Joint adventurous activities with Girlguiding
(Published May 2021 replacing January 2018)
What is a joint activity?
A joint activity is one where young people and adults are present from both organisations. This is intended as something which has a positive impact on the experience of youth members of both organisations.
Where an adult from one organisation is volunteering to deliver activities for members of the other organisation this is not a joint activity and that adult must follow the rules and procedures of the organisation the young people are from.
The information contained on this page is for use by leaders in both organisations when youth members of both Girlguiding and The Scouts take part in activities together (as defined in Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) 9.9).
Joint activities are part of the programme for both Scouts and Girlguiding members, allowing young people to experience activities which they would not normally have access to or with a broader group. The following guidance is designed to ensure responsible leadership in these activities.
The following information has been taken from the activities policies, procedures and guidance of each organisation for its members.
All activities must be risk assessed and this may result in further controls in addition to the normal systems for managing an activity, this is absolutely acceptable and should be agreed collaboratively with leaders from both organisations to ensure that everyone understands the decisions made and why they have been made.
Insurance for these activities is based on members following the guidance below and the policies of the relevant organisation. Any questions regarding insurance of joint activities must be directed to the relevant headquarters.
How to deliver joint activities
The list below is provided to help Leaders running joint activities and to avoid them having to work to two sets of specific rules. This does not negate the need for members of both movements to follow the general requirements as set out in Policy, Organisation and Rules or Girlguiding policy and procedures.
Where an activity is delivered using a Scout Adventurous Activity Permit or a Girlguiding qualification then this can be run as a joint activity, using the permit or qualification of the person leading the activity. Activities can be delivered at a lower level to where the qualification is held, for example a Scout Kayaking Permit holder can lead a joint activity on Class C / Unclassified waters.
Additional guidelines must be followed for Hillwalking:
- T1 Hillwalking permit holders may lead Girlguiding members of under 18 years of age, in terrain which meets both the T1 definition and the boundary remit of the Mountain Training Hill & Moorland Leader, i.e. 'Areas enclosed by well-defined geographical or man-made boundaries such as classified roads.’
- T2 Hillwalking permit holders may lead Girlguiding members of under 18 years of age, in terrain which meets both the T2 definition and the terrain remit of the Mountain Training Mountain Leader award, i.e.. Mountainous and remote areas of the UK in summer conditions, without the planned use of a rope.
- Hillwalking Winter permit holders may only lead Girlguiding members of under 18 years of age, in winter conditions if they also hold the Mountain Training Winter Mountain Leader award.
Residential activities may be run as joint activities but they must have adults from both organisations holding the required Nights Away Permit and Going Away With qualification, and must operate within the remits of their permit / qualification.
Where an activity is delivered through an NGB or external qualification this may be suitable for a joint activity, the leader must ensure that both organisations are following their own requirements as laid out in their rules.
Where a joint swimming activity is taking place, a qualified lifeguard must be present at all times and operate within their remit. Where the activity is in open water a qualified lifeguard is required (Beach or Open water as applicable).
Where an activity has no permit, internal or external qualification requirement then both movements rules must match and be followed for the delivery of this activity. Where they do not match then the higher level requirement must be followed.
Where an activity is banned or prohibited by either organisation this activity is not permitted as a joint activity. Where any age restrictions apply by either organisation or externally these must be followed. Check what is banned in POR or the Girlguiding Activity Finder.
The leader in charge must ensure that providers meet the requirements for each organisation and where these requirements don’t match the higher requirement standards.
First check if the activity is subject to Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) licencing, this is mainly caving, climbing, trekking and watersports. You can check an activity or provider here.
If the provider is exempt from AALA licencing then another form of accreditation such as Adventure Mark or the instructors holding NGB qualifications will be required.
For activities which fall outside of the AALA scheme then the movements’ requirements for the activity being delivered externally must be followed.
In addition to the qualifications and competence of the person leading the activity the leader in charge must also be satisfied that provider is adequately insured. Before entering into any agreement for the provision of such services which includes an indemnity clause (i.e. where it is assumed that the hirer will be responsible for damage, injury or loss), the agreement must be referred to each movements’ insurance department.
It is important in all Scout and Girlguiding activities to have clarity over who is responsible for what. In joint activities this is essential.
The activity leader (qualified adult) should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.
The number will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification, permit or the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. This should take into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. The leader should assess the risk and any concerns must be raised to them.
Where Leaders themselves do not have the qualification or permit required for a particular activity, this activity leadership must be delegated to a suitably qualified person who has been approved by the appropriate Commissioner. While the activity leadership is delegated, the responsibility for the young people remains with leaders.
A suitably experienced or qualified young person from either organisation may lead a group with the permission of their Leader and Commissioner.
Activity leaders, once approved, should work on the basis of mutual consultation and wherever possible offer joint leadership in these activities. These consultations with ‘opposite numbers’ form an important aspect of the leadership role.
The leader in charge must:
- Carry out a risk assessment.
- Provide essential activity information for parents prior to the activity.
- Ensure that relevant consent and parental permission is obtained prior to the activity as per the requirements of each organisation.
- Gather the following information;
- the phone number of their next of kin for use in the case of emergency.
- details of any health issue or disability that they should be aware of.
- Ensure that correct procedure is followed regarding Home Contact system (Girlguiding) and InTouch system (The Scouts).
- Manage and report any incident or emergency to the relevant organisation based on the organisations requirements for managing an incident. Reporting responsibility is with the leaders from both the Scouts and Girlguiding to report to their own organisation.
- Inform or gain approval from the relevant Commissioners for the activity to take place.
The responsibility for approving joint activities in the Scout Association rests with the appropriate Scout District or County Commissioner (depending on the level organising the activity).
For Girlguiding, the relevant Commissioner should be informed about any joint activity taking place. Approval for joint activities taking place at residential events will be via the Residential Event Notification (REN) form process.
These processes must be followed by the Leaders involved before any members undertake joint activities within their programme. The approval is given to the Leaders in Charge who will remain responsible to the appropriate Commissioner.
In certain circumstances, the appropriate Commissioner may give approval for adequately experienced and competent Scout and Girlguiding Leaders jointly to carry out specific activities for a defined period and/or area before seeking renewal and approval.
The appropriate Commissioner in either organisation has the over-riding authority to postpone, stop or cancel an activity, if in their view, this is essential in the interests of safety.
Further information and support
Commissioners and advisers will be able to help advise leaders with the organisation of joint activities.
In cases of doubt, reference should be made to the headquarters of the two organisation.