Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme
Adventurous activities are:
- climbing and abseiling, except:
- climbs using auto belay systems (systems that lower a climber to the ground without any human intervention)
- cycling in cycle environment one and two
- hillwalking in terrain one and two
- 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.
Members of the Scouts 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 any adult with additional needs, disabilities or life-limiting conditions who have additional support to access scouting. 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 9.6 Use of External Centres and Instructors.
This rule also applies to staff and employees operating on behalf of The Scout Association or any Group, District, County or Country thereof.
A Commissioner issues a permit on the recommendation of an assessor and following the process and content of the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Commissioners’ Guide (FS120103).
126.96.36.199 [Previously Rule 9.7(d) in January 2023 POR]
Permits can be granted for personal, leadership and supervisory Details of which are available for each activity in the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme (FS120100). 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. There is a list of all activities.
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 up to, but not including, the holder’s 18th birthday.
188.8.131.52 Members 18 years and over must hold a full role allowing them to lead regulated activity in order to hold and adventurous activity permit.
County assessor or external assessor, meeting the assessor requirements outlined in Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Approved Assessors (FS120104), may make a recommendation for a permit.
A permit must expire within 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.
Where a leadership or supervisory permit holder is under 18 and the required safeguarding checks and adult training for an adult holding a permit have not been carried out, their permit expires on their 18th When they turn 18 they can be granted a new permit, once the required safeguarding checks and adult training have been carried out, without the need for another assessment, to expire within five years of their initial permit being granted.
All groups undertaking adventurous activities must have access to someone (this need not be the permit holder) holding a relevant and current first aid qualification and access to suitable first aid materials. For adventurous activities this must be immediate access. The detail of the first aid skills required will be identified by the risk assessment, but the minimum qualifications (or equivalents) (see 184.108.40.206).
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.
When a permit holder leaves the Scouts, or no longer has a role which allows them to lead regulated activity, their permit(s) automatically expire on the date that they leave.
Where a permit holder is not following the activity rules or running the activity in an unsafe manner, their Commissioner must review and further restrict or cancel their permit.
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 Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme – Moderation (FS120106).
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
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 Headquarters Activities Team at Gilwell Park before the end of February.
Where an adventurous activity (as defined in the introduction to Rule 9.7) involves 100 or more people, the activity must be specially approved by the home District or County Commissioner(s) and advance notice in writing must be given to the host County Commissioner(s) at least two months before the event, together with the following details:
- the numbers and age ranges of those involved
- the names and addresses of the responsible Leaders
- the outline programme
- the proposed location(s)
- the proposed transport arrangements, including those to be used during the event
- the proposed method of liaison with local landowners
In all such cases involving the activities covered in this chapter, the organisers must:
- carry out a risk assessment
- consider and document the arrangement for the supervision of participants, including non-members and the procedures to be used in the event of an emergency
- submit a safety plan to the home District or County Commissioner(s) for approval
For large scale adventurous activities where alternative written safety procedures are in place the County Commissioner, in consultation with the relevant County Activity Adviser, may agree to an alternative system of supervision, checking and control of participating groups.