Process of closing a unit
Follow this process when closing a unit in order to support girls, their parents and volunteers
Work with your commissioner to close your unit in the best possible way.
Before you start, consider all options for keeping your unit open. This should include identifying the reasons you’re considering closing and creating a plan of actions to take.
If there are no other options and the decision has been made to close your unit, your commissioner should support you with the formal process of carrying this out.
To make sure the process is followed efficiently, involve your commissioner from the beginning. Keep parents, other leaders in your area, and your unit members up to date throughout the process.
Getting the timing right
With your commissioner, create an action plan with realistic deadlines that you can stick to.
It’s really important that the process to close the unit isn't rushed but, equally, it shouldn’t take too long. If a member feels as though they’ve been pushed out quickly, they may not want to continue in guiding. If the process has been too slow, they may feel as though their needs haven’t been considered.
Step 1: Approach your district
Identify nearby units that could possibly take some of the girls from your unit. Ideally you should aim to keep girls in small groups to make sure that there is a support network when they move.
Step 2: Hold a meeting with parents of active unit members
Communication with everyone involved with the unit is important. Hold a meeting and advise parents and members of the situation, and explain why you’re closing the unit, including steps that were taken to try to keep the unit open.
Invite leaders from the other units to attend and be on hand to answer any questions that parents may have about potential groups their daughter could transfer to.
Give out a letter, or send an email, and fact sheet which explains everything discussed at the meeting. Make sure this goes to all parents including those who couldn't attend. Make sure that all parents have their daughter’s membership number, as this will make transfers through GO easier.
Step 3: Contact any girls waiting to join
Tell prospective members that your unit is closing, and that unless they hear otherwise, you'll refer them onto an alternative unit.
Step 4: Ask your local commissioner to mark the unit as 'closing'
This'll make sure you don't get any new enquiries as parents and carers will be able to see that the unit will be closing soon.
Step 5: Transfer girls and make them inactive on GO
Transfer girls to another unit on GO, and then make them inactive in your unit. Volunteers who aren't involved in unit finances can also be made inactive at this point.
Step 6: Submit unit accounts
Make sure you've banked all final cheques from members and paid all final expenses for your unit. Once the cheques have cleared, complete your unit accounts and make sure they're independently reviewed and submitted to the district.
Step 7: Transfer any leftover funds or assets to the district or division
The district or division should hold onto any money as a separate amount for one year in case the unit reopens. After that, the funds should be dispersed into the district or division accounts, or dealt with in line with what’s in the governing constitution or trust deed. This also applies to any equipment, property or investments.
Different arrangements might apply to units attached to HM Forces or The Salvation Army.
On disbandment, all property and the unit registration certificate must be handed over to the relevant commissioner immediately.
Step 8: Close the bank account for the unit
Once all the remaining funds have been transferred to the district or division, arrange for the bank account to be closed. You must get evidence that the account has been closed, and pass this on to your local commissioner.
Step 9: Make volunteers inactive on GO
Make sure all remaining volunteer roles in the unit are made inactive.
Step 10: Make the unit inactive
Contact the county GO coordinator to ask for the unit to be made inactive. If you're unsure who this is, you can contact them via your commissioner.
Support your volunteers and girls
Alongside these practical steps, it’s important to make time to support the girls and volunteers in your unit, as well as consider your own options for continuing in guiding, if you'd like to.
As with the girls, help adult members to find nearby units where they could continue their involvement. If there isn’t another suitable unit role, suggest they consider other supporting roles that might be available to them.