The first night away from home. The first hike. The first trip abroad.
All of these moments are great for developing young people’s confidence, but we know how daunting it can be the one packing their overnight bag and waving them off at the gates. And we know it doesn’t necessarily get easier as they grow.
Young people thrive in secure surroundings, at home and away. Wherever we go, we’re serious about keeping them safe.
As a parent or carer, you’re bound to have questions about how we do this. Read on to find out more.
Who are Scout volunteers? How are they appointed and trained?
All our volunteers give their time freely to help young people thrive. Some volunteers lead their group week in and week out. Others call in occasionally to share a specific skill, or provide an extra pair of hands – whether they’re abseiling down mountains, or helping a group of eight year olds build a robot, or expertly remembering how everyone takes their tea.
All of our leaders are interviewed locally and asked to provide references. They undergo the mandatory training they need to be the best they can be, including basic first aid and child protection. Special training is provided for those taking young people away on residential events like camps and sleepovers.
Everyone who works with young people also has to undertake a DBS disclosure check (also known as a ‘police check’).
How is Scouts managed in Chelmsford?
Each Scout Group consists of different ‘sections’ – which may include a
- Squirrel Drey (for 4-6 year olds),
- Beaver Colony (for 6-8 year olds),
- Cub Pack (for 8-10 ½ year olds),
- Scout Troop (for 10 ½-14 year olds),
A Group Lead Volunteer, is responsible for overseeing and supporting volunteers in each section and manages the Scout Group.
In Explorer Scouts and Scout Network, a District 14-24 Team Leader takes on this role. Chelmsford’s 14-24 Team Leader is Bruce Knight.
Both Group Lead Volunteers and District 14-24 Team Leader are responsible to our District Lead Volunteers. Where a group does not have a Lead Volunteer, Leaders report directly to the District Lead Volunteers.
The District Lead Volunteers are the volunteer managers responsible for the whole of the Chelmsford district. The Lead Volunteers in Chelmsford are Suzanne Ball and Leanne Oscroft.
Our values and key policies
Part of being a Scout is going on a journey to understand who you are and what you stand for. Everyone is unique, but there are some things all Scouts can agree on. We call these Scout values. They’re at the heart of who we are and what we do. And we think they’re rather important:
Integrity – We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.
Respect – We have self-respect and respect for others.
Care – We support others and take care of the world in which we live.
Belief – We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.
Co-operation – We make a positive difference; we co-operate with others and make friends.
Our child protection and safety polices
Is there a set of ‘rules’ volunteers follow?
Yes – as Scouts, we have a clear code of behaviour we expect our adult volutnteers to abide by, known as the ‘Yellow Card’. This code is shared with all adults who interact with young people – regardless of their role – and is included in the training leaders receive.
If you volunteer to help out with an activity, you’ll be given your own yellow card to keep on hand and refer back to. You can see a digital copy of the Yellow Card, or call us on 0345 300 1818 to discuss it. You can also view our safety policies – which relate to how our leaders run adventurous activities responsibly – in chapter two of Policy, Organisation & Rules (POR).
What are the arrangements for outings or camps?
All leaders taking young people away will give you notice, ask for your permission and provide you with a way of contacting the group while they’re away.
All residential activities (such as camps and sleepovers) are required to 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’ll always tell you if there is to be no adult presence for a particular activity, and we’ll never ask to take individual young people away on their own.
No people under the age of 18 are allowed to consume alcohol while they’re taking part in Scout activities, and never in front of young people.
How can I best communicate the importance of staying safe to my children?
The world is constantly changing. Technology is constantly evolving. Society puts pressure on young people to experience new things, but that can also make them feel vulnerable and unsure about the world around them.
Our STAY SAFE leaflets contain information for young people about how to stay safe online and in the real world, and gives them all the age-specific information they need to report anything that makes them feel worried, scared or upset. They’re available from local Scout Shops free of charge, or to download digitally below.
- Stay Safe (Beavers, aged 6-8)
- Stay Safe (Cubs, aged 8 to 10 ½)
- Stay Safe (Scouts, aged 10 ½ to 14)
- Stay Safe (Explorers, aged 14 to 18)
We’ve also put together some videos on safeguarding for Beavers and Cubs, and for Scouts and Explorers.
What should parents and carers be aware of?
The NSPCC advises parents and carers to be wary of
- Activities where parents are discouraged from staying to watch or become involved.
- Activities or behaviour 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 wholeheartedly with the NSPCC and would not expect any of this behaviour to occur in The Scouts.
As always, if you have any concerns, please raise them immediately with your child’s leaders, or – if you’d rather speak to someone else –
contact the Scout Information Centre on 0345 300 1818.
How can I raise any concerns or comment on activities?
If you’re unhappy with anything relating to your child’s time in Scouts, you should raise it immediately with your local leaders, no matter how trivial it may seem.
If you’d rather speak to someone else, contact the Scout Information Centre on 0345 300 1818.