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The volunteer joining journey

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

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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.

You can start using the new joining journey at the point your County/Area/Region (Scotland) transitions to the new digital system, in 2024. 

The volunteer joining journey

All new volunteers will have to complete vetting and safeguarding checks as part of the welcome journey.

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

Graphic showing the steps of the volunteer joining journey.

The steps a new volunteer needs to complete

Our digital system will show the relevant checks a new volunteer needs to complete when they log onto their record.

All checks, except for Growing Roots learning, must be completed within six weeks of becoming a member. They can be done in any order at any time.

We’re changing how we complete 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 help to keep young people safe and to check all new volunteers are right for Scouts.

We’re making our reference 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.

When a volunteer first joins Scouts, they’ll attend a single welcome conversation with their Team Leader and a Welcome Conversation Volunteer.

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

This means 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
  • Agreeing to complete the learning required

Trustees will also make a declaration that they are eligible to be a Trustee.

We’re making these clearer by:

  • Updating and improving the wording of our declarations
  • Making only the relevant declarations visible to new volunteers when they first sign in to scouts.org.uk

All Charity trustees in the UK must complete an eligibility declaration form.

To improve this step we’ll be:

  • Updating and editing the wording of our declarations
  • Making only the relevant declarations visible to new volunteers

New volunteers will have six months to complete their Growing Roots learning. Almost all new volunteers will need to do this learning.

Growing Roots learning has two parts: the learning everyone needs, and the learning some people need. 

Find out more about Growing Roots.


When a volunteer changes or adds a new role

There are some additional checks if any volunteer decides to change to a new role, or add another role to their record: 

  • 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. 

When a Young Leader moves into an adult role 

Members who complete the Young Leaders’ Scheme and wish to continue into an adult leadership role still need to do all the same steps on the joining journey as any adult would in Scouts, regardless of how well they know the adults around them. Explorer Scouts or 14-24 members who decide to take on roles which require checks will also need to do the same. 
They'll still have to complete Growing Roots

Welcome conversation learning

Understand what you need to do to become a Welcome Conversation Volunteer.

Find out more about learning

Welcome conversation checklist

A handy checklist to help you remember the key elements of the welcome conversation.

View the checklist

Guide to running welcome conversations

Information and top tips for Welcome Conversation Volunteers.

Check out the conversation guide

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