Key Policies 
The Religious Policy 
The Scout Movement includes Members of many different faiths and religions as well as those with no formal religion. The following policy has received the approval of the leading religious bodies in the United Kingdom. All Members of the Movement are encouraged to:
  • make every effort to progress in the understanding and observance of the promise to do their best to do their duty to god or to uphold Scouting's values as appropriate;
  • explore their faith, beliefs and attitudes
  • consider belonging to some faith or religious body:
  • carry into daily practice what they profess. 

Attendance at services
If a Scout Group, Explorer Scout Unit or Scout Network is composed of members of several denominations, religions or beliefs, the young people should be encouraged to attend services relevant to their own form of religion or belief.


Chaplains may be appointed as Advisers in Scout Groups, Districts, Counties, Countries and Nationally. A Chaplain may be a Minister of Religion or a lay person.

In a Scout Group sponsored by a religious body the religious leader may be appointed Group Chaplain.

National Chaplains may be appointed for religious bodies represented in Scouting.

2.1 Responsibilities within the Religious Policy

  1. The District Commissioner or the County Commissioner, as appropriate, must be satisfied that all applicants for Leader or Commissioner appointments are fully aware that they will be required by their personal example to implement the Association's religious policy.

  2. If a Sponsored Group has a policy of recruitment restricted to members of one particular form of religion or denomination, the Sponsoring Authority is responsible for the religious training of all young people in the Group.

  3. In this case it is the duty of the Group Scout Leader to encourage attendance at such religious instruction and observances as the Sponsoring Authority may consider desirable.

  4. Scouts' Own Services may be held for the purpose of spiritual reflection and to promote a fuller understanding of the significance of the Scout Promise and Law.

  5. Such services must be regarded as supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, formal attendance at the services of the individual's own form of religion.

  6. If a Beaver Scout, Cub Scout, Scout, Explorer Scout or Scout Network Member is not allowed, by reasons of the individual's own religious obligations, to attend acts of worship other than that of the individual's own faith, the Leader must make certain that those obligations are not compromised.

The 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.


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

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

    • Class or socio-economic status;

    • ethnic or national origin, nationality (or statelessness) or race;

    • gender (including gender reassignment);

    • marital or civil partnership status;

    • sexual orientation;

    • disability;

    • political belief;

    • pregnancy and maternity;

    • religion, belief or faith (including the absence of religion, belief or faith)

    • sex

    • age

All Members of the Movement should seek to practise equality, especially in promoting equal access to Scouting for all young people. The Scout Association opposes all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. 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 sex and 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 3.64.6 and 5.6 below.


Leaders and other volunteers

To carry out its work the Association seeks to appoint effective and appropriate Leaders, of all backgrounds and all areas of the community 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, harassment or discrimination by reason of:

  • age;

  • class or socio-economic status;

  • ethnic or national origin, nationality (or statelessness) or race;

  • gender (including gender reassignment);

  • marital or civil partnership status;

  • sexual orientation;

  • disability;

  • political belief;

  • pregnancy;

  • religion, belief or faith (including the absence of religion, belief or faith)

  • sex

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