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

Reasonable adjustments

All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments where possible to support all young people with disabilities to access Scouting.

Reasonable adjustments means actions to enable young people with disabilities to access Scouting and Scouting activities, as far as reasonably possible, to the same level as young people without disabilities. Reasonable steps should also be taken to identify any young people with disabilities in the Section/Group.
This 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 young person and aim to remove any barriers or support access, by making changes to;
These considerations should be explored in detail, in consultation with the young person’s parents/ carers. For guidance on working in partnership with parents/ carers click here.

The situation should be regularly reviewed, to ensure that the planned adjustments are still responding to the needs of the young person and being implemented effectively.
There is a lot of flexibility in Scouting and in the Programme, to enable you to respond to the needs of individual young people. For 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 requires continual 1:1 support to fully participate in Scouting, and their parent/carer is able to attend to offer this level of support, it is reasonable that the Group supports this adjustment. However, if the parent/carer is not able to provide this and a professional carer if 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.

It is best practice to consider the reasonable adjustment framework every time a young person with additional needs joins the Group. Every young person has unique needs and this must be considered within the reasonable adjustment framework. 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 may impact upon the delivery of local 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 to young people with disabilities accessing Scouting. This 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 support all young people with disabilities to access 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.

Terminology

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

Reasonable adjustments means actions to enable young people with disabilities to access Scouting and Scouting activities, as far as is reasonably possible, to the same level as young people without disabilities.

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 rules in POR specifically relating to 'special needs' been removed (March 2016)?

All rules which specifically related to Scouting for young people with 'special needs' have been removed, and where appropriate, incorporated into the updated rules. This encourages inclusive practice to be embedded throughout Scouting. The terminology has been updated to reflect changes in socially preferred terminology. References to 'special needs' have now been replaced by Special Educational Needs (SEN), additional needs, disability or life-limiting conditions, as appropriate.

7. Is 'special needs' different from additional needs?

The Scout Association is using the term additional needs in preference to 'special needs' as this is an encompassing term which covers a broad range of individual needs- from hidden disabilities such as dyslexia, to allergies and asthma, to Down Syndrome and physical disabilities.

8. 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.

Putting this into practice

9. Practically, how do I make reasonable adjustments?


Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual young person and aim to remove any barriers or support access, by adapting;
These considerations should be explored in detail, in consultation with the parents/ carers. The situation should be regularly reviewed, to ensure that the planned adjustments are still responding to the needs of the young person and being implemented effectively.
There is a lot of flexibility in Scouting and in the Programme, to enable you to respond to the needs of individual young people.

10. 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.

11. Will I have to consider reasonable adjustments every time a young person joins?

It is best practice to use the reasonable adjustment considerations every time a young person with additional needs joins the Group. Every young person has unique needs and this must be considered within the reasonable adjustment framework. Making reasonable adjustments is an on-going duty and should be regularly reviewed.

12. 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.

13. 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.

Capacity/ level of support

14. Do these updates mean the Group has to allow an young person to join?


The Scout Association has a duty to offer Scouting for all; however, despite the best efforts of our volunteers, there may be situations where a particular Group does not have the capacity or resources to meet the needs of a young person or make the reasonable adjustments necessary. In such instances, local volunteers can work with the parent/ carers, to find an alternative Group.

15. 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.

16. 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 for working with 1:1carers  can be accessed via safeguarding@scouts.org.uk 

Age range flexibility

17. Can a youth member with additional needs or disabilities 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.

18. Can a youth member with additional needs, 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. The Appointments Committee would need to be confident that they were a 'fit and proper person' for the particular role.

In situations where a young adult is unable to meet the criteria of an adult leadership appointment, for example, cannot independently complete a disclosure or observe The Yellow Card, an alternative appointment in Scouting should be sought which better meets their needs.

For more information about the appointment of adults with disabilities click here.

The Programme

19. 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 adapt 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.

20. 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.

Working with parents/ carers

21. 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 provide to enable their young people to fully access Scouting. Be open, positive and realistic in your approach.

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

22. How do I know if a young person has additional 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 a young person's additional needs 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.

23. 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 a young person's additional needs 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 meet the needs of the young person, and better support them to participate in Scouting. A school cannot disclose information about a young person without the consent of a parent/ carer.

24. 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.

Supporting Leaders to implement

25. 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.

26. 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.

 

CEOP
© Copyright The Scout Association 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW