The UK Government has decided to abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA), the organisation responsible for licensing a number of adventure activities delivered to young people across the UK, such as caving, climbing, trekking and watersports. The current statutory inspection and licensing regime will be replaced in England with a voluntary system.
Voice is extremely concerned that the licensing scheme is to be abolished. Schools, staff and parents will, we are sure, be concerned about this, too. The key feature of the current scheme is inspection and accreditation and a code of practice is not an adequate substitute. We do not accept the basic premise behind this change, which is that the activities covered are low risk.
Voice fully supports proportionate, rather than disproportionate, health and safety management.
For many years, Voice has supported school trips and their benefits to pupils.
We want to see school staff able to plan and carry out school trips with the fullest confidence and the minimum bureaucracy. Our concern is that withdrawing the AALA scheme could reduce confidence and as a consequence increase bureaucracy. Reduced confidence and increased bureaucracy are the two factors that have led to fewer school trips in the recent past.
The Scottish Government has now launched a Consultation on developing a safe system for Adventure Activities in Scotland in light of the abolition of AALA.
If you have views which you would like Voice to consider in our collective response to this consultation, please post them below or contact Voice by 16th March 2012:
- email: email@example.com
- or by post: Senior Professional Officer, Voice Scotland, 1-3 St Colme Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6AA.
Acknowledgements: Professional Officer (Scotland) Jennifer Hannah and Solicitor David Brierley.