Blah Blah Intro

Afternoon All

The following is an overview of a recent occurrence, which could have had negative outcomes for safety, and is therefore worth raising as something to be aware of.

Last week an activity took place where multiple teams were aiming to complete the same objective in a similar area. The management of some participants was not to the standard we expected in terms of engagement with the group or safety. This may well have come about due to a lack of clarity in regards to roles and responsibilities. In this instance there was uncertainty as to who was responsible for the leadership and management of a group of young people. (I should at this point stress, no one was in any immediate danger or came to harm, but I think we could have done better). The key point taken from this incident is that whenever we head out on activity we need to be clear who is responsible for the group, what the objective of the activity is, and what support is available. In this circumstance, two parties had different impressions of how the day was being managed, which then led to a grey area which left unchecked could have led to serious implications.

Key Points

  • Every person on a programme should have someone who is responsible for them (i.e. The 12 participants of team 1 and their teacher are being led by Matt on Kinder today)
  • If we are “working together” to manage an activity, than those two instructors should have a conversation about their plan, not assume they each are working to the same plan.
  • Briefings are an extremely important aspect of any course or expedition and are arguably, the single most important part of the safety chain. Everyone, without exception, must be present and engaging with that briefing. (Even if “this is your 10th time with the school”, “you are local”, “you are a member of the office team” etc.)
  • If your not sure, ask, and become sure!
  • If you are concerned about another group, their leader or a situation you see unfolding, speak up at the time. You might not have the full picture, but better to discretely raise a concern and be corrected than watch something go horribly wrong later.

Keep the feedback coming! If we can learn from near misses we will hopefully go some way in avoiding accidents in the future. Any questions, as always just give me a call.

Thanks Matt

Evening All

A few key updates (Kept as brief as I can!)

1 – Safeguarding and “Stranger Danger”
Following a near miss on a course where a stranger accessed young people’s accommodation can I remind you to include “stranger danger” in your group and staff briefings. Where using sites where we have “sole use” we should be questioning unknown people onsite, and where we are sharing sites, we should be acutely aware of where others have access to and where they should not. This is particularly important in areas where students are unsupervised or in sensitive areas such as student accommodation and bathrooms. If you’d like to discuss the implications of this on a course your leading or how to mange this, please give me a call.

2 – Important Documents
A number of you have asked recently where our instructor website area has gone. We took this down when we launched the new website and are now using a shared folder at the following link (which is usually in the Joining Instruction information)!AlN0c5xl-ww7g6kuCoKflNplfR2plg?e=BWB2zo This contains policies procedures and common forms such as incident report forms for you to use.

3 – “When to call the duty manager?”
Duty Managers are listed on your Joining Instructions, but most if not all the time, these contacts are usually myself backed up by Tony. These are the people who you can call or message 24/7 with any operational updates or issues. Generally we like to hear at the very least that a course has closed and went well. We are also here to help and support any incidents, issues or difficult situations. This may be as a sounding board for you, to enable us to provide greater resource to help a situation, or even just to be “in the loop” with the course of action you have taken. There have been a couple of times in recent weeks where we have heard of incidents days later that we felt we may have liked to have known about sooner. If a situation may cause customer or parent concerns and complaint, engages external agencies, or is a significant incident, we’d like to hear as soon as is convenient. Examples of this are safeguarding incidents, accidents resulting in hospital visits, or students being sent home. This is not so we can micro mange you at all, but to pre warn us if the incident may spill outside of the expeditions sphere of influence, (Headteachers or Parents calling us) or to allow us to put in place procedures resource or support that we may have at our disposal. I’m happy to elaborate on this on the phone if you wish, but essentially, I’d prefer to be bothered and in the loop, than hear on the grapevine!

That’s all for now. Keep up all the great work your doing supporting your teams to deliver outstanding outdoor development.


Afternoon All

Following an interesting question on a freelance Facebook page, including the sharing of a report on when things go wrong (the death of a Ten Tors participant on Dartmoor), I felt inspired to send out a useful reminder about a really important topic, which was recently reviewed in our Instructor Handbook……….. Remote Supervision

Pages 15 to 19 cover Remote supervision and include sections on:

  • Supervision Options – Its not all or nothing, there’s a wide spectrum of “supervision”!
  • Factors which influence your choice of supervision
  • Scenarios giving examples of appropriate techniques
  • What to do when remote supervision goes wrong
  • Staff communication
  • WhatsApp as a tracking tool

It’s something we do an awful lot of, but something we need to always be cautious with. We need to ensure our supervision tactic is appropriate to the group, the conditions, the area, and your ability/knowledge of the area.

A key point that came out of the online debate ( which was to do with DofE expeditions being “independent” and “self-led”) was that first and foremost we have a duty of care to the safe oversight of our participants, this duty of care is the same whether you are directly with them, or remotely supervising them. If for example they are crossing a busy A road, it’s absolutely appropriate to directly supervise this. A DofE group can be “self-led” whilst still directly supervised. You being with the group may be to “back them up” or “ensure safety” they are still able to take the lead, make their own decisions and manage their own expedition, we are just ensuring they are safe and giving them a bit of back up.

Please spend 5 minutes reviewing this section of the instructor Handbook Instructor Handbook

If you have a bit more time to spare, the following are worth a read and will certainly enhance/refresh your knowledge or serve as great reminders (however long you’ve been instructing!)

If anyone wants to chat more about this topic, do let me know and if we get enough interest we can put together a bit of a zoom session for an hour or so and go through some scenarios and share experiences.

All the best

Afternoon All

A quick but important reminder from me on First Aid

If First Aid is administered then it needs recording on either a paper form or the digital form at the following link – 

We have noticed a significant increase in group first aid kits coming bag opened (they are sealed with security tags so easy to spot) and various items particularly ice packs used with no record as to what they were used for. In every first aid kit is a paper incident form, if a kit is opened to use something, please note down the details on that form and leave it in there so we can record it on its return to stores.

Whilst we all can appreciate the importance for recording of accident, incidents and near misses, maybe groups don’t know this and are self-fixing! That’s great, but we need to know, so please mention to groups about letting you know if they do first aid in your briefing whilst handing out the first aid kit.

All the best


Evening All

A few updates you need to be aware of, which I have briefly summarised below. All Policies And Procedures (as well as lots of other useful resources!) can be found online at

All recent changes are highlighted in Blue in the online documents for your convenience when browsing through to re familiarise them as the season begins,

There will be a further less “efficient” and more “fluffy” email coming to add a bit of background to some of the newer operational elements (phones and cooking).

Safety Policy
Updated to V3 – Revised March 2024 with the following revisions

  • Minor tweaks for Paddlesport to update the technical advisors, ratios and competences to maintain alignment with the current qualification scheme
  • Minor alteration to wording to “competent assistant” for Hill walking.
  • Addition of Mountain Biking qualifications and ratios.

Instructor Handbook
Updated to V3 with the following revisions

  • Pay rates updated for 2024 to reflect the previously issued statement
  • Watersports SOP’s reviewed and amended to provide clarity around helmets and reiterate risk control measures around issuing of environment specific risk assessments and navigation of weirs.
  • Section added on Management of group cooking. (Further explanation in another email)
  • Section added on Phone Use (Further explanation in another email)
  • Trangia Crib Card added.
  • Roles updated to change from Davina to Josie and add an additional Technical Advisor.

 Risk Assessment (Full) Updated to V2

  • Addition of Mountain Biking
  • Minor revision made to Transportation to ensure the document links to the NLD vehicle policy which must be followed by all NLD vehicle users.

Policy Handbook – Updated to V2

  • Addition of Religious Headwear and Helmets Policy


  • Introduction of New “trailer and roof rack use” risk assessment and induction (not on website, issued to authorised drivers with the vehicle and trailer as part of a face to face induction)
  • Review of approach to vehicle driving – All drivers must now undergo a documented yearly induction including issue of the driving policy to drive. This must be done by a member of the operations team. For clarity this means we are still able to allow “anyone over 25 with our permission to drive” but this person must be authorised first or they will not be insured.

Please do take the time to browse though and refresh your knowledge of these documents ahead of the season getting busy, If you’d like to discuss any changes please do get in touch with 1 of the team

All the best

Evening All

Further to my unusually brief and formal email about policy, I have a few further updates and reminders for you in my usual long, fluffy and waffly style!


  • We have recently moved insurers and are required to tighten up on a couple of areas. It is important that everyone knows whilst we have a broad insurance policy, before anyone can drive they must be first have undergone an induction with a member of the ops team and shared their online licence check details. This can be done in less than 10 minutes and over the phone, so is not a major barrier. To be clear, driving vehicles without having done this will mean you are driving uninsured and risk not only the vehicle but also your own licence

First Aid

  • Drugs – A reminder following a query late last year, we cannot give out any medication at all as part of our first aid provision. This seems obvious and I imagine rarely crops up as a thought, but this does include minor situations of “being helpful” for example a young person who is in discomfort and may normally take paracetamol which they haven’t got and you have some in your van they could use. This is not acceptable for a variety of reasons, even though we are just trying to do the right thing. The only first aid exception to this may be the use of aspirin in a life threatening situation if this is part of your first aid training.
  • First Aid Kits – Having just spent a few days refreshing and refilling first aid kit’s in the office, it though it was probably a timely reminder to remind folks that whilst we do send out first aid kits for groups, support boxes and in vehicles, you are all responsible for providing your own first aid kits for out and about on the hill. These should be in date and inline with your first aid qualification. (Apologies this probably comes across as teaching you to suck eggs, but I thought it was a worthy reminder just in case!)
  • Reports – My yearly reminder! If you need to open a first aid kit, it’s because you are doing first aid and therefore need to fill out a form! These forms are in all NLD kits and in both PDF and google form formats on our website in the instructor area.

Mobile Phone’s

  • We have recently introduced a “policy” for mobile phone usage on expeditions. This is always a controversial topic where everyone has their own opinion. Thus meaning finding a stance we can all agree on is a day to day challenge!
  • This is a new policy for both instructors and schools so will take some time to bed in. A gentle reminder that we want to work together on this, and therefore we should be discussing these matters with schools and groups and creating appropriate ways forward. Ultimately the policy does not give one set methodology but gives a broad principle that teams must have a way of getting in touch with outside help and we must be able to get in touch with them.
  • Please approach this with an open mind, where issues arise let us know and involve us in the conversations so we can support you as well as ensuring any learning and development can be shared.

Instructor page of the website

  • We have been working hard over winter to get lots of useful resources onto this page as this is a common thing you tell us will make your life easier. It contains not just “policy and procedures” but also a range of useful learning resources, all our team task descriptors, and links to videos and documents we think are handy to know about when training groups. Please do take a look and use this as a first port of call for any resources you feel you need.

Management of Group Cooking

  • This is an area of conversation that cropped up lots last year in CD feedback, and whilst we don’t want to tie you hands with a strict “NLD Way” which wont work for all groups in all situations, we did want to provide a bit more guidance to help manage one of our biggest areas of risk.
  • You’ll find this guidance within the instructor handbook, and hopefully find it very pragmatic with a core focus on dynamic risk assessment.
  • As a reminder cooking should be treated the same as remote supervision, groups must only be allowed to be independent when they have proved personally to you they are ready for it!

Return of Kit to stores

  • We often get asked “how best to do it” and “tell us what you want” so here you go, if we could all do our best to follow this method, it does save huge amounts of time and effort in stores allowing us to focus more on getting the kit back out to you in the best condition possible.
  • Full guidance is issued in all vans and on the instructor area of the website or at
  • In short, please separate all kit returning to stores. All stoves in one bag, first aid kits in another, inners in another, outers in another etc. Large bags are provided to help.
  • Please label any damaged kit and keep it separate so we can easily identify it (labels are available in all vans)
  • Lastly – A personal plea…. Guylines…. Please ask groups to either stuff them in the mini guyline pockets or tie them up!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

  • We are making a big effort this year to do our best to extend the life of things and take better care so we reduce what we send needlessly to landfill. These are just some of the small steps we are taking across the business, but we do believe everyone doing a little bit, will really make a difference to the world. Two areas you may notice this for now:
    • “B Grade Tents” – Tents which may have a repair or are faded but are still perfectly serviceable will continue to be used. They are now labelled up explaining why they do not “look their best”, but we are choosing to continue using them. Whilst tents are still able to do the job they are intended for, it seems crazy to bin them just because they are not “new and shiny!
    • Gas Canisters – We have changed from predominantly sending out new cylinders to sending out half empty ones. Please encourage groups to empty a cylinder before opening a new one. There will always be a stock of new canisters with the kit, but taking this step not only saves money and makes sense, but also allows us to recycle the canister more easily. Where possible we are labelling part used canisters to explain and remind teams.

Hopefully you find this all helpful, all the best for the season, fingers crossed spring arrives soon!