Recruitment and vetting policy

Our policy for recruiting and vetting volunteers so that we keep our members safe

Approved: 10 December 2022
Version: 3
Content owner: Safe practice

Our volunteers are an amazing and diverse group of people.

We welcome them from all walks of life. They help girls and young women to reach their full potential and with their unique skills and experience, our volunteers make great guiding happen.

This policy sets out how we recruit and vet our volunteers, making the process as safe, welcoming and inclusive as possible. It covers all adult volunteering roles in Girlguiding in the UK and British Girlguiding Overseas (BGO). It sets out what enquirers can expect, and also looks at what volunteers managing recruitment and vetting need to do.

You should read this policy alongside our Recruitment and vetting procedure.

  • Adult volunteers – anyone aged over 18 who gives their time to Girlguiding without being paid. This includes volunteers working directly with members and volunteers with no direct contact. An adult volunteer may also be a Girlguiding member, which means a subscription is paid.
  • Commissioner – a volunteer manager at country, region, county, division or district level.
  • Young member – anyone aged under 18 who is a member of Girlguiding. Young members include young leaders, young external volunteers and Rangers.
  • Enquirer – means an individual who has registered their interest to volunteer with Girlguiding and is going through the enquiry process.
  • The relevant Girlguiding HQ team – the Girlguiding safeguarding team for any matter involving child protection or safeguarding of children and adults. For any other matter it will mean the complaints and compliance team.
  • Criminal record disclosure check - involves details of someone’s criminal record, including information from the local police force. A government agency will provide this – AccessNI in Northern Ireland, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales, Disclosure Scotland’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in Scotland and overseas agencies for BGO.
  • Enhanced check – involves details of someone’s spent and unspent convictions, cautions and any other relevant information from the local police force. Girlguiding asks for enhanced checks, including a barred list check, for our volunteers.
  • Barred list check – covers information about whether someone is banned from working with children.

Policy statement

Everyone at Girlguiding shares a responsibility to keep our members safe. We want to make sure our process for recruiting volunteers is in line with safer recruitment practice, the law, and that it’s welcoming and inclusive to everyone.

Girlguiding’s recruitment and vetting requirements

Disclosure checks

Many of our volunteer roles involve working directly with girls and young women. People doing these roles need an enhanced criminal record disclosure check, including a check that they’re not barred from working with children. You can find more information on this in our recruitment and vetting procedure.

These checks are confidential. Only the enquirer, the disclosure agency and Girlguiding HQ will be able to see the information. We handle all the information we receive in line with our managing information policy.

In certain circumstances, we may need to share whether or why we refused to allow someone’s application, or why we withdrew their role. We would only do this to meet our legal obligation to safeguard children and adults, or if there is a report of a criminal offence. We will never share the content of a disclosure check with local volunteers.

We make sure that criminal record disclosure checks are satisfactory before an enquirer is confirmed as an adult volunteer, or if it’s a recheck that an adult volunteer can continue in their role. This includes the completion of any risk assessment by the relevant Girlguiding HQ team.

Existing volunteers and enquirers must let our complaints and compliance team at Girlguiding HQ know about any new convictions, cautions, or workplace investigations as soon as they happen.

Having a criminal record won’t necessarily stop someone taking up a volunteer role with Girlguiding.

If a volunteer or enquirer believes the information on their certificate is incorrect, they must contact the appropriate body (DBS, Disclosure Scotland or Access NI) to challenge it. We’ll make decisions based on the information provided unless the appropriate body lets us know it’s wrong.

References and training

Anyone aged over 18 applying to become a Girlguiding volunteer in any role must provide two satisfactory references. Volunteers returning to Girlguiding after a break of more than 12 months must also resubmit two satisfactory references. There’s more information in our procedure, including for young members moving into an adult volunteering role.

All volunteers must complete the appropriate level(s) of our a safe space training for their role.

Refusing an application

People who don’t meet our recruitment and vetting requirements won’t be allowed to volunteer with Girlguiding. There’s no right to appeal. However, they can make a complaint if they feel the refusal was inappropriate. Look at our complaints policy for more information.

If an adult volunteer breaches this policy we’ll withdraw their role and/or withdraw their Girlguiding membership. They can appeal this – our managing concerns about adult volunteers policy has more details.

Our expectations for volunteers managing the recruitment and vetting process

Volunteers involved in recruiting and vetting other volunteers must follow our procedures. Commissioners have overall responsibility for making sure volunteers do this.

We expect all volunteers to:

  • Report any safeguarding concerns in line with our safeguarding policy and procedure. Safeguarding is our first priority at Girlguiding.
  • Raise any concerns about the suitability of an enquirer or volunteer with the relevant Girlguiding HQ team.
  • Make sure Girlguiding is welcoming to all, in line with our equality and diversity policy and procedure.
  • Make sure that a role is available and suitable for the enquirer.
  • Help new volunteers settle into their role, making sure they have all the support and information they need.
  • Treat any information they receive during the recruitment and vetting process appropriately, only using and sharing the information needed to complete the task.