The District Trustee Board
References to County also applies to Areas, Regions, Islands and Bailiwicks.
The District Trustee Board plays a vital role in the running of a Scout District. Trustee Boards make decisions and carry out administrative tasks to ensure that the best quality Scouting can be delivered to young people in the District.
The following should be treated as a guide and read in conjunction with other resources (including The Scout Association’s Policy, Organisation and Rules referred to as POR throughout this factsheet).
Further details of the responsibilities of the District Trustee Board can be found in POR chapter 5. Note that SV in this factsheet denotes there is a Scottish variation to that section of guidance.
The District Trustee Board
The Trustee Board exists to support the District Commissioner in meeting the responsibilities of their appointment.
Trustees must act collectively as charity trustees of the Scout District, and in the best interests of its members to: SV
- Comply with the Policy, Organisation and Rules of The Scout Association.
- Protect and maintain any property and equipment owned by and/or used by the District.
- Manage the District finances.
- Provide insurance for people, property and equipment.
- Provide sufficient resources for Scouting to operate. This includes, but is not limited to,
supporting recruitment, other adult support, and fundraising activities.
- Promote and support the development of Scouting in the local area.
- Manage and implement the Safety Policy locally.
- Ensure that a positive image of Scouting exists in the local community.
- Appoint and manage the operation of any sub-committees, including appointing a Chair to lead the sub-committees.
- Ensure that Young People are meaningfully involved in decision making at all levels within the District.
- The opening, closure and amalgamation of Groups, Explorer Scout Units, Scout Network and Scout Active Support Units in the District as necessary.
- Appoint and manage the operation of an Appointments Advisory Committee, including appointing an Appointments Committee Chair to lead it.
- Supervising the administration of Groups, particularly in relation to finance and the trusteeship of property.
The Trustee Board must also:
- Appoint Administrators, Advisers, and Co-opted Trustees.
- Approve the Annual Report and Annual Accounts after their examination by an appropriate auditor, independent examiner or scrutineer.
- Present the Annual Report and Annual Accounts to the Scout Council at the Annual General Meeting; file a copy with the County Trustee Board; and if a registered charity, to the appropriate charity regulator if the regulator’s rules require it. (See Rule 13.3)
- Maintain confidentiality with regard to appropriate Trustee Board business.
- Where staff are employed, act as a responsible employer in accordance with Scouting’s values and relevant legislation.
- Ensure line management responsibilities for employed staff are clearly established and communicated.
The District Trustee Board is made up of four types of Trustees:
- Ex-officio Trustees have a role on the Committee due to their role in Scouting. These
- District Commissioner;
- District Youth Commissioner
- District Chairman;
- District Secretary;
- District Treasurer;
- District Scout Network Leader;
- District Explorer Scout Commissioner.
- Elected Trustees stand for election at the Annual General Meeting and are elected by the District Scout Council to take on the role; there are usually four to six in number.
- Nominated Trustees are nominated by the District Commissioner in partnership with the District Chair and approved at the Annual General Meeting; there must be no more nominated trustees than elected trustees.
- Co-opted Trustees are chosen to take on a role by the District Trustee Board due to specific skills or knowledge useful to the Trustee Board; there must be no more co-opted Trustees than elected Trustees.
POR Chapter 5 covers the membership of the District Trustee Board in detail.
The membership is set up this way to ensure that the interests of the District Scout Council and the District Commissioner are represented, and balanced. It also serves to broaden the membership of the Executive – possibly to bring in people from other parts of the local community.
Scout Districts in England and Wales are considered charities by law, and some may be registered with the appropriate charity regulator. All members of the District Trustee Board are charity trustees.
To comply with legislation, all charities must have a governing body, which in Scouting we call a Trustee Board. Trustees must act collectively as Charity Trustees of the Scout District.
Charity trustees have a number of specific responsibilities that they must fulfil to ensure the effective running of the Scout District. It's vital that all members of the Trustee Board understand their responsibilities as Charity Trustees.
Collectively and individually they must:
- Ensure that the charity is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up and no other.
- Follow Policy, Organisation & Rules, charity law and other laws which apply to the charity along with any requirements of the appropriate charity regulator.
- Make balanced and adequately informed decisions to enable the charity to carry out its purposes and avoid putting themselves in a position where their duty to the charity conflicts with their personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body.
- Comply with statutory accounting and reporting requirements.
- Demonstrate that the charity is complying with the law, is well run and is effective.
- Ensure accountability within the charity, particularly when delegating responsibility for particular tasks or decisions to others.
- Act responsibly, reasonably and honestly making sure the charity’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes.
- Avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk.
- Make use of the skills and experience available from other trustees while taking appropriate advice when necessary.
Trustees are legally and financially responsible for the running of the Scout District. This means that in some circumstances, if things do go wrong, trustees may be liable for any debt or financial loss incurred by the District. However, this is rare and trustees can protect against this by following the duties and responsibilities as laid out in this factsheet and POR.
Since 2008 The Scout Association has provided a national policy to cover the trustees of any Scout charity. That includes Scout Groups, Districts and Counties Trustees, as well as those who manage other Scout assets such as building or campsite teams. For more information, contact Unity (Scout Insurance Service): call 0345 040 7703 or visit www.scoutinsurance.co.uk
Charity Regulation differs in Scotland and Northern Ireland, please contact the relevant Country Headquarters and charity regulators for more information on Charity registration and Trusteeship. In Scotland only Scout Districts registered with the regulator have charity Trustee status. For unregistered Scout Districts the Trustee Board should still act with the same duties and responsibilities as Charity Trustees.