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This code of conduct sets out standards of behaviour The Boys’ Brigade expects from all of our leaders.  The code aims to help us protect children and young people from harm and to reduce situations where misunderstandings, concerns or allegations may occur.

Leaders are responsible for making sure they have read, understood, and agree to follow the code of conduct, and that they understand the consequences of unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour and poor practice.

The Role of Volunteer Leaders

As a leader in The Boys’ Brigade, you have a responsibility to prioritise the welfare of children and young people and ensure that we provide an environment that is safe from harm.

In your role at The Boys’ Brigade, you are acting in a position of authority and influence and have a duty of care towards the children and young people you work with.  You will be seen as a role model and are expected to always act appropriately and recognise and report any behaviour that causes concern.


As a leader in The Boys’ Brigade YOU MUST:

ensure in every respect that relationships formed with children and young people in your care are appropriate, and relevant to your role.

Leaders must ensure the relationships they form with children & young people are ALWAYS appropriate, healthy, safe, and positive. Leaders are in a ‘Position of Trust’ and must ensure they maintain and demonstrate clear boundaries that are recognised by children, young people and leaders alike. Read our Position of Trust Guidance.

treat all children, young people and adults fairly, respectfully and without prejudice or discrimination or favouritism.

It is appropriate that the organisation focuses on children & young people, but it is also important that leaders build and maintain positive relationships with fellow leaders, parents/carers and other adults in our communities. Leaders should ensure that activities are accessible and inclusive.

involve children & young people in the decisions that affect them wherever possible.

It is important that children & young people are provided with opportunities to shape their programme and make decisions about their participation in activities. Leaders should be aware of the needs and abilities of individual children & young people.

always work in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations.

Leaders should always be aware of the environment they are working in and especially take this into consideration when planning activities including events and residentials, in settings they are not familiar with. Due consideration should also be given to the number of leaders and their responsibilities for supervising children & young people.

create a safe environment ensuring all activities including weekly meetings, events, trips and residentials are risk assessed to maintain the safety of all involved and to ensure that there are always sufficient leaders present.

Ensure there are always at least two registered leaders present during ALL activities with children & young people (one of these leaders must have completed Youth Leader Training). Whilst there are no set ratios for the number of leaders required, it is necessary to fully consider this based on the activity being undertaken. A written risk assessment should be completed for all activities being undertaken. If in exceptional circumstances a situation arises unexpectedly where a leader is left alone with a young person,  steps should be taken to remedy the situation promptly. The leader must ensure the circumstances are reported to the Company Captain, the relevant parents and are documented.

take all safeguarding allegations or concerns seriously and report immediately in line with safeguarding procedures to The Boys’ Brigade and inform your local church.

Follow our safeguarding procedures, which can be found on our Safeguarding Hub

create an environment where children, young people and adults feel safe and are able to talk about any concerns they have.

challenge and report unacceptable behaviour, poor practice and any breaches of the Leaders Code of Conduct

It is essential that everyone challenges poor practice within the organisation, even when there is a belief that the motives of an individual are well meaning. Unchallenged poor practice can lead to an environment where safeguarding concerns remain unnoticed, and when recognised are not acted upon.

avoid compromising situations or opportunities that give rise to misunderstandings or allegations. Actions can be misinterpreted no matter how well intended.

maintain clear boundaries during all contact with children and young people whether it is face to face, online or via social media.

It is important that leaders understand that there must be appropriate boundaries in place when it comes to contact with children and young people.

stay within the law and follow BB policies, procedures and guidance including this Code of Conduct at ALL times, taking time to review any updates.

Leaders MUST be aware of and understand the policies and procedures in place. Read the policy and procedures on our Safeguarding Hub

inform BB HQ about any changes which may impact your suitability to be a leader.

Whether in a BB setting or your private life, if you become the subject of a criminal investigation or are subject to an enquiry by any child protection services, you must inform BB Headquarters. 

As a leader in The Boys’ Brigade YOU MUST NOT:

allow concerns or allegations to go unreported

develop inappropriate relationships with children and young people.

allow or take any unnecessary risk which could put children and young people or adults at risk of harm.

act in any way that is or can be perceived as threatening, intrusive or harmful, or patronises or belittles children and young people

do not join in physical contact games or activities with children and young people, this will avoid unnecessary accidents, injuries or inappropriate physical contact.

engage in or permit abusive peer activities such as initiation ceremonies and bullying

have any sexual contact with children or young people

develop inappropriate physical, verbal, emotional or spiritual interaction with children & young people

make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of children and young people

allow or arrange for any BB activities for children and young people to take place in your home or a private dwelling

behave in any way that brings The Boys’ Brigade into disrepute

Whilst it is not possible to be prescriptive of all the circumstances this could include, the organisation will consider the relevant circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Upholding this Code of Conduct

You must always follow this code of conduct and never rely on your reputation or that of The Boys’ Brigade to protect you.

If you have behaved inappropriately, you will be subject to an investigation. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, your membership may be withdrawn. We may be required to make a referral to statutory agencies including the police, local authority child protection services, and vetting and barring services.

If you become aware of any leader engaging in unacceptable conduct (as outlined above) you must report them to safeguarding@boys-brigade.org.uk

Where Safeguarding concerns or allegations arise, you must follow Safeguarding reporting procedures.  You can find out more at boys-brigade.org.uk/safeguarding/.

Complaints or disputes should be dealt with as outlined in the complaints policy at boys-brigade.org.uk/complaints/.