The past 12 months have been challenging for everyone. The Adventurous Activity Outdoor Industry has for the most part been in lockdown for most of this time with the residential Outdoor Providers having been especially hard hit.
Work on the Option 3 development was paused March to September with the group meeting again online from September 2020.
To establish a sector led sustainable inspection-based regime to replace statutory licensing and include elements of existing non-statutory schemes through careful design, development and promotion. Specifically, this will require identification of:
• The key features of a non-statutory scheme that meet the criteria of the HSE
• The key features of an accreditation scheme that meet the needs of the industry
• How a sector led scheme can continue to improve the standards of delivery of adventurous activity in a consistent manner across the home nations
• The true sustainable costs of a sector led scheme and what pricing approach reflects the range of size and type of delivery models
Pre the Covid 19 pandemic the group had set a target towards an introduction of the Industry Accreditation Scheme of March 2023. In discussions with HSE we have now revised this to the period March 2023-2025. We came to this decision because:
- The Industry has been in lockdown with Providers unable to deliver activities for other than short periods of time during the past 12 months.
- Providers have been focused on survival
- While both statutory Licensing and the Industry Accreditations have seen a good uptake in revalidations in this period now is not seen to be a good time to enter into detailed discussions on Accreditation change.
- Once there is a clear pathway to the Industry returning to normal operation, we will review the exact timeline.
Adventure UK has appointed Loel Collins the Director of Training and learning at the Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre at Project Manager. His work programme over 2021 is aimed at a full Adventure Activities Industry Accreditation scheme proposal towards the end of the year. This work includes:
- Clear definitions of Adventure and Adventurous Activities in the natural environment and on man made structures
- A review of the inspection regimes of the statutory and non-statutory schemes. These include:
- AALA Licensing
- Association Heads of Outdoor Centres (AHOEC) Gold Standard
- British Activity Providers Association (BAPA)Scheme
- Visit Wales Activity Providers Accreditation Scheme
- Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge
This proposal to include:
- All aspects covered by the existing statutory licensing scheme
- Other aspects of adventure activity delivery relating to safety of accommodation, transport, safeguarding, and quality of learning etc.
The current aim is to present the proposal to the HSE Board in early 2022. Once excepted by the HSE Board. The next steps would be:
- An Industry Consultation led by HSE
- Revisions based on feedback
- Proposal to Minister
- Parliamentary debate to remove Statutory Licencing
- If agree transition arrangements
There is no timeline for the above process which would for the most part be out of our hands. If Parliament decide to keep statutory, we would at least be in a position to offer a unified non-statutory scheme that sits alongside Licensing.
Adventure UK has a working group in place that is developing the business plan that would underpin the Accreditation Scheme. Any scheme needs to be sustainable and the fees to reflect this. The aim would also be to include an element of feedback and training opportunities to the industry.
Adventure UK is reviewing its Governance structure to ensure it has formal representation from all key sectors of the Outdoor Industry across the 4 Nations of the UK.
During the autumn of 2020 the group was invited to update forums of Activity Providers and Outdoor Advisors in England, Scotland and Wales. Adventure RMS also spoke at these events.
We aim though our member organisations to ensure that the Adventure Industry is aware of the scheme proposals as they develop and for the Group to answer questions and listen to what aspects Providers hold important.
Option 3 Development Group March 2021.