Child Protection Policy

Child Protection is our number one concern. We are all provided with clear guidance on the do's and don'ts around child protection and these are summarised in a handy card we all have a copy of with us at all times. The Scout Association provide clear policy guidelines for child protection which are summarised below. You can download a copy of this policy along with the safety and anti-bulling policies at the bottom of this page.

The Child Protection Policy

It is the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all Members by protecting them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm.

Accordingly The Scout Association is committed to:

    • taking into account in all its considerations and activities the interests and well-being of young people;

    • respecting the rights, wishes and feelings of the young people with whom it is working;

    • taking all reasonable practicable steps to protect them from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional harm;

    • promoting the welfare of young people and their protection within a relationship of trust.

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. 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 ‘fit and proper’ persons to carry out the responsibilities of the appointment. 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 ‘fit and proper’ persons to carry out the tasks to be given to them and are aware of their responsibilities under the Association's Child Protection Policy.

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.

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 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 child protection 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 Records Manager 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 Records Manager 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.