Welcoming new adults: welcome conversations process resources

South & South East London Scouts
Welcoming new adults

Setting the scene

We are moving….

From - to

Historically we have appointments panels in scouts to welcome new volunteers into their role. It’s proven that appointments panels excel at introducing new volunteers to the wider movement and allow us to understand if the opportunity is a good fit for the potential volunteer. They also help us ensure that they are aware of and accept our values, policies and promise. The appointments panel supports volunteers to understand their role requirements and is able to point them in the right direction of support. It's an important process intended to keep young people in scouting safe.

However, when members (and non-members), were asked they told us that the current appointment process is intimidating, unclear and rarely as welcoming as it could be. It can also be really off-putting for potential volunteers, meaning they don’t get involved.

Members have also said that current challenges also include:

  • Appointment panels don’t make people feel safer  
  • They’re not a warm welcome for a new volunteer, because they usually happen after that volunteer has been acting in their role for several weeks (or longer!)
  • Safeguarding concerns are likely to be identified through conversations and working with volunteers rather than in a structured panel
  • If a potential volunteer has needs that mean they cannot take up a role with the movement this should be highlighted before they start a volunteering task, if these emerge later then they should be raised in the normal safeguarding manner. 

To overcome these challenges, we’re moving from appointments panels to welcome conversations. This is a meeting between a new volunteer and two existing key members – one from the group and one from the district.

Our new welcome conversations process is a much friendlier and less intimidating way for us to warmly welcome new people into our teams. It will confirm not only if a new volunteer is a match for us as an organisation, but more importantly that we are the right match for them, putting them at the heart of the process.

Why change?
The conversations will:

  • Give a space to discuss how the task / role / opportunity can be adapted to meet the needs of the volunteer, like flexible time, date and location options. 
  • Provide the opportunity to clarify the next steps in the new volunteer’s welcome journey – including DBS check, references and getting started learning. 
  • Make sure that the new volunteer has the chance to meet existing volunteers outside of their current role and be introduced to the wider movement. 
  • Provide a more welcoming experience for new volunteers. It’s important that we’re friendly, meet in familiar surroundings and at a time which is convenient for them.

A steady transition to the new welcome conversation process, that we are fully adopting in2024, is a great way to efficiently carry out some elements of our current appointments process at a time and place that is suitable for everyone involved.

During this time of transition, we need to be mindful of both the current way of working and the new ways that we will be adopting in the coming months. With this in mind, please use this guide in conjunction with ‘chapter 16 – Adult roles’, in the current edition of POR (www.scouts.org.uk/por) to ensure that all aspects of our current adult appointment process are met at the same time as introducing the new ways of working.

One of these elements is that rule states that the appointments panel meeting must consist of three panel members, (this is the exact number required, no more and no less), and the applicant’s line manager must not be a member of the appointment panel.

To ensure that we meet this three-person requirement the process detailed below should include:

Welcome team members

This video walks you through the steps in the process...

Remote video URL

Tools to help you administer the welcome process

Conversation Guide
Advising on adult appointments (Module 37)
Our welcome journey guide for new adults using  the paper application route
Quick guides
Conversations notification forms
Welcome process checklist
ID checking form
Young People First Yellow Card
Policy leaflet
Reference form
Guidance on the secure storage, handling, use, retention and disposal of disclosures and disclosure information.
The Policy, Organisation and Rules of The Scout Association
Getting Started
Providing a warm welcome