful and it it’s obvious it’s been designed for scout leaders, by Scout leaders.

    Thanks to the OSM team for everything and I hope TSA really embrace the excellent tool they’ve created.

  63. Avatar Julia 11/12/2017 / 10:29 pm

    OSM is a fantastic resource – both for managing sections (linking badges from the programme to the children that attended as well as the membership system side of things) and for sharing programme ideas. Thanks Ed and the team 🙂

  64. Avatar Jonathan Green 11/12/2017 / 10:38 pm

    Gilwell no doubt paid a small fortune for a bespoke programme like Compass which as we all know failed catastrophically. For this failure surely there has been financial compensation, after all it was not of merchantable quality or fit for purpose intended. As has been said in a previous post, we do not need to re-invent the wheel, OSM is everything we need so why can’t Gilwell come to some arrangement so that every scout group in the country can use it.

  65. Avatar Kerry Laing 11/12/2017 / 11:45 pm

    I could not do nearly as much scouting without OSM, it allows us to run multiple sections and keep up to date records for these easily. If I was having to do this manually then I would not have had the time to start and run a new section. Parents love being able to see what badges their children have completed or nearly completed and where they go on the uniform by using MY.Scout.

  66. Avatar Stephen langstaff 11/12/2017 / 11:59 pm

    Our group has used OSM for many years and couldn’t operate without it, we have 300 members across 10 sections, days of time are saved collecting subs and generating gift aid, all our records are held for young people, planning evenings, attendance records and linking to badge work, many camps booked through it using payments, in touch features, all our comms are performed through it, we try and use all the new features as added and now allowing parents full access to see how child progressing in badge work and programs, fab tool and be great if TAA partners to help it make admin easy and enjoyable

  67. Avatar Nick - GSL Wateringbury 12/12/2017 / 12:29 am

    Compass… Well it lets us start DBS checks I guess…
    OSM…every meeting, event, shared event, payment, email and child’s record is on it, we use it across all sections and can text parents in the event of an emergency change of programme.
    SA… Just embrace compass!! Stop spending money on stuff you don’t need, and start investing in other things.
    We recover the cost of OSM via subs, an extra £2per child covers the yearly cost of gold, and you know what… It even does Gift Aid for us! SHOCKING! 🙂

    • Avatar David 12/12/2017 / 4:10 pm

      ‘We recover the cost of OSM via subs, an extra £2per child covers the yearly cost of gold’

      Its the transaction costs that are the significant part of the money we pay – the subscription is cheap by comparison…..

  68. Avatar Simon Morriss 12/12/2017 / 6:18 am

    I have used OSM probably since it started and could never understand why TSA didn’t embrace it them. Save yourself a lot of work and shake hands with OSM. This does EVERYTHING a Scout leader needs.

  69. Avatar Nicola 12/12/2017 / 7:57 am

    OSM is fantastic. With a busy work and home life, and a busy sea scout group, I would not be able to run my section without OSM.

    We use all the features and the parents really appreciate it.

    There is no way I could keep track of scouts signing up for events by hand, when we regularly have 4 or 5 events to sign up to at once, most of them months in advance.

    It’s high time the TSA realised that they need to get on board with OSM.

    Thank you Ed. Keep up the fab work!

  70. Avatar Chris Gwynne 12/12/2017 / 9:55 am

    I really don’t know what I would do without OSM, it encompasses everything I need to manage my Beaver Colony, from membership details to badge requirements to event management and payments. I can even manage my ABSL through the system.

    One of my favorite things is how customisable the who system is with the ability to create occasional badges that can have complicated requirement and it just works out who’s achieved with no input from me.

    Lastly the OSM everywhere having offline support is a great, I can go to poor mobile signal areas and still have access to the data I need and have the ability to modify data (eg. attendance) and sync it when I get a signal.

    This system is a total fit for TSA and should be used to replace our current systems that just aren’t fit for purpose.


  71. Avatar Andrew musgrave 12/12/2017 / 11:01 am

    We use it for the whole group. Initially we used it for one scout section to learn how to use it and then rolled it out to the whole group which is 5 sections. I think it is great that you can plan the whole programme the beginning of the term and then let the term roll through updating and keeping track of badges etc. The ability to collect subs online is massive plus and takes the stress out of chasing money every week/month. One feature I do like is the sharing of ideas and activities, I like that I get an update on facebook and tag ideas for future meetings. Finally the fact that it is online means that I can make amends at a lunch hour etc as can other leaders. All in all a brilliant product.

  72. Avatar Sam Edwardson 12/12/2017 / 1:36 pm

    For the past 5 years now I have been running Cubs and Scouts and without the use of OSM it would have been an impossible task. Compass does not allow for or accommodate even the smallest portion of facilities that OSM include and in my opinion TSA simply tried to re-invent the wheel when they should have joined forces with Ed and made one all singing all dancing app which everyone can be happy with. Without OSM you need a full time administrator, and any freely given time by the leaders wouldn’t be focused on the YP but on the admin behind Scouts.

  73. Avatar Akela 12/12/2017 / 4:35 pm

    OSM is a god send.

    Allows group cohesion

    My group has 2 Beaver colonys, 2 cub packs and 2 scout groups. Having us all in OSM allows us to manage and coordinate joint events thoughout the sections and the group and also for joint events with other groups. It keeps everything in one place.

    Meets the needs of leaders

    As a Cub leader OSM literally does everything I want and need from it.

    I can draw up badge requirements and badge records s to help programe plan

    I can create a programme edit it add notes switch things around

    If a Cub comes to me about something they’ve done towards a badge or asks me what they need to do, I can find out

    I can check six details and change members around if needed

    I can bring up personal information and contact details

    I can find activity ideas

    My scout leaders can see the records of the cubs I send up. I can see which beavers are coming up.

    I can create an event and share it with the other cub group and update the badge requirements as I plan the programme

    I can keep a register and at the same time mark of badge requirements.

    I can go on.

    All of this in one place and with a tap of a button or two.

    Design and UX

    The design and UX is very good. It’s intuitive, there’s a lot of helpful resources if you don’t know how to use it.

    It is very pleasant indeed to use. It’s quick. It’s good to look at. It shows what info I want when I want it.

    The team really seem to know exactly what the user wants and they listen, work and deliver.

    Shudder at the thought of no OSM

    I simply could not keep on top of ALL of the admin without OSM.

    The thought of having to transfer everything from OSM also fills me with dread. Especially into a system that is not fully user tested. I’ve been there done that in my professional job. I have no wish to do this in my scouting role.

    OSM works

    OSM works. It’s proven and has been well developed throughout extensive usage.

    It does everything and anything I need whenever I want it.

    It is quick, reliable, dependable and a fantastic, time saving, inspiring tool that also is a key part in making my programme a good one.

  74. Avatar Adam 12/12/2017 / 4:38 pm

    Finally a glimmer of hope that the TSA will stop wasting valuable funding developing their own digital platform when OSM already provides a proven, reliable and secure platform that is used by many hundreds of groups. It works, and you only need to look at the poor user interface of compass as it exists to realise how little the TSA have understood the needs of users. Please, please TSA – give your support to OSM as your members have been asking you to do for years, fund the development of links between HQ needs and what OSM already provides and stop wasting development funding that could be far better invested into recruitment and front line support. It is so frustrating watching our organisation not listening to its members and worse still waste its members money to develop something that already exists and works. These comments written with all due respect and intended to contribute constructively.

  75. Avatar Ken Matthews 12/12/2017 / 10:35 pm

    OSM has totally changed how we manage and plan. The system has become a hub for all the section leaders where we share programme plans and organisation. The dashboard notepad has become an info centre, meetings and event notepads allow us to plan and share info in specific events as well as to share the workload. The ability to simply link programme activities to the badge scheme is fabulous. We’ve also become virtually paperless. The system is simple for parents who can actually do so much of the admin for their own Scout. I can’t praise the system enough. Worth every penny of the subscription fee. I couldn’t run the section without it now!!!

  76. Avatar Paul spencer 12/12/2017 / 11:11 pm

    Scout Association, do not try to reinvent the wheel for youth data and running sections. The movement have confidence in their system.

  77. Avatar Sue Corlett 13/12/2017 / 9:50 am

    We use OSM across five sections – one Beaver Colony, two Cub Packs and two Scout Troops. We find it incredibly useful and are still not using it to its full potential. A couple of things I would like to see developed would be as follows:-

    Firstly the ability to do section size planning so that I can forecast numbers moving up through the group and manage our intake – it only seems to work if you have one of each section. Due to the heavy demand for places and the size of our waiting list I need a database that can help me forecast numbers as they move up through the sections so that we don’t end up needing to set up a third Scout Troop because we’ve taken in too many at beaver and cub age.

    Secondly i would like to be able to send attachments in Group e-mails rather than having to go into each section to do it.

    If all of this is already possible then please tell me how to do it!!

  78. Avatar Keith Barrett 13/12/2017 / 11:23 am

    I’ve been using OSM since 2012 and simply couldn’t manage without it now. I love the fact that you can link your meetings to the badge requirements and then simply complete the register and have everything update automatically.
    Communication is great too. I can send emails out easily and have numbers for the events I plan.

  79. Avatar Jonathan Tones (19th DURHAM) 13/12/2017 / 4:43 pm

    I have used OSM for my section since 2013 and we have had the whole group (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) using it for about three years. We subscribe to the gold plus package which allows us to use all the available features and we wouldn’t change it for anything.

    From programme, to badges, subs and gift aid, the system is easy to use and very reliable.

    I have also been on the beta test for the new version of OSM for a few months. As part of the steering group. As a company, Ed and the team are keen to get our ideas and feedback and if logical will implement those ASAP. Not in the next 18 months but sometimes within the week or two.

    I do think the group level data is limited and could use more functionality. But our county are looking at subscribing to osm in the near future.


  80. Avatar Gill Knight 13/12/2017 / 5:20 pm

    Our Cub section has used OSM for the last 3 years – it was a game changer. I had so many spread sheets or word docs or note books etc which is totally replaced by OSM desktop and Anywhere. Yes there are a few things that i would like to add but in the main it does more than i need of it with consumate ease and available to the whole team and parents.

  81. Avatar Lara 13/12/2017 / 11:26 pm

    Love, love, love OSM. It has made scouting easier and clearer for all. Thank you to Ed for pioneering the way for us all. The Scout Association need people like Ed to revolutionise Scouting.

  82. Avatar ALISON ILES 14/12/2017 / 8:03 am

    Love OSM and will never leave. Input all our data once into Compass and won’t be doing it again.

  83. Avatar John Slater 14/12/2017 / 4:35 pm

    The Scout Association made a strategic error in not going with OSM when it developed Compass. That is the past but pleased don’t make the same mistake again . Roll out OSM across the movement – why should groups be forced to have to use two systems. the system that are forced to use and the system they are choosing to use

  84. Avatar Jeanette Kent 15/12/2017 / 11:19 am

    I use the OSM features for both adult and section records: before Compass came back up I used it for keeping Leader Training records, I also use it for contacting members of my County Media Team and inviting them to events etc. TSA need to get on board and realise that people would be far more likely to get onboard with them using OSM, than the inferior Compass System. Using OSM is a pleasure, using Compass is along, drawn out chore that needs disposing of.

  85. Avatar Keith Given 16/12/2017 / 4:44 pm

    HI Helen,
    AT LAST! Some 4 years after we were made all sorts of promises as to what Compass would deliver, common sense seems to be prevailing. This comment is by no means a criticism of you, as I appreciate you are new to the role, but a reflection of the frustration of a flawed implementation and stagnant development of Compass. My plea would be to progress plans as quickly as possible – our Group really struggles to find volunteers willing to take up Leader roles and anything you can do to reduce the administration chore would be hugely appreciated!

  86. Avatar Tony Baldock 18/12/2017 / 9:55 pm

    I worked for BT as a programme lead on software development for many years. The preferred option for BT was to take an off the shelf software package and customise it rather than develop a new package as it is more cost effective. I use OSM to manage my Cub pack and would be keen to know if OSM, in TSA ‘s view meets the changes to General Data Protection Regulations from May 2018.

  87. Avatar Liz Farmer 20/12/2017 / 5:12 pm

    Finally you guys are getting together. OSM was a winner years ago, and should be embraced because its brilliant!!!

    • Avatar Jim Day 21/12/2017 / 9:45 pm

      I do not have any experience of Compass but as a relatively new Beaver Scout Leader I whole heartedly agree with everyone who has commented on how indispensable OSM is to the efficient running of my colony, from managing badge work, planning programmes and meetings, communicating with parents and administering member details etc etc. It was (and still is!) also invaluable to me during the first few months especially when I was very much feeling my way as a leader.

      I would not be without it.

  88. Avatar Darren Goddard 21/12/2017 / 6:14 pm

    I scrolled through the first few dozen comments and only wish to echo what others have said (more eloquently than I could have):

    OSM is central to our group admin and without it we would not be able to plan and deliver what have become increasingly demanding badge requirements.

    Compass/Atlantic are largely peripheral to what we do and ignored where possible.

    People, take your fingers out of your ears (and elsewhere) and wake up to the notion that Ed stole a march and you are still in the blocks. Your blog post should have been of you in sackcloth and ashes begging Ed to let you come to the party. Instead you’re still insisting that he’s got a few good ideas.

    My leaders moan that Gilwell seems remote and I come over sage and say you’d be surprised how close to the front line they are. Posts like this make me wonder if actually they have a point.

  89. Avatar Ellie Thompson 21/12/2017 / 6:22 pm

    I have to agree with the previous pro-OSM comments. It has transformed my ability to keep and access records and stay on top of who has done what and when. As a massively disorganised leader (I love the doing not the record keeping) this is a godsend. There are bits we use and bits we don’t (such as sub payments) and that also works well for us.

  90. Avatar Pete Gibbs 21/12/2017 / 6:22 pm

    OSM, is a fantastic system which (IMHO) has revolutionised record keeping in scouting. I have used it in a wide range of ways including: -Managing the Membership, Adult and Waiting records for a scout group; at a District level to share the district Cub calendar, share events and enable groups to indicate attendance; to manage Young Leader training records at a District Level; and to manage the Admin for a multi-district international Cub Expedition (including all financial tracking and updating of cub badge achievements regardless of their pack).
    I would be lost without it.

  91. Avatar Ali 21/12/2017 / 6:24 pm

    We use OSM extensively across the Explorer Sections in the District and it pretty much does all we need. Working with the SA would only enhance what it can do.

    My only criticism is that whilst it is great to collect subs and camp fees by DD the % fees taken become a real barrier particularly to collecting camp monies, OK we could pas these on to the parents but would rather keep these costs to a minimum.

  92. Avatar Rebecca 21/12/2017 / 6:25 pm

    I set up OSM as a cub leader and then did it for Explorers and Scouts when I changed section, couldn’t run without it and as someone else had said wouldn’t give it up.

  93. Avatar Kevin King 21/12/2017 / 6:33 pm

    It is clear that the OSM team run scouting sections. The functionality at a sectional level is fantastic. I am still finding further functionality after using it for at least 4 years! There could be some additional functionality related to managing a group without having to transfer between each section but fundamentally it works. I do hope you guys can work it all out and work together.

  94. Avatar David Huss 21/12/2017 / 6:37 pm

    We have used OSM since the very early days and it is now used by all sections and for collection of subs etc. I have thought and even commented to various district and county persons over the years about taking it up across the Scout Association. Let’s hope that action is rapid and that it is taken up to make the life of the adults on the ground easier and more efficient.

  95. Avatar Adrian Bennett 21/12/2017 / 6:41 pm

    Pre OSM I spent hours on admin. It’s a brilliant tool and suits most of our needs. Go card less has boosted our income even after charges as we now get near to 100% of money requested. I wouldn’t be without OSM

  96. Avatar Ian, scout leader. 21/12/2017 / 6:46 pm

    Is way overdue. I believe osm tried a few years ago to make the scout association to see sense. Unfortunately the TSA has wasted a huge sum of money on a white elephant called compass. Let us loose with OSM, finally embrace it. We have been using it for our group for all sections for 4 years and we love it. It does so much and improves day by day. It’s software written by a scout leader used by scout groups. What more can I say, TSA don’t waste anymore of our capitation on compass. Surely the success of osm in the face of TSA pushing compass shows we leaders like it and want to use it, we pay for it and are happy to do so.

  97. Avatar Andy 21/12/2017 / 6:58 pm

    OSM is great. I wouldn’t be able to run my Explorer unit half as well without OSM. I would strongly encourage The Scout Association and OSM to work together as and make an integrated system for st least thr management of all our young people. Maybe leave Compass doing the leaders stuff (not that i am a fan of Compass. Sorry TsA guys but OSM makes Compass look and feel postively antiquated).

  98. Avatar Anon 21/12/2017 / 7:00 pm

    It’s everything Compass should’ve been

  99. Avatar Phil Chadwick 21/12/2017 / 7:02 pm

    I really hope this relationship can move forward, the benefits would be amazing. Having had a look at the new enhancements to OSM it is moving in the right direction and can only help Section Leader.

    OSM is definitely the way to go, I could not keep up to date with badges and planning without it.

  100. Avatar Calum Jardine 21/12/2017 / 7:02 pm

    OSM is a fantastic tool, what compass should have been and more (although, as the intent was to create something popular enough to earn an income it was always going to be better Vs a ‘cheap as possible to keep costs low’ compass. There’s an interesting side point here about how much more troops would be willing to pay to get far better administrative tools, time is money!)

    On OSM itself, it’s very good; but it’s main flaws in my mind are at a group (and theoretically above) level. It does have some integration between sections but to be honest these are relatively minimal. It would be great to see better ‘group’ and then potentially district management capabilities within it – shared term dates, group events, more refined and capable sharing of members (predominantly leaders) between sections etc etc

    So glad you’re finally talking to them!

  101. Avatar Damion Dishart 21/12/2017 / 7:03 pm

    OSM makes running a section easier. I literally would not have the time to run a section without it.

  102. Avatar owenlees 21/12/2017 / 7:06 pm

    Good news. As a developer working with OSM and developing group functionality to integrate into WordPress it’s nice to see potential for a solid link up between OSM and The SA.

  103. Avatar Andrew Brankin 21/12/2017 / 7:09 pm

    Have used OSM for a number of years and really couldn’t do without it. It has taken away a huge amount of admin pressure and given me some time back which I really needed. The functionality is superb and customer service is second to none. Ed and is team are always quick to deal with any issues or concerns providing the help that it is required. It really is a first class product.

  104. Avatar Gemma Toon 21/12/2017 / 7:16 pm

    Finally – we have been waiting for this great day. I was a beaver leader and then cub and now treasurer for our local group in Scotland. We were dreading the data transfer for the past 5 years onto compass, so pleased that a solution with OSM might be made. Only one complaint that we have 2 beaver, 2 cub and 1 scout group accounts so we have 5 annual fees to pay for 110 children. Equally there are then 5 GoCardless accounts with masses of emails from the different sections every day at times with subs, camps and trips requesting money. Would make my life easier if it could be one central account – then each of our 6 sections run on different nights can operate their own sub account.

  105. Avatar Jonathan Cottey 21/12/2017 / 7:30 pm

    I have been using I OSM for some years now. I find it a dream to use; taking the register; six points; having contact details to hand. I will be experimenting with the my scout and email in the new year. Its great to hear that the two organisations are in talks.
    Cub Scout Leader

  106. Avatar Colin Reynolds 21/12/2017 / 7:35 pm

    We use OSM across all 7 units of our group. I couldn’t imagine going back to the old ways now. It’s great that the system is scalable, so some units just use it for member details whilst most embrace all the features including events and payments. Hopefully if this can be rolled out more widely the SA can negotiate lower costs especially on electronic payments.

  107. Avatar James mortimer 21/12/2017 / 7:37 pm

    We’ve used OSM for years and it is great, makes sharing the load as a leader so much easier. Our district now provides gold free of charge and we add on the plus elements we use. Why wouldn’t Scouts association use OSM – why recreate something that does the same for a small fortune ?

  108. Avatar Russ Lindley 21/12/2017 / 7:50 pm

    Our group took on OSM a few years ago. It’s not perfect but works well enough and seems to be stable. I’m sure it will develop well as more issues are solved. However I am concerned that it may get taken over by “committee” and end up a mess.

  109. Avatar roypeach 21/12/2017 / 8:23 pm

    About time seems to be the only thought one can give. TSA seems to have had something against OSM for some time and insisted on reinventing the wheel. OSM is great and I wouldn’t be without it. I don’t understand, and therefore don’t use, Compass unless forced to, and even our District are asking leaders to go onto OSM and they’ll pay for it. Finally a step in the right direction.

  110. Avatar Delwyn Vincent 21/12/2017 / 8:25 pm

    I have been using OSM since I started as BSL, 5 Years Now, without OSM I could not easily manage the colony’s data and record all of the badge work they have done. It also helps with developing a balanced program

  111. Avatar Christine Cook 21/12/2017 / 8:26 pm

    We have used OSM for several years. It has dramatically improved our record keeping. Scouts are getting significantly more badges because we have a better record of what they have done. I always used to do all the paperwork for camp, now other leaders do it as well, but I can still see everything I need. The cost is paid for by the fact that we have a much higher proportion of subs paid. For managing Scouts records it is great, and has everything I need, and it is easy to use, and makes it much easier to share the admin work around.

  112. Avatar Mick Seamarks 21/12/2017 / 8:32 pm

    Having used OSM for several years with Beaver and Scouts, and finaly recently Cubs, it has massively reduced our admin overheads, allowed us to easily collect subs, event costs and claim our Gift Aid. Our parents love using my.scout, we can publish an event and have bookings within an hour. Please carefully consider adopting OSM at least for the YPs records. Yes, it’s not perfect but it works and leaders love it. Please don’t seek to emulate OSM with a Compass clone, Compass is clunky and looks like an 80’s database. Embrace OSM, work with them, and let leaders spend more time scouting and not doing Admin.

  113. Avatar Dominic 21/12/2017 / 8:33 pm

    Scrap compass it doesn’t work reports are useless as they cannot be sorted/filtered easily when exported to excel due to the merged cells when individuals have multiple roles. Let someone who knows what their doing develop a system that works for the volunteers long live OSM. All groups in the district use OSM even though it’s an extra cost that’s nearly 1000 young people registered because the system makes things easier not more complicated

  114. Avatar Tim Burch 21/12/2017 / 8:34 pm

    Leaders have confidence in OSM. They trust OSM. It meets their needs (and the needs at all Group/District management levels). Most Groups already use it. And the team at OSM are both proactive and readily reactive to our views. It is blindingly obvious that OSM was developed by people who knew first-hand what leaders need (which Compass doesn’t appear to be) So I’m going to repeat what so many others have already said – TSA, don’t reinvent the wheel! We neither want nor need you to.

  115. Avatar Mark REDBACK ESU 21/12/2017 / 8:36 pm

    Awesome news

    The use of OSM for our group has improved life for all. I’m so many ways from, no longer spending 15-20mins collecting subs, not having to go and bank it, badge collaboration across different badges that tick boxes through to the obvious improved group bank balance and the increase in young person attendance due to pre paid subs. All of these things all packaged SIMPLY into a user friendly SECURE online system is simply a win win for scouting and it’s exciting to see that TSA my embrace this moving forward.

    I would like to thank Ed and his team for their assistance with running my cubs pack and my explorer unit over the past 5 years. You guys don’t know how much you really do to make my 2 hours a week easier 🙂

    Cheers have a. Good Christmas and fantastic new year

  116. Avatar Ben Churchill 21/12/2017 / 8:38 pm

    We use OSM with our section and it makes life so easy. The ability to logon and send a quick email to just patrols, just leaders or everyone in the section – it just works.
    The facility to setup an event and then issue reminders means that uptake for events is much improved.
    The only things I don’t use on OSM is payments through Go Cardless due to the external charges levied and also I don’t really use the QM function that much but that is more to being too lazy to enter and track it.

  117. Avatar Brian 21/12/2017 / 8:42 pm

    Can’t say enough positive things about OSM. Suffice to say that if it was taken off me tomorrow I would walk away from my role as I simply would not be able to administer to the high standards we set for our teams.

    I do not want to see any SA blood and treasure invested in re-inventing this wheel. In no doubt good faith, a retrospectively poor decision was made thinking Compass might, in a timely fashion, embrace this functionality but this has been spectacularly overtaken by OSM delivery.

    Live with it, roll with it and move on.

  118. Avatar Mark Medler 21/12/2017 / 8:53 pm

    I am GSL at a large group in Hampshire. We use OSM fully across all 9 sections and it has become indispensable to how we run and manage the group. Surely the sensible way forward is for TSA to embrace and support OSM as the tool for child member management and concentrate their own resources and development on Compass for adult member management (hopefully learning much about usability along the way)…..with some integration where sensible.
    Whatever you do please don’t try and re-invent the wheel and set up a competitive approach

  119. Avatar Ian Whitty 21/12/2017 / 9:01 pm

    As a previous CSL and SL, now GSL, there is no way I could still be in Scouting without OSM, and I firmly believe our Group wouldn’t have half as many leaders given the time it saves and confidence it gives ‘re programme planning etc. TSA should be utterly ashamed of the sickening sums of money it has completely wasted on Compass – as always, no one will be held accountable; it should never been allowed to happen and ive not met a single person said otherwise… before, during or after! Merry Christmas 😉

  120. Avatar Ian David 21/12/2017 / 9:01 pm

    OSM works – without it, or something very much like it, I would have seriously looked at whether I could sustain my role as SL.

  121. Avatar bushcraft4kids 21/12/2017 / 9:04 pm

    OSM is the best data management system. It is reliable and does everything we need at our scout group.

  122. Avatar Dave Brookes 21/12/2017 / 9:09 pm

    All our sections use OSM the parents like seeing how their children are doing, the leaders love the easy record keeping and ease of contacting parents. It makes admin for events so much easier, easy transition of records between sections and really can’t understand why TSA tried to reinvent the wheel with compass.

  123. Avatar Alex 21/12/2017 / 9:16 pm

    I’m not a section leader, but I occasionally stand in for leaders in more than one section. The success of OSM is that I can record badgework completed during any meeting directly where the regular leaders can see it, and we have seamless continuity.

  124. Avatar Tony Crackett 21/12/2017 / 9:26 pm

    We need to recognise the essential difference between youth members in Groups (ie Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) and Explorers. The difference is not that they are a District Section, but that the same person can appear in several different places, typically a conventional ESU, a Young Leaders ESU and the Group where they are a Young Leader. All 3 locations need update access to their records. In this respect they are much more like adults in Scouting than they are like Baevers, Cubs or Scouts.
    As ell as this, the award schemes roll on ffrom Explorers to Network, so it makes enormous sense to keep the records of both in the same system.

  125. Avatar Dave Wingham 21/12/2017 / 9:27 pm

    No brainer to use OSM for everything. it must be used by most UK groups already and is up to date, easy to use and saves us hours of needless work. Just build whatever else you need into it.

  126. Avatar Hilary Ashton 21/12/2017 / 9:29 pm

    OSM is brilliant. As a GSL, I decided, with section Leaders, to sign up to the Gold Plus several years ago. The only downside is that the young people are awarded so many more badges now as Leaders don’t have to actually fill in record cards by hand, which never got done. OSM is brilliant. It would be great if TSA and OSM could work together for the benefit of all Groups.

  127. Avatar Kate 21/12/2017 / 9:36 pm

    I think OSM is great and I would really echo the comments above about harmonization, working together, and not reinventing wheels.

  128. Avatar Tim May 21/12/2017 / 9:38 pm

    OSM is brilliant for sections. Progress tracking with badge work is superb.

    As GSL. The fact is works on sections is a bit annoying. Planning a whole group camp for example across several sections is harder work than it should be.

    It would also be nice to offer the ability with event booking to add parents, extras

    That said unlike compass it works.

  129. Avatar Emily Hall 21/12/2017 / 9:56 pm

    OSM is a game changer. We’ve been using it for years and it makes all the admin 100 times easier. They have listened to what the leaders need, and now have a very good working system – especially for recording badges which is the most difficult and time consuming work for leaders, in my opinion. I love that you can keep track of tiny parts of badges that have been completed and could be easily forgotten about. Go for it TSA – your leaders will love you for it! 🙂

  130. Avatar Daniel 21/12/2017 / 9:56 pm

    Please work out a deal with OSM. It’s so good and easy to use. After all the problems with compass it would solve so many problems.

  131. Avatar John 21/12/2017 / 10:06 pm

    As GSL I find it very useful to see what the sections are up to. Census last year was done in hours and not days. The only bit of added work and frustration to parents was having have different payment schedules for each section, but have been told of a work around for this which will be a cost but might be good for the future.
    There are bits that just take a bit of getting used to but on the whole it is more usable than compass which we have to use to monitor leaders ongoing learning (1st aid, safety etc) and DBS checks. Unfortunately there are no automatic fields in OSM currently.
    We were told a number of years back Compass was just around the corner and now the digital progress is in early stages of development. I know HQ has spent a lot of time, energy and money to get to where they are but in the field leaders etc have their own work around’s and a lot seem to be using OSM so could we not move to it with a few additional bits in an adult module?

  132. Avatar Alan Greenaway 21/12/2017 / 10:10 pm

    As a new ASL I love OSM so easy to share admin duties, badge progress tracking a breeze and so easy to review chief scout awards status ready for the program planning meetings.
    Sharing records across sections is easy making moving on a dodle.
    Compass is OK for the adult training records (though some bits of that for say role changes are a bit clunky and could be improved) , CRB checks and being a central database must have some advantages for the higher organisation tiers.
    But reading through the other comments it seems clear where the heart and souls of the grass roots lie

  133. Avatar Sharon 21/12/2017 / 10:15 pm

    I’m not very computer literate, but find OSM very easy to use. We have 40+ Cubs in our 2 Packs and matching programme to badge work is so easy.
    I really think that TSA should just buy into OSM rather than trying to develop a new system.

  134. Avatar Richard 21/12/2017 / 10:15 pm

    OSM is great and makes it easy to manage my troop. I can see clearly where to focus activities to achieve awards. Just started using functions of MyScout to get Scouts / parents to help in driving achievement. It’s taken some time for me to get all of this up and running and won’t be looking to change to anything else. TSA need to fully integrate with OSM, it works.

  135. Avatar Sarah 21/12/2017 / 10:22 pm

    I am also a big fan of OSM, although pay my section costs out of my own pocket, as the group does not have enough money to cover the costs. But it is worth my own money, based on the time it saves me, and gives me back to spend with my own kids.

    I work for a government agency, and have to use numerous systems that were forced on us, cost a lot of money yet still do not offer the functionality we actually need. I would hate to see TSA do the same. There is a well developed, good system already there. Yes some development is required, but no where near starting from scratch. Please continue discussions.

    Have you asked how many UK groups do NOT use OSM? I think many of us would continue to use it, even if something else was provided.

    My preference would be for you to work together but have a way for leaders to make suggestions of features that are missing, so that these could be delivered. On going cost is an important factor, and please remember that some groups cannot and will never have the income that some groups have.

    Compass would need a huge amount of work to ever be close to a basic version of OSM.

  136. Avatar scott collier 21/12/2017 / 10:39 pm

    I have just read through a few of the most recent messages, all I can really say is … what a great tool that ed and his team have put together, its always evolving, its easy to pick up to use, everything is there, why are we still using compass that doesn’t work properly anyway, strike a deal with ed, roll it out to everyone so we can get on with the important things in life … the children in scouting!

  137. Avatar Zoe Evans 21/12/2017 / 10:41 pm

    I am an AGSL but have recently been using OSM as a section leader. It is a fantastic tool to manage the whole group. Programme planning, collection of payments, signing up for events the whole system is fantastic. My leaders would
    not be without it. I am able to produce the census details without having to trouble the leaders and manage our waiting list.
    So pleased you are talking with Ed and his team.

  138. Avatar Chris Burfitt 21/12/2017 / 10:52 pm

    I’ve been a scout leader for four years now and have used OSM since I began – I think it’s a great system, and really hope that the Scout Association in the UK decide to work more closely with the OSM team.

  139. Avatar Delphine Norton 21/12/2017 / 10:56 pm

    As CSL we only started using OSM just over a year ago it is brilliant we don’t use it for paying money but we use everything else. It has taken all the work out of admin so easy to use and by putting the nights activities in it sorts badges as well. I only need to see what a cub has to do to finish their badge. Over the year I have talked both SL and BSL into using it as well. Don’t reinvent it go with OSM so easy I find Compass hard to navigate and find what I am looking for.

  140. Avatar Jonty Teppett 21/12/2017 / 10:56 pm

    OSM works better than anything else available and is now a world wide phenomena. TSA need a pretty good reason not to adopt it and to justify wasting time and money developing an alternative. I think where TSA could play a role is in QA of the training materials. It would be good to have some badge on the resources that have been entered into the system to help more easily identify the best ones.

  141. Avatar 32ndscoutgroup 21/12/2017 / 11:08 pm

    My group could not run without OSM what a fabulous tool, all sections use it on a daily basis. Running a group with over 200 young people and having all records under one tool makes so much sense. We took the time to update Compass with all the young people’s details to then find out we had indeed wasted our time.
    Please think wisely, don’t reinvent the wheel, nearly everything we need is already in place.

  142. Avatar Rebecca Thomas 21/12/2017 / 11:44 pm

    OSM does everything that the Section leaders need a system to do. It has taken years of development, with Ed being responsive to the needs of the leaders who are using it. It is hard to envisage that anything which TSA creates will come close to being as good as OSM – without this tool I would not be able to run my Pack and I don’t want to change: please please please listen to what the majority of leaders want and adopt OSM. Our County is already funding it, as are many others, and no-one is going to want to change to something else in several years time.

  143. Avatar Helen 22/12/2017 / 6:57 am

    OSM is an essential tool for planning and running my section. As a new leader it allowed me access to a wealth of information on activities and games in a user friendly format. 1 year in I can’t imagine how leaders kept a record on individual badge work without such a system. The paperwork must have horrendous. Programme planning is amazing, with the flexibility to devise your own activities or search for other people’s is super helpful. The ability to share meeting ideas with other colonies from around the country is amazing. It’s like having all the beaver leaders in uk there giving you advice about what works. We have found that our most successful meetings have been those which contain activities found on OSM. As my team gain more experience and we grow in confidence I am sure we will give back to the OSM community by posting back our ideas. Thank you for asking for our feedback

  144. Avatar Alison j Jacobs 22/12/2017 / 7:16 am


    We’ve been using OSM practically since it’s Inception!

    It’s a game changer, created by someone who really understands what scout leaders need.

    I look forward to finally seeing the Scout Association take a sensible approach and finally listening to the leaders who have been asking for this for years!

  145. Avatar Joanna Wright 22/12/2017 / 7:57 am

    We couldn’t run our Troop without OSM, it is so valuable to us…. Please embrace this digital solution!

  146. Avatar Chris Paterson 22/12/2017 / 8:45 am

    I could not manage my beaver colony without OSM it’s a brilliant tool and obviously created by people who understand Scouting. It is so easy to navigate and everything is at your fingertips. It tells you when to award badges, it helps enormously with planning, attendance records and the financial section is excellent. Scout Association – why reinvent the wheel?

  147. Avatar Adrian Duncan 22/12/2017 / 8:48 am

    I would fully endorse OSM. it is a bit clunky here and there but overall has led to much more efficient management and administration, leading to more exciting programmes (as we can invest our time there) and more badges earned. Both of which make it a better experience for the young people.

  148. Avatar Jonny Hoy 22/12/2017 / 8:50 am

    I use OSM for all four sections of our group. It manages badge stock, subs, events and parent/ volunteer management. It’s easy enough for even our most ‘traditional’ leaders to use on their phone and has simplified all aspects of admin for the group. It is good. Plain and simple. They are also responsive to requests, hist user forums on topics online for us to share and seek advice ideas and guidance. It is madness that most groups use OSM and the are lumbered with having to try and navigate the truly awful COMPASS system. I can see the directiom of travel for compass but dont see what the point is, OSM is already at that destination and has been there for a while, better than that its arrived there, built a hotel and already started remodelling the spa….. compass is a knackered donkey pulled card attempting to get up the motorway.
    Do a survey of groups, subsidise an osm version for all groups, incorporate the membership system ( although it’s pretty much already In it) and quietly euthanize Compass and we all promise not to mention it again.

  149. Avatar jamessavill 22/12/2017 / 8:53 am

    We are one of the largest Sea Scout groups in the country and we use and love OSM. It is designed by those who really know the requirements and is so easy and intuitive to use! It saves us so much admin time! It’s brilliant and should be embraced by the Gillwell team!

  150. Avatar Katrina McAnaspie 22/12/2017 / 8:55 am

    Better late then never! Please learn from the incredible uptake and useage of OSM vs the horror story of Compass. Many section leaders have been using OSM for several years now because it works for us. The ease with which you can schedule programmes and ad hoc events, monitor badge work and maintain the data is a delight and I would not like to try running a section without it now. Gone are the days of creating spreadsheets to try and keep records, it is all in one place, it is user-friendly, it works. If TSA tries to force a less comprehensive, less effective and less reliable system upon us they face a real possibility of alienating many section leaders. Why on earth would you try to compete with OSM? Embrace it – we have in our thousands!

  151. Avatar James Hurrell 22/12/2017 / 9:08 am

    I stumbled upon an add for OSM in the Scout Magazine years ago. If it hadn’t been for that, the group I currently run would have folded – its that black and white.
    The enhancements over the years have continually improved the functionallity and navigation. It makes compass look like some green screen mainframe app.

  152. Avatar Tiger (Tim) Payne 22/12/2017 / 9:09 am

    In Sawbridgeworth we are slowly moving to be an All OSM Group, why – simply because it works! As an SL of a large Troop the current overly complicated badgework system would be impossible to manage without OSM. The scout section hasn’t used My,Scout yet but we are planning to to do so in the near future, because it look like saving a load more admin tasks.

    Quite simply a brilliant tool for Scouting,

  153. Avatar Iain Smith 22/12/2017 / 9:12 am

    As a group we’ve only just started using OSM, but all 5 sections were up and running very quickly.
    It’s taken a bit to get programmes in place, more because of the operators than the system.
    Badge work and badges are now better managed, parents have access and can pay online or manually.
    It does everything (and more) than we could want.
    Only a few things that as the Group admin I’d like to be able to do once and see impact all sections, but even those are simple enough to not over worry me.
    As an IT buyer in my paying job I’d strongly recommend Scouts DOES NOT go alone and develops its own system – we are not in the software publishing business and others from U.K. Gov to Banks have tried and found it very expensive to build and maintain bespoke systems.
    (also annoying to have to scroll down past all the other comments to leave a new one, is this a system problem or does the set up need a tweak?)
    Best regards

  154. Avatar John Roberts 22/12/2017 / 9:57 am

    My group has been a user of OSM for many years now. The reduction in leader workload is immense. Specifically program planning and setting up activities and badges is not a 2-3 hour activity once per term. Badges issues is up tremendously. Paperwork is less. And the online payments now ensures we get 100% of subs in on time. Up from about 90-95 previously so even with a payment of 3% we are better off financially. Compass is useful as a GSL but I would love to be able to link the two for census and more.

  155. Avatar Ivor Stockdale 22/12/2017 / 10:17 am

    TSA need to listen to the people who deliver Scouting. We love OSM so please work with Ed, as whenever I’ve contacted him he’s been really helpful and supportive in sorting out whatever my issue with OSM has been. And stop the rivalry, stop the duplication of information having to be put into 2 systems and never, ever make us waste time like we had to a couple of years back to get youth data onto Compass. Remember the primary function of TSA is to support the movement – currently Ed provides better and more relevant support!

  156. Avatar Joe Wood 22/12/2017 / 10:18 am

    As a new volunteer OSM has been critical in easing my nerves and giving me ideas, the activities list is superb – I’d be a bit put off and lost without it. As a software developer I notice that OSM has that great (and sadly rare) feel of having really captured what the on-the-ground users want in the software. It seems a no-brainer to go with it.

  157. Avatar M Jackson 22/12/2017 / 10:28 am

    I’ve been using OSM for some years now, and it is a extremely useful tool. This is a positive step by both parties to helping us leaders be more efficient and get back some time in our busy lives.

  158. Avatar Liz Doulton 22/12/2017 / 10:36 am

    OSM is fantastic and has completely transformed how we run the Group. As others have said, I think the only downside is that functionality at Section level mostly does not roll up to Group which means multiple emails, payment schedules etc. when organising Group wide activities. It would also be good if we could have one payment schedule per Group that could be used by each section. Currently there is some confusion when children move up a Section and need to set up a new direct debit.

  159. Avatar Karen Miller 22/12/2017 / 10:42 am

    We are a fairly large Group and gradually each section adopted OSM and now we use the Gocardless payments for subs. I know we lose some money but we can track who has paid and since we recently changed treasurer it has been relatively easy to check subs and then payment to sections.
    As said earlier it’s easy to track badges and see who missed a night and pick up the activity. And the awarding of year badges is great, no more upset Beavers (or parents) wanting badges because their friends have one:)
    Transfer between sections is great, YL’s details can be sent to Beavers and Cubs,our joining list is available to all who need it and details can just be sent to the correct OSM account.
    Please adopt this system as trying to put details onto Compass in the past was a huge headache for the leaders

  160. Avatar anthony Davies 22/12/2017 / 10:47 am

    As a Sl and ESL my team and I find it invaluable to maintain the young peoples records.

    We use it throughout the group with the beavers details following them through the sections saving time on copying out new record cards each time they move on, especially with the staged badges.

    It would make life very much more difficult without it.

  161. Avatar Janet Batnett 22/12/2017 / 10:52 am

    Can I echo just about everything already written. I’ve used OSM for 7 years and have introduced it to several other groups too. No brainer TSA just do it.

  162. Avatar Hugh Franklin 22/12/2017 / 10:55 am

    At last the Scout Association are making some positive signs towards OSM! OSM is a tool my Group has been using for over 5 years. We have followed with great interest the really useful improvements to the system over that time and the responsiveness of Ed and the team to suggestions. We could not now run without the tool and in our view it should be adopted whole heartedly by the Scout Association – respond to the thousands using it daily please!!

  163. Avatar Jim Taylor 22/12/2017 / 10:55 am

    I have been using Online Scout Manager to manage my Cub section since 2011. We were previously using an Access Database to manage badge work ourselves. As I see it the time spent with the children used to only represent around 30% of the overall time that it took to run the section. Once we had worked out who had arrived on a particular night, what badges we covered and who is yet to pay for next months Camp etc. Most of the role turned out to be admin (and nobody likes Admin!) OSM has changed everything. I set everything up at the start of term and OSM does the rest. I just do the weekly register and OSM tells me who has earned the badge when its due. Communication with parents is easy and I dont have to chase for payment or paperwork as OSM does it all for me. Parents expect to be able to pay online and manage events themselves and OSM allows them to do that. I will never go back!

  164. Avatar Peter Morris 22/12/2017 / 12:04 pm

    I run two Scout Groups, 2 sections (Cubs and Scouts), the District Young Leader Scheme and the District Explorer section through OSM and really could not do this without OSM. It is frankly brilliant! I am really pleased that the Scout Association is considering teaming up with OSM for its Youth administration/ membership system. Go for it! You won’t be disappointed. And you have an huge army of Adult Leader fans who will thank you and tell you you have made the right decision.

  165. Avatar Andrew Lowles 22/12/2017 / 2:26 pm

    OSM is a great tool us. As many have said before I can’t imagine trying to run a section without it. The other key feature it enables is that it allows sections to share admin responsibilities easily between a number of parties.

    As ever the scouting centre needs to focus on making leaders easier, so lets have on system that works and saves everybody time.

  166. Avatar Susan Wilton-Morgan 22/12/2017 / 3:35 pm

    I have used OSM for many years. It would be impossible to run my Beavers without it. All our Group’s sections now use it. We can share events across the sections (eg our Bag Pack). It is tailored precisely to meet the needs of users because Ed & team have personal experience of the issues we face and are very helpful. Census returns are quick, tracking badges is easy and the suggested activities for meetings from fellow users are useful. When/if children move to a different Section, Group or District, we can transfer their records simply and quickly. The parent rota reminder is very helpful and the weekly email is simple plus we can track who has received/opened it. We have not yet embraced the online payments but are pressing our Treasurer to do so. The Gift Aid section is a good idea too. You can tell I’m a fan. (I have tried using Compass but find it unwieldy & uninviting).

  167. Avatar Matt Radford 22/12/2017 / 4:12 pm

    OSM is essential for running a Scout section in my opinion. Nothing else comes close. The new version that’s coming soon looks to be a significant improvements over the current version.

    The API also makes it very easy to get information out to display on a group website, meaning we can (for example) show the programme on each section’s page.

  168. Avatar Ian Turton 22/12/2017 / 4:21 pm

    Well I looked through the blog and the weight of opinion is clear.

    My feeling (as an ex CIO) is that TSA is sadly lacking in the centralised function it offers. The take up of OSM proves this.
    Compass isn’t good (look at any commercial website – do you really think it cuts it?), disclosures are often “clunky”.

    Further I feel the TSA comes across as commercially naive. For example we could/should have centralised “banking” systems – and get a good deal from a “partner” bank – much better than individual groups can “negotiate” with good savings accounts rate for our required reserves.

  169. Avatar David 22/12/2017 / 4:50 pm

    I was a usability consultant working on multi million pound projects. OSM is easy to use Compass not so . Please listen to users via proper testing rather than designer testers. OSM does what it says it is now flexible for different platforms and organisations. It’s easy to use easy to remember easy you navigate and consistent all key usabilly qualities. Please don’t throw out the baby with the bath water in the Associations desire to keep their own system. … please over

  170. Avatar Derek Wild 22/12/2017 / 5:08 pm

    About time

    Despite Compasses short falls, I can operate the system well but it doesn’t help with keeping records of young people, contacts or achievements. There is no mechanism for moving young people on or into adults roles where OSM can do it all.

    It is a real shame the Gilwell didn’t listen when compass was first muted that a system was readily available that did it all.

    Sorry Wayne Bulpitt and TSA, you really did get this wrong!!.

    One good thing with compass is the linking into Atlantic Data. Hopefully this link can be maintained for future.

    The Scout Association made a strategic error in not going with OSM when it developed Compass but it good to see you may now be admitting you got it wrong.

  171. Avatar Derek Wild 22/12/2017 / 5:26 pm

    As a district Administrator and former district and county superusers, I would be interest how OSM works at a district level for producing reports, entering new members onto the system and as a management tool .

    There will be some groups who do not use OSM (since they have stuck with Compass) and will need a great deal of help to get them up and running. this also applies to groups who may not use the full functionality of OSM.

    Will you need system testers in the field to use OSM at district level? More than happy to help.

  172. Avatar Jacquie Harris 22/12/2017 / 5:46 pm

    As an ADC I am often frustrated in my attempts to make District events open to all Young People. I’ve delved into the world of OSM and I would love to be able to send detail of events directly to parents and have payments paid straight into the event account, saving Leaders immense amounts of paperwork and cash chasing. Some of the Colonies across the District use it and they all speak positively of it.

  173. Avatar Ray 22/12/2017 / 6:17 pm

    I am a treasurer at Group Scout level and very new to the role, but I can already see many benefits of OSM, not least the ability to manage Gift Aid details. It should also be able to solve a great deal of the administration with the upcoming GDPR.

  174. Avatar Stuart Granger 22/12/2017 / 6:42 pm

    I received my introduction by the County Leaders at our County HQ and was amazed at how easy it is. I regret to say that Compass is a very poor neighbour compared to this. Firstly, it doesn’t crash and leave you in the lurch, secondly, it is far easier to use, thirdly, It even reminds you of what badges to issue, to stock up on and who to give them to, fouthly… I could carry on boringly. And it is reliable, as I have started using it, and my grandson, who is an Explorer and Young Leader, has helped me install our database and found it perfect for our needs (he is trustworthy and has also learned for his future roll as a Leader). To reiterate what others have said, we are volunteers and have personal lives to live, and anything that helps us manage our scout records in a simple and quick way is a bonus.

  175. Avatar Wendy Binks 22/12/2017 / 7:34 pm

    I have never ventured into Compass as it seems so complicated and unwieldly. I have found OSM simple to use and it does all that I need to keep my Scout and Beaver records up-to-date. I would strongly recommend the TSA ditch Compass and team up with OSM.

  176. Avatar David Bell 22/12/2017 / 9:26 pm

    Huge Fan of OSM for our Cub pack. Has made transitioning into the role as a new leader very easy, and helped me think about the structure needed for the packs development in a clear and logical way.
    100% if favour of TSA adopting it as the standard tool and not trying to re-invent the wheel.

  177. Avatar Alison Burt 23/12/2017 / 5:40 am

    Have bren using OSM in our group for over a year now and it is so amazing that I could not do my job now without it! It saves us leaders alot of time and does exactly what we need, from badge records, to accounting, to printing contacts for in touch, to emailing… The list goes on! I would be very happy to see a combined future of using OSM for leaders as well as children as, dare I say it… it is far easier to use than compass!

    Please go for it!

  178. Avatar Jon 24/12/2017 / 11:37 pm

    OSM works, it gets better regularly, it has a great points system to allow leaders to vote on the direction of development.

    It’s our subs you are spending on compass, please give us something we believe in instead – like OSM.

  179. Avatar Jennie Wadsworth 25/12/2017 / 8:44 am

    I love using OSM as a gsl. It means I can easily see and help with any admin and programme without always needing face to face meetings. The email facility is great because it means leaders can quickly and easily email certain members, or all, or just those booked on a certain event. I have been using gold + for 3 years and think it is definitely worth the fee. We also use the online payment system and while there are some small issues with it, it is much easier than cash or standing orders.

  180. Avatar Colin 25/12/2017 / 9:00 am

    Just my thoughts, I get the impression that OSM was written by ‘Scouts’ for Scouting. TSA’s previous efforts were possibly written by a very slick, probably very expensive digital media company that had no idea what the organisation actually needed. OSM, why would you bother with anything else? These are just my thoughts.

  181. Avatar Baloo, 49th Greenwich 27/12/2017 / 10:19 am

    The first blog that the TSA digital team should post after this one should be to directly answer the question in the hundreds of comments above, almost unanimously asking why TSA doesn’t adopt OSM.

    I’m an ACSL and – like literally everyone on this list – OSM is the only thing that makes our group’s admin bearable. At the same time, I can’t imagine the people at TSA are stupid, so must have a reason not to do what everyone posting above wants them to do.

    It would seem there are at least 3 options that occur to me:

    1. TSA are open to just buying/contracting OSM, but can’t reach a commercial agreement. I imagine, though it is certainly value for money and Ed doesn’t seem like a Zuckerberg-wannabe, OSM must be making a bit of money now, and it may be difficult to get a number that both sides agree on.

    2. On principle, TSA don’t want to outsource collation of all this data to a third party they can’t control. If OSM commits some kind of data malfeasance, TSA feel they will be held accountable, morally and/or legally.

    3. On a different principle, TSA are trying to prevent the Scout admin system becoming a private monopoly. If Ed sells it to someone else so he can buy an island in Scotland, what’s to stop the new owner charging an arm and a leg? TSA may think they have to have a free-to-air alternative, even if it isn’t as good as OSM, and likely never will be.

    4. TSA genuinely thinks it can build something better than OSM.

    To me, the answers to three of these are pretty simple:

    1. Either pay up, or at least tell people that commercially you can’t come to terms. People may not like it, but they will get it. If TSA is bidding what they think is a market price, it stops them being seen as the bureaucratic villain the whole time.

    2. Suck it up. Lots of companies outsource data management to third parties. Worse reputational things happen…

    4. In this case, TSA would obviously just be plain wrong.

    The answer to 3 is more complicated. It’s also the easiest for TSA to explain as their reasoning.

    I get the impression that OSM was created by someone who loves Scouting, and some kind of contract could be arranged that would give TSA a decisive contractual say in pricing over a very long time horizon, which (though it would perhaps depress OSM’s sale value), the creator may be happy with if it got him a full TSA endorsement (and erased the risk, low that it is, that TSA build something to compete with part of OSM’s revenue base).

    Or maybe there is an option 5. Either way, TSA really need to explain WHY they have a continuing digital admin plan before they talk any more about WHAT it is.

    That’s my two cents.

  182. Avatar dan 27/12/2017 / 12:36 pm

    I love osm. I would leave scouting if told I wasn’t allowed it. I not used compass for couple of years.
    I don’t know why TSA didn’t have these discussions with Ed sooner. Would make things ecven easier if WE ALL USE OSM. As moving records about will be a breeze.

  183. Avatar Brian @26th Ipswich 28/12/2017 / 11:51 pm

    Get working with OSM, integrate adult learning modules for line mangers then simply adopt the whole damned thing. Too much money wasted on Compass already. OSM is a godsend.

  184. Avatar Geoff Riddington 31/12/2017 / 12:08 pm

    As A GSL of a large Group (6 sections) I used OSM for the youngsters and Compass for the adults. Whilst OSM is not perfect (we had major disagreements over how best to order badges) most problems can be overcome with a bit of ingenuity (e.g.adding YLs and leaders into the section database). We simply regard our Explorers as another section. As ever the data input is a huge up-front cost which some leaders are more willing to face than others.
    I tried to use Compass to help with our biggest adult headache; Training. This is probably a reflection of the cumbersome nature of Training (which needs radical simplification), the legacy of poor provision in the past and over-centraliisation linked to the huge problems of geography in our part of the world. Put simply I could not get the information I needed about our leaders easily, I did not trust what was presented and I could not modify what I knew to be incorrect.

  185. Avatar Mel Lundin 31/12/2017 / 2:19 pm

    We run all of our sections with OSM and would not be without it. The only bit to improve is stopping having to get parents to renew direct debits when moving between sections. Everything else is just brilliant. Without it running Beavers and Cubs would be firmly on the “too hard” pile. I have always found Compass to be too clunky and painful. OSM is the way of the future. It does everything we need and we would be lost with out it.

  186. Avatar Steve Dark 01/01/2018 / 10:48 am

    Just to add a +1 to many of the comments on here. We use OSM extensively, and where we have to do things in other systems also it is simply a pain that we could do without.

    Looking forward to seeing OSM being better adopted by Scouting in the UK, in the same way it has been rapidly adopted by individual groups.

  187. Avatar Julian Cosky 02/01/2018 / 4:05 pm

    I’m a section leader, of Cubs, and have used OSM extensively for the last few years. I honestly don’t know how’d I’d cope without it.

    It has now been adopted by the Scouts and the Explorers.
    Our subscription payments have increased dramatically, which is a major benefit; not to mention is also includes the functionality for the annual census.

    Notwithstanding all the benefits it offers us, as leaders, but the parents love it too.

    Please, please, see the benefits we have and rather than re-invent the wheel, adopt OSM as the official system for Scouting, and work with them to build on and add functionality to what is already a mature product.

  188. Avatar Anne-Marie McEvett 02/01/2018 / 5:48 pm

    OSM is a godsend. It is well thought through, easy to use, allows management of the members between sections and has a wealth of resources on it for programme ideas. It seems madness to me not to use what is already an excellent resource, thereby saving time and money.

  189. Avatar Sam Caldwell 02/01/2018 / 8:12 pm

    I use OSM to manage our Cub pack (I’m section leader), and fund it really useful. It would be great to see it integrated with POL.

  190. Avatar Austen Thomas 03/01/2018 / 4:57 pm

    I have used OSM as a scout leader and now as an Explorer Leader for over 5 years.
    I am linked in with other explorer units in the surrounding districts and find sharing programs and events to be very helpful to the world wide scouting ethos. We use the full suite of functionality with parents paying subs through GoCardless to the Explorers and parents being able to see their own progress on badges. The weekly program is available for them to veiw. The mobile app is helpful for updating the weekly register at the weekly meeting, not another task to do when you get home from a busy scouting evening.
    I would wholly support a closer relationship between OSM and TSA and use good systems that the volunteer adult leaders have experienced with OSM.

  191. Avatar Frances Wallace 03/01/2018 / 6:17 pm

    I was amazed by this blog: the first that I have come across from the Digital Team, as I’m not really into social media and prefer to do, rather than opine. I am, however, very into OSM and have been, as Akela and in various group roles, for five years.

    I couldn’t believe the tone of the blog, as it seemed to suggest that TSA had no idea of what OSM has been doing. How can this be, when so many of us have loved OSM for years? It would also chime with some of the other things that come from TSA, which suggest that the people at Gilwell have no idea what it is like to be a leader and run a programme in the real world.

    The virtues of OSM have all been given above. It just gets better and better and suggestions are acted upon. It is very user friendly, even for those of us educated in the pre-computer era. It is our money that is being wasted by TSA in even thinking about TSA having its own system. WHY????

  192. Avatar Mole 03/01/2018 / 9:38 pm

    Could do with a few bugs sorting out… otherwise its a good system.

  193. Avatar Craig Balfour 04/01/2018 / 6:50 pm

    Having undertaken a lot of work to add my youth members and their records to Compass when it went live for youth (seems a lifetime ago!), only to lose it all, I almost went to OSM, but was put off by having to do all the work again.

    However, having moved house and Groups, and now seeing and using OSM, I wish I’d moved years ago! Arguably OSM has been developed over time, and Compass has not yet had the same opportunity to develop, but why continue to develop something when there’s already a solution there. It would be great to see collaboration that would benefit both the organisation as a whole and the individual volunteers who give so much time to Scouting.

  194. Avatar Simon Hubbard 05/01/2018 / 9:48 pm

    Moved all of our Group over to OSM many moons ago (was hard) moved it all back into Compass (that was many hours of my life I won’t get back).

    Having worked in all sections OSM is invaluable, although I’d say I now use it least running an Explorer Unit.

    The problem with OSM and and ESU and feeds from a group isn’t OSM’s fault but that ESU’s are tied to District not a Groups (appreciating that I am in a district where we need one unit per group to satisfy demand).

    Really pleased TSA and OSM are finally talking seriously, looking forward to being able to one day being able to forget my compass login.

  195. Avatar Simon Morriss 06/01/2018 / 9:32 am

    OSM has been amazing for the group as a whole. Since taking on the payment feature our sub collection rate has reached 100% which is a huge benifit.

    As for managing a section and everything we do, it’s spot on. It’s such good news that TSA are now in good communication with OSM. I hope this becomes an amazing fruitful partnership.

  196. Avatar Fiona Bravery 06/01/2018 / 11:43 am

    Finally persuaded our Group to use OSM (once it was apparent Compass was not going to be of any help) and it’s been fantastic across all sections over the past year/18m.
    Reduces admin around contact details, joins up badge stuff and programmes and reduces work enormously. Would not want to run my Cub section without it.
    I agree that the POL and Compass are very hard to use-I only use them when I have to-minimal interaction.
    We’ve not used the payment function in OSM as the 3% charge seems high to us as a fairly big Group. We felt it was worth managing payments by BACS and keeping the 3% within the Group, especially with significant payments for trips like Kandersteg going through.
    Agree-TSA please incorporate OSM! It’s great.

  197. Avatar Sally Beadman 07/01/2018 / 5:00 pm

    i use all areas of OSM and this has allow me and my team to reduce the hours of paperwork.
    area’s i love the programme planning and finding activities never stuck for a badge idea even it i dont find one i like i always find a bounce off idea.
    my scout messages and emails, we manage subs, events, badges, who moves up when, census aggregation, i have already used the email update option and have only two children from the whole group left to complete, the parent support rota allows my parents to sign up for meetings which interest them, and has encouraged healthy competition to sign up the best nights.
    The parents are always aware of the programme and what their child is doing

    extras i would like
    when starting a badge a email template to advise the parents of the requirements
    automatic weekly programme reminder
    a link to Facebook group another useful tool we use
    a group website link.

  198. Avatar Ken Gaskell 09/01/2018 / 10:38 am

    OSM transformed the way we operate, do programming, badges, gift aid, communicate with parents and take money for subscriptions and activities. It makes it possible for section leaders to monitor debt issues before they become a problem. It also allows us to make use of other people’s ideas from around the country and beyond. Can’t wait for the Scout Association to work with OSM, ;Having been a GSL where I am, I am now moving to a new District when I move house, I just hope they will be using OSM.

  199. Avatar Graham Mountain 25/02/2018 / 8:40 pm

    Hi i use osm a lot and could not do with out it

    One group has 2 beaver 2 cub and a scout section and I help run a joint explorer unit with this and another group

    All 5 sections in the main group use it for subs and gift aid and we save so much time and effort it makes it so easy even missing the 3 % is not missed as we get 100% of su s paid where before we where missing 10 to 20 % and finding hard to track it down

    Also program planing in all sections and events sign up if just a life saver not having to mainly record who what’s to do what and who has paid

    I hope the tsa and osm come to an agreement like in other contrys

  200. Avatar David Baker 04/03/2018 / 9:30 am

    OSM is great and really helps with the management of my section. The biggest annoyance at the moment is that I have to duplicate information that I have stored on it because my group uses a different – far less user friendly – system. As a Gold + subscriber I like fact that parents can update their contact details at any time as situations change, that they can see their own children’s progress towards badges, that I can advertise events and let them sign up online. I know my Scout County is currently looking at whether it should be made available throughout as is our group. I’ve paid for it out of my own pocket for years to lower my own workload – as we couldn’t convince our GSL, he preferred his own system – but that is starting to change. Ed’s response time to any issues is great and those issues are very few and far between. I certainly would highly recommend it to other leaders. It also is nice that information about badges, etc… can be so easily transferred between sections and it makes tracking everything so much easier.

  201. Avatar Malcolm Reynolds 14/03/2018 / 12:21 am

    I find OSM quite useful (Gold user) but some of the printed off sheets bear little relationship to what you see on screen. Try filling up a programme page and a lot of it disappears as the window for printing is limited in size for some reason. I also find that having 18 members means that not all members can be shown on the badge screens you have to remember to scroll down to find hidden members – why can’t the windows automatically expand to accomodate all members. Scrolling is a pain in the —- as well what’s wrong with a scroll but on side. The one good thing I find is that once I have filled all my entries into a program page the are all transferrable using the clipboard to a MSword page so that I can make a hard copy of the programme as it looks on screen without loosing bits of it.I can then email the word document to ACL’s so that they can see what is planned without the need to scroll through stuff themselves.

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