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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

Discover what this means

Safety and safeguarding

Safety and safeguarding

Young people thrive in secure surroundings. And as leader of Squirrels, you’re responsible for keeping your young people safe while they’re in your care. For anything you plan, you’ll need to follow our safety guidelines and minimum ratios. Explore the sections on this page to make sure you’re delivering safe scouting for your Squirrels.

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Doing things safely is fundamental to everything we do in Scouts.

Discover more about safety

Incidents and Illness

This section gives guidance on what to do in case of an incident, including first aid and reporting.

Learn more about incidents and illness

Risk assessments

This guidance is to help you minimise risk both before and during an activity or event. 

Read about risk assessments

Safe Scouting cards

As adults in Scouts, the safety of young people is our priority. Read our Safe Scouting cards.

Read and download our Safe Scouting cards

Supporting life issues and child protection

Although families, schools or early years settings will usually be the first point of call for many of the issues that young people face, it may be that a Squirrel leader finds themselves needing to discuss some of these issues.

Learn more about supporting young people

Reporting a concern to safeguarding

It's the policy of Scouts to safeguard the welfare of all members by protecting them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm. Read more on reporting a concern to safeguarding here.

Discover more about reporting a concern to safeguarding

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Indoor: 1:6 plus the leader in charge

Outdoor: 1:4 plus the leader in charge

Find out more about ratios

Nights away

  • As of January 2023, Squirrels nights away has been permitted in POR and can form part of your programme.
  • Squirrels can have a nights away experience indoor or outdoor over multiple nights if they wish to do so.
  • Nights Away for Squirrels is not a minimum requirement like it is for other sections in Scouting. It's purely an optional activity.

Training for nights away

All section leaders undertake the same training and Wood Badge. Have a look at the Nights Away and Camping pages for more information.

Managing toileting for four and five year olds

Like all the other sections within Scouts, toileting accidents for young people do occur. We’ve provided you below with some hints and tips to help manage any toileting accidents you may face.

  • Keep a selection of spare clothes at the group or ask the parent/carer of each young person to bring a bag with a spare pair of clothes with them each week.
  • When a new young person joins, make sure they know where the toilets are.
  • Build a ‘toilet break’ into the group’s schedule.
  • If you have young people in the group who are prone to occasional ‘accidents’, encourage leaders to remind them through the session to visit the toilet. Younger children can sometimes become engrossed in what they’re doing.
  • If there’s a toileting accident, make sure two people are present when supporting the young person to change. Remember to respect their dignity, follow safeguarding advice on personal care.
  • Make sure you have nappy sacks, gloves and wet wipes in the toilet area to help clear up any accidents.
  • Don’t make a big deal of it, if there’s an accident, as young people can feel embarrassed. Clean up any mess and carry on with the activity.
  • All toileting accidents should be recorded in the accident/incident book and parents/carers should be told when they pick up their children.

This advice reflects the Intimate and Personal Care Policy which is being developed, and focuses on personal care – the physical care that supports the personal hygiene, toileting or any medical care of an individual.

This is non-invasive and doesn’t involve touching intimate areas of the body, as opposed to intimate care, which involves more direct contact. Where this is required, a nominated person needs to be identified and arrangements agreed with the parent/carer.