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Approving Activities - Guidance for Commissioners


(Published January 2022, replacing April 2020)

POR rule 9.1 requires the Commissioner to approve all activities within Scouting in their patch. This can be done through a variety of methods which this document explores.

It's important that there is oversight of the programmes and activities being undertaken with each District to ensure that members are delivering high quality and safe scouting. As the District Commissioner you are responsible for ensuring that all activities are approved, but this doesn’t have to be down to you knowing about everything going on across your District on every occasion. 

Options for approval

The GSL and DESC should have sight of their section programmes, and be clear on what they need to highlight or flag to you.

You may choose to want to know more about certain activities, this could include where activities are away from the normal meeting place, with an external provider or using an activity permit.

You may put in place a system that allows those leading adventurous activities using their permits to only notify their GSL or DESC, given you have already granted them the permit.

Consider who needs to approve activities on class C waters, in Terrain Zero or where there are specific rules but not permits.

For nights away and visits abroad there is a structured approval process outlined in POR, with forms in place to support the notification and approval process. There may be elements of these processes that you need others in the District to assist with, make sure you document that and make it clear what their role in the process is.

You should also consider how approval will work if things change, such as a change in activity during a nights away activity or a last minute change during a section meeting. You need to be clear with members on what they need to do when plans change so they don’t get caught out on not having things approved, but also keeping things practical and so that activities can continue.

Some examples of how you might structure this approval process are given below, these are only examples and it is down to you to make the decisions based on your local situation.

Document and communicate the systems

Whichever system you put in place make sure you document it and then communicate it to all involved. That includes existing and new members of your area. Spend time with those directly involved in the process, the GSLs and DESCs you are involving so that they understand what is required of them and also so they are in a position to make sure that the system is implemented properly. Also make sure that adult volunteers are aware of the systems in place for approving activities, and encourage this to be discussed at District and Group meetings and remind people regularly of your local system.


It's important to review the systems you have in place for approval of activities, there is no point sticking with a system if it doesn’t work, if people don’t understand it or if you as the Commissioner don’t feel comfortable with it.

Make sure you review the system regularly and revise as appropriate. Keep up to date with updates from HQ and revise your local system if this is required.

When you are new in role as a DC don’t feel you have to stick with what’s gone before, you need to assure yourself that the process you have in place is robust and works.  


Below are some examples of how you might structure this approval process, these are only examples and it is down to you to make the decisions based on your local situation.

The examples above are only examples, you might have some additional considerations based on the specifics of your District, here are some which may shape how you structure your approval process, make sure the document you have is clear to all on what process you have in place.

You may have a Group who have a shooting range at their meeting place and you have a system for checking their instructors are qualified, in this case you might choose to list them as exempt from notifying the DC on each occasion of the activity taking place as this would be monitored by the GSL.

If you have an Air Scout Group who regularly undertake flying activities through a partnership with a local provider, you are satisfied that they are following the rules and so list them as exempt from notifying the DC and that the GSL can approve the activity taking place.

You have a local campsite which has a variety of activities, the Campsite Warden is aware of all activities and so long as they are delivered in line with the operating procedures laid out for the site you do not require notification to the DC.

Policy, Organisation and Rules

Rule 9.1 Activity rules - application