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Member resources

UK Headquarters membership fee

The UK Headquarters membership fee is calculated based on the number of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Please note that there are different arrangements in place to set fees in the Nations, and as such, the Nations' Boards are responsible for setting the fees in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Adult volunteers and Network members do not pay a UKHQ membership fee. This means that:

What is the membership fee process?

The census of all adult and youth members takes place in January using the same online system that has been used for over a decade. The fees payable will be calculated on only the number of young people in each Scout County/Area/Region (Scotland).

The 2019 UKHQ membership fee for all members under 18 will be £28.00 (£27.50 for prompt payment).

Counties/Areas/Regions can continue to choose the best method to fund payment of the UKHQ membership fee and how to collect this from their Districts. In turn, Districts can continue to choose the best method to fund payments to County/Area/Regions (which will also cover the UKHQ membership fee) and how these are collected from their Groups. Existing processes can continue for young people to pay a weekly/termly/annual subscription.

Changes in membership for Executive Committee members

Since January 2016, all adults on Executive Committees (at Group, District, County/Area and Region level) have been required to become members or associate members of the Scout Association. More information about the difference between being a member and an associate member can be found here.

It enables those volunteers with important responsibilities for Scouting to benefit from the resources, training, record of service, guidance, advice and support which comes with being a member, without causing any increase in local costs, as a membership fee will not need to be paid for them, as outlined above.

Support and guidance resources

1.Summary of the research conducted with members

The decision to make changes to the membership fee paying process was informed by research which started with members in 2011. Focus groups were held across the UK to gather feedback on different options which could be put in place to ensure the UKHQ membership fee was not a barrier to adult recruitment. A wide variety of roles fed into the focus groups, from Section Leaders and Executive Committee members to Commissioners and managers at all levels.

At these focus groups, members were asked for feedback on the issues which would be encountered if they had to implement all the different options being looked at for the UKHQ membership fee.

The feedback and opinions collated at the focus group then led to an online survey being created to gather responses from all UK members. This survey was put in place to understand opinions on the options available and to get a true reflection of current local practice when it comes to covering the UKHQ membership fees. Members were asked for feedback on keeping the UKHQ membership system the same, or for moving to a system where local Scouting  only pays for the number of youth members involved in Scouting, and not for the number of adults they have volunteering.

Over 4,500 members responded to the online survey, providing great feedback and statistics on the preferred approach going forward. An external consultation agency conducted the research and analysis to ensure its development and analysis was independent.

Respondents were asked for feedback on the pros and cons of keeping the system the same, or changing to be a collection from young people only.

Key findings
Many respondents felt strongly that it is unfair for adult volunteers to pay to give up their time and that this request inadvertently suggested that their contribution is not valued. Many respondents also felt the adult payment puts off some members, particularly those in the Scout Network, and those who want to be involved on an occasional basis. However, many also explained that in their groups, adults are paid for out of group funds anyway.

Some were surprised to discover that volunteers have to pay at all. 86% of the respondents do not pay the annual UK HQ membership fee as adult volunteers out of their own pocket anyway – so this change would reflect and formalise local current practice.

Additionally, a number of respondents thought this reform would be of particular value to flexible volunteering. At the moment it can be costly for Groups and Units to have pools of part timers who share roles because all heads are counted, even though there are multiple people sharing one role.

Quotes taken from the research:
‘It makes us consider whether we should retain less active and involved Leaders [e.g. Scout Active Support members] when they are useful to call on when needed’.
‘100% support this idea, would solve lots of extra work locally in deciding who pays for multiple role holders and remove a barrier from more flexible leadership team models’.

2. Why is a membership fee paid to HQ?

The UK Headquarters membership fee is paid annually to the UK Headquarters to contribute to the costs of supporting Scouting UK-wide. All members have paid an annual fee to UK Headquarters every year since 1964.

3. Financial detail around paying UKHQ membership fees

How do we raise funds to cover costs of the UKHQ membership fee?

County/Area/Region Counties/Areas/Regions (Scotland)/ Districts/Groups will continue to make decisions on how they want to collect and pay their membership fees. Most youth members make donations to their Scout Groups and Districts to attend Scouting activities and events and the amount is calculated from the cost of running Scouting locally, inclusive of the UKHQ membership fee for the adults involved. Many will not require a change to their membership fee process if they already operate in this way.

In some areas, local Scouting operates a strong fundraising programme to help raise money to cover the costs of running Scouting and all membership fees in order to charge their young people as little as possible. This will continue to be an option.

In some areas there may still be adult volunteers who will continue to make a donation to their local Groups or District.
Gift Aid, ensures that for every £1 you receive, you can claim an extra 25p from HMRC. This includes any donations received in the last four years and any future donations received, helping donations to go further. Further guidance is available online.


If you are a Group, District or County/Area/Region that needs to increase your income take a look at the guidance on local fundraising available online.

What does the UK headquarters membership fee pay for?

Download an overview of how the membership fee is put to good use.

Please note that the National offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Islands receive or retain a proportion of the UK HQ membership fee so they can deliver specific services to members in those Countries. Some guidance and development support is best delivered by the Country Headquarters (e.g. where local knowledge is required or where guidance is affected by the differences in law between the Countries).

When is the HQ membership fee paid?
All fees are paid by local Scouting managers to the Scouts UK Headquarters by 25 April every year.  The fees may be collected from the individual members locally at different times throughout the year to break up payments and meet local deadlines for payment.

Is the membership fee the only way HQ is funded?
Approximately one third of the Scouts’s income comes from the membership fee. The other sources of funds required to meet the costs of the national headquarters of the charity come from fundraising activities such as donations and legacies and all the profits generated by Scout Store, Scout Adventures and Scout insurance providers Unity by selling their products and services.

The Trustees of The Scout Association have been working to a strategy for the last 10 years to reduce the reliance on membership fees while still being able to increase services for members by diversifying the sources of income.

Where can I find out more detail on the figures and spend of the Scouts?
If you would like to see further detail of The Scout Association’s financials please view the current annual report here.


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Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW