Skip to main content

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

Policy, Organisation and Rules

6. The structure of the UK Headquarters of The Scout Association

6.1.1.1 The Scout Association exists by authority of a Royal Charter, granted by King George V in 1912 and supplemented by further Charters granted by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

6.1.1.2 These Charters give authority to the Bye Laws of The Scout Association, which are approved by His Majesty's Privy Council.

6.1.1.3 The Bye Laws, in turn, authorise the making of rules for the regulation of The Scout Association's affairs, and thereby give authority for the Rules printed in Policy, Organisation and Rules.

6.2.1.1 Our Patron was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. An update will be provided at the appropriate time.

6.3.1.1 Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent share the joint Presidency of The Scout Association.

6.4.1.1 The Scout Association is governed by a Council of between 400 and 600 members as determined by the Royal Charter of 1912 and the Supplemental Royal Charters of 1949, 1959, 1967 and 1991.

6.4.1.2 The Council appoints the Chief Scout, who becomes the Chair of the Council.

The Council consists of:

6.5.1.1 Ex-Officio members

  1. The President(s)
  2. The Chief Scout
  3. The Treasurer
  4. The Deputy Chief Scout[s]
  5. The Chief Executive
  6. The International Commissioner
  7. The Chairs of the national boards of The Scout Association
  8. Any person holding appointment as a Chief Commissioner or a national Commissioner
  9. The County Commissioners and Youth Commissioners of The Scout Association
  10. The Chair and members of the Board of Trustees

 

6.5.1.2 Nominated members

  1. Each Scout County and each Overseas Branch nominates members to the Council
  2. Each County or Overseas Branch should have one nominated member for every 10,000 members or part thereof declared by the County or Branch at the time of the annual census taken before to the nomination
  3. A nominated member serves for three years unless another is nominated in the member's place
  4. Salaried officials employed by County Scout Councils may be nominated, but persons in the full-time employment of UK Headquarters are not eligible for nomination.

 

6.5.1.3 Nominated members (18-24)

  1. Each Scout County and each Overseas Branch nominates members aged 18-24 to the Council
  2. Each County or Overseas Branch should have one nominated member (aged 18-24) for every 10,000 members or part thereof declared by the County or Branch at the time of the annual census taken before the nomination
  3. On nomination the representative must have passed their 18th birthday but must not have reached their 24th birthday
  4. A nominated member (aged 18-24) serves for three years unless another representative is nominated in the representative's place or until the date of the annual census following the representative’s 25th birthday
  5. Salaried officials employed by County Scout Councils may be nominated, but persons in the full-time employment of UK Headquarters are not eligible for nomination.

 

6.5.1.4 Elected members

  1. The Council may include up to sixty other people of whom not more than three may be full-time employees of The Scout Association
  2. These members are elected by the Council at the Annual General Meeting of the Council
  3. Elected members serve for three years.

 

6.6.1.1 The Board of Trustees exists to manage the business of The Scout Association in accordance with the Bye Laws of The Scout Association.

6.6.1.2 It is the body, which makes the Policy and Rules of The Scout Association as published in Policy, Organisation and Rules and in the various handbooks and other official literature of The Scout Association.

The Board of Trustees consists of:

6.7.1.1 Ex-officio members

  1. Chief Scout or Deputy Chief Scout but not both
  2. Chief Executive.

 

6.7.1.2 Elected members

Nine members of The Scout Association, one each from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, three from northern England and three from southern England, elected at an Annual General Meeting of the Council. Elected members are elected for a period of three years.

 

6.7.1.3 Elected youth members

Three youth members of The Scout Association elected by the Council at an Annual General Meeting of the Council. Elected youth members are elected for a period of three years.

 

6.7.1.4 Appointed members

The Chair of the Board, the Treasurer and up to three other persons who need not be, at the time of their nomination, members of The Scout Association, provided always that those so nominated accept to become members on their appointment by the Council at an Annual General Meeting. Appointed members are appointed for a period of three years.

 

6.7.1.5 Attending members

The Secretary, who may not vote.

 

6.7.1.6 Right of Attendance

Persons holding the following roles have the right of attendance without vote at meetings of the Board of Trustees and may put forward matters for discussion on giving fourteen days' notice to the Secretary of the Board.

  1. The Chief Scout and any Deputy Chief Scouts, if they are not Trustees.
  2. Chief Commissioners, including the International Commissioner.
  3. The UK Commissioners for Programme and Adult Support, Regional Commissioners, County Commissioners and County Chairs.

The Board of Trustees delegates certain powers to six sub-Committees:

  1. Finance Committee
  2. Nominations and Governance Committee
  3. People and Culture Committee
  4. Safeguarding Committee
  5. Safety Committee
  6. Strategy and Delivery Committee

6.8.1.1 The membership and terms of reference of these sub-Committees is determined by the Board of Trustees. Two or more members of the Board of Trustees must serve on each.

6.8.1.2 Chairs of sub-Committees are appointed for a three-year term by the Board of Trustees subject to them remaining as Trustees and a satisfactory annual performance review.

6.9.1.1 The Committees are advised by national groups appointed from time to time with the approval of the Board of Trustees.


6.9.1.2 The membership and terms of reference of each board or group is determined by the Board of Trustees or by a sub-committee under its delegated powers.

6.10.1 Chief Scout

6.10.1.1 The Chief Scout is appointed by the Council of The Scout Association according to the terms laid down by the Council

6.10.2 UK Chief Commissioner

6.10.2.1 A UK Chief Commissioner may be appointed by The Scout Association.

6.10.2.2 The UK Chief Commissioner is treated as a Deputy Chief Scout for the purposes of the Bye Laws.

6.10.3 Treasurer

6.10.3.1 The Treasurer is appointed by the Council of The Scout Association according to the terms laid down by the Council.

6.10.4 Chief Commissioners

6.10.4.1 Chief Commissioners are appointed by the UK Chief Commissioner with the approval of the UK Headquarters Appointments Committee.

6.10.4.2 The appointment of a Chief Commissioner remains valid until the fifth anniversary of the date of the appointment.

6.10.4.3 The appointment of Chief Commissioners is subject to formal review by the UK Chief Commissioner.

6.10.4.4 The appointment of a Chief Commissioner may be renewed for a second period not exceeding five years.

6.10.4.5 Chief Commissioners are ex officio members of the Council of The Scout Association.

6.10.5 Regional Commissioners (England or Wales) SV

6.10.5.1 Regional Commissioners (England and Wales) are appointed by the Chief Commissioner (England or Wales) with the approval of the UK Headquarters Appointments Committee.

6.10.5.2 The appointment of a Regional Commissioner remains valid until the fifth anniversary of the date of the appointment.

6.10.5.3 The appointment of Regional Commissioners is subject to formal review by the Chief Commissioner (England or Wales).

6.10.5.4 The appointment of a Regional Commissioner may be renewed for a second period not exceeding five years.

6.10.5.5 Regional Commissioners are ex officio members of all County Scout Councils in their region and have Right of Attendance at all County Trustee Boards in their region.

6.10.5.6 Regional Commissioners (England or Wales) are treated as National Commissioners for the purposes of the Bye Laws.

6.10.6 United Kingdom Commissioners

6.10.6.1 UK Commissioners are appointed by the UK Chief Commissioner with the approval of the UK Headquarters Appointments Committee to undertake special responsibilities, such as the leadership and support of the Sections.

6.10.6.2 The appointment of a UK Commissioner remains valid until the fifth anniversary of the date of appointment.

6.10.6.3 The appointment of a UK Commissioner may be renewed for a second period not exceeding five years.

6.10.6.4 The appointment of UK Commissioners is subject to a formal review by the UK Chief Commissioner.

6.10.6.5 UK Commissioners are treated as National Commissioners for the purposes of the Bye Laws.

6.11.1.1 The Board of Trustees of The Scout Association maintains a UK Headquarters staff with a departmental structure as required for the implementation of its policy and to provide services and materials necessary for the proper conduct and development of the Scouts.

6.11.1.2 This includes Growth and Communities Managers and Growth and Recruitment Officers who are appointed by UK Headquarters and assigned to work in support of the development of scouting in Counties and Districts in England.

 

6.11.2 Chief Executive

6.11.2.1 The Chief Executive is appointed by the Board of Trustees. The Chief Executive is responsible for the co-ordination of all the work of the staff of UK Headquarters, for the implementation of the policy of the Board of Trustees and for such special tasks as may be requested by the Board.

6.11.2.2 The Chief Executive is an ex officio member of the Council of The Scout Association and of the Board of Trustees.

 

6.11.3 Board Secretary

6.11.3.1 The Board of Trustees appoints a Secretary to carry out the duties required of such a person by the Bye Laws.

6.11.4 The Scout Support Centre

6.11.4.1 The Support Centre provides advice, support and guidance to the movement. It may be contacted as follows: 

Email: support@scouts.org.uk

Mail: Scout Support Centre, The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London E4 7QW 

Online: https://www.scouts.org.uk/contact-us

6.11.5 The Scout Heritage Collection and Heritage Service

6.11.5.1 The Scout Heritage Service is the custodian of the national Scout heritage collection which charts the history and development of the Scout movement in the UK. The aim of the service is to develop, safeguard and make accessible UK Scouting’s heritage for the benefit of the movement and wider public. The Heritage Service and Collection are registered with the Arts Council England Museum Accreditation scheme.

6.11.5.2 The Heritage Service continues to acquire new material in line with the Collecting Policy. Any enquiries should be directed to heritage@scouts.org.uk.

6.11.5.3 Further information regarding Scout heritage may be found at heritage@scouts.org.uk.

6.11.6 www.scouts.org.uk  

6.11.6.1 www.scouts.org.uk is the official website of The Scout Association and provides regular news updates, general information on Scouting, material for young people and access to a range of online member resources.

These Scout Councils exist to advise their respective Chief Volunteers in all matters relating to the exercise of the Chief Volunteers' discretionary powers as specified by UK Headquarters, and to perform such administrative and executive duties as may be delegated to them by UK Headquarters, which may include management of their financial affairs.  UK Headquarters makes and approves constitutions for Country Scout Councils in order to facilitate the performance of delegated duties. 

6.12.1.1 Northern Ireland

Under the Scout Constitution for Northern Ireland the affairs of The Scout Association are under the charge of The Northern Ireland Scout Council, with a committee for the management of its business. Under the authority of UK Headquarters, Northern Ireland Headquarters is the body responsible for matters of programme, training and administration in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has separate legal and educational systems and its own system of local government.

Certain Rules concerning trusteeship, property and charitable status therefore do not apply in Northern Ireland without modification.

6.12.1.2 Scotland SV

Under the Scout Constitution for Scotland, the affairs of The Scout Association are under the charge of The Scottish Council of The Scout Association, with a committee for the management of its business. Under the authority of UK Headquarters, Scottish Headquarters is the body responsible for matters of programme, training and administration in Scotland.

Scotland has separate legal and educational systems and its own system of local government.

Certain Rules concerning trusteeship, property and charitable status therefore do not apply in Scotland without modification.

6.12.1.3 Wales

Scouting in Wales is supported by the ScoutsCymru Office. UK Headquarters in London undertakes for it many of the functions of a Country Headquarters. Scout Counties in Wales are known as Areas.

 

6.12.2 The Overseas Branches of The Scout Association

6.12.2.1 Branches of The Scout Association are established in certain territories overseas, with local Chief Scouts and Chief Commissioners.

6.12.2.2 Their constitutions are granted by UK Headquarters and may be withdrawn at its discretion.

6.12.2.3 Variations to the Rules of The Scout Association may be sanctioned by UK Headquarters to suit the local circumstances of an Overseas Branch.

6.12.2.4 The UK Commissioner for International is responsible to the UK Chief Commissioner for the efficiency and well-being of Scouting in Overseas Branches and for relations with Scout Associations in Commonwealth Countries. 

 

6.12.3 British Scouting Overseas

6.12.3.1 In a number of countries throughout the world there are British Scout Groups, which are registered by The Scout Association. They are under the Leadership of the Area Commissioner for British Scouting Overseas who is appointed by UK Headquarters under the recommendation of the International Commissioner. The Area Commissioner is responsible to the International Commissioner.

6.12.3.2 The Area receives appropriate support by UK Headquarters as agreed by the Area Commissioner.

6.13.1.1 Scout Shops Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association. It is primarily involved in supporting the parent charity through the sourcing and distribution of merchandise such as the supply of uniform, badges, resources, souvenirs and camping equipment. All profits generated are returned to The Scout Association.

 

6.13.1.2 World Scout Shop Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association which is operated under licence from World Scouting. Its primary objective is the efficient sourcing and distribution of World Scout branded merchandise to the global Scouting audience. All profits generated are returned to The Scout Association.

 

6.13.1.3 The Scout Association Trust Corporation (SATC) SV is a company limited by guarantee and operates with its own separate Board of Directors. Its powers and constitution are stated in its Memorandum and Articles of Association. It was created to ease the administrative burden faced by Scout Units in having to find, appoint and retain local individual Holding Trustees to hold title to their land and to also ensure consistency by holding important land documentation securely in a central location.  These Holding Trustees are separate from, and not members of Group, District and County Trustee Boards (unless separately appointed to one of those Trustee Boards). 

Where appointed, the SATC may hold title to freehold, leasehold and long-term License land interests as a sole Custodian Trustee on behalf of Scout Units registered with The Scout Association in the United Kingdom (excepting Scotland and Northern Ireland). It may also hold title to land held by jointly by Scout and Guide Units.  

As Custodian Trustee, whilst the SATC will be a party and signatory to any substantive land documentation, it cannot and does not have any responsibility for the management of a Scout Unit or its land. This responsibility remains vested in the Scout unit’s local Trustee Board who also act as the Charity Trustees. 

 

6.13.1.4 Scout Products Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association. Its principal activity is the procurement and supply of products associated with The Scout Association, coordinating purchases from Scout Store. All profits generated are returned to The Scout Association.

 

6.13.1.5 Scout Services Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association whose principal activity is that of sponsorship and marketing services for The Scout Association and other commercial activities. All profits generated are returned to The Scout Association.

 

6.13.1.6 Scout Insurance Services Limited (trading as Unity Insurance Services) is The Scout Association’s dedicated insurance broker providing insurance support to it and to the Scout movement in the UK. Unity arranges liability insurance and personal accident and medical expenses cover for The Scout Association and its members. Unity provides additional specialist insurance cover that groups, Districts, Counties and campsites may need. Unity is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association all profits generated are returned to The Scout Association.

6.14.1.1 The Scout Association and Girlguiding, although separate organisations, share a common Founder and have similar aims, principles and methods. 
Co-operation between the two organisations is encouraged at all times and at all levels.

6.15.1.1 The UK Commissioner for Programme may form National Scout Active Support Units.

6.15.1.2 Applications to form a National Scout Active Support Unit are made to the UK Commissioner for Programme.

6.15.1.3 The purpose of National Scout Active Support Units is to provide active support to Scouting at a national level.

6.15.1.4 All adult-only support groups linked to Scouting at a national level must be registered as National Scout Active Support Units.

6.15.1.5 The UK Commissioner for Programme may delegate another national appointee to act as the responsible Commissioner to support the activities and development of a National Scout Active Support Unit, to agree and review the service agreement, and to maintain effective liaison between UK Headquarters and the National Scout Active Support Unit.

6.15.1.6 Each National Scout Active Support Unit is led by a National Scout Active Support Unit Manager who is responsible for ensuring that the Unit meets its service agreement. One or more National Scout Active Support Coordinators may be appointed to assist in the running of the Unit. All appointments of National Scout Active Support Unit Managers and Coordinators must take place through arrangements managed by the UK Commissioner for Programme.

6.15.1.7 Subject in all cases to a satisfactory Personal Enquiry (see Rule 3.27), membership of a National Scout Active Support Unit is open to any person aged 18 or over, including:

  1. those holding other appointments in Scouting, who are expected to give priority to the duties of these local appointments
  2. Scout Network Members, who are expected to give priority to their Scout Network.

6.15.1.8 The National Scout Active Support Unit Manager must be a member of The Scout Association. All members of a National Scout Active Support Unit must be at least associate members. 

6.15.1.9 A National Scout Active Support Unit is responsible for providing active support in accordance with its service agreement, agreed every three years with the UK Commissioner for Programme or nominee.

6.15.1.10 The following minimum standards are laid down for National Scout Active Support Units:

  1. There must be an appointed National Scout Active Support Unit Manager. Where there is a vacant manager role, the UK Commissioner for Programme or nominee assumes that role until a new Manager is appointed
  2. A National Scout Active Support Unit must provide active support to Scouting on a national level, as detailed in the service agreement
  3. The annual census for a National Scout Active Support Unit must be completed and submitted as agreed by the UK Commissioner for Programme or nominee
  4. Annual accounts for a National Scout Active Support Unit must be submitted to UK Headquarters no later than 1st June
  5. A National Scout Active Support Unit must comply with any other operational procedures agreed with the UK Commissioner for Programme or nominee.

6.15.1.11 If a National Scout Active Support Unit fails to reach the minimum standards for two non-consecutive years in a three-year rolling period, it may be closed by the UK Commissioner for Programme with the approval of the Operations Committee.

6.15.1.12 If a National Scout Active Support Unit fails to reach the minimum standard for two consecutive years it must be closed.

6.15.1.13 If two or more National Scout Active Support Units are to merge:

  1. The person who is responsible for the Unit’s annual accounts must prepare the accounts for the date agreed for the merging of the Units.
  2. UK Headquarters must examine the accounts and receipts to ensure they are correct
  3. Physical resources must be returned to UK Headquarters who must redistribute or dispose of as required in agreement by the UK Commissioner for Programme.

6.16.1 UK Scout Network Commissioner role

6.16.1.1 The UK Scout Network Commissioner is responsible to the UK Commissioner for Programme.

6.16.1.2 The functions of the appointment are to:
a) Provide technical advice on the operations of the Scout Network
b) Encourage participation in the programme and projects devised by Scout Networks.

6.16.2 Responsibility for the Programme in the UK Scout Network

6.16.2.1 A UK Scout Network Commissioner, working with the UK Scout Network Team, is responsible for the detailed programme and projects undertaken by the UK Scout Network.

6.16.2.2 Members of the UK Scout Network should play a leading role in organising projects to facilitate participation in the programme, and where possible, take responsibility for supporting projects by seeking to volunteer with the UK Scout Network Team.