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Applicants' Guide


Published March 2015 replacing version Nov 2013, last reviewed with no updated 2018


This page provides a guide to members wishing to gain an adventurous activity permit. More detailed information on the scheme, for assessors, Commissioners, and for each activity can be found in separate pages.

The permit scheme

An adventurous activity permit allows you to lead that activity for young people within Scouting. It shows people in Scouting, the young people and their parents that you have the necessary skills and experience to be able to lead these important activities. Details of which activities are classed as adventurous can be found in POR.

The adventurous activity permit scheme is a national scheme, so when you have a permit it will allow you to lead the activity for young people from any District or County. Each permit can be tailored to the level that your skills, experience and requirements justify, meaning that restrictions may be placed on such matters as areas, venues or facilities. This ensures that you can lead activities at the right level.

What will be assessed?

To gain a permit you will be assessed in four areas:

1. Technical competence

2. Knowledge of Scout Association rules for the activity

3. Safeguarding (not for under 18s)

4. Personal suitability

The last two will be checked by your Commissioner or their nominee, rule knowledge will be checked by your Commissioner (or nominee) or a County Assessor, and technical competence by an assessor.

During your technical competence assessment you will be assessed for your technical skills, knowledge and experience relevant to the activity. This is likely to be through a practical assessment, but can also make use of looking at other qualifications held (eg national governing body (NGB) awards or previous permits), logged experience and talking through questions and scenarios. This assessment is not supposed to trick you or catch you out, it is to assess your level of technical competence. Full details of the syllabus you will be assessed against can be found in the appropriate assessment checklist. If you are unsure about anything to do with the assessment or how it will be run, please talk to your assessor beforehand.

If the assessor or Commissioner recommends certain restrictions on your permit they should let you know why this is. They should also be able to tell you what further experience or skills you require to gain a permit with fewer restrictions.

You should be aware that an assessor may also fail some or all aspects of your assessment, or your responsible Commissioner may consider you unsuitable to lead adventurous activities.

Training and support

There is no compulsory training scheme that you need to complete before going forward for an assessment and no requirement to hold any other qualification such as an NGB qualification. The important aspect is being able to prove you have the skills during the assessment, not where you got them from. However there are a number of places that you can find training and support.

We would always recommend the training courses accredited by national governing bodies as some of the best places to learn skills. Alternatively there are a number of Scout Counties, Districts and teams that provide activity training and opportunities to gain experience in an open format.

Each County also has a local support structure for Activities led by the ACC Activities. This is probably a useful person to contact initially who can then put you in contact with specialist County Activity Advisers or teams.

Using your permit

Once you have gained your permit you can use it to run the activity it is for up to the level permitted by any restrictions placed on it. Please remember though that POR requires all activities to have the approval of your Commissioner and that they are operated within the Rules of POR. Please also remember that although there is no requirement to hold a first aid qualification to gain an activity permit, and that your permit will remain valid whether you hold a first aid qualification or not, you are required to have a first aid holder present at every activity to the level laid down in POR.

Applying for a permit

To get a permit you should apply directly to an assessor. There are a number of ways that you can find an assessor, more details on which are detailed below. You can use an application form that can either be printed off and filled in, or filled in online to enable emailing, although there is no requirement to use this form. Although there is no requirement to get approval from anyone in applying for a permit, it is good practice to let your GSL and Commissioner know of your intentions beforehand. They can often provide valuable guidance and support.

Once you have been assessed by the assessor, they will fill in a recommendation for the level of permit they believe your skills and experience are capable of fulfilling. This recommendation is not a permit on its own. This recommendation will be made directly onto Compass or using the Assessment Checklist Form, this then needs to be passed to your Commissioner (Compass will do this automatically) who will deal with the other areas to be checked before granting you your permit. When your permit is granted you will be given a permit card and your permit will be recorded on Compass.

How to find an assessor

There are three ways you can find an assessor:

Renewing a permit

Permits last for a maximum of five years, the expiry date can be found on your permit, at which point they expire. If you have not applied for and been granted a new permit before the expiry date on your permit then you will no longer be able to lead the activity once the expiry date has passed.

To get a new permit once / before your current permit has expired you need to go through exactly the same process as gaining your first permit. So you will apply to an assessor who will assess you and provide a recommendation for you to take to your Commissioner. The assessment by the assessor may use different methods to confirm your competence as you will have held a permit for a number of years and have more logged experience from this time that can be used as evidence.