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Assessment Guide


Published March 2016 replacing version Nov 2013, last reviewed with no updated 2018


This page provides an overview for assessors assessing applicants for an adventurous activity permit. More detailed information on the scheme, for applicants, Commissioners, and for each activity can be found in separate pages.

The assessor’s role

The role of the assessor is to carry out assessments of permit Applicant’s technical activity specific skills and experience. Based on this they pass a recommendation on to the Commissioner of the applicant, and it is the Commissioner who actually grants the permit following other checks.

Most assessors will be appointed as County Assessors. In addition to this it is possible for applicants to use external assessors.

Assessment courses

Assessments will normally take place during assessment courses. While it is recognised that using courses, and therefore a number of assessors and applicants being involved, is the most effective way of assessing due to exchange of ideas etc, it is also recognised that in certain circumstances this is not feasible (lack of assessors, courses, dates, nature of activity etc). In these cases assessments will often take place on a one to one basis between the assessor and applicant.

Assessment courses can be arranged by different groups of people, such as Counties, activity teams, Regions etc. There is nothing to stop assessors from different Counties working together on courses. In fact it is encouraged as it helps with networking between assessors leading to more peer support and a more uniform national standard. If no one in your County is running an assessment course for you to assess on, why not contact the organisers of another course elsewhere and see if they are interested in you joining their assessment team for one or more opportunities. More often than not they will jump at the chance.

The Assessment

The assessment is not an opportunity to try and trick applicants. It is an assessment of their activity specific skills and experience. It should be based on the relevant assessment checklist and should contain no surprises for the applicant.

The assessment checklist provides you with the syllabus to work against. There is room after each assessment area for you to tick it off as completed.

There are a number of methods at your disposal to assess the applicant’s competence level. Generally you should use elements of each of these in each assessment, the levels of each depending on factors such as the applicant, environment, activity being assessed etc:

1. Practical assessment

Putting the applicant in the activity environment and assessing whether they have the skills.

2. Theoretical assessment

Talking with the applicant, often through scenarios and examples, to find out how they would deal with them.

3. Logged experience

Looking at the breadth, circumstances and currency of the applicant’s experience. Experience gained as a young person should also be taken into account.

4. Relevant qualifications 

Where applicants have already been assessed for other qualifications, whether through other organisations such as GirlGuiding, from national governing bodies, or previous permits within Scouting, then this can be used to show competence in certain areas of the assessment checklist.

If you're a County Assessor, then you may also assess the applicant’s knowledge of the relevant Scout Association Activities rules and how these will affect them and the activity, and record this on the assessment checklist.

Assessing supervision

As well as gaining a personal permit or a leadership permit it is also possible for many activities to gain a permit to supervise. Full details on the limits of supervision can be found in the specific activity factsheets.

To gain a supervisory permit an applicant should have (or be being assessed for) a leadership permit to the same or higher level. In addition to this they should be experienced within the activity, and knowledgeable and mature enough to put in place suitable checks to ensure participants are suitably trained, equipped and monitored in the vicinity of the activity.

Assessment for a supervisory permit will normally be more theoretical using discussion of various scenarios, although observation of management skills may also be used.

The recommendation

After assessing an applicant you will need to come up with a recommendation for the level of permit that you believe their technical skills will allow them to lead the activity to. In some cases they will not have the skill level to be given any level of permit.

Restrictions allow permits to be tailored to the level of skill, experience and personal requirements of each applicant, and should be based on their competence levels as seen within the assessment. Whenever you do make a recommendation for a restricted permit you should be prepared to explain your reasons for this and what they would need to improve to get a less restrictive permit to the applicant.

You should record your recommended level of permit on the last page of the assessment checklist and give it to the applicant so that they can take it to their Commissioner or make the recommendation direct to the applicants record on Compass. If you are a County Assessor and have assessed the applicant’s knowledge of Scout Association activities rules, then you should also record this on the same sheet. It is important that you include your name and phone number on the sheet so that if the Commissioner does not know who you are, they can make contact with you. This is important to eliminate fraudulent permits.