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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

Lesson 1: Understanding the Safeguarding Policy and your responsibilities for keeping our young people, and adults at risk, safe

Lesson 1: Understanding the Safeguarding Policy and your responsibilities for keeping our young people, and adults at risk, safe

Half a million young people enjoy Scouts every week. Our Safeguarding Policy keeps young people safe from harm. The Scout Code of Conduct says ‘Young People First’, and it is at the centre of all that we do. This training will help you to understand your part in keeping our young people safe.

Here are some of the key points of our Safeguarding Policy:

It’s the policy of Scouts to safeguard the welfare of all young people and adults at risk, by protecting them from neglect, and from physical, sexual and emotional harm.

Scouts define a young person as anyone who is under 18.

We recognise that some people may have additional or complex needs. In certain circumstances they can be particularly vulnerable to abuse.

We define an adult at risk as a person aged 18 or over who:

  • needs care and support, and/or is unable to protect their own wellbeing because of their care and support needs; or
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse, neglect or exploitation

So, what does this mean for you?

  • Everyone in Scouts must be able to recognise, respond to and refer any reported allegations or concerns correctly.
  • Everyone must understand their responsibility to follow the correct procedures for protecting young people and adults at risk from harm.
  • The Safeguarding Policy is for everyone within Scouts, including all volunteers and staff. Scouts understand that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and is embedded across our organisation.
  • All adults must make sure that their behaviour is appropriate at all times, as laid out in the Young People First Safeguarding Code of Conduct. This is known as the Yellow Card.
  • You can download the Yellow Card from the website, get a copy from the Scout Store or ask your line manager.
  • Read the Safeguarding Policy in full.

Let’s find out how we work together to make sure that safeguarding is at the centre of everything we do.

Safeguarding is the responsibility of all volunteers and staff; everyone must follow the Yellow Card.

Adults create a safe space for all activities and events to run safely for everyone. They must be alert; they must question behaviours, and they must report any allegations or concerns.

Commissioners (such as District Commissioners, County Commissioners, Area Commissioners or Regional Commissioners) are responsible for putting the right people in the right roles, with the correct disclosure checks.  They’ll consult with the Safeguarding Team about any concerns or allegations, and will suspend where necessary.

County/Area/Region Safeguarding Advisers are there to give general safeguarding advice to leaders and commissioners within their County.

The Board of Trustees for Scouts is responsible for making sure the Safeguarding Policy is implemented and working effectively across the UK. They may delegate some of this responsibility to the Safeguarding Committee to ensure effective quality assurance, compliance and reporting. Each Group, District and County/Area has an Executive
Committee who act as the local Trustees, and who are responsible for ensuring the group, district, county or area operate within the policies of the movement


Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Safer Recruitment

Scouts are committed to Safer Recruitment – and to making sure that the adults who volunteer within Scouts are appropriate people for the roles they’re volunteering in.

If any adult is not able to understand the Safeguarding Policy and uphold the Yellow Card, they cannot hold an adult appointment.

No person aged 18 or over may be permitted to undertake any responsibilities or involvement within Scouts until the appropriate enquiries have been made. See the appointment process.

It’s fine for parents or carers to help occasionally, but they need to be supervised at all times and shouldn’t be volunteering more than three times in a four-week period.

Scouts ensures that all volunteers;

  • go through a robust application process, including a meeting to check they understand what they’re signing up for
  •  provide a minimum of two references
  • take part in an induction that clearly explains their role and responsibilities to safeguarding within Scouts
  • complete the right level of training for their role
  • complete the appropriate vetting process, if needed 

An adult cannot have any involvement in Scouts if a report from an appropriate professional or statutory source suggests they aren’t an appropriate person to hold a position in Scouts.

Download the PDF

The Safeguarding workbook is available download and print.

Download the Safeguarding workbook