Health, safety and welfare procedures

What you need to do to maintain a safe environment for guiding

Review date: April 2021
Content owner: Safe Practice
Version: 1.0

Girlguiding is committed to creating a safe environment for our volunteers and our members.

As a Girlguiding volunteer, you must have the health, safety and welfare of our members at the heart of everything you do.

These procedures are for all volunteers. They are a comprehensive list of the measures that must be in place in order to maintain a safe environment. Legislation and best practice mean that they must be followed. You must read, understand and apply them, alongside the health, safety and welfare policy and other policies, procedures and guidance associated with each measure.

You should discuss any plans with your commissioner well before you need a decision made. If you have any queries, questions or doubts about how you can follow these steps, talk to your commissioner.

You must always use the official Girlguiding forms. This will help you be sure that we can support you if there's an accident or incident.

To fulfil your responsibilities for health, safety and welfare in your unit meeting place, you must check and complete the following:  

Risk assess the space

Do a risk assessment of the building, hall and outside areas like the car park or garden.

Use these forms, choose which one is most appropriate for your space:

Information that will help you with this:

Update your emergency file

Make sure that all the documents in your emergency file are up to date. You'll need to use these for reporting accidents, incidents or near misses.

Download the forms for your emergency file.

This information will help you with this:

Check your equipment

Check that all equipment is stored safely, is in good working order and is insured if it needs to be. Check equipment again before you use it.

Information that will help you with this:

Recruitment and vetting

Make sure all volunteers meet our recruitment and vetting requirements.

Information that will help you with this:

Insurance

Check you have the right insurance for your meetings and activities

Does your venue have public liability insurance? Share our public liability certificate with them. This covers our members and venues, but does not cover third party providers. If you hire your venue from a non-member, you must check their public liability cover.

If you have employees, display a copy of our employer's liability certificate and make sure everyone is aware of the cover.

If you own or manage a building, make sure you renew your buildings and content insurance each year. You can also check our insurance advice for property owners.

If you use your car for any Girlguiding activities, check that your car insurance covers this. If you need to, let your insurer know. Take a look at our drivers handbook (PDF) and information about vehicle insurance.

Risk assess your activities

Do risk assessments for all the activities you have planned for the term.

Use these forms:

Information that will help you with this:

Check GO is up to date

Make sure all membership information is up to date on GO.

This includes health information, contact info, emergency contact info and dropping off/picking up arrangements, plus any reasonable adjustments agreed through an adjustment plan.

Forms that will help you with this:

Information that will help you with this:

Get parent or carer consent

Gain parent or carer consent for all the activities you have planned for the term. Make sure you get specific permission for anything that is:

  • Adventurous
  • Outside of the usual meeting times
  • Away from the meeting place
  • Virtual or online

Use these forms:

Information that will help you with this:

Make sure you're ready with first aid

Make sure at every unit meeting you have a member of your volunteer team who has current 1st Response training. Check that your first aid kit is fully stocked and you replace anything you use.

Information that will help you with this:

Do a fire drill

Practice what you would do in case of a fire in the meeting place.

Information that will help you with this:

Make sure you have your ratios right

At each meeting you need the right ratio of adult volunteers to young members.

Information that will help you with this:

Stay risk aware

Carrying out a dynamic risk assessment means you can manage any hazards that you didn't predict or expect.

To fulfil your responsibilities for health, safety and welfare outside of the normal meeting place and time, you must do the following.

These steps should be taken for all activities that you do outside of the normal meeting time and place, but that aren't overnight stays.

This includes trips to the cinema, a day at a theme park, or a day trip to a Girlguiding Activity Centre.

Recruitment and vetting

Make sure all volunteers on the day meet our recruitment and vetting requirements.

Get parent or carer consent

Get permission for the day trip from parents or carers.

Use this form:

Information that will help you with this:

Set up your home contact system

Make sure you haver a home contact system ready, in case of emergency.

Information that will help you with this:

Risk assess the day

Do a risk assessment for the activity, and include the travel there and back. You can check the activity guidance in our adventure for girls activity pages or speak to your commissioner for support.

Use these forms:

This information will help you do this:

Get your ratios right

Make sure you have the right ratio of adult volunteers to young members for the day.

Information that will help you with this:

Follow these steps to take your unit to an organised residential, one where you don't need a Going Away With license, at Girlguiding Activity Centres.

This include Girlguiding events like Wellies and Wristbands, Magic and Mayhem, Twisted Tech and Sparkle and Ice.

You should read through:

Complete the residential event notification (REN) form

Your commissioner needs to sign this off so make sure that you discuss your plans with her in plenty of time before the trip.

Use these forms:

This information will help you:

Recruitment and vetting

Make sure all volunteers on your team meet our recruitment and vetting requirements.

Complete health forms

You'll need a completed health form for every young member coming on the trip.

Use this form:

Get parent or carer consent

Get permission for the residential from parents or carers.

Use this form:

Information that will help you with this:

Set up your home contact system

Make sure you have a home contact system ready, in case of emergency.

Information that will help you with this:

Risk assess the day

Do a risk assessment for the trip, and include the travel there and back. You can check the activity guidance in our adventure for girls activity page or speak to your commissioner for support.

Use these forms:

This information will help you do this:

Get your ratios right

Make sure you have the right ratio of adult volunteers to young members.

Information that will help you with this:

If you're running a residential trip, including sleepovers in the meeting place, that's been led and organised by the volunteer team or country and region team, here's what you need to do.

This kind of residential does need a Going Away With license.

Read through this guidance:

Complete the residential event notification (REN) form

Your commissioner needs to sign this off so make sure that you discuss your plans with her in plenty of time before the trip.

Use these forms:

This information will help you:

Recruitment and vetting

Make sure all volunteers on the day meet our recruitment and vetting requirements.

Complete health forms

You'll need a completed health form for every young member coming on the trip.

Use this form:

Get parent or carer consent

Get permission for the day trip from parents or carers.

Use this form:

Information that will help you with this:

Set up your home contact system

Make sure you haver a home contact system ready, in case of emergency.

Information that will help you with this:

Risk assess the residential

Do a risk assessment for the activity, and include the travel there and back. You can check the activity guidance in our adventure for girls activity page or speak to your commissioner for support.

Use these forms:

This information will help you do this:

Get your ratios right

Make sure you have the right ratio of adult volunteers to young members for the event.

Information that will help you with this:

Extra checks for fire safety

Check the accomodation for fire safety.

Information that will help you with this:

Home hospitality

If you or your unit are staying in the homes of other guiding member, make sure you follow the guidelines for home hospitality.

This information will help you with this:

Going Away With license

Make sure the leader either holds or is working towards holding the Going Away With license, and has completed relevant modules from the scheme.

Information to help you with this:

Who else do you need?

Alongside a Going Away With license holder, you'll also need a first aider and a caterer on your team.

Information to help you with this:

Check the venue

Make sure that your chosen venue is on the Girlguiding-approved list. If it isn't, then make sure you complete a dynamic risk assessment when you arrive, and mention this as a mitigation in your pre-travel risk assessment.

The age-specific information here will help you with this:

Are you insured?

Check that you have the right insurance cover for your residential.

This information will help you do this:

Take these steps to keep safe on any trips overseas. You might want to read the following information to help you plan:

Get permission to plan

You'll need your commissioner to sign off on any plans for international residentials, so make sure to talk to them with plenty of time before your planned trip.

Use these forms:

This information could help you:

Complete the residential event notification (REN) form

Your commissioner needs to sign this off so make sure that you discuss your plans with her in plenty of time before the trip.

Use these forms:

This information will help you:

Get parent or carer consent

Get permission for the day trip from parents or carers.

Use this form:

Information that will help you with this:

Complete health forms

You'll need a completed international health form for every young member coming on the trip.

Use this form:

This information will help you with this:

Home hospitality

If you or your unit are staying in the homes of other guiding member, make sure you follow the guidelines for home hospitality.

This information will help you with this:

Set up your home contact system

Make sure you haver a home contact system ready, in case of emergency.

Information that will help you with this:

Recruitment and vetting

Make sure all volunteers on the day meet our recruitment and vetting requirements.

Risk assess the residential

Do a risk assessment for the activity, and include the travel there and back. You can check the activity guidance in our Adventure for girls activity page or speak to your commissioner for support.

Use these forms:

This information will help you do this:

Get your ratios right

Make sure you have the right ratio of adult volunteers to young members for the event.

Information that will help you with this:

Going Away With license

Make sure the leader holds, or is working towards, Module 9 the Going Away With scheme for the type of event, and has led a Girlguiding residential of 2 nights or more in the past.

Information to help you with this:

Who else do you need?

Alongside a Going Away With license holder, you'll also need a first aider and a caterer on your team.

Information to help you with this:

Check the venue

Make sure that your chosen venue is on the Girlguiding-approved list. If it isn't, then make sure you complete a dynamic risk assessment when you arrive, and mention this as a mitigation in your pre-travel risk assessment.

The age-specific information here will help you with this:

Are you insured?

Check that you have the right insurance cover for your residential.

This information will help you do this:

Never assume that health, safety and welfare is being dealt with by someone else.

If you find yourself in a situation that you feel is unsafe or will cause harm to anyone else, you must take action to stop it.