Leaving or changing role

If a member wants to move to a new volunteer role, or stop volunteering completely, find out what you need to do.

Sometimes volunteers might need to step back from their role

Commissioner should give support to anyone who wants to move into a new role or decides to leave guiding. Encourage volunteers in your area to give you plenty of notice for these changes, so together you can make sure everything is handed over.

If someone feels they can't manage in their current role, talk to them about the other roles available. Not every volunteer needs to attend weekly meetings for example. They might prefer to help at events, do meeting minutes or lend a hand with admin.

If they do decide to move on and leave the organisation, take a positive approach and thank them for all time they've given. Often, changes in personal circumstances - like at work, home or in their family - can mean someone needs a break from volunteering. This kind of change can be hard, so make sure you take time to support them. Don't just focus on making sure there's someone to cover their role. Ask if they want to stay in touch, they might want to come back one day.

What you need to do

When someone leaves, even it's if just taking a break, you need to think about safeguarding and other legal responsibilities.

Our leaving checklist will help you make sure everything is covered.

Once they've stopped volunteering, remove any access they had to personal information and unit accounts. Make sure they can only see information that any member of the public can see. This is in line with our Managing information, Safeguarding and Finance policies, and it protects them from any misunderstandings or allegations.

If a volunteer tells you they're planning to leave, you should:

  • Try to meet up with them to talk about it, particularly if you think leaving might be emotionally charged or difficult. Then follow up by phone or email.
  • Find out why they’re leaving. Ask them if there's any changes or more support that could help them to stay.
  • Ask if they'd like to move to another role – perhaps as a district or division leader to help at events? Do they have other skills they can offer?
  • Thank them in the most appropriate way.
  • Think about their legal responsibilities - such as bank account details and documents, access to GO, and unit records they’re holding, including personal information saved on their devices.
  • Agree dates for getting things finished off or handed over before they leave.

When a volunteer has their membership withdrawn or is dismissed

If a volunteer has breached Girlguiding expectations or failed to comply with restrictions or sanctions, this can result in withdrawal of their membership, if they are a member, or dismissal, if they're not a member.

If they've been suspended before the withdrawal, many of their responsibilities will have already been handed over, but you might need to formalise this. As the commissioner, you also might need to talk to them and explain their withdrawal. Meet in person, if you can, and be aware that this conversation may be emotionally charged.

Speak to the team at HQ who've been managing the investigation, they can help you manage the conversation and know which parts of the leaving checklist you should address. 

You can find out more about the withdrawal and dismissal process in the Managing concerns about adult volunteers procedure.

When a volunteer dies

You may sadly experience the death of a volunteer in your area. Whether it's sudden or expected, it will likely be a very difficult time for everyone who knew them. It’s important that you are flexible, compassionate and patient with their relatives and friends when it comes to asking them to return any guiding items.

Do not make the volunteer’s role inactive on GO. Email [email protected] as soon as possible with the subject line ‘deceased member’. Include their name and membership number.

We have information on supporting young people with bereavement as well as details of more general support organisations that you could share with units. You may also find yourself supporting other volunteers who are grieving. This can be hard, so make sure to take time to look after yourself as well.