Creating a Sustainable Future for Scouting in NSW
Work is currently underway to develop a Scouts NSW Property Strategy that aims to deliver an improved return on investment, both social and commercial, for the hundreds of Scout Halls and Activity Centres across New South Wales in order to create a sustainable future for Scouting in NSW.
A comprehensive robust Property Strategy will:
• Look forward
• Provide a framework for a coordinated and strategic approach to the facilities owned or managed by Scouts NSW
• Help Scouts NSW assess how its facilities can meet existing and emerging community needs and expectations
It will play a vital role in addressing a number of challenges associated with Property Management, while laying the foundation for a sustainable future for Scouting in NSW by ensuring Scouts can facilitate emerging Groups in new growth corridors and continue to support Groups in existing communities. It will incorporate a series of actions to ensure facilities across the State are functional, fit for purpose and aligned with the needs of the Association’s current and future members.
A one-page summary of the Scouts NSW Property Strategy can be viewed by clicking on the image below.
The Need for a Property Strategy
Scouts NSW occupies approximately 680 properties across NSW, with many in remote and rural areas. The majority were built or acquired in the period 1950-1980, meaning the average age of a Scout hall is 70-75 years and may no longer be well located to serve growth precincts/areas, nor the changing requirements of our traditional locations.
We have a mix of property types with 90 individual landlords:
• approximately 215 properties are freehold
• approximately 465 properties are non-freehold - the majority are Council Leases or
Crown Reserve Trust agreements
• approximately 30% of freehold properties are not currently occupied by an active Scout Group.
Many properties generate revenue through hiring under licence.
There is no reliable current assessment of the condition of individual properties in the portfolio although anecdotal evidence suggests that:
• many properties no longer meet contemporary community expectations of a Scout property
• many properties do not meet contemporary WHS and Building code requirements.
Given the strong connection and identity associated with local facilities, seeking the thoughts, ideas and opinions from stakeholders who have deep experience in facility management is both an important and critical first step to the development of a Property Strategy.
Due to the importance of gaining stakeholder input in order to inform the development of the Property Strategy, a Stakeholder Engagement Plan was prepared that adopted a multi-phased approach, involving both internal and external stakeholders.
To support this, a series of one-on-one in-depth stakeholder engagement sessions were conducted with a cross section of internal and external stakeholders.
A total of 20 interviews were held with selected participants who were either nominated or self-nominated through an Expression of Interest process.
Those selected to participate were from the Scout Membership and included Region Commissioners, District Commissioners, Group Leaders, Section Leaders, Supporters and Parents from both metropolitan and regional NSW. In addition, stakeholder engagement sessions were conducted with external agencies who also have a role to play in facility management, including local Councils and Department of Lands.
The key themes and issues that emerged from these sessions were developed into a survey completed by our Region Commissioners, District Commissioners and Group Leaders to enable further input to the development of our Property Strategy.
The Board, Region Commissioners and District Commissioners were also engaged on the draft Strategic Directions plan, enabling the draft strategy to be tested by key stakeholders as well as providing an opportunity for input into final strategic directions/recommendations.