District Waiting List Policy

Cabot Scouts canoeingIntroduction

Scouting across the City of Bristol is very popular and many groups within Cabot District have substantial waiting lists which unfortunately means that we cannot always offer a place to potential members as soon as we would like. To try to be transparent and open, we have defined the criteria of how we select which Young People on the Waiting Lists are offered a place when one becomes available. All groups across Cabot District adhere to the same criteria.

We operate within the Equal Opportunities Policy of the Scout Association and are open to all Young People aged from 6 to 17 subject to spaces being available. Each section (Beaver; Cub; Scout and Explorers) and each group are constrained in their capacity 1) by their having sufficient adults to operate safely and 2) the size of their premises. The maximum number each section/group can accommodate may change over time depending on the availability of volunteers. The safety and wellbeing of all Young People is of utmost importance and if a member has special needs then their membership will be dependent on the section being able to provide them with the ongoing support which they need in order to enjoy Scouting fully and to be safe.

Single Waiting List (per group)

Each group operates a single Waiting List and each Young Person will be considered for the Section appropriate to their age at the time. All potential members, regardless of the criteria to be used for the consideration of a place, must be registered on the group’s Waiting List.

Multi Group Registration

The areas of Henleaze, Bishopston, Westbury Park and Westbury on Trym are so heavily oversubscribed that parents may wish to register with more than just their most local group. We acknowledge that this is a parental choice but each group will operate independently when operating the Waiting List Policy.

Minimum/Maximum ages

The minimum age at which any Young Person can enter the Waiting List is age 4. By this age all parents will have established social networks which will have identified the range of opportunities available to children in their local community and thus is even handed to all.

There is no maximum age for registration up to age 17 Explorers. From age 18 -25 Young Adults are eligible to join Network.

 Selection Criteria

Places are offered according to the following criteria in order of descending priority:

  • Young People who have moved into the Group’s catchment area due to a parental/guardian’s transfer and who have previously been actively involved in Scouting in their previous local community.
  • Young People who are already a member of their Group and are moving up to the next section ie Beavers to cubs; Cubs to Scouts. We feel it is important that Young people, once they have embarked on their Scouting adventure, are able to see through their scouting time at their local and progress through their badges and awards without interruption.
  • Young People moving on from their local Scout Group to Explorers, will be offered a place at their nearest Explorer Scout Unit once a vacancy occurs.
  • Young People whose parents/guardians are already volunteering as Section Leaders, Section Assistants, or another formal role in supporting their Group or the Scout District. No Group can exist without volunteers, and we feel that it is reasonable that someone who is willing to invest time in supporting the Scouting should be able to include their children.
  • Young People with one or more siblings who are already members of the Group. Siblings of existing members would undoubtedly feel left out if they were not able to experience the same fun that they see their brother or sister enjoying. We also appreciate the convenience to parents of being able to drop-off and collect at the same time. Parents must still register each child on the Waiting list –there is no automatic prioritisation for unregistered siblings.
  • Young People whose parents/guardians newly volunteer to actively help their Group or the Scout District. The level of commitment required will be determined at local Group level but will expected to be reliable and sustainable.
  • Young People whose parents/guardians are members of a congregation where the Group has strong ties with the local church or other religious faith. Many of these Groups actively receive financial or benefit in kind support from their sponsoring authority.
  • Radial distance from the local Group’s meeting place. Scouting has always been community based and it is important that it remains so. Each Group will define its own catchment area and whilst they may offer places to those outside their boundary it is vital that spaces are reserved for those living closest.
  • Those who are socially disadvantaged. Not every Young Person starts life with an equal opportunity and scouting can help redress this by giving those who are currently in care; have been adopted or are from single parent families where no local family support structure exists, a helping hand. This also extends to those Young People who have physical or mental health issues subject to the local meeting place being suitable and that adequate continuous adult support is available.
  • Time on waiting list. It is appropriate that, having got this far down the criteria, a place should be offered to the Young Person who has been waiting longest for a place to become available. A Young Person will not usually be invited to join a section if their age means that they cannot spend at least 9 months with that section as they will not have the opportunity to settle in and progress in earning badges –however they will be given priority to the next section where possible.
  • Group discretion. If none of the previous criteria can be used to differentiate between two candidates for a place then it will be at the discretion of the Group as to which person is offered a place. Section Leaders would normally consult with their Group Scout Leader.

Offer of a place

The offer of a place will be made directly to the parent/guardian of the Young Person. If a place offered is declined (or not acknowledged within one month), or the Young Person leaves the Group and subsequently asks to return, they will rejoin the Waiting List at the bottom.

Second Opinion

If it is felt that your application for a place has not been treated fairly the matter should be referred to the Group Scout Leader whose decision is final. For those of Explorer age the decision will be made by the District Explorer Scout Commissioner.

December 2015