Chief Commissioner's blog| The strength of being volunteer-led


A response to a Facebook post caused Wayne to consider the importance of good volunteer leadership within Scouting.

A recent comment on Facebook, in response to an advert for the management role of County Commissioner, set me thinking about some of the strengths of our volunteer-led Movement. Adrian wrote: 'I’ve always wondered where the cut over between volunteer and employee is. This looks like a job advert…if you have to apply then it should be paid as the organisation is benefiting from specific skills.' I strongly disagree with him.

The only difference

The only real difference between volunteering and employment is that the latter is paid. Whether a person is in a volunteer or paid role, they have clear responsibilities, are accountable for their own and others’ actions, and bring their skills to the organisation.

For me, a key strength of the Movement is that it’s volunteer-led. This strength contributes to UK Scouting’s sheer scale, effectiveness and consistent growth over the last decade.

Not always easy, and certainly not perfect

We are fortunate that increasing numbers of volunteers are willing to take on management roles. However, we understand that a role like this is not always easy. Establishing that many of the challenges locally could be tackled with effective leadership and management, in 2011 we launched some useful tools and resources to support managers. These are available at

Inspiration is the key

It’s hard to avoid the fact that Scouting thrives where we have inspired and motivated section leaders delivering fun programmes.

For our leaders to feel that way, they need to have a sense of direction, to feel supported and motivated in their roles. We are fortunate in Scouting that we can achieve that through effective leadership from our 10,000 managers - themselves all volunteers!


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