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The Permit Process - how it works

The Scout Association Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme is designed to show that all those leading adventurous activities for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to do so. It is designed so that it can be tailored to be as flexible as possible, while at the same time providing a robust checking process for leaders in adventurous activities. The permit should be seen as an enabling device to show a person's competence and provide reassurance to parents of the young people.

The person who grants a permit is your responsible Commissioner. This will be your District Commissioner if you have a Group or District appointment, and your County Commissioner if you have a County appointment.

A responsible Commissioner can only grant a permit on the recommendation of an Approved Assessor. To fulfil this role Kent Scouts have appointed County Assessors for many of the adventurous activities but where we are unable to provide an Assessor it is possible for us to liase with or invite Assessors from other Counties or suitably qualified External Assessors.

The Approved Assessor will provide the responsible Commissioner with a recommendation, in most cases based a practical assessment as defined by the Hill walking Assessment Checklist. Occasionally the assessor may consider a permit based on the qualifications, logged experience and past permits of an applicant.

A permit is time-limited up to a maximum of five years at which point it expires. If you wish to continue leading the activity for young people you will need to apply for a new permit. However if the new permit is to exactly the same level as the old permit and you have been active in the hills, there may be no need for a practical assessment. That decision is up to the approved assessor.

There are also no age limitations to gaining a permit, so as long as the Applicant has the skills and experience required, it is quite feasible for a young person to gain a permit.


There are four areas assessed to gain a permit:

1 Technical Competence
This is assessed by the Approved Assessor and looks at the specific technical skills required to run the activity. It is usually assessed through a practical assessment.

2 Scout Association Rules
This can be assessed by either a County Assessor, or the responsible Commissioner when using an External Assessor. It looks at whether the Applicant is aware of the activity Rules and how they affect the activity within Scouting.

3 Child Protection (not for personal permits)
This will be carried out by the responsible Commissioner and ensures that the necessary Personal Enquiry checks have been carried out and the appropriate child protection training has taken place.

4 Personal Suitability
This is carried out by the responsible Commissioner, often in conjunction with a Group Scout Leader or similar, to check the Applicant is suitable (in terms of attitude) to be leading an adventurous activity for young people.

All permits and training are recorded on Compass, the Scout Association member database. Your assessor will tell you what permit you will be given and then upload their recommendation onto Compass, based on the technical aspects covered in the assessment Compass will automatically inform your DC of this recommendation who has to counter-approve the administrative and personal aspects.

Your permit is not valid until this process is complete.