Every year The Scout Association undertakes a census to collect statistical information regarding its membership. The Census is a snapshot of the Movement on 31st January each year and aims to anomalously identify and collect key information about its members across the UK in every Section, Group, District, County, Area and Region.
The census is not just about numbers. It also asks for information equality, gender, ethnicity and disability. All data providing is anonymous. The information you provide is vital to ensuring the scouting has a clear picture of who its members are.
The census also asks for statistical information on:
- The number of Beaver Scouts in your group;
- The number of Cub Scouts in your group;
- The number of Scouts in your group;
- The number of Young Leaders in your group;
- The number of Leaders in your group;
- The number of Executive members in your group;
Other information the census aims to capture is the number of top awards gained by your youth members. These awards include:
- Chief Scout's Awards
- Queen's Scout Award
- Young Leader Award
- The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- Explorer Belt
Data on the gender of our Members ensures that scouting can reflect on progress to ensuring both girls and boys are equally represented within all levels of Scouting.
Mapping the ethnicity of our Members enables us to understand how reflective we are of the communities in which we are present and identify if there are groups which are currently underrepresented within the membership. This helps us to grow and develop scouting locally as we work towards our national strategy to 2023 ‘Skills for Life - Our plan to deliver better futures’.
Information about ethnicity is anonymous. If any individual, adult or youth member, is uncomfortable about providing this information, there is always the option to select ‘prefer not to say’.
The ethnicity categories within our census reflects the full set of classifications from the UK national census.
Understanding the disabilities and additional needs of our members helps us to constantly look for ways to improve access to scouting, and provide the support and guidance needed to support the full participation of all young people.
This information enables scouting at all levels to identify the key external bodies and agencies we need to work with in order to ensure that we are following the best practice guidelines with respect to our provisions for people with visible and hidden disabilities.
Scouting is open to all. So, it is essential that as a Movement we continue to reflect on the make-up of our membership to ensure we are doing all that we can to ensure scouting is welcoming and accessible to all. This data helps to inform the guidance, training and support offered to you and your leadership team locally Having clear equality data also enables us to recognise and celebrate successes.
Locally, census data is also used to inform growth and development plans at Region, County, District and Group level; identifying groups which may be currently under-represented within scouting and looking for ways to reach out and engage new members to grow sections.
Knowing who our members are also helps us, at all levels, to be better inform and ensures that the best support and services are provided to meet the needs of our volunteers and members. The census figures also provide information regarding the payment of the national membership fee for youth members and associated levies at various levels of the Movement.
What do I need to do?
All members of Scout Groups, Districts, Counties, Regions and Areas must be recorded on the relevant census form.
As a Group Scout Leader will be provided with the necessary login details and instructions on how to log in to the online census system and record the relevant information. You will receive login details during the first week of January each year.
What information is required?
On the census form, the total number of young people of each age and gender needs to be recorded in the relevant section – this should be the number of members on 31st January (tat year). Young people who have recently moved Section should be included from the date of the first meeting in their new Section (there is no gap in membership whilst awaiting investiture to the new Section).
- A young person who was a Cub and is attending Scouts but has not been formally invested into the Scout Troop should be recorded in the Scout Section census;
- A young person who was a Scout and is attending Explorer Scouts but has not yet been formally invested into Explorers Scout Unit should be recorded in an Explorer Scout Section on the census;
- A young person new to scouting at any level who has not made the Promise as of 31st January, is not a member and is not listed on the census.
Alongside this, the association asks for information regarding ethnicity and additional needs. This information is anonymous and enables The Scout Association to understand the composition of its membership and provide the most appropriate support.
There is also a question relating to top awards. Each section is asked to state the number of top awards achieved during the past 12 months (1st February the previous year to 31st January in the current year).
It is important to note that this is the total number achieved (whether or not the young people are still members of the section/group or scouting), and that it is completion of the award that matters rather than the date that the award is actually presented. (For example, if a young person completed their top award in December, but the presentation will not be until the following March then the award should be recorded on the census).
How do I enter the information?
The information is entered or edited via an online form. Login information will be distributed (by email), during the first week of January each year. If there are problems with login information, use the contact information at the end of this document for assistance.
The online form enables entry over a period of time, so updates can be made until the form is marked as finished. Marking the form as finished is an important step, as the information cannot be approved until this has been done. Each form is then reviewed and approved by the next relevant level of the organisation (group forms are approved by district; districts are approved by county, counties are approved by regions).
How do I know where an individual should be recorded?
An individual should be recorded on the census in the box that relates most closely to their primary role. For the vast majority of members, this will be the only role they hold. Some adult members, however, hold more than one role. In these instances, a suitable method should be used locally to define what the primary role is. Members are recorded in this way to ensure that the results of the census give the most appropriate and realistic picture.
- A County Secretary also holds a Section Assistant appointment in their local Group. In this case the primary role is most likely to be County Secretary;
- An Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts is also a Scout Leader in one of the Groups in the District. In this case the primary role is more likely to be the Scout Leader.
How do I record Explorer Scout Young Leaders?
The recording Explorer Scouts could cause some confusion as they could be active in one of three ways, as an active member of an Explorer Scout Unit only, as a Young Leader only, or as a Young Leader and an active Member of an Explorer Scout Unit. We also have Young Leaders who are not members of Scouting but are helping as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award, through Girl Guiding or something similar. These are recorded as follows:
James is an active member of an Explorer Scout Unit only James is recorded within the Explorer Scout Unit with which he is active only.
Katie is only a Young Leader and does not go to a Unit. Katie should be recorded in the Young Leader Unit in the District if the District has one. If the District does not have a separate Young Leader Unit, then she should be recorded in one of the Explorer Scout Units in the District. Katie should also be recorded in each of the Sections where she helps as a Young Leader. This is for statistical purposes only and will not affect the membership final total
Jenny is an active member of an Explorer Scout Unit and a Young Leader. Jenny should be recorded in the Unit where she is an active member. She should also be recorded in the returns for those Sections where she helps as a Young Leader. This is for statistical purposes and will not affect the membership final total.
Harry is undertaking his DofE Award and is acting as a Young Leader. As Harry is not a Member of Scouting he is not recorded in any Explorer Scout Unit. He should be recorded in the section return where he is helping as an ‘Other 14 – 18 helper’. This is for statistical purposes and will not affect the membership final total.
Is there a deadline for completion?
The deadline for you to complete your group’s census return will be set by your district. It is important that you meet this deadline as your district will also have a competition deadline set by our county to ensure that the county can meet the date set by UKHQ.
Who pays membership subscription?
Membership subscription is paid by Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Scout Network members and adults do not pay the national or county membership fee.
Who should I contact for more information?
Further information and advice regarding the census is available from your District Commissioner or the Scout Information Centre which can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0345 300 1818. You could also try Live Chat which is available from the Contact Us page of the national website.
Further information can be found at www.scouts.org.uk/census