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A Guide for the Group Secretary

About the role

Executive Committees are known as Trustee Boards. This came into effect for members in Scotland in July 2023, and all others from April 2023.'Executive Committee' and associated wording will still be visible on Compass and the website as we move to our new way of volunteering.

To learn more about what we are doing to improve how we volunteer at Scouts, visit the Volunteer Experience webpages.


This resource is designed to help explain the role of the Group Secretary. If you are reading this, you have probably taken on (or are considering taking on) this role and are looking for guidance and further information. The resource aims to provide you with advice and support for you in your role. Other members of the Group (such as the Group Scout Leader, or adults who wish to understand the role of the Group Secretary) may also find it useful.

This resource 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 resource). If you're new to the Scouts or the role you may find it useful to read the ‘Understanding scouting language’ section at the end of this publication.

The Group Secretary’s Role

The role description will vary but the following are the key duties of the Group Secretary:

  • Act as Secretary to the Group Scout Council.
  • Act as Secretary to the Group Executive Committee.
  • Work closely with and support the Group Chair.
  • Provide sound administration in respect of the obligations according to POR, including inventories of Group equipment.
  • Ensure completion of the Group annual census return.
  • Maintain records and lists of members and associate members as required for the effective administration of the Scout Group.
  • Ensure documents relating to the ownership of property and equipment and all other legal and official documents are kept in a safe place and there is a full recovery of all files stored electronically.
  • Maintain effective communication with the District Secretary.
  • Be a full and active member of the Group Executive Committee.
  • Work alongside the Group Executive Committee in producing the Scout Group’s Annual Report.

How did you become the Group Secretary?

In functional terms:

  • You were elected as Group Secretary by members of the Group Scout Council.
  • The election was approved by the Group Scout Council at its Annual General Meeting

What are you Secretary of?

You are the Secretary of the Group Scout Council and the Group Executive Committee. The Group Scout Council is the electoral body which supports Scouting in the Scout Group. The Group Executive Committee are accountable to the Group Scout Council.

In reality the Group Scout Council meets just once year. In most Scout Groups this meeting, the Annual General Meeting, is usually held in May or June, but must be held within six months of the Group’s financial year end. It receives annual reports and sets up the Group Executive Committee for the following year. More detailed information about the Annual General Meeting is covered later in this resource.

Membership of the Group Scout Council is open to all adults with appointments in the Group, as well as the parents of youth members in the Group and Patrol Leaders. Other supporters, including former Scouts and their parents, may be admitted to the Group Scout Council. It's highly desirable, to include all of those who support the Group.

How does the Scout Group work?

The Group Scout Leader manages the Group and is responsible for its support and development and the programme of activities it offers to young people.

The Group Chair and the Group Executive Committee support the Group Scout Leader and ensure the effective administration of the Scout Group. The Group Scout Leader nominates the Group Chair and the relationship should be one of partnership and mutual support.

The Group Executive Committee aims to make sure that the Scout Group has the facilities and resources needed to deliver good Scouting in the Group.

The leaders in the Group work with their team of adults (who perform a variety of roles) to deliver an exciting and attractive programme of activities for young people in the Group. Their work is co-ordinated through the Group Scouters’ meeting (chaired by the Group Scout Leader), which includes the Section Leaders and Assistants.

The Group Secretary works closely with the Group Chair and the Group Scout Leader to ensure the successful running of the Group Scout Council and the Group Executive Committee.