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Explorer Scout Finance

Explorer Scout Finance

Updated December 2023

Who's responsible for Explorer Scouts?

In an Explorer Unit responsibility for delivering programme to young people aged 14 to 24 rests with the District. 

Operational responsibility rests with the District 14-24 Team, supported by the other teams within the District. 

Charity governance responsibility rests with the District Trustee Board.

Who's responsible for Explorer Scout finances?

The District Trustee Board has several responsibilities, laid out in section 5.5 of POR. 

The governance responsibilities that particularly relate to Explorer finances include: 

  • The District Trustee Board must act in the charity’s best interests, acting with reasonable care and skill and take steps to be confident that the District has sufficient resources (funds, people, property and equipment) available to meet the planned work of the District including delivery of the high-quality programme and resource requirements of the training programme (see Rule 4.2.2). 

  • The District Trustee Board members must themselves collectively ensure that the District’s finances are properly managed, including development and maintenance of appropriate budgets to support the work of the District 

  • The District Trustee Board members must themselves collectively ensure that people, property and equipment are appropriately insured, and that any property and equipment owned or used by the District is properly protected and maintained 

Operational responsibility for Explorers (and Network) rests with the District 14-24 Team, supported by the other teams within the District.  Often Groups are involved in the day-to-day operational framework for an Explorer Unit and these operational matters are documented in a Partnership Agreement between the Group and the District. 

Operational matters for finances include banking, book-keeping and paying expenses or invoices.  In a Group these functions are part of the remit of the Group Leadership Team, and in a District these functions are part of the remit of the District Support Team. 

Within this governance / operational framework there are a number of different operating models possible for an Explorer Unit’s finances.  Note that a mix of operating models can exist for a District (eg model 2 for Units that link with several Groups, and model 3 for Units that are strongly linked with a Group). 

In this operating model, the Explorer Unit does not need to administer funds because these are managed by the District Support Team, and all financial transactions are through the District’s bank account. 

Benefits:  

  • This is a particularly good operational model for Districts which have one District Explorer Unit and a District Young Leader Unit 

  • All Explorer spend is clear to the District Treasurer 

Downsides:  

  • Any use by the Unit of any facilities or equipment not belonging to the District will need to be agreed and separately charged for 

  • District Trustee Board will need to set an annual membership fee for Explorers that is likely to be significantly different to the Membership Fee it charges Groups for each Squirrel, Beaver, Cub and Scout. 

In this operating model, the Explorer Unit will require a financial administrator.  The administration arrangements for the account will require to be approved by the District Trustee Board.  Regular account status (quarterly?) will need to be advised to the District Treasurer, together with any known financial risks. 

Benefits:  

  • all Explorer Unit spend is clear to the Unit finance administrator 

  • less administration task for the District administration team but still provides regular tracking for the District Treasurer 

Downsides:  

  • The unit finance administrator will need to agree arrangements for bookkeeping, expenses and the like with the District Treasurer 

  • Any use by the Unit of any facilities or equipment not belonging to the Unit will need to be agreed and separately charged for 

  • District Trustee Board will need to set an annual membership fee for Explorers that is likely to be significantly different to the Membership Fee it charges Groups for each Squirrel, Beaver, Cub and Scout. 

In this operating model, the Explorer Unit is strongly partnered with a Scout Group.  The finance administration arrangements will require to be approved by the District Trustee Board.  

The District Trustee Board will want to confirm with the Group that there are no issues with equipment required to support the Unit programme. 

Benefits:  

  • This is a particularly useful operating model for Units and Groups in rural or semi-rural locations where Scouting is delivered in villages and small towns. 

  • The Unit uses finance operating processes already established in the Group for bookkeeping, expenses, etc. 

  • Explorers will pay a membership fee established by the Group for each of its members 

  • The Group will pay to the District a membership fee for each Explorer similar to the membership fee it pays to District for each Squirrel, Beaver, Cub, Scout.   

Downsides:  

  • The Group Trustee Board will need to verify with the District Trustee Board and District 14-24 Team the membership fee it will charge Explorers. 

  • The Group would be receiving funds on behalf of a separate charity and so would need to have a clear understanding with the District Trustee Board.  This can be documented within the Partnership Agreement. 

 

Frequently asked questions

Finance is always an important issue for any Section and the same is true for Explorer Scouts. Listed below are some frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers. 

No. Scouts is a federation of charities under the ‘umbrella’ of a Royal Charter. Each Group, District and County is a charity. Formally, each Explorer Unit is part of a District.

There is no better or worse model amongst the 3 operating models listed on this page. It is important that for operating model 3 there is a Partnership Agreement in place that is clear about the role of the Group and of the District with regard to operation of finances.

The District Trustee Board needs to ensure adequate funding of the Explorer programme. The actual operation of that strategy is as described above. Local arrangements between the Group, District and Unit are possible and must be set out in a clear agreement.

For Explorer Scout Units partnered with a Group, the financial arrangements between the Group, District and Unit should be agreed and set out clearly as described in the operating models above, particularly for operating model 3.

Ultimately, management of the Explorer Scout Unit lies with the District 14-24 Team,

It'll depend on the grant but Units will always need approval from their District when submitting applications. You can find more detail on our grants pages.

If you're applying to the Big Lottery Fund, applications must be made by a charity and Explorer Scout Units are not charities in their own right (see above). The Big Lottery Fund finder can be found here

Yes a District can apply for grants and more information can be found on our website.

Membership fees may be collected from the Members or their parents by a method decided by the District Trustee Board.

In Operating Model 3 above, the Group may collect the gift aid because it is to the Group that “subscriptions” are being paid. The District Trustee Board will want to take this point into consideration when reviewing the arrangements for the financial operation of any Units using operating model 3. See more information on Gift Aid.

The District Trustee Board has an obligation to ensure that relevant insurances are in place for all property and equipment used by Explorer Scouts. If a Scout Group which has premises and/or equipment used by Explorers (under whatever financial operating model) then the District Trustee Board should ensure insurances are adequate, or ensure that additional insurances are taken out.

This is a matter for local arrangement. It depends to some extent on any difference between what the Group asks members to pay, and what the District asks Explorers to pay. Also, the time of year when the transition takes place may have a bearing. For example, the Group Treasurer may agree to pay a proportion of the subscription collected to the District when the young person moves out of the Group. Whatever arrangements are made must be clear and fair to all parties – especially the young person and their parents.