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Explorer Scout Finance

Finance is always an important issue for any Section and the same is true for Explorer Scouts. Listed below are some frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers.

Q1: Who is responsible for Explorer Scout finances?
A: The District Executive Committee acts as the Group Executive Committee would in the Group, for all Explorer Scout Units within the District. This means that the District Executive has overall responsibility for the finance of the Explorer Scout Units. The Executive does not want to become involved in the day to day running of the Section and it is therefore the responsibility of the District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) to ensure that all the Units within the District operate in a prudent manner.
Each Unit may have its own separate bank account, but a copy of the bank statement must be sent to the District Treasurer at least every three months and the District Treasurer should be a signatory to the account. The District Treasurer should also arrange to scrutinise the accounts at least once a quarter.

Q2: Are Explorer Scout Units registered as separate charities?
A: No. They come under the management of the District and the charity number for the District should be quoted when necessary.

Q3: Which is better, central funding by the District or devolved funding by the individual Units?
A: Neither- in most cases it will be a mix of the two. Explorer Scout Units may wish to do some of their own funding for specific projects or for the general running of the Unit. If the Unit has a Partnership Agreement with a Group then they may wish to assist the Group in its fundraising activities and likewise the Group may wish to assist the Unit with a specific project.

Q4: How much control does a Group have over the Explorer Scout Unit finances?
A: A Group in partnership with an Explorer Scout Unit has no responsibility for financing the Unit. However, it may give financial support. This is down to local arrangements between the Group, District and Unit – which should be set out in a clear agreement.

Q5: If an Explorer Scout Unit is partnered with a Group, can the Group collect subs on behalf of the District?

A: All Explorer Scout Units, even those partnered with a Group, are managed by the DESC, and all Explorer Scouts are members of the District. The subs collected for Explorer Scouts, whether or not partnered with a Group, belong to the District and must be accounted for by the District Treasurer and shown in the District accounts.

In particular, there is no provision on the annual census return to record Explorer Scouts as members of the Group and in all cases payment of the HQ membership fee for Explorer Scouts will be the responsibility of the District.

For Explorer Scout Units partnered with a Group, the financial arrangements between the Group, District and Unit should be agreed and set out clearly. These arrangements might include payments from the District to the Group (for example for use of a meeting venue or a contribution to equipment purchase, repair or replacement by the partnered Explorer Scout Unit), or a contribution to the Explorer Unit by the Group (for example to reflect their contribution to fundraising activities). 
All Explorer Scouts can be members of any or all Explorer Units in a District. If part of their subscription is passed to a partnered Group, this must not mean that they can only attend activities provided by this Explorer Scout Unit. The DESC must make sure that these points are considered in any financial agreement between an Explorer Scout Unit and a Group.

Ultimately, management of the Explorer Scout Unit lies with the DESC, who must make decisions in the best interest of all the Explorer Scouts in the District.
Q6: Can individual Explorer Scout Units apply for Big Lottery grants?

A: As lottery applications must be made by a single   ‘group’, Explorer Scout Units cannot apply on their own. However, the District as a whole is still eligible to apply. The Big Lottery Fund has several funding pots and eligibility differs for each one. In the first instance, Districts are encouraged to check the requirements of the different funds. The Big Lottery Fund finder can be found here.
Advice can also be sought from the Fundraising Office at Gilwell Park.

Q7: Can a District apply for other grants?

A: Yes a District can apply for grants and more information can be found on the website here.

Q8. Can the District claim Gift Aid on subscriptions?
Membership fees may be collected from the Members or their parents by a method decided by the District Executive Committee.
The District is encouraged to use the Gift Aid scheme for membership payments made by Explorer Scouts. HMRC will provide Units with a unique Gift Aid registration number which can also be used for setting up Just Giving & Virgin Money Giving pages. More information on Gift Aid can be found here online.
Advice can also be sought from the Fundraising Office at Gilwell Park.

Q9: My Group’s equipment is insured in such a way that only members of the Group may use it. Does this mean that Explorers are unable to use the equipment?
A: This is a specialist area and the best people to speak to are Scout Insurance Services at Lancing. However, check whether it is only the Group that can use the equipment or whether it is all Scouts – if it is all Scouts then there isn’t a problem. If the policy mentions the Group, check on the definition of the Group – will a Partnership Agreement that confirms that the Unit has the same name as the Group be sufficient to allow the Unit members to use the equipment? Would it make more sense to change the policy so that the maximum number of people possible can use the equipment? The Explorer Scout Unit may need to pay part of the premium cost. If in doubt, refer to Scout Insurance Services at Lancing.

Q10: What happens when a Scout becomes an Explorer Scout part way through the Scouting year, having already paid a full year’s subscription to his or her former Group?
A: Again, this is a matter for local arrangement. It depends to some extent on any difference between what the Group asks members to pay, and what the District asks Explorers to pay. Also, the time of year when the transition takes place may have a bearing. For example, the Group Treasurer may agree to pay a proportion of the subscription collected to the District when the young person moves out of the Group. Whatever arrangements are made must be clear and fair to all parties – especially the young person.

Updated July 2017


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