Chief Scout (The Scout Association)
The Chief Scout is the head of The Scout Association. The position was created when Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, assumed the title "Chief Scout" within the organisation he founded. He was proclaimed "Chief Scout of the World" in 1920 at the first World Scout Jamboree in Olympia, London but this was not an official title. Following his death, Chief Scouts were appointed for the British Empire, then the British Commonwealth and Empire, then the Commonwealth and, since 1972, for the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories. The current Chief Scout is the British adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls.
Role of the Chief Scout
The Chief Scout is the head of The Scout Association, and is therefore the leader of the organisation in the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories. The role of the Chief Scout when Baden-Powell started the Scouting programme in 1908 was to promote the policies and benefits of Scouting and to determine the direction in which Scouting will function. The role of the Chief Scout was changed fundamentally in 2009 with the appointment of Bear Grylls. The functions were split with the appointment of a UK Chief Commissioner (Deputy Chief Scout). The UK Chief Commissioner took over most of the administrative duties and now leads the adult members of the association. The Chief Scout would continue as the visible head of the association and still has key roles within Scouting in the UK.
The Chief Scout is appointed by the Council of The Scout Association, which Council elects its own members including office bearers, while others are appointed by the Board of Trustees (formerly Committee of the Council), with others nominated as representatives from councils around the United Kingdom (the majority of whose members are appointed by the Board or Headquarters) and overseas branches controlled by Headquarters. Working alongside the Chief Scout's Committee, the Chief Scout is responsible for the appointment of County Commissioners and County Presidents.
Each section of the Scout Association has an award meant to come from the Chief Scout; in Beavers, the award is the Chief Scout's Bronze Award, in Cubs it is Silver, in Scouts it is Gold and in Explorers, Platinum and Diamond. The only award higher than this is the Queen's Scout Award.
List of Chief Scouts
Chief Scouts of the British Empire and Commonwealth:
- Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, died 8 January 1941
- Arthur Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers, March 1942, Chief Scout of the British Empire
- Thomas Corbett, 2nd Baron Rowallan, April 1945, Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire
- Sir Charles Maclean, later Lord Maclean, September 1959, Chief Scout of the Commonwealth. He resigned as Chief Scout of the UK in September 1971, but continued as Chief Scout of the Commonwealth until August 1975.
Chief Scouts of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories:
- Sir William Gladstone, July 1972
- Major-General Michael J. H. Walsh, February 1982
- Sir Garth Morrison, May 1988
- George Purdy, March 1996
- Peter Duncan, 5 September 2004 
- Bear Grylls, 11 July 2009 
- "Bear Grylls announced as new Chief Scout". The Scout Association. 17 May 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011. "Working in partnership with Bear will be Scouting volunteer Wayne Bulpitt, who takes on the new role of UK Chief Commissioner."
- "The Council of the Scout Association". POR: Chapter 6: The Structure of the Headquarters of The Scout Association. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- "The Chief Scout's Committee". POR: Chapter 6: The Structure of the Headquarters of The Scout Association. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- "Awards, Decorations and Recognition of Service". Badges. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- "The Chief Scout - Peter Duncan". The Scout Association. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Bear Grylls announced as new Chief Scout". press release. Retrieved 14 January 2011.