‘Young People First’ code of good practice for adults (yellow card)


To give positive guidance, the ‘Young People First’ code of good practice (also known as the yellow card) sets out a code of behaviour. It is essential that all adults follow this code to ensure that:

  • The welfare of young people for whom you have a duty of care is safeguarded.
  • You avoid compromising situations or opportunites for misunderstandings or allegations.

Every adult should have a copy of the yellow card ‘Young People First’ code of good practice. It is designed for you to keep – carry it.

Code of behaviour

DO put this code into practice at all times

DO treat everyone with dignity and respect

DO set an example you would wish others to follow

DO treat all young people equally – show no favouritism

DO plan activities that involve more than one other person being present, or at least are within sight and hearing of others

DO follow the recommended adult/young people ratios for meetings and activities

DO respect a young person’s right to personal privacy

DO avoid unacceptable situations within a relationship of trust; for example, a sexual relationship with a youth member over the age of consent

DO have separate sleeping accommodation for young people, adults and young leaders working with a younger section

DO allow young people to talk about any concerns they may have

DO encourage others to challenge any attitudes or behaviours they do not like

DO avoid being drawn into inappropriate attention seeking behaviour such as tantrums and crushes

DO ensure a no alcohol policy when young people are in your care – adults and young people

DO make everyone aware of the Association’s child protection procedures – young people, parents/carers, young leaders and other helpers

DO remember this code even at sensitive moments (when responding to bullying, bereavement, abuse and so on)

DO keep other leaders informed of where you are and what you are doing

DO remember someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well-intentioned

DO take any allegations or concerns of abuse seriously and refer immediately

DO NOT trivialise abuse

DO NOT form a relationship with a young person that is an abuse of trust

DO NOT permit abusive peer activities such as initiation ceremonies or bullying

DO NOT engage in inappropriate behaviour or contact – physical, verbal, sexual

DO NOT play physical contact games with young people

DO NOT make suggestive remarks or threats to a young person, even in fun

DO NOT use inappropriate language – writing, phoning, email or internet

DO NOT let allegations, suspicions, or concerns about abuse go unreported

DO NOT just rely on your good name to protect you

To get copies of the ‘Young People First’ code of good practice (yellow card), including the large A3 version, please contact the scout information centre on 0845 300 1818 or [email protected]

Young People First (yellow card) (PDF)

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