Inclusion and Diversity

Keeping Scouting accessible to all

Scout Leaders must consider the different types of discrimination and how their actions may impact both young people and adults. Planning around Diversity and Inclusion should be done for all activities and events to ensure that everyone can take part.

Protected Characteristics

It is against the law under the Equality Act 2010 to discriminate in any way against anyone because of:

  • age
  • gender reassignment
  • being married or in a civil partnership
  • being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • disability
  • race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Types of Discrimination

Direct Discrimination

This is where a person is treated less favourably than someone else because of a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to accept a young person into a Scout Group because they are blind.

Discrimination by association

This is direct discrimination against someone because they’re associated with another person who possesses a protected characteristic, for example, against people who are carers for disabled people.

Discrimination by perception

This is direct discrimination against someone because the other person thinks they possess a particular protected characteristic, for example, against a straight woman who’s perceived to be gay.


This is unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Even if the effect wasn’t intended by the person responsible for the conduct, it’s still harassment. Employees can now report behaviour they find offensive even if it’s not directed at them.


This is where someone is treated less favourably than others because they have made or supported a complaint or grievance or have given evidence in relation to a complaint.


Scouts and its employees will do everything it can to make sure that people are treated fairly and equally across all protected characteristics and at all levels of the organisation by:

  • Preventing, tackling, and addressing seriously all instances of discrimination and language that’s inappropriate, offensive or insensitive
  • Challenging assumptions and stereotypes across all protected characteristics
  • Making sure that employees from diverse backgrounds have equal access to progression, promotion, reward, and recognition
  • Supporting all employees to balance their life at work and at home
  • Making workspaces accessible and co-developing effective reasonable adjustments with disabled employees and those with temporary health needs or conditions (for example, employees who are pregnant) so that all employees can reach their full potential
  • Visibly promoting and championing the benefits of a diverse workforce
  • Making sure that employees’ contractual requirements and employee benefits don’t disadvantage or exclude certain individuals or groups
  • Valuing and respecting the different perspectives and viewpoints of all employees
  • Focusing on employees’ abilities and strengths and avoiding any assumptions about ability based on a person’s identity or background


All Scout Employees and Volunteers must fully adopt and embrace this policy’s ethos of equality, diversity, and inclusion at all times

  • Respect and value the diversity and diverse perspectives of others
  • Not discriminate, bully, harass or victimise anyone
  • Act as role models for equality, diversity, and inclusion. Where needed, explain this policy and what it means for other employees or volunteers
  • Report all forms of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation and challenge them where appropriate
  • Attend training to make sure they’re following best practice in equality, diversity, and inclusion in their work and workplace behaviours
  • Assist Scouts in any related investigations and provide accurate, unbiased information

Any Scout Employee or Volunteer in a line management position must:

  • Set a positive example for team members by making sure that their own actions and behaviours promote equality, diversity, and inclusion
  • Follow best practice during recruitment to ensure shortlisting, selection, interview, and appointments processes don’t discriminate
  • Adopt any positive action policy set by Scouts
  • Make sure that appraisal processes include equality, diversity and inclusion targets, learning and behaviours as appropriate
  • Identify and proactively seek to address equality, diversity, and inclusion awareness or training needs for their teams and direct reports

Reasonable Adjustments

All volunteers should make reasonable adjustments so that Scouts is inclusive and accessible to everyone. Reasonable adjustments should, as far as reasonably possible, remove or reduce the disadvantage faced by Scouts being inclusive to disabled young people.

Reasonable adjustments should respond to the needs of the individual and remove or reduce any barriers or support access, by making changes to:

  • Physical environment (such as the meeting place)
  • The way things are done (such as having age range flexibility or adapting the programme and badges)
  • The support provided (such as by adapting equipment, communication methods and the level of support offered)

There is lots of flexibility in Scout programmes and badges to ensure that all young people can enjoy the adventure.

For example, if a young person would benefit from the support of a regular 1:1 supporter to fully participate in Scouts, and their parent or carer is able to offer this level of support, it’s reasonable that the group supports this adjustment. It’d also be reasonable to try to recruit an adult volunteer with the required skills. However due to the voluntary nature of Scouts, if the parent or carer isn’t able to provide this support and a suitable volunteer can’t be recruited, so a professional carer is required as the 1:1, it’d be unreasonable for the group to be expected to finance this level of support on a weekly basis.

Another example is, where a young person who uses a wheelchair joins the group, it’s likely to be reasonable for the group to provide a moveable ramp. It’s likely to be unreasonable for the group to provide an electronic lift, due to cost. It’s also likely to be unreasonable for the group to fit a permanent ramp if the group don’t own the meeting place. However, if the group don’t own the meeting place, it’d be reasonable to ask the building owners to make the required access updates. It would however be reasonable for the Group to contact District or County to arrange for that young person to join a group that already has a ramp installed.

Making reasonable adjustments is an on-going duty and should be regularly reviewed. It’s best practice to consider the reasonable adjustment framework every time a new member joins.

What’s reasonable for the group is dependent upon:

  • the effectiveness of the adjustment,
  • whether it can actually be done and
  • the cost and the resources available to the group at that time.

For example, making an adjustment which would cost the group a considerable amount of money wouldn’t be reasonable if it’d require the group to take out a loan.