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Policy, Organisation and Rules

13. Trusteeship, property and equipment

Certain Rules in this Chapter do not apply, without modification, in parts of the British Isles outside England and Wales.

13.1.1 Persons not allowed to act as Trustees Members of the Group, District and County Trustee Boards are the 'charity trustees' of the Group, District or County. No person who is disqualified from being a charity trustee by virtue of the Charities Act may be a member of a Group, District or County Trustee Board.

The appointment of any such person, whether as ex officio, by nomination, by election or by co-option shall be void. It is the responsibility of each person to ensure that they are not disqualified before accepting an appointment as a trustee. The Charities Acts apply to England and Wales only. Scotland SV, Northern Ireland, Bailiwick of Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Gibraltar have similar, but not identical, legislation. Some people are disqualified by law from acting as charity trustees. The exact requirements vary by nation but, subject to regulatory waiver provisions, the Scouts’ adopts the following criteria for disqualification to a role with Trustee responsibilities.  This includes anyone for whom at least one of these conditions is true: SV 

  1. has an unspent conviction for an offence involving dishonesty or deception
  2. has unspent convictions for the offences of misconduct in a public office
  3. has unspent convictions for bribery, or money laundering, or perjury or perverting the course of justice or terrorism
  4. has been found guilty of attempting, aiding or abetting the above offences
  5. has been found in contempt of court
  6. is designated under terrorist asset-freezing legislation
  7. is on the sex offenders’ register
  8. is currently declared bankrupt (or is subject to bankruptcy restrictions or an interim order or sequestration in Scotland) or has an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) with creditors
  9. is disqualified from being a company director
  10. has previously been removed as a trustee from any charity by any charity regulator in the UK (or a court) due to misconduct or mismanagement
  11. is disqualified from being a trustee by an order of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

13.1.2 The Charities Acts SV 13.1.2 applies in England and Wales only. All Scout Units are separate charities. Scout Units are not required to register with the Charity Commission as they have been ‘excepted’ under The Charities (Exception from Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. Scout charities in England and Wales only have to register with the Charity Commission if any of the following is true:

  1. their annual income is more than £100,000
  2. they have permanent endowment (a rare interest in land or building or other assets which cannot be spent as ‘income’) and their annual income is £5,000 or over; 
  3. they own land or buildings and their income is £5,000 or over.

It is important to note that, apart from not having to register or make annual returns, excepted charities must comply with charity law. Trustees of excepted charities have the same responsibilities as trustees of any other charity.

13.1.3 Safe Custody of Documents SV The Group, District or County Secretary must ensure that documents relating to the ownership of property and equipment and all other legal and official documents, together with any documents of historical importance or interest are kept in a safe place. Specific documents that must be safeguarded are:

  1. declarations of trust
  2. title deeds to land or buildings
  3. stock and share certificates
  4. registration documents issued by The Scout Association
  5. documents relating to motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft
  6. insurance policies. Those charities who have appointed the SATC to hold title to land may use this service to safeguard the first three document types. By law, these must be hard copy original documents. The Group, District or County Trustee Board administration must keep a register of such documents with details of their location. The Group, District or County Treasurer must ensure that motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft owned by the Group, District or County are properly registered, licensed and insured as necessary and that all requirements as to their condition, testing or any other matters are fulfilled. Motor vehicles must be registered either in the name of the Group, District or County or in the name of a nominee, in which case the registration must show that the person is a nominee of the Group, District or County.

13.2.2 Equipment The Group, District or County Treasurer must maintain proper inventories of all equipment owned, including furniture, training equipment, musical instruments or equivalent of any other kind.

13.3.1 Property and Equipment Groups and Explorer Units must be properly accommodated and equipped in order to carry out their training programmes. The Group's and Unit's administrators must concern themselves with all legal requirements relevant to the ownership of all property and equipment or to the leasing or hiring of premises. All freehold, leasehold or licensed land, with or without buildings, must be held by at least two and no more than four Holding Trustees appointed as specified unless title to the said land is held by a Custodian Trustee on behalf of the Scout Unit, for example The Scout Association Trust Corporation (SATC) or the Official Custodian for Charities. Holding Trustees of land must be appointed under either a Declaration of Trust or named as the Trustees in the relevant Conveyance, Lease, Licence or such other Deed, Transfer or other formal agreement as may be necessary in the circumstances. The SATC will hold land upon standard trusts which have been approved by the SATC’s legal advisers. Investments must also be held in the manner listed above under, with the exception being that the SATC is unable to hold such investments. The SATC can be appointed by Scout bodies to hold title to land as Custodian Trustee only and, as such, the SATC cannot have any responsibility for the decision-making or day-to-day management of the Scout body or its land. The SATC is also unable to negotiate land or property matters on behalf of Scout bodies. The SATC must be appointed through its proper procedure for which a standard fee is chargeable. Contact the SATC in writing at Gilwell Park, Chingford, London E4 7QW or at As Custodian Trustee, the SATC must obtain instructions regarding the land or property from a member of the relevant Scout body’s Trustee Board or a person or persons properly authorised by that Trustee Board to instruct the SATC. A suggested template for a Declaration of Trust suitable for local Trustees to declare Trust when intending to hold title to land, can be provided by The Scout Association’s Legal Services Department which should then be amended and checked by a local solicitor acting for the group, District or County to reflect the particular local circumstances.


13.3.2 Land The Group, District or County Trustee Board should obtain at least a formal written licence and preferably a lease of any land, with or without buildings, which they do not own and which is to be occupied for a substantial period. In any event, no large amount of capital should be expended on buildings or other improvements unless the group, District or County has at least seven years uninterruptible interest remaining in the said land. The Group, District or County Treasurer must ensure that all possible relief from rates is obtained.


13.3.3 Property - Sponsored Groups Agreements with Sponsoring Authorities identify property belonging to the Sponsoring Organisation and that belonging to the group. Property owned by the group as recorded in such agreements must be administered as required by these Rules.


13.3.4 Disposal of Property at Amalgamation The Model ‘Declarations of Trust’ referred to, contain certain provisions for the amalgamation of groups, Districts and Counties. The retiring Trustees of the group, District or County which are amalgamating must hand to the Trustees of the new group, District or County all documents of title and the keys to any buildings which the former had.


13.3.5 Disposal of Property at Closure The property of a Group, District or County which ceases to exist will automatically pass to the District Scout Council, County Scout Council or UK Headquarters as appropriate unless there is some pre-existing arrangement by which the property passes to another beneficiary. Any liabilities of a Group, District or County, e.g. an outstanding loan to UK Headquarters, utility bills etc. will also become the responsibility of the District Scout Council, County Scout Council or UK Headquarters as appropriate. Such property must be treated in the same way as other assets.


13.3.6 Joint Occupation of Premises by Scout and Guide Units A special Declaration of Trust, which must provide for the formation of a joint management committee, must be drawn up if the premises are to be owned and occupied jointly by Scout and Guide units. This does not apply if the premises are used jointly under licence or if the premises are occupied by other similar arrangements. A copy of an appropriate model Declaration of Trust can be provided by The Scout Association’s Legal services department and which should be amended and checked by a local solicitor acting for the relevant Scout Unit to ensure it reflects local circumstances or any agreement with the said Guide Unit. Unless the powers of investment are specified in the formal Trust Instrument creating or governing any give group, District or County, such powers of investment are governed by the Trustee Act 2000. Accordingly, The Scout Association’s own particular powers of investment are specified by its Royal Charter. These particular powers of investment apply to The Scout Association itself and not to its entire member groups, Districts or Counties.SV Group, District and County Treasurers should reclaim from H.M. Revenue and Customs any tax deducted at source from investment income. Groups, Districts and Counties are advised to make full use of special funds, which are established for investment by charities, and which pay dividends gross. Investments held on behalf of Groups, Districts or Counties must be registered in such a way as to show that they are held on trust for that body and that they are not the private property of the individuals, if any, appointed as trustees.