Adventurous activities procedures

Follow these procedures to keep your adventurous activities safe and compliant

Approved: 26 March 2021
Version: 1
Content owner: Girl experience

These procedures are here to help you follow our Adventurous activities policy. They’ll give you more information so you can make sure girls are safe during adventurous activities.

Our Health, safety and welfare procedures will tell you more about what you need to do when planning and taking part in activities.

Using the our activity pages

You can see the activities we class as ‘adventurous’ on our Adventure for girls page. Each activity or category of activity has its own subpage, with details including the time an activity might take, the cost range of the activity and the minimum age the activity is suitable for.

The pages also have rules on qualification requirements, safety regulations and ratios. It’s really important that you follow this guidance.

Different levels of activity may have different qualification requirements. It’s important to make sure you know the type of activity you’re doing, and check the instructor or external provider is qualified.

For example, the instructor qualifications needed for canoeing differ depending on water conditions.

If there’s a national governing body for the activity you’re doing it’ll be included on the these webpages. If you’re unsure about qualification requirements or if the instructor has alternative qualifications, ask your outdoor activities adviser or contact volunteer support on [email protected]

You must have evidence that the instructor/provider has the necessary training and/or safety qualifications. This means you need to see the instructor’s certificate or permit and check that it’s in date and appropriate for the activity. You may also need to get written proof from an external activity provider about how they train their staff.

Reputable providers and instructors will be happy to share this information, so don’t be afraid to ask. The activity pages have clear instructions so you know what to ask for.

A team of subject matter experts check and update the training requirements and qualifications on the activity pages at least once a year.

What should I do if I’m taking part in an activity abroad and the local regulations are different?

You should follow the regulations that have the highest standards, and the most chance of reducing risk and preventing harm.

To get more information about this and to make sure you do the right thing, look at the relevant sections of the Adventurous activities policy. Your international adviser, outdoor activity adviser or volunteer support will also be able to help.

Crown dependencies should contact their Girlguiding country or region offices. British Girlguiding Overseas (BGO), including branches, should consult the BGO chief commissioner. Please remember that Girlguiding insurance doesn’t cover international trips. Although Girlguiding may allow an activity, if your travel insurance doesn’t cover it, you shouldn’t do it.

Find out more on our Travelling abroad guidance and Insurance for activities pages

Disclaimers and waivers

Some UK activity providers, international Guiding and Scouting Associations, and international activity providers will require disclaimers or waivers to be signed for each person taking part in an activity.

Parents and carers need to sign these on behalf of their child. You could ask them to sign at the same time as they’re fill out the consent form. Make sure to give them full information from the provider along with the disclaimer so they can make an informed decision whether to sign. Leaders can only sign for their own personal participation.

Do the requirements change if I’m organising a joint activity with Scouts?

Joint activities are where adult members from both organisations work together to plan and deliver activities for young members of both organisations. Planning for the activity is no different and you must follow all the same policies and procedures.

However, it’s important you’re clear who’s responsible for what. If an external provider or instructor is running your activity, leaders still have responsibility for the young people taking part.

You should make any decisions collaboratively with leaders from both organisations following completing or reviewing a risk assessment, so everyone understands why the decisions have been made. You should let your commissioner know about any joint activity.

If somebody is running the activity with a Scout permit, as with all external providers and instructors, you must make sure you see the permit and it’s valid. You should also check that the permit covers the activity you’re taking part in. The activity leader (qualified adult) should determine what size of group is safe.

There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants. This will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification or permit, or by the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment taking into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. This risk assessment should be assessed by the leader and any concerns raised to the qualified adult.

Girlguiding insurance will cover members or anyone acting on behalf of Girlguiding when they’re taking part in a recognised guiding activity. This includes joint activities. Insurance is only valid if members follow the policies of their organisations. If you have any questions about insurance for joint activities, ask the Insurance team at HQ.

If either organisation has banned an activity, it’s not allowed as a joint activity. You must adhere to age restrictions set by either organisation or externally too.

For more information about joint activities, take a look at the Joint Adventurous Activities with Scouts and Girlguiding agreement.

Running the activity yourself

You can run activities that require a qualified instructor yourself if you hold the relevant qualification. You must have evidence that your qualification is valid and covers the activity you’re leading. Make sure to check the activity pages for information about including yourself in ratio numbers.

Risk assessments

You must see a copy of the activity provider’s risk assessment ahead of the day you’re doing the activity so you can read it carefully.

If anything on the risk assessment is unclear, or not included, you must raise it with the activity provider. Your outdoor activity adviser or volunteer support will be able to help if you need more support.

You must review the risk assessment on the day of the activity in case anything has changed – for example the instructor, weather conditions or type of equipment being used.

You’ll also need to carry out another risk assessment for all the elements of the activity you’re responsible for. You can find out more on the risk management for activities and events page.

It’s important to share the risk assessment with all volunteers and helpers taking part in the activity. You should review the risk assessment if anything changes, and make sure you write down any amends. You should review your risk assessment on the day of the activity.