Mutually agreed restrictions
Making sure suspension is only used when absolutely necessary.
This guidance is to support commissioners in The Scouts to ensure that the suspension process is only used when absolutely necessary and provide an alternative for commissioners to use when a suspension may not be appropriate. Mutually agreed restrictions should not be used in safeguarding cases.
The purpose of mutually agreed restrictions
POR states that suspension is: “Suspension of any involvement in Scouting by a Member, Associate Member or a non-Member is an act intended to protect all persons involved. It assists to ensure that any investigation or inquiry proceeds in as fair and objective manner as possible by preventing situations arising which could give rise to further concerns/allegations or which could potentially cause further compromise.”
Suspension should only be used when absolutely necessary and when all other options have been explored first. When thinking about using a suspension, it’s important to consider the impact on the person who is being suspended and how it may affect their mental health and wellbeing, along with all those involved.
It’s not always necessary for a volunteer to be suspended for an investigation to take place or an issue to be resolved. The first consideration should be: Do you need to suspend the volunteer? The next is to think about using mutually agreed restrictions that will allow a volunteer to continue certain aspects of Scouts while an investigation takes place, or an issue is resolved. However, in some circumstances there will be no choice but to suspend a volunteer.
Putting mutually agreed restrictions in place
Mutually agreed restrictions are agreed by the relevant commissioner (in discussion with their volunteer line manager) in agreement with the volunteer the restrictions will be applied to.
When considering if to suspend a volunteer (in discussion with your volunteer line manager) you may decide that they only need restricted involvement in certain Scouts activities. For example, if a Beaver Scout Leader has had a dispute with another leader in the Beaver Colony, for over 30 days you may only need that volunteer not to attend Beaver meetings while the issue is investigated but they can continue other elements of that role and any other roles they may have.
The way that mutually agreed restrictions can be put in place is to meet with the volunteer involved, agree with them what restrictions need to be put in place and for what period (maximum of four weeks). The volunteer must agree with these restrictions, but you may need to reiterate that if suitable restrictions cannot be agreed that there may be no other option but to suspend the volunteer.
You need to make sure that your volunteer line manager has agreed with using mutually agreed restrictions instead of suspension, as the most appropriate course of action. The restrictions should be documented in a letter or email to the volunteer stating what the restrictions are and the period after which they will be reviewed. The communication should also state that if the restrictions are not adhered to then a suspension will be put in place. The mutually agreed restrictions are only active once written confirmation has been sent to the volunteer.
A mutually agreed restriction can only be in place for four weeks at which point it must be decided whether to remove the restrictions, suspend or review their role. At the end of a mutually agreed restrictions period, the volunteer should be contacted by letter or email to confirm the end of the restrictions and what will happen next.
Use of mutually agreed restrictions
Mutually agreed restrictions should be used if a suspension or cancellation of an appointment is being considered on the grounds set out in section 7 of The Appointments Process chapter of POR. These restrictions may be used to allow an investigation to take place, for an issue to be resolved or for a volunteer to complete training requirements that have not been completed in the relevant time limits.
Consideration should be given to how serious an issue is as to whether in the first instance a volunteer’s role should be restricted, their appointment suspended, or their appointment cancelled. A commissioner should make this decision in consultation with their volunteer line manager.
Restrictions that could be put in place may include:
Not to attend activities or events where young people are present.
Not to attend activities or events where another volunteer or group of volunteers are present.
Not to attend a certain meeting place or location.
Not to contact an individual or group of individuals in relation to Scouts.
Mutually agreed restrictions and wood badge training
Mutually agreed restrictions may be used if a volunteer has not completed their wood badge training within three years of the role start date recorded on Compass in order to allow them time to validate the remaining modules required.
In order to facilitate a smooth transition for the use of mutually agreed restriction in relation to wood badge training we are advising that commissioners put in place an action plan to allow volunteers to complete this training before September 2021. From September 2021 there will be an expectation that mutually agreed restrictions will be used to support volunteers to complete their wood badge training before their role is ended.
Commissioners may still use mutually agreed restriction to support volunteers to complete their wood badge training before September 2021 if they feel this is appropriate. The use of an action plan cannot be used to support a volunteer with non-compliance of safety, safeguarding, GDPR or getting started training, commissioners may put mutually agreed restrictions in place immediately in these circumstances.
Watch our video below on Mutually Agreed Restrictions
As Scouts we are guided by the values of Integrity, Respect, Care, Belief and Co-operation. When using this document these values should be at the forefront of every interaction and decision that is made, and all involved should be regularly referred to them.
Focusing on the values of Respect and Care the wellbeing and mental health of all involved in the this process should be considered throughout.Read more about our values