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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

Steps in the volunteer joining journey

Understand the steps in the joining journey for a new volunteer and how they can become a full member

All new volunteers will have to complete vetting and safeguarding checks when they join Scouts. 

Here’s a handy illustration which explains the steps new volunteers will take to become a full member:

Our digital system, on, will show a set of steps, relevant to each new volunteer, that they need to complete when joining Scouts. 

All steps, except for Growing Roots learning, will need to be started within six weeks of becoming a member. They can be done in any order at any time.

Criminal record checks

In England and Wales, we’ll use a mobile friendly self-service criminal record check process through Atlantic Data. 

Please note, we don’t use the Disclosure Update Service. This means new volunteers will have to complete a criminal record check, even if they’ve already completed one for another organisation. 

For Scotland, Northern Ireland, British Scouting Overseas and Branches, we’ll introduce an improved criminal record check process that’ll reduce additional admin time. 


We need references so we can keep young people safe and check all new volunteers are right for Scouts. To make our references process easier: 

  • Volunteers will directly enter their referee information and requests will be sent automatically. 
  • Referees will be able to respond directly, and references with no comments or issues will be approved automatically. Any issues flagged by references received will be reviewed locally.

Welcome conversation

When a volunteer first joins Scouts, they’ll attend a Welcome Conversation with their Team Leader and a volunteer who has the Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation.

It’s an opportunity to chat to new volunteers, find out more about them, make sure they understand and commit to our values, and how we keep young people safe.

From 1 June 2024, Early Adopter Counties will be rolling out Welcome Conversations, so new volunteers in these Counties should be invited to have a Welcome Conversation, instead of an Appointments Panel. By 1 September 2024, all our Early Adopter Counties will have made the transition.

Internal check

Our UK Headquarters will automatically check a new volunteer's name against internal records. We're making this step easier by:

  • Introducing an automated internal check process, making it quicker for checks to be completed. 
  • Allowing new volunteers and their Team Leaders to see their information, so they’re aware of any restrictions applied to someone's membership by UKHQ. 


Volunteers will continue to make a commitment when they join to accepting Scout values, following Scout policies and completing the learning required. 

All charity trustees in the UK must also complete an eligibility declaration form saying they are eligible to be a Trustee. 

We’re making these clearer by improving the wording of our declarations and making only the relevant declarations visible to new volunteers when they first sign in to 

Growing Roots learning

New volunteers, or volunteers starting a new type of role, will have six months to complete their Growing Roots learning.

There are some additional checks if a volunteer changes to a new role, or is given an additional role:

  • The volunteer should have a conversation with their new Team Leader about the potential role before they take it on. This replaces the need for another Welcome Conversation.
  • Declarations to confirm their agreement to how they apply to that role.
  • A Trustee declaration (if the new role is as a Trustee).

No other checks need to be re-done.

Members who complete the Young Leaders’ Scheme and continue volunteering as an adult volunteer still need to do all the same steps on the joining journey as any other adult would in Scouts, regardless of how well they know the adults around them. 

Explorer Scouts and members of Scout Network who decide to take on roles will also need to do the same. 

Young Leaders will still need to complete Growing Roots learning. 


Guide to running a Welcome Conversation

We're introducing Welcome Conversations to help new volunteers settle in - read the information and top tips for Lead Volunteers, Team Leaders and Welcome Conversation Volunteers.

Check out the conversation guide