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Activities and Nights Away

Run activities and nights away experiences for young people

Adventurous Activities

We’re known for our love of adventure, which is why the ideal Scout programme includes a healthy dose of thrill seeking, whether you’re outside or in.

Running an adventurous activity? Don’t forget to submit a notification for approval ideally seven days before the event takes place..

Activities

Who’s approval do I need?

  1. Group Scout Leaders are responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Beaver, Cub and Scout sections in their Group (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). Group Scouts Leaders* will need to see and consider every section’s programme and section leaders have a responsibility to ensure Online Scout Manager is kept up to date in good time with sufficient detail including risk assessments.
  2. The District Explorer Scout Commissioner is responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Explorer Scout Units in the District (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). The District Explorer Scout Commissioner* will need to see and consider every Unit’s programme and section leaders have a responsibility to ensure Online Scout Manager is kept up to date in good time with sufficient detail including risk assessments.
  3. The District Scout Network Commissioner is responsible for authorising all activities that take place in Scout Network in the District (with the exception of those mentioned elsewhere in this document). The District Scout Network Commissioner* will need to see and consider the Unit’s programme.
  4. If, in any instance, a Group Scout Leader, the District Explorer Scout Commissioner, the District Scout Network Commissioner is unsure whether to authorise a particular activity, they must discuss it with the District Commissioner or their delegate.
  5. In any of the following circumstances an Adventurous Activity Notification must be submitted via https://cesd.org.uk/an to ensure all the the information provided on the form complies with the requirements for that particular activity. Once notified, the District Commissioner will seek appropriate advice on suitability ahead of approving the activity to take place.
    • In the opinion of the GSL/DESC/DSNC/ASU Manager, the activity presents a greater risk to participants than ‘general’ Scout activities. 
    • The activity is provided by an ‘External’ or commercial source (see POR 9.9FS120086). 
    • The activity requires a leader with an activity permit (incl. activities in “Specialist Terrain” under POR 9.31,  FS120084).
    • The activity requires additional third party insurance (Factsheet FS120084) e.g. Motorsports. 
    • The activity requires a notification to HQ e.g. Air Activities, GoKarting, Trampolining (FS120084).
    • The activity is a High ropes activity (see POR 9.78FS120423).
    • The activity takes place on or near bodies of water (including class C FS120623 and swimming pools FS120620).
    • The activity involves a public performance e.g. Gangshow (see POR 9.22)

*In the absence of either a GSL/DESC/DSNC/ASU Manager/Activity Centre Manager they are replaced by the District Commissioner or Deputy District Commissioner

What is InTouch?

InTouch is the system that helps you to communicate at all Scout activities and events. It’s flexible and lets Units, Groups and Sections work out the best way to keep in touch during these activities.

At any Scouting activity, you will need to make sure that you have an InTouch system in place (POR 9.3). This is to make sure that:

  • everyone involved knows how Leaders, participants and people not at the event will communicate
  • you have all of the details of who is at the event just in case something goes wrong, and you have a system in place in case of an emergency.

This system is likely to be different depending on what activity or event you are running, and the needs of who will be there. An InTouch system is important so that everyone knows of the process for every Scouting event.

What information do I need for approval?

Before you complete an activity notification, you will need to ensure you have all the information about the activity at hand.

What are personal activity permits?

Personal activity permits are a type of permit that recognises a young person’s ability to safely take part in an adventurous activity without the need for supervision from others.

Unlike a a leadership or supervisory permit which allows you to lead an activity for other people. A personal permit only allows you to carry out the activity for yourself, not to lead anyone else. So you can only take part in the activity with others holding personal activity permits.

There is no minimum age to gain a permit (as there isn’t for leadership and supervisory permits). It is based on the technical skills and personal suitability of the individual. However, personal permits have no use once someone is 18 as they then come under the rules of adult groups in adventurous activities.

How can I gain a permit?

A Clear Process is a resource that aims to explain how to access adventurous activities within Scouting and how you could work towards providing more experiences. It’s not a one stop shop for everything you need to know but hopefully it will help you understand the first steps you need to take.

Does my permit need renewing?

Yes. All Activity and Nights Away permits periodically need renewing. The maximum a permit can be granted for by a commissioner 5 years. Please ensure you check

To renew a nights away permit you will need to complete the following form and upload a log book.

To renew an Activity permit please use the Assessor Search in Compass.

Do I need a risk assessment?

Yes all Scout Activities including nights away and adventurous activities require a written risk assessment POR 9.4

For more support on writing a risk assessment check out the Scouts website

Do I need a permit?

For a full list of which activities require a permit please consult the Scouts website.

Can we use external providers?

Yes. You can use external activity providers as long as they have the correct qualifications and level of public liability insurance. POR 9.9

You may find that certain activities require that you only use providers who are either AALA or Adventure Mark Accredited.

Before booking an activity always consult the Scouts website.

Can a young person hold a permit?

Yes, there is no minimum age to hold a permit, whether personal, leadership or supervisory. Perhaps the most typical example is where expeditions are being conducted. However, in these circumstances, the responsible commissioner may place restrictions on time, requiring perhaps that a responsible adult conducts daily visual checks on progress

Adventurous Activity Training

With so many activities available within Scouting, we need to ensure we continue to provide training and assessment opportunities for our members, so they can gain the skills required to run these activities safely. Are you interested in gaining a permit or qualification which allows you to run an adventurous activity?

Nights Away

Nights away or residential events help young people to become resilient. Whether it’s camping, hostelling, sleepovers or bivouacking, a Nights Away experience forms an integral part of scouting, and are something that every young person should have the opportunity to take part in.

Planning a nights away experience? Don’t forget to submit a notification for approval ideally seven days before the event takes place..

Nights Away

Whos approval do I need?

All Nights Away Notifications for Nights Away activities (including events involving adults only) will be approved directly by the District Commissioner (or their Deputy) and must be submitted via https://cesd.org.uk/nan to ensure all the information provided on the form complies to the requirements for Nights Away.

Who can run Nights Away experiences?

To run a Nights Away experience a nights away permit is required. There are different levels of permit that allow you to take young people on different types of residential experiences.

What’s the difference between Indoor, Campsite and Greenfield?

There are four categories of permit POR 9.57:

  • Indoor – for staying in a building that has built in lighting and cooking facilities, toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (i.e. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and running drinking water.
  • Campsite – for staying at a site that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (eg. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and access to running drinking water. Those holding a Camp Site Permit may also run indoor residential events.
  • Green Field – for staying at any site where any of the above facilities do not exist – for example, a summer camp on a farmer’s field. Those holding a Green Field Permit may lead residential events in the other three categories.
  • Lightweight Expedition – for staying at any site for not more than one night before moving on. The core activity is a form of expedition, not residential, and all the equipment is transported with the participants. eg. QSA/DofE hikes, expedition hikes, canoe expeditions.

What’s a Nights Away Passport?

Nights Away Event Passports exist to enable young people in the Scout and Explorer Scout sections, who are deemed suitably skilled, to undertake a nights away activity as a peer group. Examples of this include patrol camps and expeditions.

Nights Away Event Passports can only be issued by those with a Nights Away Permit and can only be issued to the same level as the permit held, for example someone with a campsite nights away permit can not issue a passport for activities in greenfield areas.

Nights Away Event Passports are only available within the Scout and Explorer Scout Sections, and are only for use with peer led activities. This means that they can not be used for Explorer Scout Young Leaders leading activities for the sections they volunteer with, or for activities where adults will be present with the group. The young person or young people issued with the passport must display appropriate skills to the permit holder in order to demonstrate their ability to safely undertake the proposed activity.

Event passports are only for Scout and Explorer Scout members to participate in peer led activities they cannot be issued to adults.

What is InTouch?

InTouch is the system that helps you to communicate at all Scout activities and events. It’s flexible and lets Units, Groups and Sections work out the best way to keep in touch during these activities.

At any Scouting activity, you will need to make sure that you have an InTouch system in place (POR 9.3). This is to make sure that:

  • everyone involved knows how Leaders, participants and people not at the event will communicate
  • you have all of the details of who is at the event just in case something goes wrong, and you have a system in place in case of an emergency.

This system is likely to be different depending on what activity or event you are running, and the needs of who will be there. An InTouch system is important so that everyone knows of the process for every Scouting event.

What information do I need for approval?

Before you complete a nights away notification, you will need to ensure you have all the information about the activity at hand.

How can I gain a permit?

The nights away permit scheme is an internal assessment scheme designed to ensure that all those leading nights away events for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so.

To gain a permit you will need to complete an assessment with a nights away advisor.

The permit scheme

You can find full details of the nights away permit scheme in the factsheets below. These include factsheets for specific roles such as commissioner and applicant. 

There is also an assessment checklist that the nights away adviser uses to assess any applicants for nights away permits.

There are some FAQ’s available to support nights away.

Does my permit need renewing?

Yes. All Activity and Nights Away permits periodically need renewing. The maximum a permit can be granted for by a commissioner 5 years. Please ensure you check

To renew a nights away permit you will need to complete the following form and upload a log book.

To renew an Activity permit please use the Assessor Search in Compass.

Do I need a risk assessment?

Yes all Scout Activities including nights away and adventurous activities require a written risk assessment POR 9.4

For more support on writing a risk assessment check out the Scouts website