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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

Moving to Trustee Boards

How Trustee Boards are set up to focus on governance

Renaming to Trustee Boards 

In April 2023, we renamed Executive Committees and Executive Committee Members, as Trustee Boards and Trustees respectively. Doing this brings us in line with good practice guidance set by charity regulators. It also clarifies purpose. Before the name change, Executive Committee members performed the roles of charity trustees and were responsible for charity governance. Trustee Boards are set up to focus solely on the governance of the charity not charity operations, and the name change makes this focus clearer.   

It’ll also help us to recruit new volunteers to Trustee Boards. With an easier to understand purpose, volunteers have a better idea of whether they can get involved in a way that works for their skills, interests and availability.  

What this means for you 

Use the titles Trustee and Trustee Boards for your current team and when you recruit new volunteers. Until the new digital system is live in your county, Trustees will be recorded as Executive Committee Members on Compass.  

Purpose of Trustee Boards

Trustee Boards, and their sub-teams, need to focus only on good charity governance. This means responsibility for support and operational tasks needs to sit with other teams, like the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team. 

A clear separation of governance and operational tasks might be different to what volunteers who were part of Executive Committees are used to. But it’s important as it means Trustees can focus on governance and do it well. Itll also be easier to retain volunteers and recruit new ones to Trustee Boards as what’s expected of our Trustees will be clearer.  

It also means that volunteers who want to focus on operational and support tasks do not need to be a Trustee to do so. For example, the person who's great at managing the hall or running fundraising events can do so as part of the Leadership Team or Support Team. If they don’t have the interest, skill or time to be a Trustee - they don’t have to.  

What this means for you 

Trustee Boards need to understand the difference between Governance and Support tasks.

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

Or explore examples of governance and operational tasks, below.


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

Support or operational: 

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

Trustee Board Team Description

Read the Trustee Board Team Description and find useful resources and guidance. 

Read the Team Description

Trustee Board
membership and appointments 

From 1 April 2024, Trustee Boards are making changes to their membership. These include how Trustees are appointed, term limits, who can be a Trustee and how many Trustees they have. Read on for further information.

These changes will be included in the March 2024 edition of POR, which will be effective from 1 April. 

Who's on the Trustee Board 

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. All Trustees should be recorded on Compass (and the new digital system when it’s live in your county). If a registered charity, Trustees should also be recorded with the appropriate regulator.

Trustee appointments 

Trustee Boards will agree on an open selection process to recruit 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. 

Find out how to run an open 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 four appointed Trustees on the Board (in addition to the Chair and Treasurer), there can be a maximum of four 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.  


Trustee Board size  

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

Trustee term limits  

Trustee Board membership will refresh as of the 2024 AGMs. New term limits won’t include any previous service as a Trustee: current trustees, regardless of how long they have been a member of an Executive Committee already, will start a new term (of up to 9 years) at the next AGM in 2024.  

Appointed Trustees are appointed for up to three years and can 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 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 (Lead Volunteers or Youth Leads).

Trustee Board administration and organisation 

Trustee Boards need good administration and organisation.  Trustees are collectively responsible for making sure this is in place.  

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, if still in role, existing Secretaries will be recorded as Trustees and will be expected to continue with Trustee responsibilities and not focus on administration. Ahead of then, Trustee Boards should consider how they arrange their administration support. 

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

  • A member of the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team could take responsibility for minute-taking. 
  • If current Secretary prefers the administration role over Trustee responsibilities, they can stand down as a Trustee at the next AGM but continue providing administration support as a member of the Group Leadership Team or District / County Support Team. 
  • Existing administrator(s) in the Group, District or County could take on some or all of the Trustee Board administration tasks. 

Please note that:  

  • Whoever takes the Trustee Board meeting minutes needs to understand what the Trustee Board do, and work well with the Chair.  
  • A Trustee Board member ideally should not take minutes, as it will make it difficult for them to fully contribute to the meeting  

For Group Trustee Boards, carrying out this administration is part of the Group Leadership Team’s responsibility. For District and County Trustee Boards, carrying it out is done by the respective Support Team.  

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