Memorandum submitted by the Scout Association |
1. The Scout Association (TSA) is the largest
volunteer led co-educational youth movement in the United Kingdom.
It was founded in 1907 and is part of a wider Scouting movement,
with 28 million members internationally. It seeks to support the
development of young people in achieving their full physical,
intellectual, social and spiritual potential, as individuals,
as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national
and international communities. Scout groups across the country
offer activities to over 400,000 young people aged 6-25 years
2. Scout Association research and experience
illustrates young people who have participated in a youth or sport
club such as Scouting are less likely to drink or smoke, more
likely to participate in physical activity, more likely to have
a good relationship with other adults in their community, more
likely to have parents who trust them and more likely to be engaged
in their schooling.
3. Scouting activities are made possible by the
efforts of over 100,000 voluntary adult leaders, of which 66,000
work directly with young people. The number of adult volunteers
working for Scouting is bigger than the combined workforces of
the BBC (24,000) and McDonalds (67,000). If paid, this would be
the equivalent of £380 million of services for young people
annually. It costs the equivalent of £300 to train a Scout
Leader, meaning that, through its activities, TSA provides the
UK economy with training worth approximately £5.5 million
4. The Scout Association is therefore one of
the largest active volunteering organisations in the UK with activities
being conducted across the country on a weekly basis. This is
in contrast to other voluntary organisations that ask volunteers
to be active in time-limited projects or mass membership organisations
that do not seek personal contributions of time and energy from
their members in the same sustained manner. Consequently, supporting
volunteers to give the commitment this requires is a key priority
for TSA. The Scout Association is also a growing movement and
currently has 33,000 young people on waiting lists to join Scouting
across the UK. The key challenge the Movement faces is to recruit
and retain the adult volunteers urgently required in order to
support the involvement of these young people and others in our
activities for their, and wider society's benefit.
5. Scouting takes place in every part of the
UK. Each Scout group decides their own activity programme, according
to local need and capacity, based on a national programme with
clear educational objectives.
All Scout Leaders have to complete Valuing Diversity training
as part of their leadership development. There are examples of
Scout groups, throughout the UK, working with other services to
provide targeted services within the universal Scouting setting.
One such example is in Northumberland with Lookwide UK, a Scout
Association development initiative that seeks to engage young
people who would not ordinarily join the movement but who may
benefit from the opportunities that it offers.
6. Lookwide UK is a development wing of Northumberland
County Scout Council. It works with young people and, by extension,
with their families, in some of the most disadvantaged areas of
Newcastle upon Tyne and south-east Northumberland. These are areas
of high unemployment with a hugh number of young people not in
education, employment or training (NEETs). Lookwide UK provides
a positive route from inactivity and potential long-term worklessness
to a positive outcome based on personal development. LookWide
UK's focus includes developing tools for parents and the local
community to support young people through the raising of aspirations.
7. LookWide UK run a series of programmes in
coalition with partners such as The Prince's Trust, the Heritage
Lottery Fund and the Community Foundation. One such programme
works with groups of young people from Newcastle's East and West
Ends to support them to develop and enhance a section of the North
Pennine Walk alongside the Alston Railway. The groups designed
and installed information boards, picnic and seating areas and
constructed safety railings to protect the public. The walk has
now been used by hundreds of adults and young people as they visited
the railway and by members of the local community for whom the
walk represents an enhanced recreational facility.
8. The Scout Association believes itself to be
the embodiment of the principles of the Big Society. One of the
Government's priorities for the Big Society
is to "encourage people to take an active role in their communities".
This is entirely in keeping with the model adopted by The Scout
Association. TSA is entirely volunteer-led with support from a
small number of paid staff. As mentioned in paragraph 4 Scouting
for young people relies entirely on unpaid volunteers in both
front-line and support roles and is community-based. Most Scout
groups will financially support at least one other charitable
organisation during the course of a year through some form of
fundraising activity as part of their commitment to help others.
9. The Scout Association operates a "Young
Leader" programme to support Explorer Scouts to be involved
in the running of Scout groups for younger age groups. It is our
view that this exposes young people to a culture of volunteering
at an early age and encourages them to take active leadership
roles in their communities. There are currently nearly 10,000
Young Leaders working with our 100,000 adult volunteers throughout
10. TSA supports the Government's ambition for
a National Citizen Service and believes that there is potential
for graduates of the NCS to continue their volunteering journey
as a Young Leader in Scouting. We would welcome the opportunity
to work with the chosen providers of the National Citizen Service
to ensure that the scheme is just the start of a participating
young person's volunteering journey and that participants are
offered the range of opportunities that Scouting offers.
11. As mentioned in paragraph 3, The Scout Association
provides services for young people aged between 6 and 25.
There are approximately 8,000 Scout groups throughout the country
and young people are generally no more than a mile from their
nearest group. The average length of a young person's involvement
in Scouting is 3.37 years.
12. Each year TSA conducts a census of its members.
Figures from the 2010 census conducted on 31 January 2010 show
that over 400,000 young people are members of the Scout movement.
This is the largest Scout membership since 2001. Growth of 3.5%
in 2010 is the largest we have experienced in 38 years and this
is due in part to a 26.3% increase in the number of teenage members
since 2001 and a 10% year on year increase in the number of girls
and young women joining The Scout Association.
13. Responsibility for deciding the detailed
programme content is devolved to local Scout groups in order to
take account of local needs, however, it is based upon a nationally
agreed framework. Three times a year TSA conducts an online "Your
Programme, Your Voice" survey of its members on various aspects
of the programme to ascertain that the programme content developed
for members from head office is appropriate, relevant and well-received
by the different age groups. Many of the new badges introduced
in the last five years, such as badges for PR and IT, have been
introduced as a result of demand from our youth members.
14. Young people have an integral role in the
shaping of provision, at every level within the organisation.
Every committee, from the local Group Committee to the Board of
Trustees, aims to have at least two youth members on it and those
members take responsibility for appointments, programme development
and holding the organisation to account.
15. There will be a need for greater partnership
working between these sectors than currently exists as funding
is reduced. The Government's ambition for an increased number
of mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises demands it. However,
a distinction needs to be made between purely voluntary organisations
and those organisations supported by volunteers. There is a danger
that, in trying to support organisations reliant on statutory
funding to win commissioned contracts from other sectors, the
Big Society model may underestimate the potential of charities
such as The Scout Association which are not service delivery organisations
or do not receive significant income from government contracts.
16. As is outlined in more detail at paragraph
25 below, The Scout Association would like to see a greater level
of partnership between local authorities and community organisations
such as The Scouts to ensure that the needs of young people are
met in their local area.
17. Professional development needs in the Youth
and Community Sector generally do not take account of the training
needs of volunteers. This needs to be addressed given the implications
of the "Big Society" and the likely impact of the recession
and subsequent reductions in public sector funding in relation
to the voluntary sector. There will potentially be a greater "reliance"
in the future on the provision of services through the mobilisation
of volunteers rather than paid staff.
18. In TSA's training and development programmes,
volunteers are provided with opportunities ranging from skills
based training in areas such as first aid, risk assessment, safeguarding
and public relations through to experience in leadership, management
and training. The Scouts has been an organisation committed training
its adults in informal education methods for over 100 years. These
skills are offered to all those in leadership positions, including
Young Leaders, who are supported through progressive training
schemes. These are designed to offer flexible training that can
be tailored to individual needs with the guidance of a personal
Training Adviser. As part of the adult training scheme it is now
possible for adults to work towards externally recognised awards
at NVQ Level II and III through the training and the experience
they gain as an adult in Scouting.
19. The updated training scheme has been running
since 2005. With the development of the new training scheme, partnerships
were strengthened with the Open College Network (OCN) through
which individuals can formalise their training. Over 170 adult
volunteers within The Association are gaining credits towards
their Open College Network qualification in Providing Voluntary
Youth Services or Managing Voluntary Youth Services through their
20. In addition to the OCN scheme, adult volunteers
who gain their Wood Badge
for completing their adult training within Scouting can apply
for membership of the Institute of Leadership and Management at
the grade of Associate Member (AMInstLM). Three years after gaining
a Wood Badge, leaders who continue in a role within TSA can upgrade
to the more senior grade of Member (MInstLM).
21. We believe that TSA offers a first-class
training scheme for volunteers and that our in-role training and
other training opportunities support volunteers to improve both
their performance as a volunteer and in their professional careers.
In a Scout Association questionnaire aimed at uncovering the impact
of the recession on volunteers within TSA, 93% of respondents
answered positively when asked whether the skills and experiences
gained through Scouting had been of relevance to their working
or personal lives.
22. As a movement predominantly funded by membership
fees and without any direct funding from Government, TSA is in
a better position than many youth organisations that are more
heavily reliant on national or local government funding. However,
that is not to say that Scouting is not affected by public sector
spending cuts. The futures of many Scout groups, most of whom
operate as individual charities with an average annual income
of around £5000, are being jeopardised by increases in the
ground rents charged by local authorities or increases in charges
for the weekly rental of local authority properties.
23. Below are three examples of this from around
In Surrey, Banstead District Scouts have received
an invoice from their local authority requesting a ground rent
of £10,500, a substantial increase from the current rate
Barwick in Elmet Scout Group in Wetherby District
have used the local school for Scouting purposes for free for
over 25 years. The group expect that rate to rise to £100
per week in 2011, increasing their costs by £5,000 per year.
The 141st Birmingham, 1st Yardley (Spitfire District)
group are currently charged a ground rent of £2,500 per annum
by Birmingham City Council. However, until this year Birmingham
City Council have always provided a grant to cover the full amount
of the ground rent. The group are currently in discussion with
the council as to whether the grant will continue but are expecting
to have to find an additional £2,500 per year from 2011.
24. It is our view that Scouting can perform
a valuable community role, during this time of economic restraint
and cuts to public sector funding, given its established network
across the country and its affordability. We believe that it is
short-sighted of local authorities to increase ground rent or
venue costs to Scout groups at a time of likely reductions to
local authority youth services and the services provided specifically
for young people by the voluntary sector. Scouting provides excellent
value for money and, through creative partnerships, can work with
local authorities to provide opportunities for young people that
may be missing as a result of reductions to traditional youth
25. Public sector cuts also have the potential
to affect TSA's ability to attract match funding from local authorities
for the employment of Local Development Officers (LDOs). LDOs
work up and down the country to support Scout Groups to grow membership
and recruit new volunteers. Most are funded entirely by local
Scouting but in some instances they are part- funded by local
authorities and other sources.
26. As explained in paragraph 14, TSA frequently
reviews the value and effectiveness of its services with its members.
As a devolved organisation, we recognise the importance of regional
differences and the need for flexibility to ensure that local
groups are able to mould programmes to suit their circumstances.
For example, it is very unlikely that a Scout Group in inner London
would follow the same weekly programme as a group in Stornoway.
We are constantly reviewing our core programmes to ensure that
there is plenty for individual groups to choose from, suitable
to their circumstances.
27. As a membership organisation, the ultimate
assessment of the value and effectiveness of the services that
we offer can be found in our growth figures, shown in paragraph
13. The fact that we can demonstrate five years of continuous
growth demonstrates that we offer great value for parents and
effective services for over 400,000 young people throughout the
28. As outlined in paragraph 4, if paid, Scouting
would provide the equivalent of £380 million of services
for young people annually as well as £5.5 million of training
to the UK economy. The effectiveness of the Scouting model can
be seen when one considers that this is done with very little
demand on the public purse. We are currently awaiting the findings
of an impact study, to be published in 2011, which will demonstrate
the impact of Scouting on individual members and local communities.
14 Young people can join the Scout family as a Beaver
from the age of 6, Cubs is open to young people between the age
of 8-10, Scouts range from 10-14, Explorer Scouts are aged 14-18
and the Scout Network is open to young adults aged between 18-25.
NfP synergy "Typical Young People" The Scout Association
January 2007 Back
There is a UK wide youth programme for each Scouting section,
known as the "Balanced Programme". This aims to ensure
that each young person has a balanced experience of Scouting.
The programme is designed so that young people are given the opportunity
to take part in activities across the range of programme zones.
These programme zones are: outdoor and adventure, community, fitness,
creative, global and beliefs and attitudes. Back
As outlined in a press release issued by The Cabinet Office on
18 May 2010 entitled "Building the Big Society" Back
2010 census figures show that there are 108,018 Beavers, 142,904
Cubs, 117,328 Scouts, 34,689 Explorers and 2171 Network members
in The Scout Association as at 31 January 2010. Back
The Wood Badge is awarded to those Leaders who have completed
17 modules of training covering areas such as the planning of
youth programmes, first aid, leadership and effective communication. Back
Survey of all adult Scout leaders in 2009 as part of research
entitled "Keeping Britain's Workforce Ready for Action: Scouting
and the Credit Crunch" Dr Stella Creasy, 2009. Back