With over 65,000 members, The Guides and Scouts of Finland is the nation’s largest youth organisation. Anyone can join and there are over 700 local groups around the country. The Scouts’ Constitution states that the organisation’s activities and decision-making are based on transparency and equality regardless of region, language, culture, religion, or conviction.
The idea for Scout Petitions was born from the need to collect new ideas for leading and developing the Scouts’ organisation and to create an approachable way of introducing innovation to the organisation’s administration. As stipulated in the organisation’s Rules of Procedure, any member who has paid their membership fee can present ideas for improving the organisation.
Scout Petitions is a digital tool for collecting and handling improvement ideas. Petitions can be submitted and voted for on the Scouts’ website. Once a petition reaches one hundred supporters, it will be picked up by a committee or a group working under the organisation’s executive board. The petition platform’s aim is to increase the members’ inclusivity and agency. Anyone can follow a petition’s progress using the open interface.
In recent years, The Guides and Scouts of Finland have improved their ability and readiness to utilise digital technology in their recreational and volunteer activities. The wider use of digital services aims at improving the Scouts’ overall management as well as the Scout leaders’ abilities to lead their groups confidently by information-based practises.
The concept of Scout Petitions is outlined in the Scouts’ Rules of Procedure, but the organisation lacked a systematic way of collecting, evaluating, and communicating about ideas and initiatives.
The Scouts needed a service that would bring together all the data regarding submitted petitions. A one-stop solution simplifies the collecting of ideas and supports administrative work. There was also a need for a process to manage, develop, and evaluate the efficacy of collected petitions.
The original plan was to collect petitions from different sources and to compile them into a single database, which would have required building a bespoke system. However, there were no solid estimates on how eager members would be in adopting the new system. To save on costs and to verify the effectiveness of this new system, The Guides and Scouts of Finland decided on implementing a so-called proof of concept version first. The Scout Petitions system was therefore built on an existing, open platform with as few changes as possible.
After a round of evaluations, The Guides and Scouts of Finland opted for the open-source e‑Petitions platform. Built using the Ruby on Rails framework, the platform is also employed by the UK Parliament, and its source code is available on GitHub. The platform comes equipped with two user interfaces: a website for submissions and a separate administration interface. The platform required some additional features, and these were added separately.
The bidding competition ended with Trineria as the chosen vendor for the petitions system. The system was built in three sprints. Trineria installed the e-Petitions platform and the database into the Scouts’ Azure environment and modified the public-facing user interface to match the design language of the Scouts’ website. Trineria also implemented the log-in system as well as different language versions.
“The technology we used for this digital project was perhaps not the most common solution, which is why we are happy to have had a partner like Trineria to work with. The co-operation and iteration were all smooth sailing, and Trineria’s expansive knowledge base really impressed us. The project was finished on schedule and within budget.”
IT and Services Manager
The Guides and Scouts of Finland
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