Does The Scout Association have a Safety Policy?
Yes. As an organisation that provides exciting activities to young people we take safety very seriously. If you are concerned about the safety of any Scouting activity and would like to know more about the safety arrangements in place, you should speak to the leaders in your child’s Scout Group or Explorer Unit.
A leaflet titled 'Safe and Sound' containing a quick and informative FAQ is available for download that should answer most of your questions.
If the leaflet above doesn't initially help get in contact with one of the leadership members in your relevent section using the form on this page (Right (Below on some mobile devices)).
Futher from this if your questions are still un-answered you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.scouts.org.uk/parents. You can also call the Scout Information Centre on 0845 300 1818, if you prefer.
'Young People First' code of practice (yellow card)
To give positive guidance, the 'Young People First' code of practice (also known as the yellow card) sets out a code of behaviour for all adults in Scouting.
Every adult should have a copy of the 'Young People First' code of practice.
The Yellow Card can be viewed here.
The Child Protection Policy
The Scout Association acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and is committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and The Charity Commission requirements.
a) applies to all adults including the Board of Trustees, volunteers, paid staff, agency staff and anyone working on behalf of The Scout Association;
b) recognises that the welfare and interests of children and young people are paramount in all circumstances; and
c) aims to ensure that all children and young people have a positive and enjoyable experience of Scouting in a safe and child centred environment and are protected from abuse whilst participating in Scouting and otherwise. The Scout Association acknowledges that some children and young people, including those disabled and those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and accepts the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.
The Scout Association will:
1. promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people;
2. ensure that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate mandatory learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people;
3. provide all children and young people on joining the organisation with information for themselves and their parents or carers covering The Scout Association’s safeguarding arrangements;
4. widely promote The Scout Association’s safeguarding policies and procedures;
5. ensure that trustees, staff and volunteers take seriously all concerns and allegations of abuse and respond appropriately;
6. securely maintain and store confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns;
7. prevent the use of unsuitable individuals through the robust use of Disclosure and Barring arrangements as they apply in each nation within the UK, and the application of best practice in the safe recruitment of staff and volunteers working with children and young people;
8. ensure that robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation; and
9. address without delay any failure to comply with this policy.
This policy will be reviewed annually and revisions recommended to the Board of Trustees. This policy may also be reviewed in the following circumstances:
• changes in legislation or government guidance (including Working Together as revised within each nation, relevant legislative changes and nation specific child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures);
• in the light of learning identified by a Local Safeguarding Children Board;
• as required by the Charity Commission; and
• as a result of any other significant change or event.
Rule 2.4 Responsibilities within the Child Protection Policy
a. All adults aged 18 or over within Scouting are responsible for the operation of the Association's Child Protection Policy.
b. It is the responsibility of all adults to ensure that:
• their behaviour is appropriate at all times;
• they observe the rules established for the safety and security of young people;
• they follow the procedures following suspicion, disclosure or allegation of child abuse;
• they recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed;
• in every respect, the relationships they form with the young people under their care are appropriate.
c. The ‘Young People First’ (yellow card) sets out a Code of Behaviour, which is essential for all adults in Scouting to follow. Adults who fail to implement the Code of Behaviour or procedures issued by Headquarters may have the matter drawn to the attention of the relevant Commissioner who must take appropriate disciplinary action.
d. Adults must not consume alcohol when they are directly responsible for young people on a Scouting activity and must not permit young people (aged under 18 years) to consume alcohol on Scouting activities. The Association issues further advice on Alcohol and Scouting, which is available from the Information Centre.
e. The use of illegal substances on Scouting activities is unacceptable and appropriate action should be taken where necessary by responsible Commissioners. Headquarters issues additional guidance on request.
f. Counties must designate one or more Safeguarding Awareness Co-ordinators, following consultation with Headquarters. Safeguarding Awareness Co-ordinators must undertake mandatory training as described in “POR: The Appointment Process”. They shall have the responsibility of advising the County Commissioner and the County Executive Committee on the implementation of the Association's Child Protection and Anti Bullying Policies within the County. They shall also have a specific remit for monitoring compliance with these policies within the County and reporting their findings to the County Executive Committee and Headquarters.
g. Safeguarding Awareness Co-ordinators shall provide general guidance to the various Districts and Groups in the counties to which they are appointed, but should not be involved in responding to allegations or suspicions of abuse.
h. The role of Safeguarding Awareness Co-ordinator must not be combined with an appointment as a Group Scout Leader or Commissioner in the same County.
i. The Head of Safeguarding at Headquarters is the Association’s ultimate source of advice on all safeguarding matters, subject to any direction from the relevant sub Committee.
j. The District Commissioner or the County Commissioner, as appropriate, must be satisfied that all those whom they appoint are: (a) appropriate persons to carry out the responsibilities of the appointment, and (b) if required, maintain a current valid disclosure. They must ensure that all applicants demonstrate an understanding of and a commitment to the
principles and procedures supporting the Association's Child Protection Policy.
k. Group Scout Leaders must be satisfied that all those whom they invite to assist them in the work of the Scout Group are: (a) appropriate persons to carry out the tasks to be given to them, (b) are aware of their responsibilities under the Association's Child Protection Policy and (c) if required, maintain a current valid disclosure.
l. In cases where there is an allegation or suspicion of child abuse the District Commissioner or County Commissioner, as appropriate, must immediately take steps to ensure that no Scouting situation arises which could cause further concern and that no adult or youth Member is placed in a position which could cause further compromise. To this end, suspension of membership may be necessary (see Chapter 15).
m. Headquarters may, from time to time, issue procedures detailing the reporting arrangements for suspicions or allegations of abuse. Group Scout Leaders and relevant Commissioners must follow these procedures.
n. The Safeguarding Team at Headquarters has a remit to advise Commissioners of the actions required in the event of a suspicion or allegation of abuse. The Safeguarding Team has certain legal and regulatory obligations that all members of Scouting must assist in meeting as required. The Head of Safeguarding may issue mandatory advice regarding the management of such situations.
o. Commissioners must consult the Safeguarding Team at Headquarters as soon as possible in the event of any incident, concern or allegation of abuse being made. In any event this must occur within 24 hours of the incident being reported.
p. Headquarters may appoint a situation manager to be responsible for the Association’s response to any allegation or suspicion of abuse. Situation managers appointed by Headquarters shall have full powers to act.
q. Where urgent issues of safeguarding are involved the Chief Commissioner has the authority to suspend the membership of any adult or youth Member.
r. The suspending authority must ensure that the Vetting Team at Headquarters is informed immediately.
s. When District or County Commissioners do not renew, or when they cancel appointments because the holder has not acted in accordance with the Association's Child Protection Policy, or has breached the code of behaviour, set out in the Young People First guidelines, they must inform the Vetting Team at Headquarters in writing of the reasons for the termination of the appointment.
t. Nothing in the rules of the Association, or any guidance produced by it, may be construed as permitting an adult to take a young person away on an activity alone. No activity may take place where only one adult and one young person are present.