Nights away permit scheme

The Nights Away Permit Scheme promotes quality residential and camping experiences. It shows that all those leading nights away events for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to take young people away safely. It is designed so that it can be tailored to be as flexible as possible, while at the same time providing a robust checking process for leaders of nights away events. The permit should be seen as an enabling device to show a person competence and provide reassurance to parents of the young people, while at the same time encouraging adults to acquire and improve the skills required to provide residential experiences. Permits are only available to members of The Scout Association and cease to be valid if membership lapses.

What Is The Permit Scheme?
Everyone who leads a nights away event for young people within Scouting is required to hold a Nights Away Permit for the type of event they are running. Although managed locally, the Nights Away Permit Scheme is a national scheme, so once gained, a permit will allow you to run a nights away event in any District or County.nights away guide

How The Scheme Works
The permit is time limited up to a maximum of five years at which point it expires. If you wish to continue leading nights away events for young people you will need to apply for a new permit. However if the new permit is to exactly the same level as the old permit and you have been running residential events, there may be no need for a practical assessment.

What Is Assessed?

  1. Technical Competence – This is assessed by the Nights Away Adviser and looks at the eight core skill areas required to run a nights away event. It is usually assessed through a practical assessment of running events.
  2. Scout Association Rules – This can be assessed by either a Nights Away Adviser or the District Commissioner. It looks at whether the Applicant is aware of the Rules and guidance for running nights away events within Scouting.
  3. Child Protection – This will be carried out by the District Commissioner and ensures that the necessary Personal Enquiry checks have been carried out and the appropriate child protection training has taken place.
  4. Personal Suitability – This is carried out by the District Commissioner, often in conjunction with the Group Scout Leader or similar, to check the Applicant is suitable (in terms of attitude) to be leading nights away events for young people.

Applying for a Permit
Permits can only be granted by the District Commissioner, upon recommendation from a Nights Away Adviser. The Nights Away Adviser will make a recommendation once they have assessed the applicant against the Nights Away Assessment Checklist. An adult wishing to gain a Permit should first read fact-sheet FS120801 (Nights Away Permit Scheme - Applicants' Guide) and then download the application form from the links below.

The Permit is time limited to a maximum of 5 years at which point it expires. After this time leaders will have to re-apply for their permit in order to continue running nights away events for young people. However, if the permit is to exactly the same level as the old permit, and the leader has been running residential experiences regularly, there may be no need for a practical assessment. This decision is down to the Nights Away Adviser.

There are no prerequisites to gaining a permit, so there is no requirement to have attended Modules 16 or 38 courses. Indeed the Nights Away Permit Scheme is different to Module 16 (Nights Away), so there is no requirement to gain a Nights Away Permit or to finish the Wood Badge Training, and validating Modules 16 or 38 does not automatically grant a leader a Nights Away Permit. However, gaining a permit is one way of validating Module 16, and attending Module 16 and 38 is the best way to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a Nights Away Permit where training is required.

Application Process
Anyone wishing to apply for a Nights Away Permit will need to complete a Nights Away Application Form.

Once this form has been completed it needs to be sent to the Nights Away Adviser, who will assess the application and applicant against the Nights Away Assessment Checklist. The Nights Away Assessor is likely to contact the applicant to discuss their application, and perform any of the practical assessments that are deemed necessary.

Once the necessary assessments have been completed, the Nights Away Adviser will make a recommendation to the District Commissioner on the level of Permit that they believe the applicants skills and experience are capable of fulfilling.  The District Commissioner will then make the final checks before issuing the Nights Away permit. When your permit is granted will be recorded on the nation Membership Services database.

Nights away advisers
The nights away adviser has three parts to their role and are more than simply there to assess permits! The role of the nights away adviser comprises of

    1. Carrying out assessments and provide recommendations for permits
    2. Supporting new Leaders through the process of gaining a permit
    3. Advising on and promoting residential experiences
As you can see that as well as assessing applicants technical ability against the 8 core skills they have a key role working with Leaders, Commissioners and campsites and activity centres to ensure that nights away events are taking place and every young person is getting the opportunity to experience such an event.

So if you are thinking about obtaining your nights away permit and need some help with getting yourself ready for assessment then get in touch and an adviser will meet you and guide you through the scheme and what you need to do.

Nights Away Event Notificationnan form
Once an applicant has been granted a permit they can start running nights away events. Each time they run an event they need to notify the District Commissioner, and if they are staying on non Scout premises the host District Commissioner, before the event takes place. This is done through passing the information in the Nights Away Notification (NAN) form to the District Commissioners.

For all Nights Away experiences the NAN form should be with the District commissioner (or appointee) SEVEN days before the event (in normal circumstances).

Event Passports
The event passport is for young people under the age of 18 years wishing to lead camping or passportresidential events (such as Patrol camps, Unit expeditions etc).

The Scheme encourages residential and camping events led by young people under 18 years, such as Patrol camps, Explorer Scout expeditions or overnight hikes. By using the Event Passport, a Leader can check the young person has the required knowledge and ability to lead the event. The Event Passport is valid for one event only.

Before granting the passport, the leader will need to be happy that the young person has the skills to lead the event safely and successfully, as the leader will remain responsible for the event.

Nights away permit holders can download a nights away passport to use for young people led nights away events.

You can find full details of the Nights Away Permit Scheme in the fact-sheets below.
Nights Away Permit Scheme FS120800
Nights Away Permit Scheme - Applicants' guide FS120801
Nights Away Permit Application Form
Nights Away Permit Scheme - Assessment guide FS120802
Nights Away Permit Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions
Nights Away Notification (NAN) form
Nights Away Passport (for young People) Guidance

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