Policy, Organisation and Rules
184.108.40.206 People living in the United Kingdom and its Crown Dependencies - including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar - who are prepared to follow The Scout Association's principles by making the Promise, may become members of the Scouts subject to the eligibility Rules contained within Policy, Organisation and Rules.
220.127.116.11 In British Scouting Overseas, adults and young people of any nationality, other than that of the relevant host country, who are prepared to follow The Scout Association's principles by making the Promise, may become members of the Scout movement subject to the eligibility Rules contained within Policy, Organisation and Rules.
18.104.22.168 In line with the Equal Opportunities Policy, membership is open equally to all people unless otherwise stipulated.
22.214.171.124 The minimum age for youth membership is the 4th birthday. The maximum age for youth membership is the 25th birthday.
126.96.36.199 The minimum age for adult volunteers is the 18th birthday.
188.8.131.52 On becoming a member that person becomes a member of a Group, District and County (as appropriate). They also become a member of The Scout Association and of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
184.108.40.206 Members do not have any actual or implied rights to take part in the national management of The Scout Association or the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
220.127.116.11 Members of the movement may:
- wear the approved uniform (see Chapter 10)
- wear the World Membership badge
- wear the World Membership lapel badge.
- receive benefits provided by any Group, District, and County to which the member belongs and of The Scout Association and the World Organization of the Scout Movement
18.104.22.168 The following are members:
- Scout Network members
- adults listed with member status in the Chapter 16 Roles Table
22.214.171.124 All sections must be open to members of all genders, except in special situations. Single sex sections may exist within a Group or a District Explorer provision provided that membership is available for young people of all genders across all sections within that Group or District provision.
Special situations are defined as being where:
- there are cultural or religious requirements for single sex working
- scouting is offered in a single sex institution (for example a school, or young offenders institute) through a closed Group or Unit
- a specialist single sex provision is required to meet a clearly identified educational need (for example scouting for young mothers).
The decision whether a section meets one of these special conditions must be made by the District Commissioner in consultation with the County Commissioner.
126.96.36.199 The UK Headquarters membership subscription must be paid annually for all members aged under 18.
188.8.131.52 Any Country, County, District and Group membership subscription, as determined locally, must also be paid for each member.
184.108.40.206 Young people become members of the Scout movement by making the Promise appropriate to the first section they join.
220.127.116.11 Membership is held continuously during the transfer from one section to the next, but young people make the Promise appropriate for their new section.
18.104.22.168 Adults become members by accepting the Promise and completing the members' declarations.
22.214.171.124 Groups must ensure that their Squirrel, Beaver, Cub and Scout sections hold accurate records of the names and personal details of their youth members.
Districts must ensure that their Explorer and Scout Network sections hold accurate records of the names and personal details of their youth members.
126.96.36.199 All Scout Network and adult volunteer members must be recorded on the Scouts’ membership system.
188.8.131.52 The decision to admit anyone to membership of a Group must be made by the Group Scout Leader, in accordance with The Scout Association’s policies. In the case of a sponsored Group, this decision must also be subject to the recruitment policy (if any) defined in any sponsorship agreement.
184.108.40.206 For Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, the Group Scout Leader may delegate responsibility for admissions of young people to membership to the Section Leader of the section concerned. This decision must be made in accordance with The Scout Association’s policies.
220.127.116.11 There may be situations where a section does not have the capacity or resources to meet the needs of a young person or make the reasonable adjustments necessary. In such instances, the Group Scout Leader must work with the parents or carer(s) to find or create an alternative provision.
18.104.22.168 The decision to admit anyone to membership of an Explorer Unit must be made by the District Explorer Scout Commissioner, in accordance with The Scout Association’s policies. The District Explorer Scout Commissioner may delegate responsibility for admissions of young people to membership to the Explorer Leader of the Unit concerned. In the case of a partnership agreement with a sponsored Group, membership should also be subject to any recruitment policy defined in the sponsorship agreement.
22.214.171.124 The decision to admit anyone to membership of a District Scout Network must be made by the District Scout Network Commissioner in accordance with The Scout Association’s policies.
126.96.36.199 Explorers (including Young Leaders) must leave the Explorer Unit at their 18th birthday. At this point they may:
- join the Scout Network
- take on an adult role (see the Chapter 16 Roles Table)
- join the Scout Network and take on an adult volunteer role
- leave the Scouts
188.8.131.52 Scout Network membership ceases upon the individual reaching their 25th birthday.
At their 25th birthday, the Network member may only retain membership by applying to become involved in the Scouts in an adult role.
184.108.40.206 There may be situations where a section does not have the capacity or resources to meet the needs of a young person or make the reasonable adjustments necessary. In such instances, the District Commissioner must work with the parents or carer(s) to find or create an alternative provision.
220.127.116.11 The decision to admit adults to membership must be made by the District Commissioner for Groups and Districts, and the County Commissioner for Counties, in accordance with The Scout Association’s policies and the appointment process in Chapter 16.
18.104.22.168 Young people forfeit membership if they leave the section and do not immediately join another section.
22.214.171.124 Scout Network members who hold no other adult appointment forfeit youth membership if they leave the Scout Network and do not immediately join another Scout Network or take out an adult appointment. Note the maximum Scout Network age in 126.96.36.199.
188.8.131.52 Adult membership
See Chapter 16 for the ending of adult membership.
184.108.40.206 If a member leaves a County, District, Group, Unit or Network due to moving to another locality including moving outside the UK, the relevant Group Scout Leader, District Explorer Scout Commissioner or District Scout Network Commissioner must inform the Secretary of the County or District into which the member is moving. The contact details for the new County, District, Group or section can be obtained from the Scout Information Centre.
220.127.116.11 Our Volunteering Culture is a shared set of principles that outline how we behave, in line with our values. Our Volunteering Culture guides and reminds us of our goal, both as a movement and as a volunteer team: to help more young people gain Skills for Life. It is a statement of the culture and values which we seek to foster and develop.
It provides a framework for a shared understanding for what we do and say as volunteers in Scouts, supporting each other, following our values and being at our best, while acting as role models for young people.
It applies for all our volunteers and for all parts of our organisation. In addition to the actual statement of Our Volunteering Culture (below), further information and examples are available at Explaining Our Volunteering Culture.
18.104.22.168 The Our Volunteering Culture statement
Why we volunteer
As volunteers in Scouts, we’re proud to help young people step up, speak up, dream big and gain the skills they need for life.
Thanks to you, young people find their place in the world, learn to believe in themselves and make a difference to their communities and society. No matter your background or experience, where you’re based, or which team you’re in, your time and skills help young people gain skills for life.
By working together, and living our values of integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation, our aim is to have a positive, safe and rewarding experience as volunteers for a movement we truly believe in.
Our Culture is founded on our Values. That means that as volunteers we think carefully about the impact of our words and actions, and behave as role models for our young people. Here are the behaviours that we expect from each other in Scouts.
As the Scouts we’ll:
- Make Scouts a welcoming place, making sure everything we do and say is led by the Values of Scouting and the Scout Promise
- Commit to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in everything we do, making sure everybody has access to our activities and can thrive in Scouts
- Support you to be part of positive teams that resolve issues with respect and integrity
- Acknowledge your personal motivation for volunteering and the skills you already have
- Help you develop your own potential by offering learning opportunities to give you the confidence and the skills needed for your Scout role
- Listen to you and give you the space to share ideas and concerns so that we can improve our volunteer experience
- Offer meaningful, relevant, and flexible ways to volunteer, with clear guidance of what we’ll require from you, and who you can ask for advice and support
- Accept your other commitments, that your availability may change and offer you volunteering options that’ll suit you best
- Help you understand Scouts better and the impact we make, so you can see how your contribution makes a difference
- Do our best to overcome barriers to volunteering such as finance, accessibility and time
As a volunteer in Scouts we’ll trust you to:
- Promote a welcoming and inclusive environment where we treat everybody fairly and with respect, making sure our values are part of everything you say and do
- Commit to equity, diversity and inclusion, accepting that people’s beliefs, circumstances and motivations may be different to yours
- Be a great role model in the way you act, by following our values, purpose and policies, as well as the laws of the country you’re volunteering in
- Communicate openly and respectfully, whether verbally, in writing or online
- Be open and honest with your team about your time commitments and let them know if things change
- Enjoy yourself and have fun while volunteering
- Develop yourself by engaging in learning and new opportunities depending on what you and your team needs
- Promptly complete any learning required to ensure you have the skills for your role
This means that together, we’ll do our best to:
- Know what we expect from each other
- Listen to and respect everybody’s ideas and concerns
- Feel proud to contribute to and be part of a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive movement
- Recognise and celebrate all volunteers for their contributions, no matter how long they volunteer for or the amount of time they give
- Make sure volunteering has a positive impact on your wellbeing and that you get the support you need
- Contribute to an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share thoughts and ideas
- Review how things are going, improve volunteering opportunities and resolve problems fairly
22.214.171.124 See POR Chapter 16 (16.4.3).
126.96.36.199 Formal suspension of a youth member may be appropriate where they have been accused of a serious criminal offence or of behaviour that put adults or young people at serious risk of harm. See also Guidance on the formal suspension of youth members.
188.8.131.52 Suspension is not a disciplinary sanction or an indication of guilt but ensures that no situation can arise that may cause further concern and allows a period where further information may be received and, if appropriate, the statutory agencies, such as the police or social services, may carry out their duties.
184.108.40.206 The District Commissioner has the authority to suspend a young person. However, wherever possible they should act in consultation with the relevant Group Scout Leader or Explorer Leader.
220.127.116.11 Before suspending a young person, District Commissioners should consult their County Commissioner and must inform the country headquarters.
18.104.22.168 Where a statutory authority is involved, advice must be sought from that body through the Safe Scouting team at UK Headquarters.
22.214.171.124 Where a young person’s membership has been suspended, they may not participate in any activity connected with the Scouts and must not wear the uniform or badges.
126.96.36.199 The parent(s) or carer(s) of the youth member must be informed of the suspension in writing and be given a copy of Notes for the parents /carers for the young person.
188.8.131.52 They must also be offered an independent adult member to act as a supporter.
184.108.40.206 At the end of a period of suspension, the District Commissioner and Group Scout Leader or Explorer Leader must determine if a return to the Scouts is appropriate. Advice should be sought from the relevant regional team or country headquarters as well as the Safe Scouting Department at UK Headquarters who must advise whether further information is required from any statutory bodies.
220.127.116.11 Possible outcomes following a period of suspension may include:
- reinstatement with conditions
18.104.22.168 The dismissal of a young person, whether following a suspension or not, must follow Rule 3.6.
22.214.171.124 See POR Chapter 16 (16.5.3).
126.96.36.199 Youth membership ends when:
- a Squirrel, Beaver, Cub, Scout or Explorer leaves their Group or Explorer Unit without joining another section
- a Scout Network Member leaves their Network provision without joining another Network
- there is a failure to pay the UK Headquarters, Country, County, District or Group membership subscriptions
- the youth member is dismissed
188.8.131.52 Notwithstanding any other means provided by these rules, youth membership may be terminated by resolution of the Board of Trustees of The Scout Association.
The Board shall be under no obligation to state its reasons for making such a resolution.
184.108.40.206 No Squirrel, Beaver, Cub, or Scout can be dismissed from a Scout Group without the prior approval of the Group Scout Leader.
220.127.116.11 In a Sponsored Scout Group, the Sponsoring Authority must be consulted before any such dismissal takes place.
18.104.22.168 No Explorer can be dismissed from an Explorer Unit without the prior approval of the District Explorer Scout Commissioner.
22.214.171.124 Any Squirrel, Beaver, Cub, Scout or Explorer who is dismissed has the right of appeal to the District Commissioner with the aid of parents or guardians if so desired.
126.96.36.199 If so requested by the person dismissed, the District Commissioner must appoint a committee to hear the appeal.
188.8.131.52 Reasonable opportunity must be given for the dismissed person to attend the meeting of such a committee to state a case against dismissal.
184.108.40.206 If the dismissal is from a Sponsored Scout Group or Explorer Unit, the Sponsoring Authority, who must have been consulted prior to dismissal, has the right to attend and be heard by the committee.
220.127.116.11 Where the District Commissioner has been involved in the original decision to dismiss, the County Commissioner will conduct the appeal.
18.104.22.168 The number of members and their demographic data must be returned in an annual census of the Group or District or County.
22.214.171.124 The annual census may also collect other relevant information about the local Scout organisations.