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High Ropes Operating Manual

Guidance for developing an operating manual for high ropes activities


(Published January 2019)


High ropes activities are defined within POR 9.78.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are written documents that detail everything about how a particular repetitive activity must be run, including instructions on use, who can run it etc. 

Your Operating Manual is your overall governance pack that details the SOP’s, reviews and revisions, updates, training and assessment regimes etc.

Part 1 – Planning

  • Common themes with other activities when planning

When planning a high ropes activity, whether permanent or temporary, correct planning is essential and must start by referencing the Scouts rules and factsheets, found in the A-Z of activities.

  • Supporting documents

Any operating manual must include referenced documents, these will normally include (but are not limited to):

  • Manufacturer’s instructions
  • Structural details and inspection regimes
  • Equipment and other inspection regimes
  • Risk assessments
  • Authorised users/trainers/inspectors

Part 2 – Constructing an operating manual

The operating manual must be an accessible document that anyone with suitable skills and experience can pick up and understand.  You should think about the format and structure that will best help users of the manual to get all the information they need to run the activity safely. 

Major considerations

Part 3 – On-going Review

Operating manuals are working documents, and must have defined timescales or occasions to review.  Examples of these times could be:

  • When PPE reaches the expiry date
  • When an item of equipment is deemed to be unusable and quarantined
  • When an incident or near miss occurs.

As a minimum operating manuals must be reviewed annually.