Information on Activities
Activities are an integral part of Scouting, and what makes it so exciting for the young people involved. The national pages are a good source for the rules on various activities, there is also an A-Z to help inspire you. The latest information is available there.
Most, but not all, adventurous activities require a permit to lead them. The best place to check is to find the activity on the national member resources. This will tell you if you need a permit or additional insurance (the latter mostly only for motor sport or high risk activities), and if so what qualifications are required.
Permits – how does it all work?
Scouts have a unique position in the UK in being legally allowed to lead activities with young people without the need for an AALA licence. Instead Scouts have an internally managed permit system which ensures that leaders have the required knowledge and ability to lead adventurous activities safely and in line with POR. It is important that all activities in Scouts use and follow the permit system fully, otherwise young people are put in danger and the system comes into disrepute.
For an adult to have a permit granted, and for it to remain valid, you will need an appropriate full role – e.g. a network role or an occasional helper role do not have the mandatory safety and safeguarding training requirements so they are not able to have permits. A full role means it has a DBS check, has been through the appointments committee, and the mandatory training has been completed. First aid is not a permit requirement but any permit holder who does not have a current first aid certificate themselves will need to have someone who does with them.
Young people are able to have permits (of any type) but will need to have an adult role and training done by the time they’re 18 or any leadership or supervisory permits they have will become temporarily invalid (personal permits are only valid up to the 18th birthday).
Activities which always require a permit
The following activities always require a permit regardless of where they take place:
- Climbing / Abseiling
- Ghyll Scrambling
- Hill walking above 500m or more than half an hour from a road
- All snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding etc
- All water-based activities such as Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing, Rowing, Windsurfing etc (unless they are on Class C waters)
Some permittable activities can be done, to a lower risk level, without a permit. This includes:
- Walking on Terrain Zero (below 500m, and no more than half an hour walk from a metalled road)
- Cycling and Mountain Biking on Terrain Zero (below 500m, and no more than half an hour walk from a metalled road)
- Canoeing / Kayaking etc on Class C waters (safe inland waters (including inland lakes, lochs, rivers, canals or other stretches of placid water) which are less than 100 metres wide throughout the region being used and where surface turbulence is limited to the regular waves produced by wind action (this includes slow flowing water such as rivers and canals where the flow causes little effect); and swimming pools). See POR rule 9.44 for more detail on water classification.
Water activities you can do without a permit
If you are leading activities on Terrain Zero or Class C waters without a permit you will still need to obtain permission from the DC before undertaking the activity.
Applying for permits
You can apply for a permit at any time. There are 2 routes to obtain a Scouting activity permit
- You will need to show that you have either a relevant up to date NGB award
If you have a relevant NGB award (eg, Mountain Leader) you can apply for a permit. Submit a permit application form, copy of your certificate and log book of experience to an assessor. They may recommend a permit based on these. This will be granted by the DC. Most permits will have conditions attached. These conditions must be adhered to.
- You will need to show you have sufficient skill and experience to safely lead young people in the activity
If you have experience of an activity, but do not have an NGB award you can still apply for a permit. Submit a permit application form and log book of experience to an assessor. The County Activity Assessor will contact you to arrange a practical assessment. If this is satisfactory a permit will be recommended, or you may be advised to obtain further experience or coaching. The permit will be granted by the DC. Most permits will have conditions attached. These conditions must be adhered to.
If you wish to upgrade or renew your permit, you can do this at any time using the same procedure.
It is helpful if you copy the ADC Activities in on your permit application so they are better able to provide support if required, and ensure it is approved once recommended.
If you would like training have a look at the permit and NGB award training and assessment courses. There are some HQ activity funding opportunities.
N.B. Any leaders leading activities which require a permit with Scouts, who do not have the relevant permit, or operate outside the remit of their permit, will be acting outside of Scouts POR. They will not be insured, and are at risk of bringing themselves and Scouts at District level and nationally into disrepute. They may also be liable to prosecution under the law. Such actions may result in appointments being withdrawn.
If you need any help or advice about activities or permits contact the ADC Activities.