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Things to consider when running an expedition

Expedition Supervision

The Expedition Supervisor must be present on all expeditions. They are responsible for the health and welfare of the group whilst on expedition and work in partnership with the Assessor to monitor the group throughout their expedition.

The Supervisor needs to be technically competent in the Nights Away element and mode of transport used for the expedition, for modes of transport such as canoeing, a relevant permit is required. They also need to ensure that Scouts rules are followed, including any additional adventurous activity permits required, Nights Away notification and commissioner approval.

Full details about this role can be found in the Expedition Guide and also on the Expedition Assessor and Supervisor Training Course.

Expedition Administration

There are some administrative tasks required for the Expedition section. The processes will vary depending on the level and location of the expedition.

The County/Area DofE Adviser needs to be notified of all DofE expeditions in addition to the normal Scouting notification processes for these activities.

All expeditions as Scouting activities are required to follow Scouting rules and procedures as outlined in the current edition of Policy, Organisation and Rules. This includes Nights Away notification and passports (where required), Risk Assessments, Activity Permits (where required) and approval of the appropriate Commissioner.


Wild Country Expeditions

Wild country areas are designated by the DofE as those areas most suitable for land based Gold expeditions. They generally align to national park areas and should be monitored for usage to ensure that we don't create a negative impact on these special landscapes. A full list of Wild Country areas can be found here.

Previously DofE’s Assessor Network would have had to be contacted for expeditions in wild country but these were removed in March 2021 so you’ll just need to contact your County/Area DofE Adviser now. Be aware, Counties/Areas may have local policies to follow.

A Gold expedition that occurs outside of a wild country area, usually water based expeditions or other expeditions with exceptional circumstances, should make that clear when they submit their Expedition to their County/Area DofE Adviser.

Always notify your County/Area DofE Adviser that the expedition is taking place.


Expedition Assessors

All qualifying expeditions are required to be assessed. This must be done by a DofE Accredited Expedition Assessor with relevant experience of the activity being undertaken.

The role of an Assessor is to check that the group has met the 20 conditions of the Expedition section. They will need to complete some training through the Expedition Assessor and Supervisor Training Course, have suitable technical competence in the activity and complete the accreditation process via eDofE. Once this is completed the Assessor will become accredited and receive an accreditation number and ID card from the DofE.

Any assessor who is assessing for Scouts must hold a full volunteer role, hold a valid DBS and hold any necessary permits. They must also complete affiliation to Scouts. Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different process for affiliation, so please contact Scouts Scotland and Scouts Northern Ireland.

The Assessor must not have been involved in the training of the young people for their expedition. The Assessor at Gold level should also be independent of the group and not associated with the team in any way.

Some groups experience difficulty in finding available Assessors for the Expedition section with the correct level of accreditation and experience in the mode of travel.

If a County/Area is unable to find an Assessor themselves, they can use the DofE’s Assessor Directory which includes a list of assessors from across the Country. Use this page to help you use the Assessor Directory and once in the Directory remember to click ‘Only view assessors from my LO’ to see assessors who have affiliated with Scouts.

If you’re an assessor or know other assessors who would want to be added to the Assessor Directory, you can do that by following this process. Please add as much detail as you can to your bio so that leaders and advisors can see what permits, qualifications and experience you have, it’ll save lots of time if they know the right people to contact.


Expedition variation requests

In some circumstances there may be a need to request a variation from the 20 conditions of the Expedition section. This can be achieved through the submission of an expedition variation request form to the Scouts DofE Manager via your County/Area DofE adviser prior to the expedition. As approval of this variation is critical to the expedition taking place this approval should be sought at the earliest opportunity.

Requests might be made for the following reasons:

  • Age extensions
  • Out of season expeditions
  • Varied supervision requirements
  • Mobility issues