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Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme

The Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme is an internal assessment scheme designed to ensure that all those leading adventurous activities for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so.


Published Jan 2014 last reviewed with no updated 2018


Adventurous activities are a key, fun and inspiring part of Scouting. From a young person getting their first experience of being afloat in a canoe to a trekking expedition through the peaks of Nepal, they provide valuable experiences, lessons and memories for all of those involved. Our role is to ensure the young people get the opportunities for these positive experiences in a safe and fun environment.

The permit scheme

The adventurous activity permit scheme is an enabling device, designed to ensure that all those leading adventurous activities for young people within Scouting have the skills and experience to do so without the need for external professional level qualifications. It is designed to be as flexible as possible, while at the same time providing a robust checking process for those leading these activities.

What is the permit scheme?

Everyone who leads an adventurous activity for young people within Scouting is required to hold an activity permit for that activity. (Different Rules apply when using external providers.) Details of which activities are classed as adventurous can be found in POR.

Although managed locally, the activity permit scheme is a national scheme, so once gained, a permit will allow you to run that activity in any District or County. As an internal scheme within Scouting, permits are only able to be held by members and associate members of The Scout Association.

How the scheme works

The person who grants a permit is your Commissioner. This will be your District Commissioner if you have a Group or District appointment, and your County Commissioner if you have a County appointment. When they grant a permit it will be recorded on the membership database. It is the record on the membership database that is the definitive record of whether you have a permit and exactly what it covers. If it is not recorded in the database then it does not exist.

A Commissioner can only grant a permit on the recommendation of an assessor. To fulfil this role Counties may appoint County Assessors for each adventurous activity, or it is possible to use a suitably qualified external assessor. The assessor will provide the Commissioner with a recommendation based on an assessment of the applicant against the relevant assessment checklist.

A permit is time limited up to a maximum of five years at which point it expires. If you wish to continue leading the activity for young people you will need to apply for a new permit. The process for getting a new permit when a permit has expired is exactly the same as getting a first permit (get an assessor to assess you, assessor will provide a recommendation to your Commissioner who will be able to grant a permit once they’ve checked the other areas).

There is no prerequisite training required to gain any permit. So as long as you can show that you are to the required level of technical competence and experience, it does not matter how you reached that level. However many people will have either undertaken training accredited by National Governing Bodies, be regular participants, or have obtained experience through a club. Experience gained as a young person is also valid. There are also no age limitations to gaining a permit, so as long as the applicant has the skills and experience required, it is quite feasible for a young person to gain a permit.

Types of permits

There are three levels of permit available; personal, leadership, supervisory:

Further details of how these permits work for each activity can be found in the factsheet for the specific activity.

It should be recognised that a supervisory permit is a very high level permit that shouldn’t be given out lightly. It is designed for very experienced practitioners who have taken part in their activity in multiple locations and have seen and know how to deal with almost every eventuality.

When under 18s are granted permits they are not checked for the safeguarding elements (see below), so when an under 18 turns 18 their permit expires until these safeguarding requirements are carried out. They can automatically get a new permit, once the safeguarding checks have been carried out, without needing a new technical competence assessment.

What is assessed?

There are four areas assessed to gain a permit:

POR Chapter 9: Activities

Read more about the Permit Scheme

Activity Permit List

Discover the activities