back to article Scout Association's shelved database won't be back until next year

The Scout Association has further delayed the date for restoring its troubled Compass database, which contains the details of 450,000 young people and volunteer adults. The new live date has been tentatively set for January 2016, a year since it was originally taken down following revelations by The Register of serious …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't contain data on every child in scouting, it hasn't work well enough to enter most of the details...

    1. Alan Sharkey

      It does contain the details of all my group (I'm the chairman). So, I'm more than happy for it to be fully tested.

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Kill It

    It shouldn't exist at all. It's far to tempting a target for the bad people. I doubt they'll be able to secure it anywhere near well enough.

    1. Andy Miller

      Re: Kill It

      As others have said the alternative to a central database is Scout leaders having stuff on bits of paper and local machines. Which do you think is going to be more secure?

      Bad guys who are looking to exploit Scouts are going to be largely targeting local kids. Much easier to nick Skip's laptop than hack a properly implemented central database.

      Assuming the central database is properly implemented.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kill It

      Everybody's details are publically accessible anyway, I don't see how this database would actually be remotely useful to anyone. It seems like a bunch of paranoia over no real danger.

      Why not use existing tried and tested security for accounts from google, etc. Then it is simply a matter of the right levels of compartmentalised access to known members of the organisation. This shouldn't take years to do, it is not rocket surgery.

  3. FlatSpot
    Paris Hilton


    Why do they need a global database at all?? In my day a pen and a piece of paper seemed to be the recording method. Surely the local scoutmaster with an excel spreadsheet is enough to record whether subs have been paid?

    1. Tony S

      Re: erm

      Sadly, it's a sign of the times.

      Someone has convinced them of the *need* for such a database; and once it is working, they will highlight how it can be used to market to the people on said database and earn the Association lots of lovely dosh.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: erm

        Agreed - I think the need for the database is given away by info on their data protection/usage policy (I found it while searching for info on how to use it). Policy points out that all data is (or is meant to be) collected on the official scout info request form which includes a "I agree to my deatils being used for marketing purposes" tick box. Then the policy goes on to say that they'll clean the database by checking for duplicates, cross checking vs electoral roll, register of deaths (!) etc etc on a quartely basis (n.b. no doubt to aid this I gather the system is/was extremely picky about the address formats etc). Sounded to me like they were building up a "clean" database of address of families that they could tout to all and sundry to raise funds.

  4. Buzzword

    How accurate is the data?

    As far as the Scouts are concerned, my kids are named D. Duck and M. Mouse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in the real world

    Firstly, it has to be said that the Scout Association should be commended for taking the difficult decision of pulling the plug on this, until they were sure it was secure.

    However, it should never have got to this point...................

    The Adult information that we required access to to ensure that adults are properly cleared and trained to take kids away and run a section night, is accessible, unfortunately we as volunteers have to go through a lengthy process to get information to which as a Group Scout Leader, I require.

    So we have a long winded process of doing what we need done, the reality in a voluntary organisation is that stuff doesnt get done, unless it really has to, because of The Scout Association's incompetance on this matter.

    Data wasnt stolen, but they have set our record keeping back 10+ years, well done The Scout Association, if you are going to take on a huge project, ensure that you can do it properly.

    Will leasons be learnt, unfortunatley with IT and the Scouts I dont have much faith with that... But the kids will still enjoy camping. The real questions is how many leaders will leave because all they ever hear is that COMPASS is the excuse..................

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For an organisation that has the motto "Be Prepared" it had no continuity plan.

    The fact that scouting has continued relatively unabated without COMPASS speaks volumes....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not just use Online Scout Manager

    Every Scout pack in my area uses OSM because it's reliable, it's secure and it does excatly what they want. Unfortunately the Scouting Association has apparently tried to ban it's use, something that smacks of a serious case of "not invented here" syndrome.

  8. Magnus_Pym


    I'm trying to get our Scout Group interested in OSM but because of the Compass debacle there is a worry about online security.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Half the problem is that everyone involved in Scouting is a volunteer....and managing all the paperwork takes far too much something online *ought* to help. Eg: tracking nights away or hikes away should run throughout a young persons life, from their first hut sleepover as a beaver to their Gold/Queens Scout Expedition within Scouting...but on paper this rarely happens.

    Sadly my experience helping run an Explorer Unit of over 30 & using eDofE (online electronic DofE) tells me that the online systems simply add to the overhead of time used up.

    The idea that the scoutmaster can manage subs etc easily with paper shows someone who doesn't do any of this. Try arranging a few things for a large group, with some parents who regularly forget to send little Johnny/Jessy without money for an activity, or who NEVER respond to any requests - it is laughable if it weren't so sad....

    I am frankly planning my exit just due to the sheer number of hours of my time the whole thing eats up - the planning for activities, the evenings themselves, the weekend things, the management of finances and badge lists etc etc. Parents make all sorts of excuses to not help out, and don't realise WE are parents giving time up as well - it is almost as though they think we are paid resources!

    So I wish good luck to the online Compass system, & I hope it doesn't contribute to others giving up their efforts!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My wife recently ran a Beaver group, which did take quite a bit of her time. She routinely mentioned that some parents just see it as cheap babysitting.

      A bit more on subject, she also said that COMPASS was pretty unusable. Apparently entering the data was a bit of a struggle, but that was nothing compared to having to make any changes.

  10. deanb01

    Compass Bearings

    I use OSM and am dreading the the return of Compass. Nothing like having to use two online systems to manage your group and having to train other non technical section leaders to eat into your spare time.

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