Census Aggregator in OSM

Whats is the Census Aggregator?

The Census aggregator is a tool in OSM that allows sections to anonymously request information from parents (and leaders), collate it all and then submit it to the The Scouts for the annual census return.

The census aggregator tool asks members for the following information:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity 
  • Disabilities

This information is anonymous and enables us to understand the composition of our membership and provide the most appropriate support. For more info about why we ask about ethnicity and disabilities see the census faqs on The Scouts website.

The Aggregator tool also collates:

  • How many Top Awards (Chief Scout Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Queen Scout, Duke of Edinburgh, Explorer Belt, Young Leader Belt, Scouts of the World Award) have been awarded in the last 12 months using the section's badge records. Please therefore ensure badge records for current and past members are kept up to date.
  • The age of each member. This is collated using the DOB field in the personal details section of OSM. Please also ensure that parents (and leaders) check this is recorded correctly.

How do I collect data using the Census Aggregator?


  • A login to OSM
  • Read and Write access to the personal details section in OSM


  1. Log in to OSM
  2. Navigate to the 'Members' menu item in the side bar on the left
  3. Click the Census Aggregator option 
  4. You should now see the Census aggregator. At the top there are two tabs, "Members" and "Aggregated Results". The "Members" tab shows members that have not had census data entered for them. Leaders can enter this data manually, but as the data is sensitive it is best practice to use the "Send Parent Portal Email" button in the top right. This will send the parent an email which will allow them to anonymously enter the data via an online form. To send an email to all the members in the list, click the checkbox in the top left corner of the table prior to clicking the "Send Parent Portal Email" button. N.B. If you do not see some members in the list but don't remember requesting the data, do not be alarmed. If the data has been requested in previous years (even by a different section), then it is stored in OSM and it does not have to be re-requested. However, it is important that if a member makes you aware of a change in this data or you suspect the data may be out of date e.g. a change of Gender or a new Disability; that you delete the previous census data in their member record. This will allow you to re-send the request to parents for the up to date census information.

How do I submit the data to The Scouts Census portal?

For those groups who have opted into the OSM data sharing partnership, from January 2021, a button will be available in OSM to submit your aggregated youth data for the Census. This means that you won’t need to manually enter the data twice, saving you valuable time and effort!


  • Your Executive Committee must have agreed to the The Scouts Data Sharing Arrangement and the decision minuted. There is more information about the partnership with OSM and the other benefits of opting in here
  • If you don't have an appropriate statement in your group's privacy policy/statement that explains ‘sharing personal data to appropriate individuals in the hierarchy of Scouting’, then this should be updated. However in most cases this is fairly standard approach and is the default option on the privacy policy/notice template provided by The Scouts.
  • If you updated your privacy policy/notice then you should inform data subjects of the privacy policy update by sending them an updated copy or a email notification with a link to have the option of reading the update.


  1. First you need to opt in to the Data sharing partnership, which is done via Settings>Section settings>The Scout Pilot Partnership. You must map your section in OSM to the corresponding section as recorded in Compass.
  2. Once you have opted in, you can return to the Census Aggregator tool and click on the "Aggregated Results" Tab. Provided you have a complete dataset, then you are ready to click the, "Submit to The Scouts" button. Once pressed, this will transfer the data to the census portal. We recommend logging onto the Census Portal to validate your data has transferred correctly as well as complete the additional questions in the return. 

Things to watch out for..

Birthdays prior to the 31 January

Anyone with a birthday between the date at which you look at the aggregated results, and the 31 January, will be recorded with their age at that moment in time, not their age on the 31 January. Therefore, it is important you only submit your census data to the Census portal on or after the 31 January and ensure all young people who should have done; have moved to the correct section prior to that date. As a reminder the age ranges are:

Section    Age Range    Flexibility
  Beavers   6 - 8 years old    5 ¾ and up to 8 ½ years old 
  Cubs   8 - 10 ½ years old    7 ½ and up to 11 years old 
  Scouts   10 ½ - 14 years old    10 to 14 ½ years old  
  Explorers   14 - 18 years old    13 ½ and up to 18 years old  (At 18, an individual is legally an adult and cannot be in a youth Section.)
  Scout Network   18 - 25 years old    (Members cease to be members of Network on their 25th birthday)

Young people must not exceed the recommended age range, without discussing this with the District Commissioner.

Shared Members

Members shared across multiple sections will be counted in both sections. This feature is sometimes used while a young person is between sections. Ideally all young people should have completed moving between sections prior to the 31 January. However where this has not been possible, the work around is to

  • exclude them from a lodge, six, or patrol in one section; or
  • create a lodge, six or patrol called 'Moving up'

 then untick the 'None' or 'Moving up' box on the aggregated results page depending how you categorised them prior to clicking the, "Submit to The Scouts" button.

💡 GDPR Top Tip

In all of the district’s sections, Mersey Weaver have added the following Explanation Message in Settings>Parent Portal Settings>Personal Details.  This mimics the statement on the paper version of the young person information form and it is a great place to link to your Group’s Privacy Policy and notice so parents can view it from the parent portal at their leisure.
This form aims to assist in the collecting of information regarding members of the unit. It is important this data is kept up to date and is regularly reviewed by parents especially prior to events so we are able to contact next of kin in an emergency.
The Scout Association is committed to the Data Principles of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. By using this form, you agree to Mersey Weaver Scouts processing and storing this information during and beyond your young person’s involvement with the organisation:
a) retaining personal data to facilitate any present or potential future involvement with Scouting, in line with the MWS Data Protection and Retention Policy
b) retaining sensitive (special category) data regarding religion/faith, disabilities/additional needs, ethnicity, medical information in line with the MWS Data Protection and Retention Policy
c) allowing access to personal data to appropriate individuals within the hierarchy of Scouting.
For up to date copies of the MWS Privacy Policy and Notice please see https://mwscouts.org/legal/

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