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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

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Lesson 3: Understanding our key policies

Lesson 3: Understanding our key policies

Our Policies

We have seven key policies, documented in Policy, Organisation and Rules, which all members must stick to. 

POR – Policy, Organisation and Rules – contains all of the rules and policies that everyone in Scouts need to follow. It includes information on our structure, activities, awards, and how to deal with any difficult situations. You can view the POR document here. 

POR does not cover all the legal requirements of running a charity or being a trustee. It should be read in conjunction with the appropriate charity regulator website. 

Our key policies are:

  1. Equality, diversity and inclusion policy 
  2. Privacy and Data Protection Policy 
  3. Religious Policy 
  4. Safeguarding Policy 
  5. Safety Policy 
  6. Vetting Policy
  7. Youth Member Anti-Bullying Policy 

NOTE: The order of Key Policies in this section is alphabetical and infers no order of importance nor priority; they are all equal. You can read more about the key policies here. 

All members of the movement should seek to practice equality, especially in promoting equal access to Scouts for all young people. Scouts opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. 

All Scout Groups, as independent 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 Scouts.

Read more about the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Scouts takes the protection of privacy and personal data very seriously and all adults operating within Scouts, whether at National UKHQ 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’.  

A copy of Scouts’ 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 here. 


The Scout Movement includes members of many different faiths and religions, as well as those with no formal religion. The 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 Scouts’ values as appropriate; 
  • explore their faith, beliefs and attitudes 
  • consider belonging to some faith or religious body; 
  • carry into daily practice what they profess. 

It is the policy of 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. Scouts understands that individuals thrive in safe surroundings so we are committed to ensuring that Scouts is safe and enjoyable for everyone involved and that safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and Charity Regulators requirements. 

Scouts acknowledges that some children and young people, including those disabled and those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and accepts the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare. 

We also have a Yellow Card Safeguarding Code of Conduct, known as the Yellow Card, that’s there to help with safeguarding concerns. All adults must follow this and report all safeguarding concerns to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team.   

Line managers must ensure that all volunteers show an understanding of – and a commitment to – the principles and procedures mapped out in the Scouts Safeguarding Policy. 

You’re going to find out much more about this in the Safeguarding online module, which you’ll also need to complete as part of your learning journey. Then, every three years, it’ll be time to renew your knowledge. 

Scouts recognises that life is not risk-free, and in its turn, Scouts is not risk-free. As Scouts, we believe that our members benefit most from our activities when we manage these risks to wellbeing 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. 

It’s important that we keep all of our members safe. That’s why we have a Safety Policy, setting out what all those involved in Scouts must do to take safety seriously. 

  • Properly assess the risk of every activity undertaken in Scouts. This assessment should be suitable and sufficient for the activity being undertaken, and follows that activities with higher risk should require more in- depth assessment.
  • Provide and receive clear instructions and information, and adequate training, to ensure members are competent to undertake their task.
  • Prevent accidents and cases of ill health by managing the health and safety risks in Scouts.
  • Maintain safe and healthy conditions, provide and maintain plant, equipment and machinery, and ensure safe storage/use of substances.
  • Review risk assessments as often as necessary when circumstances and conditions change.
  • Never be afraid to change or stop an activity if risk increases. 

You’re going to find out much more about this in the Safety online module, which you’ll also need to complete as part of your learning journey. Then, every three years, it’ll be time to renew your knowledge. 

It is the policy of Scouts to check all adult volunteers to ensure that: only adults appropriate for a role are permitted to undertake responsibilities in Scouts; and that regular reviews are undertaken of adult volunteers to ensure their continued suitability. 

As part of the vetting arrangements, Scouts will undertake a Personal Enquiry which involves a check made against records at Headquarters for all adult volunteers and for certain roles a Criminal Record Disclosure 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 Head of Safeguarding at Headquarters. 

Read more about the Vetting Policy.

‘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] 

Scouts 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 Scouts activities should have in place rigorous anti-bullying strategies.  

It is the responsibility of all adults in Scouts to help develop a caring and supportive atmosphere, where bullying in any form is unacceptable. 

You can read more about the Youth Member Anti-Bullying Policy.

There is also a Volunteer Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy.

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