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From Baden-Powell to Database Masters, the Transformation of Scouts

Scouts Queensland is an organisation that is over 110 years old where a strong tradition of outdoor pursuits and social development remain central to the group’s mission with its embrace of technology helping to set up a new cohort of leaders for the 21st century. 

The enduring memory of many who have passed through the Scouts movement are of ropes exercises and earning badges while wearing a khaki uniform. 

However, today’s Scouts feature a far more contemporary uniform and the organisation is one that has 228 groups across 44 districts through 13 regions in Queensland that also operate in conjunction with schools across the state. 

Scouts Queensland has more than 8000 youth members across Queensland and 3500 adult members who provide guidance and instruction on learning important outdoor skills. 

Meeting the challenges of managing and coordinating such numbers is one perfectly suited for an organisation with over 110 years of experience in problem solving. 

The Chief Commissioner of Queensland of Scouts Queensland, Daryl Scott who is also head of digital transformation for Scouts Australia has since coming into the role of Chief Commissioner embarked on a plan that is now yielding incredible results. 

“Ten years ago we were a purely paper based organisation which had the never ending problems of differing quality, a mishmash of data and an administration nightmare where the head office part of the organisation was trying to help time-poor volunteers do the paper work.”

Mr Scott said digital transformation is a key part of ensuring greater accountability for all organisation and forms part of a community expectation in this space.

“We use Operoo (previously known as CareMonkey) which basically takes the paper out of health records and provides digital forms, approvals, online payment and is also connected to our Xero financials network.”

Scouts Queensland which operates programs that involve provisions around the health and safety of children have had to ensure that as part of the training of Scout Leaders, awareness around security as well as legislation of working with young members.

“Getting permission for excursions and camps requires parental approval and is done digitally. 

“Health information for a group excursion is sent to a camp leader’s phone and deleted automatically after 30 days.”

Scouts Queensland have embarked on a 360% view of the organisation and have also rolled out Microsoft Office 365 to ensure a greater level of accuracy around record keeping and a one stop shop in terms of availability on documents that are key to the organisation’s day to day running. 

President of Scouts Queensland, Former Federal Member for Ryan, Jane Prentice said the digital transformation program is at its core about ensuring the volunteers involved with Scouts can focus on the core objective of activity based instruction of Scouts. 

“Any organisation that is delivery activity based programs rely on people who give more time than they probably actually have."

“This digital program removes the barrier of administration headache for so many in our movement to contribute fully to the Scouts mission,” Ms Prentice said.

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