If things don’t work out

We hope you never have to worry about with these, but just in case things don’t quite work out here’s some things you might need to know…

 Advice if things aren’t working out

Don’t leave because you are fed-up or are having problems. There are nearly always solutions to rectify problems and chances are you aren’t the only one who feels the same way.

Discuss how you feel with others in your Group, District or the County. If you are unhappy, talk to your line manager or someone else you feel comfortable with. You may just need their advice or support to deal with the situation you’re confronted with and talking it through with someone who has dealt with similar situations before can help. Sometimes we just need to give feedback and allow people the opportunity to explain or make things better.

If you become tired of the role you’re currently in, it may be time to move on but there are nearly always options for you to continue Scouting in a new role, section or group. Perhaps joining an active support unit or supporting on a exec might be a way you can still enjoy and support young people in Scouting without leaving entirely.

 Concerns about Scouting

We hope that everyone who comes into contact with Scouting will have a positive experience. However it is inevitable that, on occasion, concerns may arise which require investigation. As the majority of Scouting activity takes place locally within our community it is expected that most of these will be dealt with quickly and courteously in an informal way by your Section Leader, Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner as appropriate. However, it is possible that a problem may arise that requires a more formal investigation and response. We are committed to seeking to resolve these complaints fairly and in the best interests of everyone involved.

Should you ever have a concern about a matter within your Section or Scout Group please contact your Group Scout Leader initially. They will listen to the issues and will do their best to answer and resolve them. If you do not want to discuss the matter with the Group Scout Leader, or if they cannot deal with your concerns, or if your query is more serious, your District Commissioner will assist you.

All formal complaints must be lodged within 3 months of reasonably knowing sufficient facts about the situation. Our aim is to resolve all issues raised within four weeks of receiving your concerns. However, this may take longer depending on the nature of the issue. If the timescale needs to be extended, you should expect to be kept informed of progress.

If after receiving a response you are concerned that it was not handled appropriately, or still consider that you have not had a satisfactory answer, you may express these concerns to the next level of Scouting using our formal appeal process. So, if your grievance was originally dealt with at Scout Group level this will mean contacting the District Commissioner. If it was originally dealt with by the District Commissioner, then the County Commissioner should be contacted.

It is the Association’s policy that the original response to a complaint may be reviewed using our formal appeal process just once. This means that once you have appealed against the initial consideration or outcome of your original issue, and a review has been undertaken and a response made to you, the matter will be closed and no further appeal or review will be possible.

Any appeal must be made within three months of being notified of the outcome of the original consideration. You may be asked to state clearly why you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the way it was handled.

We do not accept and investigate anonymous complaints, complaints received from a third party, (except about youth members), or complaints that are broadly or substantively the same as previously received complaints. We also do not progress complaints that are found to be vexatious or malicious.

 Suspension of Adult Membership and Associate Membership

Suspension of Membership or Associate Membership is a neutral act intended to protect all persons involved. It assists to ensure that any investigation or inquiry proceeds in as fair and objective a manner as possible. It aims to prevent situations arising which might give rise to further concerns or allegations which could potentially cause further compromise.

Suspension may be necessary in the following circumstances:

  1. when an allegation is made that a Member or Associate Member has committed a serious criminal offence, 
  2. when a disagreement or dispute between adults remains unresolved for a period of more than 30 days,
  3. if a Member or Associate Member makes a formal, public challenge to a non-Scouting organisation, body or forum against the decision or policy of either a local Executive Committee of a Scout unit (of which that Member or Associate Member is a member) and/or The Scout Association where such public challenge seeks to change, overturn or reverse the said decision or policy or causes adverse publicity about the same,
  4. where the intentional action or inaction of an individual could seriously harm the reputation of the Movement,
  5. when the action of a Member or Associate Member may constitute gross misconduct,
  6. when a member’s DBS check expires and hasn’t been renewed.

 Termination of adult Membership and Associate Membership

Adult Membership and Associate Membership may be terminated by: 

  1. resignation,
  2. in the case of adults not holding a particular appointment, by resolution of the Group, District or County Executive as appropriate,
  3. in the case of a suspension, failure to observe the terms of the suspension imposed in accordance with the Policy, Organisation and Rules of The Scout Association,
  4. failure to meet the training obligations of the role within the required time period.


Volunteers who do not adhere to the organisation’s rules or who fail to perform their volunteer role satisfactorily may be subject to dismissal following a formal review. Anyone in this situation will be given the chance to discuss the reasons for dismissal with the appropriate Appointments Panel. 

Grounds for dismissal include, but are not limited to, gross misconduct, being under the influence of drugs or excessive alcohol, theft, misuse or unsafe use of equipment, abuse of co-volunteers and staff, breaches of confidentiality, failure to abide by the policies of the Association, failure to meet the training requirements for the role or failure to complete the duties within the role to a satisfactory standard, (further details can be found in the Appointment Process section of POR).

 Exit Interviews / Survey

Where possible informal exit interviews will be held with anyone leaving the Movement. The interview is an opportunity to explore why they are leaving, their experience and any suggestions they can offer to improve the running of our organisation. Feedback forms are sent out to people on leaving an appointment via email and constructive feedback is always welcome.