We provide fun, challenge and adventure to
over 400,000 girls and boys across the UK
a a a  A A
Disclosures Compass POL Print Centre

Safeguarding and Vetting

Safeguarding and Vetting - Scout Network Members

Scout Network members are young adults aged 18 to 25, who take part in the youth programme for their own personal development.  This may include taking part in Scout Network project teams, gaining awards, attending camps, social events and other similar activities.  As part of the Scout Network programme members may take on a peer leadership position.  For example they may lead a project team, chair a meeting group or organise a camp for fellow Scout Network members.

Scout Network Members and Disclosure Barring Service Checks

For ease of reading the terms ‘DBS’ and ‘check’ are used throughout this guidance.  This guidance also covers the alternate systems which are used in Northern Ireland and Scotland:
Scout Network members do not require a DBS check, as Scout Network members are not adult volunteers but are required to be a member of The Scout Association which involves being recorded on the association’s membership database.

Adult volunteering and the Scout Network Member

If a Scout Network Member decides to undertake any activity which means that they are taking on the responsibilities of an adult volunteer (i.e. anything which means the Scout Network Member is providing care, training or supervision with or for young people aged under 18, rather than taking part in their own programme) they must hold the appropriate adult role for that activity and may also require a DBS check. The appropriate appointment processes should then be followed.

This could be an appointment with a regular commitment (such as Cub Scout Leader), but it could also be something like Scout Active Support Member or Skills Instructor. The key point is that they should have a role which reflects the activity that they are undertaking.

District/County Camps and similar events

Scout Network Members may take part in District or County Camps as participants, without requiring a DBS check.  If this is the case, it must be clear that they are attending as a participant in the Scout Network programme.  If they are intending to take on any leadership, supervisory or care related tasks whilst on the event then they must hold an appropriate adult role for those tasks (such as Scout Active Support Member, or Occasional Helper).

It is best practice where Scout Network Members are participants on this type of event to have a clear event programme outlining the youth programme that the Scout Network Members are taking part in.  Thought should also be given to practical considerations which help to distinguish Scout Network Members from adult volunteers at the event, for example designated camping areas and social spaces.

Scout Network and Explorer Scout Joint events

There may be occasions when Scout Network members and Explorers Scouts take part in joint activities as part of their respective programmes. For example they could hold a joint camp, a moving up evening for Explorers to experience the Scout Network programme, or work together on their Queen’s Scout Award or Explorer Belt. 

During these joint events (with no overnight element), both Explorer Scouts and Scout Network Members are attending as youth members i.e. as peers, and there is no requirement for Scout Network Members to undertake a Disclosure. If the activities undertaken require an activity permit holder to be present this could be a leader, Explorer Scout or Scout Network member who also has a full adult role (Scout Network members can not hold permits without having a full adult role).

For a joint nights away experience between Scout Network members and Explorer Scouts, there must be a full or associate member who holds a Nights Away Permit of the relevant type. 

For a joint expedition where an Explorer Leader or similar is unlikely to be present a Scout Network member must take on a leadership role during the event, they must have the relevant adult appointment and have undertaken the appropriate checks (as per POR 3.26b and 3.26m) to gain a Nights Away Permit.  At least two adults will need to be present with relevant adult roles and related vetting checks (as per POR 4.7j).

For more information on joint expeditions see: https://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/3636/nights-away-faqs?cat=26,358,575&moduleID=10

Safeguarding responsibilities of Scout Network Members

“All adults aged 18 or over within Scouting are responsible for the operation of the Association's Child Protection Policy.” (POR 2.4a)
It is important that all Scout Network Members understand they have a responsibility to uphold and follow the Scout Association’s Child Protection policy, which includes the Safeguarding Code of Practice (known as the Yellow Card). This means that when planning joint events between Explorer Scouts and Scout Network Members, the code of behaviour should be followed. For example, there should be separate sleeping arrangements, adequate privacy and no young people should be allowed to consume alcohol.

Best practice when running such events is for Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members to consider their responsibilities and roles when keeping each other safe. There should be agreement on appropriate boundaries and conduct, and where to go if anyone has a concern. For example, consider making the event alcohol-free, and talk about the implications and risks of engaging in romantic or sexual relationships between Scout Network Members and Explorer Scouts.

It is also important that, no matter what role they hold in Scouting, all over 18s understand they have a legal responsibility to under 18s, especially in emergency situations.

Further guidance can be sought from your County team, including your ACC Activities and your District Scout Network Commissioner. 
For more guidance please contact the Scout Information Centre by phone: 0845 300 1818 (local rate) or 020 8433 7100 or by email: info.centre@scouts.org.uk 

Suspension of Scout Network members

Members of Scout Network will only become liable for suspension for not having a valid disclosure if they also hold a role that requires a disclosure (i.e as a leader, Occasional Helper, member of Scout Active Support etc.).

If a member of Scout Network was undertaking a role that requires a disclosure but is no longer undertaking that role, then the role should be closed. If the role is closed (and even if the Scout Network role remains open) the disclosure requirement no longer applies – and they will not be liable for suspension.

If a member of Scout Network is suspended, the standard requirements regarding suspension as set out in POR Rule Rule 15.2e apply. (See this FAQ for more details)


© Copyright The Scout Association 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW