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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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Reviews guidance for line managers

Understanding reviews

Reviews are a great way to get to know the people you volunteer with, build relationships and show your leadership. They're an opportunity to talk with your team about how they're getting on and make them feel valued and supported. This means they'll be more likely to keep volunteering at Scouts.

When a volunteer’s done something well, it’s natural to say ‘well done.' Or, if we have a spare five minutes, we might give them some quick feedback or support. Reviews, on the other hand, give you more dedicated time to talk about the volunteer’s experience (the good and the bad).

You might feel nervous and out of your comfort zone about doing a review, especially if you've not done one in Scouts before. Don't worry, that's completely normal and you're not on your own. The support available to you locally and this guide will help you lead great reviews with your team.


As a line manager, you’ll need to invite and lead a review with your volunteers. If you're not sure who you're responsible for reviewing, speak to your volunteer line manager. They'll be able to help.

It's good practice for you, as a line manager, to have reviews as well. This is great leadership, as you'll lead by example and show your volunteers you value reviews. 

There is a slight difference between an informal and formal review.

Informal reviews happen at least once a year. You'll chat about how things are going, celebrate success, plan for the future and agree any extra support.

You'll agree a date for a formal review when a volunteer starts their role. This'll be within 5 years of their volunteering. As well as talking about how they're getting on, these reviews are to decide if they'll stay in their role, change role, or potentially leave Scouts. You'll then set the date (if appropriate) for the next formal review, which might be sooner than 5 years.

Reviews are two way conversations, so allow enough time for both of you to share their views and agree on the next steps. As a guide, 30 minutes to 60 minutes is a good start. 

After an informal review, share the notes of the conversation with the volunteer. This might be what they’ve done well, their opportunities to develop, or ways to make their volunteering experience better. You can use this to make sure the volunteer feels supported and valued between each review. 

After a formal review the volunteer will either:

  1. continue in their current role,
  2. change role, or
  3. leave Scouts.

You'll record the details of the review and the outcome on the Appointment Review Form, which is then given to the Appointments Secretary to update the members record on Compass.


Top tips from Mark Bache, UK Assistant Commissioner for People

Mark shares some of the top benefits of reviews for you and your team.

To watch in full screen, double click the video

There are many benefits for volunteers, such as:

  • An opportunity for some time with their volunteer line manager.
  • A time to discuss what they would like to get out of their volunteering, for example opportunities to develop, learn new skills or change role.  
  • A chance to talk about what’s been achieved and celebrate what they’ve done well
  • An opportunity to talk about anything that has been challenging and get support.
  • Share views about any changes that might be needed and discuss any support that is required.

For line managers, reviews are an excellent way to build relationships and get to know people.

You’ll also show that you care about them and demonstrate leadership. It’s also a tool to help retain volunteers, by identifying what they want from their volunteering and what they like the most, you can help them find the right tasks and the role for them. 

It’s an opportunity to celebrate volunteer's achievements, particularly for those that do not like their achievements recognised in public.

Preparing for a challenging review

It's important to acknowledge how you feel about doing the review. If you think it may be challenging, remember that you’re not alone. You can ask your line manager for support and to help you prepare.

Additionally, you can find tips and advice on the constructive conversations webpage about how to plan and structure the conversation, the language you should use and the approach for making the conversation a success.

Read more about preparing for a challenging conversation