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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

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Nights away All camping and residential experiences within the United Kingdom are subject to Rule 9.2. This includes all events where it is intended that young people will sleep overnight and arrangements are put in place for this purpose, such as sleepovers, camps, Pack Holidays and expeditions. Nights away abroad are subject to Rule 9.3.

9.2.2 Nights away responsibilities An adult leading a camp or residential experience involving young people under 18 years old must:

  1. hold a valid Nights Away Permit
  2. have the prior agreement of the young person’s Section Leader
  3. have parental consent in which parents are informed about the event, including which leaders are present
  4. as a minimum, attend the event during the time that provision is made for young people to be sleeping overnight. They remain responsible for the event at all times
  5. ensure the relevant notification is made, as per Rule 9.2.3. The District Commissioner is responsible for:

  1. issuing of Nights Away Permits in accordance with the application, assessment, approval process and content of the appropriate factsheet. The Commissioner can only approve the issue of a Permit following the recommendation of a Nights Away Adviser (NAA) and cannot increase the level of the permit beyond that recommended without a further assessment by an NAA.
  2. suspending or withdrawing of Nights Away Permits as per Rule 9.2.4
  3. ensuring that all adult members who are present overnight at a nights away activity are in date for their safeguarding and safety training which must be recorded on Compass. This rule does not apply to Occasional Helpers and other non-members attending the event. This rule also does not apply to members of the Scout Network who are attending the event as a participant and are not supporting or delivering activities for members under the age of 18
  4. the standards of all camping and residential experiences taking place in the District and may cancel an event, if judged necessary
  5. appointing one or more Nights Away. Advisers’ Guide (FS120804).

County Commissioners have these responsibilities for events and permits issued by the County. For large scale events there needs to be a permit holder responsible for each residential group. There is no limit to the number of groups that a permit holder may be responsible for, but they remain responsible for the standard of the event for each group. In addition, the permit holder must ensure the home Commissioner is notified (Rule and inform them of the total number of groups they are responsible for during the event. All groups undertaking a nights away event must have immediate access to someone who has a current First Aid qualification, minimum First Response. The level of First Aid competence required for each event will be determined by the event risk assessment. However, a full first aid certificate, as defined in FS120052, is required for those operating in remote environments, where travelling time is 3 hours or more (in the method of travel being used) to a point of refuge, including at least one of:

  1. a road which carries a normal road-going ambulance
  2. a building which is occupied such as a farm or harbour
  3. another means of calling help such as a telephone box. The permit holder is not required to hold a first aid qualification. The requirement to have completed a First Response course is waived for holders of a valid First Aid qualification, where the syllabus equals or exceeds that of a First Response course, including hypothermia and hyperthermia training.


9.2.3 Nights away permits There are four categories of nights away permit:

  1. indoor – for staying in a building that has built in lighting and cooking facilities, toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (i.e., a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and running drinking water
  2. campsite – for staying at a site that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (such as, a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and access to running drinking water
  3. Green Field – for staying at any site where any of the above facilities do not exist – for example, a summer camp on a farmer’s field
  4. Lightweight Expedition – for staying at any site for not more than one night before moving on. The core activity is a form of expedition, not residential, and all the equipment is transported with the participants. For example King’s Scout Award or Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards hikes, expedition hikes, canoe expeditions. Those holding a Green Field Permit may lead residential events in the other three categories. Those holding a Campsite Permit may also run indoor residential events. Those holding a Hillwalking Permit that includes lightweight camping in remote areas may also run Lightweight Expedition events. Nights Away Permits are not section-specific and Districts and Counties must not operate a policy of issuing only section-specific permits. A permit holder may operate with members from another District or County subject to the normal approval of the District/County Commissioner of the members concerned. Permit holders proposing to work outside their usual section should obtain guidance from the Nights Away Adviser before the event takes place. Permits can only be granted to members of The Scout Association. There is no maximum age limit to gaining a Nights Away Permit. Permits must be renewed at intervals of not more than five years. Permits expire automatically if they are not renewed. Assessment:

  1. An applicant will be assessed by a Nights Away Adviser appointed by the District or County Commissioner, who will recommend a level of permit to be granted
  2. Assessments will be carried out in accordance with the process and content of the Nights away permit scheme. Notification

  1. The relevant home Commissioner, or their nominee, must be notified before any nights away event takes place. It is good practice for at least seven days’ notice to be given
  2. The notification must include all the information required in the Nights Away Notification Form (NAN)
  3. The Permit holder must ensure that appropriate notification is made for each group they are responsible for.
  4. Adult groups are required to notify their relevant Commissioner of night’s away events.

9.2.4 Renewal, restriction, suspension and withdrawal of nights away permits Any Leader who is alleged to have broken these activity rules must have their permit(s) suspended immediately. The relevant Commissioner will promptly enquire into the allegation and determine whether the permit(s) are to be reinstated, modified or withdrawn. The relevant Commissioner may at any time impose restrictions, suspend, withdraw or not renew a permit provided they have reasonable grounds to do so. Any amendment of a permit's status is only valid if the record on Compass is updated as appropriate. A Permit automatically expires if a member leaves The Scout Association.

9.2.5 Nights away event passports A Scout or Explorer who wishes to lead a camping or residential event can do so when issued with an event passport. An event passport is only valid for use with members of their own section. Each event passport is issued for one event only by a permit holder experienced in the category of camp or residential experience proposed. Event passports cannot be given to anyone aged over 18 and cannot be used for joint Explorer/Scout Network events. The permit holder has responsibility for notification (see Rule The permit holder must provide support during both the preparation and the event itself and be satisfied that the young person has the required abilities but is not required to attend the event. Event passports guidance (FS120085) is available. Event passports may be downloaded from the brand centre. Those responsible for running Scout campsites or activity centres who hold a permit may issue site specific Event Passports for an extended period (up to a maximum of 12 months) covering multiple service events for those under 18 years working on projects on their site. The home Commissioner must be informed of those under 18 years working on service team projects at Scout campsites and activity centres, but a separate NAN form for each occasion need not be completed if a range of dates is specified. When leading a Scout Network residential event, a passport or permit is not required, but notification (Rule is. The event leader must have first-hand experience of camping or residential events and be familiar with The Scout Association’s appropriate resource material. As part of the planning process parents must be informed if no leaders will be present. They musty be informed what supervision arrangements will be in place for a residential event where using an event passport is being used and be satisfied with those arrangements prior to consenting to their child taking part. For adult to young person ratios on Nights Away activities, see Rule 4.4

9.2.6 Family nights away The permit holder is responsible for the overall camp and must ensure that all The Scout Association’s rules are followed regardless of the presence of parents or other adults. Further information is available about Family Nights Away (FS120083). Other guidance is given in the publication Nights Away.


9.2.7 Expeditions and events in adventurous country and onboard craft All expeditions within the United Kingdom are covered by this Rule. Prior notification to relevant Commissioners of expeditions involving nights away must be given as described in Rule Some events will require the leader to hold an appropriate Adventurous Activity Permit: Terrain One and above or on-board watercraft. There is no additional requirement to gain a Nights Away Permit if the Activity Permit included an assessment of the skills needed to supervise camping or other residential experiences.