Membership policy: Recruitment process

Our policy explaining what checks potential volunteers must undergo before they can join Girlguiding

All adult members and recognised volunteers who wish to undertake an active role in guiding must undergo the recruitment process

Anyone wishing to support guiding by undertaking a specific role will:

  • have an informal meeting with the local Commissioner to ensure they understand guiding and its aim, and to agree which role may be appropriate
  • discuss with the local Commissioner any training that may be required
  • complete an online form and have their details stored on Go! (Guiding Organiser)
  • provide two satisfactory references who are not related to them and have known them a minimum of one year (one referee can be a guiding member)
  • complete the appropriate criminal record disclosure process for the country in which they live, if this is required for the role to be undertaken.

The responsibility for inviting adults and young women to undertake a role in guiding lies with the Commissioner. Where the Commissioner holds a similar level role to the applicant, or is a close relative, the invitation should be extended by a Commissioner of a higher level.

Disclosure checks

Being a volunteer within Girlguiding is a position of trust which can lead to some individuals having unsupervised access to girls and young women. Any adult wishing to volunteer with Girlguiding in such a capacity, including staying overnight on a residential event, will be required to complete an enhanced criminal record disclosure check.  

Any potential volunteer who refuses to undergo the appropriate recruitment check will not be allowed to continue volunteering. Any existing adult member undertaking a role in guiding who refuses to undergo a retrospective criminal record check when asked to do so will be withdrawn from that role immediately by the appropriate Commissioner.

Any adult who has taken a break of three years or longer from guiding will be asked to complete a new disclosure check.

Girlguiding’s Membership and Recruitment Policy meets the requirements in respect to exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) means that certain spent and minor offences are no longer subject to disclosure and will not appear on a disclosure certificate. However, Girlguiding is legally entitled to ask an individual to provide details of convictions and cautions that would be disclosed on a criminal record disclosure certificate.


For safer recruitment purposes, all individuals (18+) who are new to guiding and want to undertake any volunteer role, must provide two satisfactory references as part of Girlguiding’s recruitment process to assess an individual’s suitability. Dependant on the role undertaken in guiding, a criminal record disclosure check may also be required.

The referee must have known the applicant for at least one year and cannot be a relative. We only accept one guiding reference and therefore at least one external reference must be provided. References are required to be a personal character reference and therefore we ask volunteers to think carefully about the referee details they provide as some workplaces will only provide confirmation of their employment.


Criminal records are taken into account when the conviction is relevant. Having a conviction, whether it is spent or unspent, does not necessarily bar a prospective volunteer from a role within Girlguiding. This will depend on the circumstances and background of the offence and the role to be undertaken.

Girlguiding recognises that criminal record disclosure is a most sensitive and complex area. Disclosure of any kind is dealt with on an individual basis and this may be considered at Country and Region level by the Chief Commissioner.

Instructors and occasional helpers

From time to time Unit Leaders, Commissioners and Advisers/Coordinators may require additional support from non-members to carry out activities. These instructors and occasional helpers are not required to undergo a criminal record check unless they will have unsupervised access to girls or young women or will be staying overnight at a residential event. Occasional helpers must still complete the relevant application process and have their information stored on Go! (see our Data Protection Policy).

All volunteers aged 18 or over who are staying overnight at a residential event must have completed the recruitment check process (non-member volunteers should be assigned the role of Residential Occasional Helper on Go!).

Published: 8 September 2016