Concerns About Scouting

Gateshead Scouts are a values based organisation (our values are integrity, respect, care, belief and co-operation), with well-established safeguarding, safety and equal opportunities policies (amongst others).

Everyone engaging with Gateshead Scouts (youth members and their parents, adult members and volunteers, staff and members of the public) should find their interactions with Gateshead Scouts a positive experience.

Safeguarding

Gateshead Scouts take the safeguarding of our youth members and vulnerable adults very seriously and comply with all Charity Commission requirements in this area. We have established procedures to safeguard the welfare and safety of our youth members – Gateshead Scouts follows the national safeguarding policy, rules and guidelines of the Scout Association.

Please read the ‘Staying Safe’ page for details of how we keep the young people in our care safe and what we ask parents/carers to do to support this.

Our Lead Volunteer (District Commissioner) has the responsibility to ensure that the national safeguarding policy, rules and guidelines of the Scout Association are followed locally and our trustee board has oversight of safeguarding.

All of our volunteers undertake mandatory safeguarding training every three years, and must comply with our national safeguarding policy, rules and guidance (copies available on request).

Any enquiries into any safeguarding concerns are led by the Scout Association’s professional Safeguarding Team, working in conjunction with local statutory agencies, supported by a local Situation Manager appointed by the Safeguarding Team.

If You have a Safeguarding Concern

As a parent or member of the public, if you have any concerns about the welfare or safeguarding of any young person in Gateshead Scouts, please contact our lead volunteer (District Commissioner) as soon as possible (email dc@gatesheadscouts.org.uk)

If the matter is urgent and you cannot contact the District Commissioner or the County Commissioner (cc@durhamscouts.org.uk), ring our national Safeguarding Team on (0345) 300 1818 or 0208 433 7164 (this includes an out-of-hours system for urgent calls). If a young person is at immediate risk of harm please call the police.

Members of local statutory agencies with safeguarding queries or concerns should contact our national Safeguarding Team directly, using the phone numbers above.

How We Deal with (non-Safeguarding) Complaints

From time to time things may not go as planned and there may occasionally be issues that either our members or our customers would like us to address.

As part of the Scout Association, Gateshead Scouts follow the Scout Association’s complaints process. There is also a separate whistleblowing process for the most serious concerns.

In summary, in accordance with our complaints process:

  • We only consider complaints raised within three months of your becoming aware of an issue
  • We only address first party complaints (i.e. those that affect you directly, or your child, but not those raised on behalf of any third party)
  • We do not consider malicious or vexatious complaints, or those which are substantively the same as previous complaints
  • We do not usually investigate anonymous complaints (although anonymous safeguarding concerns will be investigated)

The first step in our complaints process is to try and resolve things informally and we would always encourage all parties to sit around the table and talk about what has happened – this works much better than e-mails, letters or phone calls and resolves most matters.

If you feel that this has failed and you wish to make a formal complaint, it should be addressed to the most local line manager as follows:

Complaint about Complaint addressed to
Something that happens in your Scout Group including Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs or Scouts Your local Group Scout Leader / Group Lead Volunteer
Your local Group Scout Leader / Lead Volunteer The District Commissioner / District Lead Volunteer
Something that happens in the Explorer Scout Unit The District Explorer Scout Commissioner
Something that happens in the Scout Network The District Commissioner  / District Lead Volunteer
Something that happens elsewhere in the Scout District (e.g. at an event, at the Scout shop, at Whickham Thorns Outdoor Activity Centre, or about a member of the district team) The District Commissioner  / District Lead Volunteer
The District Commissioner The County Commissioner / County Lead Volunteer

Your complaint will be passed to the most appropriate person to deal with and will then be investigated. If you are not happy with the outcome, there is a single right of appeal which must be made within 28 days of the outcome of the complaint being adjudicated.

If you’re not sure who to address your complaint to, please e-mail complaints@gatesheadscouts.org.uk and we’ll let you know where to address your complaint.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls