Policy, Organisation and Rules
2. Key Policies
The Key Policies in this Chapter are in alphabetical order. No order of importance or priority is implied - they are all equal.
126.96.36.199 The Scout Association is part of a worldwide educational youth movement. The values, which underpin and inspire its work, are embodied in the Scout Promise and Law and in the Purpose of The Scout Association.
188.8.131.52 Within this framework, The Scout Association is committed to equality of opportunity for all young people.
- The Scout Association is committed to extending the Scouts, its Purpose and Method to young people in all parts of society.
- No young person should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of, nor suffer disadvantage harassment or discrimination by reason of:
- Class or socio-economic status
- ethnic or national origin, nationality, or statelessness or race
- gender including gender reassignment
- marital or civil partnership status
- sexual orientation
- political belief
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion, belief or faith including the absence of religion, belief or faith
184.108.40.206 All members of the movement should seek to practise equality, especially in promoting equal access to the Scouts for all young people. The Scout Association opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. All Scout Groups, as separate charities, have a duty to comply with relevant equalities legislation. All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments where possible to support all young people with disabilities to access the Scouts.
220.127.116.11 Reasonable adjustments means actions to enable young people with disabilities to access the Scouts and scouting activities, as far as reasonably possible, to the same level as young people without disabilities. This should involve working in partnership with parents/carers, to identify needs and support strategies.
18.104.22.168 Reasonable steps should also be taken to identify any young people with disabilities in the section or Group. See Chapter 3 for further guidance around reasonable adjustments.
22.214.171.124 See further information about inclusion and diversity.
126.96.36.199 To carry out its work, The Scout Association seeks to appoint effective and appropriate leaders, of all backgrounds and all areas of the community, and to involve other volunteers in supporting roles, all of whom are required to accept fully the responsibilities of their commitment.
188.8.131.52 The overriding considerations in making all appointments in the Scouts shall be the safety and security of young people, and their continued development in accordance with the Purpose and Values of The Scout Association.
184.108.40.206 Accordingly, all those whom the movement accepts as volunteers must be appropriate persons to undertake the duties of the particular position to which they have been appointed including, if relevant, meeting the requirements of the Sponsoring Authority and, where appropriate, the responsibilities of membership.
220.127.116.11 In recruitment and appointments processes, volunteers should make clear that roles are open to people of all genders, ethnicities, faiths and backgrounds and encourage a diverse range of applicants to apply, particularly those currently under-represented on the team.
18.104.22.168 It may, in limited circumstances, be appropriate to consider the gender or protected characteristics of a potential appointee. This is only the case where there is a genuine occupational requirement, for example, in order to ensure that a support team on a trip includes adult volunteers of different genders.
22.214.171.124 The ability of all appointees and volunteers to understand and implement the Scouts’ safeguarding policies and procedures, as set out in Rule 2.1, is an essential requirement.
126.96.36.199 Within these constraints, and those imposed by the need to ensure:
- the safety and security of young people
- the continued development of young people, and
- equal opportunities for all
188.8.131.52 No person volunteering their services should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of, nor suffer disadvantage, harassment or discrimination by reason of:
- class or socio-economic status
- ethnic or national origin, nationality or statelessness, or race
- gender including gender reassignment
- marital or civil partnership status
- sexual orientation
- political belief
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion, belief or faith including the absence of religion, belief or faith
184.108.40.206 All adults in the Scouts have a responsibility for the operation of The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy. All Scout Groups, as separate charities have a duty to comply with relevant equalities legislation.
- The District Commissioner or the County Commissioner, as appropriate, must be satisfied that all applicants for Leader or Commissioner appointments are fully aware that they will be required by their personal example to operate The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy and support Groups to comply with relevant equalities legislation.
- They must also be satisfied that all those whom they invite to assist them in other ways in the work of the District or County are upholding The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy by the personal example that they set before the Scouts in the District or County as the case may be.
- Group Scout Leaders must be satisfied that all those whom they invite to assist them in the work of the Group will comply with relevant equalities legislation and uphold The Scout Association’s Equal Opportunities Policy by the personal example that they set before the Scouts in the Group.
- Appointment Advisory Committees are required to operate The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy and comply with relevant equalities legislation in their work.
- The District Trustee Board or the County Trustee Board, as appropriate, must be satisfied that all applicants for appointments in their gift are fully aware that they will be required by their personal example to operate The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy and to support Groups to comply with relevant equalities legislation.
See further information about inclusion and diversity.
220.127.116.11 The Scout Association takes the protection of privacy and personal data very seriously and all adults operating within the Scouts, whether at UK Headquarters or within local Scout units i.e., Scout Groups, Districts, Counties, Areas, Regions (Scotland) or Countries, must comply with data protection law which includes the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
18.104.22.168 A copy of The Scout Association’s Data Protection Policy which provides key definitions, details of how it protects personal information and also guidance to staff, members and volunteers about how to deal with personal information they handle, can be found http://www.scouts.org.uk/dppolicy
22.214.171.124 The Scout Association at UK Headquarters level and each local Scout unit operate as separate charities in their own right. Each collects and handles personal data and is responsible, as a separate data controller, for the personal data it collects and uses.
126.96.36.199 As a larger organisation, The Scout Association is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a data controller. However, data protection law applies to all data controllers, whether registered with the ICO or not, and therefore applies to each local Scout unit.
188.8.131.52 All adults in the Scouts have a responsibility to comply with data protection law when handling or dealing with any personal data. However, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place, lies with the relevant charity trustees as follows:
- at UK Headquarters, the Board of Trustees of The Scout Association is responsible for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place in respect of The Scout Association Headquarters based at Gilwell Park, Chingford, London E4 7QW; and
- at local level, the local Trustee Boards, as the charity's Trustees, are responsible for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place for their respective local Scout units.
184.108.40.206 Whilst the charity Trustees and Trustee Boards are responsible for ensuring that adequate data protection systems are in place, each adult operating within the Scouts whether as staff, members or volunteers are also responsible for ensuring that they handle all personal data in compliance with those procedures and the law.
220.127.116.11 All adult members of The Scout Association are required to have at least one unique e-mail address i.e., not one shared with another person or persons. This unique e-mail address must be recorded on Compass. This unique e-mail address may be in addition to any shared email address, such as may be in place for shared roles.
18.104.22.168 This requirement is needed to ensure that each member receives the information relevant to them to prevent them from receiving information intended for another individual. This is in line with the Data Protection and GDPR requirements.
22.214.171.124 In compliance with the six key principles of the GDPR (Article 5), personal data in the Scouts must be:
- Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.
Clear and accessible information must be provided to individuals about what personal data is collected, how it will be processed and how they can exercise rights over it, e.g., the right to request a copy of their personal data by making a Subject Access Request (SAR) or to have incorrect data corrected or deleted. This information should be provided both at the initial point of contact in the form of a Privacy Statement or Notice and also be made regularly accessible to the individual. See The Scout Association’s Privacy Statement.
- Collected and processed for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes only.
Personal data should only be collected and used for activities directly relating to the Scouts or a person’s membership or association with the Scouts
- Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the purposes it is collected and processed
- Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that the data is kept as accurate and up-to-date as possible for the purposes for which it is being held
- Kept for no longer than necessary for the purposes for which it was collected and processed
- Kept secure using appropriate technical or organisational measures to prevent the data from being used in an unauthorised or unlawful way or against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
126.96.36.199 As data controllers, the relevant charity Trustees and Trustee Boards are responsible for demonstrating compliance with the above principles.
188.8.131.52 The Scout movement includes members of many different faiths and religions as well as those with no formal religion. The following policy has received the approval of the heads of the leading religious bodies in the United Kingdom. All members of the movement are encouraged to:
- make every effort to progress in the understanding and observance of the Promise to do their best to do their duty to God or to uphold the Scout's values as appropriate
- explore their faith, beliefs and attitudes
- consider belonging to some faith or religious body
- carry into daily practice what they profess.
184.108.40.206 If a Scout Group, Explorer Scout Unit or Scout Network is composed of members of several denominations, religions or beliefs, the young people should be encouraged to attend services relevant to their own form of religion or belief.
220.127.116.11 Chaplains may be appointed as Advisers in Scout Groups, Districts, Counties, Countries and Nationally. A Chaplain may be a Minister of Religion or a lay person.
18.104.22.168 In a Scout Group sponsored by a religious body the religious leader may be appointed Group Chaplain.
22.214.171.124 National Chaplains may be appointed for religious bodies represented in the Scouts.
126.96.36.199 The District Commissioner or the County Commissioner, as appropriate, must be satisfied that all applicants for Leader or Commissioner appointments are fully aware that they will be required by their personal example to implement The Scout Association's religious policy.
188.8.131.52 If a Sponsored Group has a policy of recruitment restricted to members of one particular form of religion or denomination, the Sponsoring Authority is responsible for the religious training of all young people in the Group.
184.108.40.206 In this case it is the duty of the Group Scout Leader to encourage attendance at such religious instruction and observances as the Sponsoring Authority may consider desirable.
220.127.116.11 Scouts' Own Services may be held for the purpose of spiritual reflection and to promote a fuller understanding of the significance of the Scout Promise and Law.
18.104.22.168 Such services must be regarded as supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, formal attendance at the services of the individual's own form of religion.
22.214.171.124 If a Squirrel Scout, Beaver Scout, Cub Scout, Scout, Explorer Scout or Scout Network Member is not allowed, by reasons of the individual's own religious obligations, to attend acts of worship other than that of the individual's own faith, the Leader must make certain that those obligations are not compromised.
126.96.36.199 It is the Policy of the Scouts to safeguard the welfare of all children, young people and adults at risk by protecting them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm. The Scouts understand that individuals thrive in safe surroundings so we are committed to ensuring that the Scouts is safe and enjoyable for everyone involved and that safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and The Charity Commission requirements.
188.8.131.52 This policy:
- applies to all adults including the Board of Trustees, volunteers, paid staff, agency staff and anyone working on behalf of the Scouts
- recognises that the welfare and interests of children, young people and adults at risk are paramount in all circumstances, and
- aims to ensure that all children, young people and adults at risk have a positive and enjoyable scouting experience in a safe and person-centred environment and are protected from abuse whilst participating in the Scouts and otherwise.
184.108.40.206 It is the responsibility of all adults involved in the Scouts to have read and understood the Safeguarding Policy & Procedures.
220.127.116.11 The Safeguarding Policy & Procedures must be adhered to at all times.
18.104.22.168 All breaches of the policy and procedures will be dealt with within in line with POR and the Safeguarding Processes and Procedures.
22.214.171.124 See the Scouts Safeguarding Policy & Procedures for Young People and Adults at Risk
126.96.36.199 It is the responsibility of all adults involved in the Scouts to have read and understood the Safeguarding Policy & Procedures.
188.8.131.52 The Safeguarding Policy & Procedures must be adhered to at all times.
184.108.40.206 All breaches of the policy and procedures will be dealt with within in line with POR and the Safeguarding Processes and Procedures.
220.127.116.11 The Scouts aim to provide opportunities for young people and adult volunteers to develop and appreciate what risk is and how it is managed. This vital skill for life is developed by providing opportunities to learn and experience activities that are adventurous but where risk is controlled and managed as far as is reasonably practicable.
18.104.22.168 The Scouts recognises that life is not risk-free and, in its turn, scouting is not risk-free. As the Scouts, we endeavor to manage these risks to wellbeing and safety to be as low as is reasonably practicable. Identifying and proportionately managing risk is a skill for life that we wish to kindle, develop and enhance in all of our members.
22.214.171.124 In order to do this the Scouts will provide guidance and have a training programme available for its volunteers.
126.96.36.199 All those involved in the Scouts are accountable for and must demonstrate an ability and understanding of the following, so far as is reasonably practicable and to the extent of their role:
- Ensure they are competent to undertake their task, through attending appropriate training, checking their understanding of instructions and information, and remaining current in these competencies.
- Properly assess the risk of every scouting activity undertaken. This assessment should be suitable and sufficient for the activity being undertaken, and it follows that activities with higher risk should require more in-depth assessment.
- Provide clear instructions and information to anyone who requires this, be it adult volunteer or young person, in order to ensure any activity is conducted with safety and wellbeing in mind.
- Prevent accidents and cases of ill health by managing the health and safety risks in the Scouts
- Ensure that the environment they are working in, or using for the Scouts activities, is maintained safely and there are no risks to health. That any equipment or substances used are safe and stored safely.
- Review risk assessments as often as necessary when circumstances, environment or conditions change.
- Feel and be empowered to never be afraid to change or stop an activity if risk increases.
188.8.131.52 All those involved in the Scouts are accountable for and must demonstrate an ability and understanding of the following so far as is reasonably practicable within the extent of their role:
184.108.40.206 All members
- Stop any activity if they have concerns over its safety, and must be reminded of this frequently.
- Undertake risk assessments for the activities they undertake, documenting and communicating these with all involved including volunteers, young people and parents.
- Share good practice about how to apply this policy, and making sure that failures to apply this policy are brought to the attention of those involved and resolved through appropriate processes.
- Implement emergency procedures – evacuation in case of fire or other significant incident. Report incidents that cause injuries, or incidents that had the potential to cause injuries, at their earliest opportunity through the appropriate channels in accordance with Chapter 7.
220.127.116.11 Leader in charge
- Take responsibility for ensuring that these requirements are met for every activity being undertaken, working closely with the team leading the activity or event.
18.104.22.168 Commissioners and line managers
- Take responsibility for assuring that this policy is being implemented in their area of responsibility.
- Have the authority to undertake the requirements outlined above, or tasks required to support the requirements, and can be delegated as necessary.
- Have the responsibility for making sure that the policy is followed – this can never be delegated.
- When incidents are reported, managers must make arrangements to complete a proportionate review, and learn and share lessons from incidents in accordance with Chapter 7.
22.214.171.124 Trustee Boards and Trustees
- Satisfy itself through appropriate assurance and monitoring activities that this policy is being put into effective use and to engage and consult with members on day-to-day health and safety conditions and ensure it is on the agenda at all meetings.
- Take responsibility for making sure that these requirements are met for all scouting premises or locations operated by them, and therefore deemed to be the Managing Controller of the premises.
126.96.36.199 It is the policy of The Scout Association to check all adult volunteers to ensure that:
- only adults appropriate for a role are permitted to undertake responsibilities in the Scouts
- that regular reviews are undertaken of adult volunteers to ensure their continued suitability.
188.8.131.52 Accordingly The Scout Association is committed to:
- Following a defined process for appointing adult volunteers that establishes the applicant’s suitability taking into account the fundamentals of the Scouts, the Safeguarding Policy, Youth Member Anti-Bullying Policy, Safety Policy and the Equal Opportunities Policy
- Refusing offers from applicants that are found to be unsuitable
- Putting in place robust vetting arrangements and ensuring that these arrangements are made clear to applicants and to the public
- Taking into account relevant information from The Scout Association’s records, police forces, relevant statutory authorities, personal references and other credible sources.
184.108.40.206 As part of the vetting arrangements, The Scout Association will undertake a personal enquiry which involves a check made against records at UK Headquarters for all adult volunteers and, for certain roles, a criminal record check. For foreign nationals or British Overseas Territory citizens operating abroad in British Scouting Overseas and Overseas Branches, checks must be made according to arrangements authorised by the Chief Safeguarding Officer at UK Headquarters.
220.127.116.11 “Children have the right to protection from all forms of violence (physical or mental). They must be kept safe from harm and they must be given proper care by those looking after them.” [The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 19]
18.104.22.168 The Scout Association is committed to this ethos and seeks to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the prevention of all forms of bullying among members. To this end all scouting activities should have in place rigorous anti-bullying strategies.
22.214.171.124 It is the responsibility of all adults in the Scouts to help develop a caring and supportive atmosphere, where bullying in any form is unacceptable.
126.96.36.199 Adults in the Scouts should:
- be aware of the potential problems bullying may cause
- be alert to signs of bullying, harassment or discrimination
- take action to deal with such behaviour when it occurs, following The Scout Association policy guidelines
- provide access for young people to talk about any concerns they may have
- encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like
- help ensure that their Group/Section has a published anti-bullying code.
188.8.131.52 Note: Further information is available.