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Reasonable adjustments

All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments to ensure Scouting is accessible and inclusive.

Reasonable adjustments are actions taken to remove barriers to Scouting and Scouting activities. Reasonable adjustments should, as far as reasonably possible, remove or reduce the disadvantage faced by Scouting being inclusive to Disabled Young People.

Scouting uses the social model of disability. Scouting believes that Disabled People are disabled by society and therefore it is the responsibility of the organisation to make changes to remove or reduce that disadvantage. Our commitment is outlined within Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR), chapter 2 Key Policies.

How to make reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes to;
These considerations should be explored in detail, in consultation with the young person and their parents/ carers. For guidance on working in partnership with parents/ carers click here.

The situation should be regularly reviewed, to ensure that the adjustments are removing barriers to participation, being implemented effectively and are responding to the needs of the individual.

There is a lot of flexibility in Scouting and in the Programme to ensure all young people can enjoy the adventure, this includes flexibility in badges and awards. Fore more information about flexibility in Scouting click here

What is reasonable is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done; and the cost and resources available to the Group at that time. Reasonable adjustments is a legal term which recognises that each Group will have different practical resources to meet the needs of an individual young person.

For example, if a young person would benefit from the support of a regular 1:1 supporter to fully participate in Scouting, and their parent/carer is able to offer this level of support, it is reasonable that the Group supports this adjustment. It would also be reasonable to try to recruit an adult volunteer with the required skills. However, if the parent/carer is not able to provide this support, a suitable volunteer cannot be recruited and so a professional carer is required as the 1:1, it would be unreasonable for the Group to be expected to finance this level of support on a weekly basis.

Another example is, where a young person who uses a wheelchair joins the Group, it is likely to be reasonable for the Group to provide a moveable ramp. It is likely to be unreasonable for the Group to provide an electronic lift due to cost, or to fit a permanent ramp if the Group do not own the meeting place. If the Group do not own the meeting place, it would be reasonable to ask the building owners to make the required access updates.

It is best practice to consider the reasonable adjustment framework every time a new member joins. Making reasonable adjustments is an on-going duty and should be regularly reviewed.

What is reasonable for the Group is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done, the cost and the resources available to the Group at that time. For example, making an adjustment which would cost the Group a considerable amount of money would not be reasonable if it would require the Group to take out a loan.

Reasonable adjustments FAQs

These FAQ's offer further clarity about reasonable adjustments, and how they should be implemented within Scouting.

1. Why did The Scout Association change POR to include reasonable adjustments (March 2016)?

The Scout Association has a legal duty, as a membership organisation, to take positive action to identify and remove barriers faced by Disabled People accessing Scouting. tThis is to ensure The Scout Association is complying with the Equality Act 2010 (applicable to England, Scotland and Wales) and the relevant equality legislation in Northern Ireland.

As a member of The Scout Association, all volunteers are expected to make and be able to demonstrate how local Scouting has made reasonable adjustments to reduce or remove the barriers to Disabled Young People accesing Scouting.

At Group level, this requirement, alongside The Scout Association's definition of reasonable adjustment, should support all Sections to understand what is expected of them, and provide a practical framework for inclusion. Scouting is not a statutory provision (like the education system), therefore groups are required to make reasonable adjustments to support young people to access Scouting.

2. Why does the guidance on reasonable adjustments explicitly refer to young people?

Reasonable adjustments within POR refers explicitly to young people accessing Scouting as The Scout Association is a youth Movement, offering a service to young people. Our adult volunteers are a means for delivery and not in receipt of Scouting services.

3. Why does The Scout Association have an Equal Opportunities Policy?

The Scout Association has an Equal Opportunities Policy to outline what we do to ensure the Movement is open and accessible; and that we treat people equally and with respect.
As well as ensuring we comply with current equality legislation, this reflective of the ethos of the Scout Movement, and our fundamental values (integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation).
It is important for us to share this commitment, and make it clear that Scouting is willing to take action to prevent discrimination and promote equality.

4. How does The Scout Association define 'reasonable adjustment'?

Reasonable adjustments are actions taken to remove barriers to Scouting and Scouting activities. Reasonable adjustments should, as far as reasonably possible, remove or reduce the disadvantage faced by Scouting being inclusive to Disabled Young People.

Scouting uses the social model of disability. Scouting believes that Disabled People are disabled by society and therefore it is the responsibility of the organisation to make changes to remove or reduce that disadvantage.

5. What is a protected characteristic?

These are the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful. The characteristics are listed within The Scout Association's Equal Opportunities Policy which mirrors current UK equality legislation; The Equality Act 2010 (and relevant equality legislation in Northern Ireland).


6. Why have the examples of discrimination in the Equal Opportunities Policy been expanded?

The examples of prejudice and discrimination that The Scout Association opposes has been broadened to also include sexism and homophobia, alongside racism. This is reflective of developments in organisational guidance and the need to be more explicit about the types of behaviour which are unacceptable. This is not an exhaustive list.

7. Practically, how do I make reasonable adjustments?

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual, and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes to;
These considerations should be explored in detail, in consultation with the parents/ carers. The situation should be regularly reviewed, to ensure that the adjustments are removing barriers to participation, being implemented effectively and are responding to the needs of the individual.

There is a lot of flexibility in Scouting and in the Programme, to ensure all young people can enjoy the adventure, this includes flexibility in badges and awards.

8. How do I decide what is reasonable and what is unreasonable?

What is reasonable is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done, and the cost and the resources available to the Group at that time. Reasonable adjustments is a legal term which recognises that each Group will have different practical resources to meet the needs of an individual young person.

9. How can the Group afford to make reasonable adjustments?

What is reasonable for the Scout Group is dependent upon the effectiveness of the adjustment, whether it can actually be done, the cost and the resources available to the Group at that time. For example, making an adjustment which would cost the Group a considerable amount of money would not be reasonable if it would require the Group to take out a loan.

10. Does this mean we have to make physical changes to our building/ meeting place?

Making reasonable adjustments may incorporate some physical changes to the meeting place, such as the purchase of a moveable ramp where steps are currently a barrier to a wheelchair user accessing the space. Any physical changes to buildings need to be considered in relation to their effectiveness, and cost alongside the finances of the Group.

11. How do the individual needs of young people influence the section size?

Every young person has unique needs and this must be considered within the reasonable adjustment framework. The capacity of the leadership team to provide Scouting safely is of upmost importance when considering reasonable adjustments.

12. Does the Group have to provide a 1:1 carer to enable a young person to fully participate in Scouting?

Scouting is delivered by adult volunteers and is not a statutory provision (such as the education system, for example). Scouting does not have a statutory obligation to provide a 1:1 for a young person to access Scouting on a regular basis.

If there is capacity within the Group to provide additional support that is very positive, however, where a 1:1 is required on a regular basis, it would be the responsibility of the parents/ carer to provide or source the required support. The Group should not take on any financial responsibilities for the employment of a carer.

Where a young person is supported to access Scouting by a professional carer provided for example, by the local authority, or another charity the Group should work with the parents/ carers and supporter to plan and agree how this will work in practice. All adults attending Scouting activities must uphold the Yellow Card.

Further guidance about working with 1:1 supporters can be accessed via safeguarding@scouts.org.uk 

13. Can a Disabled Young Person remain in a youth section after they are 18?

All individuals are legally recognised as adults from their 18th birthday onwards. Regardless of any additional need or disability, upon reaching their 18th birthday, a youth member is legally recognised as an adult and cannot remain in the Beaver, Cub or Scout sections, or the Explorer Unit. In addition to complying with The Scout Association's duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all our youth members, this would place these Members, who are legally adults, at risk. All members aged 18 and over should be members of Scout network or have adult appointments.

14. Can a Disabled Young Person, who is over the age of 18, stay in Scouting as a helper in a younger section?

For a youth member over the age of 18 to help in a youth section, they would need to follow the usual Appointments Process, and obtain a formal adult appointment in Scouting. For more information about the appointment of adults with disabilities click here.

15. How will the duty to make reasonable adjustments impact on the Programme?

The Programme in Scouting contains a great deal of flexibility. The guiding principle throughout the Programme should be that young people are being challenged, whilst having fun. It can therefore be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any young person, whatever their ability. Reasonable adjustments focuses on removing any barriers to a young person's participation, and should not mean that activities cannot take place.

Each young person who participates in the Programme, should face a similar degree of challenge. Leaders can tailor badge or award requirements according to each young person's abilities, to enable all young people to access the badge or award of their choice. For more guidance on adapting badge and award requirements click here.

16. How will the duty to make reasonable adjustments impact on adventurous activities and outdoor activities?

The Programme in Scouting contains a great deal of flexibility. It can therefore be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for any young person, whatever their ability.

Reasonable adjustments focus on removing any barriers to a young person's participation, and should not mean that activities cannot take place. Young people's individual needs should be taken into account in the planning of activities, including the location (s)/ Venues (s), the activity, and support provided. All young people in Scouting should have the opportunity to enjoy adventurous and outdoor activities equally.

17. How do we support parents/ carers to understand these updates?


The reasonable adjustment framework encourages developing a partnership with parents/ carers. Engaging the primary caregiver at the point of joining will support parents/ carers to better understand what Scouting can do, and what support and guidance volunteers may need to remove barriers to their child accessing all that Scouting has to offer.  Be open, positive and realistic in your approach.

We have also introduced a FAQ for parents/ carers at scouts.org.uk/parents

18. How do I know if a young person has additional support needs?


In the majority of cases, the parent/ carer will inform the Group that a young person has a diagnosed disability or additional need. The young person may have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). Particularly in the younger sections, there may be occasions where a young person is in the process of being assessed and they may not have a specific diagnosis or support plan in place.

On rare occasions, a family may make the decision not to disclose information to the Scout Group. The Scout Group should not attempt to make a diagnosis, but instead focus on making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs displayed by the young person. The label of a specific condition is not as important as understanding the individual's needs and how this affects their participation in Scouting.

For guidance on working in partnership with parents/ carers click here.

19. What do I do if a parent/ carer refuses to give us support and information about a young person's additional needs?

On rare occasions, a family may make the decision not to disclose information to the Scout Group. The Scout Group should not attempt to make a diagnosis, but instead focus on making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs displayed by the young person. The label of a specific condition is not as important as understanding the individual's needs and how this affects their participation in Scouting.

Seek the parent/ carer's support, outlining the Group's drive to remove any barriers to participation. A school cannot disclose information about a young person without the consent of a parent/ carer.

20. What should I do if a parent/ carer makes an allegation of discrimination against the Group?

Scout Groups, Districts and Counties (or Areas/ Regions) should seek guidance from UK Headquarters regarding any reasonable adjustment disputes and allegations of discrimination as soon as possible. This can be done by contacting The Scout Information Centre.

21. What should I do if a leader refuses to make reasonable adjustments?

All adults in Scouting make a commitment to support all young people to fully participate in Scouting. This is reflective of the ethos of the Scout Movement, and our fundamental values (integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation).

Investigate any refusals to make reasonable adjustments, and ensure that this is responded to via line management.

Additional support is available to all adults in Scouting via Members Resources, the Adult Training Scheme and the Specialist Advisers for Inclusion and Diversity.

22. How should I support my leaders if there is a dispute relating to reasonable adjustments, or there is are allegations of discrimination?

Scout groups, Districts, Counties (or Areas/ Regions) should seek guidance from UK Headquarters regarding any reasonable adjustment disputes and allegations of discrimination as soon as possible. This can be done by contacting The Scout Information Centre.

 

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