Key themes directory
Whether you're a trustee at Group, District, County or Area level, find here the information you need for your role
Trustees are responsible for the management of local finances and there are a variety of rules, process and general management that needs to be in place to comply with charity law and Scout rules. For example, you'll ensure that:
- Appropriate arrangements are in place for banking, including that there are at least two signatories on the bank account, with two for cheques and electronic transfers
- There's clear information on which bank accounts are used, and arrangements for debit or credit cards, including limits and procedures for managing their use
- There's a clear expenses policy
- Local Scout Group is registered for gift aid
- Appropriate arrangements are in place for accounting and reporting, including that Executive Committees approve the accounts prior to the Annual General meeting, after they have been examined by auditor/scrutineer
- The accounts are submitted to the District/County* after the Annual General Meeting and if registered, submitted to the Charity Commission
- Arrangements are in place for the UK Headquarters membership fee
*References to County also applies to Areas, Regions, Islands and Bailiwicks.
Everyone involved in Scouts has a responsibility for safety. For the Trustee Board this includes:
- Managing a safe Scouts premises
- Undertaking property risk assessments (if freehold or leasehold) or ensuring a copy is held if using rented property
- Fire evacuation plan for the meeting place
- Asbestos survey
- Storing any gas or other hazardous equipment or material safely and inline with insurance requirements
- Electrical equipment safety
- Safety is considered regularly on the agenda of Board meetings, potentially as a standing item
- Reporting serious incidents, to the Charity Commission. Trustees should consider reporting any incident, which results, or could result, in a significant loss of funds or significant risk to members, work, property or reputation.
For full details of Trustee Board responsibilities, review our Staying Safe. Safety checklist for Executive Committees and guidance on managing a safe scout premises
Trustees are responsible for ensuring that there is adequate insurance in place for people, property and equipment. That includes:
- Scout owned premises (leased or owned) are adequately insured, including rebuilding costs
- Equipment is listed, valued and correctly insured
- Insurance requirements are reviewed periodically
- Additional insurance for personal injury for leaders and additional cover for helpers and supporters
- Additional insurance for events and expeditions
Check what is automatically insured by Scouts. For further guidance, contact Unity Scout Insurance.
There is lots to think about when it comes to property, from insurance, to maintenance, to safety and partnership with a sponsor, if this applies. Maintaining property or managing hire agreements is part of the trustees' role, and the Trustee Board should be aware of:
- The property status (e.g. if it is freehold, leasehold, rented or free use)
- Who the legal owners of the property are and if there are separate trustees for the property
- Any restrictions for use
- If the property land title is held by the The Scout Association Trust Corporation (SATC) (Not applicable in Scotland)
The Scout Association Trust Corporation holds title to freehold and leasehold interests in land to approximately 5,000 properties as "Custodian Trustee" on behalf of Scout Units (Groups, Districts and Counties).
Read more information about property management, maintenance, insurance and sponsorship agreements.
Completing the General Data Protection Regulation training (GDPR training) will help with your understanding of this topic.
Data protection and record management are a key responsibility for anyone that has access to personal data of individuals. Trustees are responsible for ensuring Scouts complies with GDRP by:
- Understanding what you need to know about GDPR
- Ensuring the leadership teams know their responsibilities
- Checking if the Scout Group has a privacy statement
Applying for grants and funds and approaching corporate and local businesses are some of the ways in which trustees can help to ensure there are sufficient resources available for delivering a great programme to young people.
Find all the inclusion and diversity guidance and resources you need to ensure your board - and the Scouts activities you're responsible for - are safe, welcoming and a great place to be for everyone involved.
Keeping the board on track
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place every year and has some key legal agenda items. It's an opportunity to showcase what Scouts have done in that year and is often combined with social event.
This is also the meeting where Section Leaders need to formally indicate that they wish to be part of the Trustee Board, which can be done in writing or verbally at the AGM.
Whilst each Group and Unit are independent charities, in England and Wales they only need to be registered with the Charity Commission if they meet a certain criteria. The Trustee Board should check if the Group or Unit should register as a charity.
If the Group or Unit is registered, the Trustee Board should ensure that the registration details are up to date, and the latest accounts have been submitted to the Charity Commission.
It may be appropriate to create sub-committees to focus on specific areas that the Trustee Board are responsible for, such as maintenance, equipment, transport and fundraising. Check the guidance on setting up sub-committees to understand their responsibilities.
The Scouts carry out an annual census to create a detailed picture of the young people and volunteers who are members of the organisation.
The census is carried out locally and is linked to the UK Headquarters membership fee for young people.
Trustees need to indicate they have agreed to new Sections, Groups or Districts or any changes required to Group or District registrations, as appropriate. There is a registration system for:
- New Groups or Districts,
- A change in registration of Groups or Districts
- The amalgamation of Groups or Districts
- The moving of a Group from one District to another.
Forms to make these changes can be found on the Registration forms webpage.
Wider themes for trustees to consider
Scout Groups, Districts, Counties* may wish to make use of a website and social media to support internal and external communication. Trustees may support leadership teams with managing and maintaining their website and social media by:
- Checking the website content is up to date
- Creating a review plan for the website
- Defining who has the overall website access and responsibility
- Identifying which social media platforms the Section/Group/District/County is on
- Defining the policies for use of these accounts
- Stablishing procedures for obtaining permission from parents about publishing photographs of young people on social media and the website
*References to County also applies to Areas, Regions, Islands and Bailiwicks.
Vehicles, vessels and aircraft owned by Local Scouts need to be registered, licensed, insured and all necessary requirements relating to their condition and testing need to be fulfilled.
Groups, District and Counties who own, borrow or hire a minibus require a Standard Bus Permit, under Section 19 of the Transport Act 1985.
Trustees may support with recruitment of young people and volunteers as part of their role in ensuring that there are sufficient resources.
You'll find a wealth of guidance, tools and support for recruitment at recruiting new trustees.
Engaging with the local community is key to supporting the growth of Scouts locally and can help with the delivery of a great programme.
Ensuring that internal and external communications are on brand and with the right tone of voice really helps with creating an identity that the local community will recognise and support to increase in engagement. In our Brand Centre you find free resources, such as logos, posters and flyers templates ready to be downloaded and printed.
Some groups may have community sponsorship to help with access to property, equipment, people, finance or other support. If there is sponsorship, there will need to be an agreement between the group and the sponsoring authority.
Guidance for new trustees
If you're new to the role of a trustee, check out our guidance on where to start and how to access the learning for trustees.Check out the basics
Trustee Safety Induction Workshops
Do you know your responsibilities for safety? Do you want to learn more and know where to find support? Join a trustee safety induction session, sign up for a workshop below:
Watch the governance videos to get tips on fundraising and gift aid, managing risk and conflict of interest, and much more.Discover governance videos