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Moving to Trustee Boards

What you need to know to move from Executive Committees to Trustee Boards

This information should support what is being shared in local briefings and meetings with your local Transformation Leads and leadership teams. Work with your Transformation Leads to plan how and when you will make these changes locally.

Executive Committees are now known as Trustee Boards. This came into effect for members in Scotland in July 2023, and all others from April 2023. 'Executive Committee' and associated wording will still be visible on Compass and the website as we adopt this and other changes to how we volunteer.

In April 2023, we renamed Executive Committees and Executive Committee Members as Trustee Boards and Trustees respectively. 

Trustee Boards will focus on governance activities. Support activities (such as fundraising, premises management or administration) currently led by Executive Committees are moving to other teams in the Group, District or County/Area/Region(Scotland).

Being clear about trusteeship

Every member of an Executive Committee already acts as a charity trustee. The renaming gives greater clarity on this.

Making the change aligns with guidance from charity regulators and helps Trustee Boards meet their governance responsibilities as charity trustees.

It also aims to help us recruit new volunteers by making roles and responsibilities easier to understand, and helping volunteers to get involved in a way that works for their skills, interests and availability. 

Being clear about the purpose of Trustee Boards

Being clear about Trustee Boards' governance purpose helps trustees to understand their responsibilities and carry these out in an effective way. 

While Trustee Boards will focus on governance, wider teams - usually either the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team - will focus on support and operational tasks. The sub-teams page shows examples of how teams can organise their volunteers in the best way that suits them. 

Separating governance and operational tasks will also help as we recruit new volunteers - and to retain those already part of our teams. For example, the person who's great at managing the hall or running fundraising events might not have the skills, interests or time to be a trustee - but they can still be involved, as part of the Leadership Team or Support Team.

If Trustee Boards chose to set up Trustee Board sub-teams it's important that they support governance rather than operational work.


  • Make sure sufficient resources (funds, people, property and equipment) are available for the delivery of a high quality programme
  • Make sure the charity's finances are properly managed, including appropriate budgets 
  • Make sure there’s effective administration in place to support the work of the Trustee Board
  • Take responsibility for following Data Protection legislation 
  • Make sure employed staff are managed effectively

Support or operational:

  • Fundraising activities; premises management and equipment maintenance
  • Bookkeeping, banking, paying invoices and expenses
  • Distribute agendas, minutes, etc. for meetings and AGMs; manage appointments to the Board 
  • Manage any websites, email systems, or document stores 
  • Act as line manager, supporting staff in their work 

Trustee Boards membership and appointments

All members of Trustee Boards are charity Trustees, whether they’re ex officio, appointed, or co-opted. As Trustees, they all have the same rights and responsibilities.   

Trustee Boards should have a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 12 members, allowing for lots of different viewpoints without making decision-making difficult. This also follows the Charity Governance Code’s recommendation. 

For more detailed information about Trustee Boards, please see the Trustee Board team description

Appointed Trustees are appointed by the Scout Council.

Trustee Boards will agree on an open selection process to appoint new Trustees. The Chair, Treasurer and Trustees are all appointed at Annual General Meetings (AGMs) by the Scout Council, based on the outcome of this selection process. 

Trustee Boards can also co-opt members throughout the year. Co-opted Trustees may be chosen to do a particular task, or to bring new skills to the mix. 

Please note, there can’t be more co-opted Trustees than appointed Trustees (excluding the Chair and Treasurer). For example, if there are five appointed Trustees on the Board (in addition to the Chair and Treasurer), there can be a maximum of five co-opted Trustees. 

Ex officio Trustees are automatically members of Trustee Boards because of their roles in Scouts. The ex officio Trustee roles are: 

  • For Group Trustee Boards:
    • Group Lead Volunteer
  • For District Trustee Boards:
    • District Lead Volunteer
    • District Youth Lead (not in Scotland)
  • For County Trustee Boards:
    • County Lead Volunteer
    • County Youth Lead (not in Scotland)

Where more than one person holds the same ex officio role, both need to be eligible to be a Trustee, but only one will be the ex officio Trustee. This’ll be agreed and decided by the joint role holders and the Chair of the Trustee Board. If the current ex officio Trustee role holder steps down, the other role holder will then become the Trustee. 

Please note, the following roles will no longer be ex officio Trustee roles: 

  • For Group Trustee Boards: Deputy Group Scout Leader, Section Leaders, Sponsoring Authority, or Secretary.
  • For District Trustee Boards: District Explorer Scout Commissioner, District Scout Network Commissioner, or Secretary.
  • For County Trustee Boards: Secretary. 
  • Appointed Trustees are appointed for up to three years and they can also be re-appointed (by the Scout Council at the AGM).
  • Co-opted Trustees are appointed for an initial period of one year (by the Trustee Board). They can potentially stay on longer if agreed by the Trustee Board. But, it’s a good idea for co-opted Trustees to move onto being appointed Trustees at the next AGM.
  • Trustees may only be on the same Trustee Board for a maximum of nine years, before taking a break of at least three years. This applies to any role, but not ex officio Trustees. 

Please note, membership periods will refresh as of the 2024 AGMs. They won’t include any previous service as Trustees. 

Trustee Boards need good administration and organisation.  They're collectively responsible for making sure this is in place. For Group Trustee Boards, this administration is part of the Group Leadership Team’s responsibility. For District and County Trustee Boards, it’s part of the responsibility of the respective Support Teams. 

Trustee Board administration tasks include:

  • Working with the Chair to prepare meeting agendas
  • Distributing agendas and meeting documents
  • Preparing meeting logistics, including booking meeting place(s)
  • Taking minutes
  • Maintaining records
  • Supporting the completion of the annual census return
  • Administering the Trustee selection process agreed by the Trustee Board
  • Preparing and advertising the Annual General meeting
  • Coordinating and collating the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts

To bring Scouts in line with charity sector good practice, the Trustee role of Secretary as the administrator will cease. At the point of migration to the new system, the existing Secretary roles will be recorded as Trustee roles. Trustee Boards will then need to consider how they’ll arrange their administration support.

Administration may be done by one person, or multiple people, whatever suits individual Trustee Board's needs. For example:  

  • The existing Secretary could continue as a Trustee, while a member of the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team takes responsibility for minute-taking - so that the Trustee (former Secretary) can focus on their Trustee responsibilities rather than administration.
  • The current Secretary may prefer the administration role rather than holding the Trustee responsibilities, and so can stand down as Trustee at the next AGM but continue providing administration support as a member of the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team.
  • An existing administrator in the Group, District or County may be interested in taking on some or all of the Trustee Board administration tasks.

Please note that if a supporting Team Member takes the minutes, it's important they understand what the Trustee Board do, and they work well with the Chair. If a Trustee Board member takes minutes, they’re unlikely to fully contribute to the meeting if they’re focusing on minute-taking. 

Actions for Executive Committees to move to Trustee Boards

Read the Trustee Board team description  

Read the April 2023 edition of POR Chapter 5 with full detail of the Trustee Boards’ purpose and responsibilities.

Use the Trustee Board team description to reflect on your current team's focus.

Try out the Governance or Support? activity to explore which tasks are part of a Trustee Board's responsibilities, and which will be carried out by Leadership or Support teams. 

You don’t have to wait for your AGM to start using the new names. For example, you can start re-labelling meetings and agendas as 'Trustee Board meetings'. 

Until we launch the new digital system, Compass will continue to show volunteers as Executive Committee Members.

Before we move to the new digital system, make sure your list of trustees is correct on Compass. If your Board is registered with a charity regulator, make sure this list of trustees is up to date also. 

Trustee Boards in POR

The April 2023 edition of POR Chapter 5 gives full detail of the purpose and responsibilities of Trustee Boards.

Trustee roles in Compass

Until we launch the new membership system, Compass will continue to show volunteers as Executive Committee Members.

If you have questions

The Info Centre can help answer any questions you might have about Trustee Boards. 

Contact Info Centre