We have been providing technical advice in all aspects of mountaineering and climbing for many years, and our clients fall into two categories:
- Commercial providers of outdoor activities for under-18s who have a license from the Adventure Activity Licensing Service (AALS), but who do not have a suitably qualified and experienced person on their staff to take on the role of Technical Adviser for some activities, and therefore need to use an external adviser. The regulations state that, "The licensing authority should look for evidence that management of safety is in the hands of, or effectively advised by, one or more competent people with sufficient knowledge of safety matters in relation to the facilities for adventure activities covered by the licence." Clients include outdoor centres, non-residential outdoor activity providers, and seasonal holiday providers.
- Outdoor activity providers who are exempt from the licence scheme because they do not directly charge for the activities, but who recognise that staff training and advice from an expert will add to the experience for their participants, for example Scouts, schools offering outdoor activities or running their own climbing wall.
So what is AALS and the licensing scheme?
In March 1993, four teenagers died in what became known as the Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy. As a result of that incident, the Activity Centres (Young Persons’ Safety) Act 1995 and the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004 came into being, making it a legal requirement for providers of certain adventure activities for young people to undergo an inspection of their safety management systems and hold a licence. Licensing applies to
- organisations operating in a commercial manner, offering activities to young people under the age of 18 years
- activities when they are done in remote or isolated places, eg climbing on natural terrain requires a licence but climbing on a purpose-built climbing wall does not
A licence is not required for:
- voluntary associations offering activities to their members (eg scout groups, local canoe clubs etc)
- schools and colleges offering activities only to their own pupils or students
- activities where youngsters are accompanied by their parent or legally appointed guardian (this does not include teacher or youth leader)
Our clients use our expertise in the following ways:
- To further staff training and experience
- To explore new venues for activities
- For site specific training and validation for staff who do not hold NGBs but who are competent and experienced, at outdoor venues and indoor climbing walls
- For advice on and approval of safety management systems, ie risk assessments and the measures and arrangements arising from them
- For advice on the implementation of safety management systems to ensure that they are based on accepted good practice and that they comply with the written systems
Our approach is to always look at the client’s ways of working and giving advice, rather than suggesting set methods. Check out the Technical Advice page for a bit more info, and why not phone us on 07775 630 488 to see if we can help you?