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Transforming your Volunteer Experience

Trustee Boards

Helps ensure we are compliant with our obligations.

Clear purpose helps trustees to understand their responsibilities.

To align with good practice guidance from charity regulators.

A focus on ensuring effective governance.

Supports everyone in being able to provide Young People with Skills for Life.

Good governance is a key factor to our success at group, district and regional level, it enables our teams to ensure that local scouting is complying with our policies, organisation and rules, Scottish and UK law, and OSCR regulations. It also supports everyone  providing exciting programmes and experiences for our members.

Over the past few years, the good practice and regulations set by the Charity Regulators has been significantly changed, and in order to be compliant, we need to change too. To achieve this, we are moving from Executive Committees to Trustee Boards. But this isn’t just a name change, it also changes the team’s purpose, responsibilities and how your group will function. There’s a need to make several changes including changes to group, district and regional constitutions.

Key Changes

To bring our current structure in line with the good practice guidance set out by the charity regulators there are two key areas of change:



Every member of an Executive Committee already acts as a charity trustee. The renaming gives greater clarity on this.

Making the change aligns with guidance from charity regulators and helps Trustee Boards meet their governance responsibilities as charity trustees.

It also aims to help us recruit new volunteers by making roles and responsibilities easier to understand, and helping volunteers to get involved in a way that works for their skills, interests and availability. 

From now, we’ll rename Executive Committees Trust Boards and Executive Committee Members as Trustees.

Until we launch the new membership system, Compass will continue to show volunteers as Executive Committee Members.

  • To align with good practice guidance from the charity regulators
  • To help reinforce the purpose of Trustee Boards and focus on the role and responsibilities of being a charity Trustee
  • From publication of Policy, Organisation & Rules (POR) in mid-April 2023 onwards

This renaming happens from the release of POR and does not need to be adopted or approved through AGMs.

You don’t have to wait for your AGM to start using the new names. For example, you can start re-labelling meetings and agendas as ‘Trustee Board meetings’. 

The current edition of POR now references Trustee Boards and Trustees instead of Executive Committees and Executive Committee members respectively, in all chapters

Being clear about Trustee Boards’ governance purpose helps trustees to understand their responsibilities and carry these out in an effective way. 

From April 2023, following your next annual general meeting the purpose and responsibilities of your Trustee Boards will change to…

The Trustee Board must act in the charity’s best interests, acting with reasonable care and skill and take steps to be confident that:

The scout group is:

  • well managed
  • carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
  • complying with the charity’s governing document and the law
  • managing the charity’s resources responsibly

And that the scout group:

  1. is operating compliant with Policy, Organisation & Rules (POR), including effective management of the key policies listed in chapter 2 – equal opportunities privacy and data protection, religious, safeguarding, safety, vetting, youth member anti-bullying policies.
  2. ensures that young people are meaningfully involved in decision making at all levels
  3. plan so that there are sufficient resources (funds, people, property and equipment) available to meet the planned work of each sections in the group to enable the delivery of high quality programme and the youth training programme
  4. has a positive image in the local community

The Trustee Board members must themselves collectively:

  1. develop and maintain a risk register, including putting in place appropriate mitigations
  2. ensure that the group’s finances are properly managed, including development and maintenance of appropriate budgets to support the work of the group
  3. maintain and manage:
       – a reserves policy (including a plan for use of reserves outside the ‘minimum’)
       – an investment policy
       – a public benefit statement for the group
  4. ensure that people, property and equipment are appropriately insured, and that any property and equipment owned or used by the group is properly protected and maintained
  5. promote and support the development of scouting in the local area
  6. ensure the appointment and management and operation of any sub-committees, including appointing a chair to lead the sub-committee
  7. ensure that effective administration is in place to support the work of the Trustee Board
  8. appoint any Administrators, Advisers and co-opted members of the Trustee Board
  9. ensure transparency of operation, including:
    • prepare and approve the annual accounts and arrange their sign-off of by an auditor, independent examiner or scrutineer as appropriate and as appointed by the Scout Council at their Annual General Meeting (AGM)
    • prepare and approve the Trustees’ annual report (which must include the annual accounts)
    • present the approved Trustees’ annual report and annual accounts to the scout council at the AGM
    • following the AGM, ensure that a copy of the trustee annual report and accounts is sent to the District Trustee Board administration and, if a registered charity, is filed with the appropriate charity regulator (if the regulator’s rules require it)
    • take responsibility for adherence to data protection legislation (GDPR), recognising that, dependent on circumstances, it will at different times act as a data controller and as a data processor
    • individually and collectively maintain confidentiality regarding appropriate trustee board business

where staff are employed:

  • act as a responsible employer in accordance with scouting’s values and relevant legislation
  • ensure that effective line management is in place for each employed staff member and that these are clearly established and communicated
  • ensure that appropriate specific personnel insurance is in place
  • To align with good practice guidance from charity regulators
  • To focus on ensuring effective governance. This is the core of any charity Trustee Board’s responsibility and an important part of ensuring that the charity focusses on meeting its objectives

From publication of POR in mid-April 2023

  • Those who have already adopted the constitution as set out in POR 
    • This change can happen from the release of POR and does not need to be adopted or approved through AGMs
  • For those who have not adopted the POR constitution
    • This change can be informally adopted and worked towards from the release of POR and will then need to be confirmed at the next AGM 

Whilst this is not a change in POR, it is important that this is done. This has been a requirement of Annual General Meetings since 2011. It continues to be a requirement for Trustee Boards.

The April 2023 edition of POR, will contain the updated ‘Trustee Board Purpose’ statements in chapter 5

  • It is important that the model AGM agenda outlined below (and in the April 2023 edition of POR Chapter 5), is followed from your next AGM where possible
  • If additional time is needed, then they should consider delaying their 2023 AGM (though it must still take place within six months of the end of their financial year)

Name Change

Use our new names for Trustee Boards and Trustees to help them feel familiar.

Trustee Team description

Spend some time looking through the trustee team description, identify which tasks you’re already doing well, and agree how you’ll share tasks among the Trustees.

Task Evaluation

If you’ve previously been doing tasks that now fall outside of your new trustee team description, take some time to plan how you’ll hand these over to the Group Leadership Team or the relevant District Support Team

Agenda Review

Review your agenda to reflect our new focus on governance. 

Regional Resource links

Scottish version of a District Constitution template, which can be used and/or amended.

Scottish version of a Group Constitution template, which can be used and/or amended.

Check out our quick guide for actions for moving from Executive Committees to Trustee Boards.

Scottish Resource links

Scottish variations from the March 2024 edition of the Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) of the Scout Association.

Scottish version of a template for Annual General Meetings agendas and scripts for Districts.

Scottish version of a template for Annual General Meetings agendas and scripts for Groups.

Template for Annual Report/Annual Accounts both worked version and blank version

National Resource links

New Trustees

Recruit Trustees

Tools to support Trustee Boards