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Yellow Card FAQs - January 2024

Find out answers to some frequently asked questions about the new January 2024 Yellow Card

You must report your concern directly to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team as soon as possible (always within 24 hours).

You can email the UK HQ Safeguarding Team any time at or you can call within office hours (Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm). However, if someone is at risk of immediate harm please call 999 or 112 and then tell the UK HQ Safeguarding Team. 

Safeguarding concerns are no longer reported to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team by line managers.  

It’s always been an option to report directly to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team, so for many people, this is no different.

From now on, all information will go directly to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team without going through a third person; this means the team will get an accurate first-hand account of the concern.  

It also means the UK HQ Safeguarding Team can respond to concerns more quickly and put the necessary steps in place sooner to safeguard children and young people. This is in line with best practice in safeguarding reporting. 

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team are a group of professionals with a wide range of experience in safeguarding.

They are based at Gilwell Park and centrally manage all safeguarding concerns across the UK and British Scouting Overseas (BSO). They are trained to deal with concerns and to provide advice on safeguarding.  

The HQ Safeguarding Team is made up of:  

  • Safe Scouting Administrators
  • Safeguarding Support Officers
  • Safeguarding Officers
  • Assistant Safeguarding Officers
  • Safeguarding Support Team Manager
  • Safeguarding Managers
  • National Safeguarding Operations Managers
  • Head of Safeguarding
  • Chief Safeguarding Officer  

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team takes safeguarding reports over the phone and by email. Each safeguarding concern is risk assessed by a duty Safeguarding Officer or Safeguarding Manager; prioritising those where a child or young person is at risk of harm or has suffered harm.  

Sometimes concerns are recorded for information purposes with advice or support provided for the concern to be dealt with locally, or it might be allocated to a Safeguarding Officer who will take the necessary actions to safeguard the children and young people. This could mean referring the matter to statutory agencies such as the Police, Children’s Services or the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The Safeguarding Officer will liaise with the Lead Volunteer or Volunteer Safeguarding Lead about the matter. 

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team works alongside local leaders to protect children and young people, this means sometimes we need to share information that is appropriate and proportionate in order to manage risks and make sure everyone is safe.

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team are there to support you and they understand some people might find it scary contacting them directly. Please don’t worry, the team is there to support and provide advice.

It is really important you contact the team directly to make sure they know about the concern, and they receive accurate information.

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team deal with concerns everyday but understand that it can feel daunting to make a report. They will listen to your report and will be able to talk through the process and answer any questions you may have. 

You must always follow the Yellow Card and report all safeguarding concerns directly to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team.

A child or young person may do this if they want to, but even if they tell you they’ve done this, make sure you also report it to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team to make sure all the information is shared and the necessary action can be taken to keep that young person safe. 

It’s really important that the UK HQ Safeguarding Team receive all details so they can respond quickly to concerns. Telephone numbers for key contacts such as parents are essential. The UK HQ Safeguarding Team don’t have access to their numbers unless the person reporting the concern provides them as they’re held locally, not nationally. It can cause unnecessary delays in taking the appropriate actions to safeguard children and young people if we don’t have all the information we need.  

It’s also really important to let us know when a person involved in a concern is next due to be involved in Scout activities, so we can prioritise our actions.

However, if you don’t have all the information but still have a concern, don’t delay in reporting to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team.   

Contact the UK HQ Safeguarding Team at if you’re unable to get through on the phone. It’s helpful if you use the reporting form, including as much information as possible. This means action can be taken as soon as the UK HQ Safeguarding Team receive the information, rather than you having to wait to get through on the phone.  

If you’re concerned about the welfare of a child or young person, or if there’s a concern, complaint or allegation about you or another adult, inside or outside of Scouts, the concern must be reported to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team so they can assess the risks.   

Complaints must still follow the usual complaints process. However, if you’re still unsure please contact the UK HQ Safeguarding Team who will be able to give you further advice.  

Our priority is keeping young people safe and if you’re worried that an adult’s behaviour is not in line with the Yellow Card or if you’re worried about a child or young person’s welfare, you need to report it.  

Reporting a concern about an adult doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to volunteer any more, but it’s vital that any and all concerns are recorded centrally so the UK HQ Safeguarding Team can build a picture.

Your concern might be a missing piece of a puzzle and help keep a child or young person from harm. It’s fine to call the UK HQ Safeguarding Team with questions and to talk through your concerns.  

The UK HQ Safeguarding Team will continue to liaise with District Commissioners once a concern is reported, so they’ll still have oversight of what’s happening in their District and be able to provide support if it’s needed.  

As a line manager, please reiterate to your team the importance of reporting any concerns directly. You play a significant part in creating a culture where concerns are raised, and inappropriate behaviour is challenged and reported. You can ask the volunteer to let you know when they have reported the concern to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team and check they are okay.

It is also important that you contact the UK HQ Safeguarding Team directly to make sure the report has been made. 

No you don’t. The purpose of your contact with the UK HQ Safeguarding Team is to check that the concern has been reported. The information required will be given by the person who initially had the concern. We would recommend that you check the details of what has been reported with the UK HQ Safeguarding Team, in case you have any additional information that you’re aware of.  

We regularly review and update our materials to make sure they provide the most up-to-date guidance for volunteers. We’ve responded to feedback and learned from incidents, making the Code of Conduct as clear as possible, so there is no doubt about expectations for volunteers.  

All changes are aimed at keeping children and young people safer and making it easier for concerns to be reported. 

No, it doesn’t mean this. The instruction not to investigate has caused concern for some volunteers who were worried about a young person or a situation but didn’t want to ask questions in case they appeared to be investigating.

It’s fine to ask sufficient questions to make sure you to have enough information to make your report. For example, if a young person arrives at a meeting with bruising, it would be entirely appropriate to take them to one side and discretely ask if they’re ok, and ask how they got their bruising, who caused it, what was happening at the time and when it happened.     

The Yellow Card states ‘don’t ask leading questions or try to find out whether the concern is justified’ but fact finding is helpful because it gives the UK HQ Safeguarding Team full details of what you’re concerned about.

It’s still really important that you don’t try to solve the situation yourself, put words into a young person’s mouth or confront anyone.  

The Yellow Card poster should be displayed during every meeting, you can stick it to the wall, a door or on a temporary notice board if you have one. It’s important all volunteers, children, young people and parents/guardians can see the behaviour that we expect and how to report safeguarding concerns.

No, we understand that it will not be practical to have the Yellow Card poster displayed in some situations; however, as part of your camp preparation you must review the Yellow Card with everyone attending and explain behaviour expectations, this also includes parents/guardians. 

We understand that not every issue that happens locally will need to be reported to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team. For example, disputes between adults where no harm was caused to a child, or young people being disruptive during meetings are not concerns that need to be reported to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team and should be managed locally.

If any concerns arise more than once or a pattern of behaviour is displayed, then please do consult with the UK HQ Safeguarding Team to check whether the matter needs to be actioned by them.  

Please remember if there is any concern where a child or young person is at risk of harm then this needs to be reported.  

Yes, the Grey Card still applies to members in Commissioner roles as well as members in Counties/Areas/Regions which have adopted the new terminology of ‘Lead Volunteer’ early. 

Yes, you can recycle your old Yellow Cards and posters as they’re no longer valid. Please try to make sure the cards are not stuck together when discarding.