Activities Licensing update – joint SAAF and SAPOE statement

Following the recent decision  at their 12th September meeting, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Board have approved the development of a non-statutory Adventurous Activities accreditation scheme, which will require the repeal of the Adventurous Activities Licensing Regulations (AALR). The following information is offered from SAPOE and SAAF as way of an update to the Adventure Industry in Scotland as well as interested parties further afield.

  • Any changes to licensing are at least 3-5yrs away, so current regulations still stand – if you need a licence now, you will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
  • The contract for the Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS) is in the process of being retendered, and a minimum of 3yr contract will be awarded which is likely to start in September 2019.
  • HSE will now be seeking approval from the UK Minister with responsibility for this area (Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, and Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work). Any future direction of travel will be dependent on the result of that discussion.
  • Various members and organisations of the UK Adventure Industry  have so far collaborated under UKAIG to take the development of an industry led scheme forward. Should UKAIG’s proposal meet several HSE criteria, this scheme will have HSE backing, and whilst the scheme would be non-statutory, it would (like AALR) be underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work Act, in keeping with other current Adventure Industry accreditation schemes.
  • Any non-statutory accreditation scheme could be open to anyone providing adventurous activities, not just those currently involved with Licensing (voluntary sector, clubs, adventure tourism, adult provision etc.). It may also encompass areas other than safety (quality of provision, safeguarding, transport, accommodation etc.).
  • Scottish Government continues to hold the position that any AALR replacement scheme should be fit for purpose in Scotland as well as across the UK. However, should there be concerns over any new UK scheme, it is highly unlikely that Scottish Government would instigate or finance any replacement statutory scheme in Scotland.
  • Should the development of a non-statutory scheme and the repeal of AALR gain support from the Minister, there will likely be a further public consultation prior to seeking Westminster approval to repeal the legislation. Again, we stress that this is likely to take years rather than months.
  • One of the main concerns from the last HSE consultation was a lack of information regarding what a non-statutory scheme would entail or include. SAAF and SAPOE recognise the desire from the Scottish sector to have more clarity around the workings of a non-statutory, sector led scheme, and as such, we will seek to progress this through our active involvement with UKAIG.
  • SAPOE and SAAF will work to clarify the implications for, and represent the interests of, the Scottish sector as work with the HSE and UKAIG progresses. We would encourage anyone or any organisations with an interest in this to engage with SAPOE and SAAF to help ensure any future scheme suits the needs of the Scottish Sector.

For further information or questions about this statement, please contact admin@sapoe.org.uk or info@thesaaf.org.uk