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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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Your constitution

Guidance on your charity's governing document

This information should support what is being shared in local briefings and meetings with your local Transformation Leads and leadership teams. Work with your Transformation Leads to plan how and when you will make these changes locally.

What a constitution is

Every charity must have a governing document, in Scouts we call this a constitution. The constitution is formally adopted through the charity Annual General Meeting (AGM) and it's good practice to re-adopt it at every AGM.

How to create a constitution

Policy, Organisation and Rules Chapter 5 includes a model constitution that follows charity law, good practice and is kept up to date with any developments in Scouting. Each Group, District and County (or equivalent) is strongly encouraged to adopt this as their constitution. If a Group, District or County decides to use a different constitution, the differences from the model constitution must be documented in the AGM minutes, along with the reasons why. 

For Groups, Districts and Counties that have already adopted the POR model constitution, their constitution will update automatically whenever a new version of POR is published.

For other Groups, Districts and Counties they will need to adopt the POR constitution at their next AGM. And they should do this early in the AGM agenda and note that it is immediately effective once it is adopted.

Local scenarios

Below are some examples to help you understand what this looks like in practice. 

It's important that constitutions cover the topics that are included in the model constitution in POR. We recommend that the best way to do this is to adopt the model constitution in POR. But, if it is more appropriate to retain the ‘stand-alone’ constitution, then it should be reviewed annually against the model constitution to ensure that it remains up-to-date with charity law and/or developments in the Scouts. Any elements from the model constitution that are not included in the ‘stand alone’ constitution must be documented – with reasons – in the AGM minutes.

It's important in this case to note that Scouts and Guides are separate charities with separate Trustee Board requirements. Local cooperation is encouraged, of course. Joint ownership and management of premises and other operational matters is a sensible pooling of resources, but that doesn’t mean that we operate with one shared purpose. See also Rule 4.9.4 in POR.


Understanding the Charity Governance Code

The Charity Governance Code is a practical tool to help charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance. It's starting point is that all trustees:

  • are committed to their charity’s cause and have joined its board because they want to help the charity deliver its purposes most effectively for public benefit
  • recognise that meeting their charity’s stated public benefit is an ongoing requirement
  • understand their roles and legal responsibilities, and, in particular, have read and understand:
    • for England and Wales, the Charity Commission’s guidance on The Essential Trustee (CC3)
    • for Northern Ireland, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland's guidance on Trusteeship
    • for Scotland, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)'s guidance on Trustee Duties
    • for Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Gibraltar, the equivalent charity regulator guidance about the role of a Trustee
    • their charity’s governing document
  • are committed to good governance and want to contribute to their charity’s continued improvement.
Read the Charity Governance Code