Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Guidance for assessment

Guidance for assessment

The assessment should be a supportive process, designed to be 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 three key phases of an assessment are: 

  1. Review the application form (including any qualifications or experience) and discuss with the applicant their experience and expectations. 

  1. Conduct the assessment in a constructive manner allowing sufficient time for recovery from errors and to provide ongoing feedback 

  1. End of assessment debrief and discussion of recommendations. 

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

There are a number of methods to assess the applicant’s competence level. Generally, the assessor will 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.: 

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

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

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. 

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 the Scouts, then this can be used to show competence in certain areas of the assessment checklist. 

A County Assessor may also assess the applicant’s knowledge of the relevant Scouts activities rules and how these will affect them and the activity, and record this on the assessment checklist. 

Assessments will most often take place during assessment courses, as the most effective way of assessing due to exchange of ideas etc. In certain circumstances this is not feasible (lack of assessors, courses etc) and in these cases assessments will often take place on a one-to-one basis between the assessor and applicant. 

Courses can be arranged by different groups of people, such as Counties, activity teams, Regions etc. It is encouraged for assessors from different Counties to work together on courses as it helps networking between assessors leading to more peer support and a more uniform national standard. If there is no course locally for you (an assessor), 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. 

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 pages. 

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. 

After assessing an applicant, the assessor will decide on a recommendation for the appropriate level of permit they believe relates to the applicant’s technical skills. In some cases, they will not yet 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 the assessor decided to make a recommendation for a restricted permit, they  should be prepared to explain their reasons for this and what the applicant would need to improve to get a less restricted permit. 

They should record your recommended level of permit within the checklist and in the membership system.  If they are a County Assessor and have assessed the applicant’s knowledge of Scouts activities rules, then they should also record this on the membership system. If they are external to the Scouts it is important that they include you’re their name and contact detail so they can be contacted by the permit approver if required. 

The process for under 18’s is the same as it is for adults, however as the applicant is under 18 a few things should be considered. 

SafeguardingIt is important that any assessments taking into consideration safeguarding and the yellow card in particular ensuring that any face-to-face meetings or assessments happen within safeguarding rules. 

Ways of communicating – When an assessor is working with a young person, they may have to tailor their process to accommodate the age of the young person, including adjusting how they ask questions and how they ask the young person to demonstrate their skills. It may be appropriate to have the young person's section leader present for any meetings/assessment also to help them feel comfortable. 

There are three ways you can find an assessor: 


In your County – Counties appoint a number of County Assessors for the activities within the permit scheme. It might be that they run assessment courses, or they might deal with individual applicants as they apply. Speak to your programme team to find out whether your County has a County Assessor and how you can make contact with them. 

From another County – The adventurous activity permit scheme is a national scheme, so it makes no difference which County you are assessed by. You can find assessment courses running in other Counties by searching local websites. You can also search for an assessor anywhere in the UK within the membership system.   

External assessors – If you cannot find a County Assessor to assess you, it is possible to use an external assessor such as a commercial provider. To be an external assessor they must hold the relevant NGB award for the activity as listed in the external assessors table. Please remember when using an external assessor that they are likely to have little or no knowledge of Scouting and the activity permit scheme. You should therefore provide them with the external assessor's guide and the relevant assessment checklist.