Event risk assessments could be seen as an amalgamation of both location and activity risk assessments. You would normally use this when planning for a day event, a specific activity in a new location (not a location you use regularly) or maybe even an overnight camp if it is appropriate.
When planning your event and assessing the risks, it is good to think about it in a logical, and methodical method. Risk assessing an event can seem quite daunting at first. There could be many moving parts and things to consider. However, just like we do in the location risk assessment, break it in to sections. For example, transport to event, carpark/open field, walk to first location, first activity, etc.
Using an activity centre, or other place during an activity.
As scouters we regularly use activity centre, museums, etc for events. This could be Fordell Firs for an activity day, a trip to the safari park, a visit to the RNLI or maybe even a sleep over on the tall ship in Glasgow.
Under PO&R, we have certain requirements when using external facilities for delivering activities. This is stated within rule 9.9:
“Delivery of activities using an external provider can enrich the programme, but a number of factors require consideration. This rule intends to provide a structure to support leaders in making informed decisions about the suitability of external providers.
- When external providers are used for the delivery of activities for members of The Scout Association the external provider must hold a relevant accreditation or qualification for the activity they are delivering (e.g. AALA Licence, Adventure Mark Accredited Provider, Government Agency, National Governing Body qualifications) as well as adequate insurance cover. These criteria are subject to frequent change and up to date guidance on the above can be found in the A-Z directory at scouts.org.uk/a-z.
- As the standards and criteria for the delivery of activities overseas are very varied it is not possible to provide specific guidance for each country and activity. Leaders therefore need to check the suitability of providers themselves and this rule supports that process with additional guidance.
- When using external providers overseas, the guidance for activities overseas must be followed (scouts.org.uk FS120085). If the leader in charge feels that the activity is not safe then the activity should be stopped immediately.”
It is common practice within youth organisations and outdoor education organisations to ask for a copy of the centres/ instructors risk assessments, Public Liability insurance (PLI) and, in some rare occasions, it my be appropriate to ask for a copy of the instructor(s) qualifications/ proof of accreditation. This is normal and almost all centres/organisations will do so without any issue or hassle.
Why do we do this? Quite simply, it's verification. It is a way for us to confirm that the centre/site or instructor we plan to use has a good understanding keep young people safe. When we go to a centre for activities, the instructor knows the risks of the activity/site. We, as leaders, know our young people. When we plan for an activity normally, we have to take in to account the young people we have with us and their knowledge, skills and in some case, any medical/behavioural conditions. Asking for those risk assessments is a way for us to combine that knowledge. It may be that we have to put in additional mitigations to ensure the activity is safe. You should always talk to the centre/instructor if you think there may be additional steps needed to make sure the activity is safe.
The bread and butter of scouting - activities outdoors. It is important that we make the outdoors and a safe and fun environment for everyone involved. We all enjoy the outdoors, it is quite possibly one of the reasons you volunteered in scouting (or got volunteered!). The outdoors can be great fun and truly exciting but it can also be dangerous. It is a place to be respected and to be respectful.
Scouts have some quite detailed guidance and requirements for when we are doing activities outside. It is important that when doing activities outside that we make sure we have the relevant permits and requirements in place. Guidance on permits and activities are available on the scouts website here: https://members.scouts.org.uk/findanactivity
How do I risk assess a walk/hike or similar? Do I need to walk the route before I can do the activity?
Quite simply… think about your route, the risks on the route and record it. You do not have to include every step on the route. It may be appropriate to walk the route to risk assess it. This depends on various factors. If you are taking a group of inexperienced cubs to somewhere unique that you don’t know well and there isn’t a lot of up to date information on the route, then you should go and walk the route to risk assess it. On the other side, if I am taking a group of experienced scouts on a hike somewhere that has designated paths, then a route card may be more than sufficient.
A route card is document that details a route and aids in navigation. How you do this, will depend on what you are doing, your skills and the skills of your audience/readers.
This could effectively be a print of directions from Google maps, a route card using grid references from an OS map. One very helpful tool for planning your route that gives a lot of useful information and allows you to export a gpx file of your route is komoot.com.