Our organisation


The Scout Association in the UK is one of over 170 members of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Geneva, Switzerland. We are therefore a part of the Global Scouting movement with some 50 million active members. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Uniformed Scout members in the UK wear a membership award badge to show their membership of an organisation recognised by WOSM and all national scout associations have the same – or a similar – badge on their uniforms as well.

Scouting in the UK

The Scout Association is incorporated by Royal Charter and aims to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.

The Charter of the Association provides for the making of bye-laws approved by Her Majesty in Council which, in turn, authorise the making of the rules which govern Scouting in the UK (known as “Policy, Organisation and Rules”).

The Scout uniform is legally protected and can only be worn by members.

Scouting in the UK is managed by our HQ at Gilwell.


The next level of is the Scout County. The Scout County of Greater London South West, covers the arc of outer London Boroughs between Richmond upon Thames and Croydon.


Richmond upon Thames Scout District exists to provide leadership, advice and support for Scout Groups  and Explorer Units within the District. Our District boundary is the same as the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

The District is lead by a District Commissioner and assisted by a Deputy District Commissioner and Assistant District Commissioners.

Groups and Units

Scout Groups are the smallest unit and normally have at least one Beaver colony, Cub pack and Scout troop – known as sections. Groups are led by a Group Scout Leader (who may be called a Group Manager) and each section has a Leader and may have Assistant Leaders and helpers.

Explorer Units are for older Scouts and may be attached to a Scout group, but are managed at District level and are separate from their associated group. Units are led by Explorer Scout Leaders.


Each County, District and Group is managed by a group of Trustees which is led by a chairperson and includes a Secretary and Treasurer, as well as other members. The Group Scout Leader may be co-opted to attend Trustee meetings. How they are organised – such as membership and any sub committees – may be slightly different from group to group but all have to be compliant with Scout Policy, Organisation and Rules.

Each County, District and Group holds an Annual General Meeting – to which all parents/carers and older Scouts are invited (known as the Scout Council).  The AGM is often a celebration of the achievements of Scouts during the past year.

Nature and the outdoors are languages that can be learned. Once you identify a beech tree, tie a clove hitch or cook a simple meal over a fire that you’ve built yourself, you’ll never forget it.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls