Information for leaders supporting the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Everything you need to know about helping girls complete DofE

Are you supporting someone to complete their Duke of Edinburgh's Award?

Here’s what you need to know if you’re helping someone complete their DofE award.

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Information about DofE expeditions 

All DofE expeditions in Girlguiding must use the DofE expedition notification form. This is used for all Girlguiding DofE practice and assessed expeditions at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. It’s our way of checking the route and supervision plans are safe and meet the requirements of a DofE expedition.

You'll need to make sure the expedition information is up to date in eDofE. Your county DofE adviser needs to approve your form before your expedition can take place. Make sure you read the guidance notes before completing your form.

If you're planning a trip abroad, you also need to fill in the Girlguiding residential event notification form and inform your international adviser.

Alongside these forms, you’ll also need to make sure you have health forms for all participants and information and consent forms for any participants under 18.

Read more information on the girl-led residentials.

Completing the form

Read through this guidance to make sure you fill in the form correctly and get your DofE group out and about in the great outdoors.

This form is designed for DofE expeditions, but you can also use it if you're planning a Queen’s Guide award expedition (if it isn’t a DofE expedition as well). Check with your commissioner first in case they would prefer you to use a REN form.

Before you start

  • You need to complete 1 form per group doing their expedition.
  • Check out the information on Guides and Rangers walking without a leader to make sure the supervisor has the right qualifications.
  • If you’re an expedition group based in Scotland or Wales, check the approval process with your country or region office, as these use different DofE licenses to the England and Ulster license. See the information below on which branch of Girlguiding to notify.
  • You need to submit this form 6-8 weeks before your expedition takes place. If you don’t have all the documents ready then, you can re-submit the form and send the extra information once you have it.

Who’s involved?

There are a few different roles involved with the DofE expedition form process:

  • The volunteer submitting the form. They are responsible for making sure the information is correct and sent to the DofE adviser in time for approval.
  • The expedition supervisor. They are responsible for the training of the group (or checking the group have been trained before they set out if another leader is doing this) and are legally responsible for the group during the expedition. They need to have qualifications for the mode of travel and terrain or water the group is going on.

What other documents do I need to submit with my form?

There are a few things your adviser will need to see to be able to approve your expedition. Ideally, send these in with your form 6 weeks before. But if they’re not ready you can ask your adviser if you can submit them 4 weeks before, separate to the form. They won’t be able to approve your expedition form until they’ve had all these documents, but they can check everything else.

Things to include:

  • Supervision plan.
  • Your risk assessment.
  • Route cards.
  • Activity plan.
  • Home contact agreement form.
  • Proof of the A Safe Space training level completed by each member of the expedition leadership team. This can be a screenshot from a GO record.
  • Proof of other training and qualifications as necessary. For example, first aid qualifications, mode of travel.
  • Maps of the route being taken.
  • You’ll also need to get parent or carer consent for any girls under 18, and for all participants. You don’t need to send this off for approval, but make sure you have them for the expedition.

We’d recommend sending the form password protected, as it will contain personal data.

Adult team qualifications

You also need to make sure the relevant qualifications and trainings are in date and not going to expire before or during the expedition. This includes the assessor accreditations and A Safe Space trainings.

Expedition support volunteers

Part of your adult leadership team might include other volunteers outside of the assessor and supervisor. These will be other members of Girlguiding involved in DofE delivery and will help support.

There isn’t a specific role for this on GO at the moment, but as they are working directly with young members, they’ll need to hold a young member-facing role in another capacity and have the correct A Safe Space training levels for that role. They also don’t have to have qualifications in the mode of travel, or first aid, but if they do you can note these down on the form too.

Grid references

If you’re doing an expedition internationally, or water based, you might not be able to include the grid references for your route. Chat to your DofE adviser and the relevant adviser (water, walking, international) if this is the case.

Which branch of Girlguiding do I notify?

Girlguiding operates under 3 licensed areas:

  • Girlguiding England and Ulster.
  • Girlguiding Scotland.
  • Girlguiding Cymru.

All areas use the same form but it will need to be submitted to different places.

If you are based in England or Ulster, see the information below on who to send the form to. 

If you are based in Scotland, send it to [email protected].

If you are based in Cymru, send it to the Girlguiding Cymru DofE adviser. Your county DofE adviser can put you in touch.

Who do I send the form to? 

You need to get your DofE adviser to approve your expedition. For most leaders, this is your county DofE adviser. If you are a county adviser, or your county adviser is part of the expedition team, you’ll need to send it to your country or region adviser.

If your area doesn’t have a county DofE adviser, get in touch with your country or region DofE adviser or county commissioner. You can do this through your country or region office.

Once they’ve approved your expedition, you’ll then need to send the form to the expedition assessor. This is so they can check the expedition will meet the 20 conditions and they have all information they need to assess the group, like their aim and route.

You then need to contact the county adviser in the area the expedition is taking place. Let them know the dates and area you’re planning to do the expedition. This is so they can share any local knowledge of anything you need to be aware of, like temporary works affecting your planned route. They don’t need to approve anything, and if you aren’t sure how to contact them, ask your county DofE adviser, or email [email protected].

What to check for when you’re getting the form approved

  • A Safe Space training levels of the expedition supervision team. The supervisor and assessor need levels 1-3. You can check this through your local commissioner, or ask for proof, like screenshots of completed training.
  • Does the supervisor have the correct first aid qualification? Again, you can either check this through your local commissioner, or ask for proof, like a certificate or screenshots of completed training.
  • Is the assessor accredited with DofE? There are several ways to check this. You can ask for a photo of their assessor card or look at their qualification on GO. They need to be familiar with the area they are assessing in. Assessors can now assess all levels.
  • The supervisor must have the right qualifications for the countryside/water classification the route is going on. If you aren’t sure, check this with your local relevant adviser.
  • That the route planned is feasible, sensible, and safe. For example, that the route doesn’t involve crossing a river, or walking through private property.
  • This also goes for the supervision plan. It isn't mandatory to have this as a written document but we do recommend it, particularly for newer supervisors or where multiple groups are going out at once. It’s good to have an idea from the leadership team as to what they are planning to do and check they have thought about who will be where for the group at certain points.
  • Have you been sent all the documents outlined in the checklist? This includes an appropriate risk assessment, home contact etc. If not, do you know when to expect them?
  • Has the DofE leader got parent or carer consent for all those under 18?
  • Are the group all on eDofE, registered under the right award level, with their expedition information up to date? If the group includes participants outside of county, check with this with your country/region DofE adviser (if they are still in your country or region) or [email protected] if they are outside your country or region.
  • Have the group been trained for the countryside/water they are going to be in, as well as following the DofE expedition training framework?
  • What's the make-up of the group? Does it include members of another organisation? If it includes mixed genders, and over/under 18s, have plans been made for separate sleeping and washing facilities?
  • If it includes a night before or after, or an acclimatisation day, what are the plans for this?
  • Once you are happy with the expedition plans, you can approve the form.

Between you and the leader submitting the form, one of you needs to notify the local commissioner and the host county DofE adviser (if taking place in a different area) to let them know the dates the expedition is taking place.

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Training groups

DofE expedition supervisors and leaders must ensure that participants are trained to an appropriate level for the nature of the expedition that they are going to be undertaking and its environment. You're required to deliver expedition training at each level (Bronze, Silver or Gold).

Read the expedition training framework.

DofE leaders must confirm in eDofE that each participant has completed the required training before an expedition takes place.

Girlguiding requires that all adults delivering the first aid part of the expedition training to girls must either:

There’s also more training materials to use with your groups on the DofE expedition page and the expedition resource centre.

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Supervisor qualifications

Groups must be trained and supervised by DofE leaders with the appropriate qualification for the highest level of terrain that the group will be travelling through during their expedition. For example, if they’re walking, cycling or canoeing.

Check our adventure information to see what level you need. You must also be qualified and competent to supervise travel in their chosen environment – check our countryside classification for more details.

You’ll need to hold the role of County Duke of Edinburgh supervisor on GO and complete a safe space training levels 1 to 3.

All qualifying expeditions need a DofE expedition assessor. Check out the roles available for what this entails, or if you’re already an assessor find out what you need to know.

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Information for DofE expedition assessors

All expedition assessors need to be accredited by the DofE and registered to a Licensed Organisation.

You’ll need to hold the role of county Duke of Edinburgh assessor on GO and complete a safe space training levels one, two and three.

If you’d like to become a DofE assessor for Girlguiding take a look at the training for DofE leaders for more information on how to do this.

Once you’ve done that, you need to follow the steps to accreditation, and send your eDofE ID to [email protected] so we can register you to Girlguiding. You’ll need to be a member of Girlguiding for us to do this.

If you’re already an assessor with another licensed organisation, but would like to assess for Girlguiding as well, you’ll need to join Girlguiding as a member. Once you have, send your eDofE ID or assessor number to [email protected] and we can register you.

If you need to renew your accreditation, you can do this online via eDofE.

As an assessor for Girlguiding, your accreditation information is stored in eDofE. Staff supporting the DofE programme (both at Girlguiding and all country or region offices) and all country or region DofE advisers have access to this information. We’ll only use your information to support DofE expeditions in Girlguiding. 

Assessor qualifications

As an assessor, you don’t need to hold a qualification (apart from an accreditation with DofE) as you aren’t responsible for the group. However, you do need to be familiar with the area you’re assessing in, and the terrain as well.

You also need to make sure if you’re using a voluntary assessor, they should be a member of and be affiliated with Girlguiding. If you need help checking this, get in touch with your country or region office or DofE adviser.

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Information for DofE advisors 

For help with DofE, you can contact your country or region DofE adviser. You can also get in touch with us via [email protected] or 020 7834 6242 ext. 3013.

Using eDofE

eDofE uses slightly different terminology to GO, so familiarise yourself with the terms below. In eDofE:

  • Centre is the same as the Girlguiding county.
  • Co-ordinator is the same as county adviser.
  • Administrator is the same as country or region adviser or office.
  • DofE manager or licensed organisation means Girlguiding and the team available at [email protected].

As a DofE adviser, part of your role is making sure everyone on eDofE in your area has the correct roles and can only access groups they are leading with.

For any questions about eDofE, check out the eDofE support website for more information.

New registrations

If you’ve got someone who wants to get started on their DofE, they’ll need a participation place set up. You can do order these through your country or region office, so get in touch with them to find out what their process is. They’ll order places and allocate them to the requested counties and groups. You can then create the participant accounts.

Find out about creating a participant on eDofE

If someone leaves Girlguiding before they’ve completed their DofE, they can either be transferred to another organisation (if they are carrying on) or archived. If they’re moving out, this is something their new organisation will do. If not, you can archive their account.

Setting up new adults

Co-ordinators and Administrators can create new adult accounts on eDofE. Make sure you create the right type of account for the role they will be doing. Only those that support the county DofE offer (such as advisers) should hold co-ordinator accounts, and only those that lead groups and need to support award progress should hold leader accounts.

Creating an adult account on eDofE

The type of account can’t be changed once it’s been created, so if you have anyone changing role, for example going from a leader to an adviser, you have to set a new account for this role.

After you’ve done this, you can archive their old account (if they no longer need it) or ask them to link their accounts

General eDofE support

For any questions about eDofE, check out the eDofE support website for more information.

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Using GO for DofE

If you're a county or country or region DofE adviser, make sure you’ve got the Duke of Edinburgh adviser on your GO record, and not a generic adviser role. This will allow you you to see who’s holding DofE roles and working on their DofE. 

Everything you need to know about GO can be found once logged in. You'll be able to find help files, videos and other online resources that will help you make the most of the system.

Adding DofE Bronze to Guides' GO records

If you’ve got girls in your area working on their DofE Bronze, and they’ve got a Guide role on GO, adding their award to their record has to be done by the membership systems team at Girlguiding.

Please note, that this is only for those holding Guide roles. All other participants can have their awards added by the county DofE adviser or county GO coordinator.

Award approvals

Once a DofE Award has been submitted on eDofE, it will be approved by a trained Award Verifier. For Bronze and Silver Awards, this will be someone at country/region level. For Gold Awards, these are all approved firstly by Girlguiding and then by DofE HQ.

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