Inclusive risk assessments

Make sure your risk assessments cover all members - including those with additional needs

Inclusive risk assessments make sure that all our members can go on adventures

All our activities include an element of risk, which should be identified and managed using a risk assessment and our risk assessment policy.

It may seem that there is a higher risk to some members taking part in activities than to others, which could cause you to worry about including all in adventurous activities. However, taking a person-centred approach to risk assessments will help make sure that all members can be included in the fun and adventure that Girlguiding offer.

Potential or perceived risk should never be used as a reason to treat a person with additional needs differently to the rest of the unit. If you need to amend an activity or prevent it from taking place due to a potential risk, this should be done for the whole unit.

When completing your risk assessment for an activity or event

1. Involve the member or their parents

It is vital to include the member, or their parent/carer and activity instructor if appropriate, in the risk assessment process. Your views of a person’s abilities, or what would be challenging to them in the activity, will be different to how they feel about their own abilities. They are the expert.

Using a person-centred approach means that the member is included in all decisions that are made. They will be able to advise you about adjustments that have been made in the past. They may also highlight specific people for support.

2. All things in proportion

Adjustments that are made to an activity should be made in proportion to the risk. For example, if a floor is wet a suitable adjustment would be to mop the floor. It would not be proportional to the risk to rope off the wet area and prevent girls entering the room.

The same applies with inclusive forms of risk assessment. Removing a member from an event or activity will, very often, not be in proportion to the risk.

3. Consider the benefits to the member versus the potential risk

Girlguiding provides opportunities for girls and young women to develop and grow. When risk assessing an activity for young members, consider the potential benefits of taking part in an activity. Controlled risks within adventurous activities, such as wearing a helmet and using a qualified instructor when climbing or abseiling, can increase the enjoyment.

Controlling the risks within an activity is a balance between happy and safe,

  • With all perceived risks removed, the young member will be safe but will not necessarily enjoy themselves.
  • Not managing any of the identified risks will mean that the young member is not safe, and will most likely not enjoy the activity.

When you have identified and managed risks the young member will be able to be independent and enjoy the activity in a controlled environment allowing them to develop and grow.