Approving residential events: REN forms

What you need to do with a residential event notification (REN) form

As commissioner, you’ll need to give approval for residential events.

For any residential with young members the leader in charge is required to complete the REN process and submit it to their commissioner for approval.

What does a commissioner do with a residential event notification (REN) form?

Leaders send their completed home or international residential event notification (REN) forms to their commissioner to get approval for residential events. You're then responsible for supporting the event coordinators and giving approval for the event to proceed.

The form has recently been updated and can now be completed through GO. Check our information on planning residentials for full details of the changes. A REN help file is also available in the help zone on GO.

Who else to involve

Only a commissioner can approve the event. You should forward the form to all relevant advisers, such as the residential adviser, outdoor activities adviser or international adviser, to get specialist advice and feel confident that the event has been well planned.

If the event is taking place outside the leader’s county, you should forward the risk assessment and activity plan to the relevant adviser for the area being visited. A county GO user can give you the contact details you need.

See the details of the REN approval process below.

What you need to check when you get a REN form

  • That a leader or the event coordinator holds, or is working towards, the relevant modules of our Going Away With scheme that are needed to run the event.
  • That a leader has a mentor if they're still completing modules of the Going Away With scheme.
  • That the Girlguiding ratio of adults to girls is met.
  • That the makeup of the leadership team is appropriate for the group's needs.
  • That a thorough risk assessment is being completed.
  • That the guidelines are being followed for residential events and any adventurous activities.
  • That the leader has listed a home contact.

You’ll also need to check the following if you’re not completing the REN form on GO (these will automatically be checked if the form is completed in GO):

Which commissioner?

A leader must send the REN form to the appropriate commissioner for the size of the event. However, you can't approve an event that you're involved in. So in those cases, the REN must go to the next level commissioner.

For example, for a division event the REN should be sent to the division commissioner. If they're involved in the event, it should be sent to the county commissioner.

However, if you hold a county commissioner role, but are organising a residential event for your unit, you can still send your REN to the district commissioner for sign off.

For country and region chief commissioners organising a county event, the REN will either need to be signed off by another member of the country and region chief commissioner team, or a member of the chief guide team.

The REN approval process

  1. The leader in charge thinks about running a residential event and has an initial discussion with their commissioner.
  2. The leader in charge completes the first part of the International REN form or the Home REN form and sends it to the commissioner. This can be done through GO or by using the downloadable form.
  3. The commissioner forwards forms and additional documents to any relevant advisers. For example, if you're travelling to a different county, talk to that county's adviser, or to an international adviser if it's taking place abroad.
  4. If the leader has said on their form that they need to work towards a qualification, the commissioner or adviser will assign a mentor.
  5. If the advisers are happy with the plans, they'll sign the form and return it to the commissioner. If the adviser has concerns, they need to talk to the commissioner about these. 
  6. Once they’re happy, the commissioner confirms approval for the leaders' to move onto the next stage of planning, using advice from the relevant advisers. They return the REN form to the leader through GO, or by post or email.
  7. The leader in charge completed the next stage of planning and returns the form to the commissioner for further approval as required.
  8. Leaders mustn't carry out an event until they have received the final part two approval from the commissioner. This would be considered a serious breach of Girlguiding policy and may result in restriction or removal of membership.
  9. If leaders wish to make changes to their event plans after part two has been approved, they need to resubmit the form for further approval from the commissioner.

What happens next?

When you're happy that the residential can go ahead, sign the form electronically and send it back to the leader to confirm.

If there are changes to the event after the REN form has been approved - for example, the number of participants - the leader should edit the form and resubmit it to be approved.

The form should be kept for one year after the event takes place.