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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

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Help for approvers

Read through our guide for approvers to learn more about approving census returns.

Group Scout Leaders approve their sections and the Group is approved by the District Commissioner. The Group can’t be approved until the Group’s section returns have been approved by the Group Scout Leader; or the section has been closed

The District Explorer Scout Commissioner approves Explorer Scout Units returns, and the District return is approved by County/Area/Region Scotland Commissioner. The District return cannot be approved until all of the Groups within the District and any Explorer, Network and Active Support Units returns have been approved.

County/Area/Region Scotland sections, including Active Support Unit returns are approved at this level and are themselves approved at Country or Region (England) level as appropriate. The County return cannot be approved until all of the Districts within the County and all the County Active Support Unit returns have been approved.

Once you’re happy that the return is correct, use the buttons at the bottom the page. If you wish to approve the page, select ‘These figures are confirmed as final’ and click the 'Save Changes' button. At this point, you can select to return the form to be amended.  Please note, that you won’t be able to approve until 14th January. There’s validation on certain elements on each return and the return can’t be approved until all validation is passed.

This year we have also added some warnings on the "prefer not to say" option to help you spot returns that may need additional checking. 


When you click on the section you wish to close, below the links to View and Edit Return, there’s a heading called Status of Census Return. There’s a drop-down box here which’ll allow you to change the status from Unapproved to Closed. Please note that this isn’t available if there’s any data in the section return.

Closing a Group is done in the same manner but isn’t possible if there’s any data in the Group or any of the section returns for that Group. Please note that the status ‘Closed’ means that the section or Group is no longer active. This status should be used if there are no members in that section or Group. If a section or Group is marked as closed, please make sure it’s closed on Compass as well. The Scout Support Centre can help you with this.

On census it is possible for people to declare their members gender, religion, ethnicity and disabilities as either 'self describe' or 'prefer not to say'. 

These categories were added because we positively recognise all genders, ethnicities, religions and disabilities, and we are aiming to better understand and serve our diverse membership.

If a return you need to approve has many members who have been entered as 'self describe' or 'prefer not to say' (we have added some visual warnings to highlight this on the return) you need to speak to the person completing that return to understand how they got this information, and ensure they have not used those categories for speed or convenience. 

We should not make assumptions about our members, and these fields should only be used where this information is already known because it’s been volunteered to the person completing the return, or it’s been asked in an anonymous way.

If there are concerns about the sensitivity of this information, please remind people that all of the data collected is anonymised.

If adults need support with these questions please refer them to the individual census report guides, and to the downloads section where they will find template forms they can use with their members.

If you are still unsure, please raise your concerns with your line manager.

Census home

Back to the census home where you can find guides for specific census returns.

Back to census home