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Programme and structure


Scout Network is the fifth and final section of the Scouting movement. From the time of Baden-Powell, there have been arrangements for young people who wanted to continue after their time in the Scout Section, and in 1967, Venture Scouts were formed from the existing Senior Scout and Rover Scout Sections.

During the late 1990s we decided that, to meet the changing needs of young people, there should be two sections for the over-14s: Explorer Scouts for 14 to 18-year-olds, and the Scout Network for 18 to 25s.


The structure of Scout Network has changed. We found that many young adults aged 18 to 25 in Scouting had no access to Scout Network and so the structure has changed to improve this.

The transition to District Scout Networks across the UK is central to providing local access to exciting programme opportunities for these members. Exceptions can be sought to the District based model.

All Districts are required to have one District Scout Network, this is a membership point and where programme can be delivered. To support Districts and the transient nature of the age range a UK Scout Network will also be in place, supported by a UK Scout Network Commissioner.

The UK Scout Network is also a membership point and will host programme for members. All members of District Networks are also members of the UK Scout Network. 

Check out these diagrams to see how District Scout Networks and the UK Scout Network are structured.

Although the organisational structure of Scout Network focuses on Districts, Counties still have an important role to play. For example, Counties can continue to develop projects for Members of all District Scout Networks across the County to participate in. This may be particularly helpful for larger projects e.g. County wide community action projects, international expeditions etc.

As well as projects, the ACC (Scout Network) can play an important role in meeting regularly with District Scout Network Commissioners and discussing how to grow and develop the provision. 

A UK Scout Network will be established and be the membership point for Scout Network members not associating themselves with a District. 

Countries should have a Country level Scout Network Commissioner, who'll ensure a quality Scout Network provision operates within the Country, and line manage any Programme Coordinators at Country level if applicable.

The District Scout Network will have a Link Agreement with the totality of the Explorer Scout provision in the District. You can find out more on the Scout Network Link Agreements webpage.

It's a rule that every District will have a District Scout Network and that all those involved in Scouting, aged 18-25, will be members. The rationale for moving Scout Network to Districts is to ensure that the links between the Explorer Scout provision in the District and the District Scout Network improve.

However, it's been recognised from the outset of discussions regarding the future structure of the Scout Network that flexibility would be required for situations where a District may find it challenging to operate a District Scout Network for some local reason. The issue of a District's geography may not be a sufficient reason for an exception to be made, as it's widely anticipated that District Scout Networks may not necessarily meet all together in one place on a regular basis, but are more likely to gather in Project Teams. In circumstances where an exception is considered necessary, and subject to agreement by the relevant Commissioner (or in some cases, their nominee), a time-limited exception may be granted.

Applying for an Exception 

A District cannot decide on its own to not have a District Scout Network. The District Commissioner, together with the District Scout Network Commissioner (if appointed), and having consulted with all those aged 18-25 in the District, must make an application to have an exception considered. Any application for an exception needs to outline the steps a District will take to work towards making a District Scout Network viable in the future.

The request for an exception has to come from the District. Any level above the District cannot impose an exception on a District.

Step 1 

The reason for an exception is generated at District with an indication of the measures that will be taken to work towards making a District Scout Network viable in the future.

This would involve: District Commissioner, District Scout Network Commissioner, District Youth Commissioner, Members aged 18-25.

Step 2 

The Exception Application is reviewed by the County Commissioner (England/Northern Ireland), Area/Region Commissioner (Wales) or Regional Commissioner (Scotland).

This would involve: County Commissioner (or equivalent), ACC Scout Network (or equivalent), other District Commissioners.

Step 3 

If the Exception Application is considered appropriate by the County Commissioner (England/Northern Ireland), Area Commissioner (Wales) or Regional Commissioner (Scotland) it will be passed to the Regional Commissioner (England), Chief Commissioner for Northern Ireland (or nominee), Chief Commissioners for Wales (or nominee) or Chief Commissioner for Scotland (nominee) for decision.

This would involve: Regional Commissioners (for England), Chief Commissioners for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland (or their nominees) and Deputy UK Lead Volunteer for Programme (14-25).

How it will work in practice 

An Exception Application form will be available on the UK Scout Network website, along with guidance on the Exception Application process. 

Alternatives to District Scout Networks 

After discussion and agreement by the various parties concerned, exceptions could lead to the time-limited establishment of:

County (England/Northern Ireland), Area (Wales), Region (Scotland) Scout Networks

This could be where all Districts in a County, Area or Region have made an Exception Application and had it approved.

Cross District Scout Networks 

This could be where more than one but not all Districts in a County, Area or Region have made an Exception Application and had it approved. This would also involve agreement between the Districts concerned as to which one would have primacy for the appointment of a District Scout Network Commissioner serving the provision across multiple Districts. 


Scout Network members take part in a variety of activities, which they undertake and organise themselves under the leadership of a District Scout Network Commissioner and sometimes with the support of a Programme Coordinator. The Programme is divided into three Programme Areas: Community, International and Adventure.

The purpose of the Scout Network will be: To engage 18-25 year olds in creating and participating in programme opportunities to experience an exciting personal adventure, achieve their full potential and make a positive mark on the world.

The programme, based on the purpose, will be: To enable young adults to participate in personal development opportunities at a time and place to suit them.

There will be three Programme Areas: 
•    Adventure 
•    International
•    Community

These will be underpinned by transversal themes including Teamwork, Leadership and Life Skills as appropriate. 

Participation in the Programme

  • All Members of The Scout Association aged 18 to 25 will be Members of the Scout Network.
  • All 18-25 year olds associated with a District will become a member of the District Scout Network. 18-25 year olds can be members of multiple District Networks simultaneously.
  • All 18-25 year olds who are members of a District Scout Network, as well as those who are not associated with a District, are also automatically members of the UK Scout Network.
  • If a member of the UK Scout Network takes an appointment within one or more Districts, they'll automatically become a member of the District Scout Networks associated with those Districts.
  • All Explorer Scouts will be advised of the options to continue in Scouting as they approach 18 years of age, including adult volunteer roles. They'll be made aware that they'll become a Member of the District Scout Network automatically in addition to any other roles, so that they maintain the option to participate in the programme and attain awards. At the moment, Explorers wishing to be part of Network only (no leadership roles) will need their Network role adding to Compass.
  • All Members of the Scout Network will be encouraged by the District Scout Network Commissioner and Programme Coordinators to form Project Teams to enable them to ‘participate’ in the programme.
  • Project teams can form at District, County, Country or UK level. Network members can participate in any number of project teams at one time.
  • As Members of the Scout Network approach 25 years of age, they will be encouraged to consider continuing with or starting new roles in Scouts. This will not preclude them being made aware of other volunteering opportunities in Scouting during their time as a Member of the Scout Network.

Programme Areas

Programme Areas help to guide and define what a project is. By categorising projects, members can ensure that they're taking part in a quality, balanced programme. 

International Scouting is a very broad term and can involve everything from going on an expedition to another country to learning about cultures and traditions in your weekly programme.

Check out all the guidance on International Scouts and events.

A Scout Network Member involved in Programme activities from this Programme Area should:

  • Take practical action in the service of others that will enable members to:
    • Create positive social change that is of benefit to a wider community.
    • Develops the individual in taking action.
    • Build strong links and appreciation for difference between Scouts and between others in the Community.

Some practical activities for this Programme Area might include:

  • Complete their Scouts of the World Award.
  • Design and build a garden for a local care home or hospice. Bear in mind those who'll use the garden when building it. If you know a landscape gardener you could ask them for advice.
  • During the holiday season, plan and organise a playgroup for the local community, or arrange a set of events/trips for disadvantaged young people. Remember to check the rules laid out by OFSTED as well as the relevant child welfare rules.
  • Contact a local charity to offer your Scout Network's services to redecorate/renovate a room in a rest home, children's home or other similar venue.
  • During the winter months, offer a snow-clearing service to the elderly and those with special needs, provide a weekly shopping service, or arrange to call on people who don't have many visitors.
  • Go carol singing in local care homes, hospices or other community locations.
  • At a local event, provide marshals to assist with car parking and crowd control, or offer first aid support from those members of Network that are first aid qualified.
  • Visit a local Magistrates Court or Crown Court and see what happens during the proceedings. Discuss whether the legal system discriminates in favour of or against any particular group. Afterwards, you could hold a mock trial or act out a case during an evening.
  • Contact an organisation dealing with drug abuse, and obtain information about how drug abuse is dealt with within the local community. You could also approach the local Police Authority who will have a drugs prevention unit.
  • Carry out a survey of religions in your local community and compare the different beliefs. Visit the different places of worship, discuss the different teachings and where possible take an active part in the service.
  • Represent your Network on the local youth council, County Trustee Board or similar committee where the views of young people are sought.
  • Invite a local environmental expert to discuss the meanings of such terms as 'ecology', 'recycling', 'natural environment' and so on. Consider the information and visit local examples of where mankind is affecting the balance of nature.
  • Take part in an environmental project; contact the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) for projects in your local areas that the Network may be able to get involved with.
  • Find out about the Campaign to Protect Rural England, an organisation that works to protect the beauty, tranquility and diversity of rural England. Is there a project within your local community that would fit the criteria of the CPRE?
  • Make contact with the local Young Farmers' Club to discuss with the Network members the impact of modern farming methods on the environment including the effects of GM crops.
  • Design, make and maintain a set of bird boxes at a local beauty spot or Scout campsite.
  • Contact the Forestry Commission and carry out some conservation projects under their guidance.
  • Contact your local Scout campsite and select a project which would improve the environment of the site and the surroundings.
  • Plant your own Network forest.

A Scout Network Member involved in Programme activities from this Programme Area should:

  • Engage in adventurous and other activities that will enable members to:
    • Develop skills and pursue their interests.
    • Develop and use skills to make a difference in their local and Scouting communities.

Some activities for this Programme Area might include:

  • Make your own beer or wine. Invite a local expert to provide you with their opinion, or use the home-made wine at your next Network Ball. You could run a trip to a local brewery to find out how it is done on a larger scale.
  • Gain a qualification in mountaineering, canoeing or other adventurous activities, and then pass your skills on to other members of the Network or local Explorer Scouts. You could also arrange a weekend away with a Mountain Rescue or Cave Rescue team, then run a fundraising event for them. Your ACC/AAC for activities will be able to inform you if there are any in-house courses.
  • Enhance your compass skills with orienteering. Join a local club, take part in an organised event then pass your skills on to other network members or organise an orienteering course for your local County/Area campsite.
  • Learn to drive a car or ride a motorcycle. If you're already a driver/rider, improve your skills by taking the advanced driving test, have a go at off-road driving, or take a lesson on a skidpan.
  • Work towards a qualification from the Royal Life Saving Society, St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross. Then use these skills at a local swimming pool or help as a first aider at an event.
  • Obtain a 'banger' of a car/minibus and with the help of a mechanic, repair the vehicle for road use.
  • As a Scout Network, train to take part and compete in a physically challenging event such as the London Marathon or the Original Mountain Marathon in Scotland.
  • Learn the rules of water polo and form a Network team against other local Networks, or challenge a local team to a match.
  • Organise a Scout Network survival camp, with activities such as shelter-building, campfire cooking or river crossings.
  • Have a go at a taster session in sub aqua, waterskiing, hot air ballooning, gliding, kite flying and surfing, land or sea yachting, bob-sleigh or Cresta run, or white water rafting.
  • Build a raft and challenge another local Network to a race.
  • Design and build an assault course and challenge other networks or Explorer Scout Units to the challenge.
  • Have a go at a challenge such as the Three Peaks or walk a long-distance route like Hadrian's Wall.

There are a number of variations of the Promise to reflect the range of faiths, beliefs and attitudes of individuals within Scouts. 

Read the variations of the Scout promise

You can tell if you're running and providing good quality Scouting in your Scout Network if:

Your Programme allows: members to participate in activities and/or projects, built around an exciting and varied balanced programme, set in a safe and well run environment.

Membership is: open to all who can express their views, and members have the chance to lead activities both responsibly and effectively.

Awards are: promoted and used to recognise achievement and new experiences.

Nights away experiences are: provided and enable members to have the opportunity to have residential events and other activities at weekends or times to suit them.

Communication is: used appropriately with good tools to keep members, potential members and key stakeholders well informed about all the events in the life of the District Scout Network.

Administration is: efficient and effective - there are accurate records including contact and personal details and an efficient method of recording and banking all monies received is in place.

The workload is: shared with others to plan, manage and review the life of the District Scout Network. 


As the Network is run for the members by the members, everyone should get a chance to be part of the decision-making process. Some members may not be able to fully commit to Scout Network, especially at busy times of their life, and this should be respected.

Learn more about decision-making in the programme

Core badges

There are certain core badges for Scout Network members. These are:

Top Awards for Explorers and Network

Top Awards for Explorers and Network. In addition to the core badges, there are a number of awards obtained by taking part in particular challenges or schemes. These are:

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