The words we live to dislike... Risk Assessments.
Risk assessments are defined by the Scouts as:
"A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your activities. Activities encourage the development of young people and they can experience a great sense of achievement in completing them. Some degree of risk is unavoidable but it is - and should be - much less than the participant perceives. We seek to provide: EXCITEMENT but not DANGER; ADVENTURE but not HAZARD." Factsheet 1200000
In essence, a risk assessment is just a careful look at what activities and opportunities we offer our young people to make sure they are safe and the activities are appropriate.
It is important that we regularly risk assess all activities we do as scouters. Whilst it can sometimes feel like extra work that “isn’t needed”, it could be the difference between an activity being safe or a young person being hurt - so why wouldn’t you do it?
The Scout Association provides guidance on risk assessments and what the requirements are. Guidance for this can be found on the scout website here: https://www.scouts.org.uk/safety
As a district, we have pulled together some further guidance that might help you on a local level. There is no specific right or wrong way to do your risk assessments, providing it properly assesses the situation and can clearly explain the risks and the mitigations put in place. One way that you can make risk assessments easier to work with, we can break it in to three different types (variations).
- Variation 1, Location risk assessments
- Variation 2, Activity risk assessments
- Variation 3, Event risk assessments
Your risk assessment does not need to resemble a novel. What you are assessing, and how risky it is, will determine how detailed it needs to be. For example, risk assessing a craft activity with beavers will be significantly different to scouts using bowsaws and axes. By breaking it down using the three variations above, it allows us to have slightly different templates/processes that will help us.
We are building a library of examples and templates. If you would like to help with this, please email email@example.com.