How to use accreditations that give someone our permission to take on a task or responsibility
What are accreditations
Accreditations are a way of sharing tasks and responsibilities, where a volunteer needs to be given certain permissions to take these on.
At Scouts, we want to make it easier for people to give their valuable time in a way that really works for them. To make this happen, under our new approach, everyone in Scouts will be part of a team. Then, it’s up to volunteers in each team to agree who does which tasks, based on their skills, interests and availability.
Sometimes a volunteer needs permission to do a specific task. This is where accreditations come in.
- A task that needs to be done by someone with specific skills or qualifications. For example, making sure a kayak permit assessor is appropriately qualified.
- A task where someone needs to find and contact a specific person. For example, if the UKHQ Awards Team needs to know who to post awards to.
Benefits of sharing accreditations in this way
Our volunteers want to give their time in a flexible way that suits them.
Lead Volunteers can share their responsibilities and tasks with others by giving them an accreditation. This flexibility means roles such as Lead Volunteer are more attractive and achievable, which'll help when recruiting new volunteers. It also means they can divide up their workload and focus on supporting others to grow, develop skills, and deliver amazing programmes for young people.
If volunteers want to take on more responsibilities, they don’t have to take on a whole new role or join a new team, they can simply have an accreditation and take on those specific tasks.
Our Team Leaders and Lead Volunteers should make sure the right people are doing the right tasks. This could be members from their own teams, or volunteers from across the wider movement. They’ll be able to see clearly on scouts.org.uk who’s doing what.
What accreditations are there
Find out about the responsibilities shared by the following teams:
How accreditations work
To get an accreditation, a volunteer will need to be a ‘full member.’ This means they’ll have already completed all the steps on their volunteer joining journey, including their Growing Roots learning, and they’ll be a member of a team.
They may also need to meet other criteria for their accreditation. For example, completing relevant learning, having a specific qualification, or holding a particular role. For more details about criteria, see the accreditations table (to be added in POR in 2024).
Lead Volunteers or Team Leaders usually give accreditations. They’ll have the best overview of how tasks and accreditations are shared in their teams, so ideally they’ll approach suitable volunteers and ask them to take on accreditations. However, volunteers (in their team or in wider teams) may also approach the Lead Volunteer or Team Leader if they're interested in taking on specific tasks.
Lead Volunteers or Team Leaders will check the volunteer has met the criteria, is suitable to take on these responsibilities, and they’ve done the relevant learning. They’ll then log into scouts.org.uk and give the accreditation to the volunteer. This’ll give the volunteer the right permissions to do their tasks and it’ll record who’s doing what on scouts.org.uk.
Many accreditations will expire after a certain date or if the volunteer no longer meets the criteria. Lead Volunteers and Team Leaders will be able to see when an accreditation will expire, and the volunteer holding the accreditation will get a notification when it expires.
Accreditations can be renewed if the volunteer still meets the criteria. For some accreditations, volunteers will need to complete the relevant learning again to make sure they’re up to date with any changes and meet the pre-requisites. A renewed accreditation begins the day it’s issued – even if the previous one hasn’t expired yet. See the accreditations table for more detail about expiry dates (to be added in POR in 2024).
As with any team task, it’s important the Team Leader or Lead Volunteer checks in with the person who has the accreditation to see how they’re getting on and what support they need.
To take on a role, our volunteers need to go through the joining process. They’ll complete all the relevant steps, such as criminal record checks, references, and Growing Roots learning, in their first six months. Whereas accreditations are a simple way of taking on specific tasks, volunteers still need to meet the criteria, which may involve some learning, but they’ll already be a ‘full member’.
Accreditations are responsibilities linked to certain teams – Leadership, Volunteering Development, Programme, and UKHQ. If a volunteer takes on an accreditation, they might already be part of that team, but they don’t have to be. If they’re in another team and they take on the accreditation, they don’t join that team, nor do they take on whole team tasks.
Instead, they’ll simply show up on scouts.org.uk as someone who’s taking on a task linked to that team. There can be real benefits to this, as it makes it more flexible about who can do what tasks.
For example, a Beaver Section Team Member receives an Adventurous Activity Assessor accreditation, as they’re qualified to assess kayaking permits. This task is linked to the County Programme Team, so the County Programme Team Leader gives them the accreditation. The Beaver Section Team Member remains part of the Beaver Section Team, and they don’t join the County Programme Team just because they’ve taken on these tasks. However, they now have the right permissions to be an Adventurous Activity Assessor.
All accreditations will be recorded and accessed on scouts.org.uk. Those who need to know who has which accreditation will be able to see it on scouts.org.uk. For example, a Team Leader will be able to see who has accreditations linked to their team.
Tasks can be shared depending on who’s in the team and your local needs. This might change over time. Accreditations will help volunteers give their time flexibly.
For example, in a large District with plenty of volunteers, there might be multiple volunteers with the same. In a small District, our Lead Volunteers may find it more practical to keep some responsibilities, rather than sharing them with others.
The only exceptions are Awards Parcel Recipient and the King’s Scout Award Parcel Recipient. These accreditations are used for sending certificates and other award materials in the post, so there should only be one person with these accreditations in each location to avoid confusion.
It’s possible for volunteers to take on more than one accreditation, if they’d like. There’s no limit to the number of accreditations a volunteer can have. However, it’s worth checking in with volunteers to make sure they understand the size and nature of the responsibilities that come with each accreditation, and how it’ll fit in with their overall commitment to volunteering.
Lead Volunteers or Team Leaders usually remove accreditations. It won’t affect any role(s) or team membership(s) of the volunteer. There will be a record of past accreditations in the volunteer’s personal profile on scouts.org.uk
Some accreditations will expire (for example, after a certain time or after an event). These can be renewed, except for a small number, which are specific to an event, such as the International Service Team Member accreditation.
When to start using accreditations
Remember, you won’t be able to officially use accreditations until the new digital systems go live.
However, you can still start thinking about them as you begin making changes to your teams.
- When you’re recruiting new volunteers or talking to current volunteers about their skills and interests, try to decide who might take on extra responsibilities. For example, Volunteer Safeguarding Lead, Permit Approver or Awards Parcel Recipient sit as default with the Lead Volunteer, but can be shared through accreditations.
- As you create your Volunteering Development Team, consider who might take on the responsibilities (and accreditation) to become a Trainer.
- Take time to identify volunteers in the Programme Team who could get the accreditations for Visits Abroad Recommender, Nights Away Assessor, or Adventurous Activity Assessor