What to expect and where to start
First of all, a huge thank you for volunteering as a trustee with Scouts or for considering this role.
People like you joining our Trustee Board make sure that we can sustainably deliver a fantastic programme for our young people to develop skills for life - safely, legally, and in line with our charitable purpose.
Use this information as a starting point for understanding the role and to find out what to do first.
If you're joining as a Scouts volunteer for the first time, your local team will help you complete the following steps:
- Get your role created on Compass (the membership database),
- Complete your Disclosure (DBS in England /PVG in Scotland/Access NI in Northern Ireland),
- Sign the trustee declaration
- Support you with your learning for the role
When you become a Trustee you are signing up to the responsibilities of a charity trustee. There are a number of reasons why a person may not legally be allowed to be a trustee and by signing the declaration, you are agreeing that none of these reasons apply to you and that you are wiling to act as a trustee.
Depending on how your details are added to the membership system, the declaration is on the appointment form that you will be asked to complete, or it can be viewed electronically when a member of the local team adds your details to the system.
Read the trustee declaration and agreement
The Trustee Board is there to support volunteer line managers, so that they can do their role of supporting leadership teams to provide a great programme for young people.
There are nine key areas that a Trustee Board is responsible for supporting local Scouting with:
1. Following the Rules of the organisation
2. Insuring people, property and equipment
3. Managing the money
4. Fundraising, recruitment and any other support needed, so that Scouting can operate
5. Providing Scouting safely
6. Connecting Scouting with the local community and supporting it to grow
7. Involving young people in decision making
8. Meeting the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) requirements for local Scouts
9. Making decisions about opening, closing and merging of Districts, Groups, Sections, Explorer Units, Network and Scout Active Support sections at the appropriate Executive level
In addition, Trustee Boards at District and County level, support Scouting with:
1. Appointment of new volunteers
2. Supervision of administration of Groups, particularly around finance and trusteeship of property
Everyone on the Trustee Board takes on the responsibilities of a charity trustee; they act collectively and in the interests of the members of Scouts locally.
Here are some things to remember about being a trustee:
1. Maintain confidentiality
2. Use personal skills and experience to help inform discussions
3. Act honestly and reasonably, in the interests of Scouting locally
4. Let people know, if at any point, your involvement might cause a conflict of interest
5. Get external professional, specialist advice when needed
6. Only use the charity's money for the purpose of Scouting locally
7. If staff are employed, act as a responsible employer and ensure clear line management responsibility and communication
Taking on a new role can feel a little daunting and you maybe a little unsure about what to expect at your first meeting. It's likely that there will be other new people at this meeting and so there will be opportunities for introductions and asking plenty of questions if you are not sure.
Check that you have received the agenda and any other paperwork before the meeting and feel free to contribute during the meeting. Take notes of any actions you agree to do and ask for support following the meeting if you have questions or need something explaining.
Take a look at our example agenda for a Board meeting, so that you can see what topics might be discussed.
To support you in your Trustee role, there is some introductory learning to do. It can be completed online and is split into five topics. You can do all five topics at once, or do them one at a time.
It's a good idea to get started as soon as you can, as this will help with your understanding of Scouting, our values and key policies, and your role as a trustee.
Scouts is organised into Groups, Districts and Counties/Areas/Regions and each has a volunteer line manager called a Group Scout Leader, a District Commissioner and a County Commissioner. At each level there is also a group of volunteer trustees, known as a Trustee Board.
The volunteer line managers are responsible for providing leadership and support and the trustees make sure that there are the facilities and resources to deliver great Scouting.
You'll meet other Trustees at your first meeting and finding out what their roles involve and how best to contact them is a great way to start to feel part of the team.
Ask someone in the team to share information about the local Scouts structure, so you can see who does what and where you fit in.
Further information and supportExplore our guidance, webinars and more