Guidance for Expedition Assessors
Practical guidance and support for becoming a Scouts DofE Expedition Assessor in England and Wales.
Being a DofE Expedition Assessor is an excellent way to get involved as a volunteer. You’ll be able to help young people on their awards journey, while also getting into the outdoors yourself. Expeditions form stories that young people will tell for the rest of their lives and you can play a key role in enabling those stories to be written.
Follow the steps below to get involved. There’s guidance on how to take part for those just getting started and further support for those who have assessed for many years already. You’ll find details of the steps needed to become an assessor, including DofE training that we’re able to offer to members for free through our National DofE SASU and DofE NOA team, as well as information on the affiliation and reaffiliation processes.
- Make sure you hold a full adult volunteer role: This means you’re more than an occasional helper, which includes a disclosure check, getting started training and mandatory ongoing learning.
- If you hold a Scout Activity Permit we will verify this on Compass. If you have a National Governing Body (NGB) qualification, for example you’re a Lowland Leader, Mountain Leader or Canoe Coach, you can complete this form and upload your relevant evidence.
- If you have the relevant experience, but don’t hold a permit or qualification, you will need to contact your DofE Adviser and discuss your experience, either face to face or virtually. Your adviser can then complete the registration form on your behalf. To make sure you’re prepared, please look at the DofE Adviser Endorsement form before the meeting.
- If you’re not sure about who your DofE Adviser is, please complete the Assessor Affiliation Smartsheet, leaving the DofE Adviser section blank and HQ will ask your adviser to get in touch with you.
This completes your affiliation to Scouts. Your affiliation will remain valid for 5 years, after which you will be prompted to re-affiliate.
- Every 5 years assessors will need to renew their accreditation with DofE using the eDofE process. You’ll also be prompted to renew your affiliation with Scouts.
- To renew your affiliation, you will need to complete the Assessor Affiliation Smartsheet and submit it yourself.
- You’ll be asked to confirm you are still fit enough to assess safely. You’ll also have chance to update your permits or qualifications if you would like to. Scouts HQ will reach out to your relevant DofE Adviser to make sure they're happy for your re-affiliation to take place. The DofE Adviser doesn’t need to add a new endorsement, unless your experience has changed since your last affiliation and you’d like to update the terrain or modes of travel you wish to operate in. The assessor and the DofE Adviser will be notified when the affiliation has been approved.
- If your affiliation has lapsed for more than 2 years you will need the relevant permits, NGB qualifications or an endorsement from your DofE Adviser.
DofE assessors will often be a part of an assessor team in your county, area or region. The DofE Adviser for your area will be notified of expeditions. They will check the assessor is either approved to assess that expedition, or works with someone who has the relevant technical competence.
Additional guidance for DofE Advisers in England and Wales
DofE advisers are the local contact for those volunteering as DofE assessors in Scouting. Advisers can also complete affiliation and reaffiliation forms on behalf of members. While local practices may differ, here’s some guidance on getting started.
- You’ll support leaders who’d like to become assessors by helping them access their training and answering any questions they may have.
- You’ll keep a list of assessors within your area. As soon as new assessors become affiliated, DofE advisers will be notified. Your lists of county assessors can be sent to you by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- You’ll support groups in finding new and suitable assessors.
- You’ll make sure all DofE expeditions are registered and the allocated assessor is well-trained to evaluate the expedition.
- If new assessors don’t hold a permit or qualifications, you'll meet them to make sure they have the right experience to assess the expedition.
- You may seek funding from the County to invest in DofE Assessors, in order to get permits and qualifications for supporting future expeditions and other areas of adventurous activity.
- To become an assessor, they will need to hold a full adult volunteer role, which includes a disclosure check and package of learning and ongoing training. You could consider creating a Scout Active Support unit to appoint them in, or help them to find a role within the county/area or district. Whichever role they are appointed to, it will need to include a disclosure check, getting started training and mandatory ongoing learning.
- Assessors who have a Scout activity permit or National Governing Body qualification (for example, they’re a Lowland leader, Mountain Leader or Canoe Coach) will be able to fill in the Smartsheet themselves. Once they are affiliated, advisers will be notified so they can update their records.
- Assessors without permits will contact their DofE adviser to endorse their experience. It’s important that DofE advisers, who aren’t already familiar with the individual’s experience, arrange to meet the assessor either virtually or face-to-face. This is so the adviser can confirm their experience.
- If the DofE Adviser feels they don’t have the required skills to make this assessment, they can ask an Activity Permit assessor or activity adviser to carry out the assessment on their behalf.
- The Activity Permit scheme is a great basis to assess their skills. You can find out more about each activity at: https://www.scouts.org.uk/volunteers/running-your-section/programme-guidance/general-activity-guidance/
- On the Assessor Endorsement form we’ll ask you to confirm which walking terrains or type of land/water activities you're happy for them to assess. Please read the form before the meeting takes place, and following the meeting make a note of the reasons why you think they can assess in the modes of travel you’ve stated, for example: “Joe has 20 years’ experience of hillwalking in the Lake District and Scotland” or “Jane has recently led a group cycling tour from Lands’ End to John O’Groats”.
- All assessors must be experienced in their mode of travel and be able to assess their group. They’re only responsible for their own safety, so we need to be sure they can operate safely and responsibly in the terrain and environment they would be assessing in.
- We don’t believe applicants need to show their experience in a practical assessment, unless the DofE Adviser recommends this. We recommended that at the end of the meeting, the DofE Adviser completes the Endorsement form, attach it to the Smartsheet and submit it for the applicant.
- HQ will let both the applicant and the DofE Adviser know when their affiliation has been successful. We also suggest the DofE Adviser record their details (in line with GDPR) and note down when their affiliation is due to be renewed. This will be 5 years from the date of their approval.
- After affiliation, they will need to complete further steps to become accredited/re-accredited.
- Each assessor with Scouts needs to renew their DofE Assessor registration every 5 years, which they can do easily by filling in this form.
- They’ll need to declare they can still carry out their role safely and they’ll have the chance to update their permits or qualifications.
- There’s no need for the DofE Adviser to add a new endorsement, unless they’d like to change the terrain or modes of travel the DofE Adviser is happy for them to work in, or if their experience has changed.
- Scouts HQ will reach out to you as a DofE Adviser to make sure you're happy for the re-affiliation to take place. You don't need to add a new endorsement, unless the individual's experience has changed since the last affiliation or they would like to update the terrain or modes of travel they wish to operate in.
- We’ll let the assessor and the DofE Adviser know when the affiliation has been renewed. We’d then recommend the DofE Adviser record their details and note when the affiliation needs to be approved again, which will be 5 years from the approval date.
- If an assessor decides to step down from their role, they’ll need to be removed from eDofE (if their only role is assessing) and let HQ know so they can be taken off the assessor list.
- If the DofE Adviser decides an assessor shouldn’t continue to assess with Scouts, they’ll need to contact the DofE team at HQ straight away.
If the DofE Adviser thinks the assessor shouldn’t be assessing for any organisation, the Scout HQ Team will let the DofE team at Head Office know and ask them to terminate the assessors accreditation.
There are many sources of further support and information for assessors, including:
- Your DofE Adviser
- The Programme team at Scout HQ through the DofE specific inbox- email@example.com
- Assistant County Commissioner (Activities), Manager of the Permit Scheme (MAPs) or Activity Permit Assessors.
If you're a DofE Adviser, further support is available from:
- County Adviser Mentors
- The Programme team at Scout HQ through the DofE specific inbox - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assistant County Commissioner (Activities), Manager of the Permit Scheme (MAPs) or Activity Permit Assessors