Safeguarding young people

As adults in scouts, the safety of young people is our priority. We are committed to:

  • Taking the interests and well-being of young people into account, in all our considerations and activities.

  • Respecting the rights, wishes and feelings of the young people with whom we work.

  • Taking all reasonable practicable steps to protect them from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

  • Promoting the welfare of young people and their protection within a position of trust.

The 'Young People First' code of practice (also known as the yellow card) sets out a code of behaviour for all adults in scouting.

This applies to all adults working in scouting, regardless of their role. This is also included in the training that you will receive and provides guidelines about how young people should be treated. We expect everyone to follow it.

Code of practice

  • Do remember that you are a role model at ALL times, inside and outside Scouting. Set a good example for others to follow.

  • Do treat everyone with dignity and respect in line with the Scouting Values

  • Do treat all young people equally - do not show favouritism

  • Do follow the adult-to-young person ratios at all times

  • Do remember that you have been placed in a position of trust - do not abuse this

  • Do report all allegations, suspicions and concerns immediately

  • Do remember that someone may misinterpret your actions

  • Do respect a young person’s right to personal privacy

  • Do act within appropriate boundaries, even in difficult circumstances

  • Do encourage an open and transparent culture, where people can challenge inappropriate attitudes or behaviours

  • Do make everyone (young people, parents and carers, Young Leaders and other helpers) aware of our safeguarding arrangements and share our Yellow Card - our Code of Behaviour

  • Do create an environment where young people feel safe to voice their concerns

  • Do have separate sleeping accommodation for young people, adults and Young Leaders working with a younger section

  • Do plan activities that involve more than one other person being present, or at least within sight and hearing of others.


  • Do not plan to be alone with a young person.

  • Do not drink alcohol when you are directly responsible for young people and never allow young people on Scouting activities to drink alcohol

  • Do not trivialise abuse or let it go unreported

  • Do not join in physical contact games with young people

  • Do not overstep the boundaries between yourself and young people by engaging in friendships or sexual relationships

  • Do not allow activities that encourage bullying behaviour including initiation ceremonies, dares or forfeits

  • Do not use inappropriate, suggestive or threatening language, whether verbal, written or online

  • Do not rely on your reputation or

The law and scouting - A duty of care

Under the terms of the Children Act 1989, Leaders have a duty of care towards the young people in their custody. This means that adults should adopt a common sense approach when dealing with injuries and illnesses. If you act reasonably when dealing with a problem, it is unlikely that you can be accused of unreasonable action after the event.



Reporting a concern

If a young person is at immediate risk of significant harm call 999 and request Police. Inform your Group Scout Leader or District Commissioner once you have done this.

If you are in any doubt about what to do, contact the Scout Information Centre.

Phone: 0345 300 1818

Young People First - Yellow card

Every adult should have a copy of the Young People First code of practice. It is designed so you can keep it with you at all times during Scouting activities.

Download the Yellow Card