How We Keep Your Child Safe

Our commitment to safety and adventure

We know that young people thrive in safe surroundings. We are therefore committed to ensuring that Scouting is both enjoyable and safe for everyone who takes part. As a parent or carer, you will have questions about how we achieve this, and we hope to provide the answers below.

How does Scouting appoint people who work with young people?

All those who help to run our activities are volunteers who give their time freely to help young people enjoy Scouting. Leaders are interviewed locally and are asked to provide references. Everyone working with young people in Scouting is required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Record Check. If you are asked to help with activities you may be asked to complete this process too.

Is there a written code of behaviour?

We have a clear code of behaviour (sometimes called the ‘Yellow Card’) which is given to all adults working in Scouting, regardless of their role. This is also included in the training that leaders receive. This gives advice about how young people should be treated and we expect everyone to follow it. If you volunteer to help out with an activity, you’ll be given one too.

If you would like to see a copy of the code of behaviour for adults go to or call us on 0845 300 1818

How is Scouting managed locally?

Each Scout Group should have a Group Scout Leader (GSL). This person is responsible for leading the Scout Group; they act as the ‘manager’ for the volunteers in the Scout Group. In Explorer Scout Units (for young people aged 14-18) a District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) takes on this role. Both Group Scout Leaders and District Explorer Scout Commissioners are responsible to a District Commissioner (DC). This is the volunteer manager responsible for a geographical area (such as a town or part of a big city/county).

Do leaders receive training?

Yes – all leaders in Scouting have training which covers a wide range of topics including how to plan activities and games. We expect all leaders to take courses in basic first aid and child protection. Special training is provided for those taking young people away on residential events, such as camps and sleepovers.

How can I raise any concerns or comment on activities?

If you are unhappy with anything relating to your child’s time in Scouting you should raise it with your child’s leaders. If you would rather speak to someone else, please see our concerns about scouting pages.

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.

What are the arrangements for outings or camps?

All leaders taking young people on outings or camps will give you notice in writing, ask for your permission and provide you with a way of contacting the group while they are away.

We will never ask to take individual young people away on their own or without another adult being present. ALL residential activities (camps and sleepovers) will have at least two adults present, unless the young people involved are participating in an expedition or event where adults are not expected to attend at all. We will tell you if there is to be no adult presence at an activity.

No young people under the age of 18 are allowed to consume alcohol while on Scouting activities.

The NSPCC says that parents should beware of:

  • Activities where parents are discouraged from staying to watch or become involved
  • Behaviour or activities that encourage rough play, sexual innuendo or humiliating punishments
  • Individuals who take charge and operate independently of organisational guidelines
  • Individuals who show favouritism or personally reward specific children
  • Encouragement of inappropriate physical contact
  • Poor communication and lack of parental involvement, leaving you feeling uneasy
  • Children who drop out or stop going for no apparent reason
  • Invitations for children to spend time alone with staff or volunteers (or even to visit their home).

We agree with the NSPCC and would not expect any of these to occur in Scouting

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls