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Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme

  1. These rules apply to all adventurous activities.

    Adventurous activities are:
    • archery
    • caving
    • climbing and abseiling, except:
      • bouldering
      • climbs using auto belay systems (systems that lower a climber to the ground without any human intervention)
    • hill walking and off road cycling (in Terrain One and Two)
    • hovercrafting
    • snowsports (except artificial slopes and nursery slopes)
    • all water activities, except swimming, on class B1, B2, B3 or A waters
    • all motorised water activities and SCUBA activities on class C waters.

  2. Members or associate members of Scouting wishing to run any adventurous activity must hold the appropriate activity permit where any member of the activity group is under the age of 18 or those Scout Network members with additional needs that places their mental capacity and understanding as below the age of 18. For joint activities with under and over 18 members the activity permit scheme applies. Where these activities are being run by non-members, see Rule 9.9 Use of External Centres and Instructors.

    Note: This rule also applies to staff and employees operating on behalf of The Scout Association (or any Group, District, County or Country thereof).

  3. A Commissioner issues a permit on the recommendation of an assessor and in accordance with the process and content of the factsheet FS120103 Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Commissioners’ Guide.

  4. Permits can be granted for leadership, supervisory and personal. Details of which are available for each activity can be found in the factsheet FS120100 Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme.  The remit of each permit can be found in the appropriate factsheet for the specific activity, although all permits can have additional restrictions placed on them based on the skills and experience of the permit holder.

  5. There is no minimum or maximum age to hold a leadership or supervisory permit (except any imposed by outside agencies). There is no minimum age to hold a personal permit, but the maximum age is 17.

  6. Recommendations for permits may be made by County assessors or external assessors in accordance with the FS120104 Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Approved Assessors.
  7. Permits must have an expiry date of not more than five years. When a permit expires the permit holder must apply for, be assessed for and be granted a new permit before they are able to run the activity again.

  8. Where a leadership or supervisory permit holder is under 18 their permit will expire on their 18th birthday if the required safeguarding checks for an adult holding a permit have not been carried out.  When they turn 18 they can be granted a new permit, once the required safeguarding checks have been carried out, without the need for another assessment, to expire no longer than five years after their initial permit was granted.

  9. All groups undertaking adventurous activities must have immediate access to someone holding a relevant and current first aid qualification. This need not be the permit holder. The detail of the first aid skills required will be identified by the risk assessment, but the minimum qualifications (or equivalents) are:
    • A full first aid certificate as defined at FS120052  is required for all remote activities, where travelling time is 3 hours or more (in the method of travel being used) to a point of refuge including
      • a road which carries a normal road-going ambulance
      • a building which is occupied (such as a farm or harbour)
      • or another means of calling help (such as a telephone box)
    • First Response is required for all other adventurous activities.

  10. Once holding a permit an activity leader may operate with Members from another District or County (subject to the normal approval of the District/County Commissioner of the Members concerned).

  11. When a permit holder leaves Scouting their permit(s) will automatically expire on the date that they leave.

  12. Where a permit holder is not following the activity rules or running the activity in an unsafe manner, their Commissioner may review and further restrict or cancel their permit.

  13. Each County is required to carry out a self- moderation of their management of the adventurous activity permit scheme by the end of each January in accordance with the details in FS120106 Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Moderation. 
    The County Commissioner is responsible for:
    • agreeing the County self- moderation as an accurate record
    • ensuring action plans are in place where any minimum standards are not met
    • ensuring any agreed action plans are carried out.
  14. Where a County is selected for national sampling of their self-moderation they need to send their completed County self- moderation form to the UK Activities Team at Gilwell Park before the end of February.