Equal opportunities policy

Young People

The Scout Association is part of a worldwide educational youth movement. The values, which underpin and inspire its work are embodied in the Scout Promise and Law and in the Purpose of the Association.
Within this framework, the Association is committed to equality of opportunity for all young people.

Accordingly:

a. The Scout Association is committed to extending Scouting, its Purpose and Method to young people in all parts of society.

b. No young person should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of, nor suffer disadvantage by reason of:

  • Class or socio-economic status; 
  • ethnic origin, nationality (or statelessness) or race; 
  • gender (including gender reassignment); 
  • marital or civil partnership status; 
  • sexual orientation;
  • disability (including mental or physical ability); 
  • political belief; 
  • pregnancy; 
  • religion or belief (including the absence of belief) 

All Members of the Movement should seek to practise that equality, especially in promoting access to Scouting for all young people. The Scout Association opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. All Scout Groups, as independent charities, have a duty to comply with relevant equalities legislation. All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments where possible to support all young people with disabilities to access Scouting.

Reasonable Adjustments

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. This should involve working in partnership with parents/carers, to identify needs and support strategies. Reasonable steps should also be taken to identify any young people with disabilities in the Section/Group. (See Rule 3.11b for further guidance around reasonable adjustments).

Further information about equalities legislation and Scouting is available via the members area of the website.

Note: With reference to gender, membership of the youth Sections of the Association is open to boys and girls, and young women and young men of the appropriate ages subject to the rules set out in 3.6, 4.6 and 5.6 below.

Leaders and other volunteers

To carry out its work the Association seeks to appoint effective and appropriate Leaders, and to involve other volunteers in supporting roles, all of whom are required to accept fully the responsibilities of their commitment.

The overriding considerations in making all appointments in Scouting shall be the safety and security of young people, and their continued development in accordance with the Purpose and Values of the Association.

Accordingly, all those whom the Movement accepts as volunteers must be appropriate persons to undertake the duties of the particular position to which they have been appointed (including, if relevant, meeting the requirements of the Sponsoring Authority) and, where appropriate, the responsibilities of membership.

In making an appointment to a particular leadership or support position it may be appropriate to consider the gender and/or ethnicity of the potential appointee, in particular to ensure appropriate composition of leadership or supporting teams.
The physical and mental ability of a particular potential appointee to fulfil a particular role will always be a relevant factor to consider.

Within these constraints, and those imposed by the need to ensure:

  • the safety and security of young people; 
  • the continued development of young people; and 
  • equal opportunities for all; 
  • no person volunteering their services should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of, nor suffer disadvantage by reason of:
  • age;
  • class or socio-economic status; 
  • ethnic origin, nationality (or statelessness) or race; 
  • gender (including gender reassignment); 
  • marital or civil partnership status;
  • sexual orientation; 
  • disability (including mental or physical ability); 
  • political belief; 
  • pregnancy;
  • religion or belief (including the absence of belief)

Note: Sexual feelings directed towards children and/or a sexual interest in children is a bar to any involvement in the Scout Movement.

The Equal Opportunities Policy is a key policy under the Scout Association’s Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) which can be found online.