Adventure activity changes could reduce confidence and increase bureaucracy

9 Jan

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:

Acknowledgements: Professional Officer (Scotland) Jennifer Hannah and Solicitor David Brierley.

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4 Responses to “Adventure activity changes could reduce confidence and increase bureaucracy”

  1. Joyce Watts 10. Jan, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Who, in their right mind, could agree with this? It will lead to more teachers being reluctant to take students on activity school journeys. We already have some teachers who are fearful in the light of the responsibility attached to such activities.

    My experience over many years has shown that students do benefit and that for many, it may be the one and only opportunity they will ever have of such an experience. The students learn so much about responsibility and caring for each other, as well as about themselves and achievement.

    We have all the financial and time wasting quangos and yet such an important organisation is the one chosen to be disbanded.

    Once again, I despair at the lack of common sense of our so called ‘leaders’ and their inability to understand our young people.

  2. Richard Fraser 27. Mar, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Voice’s Official Response 1062: Consultation on developing a safe system for Adventure Activities in Scotland (Scottish Government)

  3. Richard Fraser 28. Jun, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Scottish Government: Adventure Activities Consultation Analysis report (27 June 2012): []

  4. Richard Fraser 23. Jul, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    TESS: “Licensing scheme kept for adventure activities…
    Scotland decides not to follow the UK government's plans for a voluntary code of practice”: []

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