Safety and Safeguarding is everyone’s  responsibility

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Doing things safely is fundamental to everything we do in Scouting. 

It is important to understand that Safety and Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone. Leaders may believe that we do not have any cause for concern. However, there were 183 Safeguarding referrals to Gilwell from across the UK during March 2022, including several from South East Scotland. In addition, there were 32 incidents in the year to September 2021 where young people from the Region were injured either during section activities or during camps.   

Support from your Safeguarding and Safety Adviser. Please remember that Russell Shoulder, our Safeguarding and Safety Adviser is available to provide support across the Region on Safety and Safeguarding matters. Russell is available to help you promote a culture of Safe Scouting across your District/Group/Section. You can also contact him for information and support about events. He’ll check your event is in line with Scout policies, and make sure it’s being delivered safely. If you’re a manager, please reach out to him, so he can support you in your role. 

A lot of relevant information is available at Staying safe and safeguarding | Scouts 

Remember, you must always follow the Yellow, Green and Purple Cards.   


All adult members must complete the mandatory on-going training at least every 3 years. (Safety, Safeguarding, and First Aid). Gilwell has analysed data over several years and concluded that there is a strong correlation between Safety and Safeguarding incidents and the length of time since training was undertaken. Safety and Safeguarding training are available on-line and each course takes less than 30 minutes to complete. 

In addition to the mandatory training (stated above) leaders also need to complete module 17 (Running Safe Activities) to get their Wood Badge.  

Safeguarding Policy  

It is also important that all adult volunteers understand the  Safeguarding Policy | Scouts and how to keep young people and adults at risk safe.

  • Our Safeguarding Policy keeps young people safe from harm. The Scout code of practice says, ‘Young People First’, and it’s at the centre of all that we do. It’s the policy of Scouts to safeguard the welfare of all young people and adults at risk, by protecting them from neglect, and from physical, sexual and emotional harm.   
  • *We must recognise that that some people may have additional or complex needs. In certain circumstances, they can be particularly vulnerable to abuse.  
  • *An adult at risk is a person over the age of 18 that: 
    •  -needs care and support, 
    • – is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and 
    • – as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it. 
  • * As a consequence of the above: 
    • – everyone in Scouts must be able to recognise, respond to and refer any reported allegations or concerns correctly.  
    • – everyone must understand their responsibility to follow the correct procedures for protecting young people and adults at risk from harm.   
    • – the Safeguarding Policy is for everyone within Scouts, including all volunteers and staff. Scouts understand that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and is embedded across our organisation.  

    • All adults must make sure that their behaviour is always appropriate, as laid out in the Young People First Safeguarding Code of Practice (Yellow Card)

Have you completed your mandatory on-going safeguarding training?
 Safeguarding | Scouts 

What should you do if you are worried about a young person? First, don’t panic. It’s your duty to report your concerns to your line manager, who’s there to help you. Whether your concerns are about a young person’s life inside or outside of Scouts, make sure you report it your line manager. 

You must: 

  • * Allow them to speak without interruption and accept what they say  
  • * Be understanding and reassuring – do not give your opinion  
  • * Tell them you will try to help but you must pass the information on  
  • * Report it to your line manager as soon as possible  
  • * Do NOT investigate any allegations yourself 

If you have any 
Safeguarding concerns, contact your line manager or DC. Your Line Manager or DC should then raise the concern with Gilwell. Raising a concern | Scouts

If the young person is at immediate risk of significant harm, call 999 and request the Police. Inform your GSL and DC immediately and copy

Travelling with Young People  

The Safeguarding team does get a lot of enquiries about the rules around travelling with Young People. For clarification: 

  • * An adult in Scouting cannot be alone in a vehicle with any young person who they are not the parent or guardian of.  
  • * However, any adult involved in Scouting can transport their own child to a meeting or to a Scout camp.  
  • * An adult involved in Scouting can also collect a friend or another Scout on the way to a meeting/camp and drop them off on the way home, as long as they won’t be alone in the vehicle at any time with the young person who isn’t their child.  
  • * If an adult leader needs to transport a group of young people (i.e. more than one) to a Scouting event in their own vehicle, this is also acceptable, as long their insurance allows for this. But in these circumstances, they must ensure that they are not alone in the vehicle with any one of the young people. Therefore, make sure they pick up the group together and drop them off together. 

* A parent or Guardian cannot give you permission to break any our policies. 

Safety Policy  

It is very important that all adult volunteers:

  • * understand the Safety Policy | Scouts and your responsibilities for keeping young people and adults in our movement safe.   
  • * can demonstrate how to assess and manage risk.   
  • * understand the role of the leader in charge.   
  • * know what to do in an emergency, and how to report incidents and near misses.   
  • * know where to access safety resources, activity rules and guidance for the safe management of activities. 

Have you completed your mandatory on-going safety training?
Safety Training | Scouts 

Premises Safety  

The Region can deliver a premises safety seminar, on request, that is primarily targeted at groups that have their own premises. However, it is also of value to groups that hire premises as you would then be able to assess whether such premises have the necessary safety safeguards. 

Staying safe in the summer

As the weather gets better, and a little warmer, let’s make sure we’re considering the risks of hot weather for both young people and adult volunteers. You can find help in our Hot weather and Summer activity advice | Scouts 

Preparing for nights away activities

Now we’re preparing for our first summer after the pandemic, it’s important we remember the key steps of the Nights Away process. When planning for nights away, make sure you check disclosures and training for adult volunteers, and consider the risks involved with your programme. Leaders must not attend camp if they have not completed their mandatory on-going training as a minimum. (Getting Started, Safety, Safeguarding, GDPR and First Aid). Please check you’ve got a permit holder in place, and you’ve done the Nights Away Notification Form (NAN) well in advance of the proposed activity. 

Health and hygiene at camp

To support volunteers, Gilwell recently updated guidance for maintaining good health, hygiene and wellbeing for all involved in Scouting Health, hygiene and wellbeing | Scouts. This guidance includes some new guidance for menstrual hygiene Managing menstrual hygiene on camp | Scouts 

Alcohol and young people

If you’re holding any events or nights away, please remember to follow the Green Card scouting-and-alcohol-green-card.pdf ( During scouting events attended by under18s the following apply: 

  • * Under 18s must not consume alcohol under any circumstances. 
  • *Adults must not consume alcohol in the presence of under 18s. 
  • * At any one time there should be the correct ratio of responsible adults who must not consume alcohol. 
  • * Where adults do consume alcohol, it should be in a separate area from the young people and identified as an adult only area. 
  • * Adults who do consume alcohol during “off duty” periods should be mindful of the need to follow the yellow card. 

District Commissioners should check that all leaders attending camp have completed the necessary training before signing off the NAN form and that they have current Yellow, Green and Purple cards. 

Remember, Scouting should be fun, exciting and safe for everyone involved so please ensure that you: 

  • * create an environment where young people feel safe, are treated with respect, and are listened to. 
  • * report any concerns about young people or the behaviour of any adults.  
  • * keep your training up to date.  
  • * act in the best interests of young people at all times and follow the Yellow Card.

nd remember that, our code of practice says, ‘Young People First’ and that is at the centre of all that we do.

If you require any general advice or would like a Safety and Safeguarding seminar for your Group or District, please contact myself. 

Russell Shoulder 
Safety and Safeguarding Adviser  
South East Scotland Scouts