Concerns about scouting

We hope that everyone who comes into contact with scouting will have a positive experience. However, it is inevitable that on rare occasions, concerns may arise which require investigation. As the majority of scouting activity takes place locally within our community it is expected that most of these concerns will be dealt with quickly and courteously in an informal way by your section leader, group scout leader or district commissioner as appropriate. However, it is possible that a complaint may arise that requires a more formal investigation and response. We are committed to seeking to resolve these complaints fairly and in the best interests of everyone involved.

Should you ever have a concern about a matter within your section, scout group or explorer scout unit please initially contact your group scout leader or district explorer scout commissioner (as appropriate). They will listen to the issues and will do their best to answer and resolve them. If you do not want to discuss the matter with them, or if they cannot deal with your concerns, or if your query is more serious, your district commissioner will assist you.

All formal complaints must be made in writing within three months of reasonably knowing sufficient facts about the situation and should include:

  • your full name

  • your contact email and telephone number

  • how you would like to be contacted in relation to the complaint

  • your role in relation to the complaint e.g. member or parent etc.

  • a summary of the complaint and what you think went wrong, including dates and times or any reported incidents (in no more than 1,000 words, there will be opportunities to submit further evidence if required once you’ve received an acknowledgment)

  • details of any informal resolution that’s been taken so far to try to resolve the issue

  • details of what you would see as an acceptable outcome

  • details of any formal concerns already raised in any part of scouting under any of the national policies.

You can download a copy of the Association’s complaint template here

We handle complaints in a positive and proactive manner and expect resolutions and outcomes to contribute to a process of continuous improvement. Please bear in mind that the people handling your complaint are also volunteers and have other calls on their time. It may therefore take a little longer to sort out your complaint, however you will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint with an acknowledgement of a formal complaint within seven days and regular updates (typically at least every 14 days).

The investigator may need to speak to you and a number of other people to fully understand your complaint and the circumstances surrounding it.

The appropriate manager will make a decision about the complaint and will inform you whether your complaint is upheld or not and the actions that will be taken as a result.

Our aim is to resolve all issues raised within four weeks of receiving your concerns. However, this may take longer depending on the nature of the issue. If the timescale needs to be extended, you should expect to be kept informed of progress.

If you or those who are directly affected by the outcome of a complaint are not satisfied with the outcome of the original complaint or the process undertaken, there is a right for appeal. Only one appeal is allowed per person directly affected by a complaint and if multiple appeals raise the same concerns they may be carried out as one appeal. Any appeal must be received within 14 days of you, or those directly affected, being notified of the outcome of the original complaint.

It is the Association’s policy that the original response to a complaint may be reviewed using our formal appeal process just once. This means that once you have appealed against the initial consideration or outcome of your original issue, and a review has been undertaken and a response made to you, the matter will be closed and no further appeal or review will be possible.

We will not progress a complaint if there is reasonable belief that it is vexatious or malicious. We do not accept and investigate anonymous complaints, complaints received from a third party, (except about youth members), or complaints that are broadly or substantively the same as a previous complaint raised under any of the scouts’ policies.



The association’s whistleblowing policy is for all volunteers who have a serious concern in regards to a breach of our standards or conduct. This policy makes sure that if a volunteer has a serious concern, they know how to raise it as soon as possible. The matter will be comprehensively investigated and the appropriate action taken.

If you should wish to raise a concern that fits the criteria of a protected disclosure you should follow the whistleblowing policy. This includes if the incident is happening now, in the past or may happen in the future. It’s important that the concern is raised without delay. Further information can be found on the national website at