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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Reasonable adjustments

All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments so that Scouts is inclusive and accessible to everyone.

We are committed to making 'reasonable adjustments' (Equality Act 2010) to our groups and activities so they're accessible to disabled young people and volunteers.

Scouts uses the social model of disability. Scouts believes that disabled people are disabled by society and therefore it's the responsibility of the organisation to make changes to remove or reduce that disadvantage.

Our responsibility is outlined within Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR), chapter 2 Key Policies.

How to make reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes to:

  • Physical environment (such as the meeting place)
  • The way things are done (such as having age range flexibility or adapting the programme and badges)
  • The support provided (such as by adapting equipment, communication methods and the level of support offered)

There's a lot of flexibility in Scouts and in our programme to make sure all young people can enjoy the adventure. This includes flexibility in badges and awards. 

What's reasonable is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done, and the cost and resources available to the group at that time.

Reasonable adjustments is a legal term which recognises that each group will have different practical resources to meet the needs of an individual young person.

For example, if a young person would benefit from the support of a regular 1:1 supporter to fully participate in Scouts, and their parent or carer is able to offer this level of support, it's reasonable that the group supports this adjustment. It'd also be reasonable to try to recruit an adult volunteer with the required skills.

However, if the parent or carer isn't able to provide this support and a suitable volunteer can't be recruited, so a professional carer is required as the 1:1, it'd be unreasonable for the group to be expected to finance this level of support on a weekly basis.

Another example is, where a young person who uses a wheelchair joins the group, it's likely to be reasonable for the group to provide a moveable ramp.

It's likely to be unreasonable for the group to provide an electronic lift, due to cost. It's also likely to be unreasonable for the group to fit a permanent ramp if the group don't own the meeting place. However, if the group don't own the meeting place, it'd be reasonable to ask the building owners to make the required access updates.

Making reasonable adjustments is an on-going duty and should be regularly reviewed. It's best practice to consider the reasonable adjustment framework every time a new member joins.

What's reasonable for the group is dependent upon:

  • the effectiveness of the adjustment,
  • whether it can actually be done and
  • the cost and the resources available to the group at that time.

For example, making an adjustment which would cost the group a considerable amount of money wouldn't be reasonable if it'd require the group to take out a loan.

Reasonable Adjustments FAQ's

We have an Equal Opportunities Policy to outline what we do to make sure Scouts is open and accessible to all and that we treat people equally and with respect.

As well as making sure we comply with current equality legislation, which is The Equality Act 2010 (and relevant equality legislation in Northern Ireland), it's important for us to share this commitment and make it clear that Scouts is willing to take action to prevent discrimination and promote equality, reflecting the ethos of Scouts and our values.

Reasonable adjustments are actions taken to remove barriers to Scouts and our activities. Reasonable adjustments should, as far as reasonably possible, remove or reduce the disadvantage faced by Scouts being inclusive to disabled young people.

Scouts uses the social model of disability. Scouts believes that disabled people are disabled by society and therefore it's the responsibility of the organisation to make changes to remove or reduce that disadvantage.

Protected characteristics are listed within The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy which mirrors current UK equality legislation, which is The Equality Act 2010 (and relevant equality legislation in Northern Ireland).

It's against the law to discriminate against someone because of these protected characteristics.

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual, and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes to:

  • Physical environment (such as the meeting place)
  • The way things are done (such as having age range flexibility or adapting the programme and badges)
  • The support provided (such as by adapting equipment, communication methods and the level of support offered)

These considerations should be explored in detail, in consultation with parents and carers. Making reasonable adjustments is an on-going duty and should be regularly reviewed to make sure that the adjustments are removing barriers to participation, being implemented effectively and are responding to the needs of the individual.

There's a lot of flexibility in Scouts and in our programme to make sure all young people can enjoy the adventure. This includes flexibility in badges and awards.

There's also grants available to support young people and adults in taking part in Scouts. These grants can cover things, such as costs of equipment, training or service.

Making reasonable adjustments may incorporate some physical changes to the meeting place, such as the purchase of a moveable ramp where steps are currently a barrier to a wheelchair user accessing the space.

Any physical changes to buildings need to be considered in relation to who owns the meeting place and the effectiveness and cost of the changes, alongside the finances of the Group.

Scouts is delivered by adult volunteers and is not a statutory provision (such as the education system, for example).

Scouts doesn't have a statutory obligation to provide a 1:1 for a young person to access Scouts on a regular basis.

If there's capacity within the Group to provide additional support that's very positive, however where a 1:1 is required on a regular basis, it'd be the responsibility of the parent or carer to provide or source the required support. The Group shouldn't take on any financial responsibilities for the employment of a carer.

Where a young person's supported to access Scouts by a professional carer provided (for example, by the local authority, or another charity), then the Group should work with the parent or carer and supporter to plan and agree how this'll work in practice.

All adults taking part in Scouts must follow the Yellow Card.

All individuals are legally recognised as adults from their 18th birthday onwards.

Regardless of any additional need or disability, upon reaching their 18th birthday, a youth member's legally recognised as an adult. They can't remain in the Squirrel, Beaver, Cub or Scout sections, or in an Explorer Unit.

In addition to complying with The Scout Association's duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all our young people, this would place these members, who are legally adults, at risk.

All members aged 18 and over should either become members of Scout Network or have adult appointments.

Our Scouts Programme contains a great deal of flexibility.

The guiding principle throughout the programme is that young people are being challenged, while having fun. This makes it an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any young person, whatever their ability.

Reasonable adjustments focuses on removing any barriers to a young person's participation and shouldn't mean that activities can't take place.

Each young person who participates in our badges, activities and awards, should face a similar degree of challenge.

Therefore, volunteers can tailor badge or award requirements according to each young person's abilities, making sure all young people to access the badge or award of their choice.

Take a look at our guidance on adapting badge and award requirements.

All young people in Scouts should have the opportunity to enjoy adventurous and outdoor activities equally.

Our Scouts Programme contains a great deal of flexibility. It can therefore be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any young person, whatever their ability.

Reasonable adjustments focus on removing any barriers to a young person's participation and shouldn't mean that activities can't take place.

Young people's individual needs should be taken into account in the planning of activities, including the chosen location or venue, the activity and support provided.

The reasonable adjustment framework encourages developing an ongoing, positive relationship and partnership with parents and carers. 

Engaging with and talking to parents and carers when their young person join Scouts, or move sections, will help them to better understand what we do in Scouts.

By letting them know what we do in Scouts and by having open, positive and realistic conversations, we can help parents and carers to know what support and guidance volunteers may need to make reasonable adjustments to help their young person get the best out of Scouts. 

Further guidance, along with suggested topics and questions, are available within our parent or carer conversation framework and the parent or carer questionnaire. 

In the majority of cases, parents and carers will inform the Group that a young person has a diagnosed disability or additional need.

The young person may have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).

Particularly in the younger sections, there may be occasions where a young person is in the process of being assessed and they may not have a specific diagnosis or support plan in place.

On rare occasions, parents and carers may make the decision not to disclose information to Scouts. Scouts shouldn't attempt to make a diagnosis, but instead focus on making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs displayed by the young person. The label of a specific condition is not as important as understanding the individual's needs and how this affects their participation in Scouts.

Discover our guidance on working in partnership with parents and carers.

On rare occasions, parents and carers may make the decision not to disclose information to the Scouts.

Scouts should not attempt to make a diagnosis, but instead focus on making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs displayed by the young person.

The label of a specific condition is not as important as understanding the individual's needs and how this affects their participation in Scouts.

You should continue to work in partnership with the parent or carer, outlining the Group's drive to remove any barriers to participation.

A school can't disclose information about a young person without the consent of a parent or carer.

Scout Groups, Districts and Counties (or Areas/ Regions) should seek guidance from UK Headquarters regarding any reasonable adjustment disputes and allegations of discrimination as soon as possible.

This can be done by contacting The Scout Support Centre.

All adults in Scouts make a commitment to support all young people to fully participate in Scouts.

This is reflective of our ethos and our core Scouts values, which are integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation.

Investigate any refusals to make reasonable adjustments, and make sure that this is responded to via line management. For further information, please contact The Scout Support Centre

If you need to raise a concern, please read our guidance to make sure a concern is approached using the most appropriate policy.

Adjustments to badges and awards

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes.

Discover more about badges and awards

Read our guidance on working in partnership with parents/carers

The parent/carer framework