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Swindon Scouts

Nights Away Permits

Nights away or residential events, whether camping, hostelling, sleepovers or bivouacs, form an integral part of scouting, and are something that every young person should have the opportunity to take part in.

The 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's 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.

How The Scheme Works


The person who grants your permit will be your responsible Commissioner. This will be your District Commissioner (DC) if you have a Group or District appointment, and your County Commissioner (CC) if you have a County appointment.

A responsible Commissioner can only grant a permit to the level of the recommendation of the NAA. The NAA will provide the responsible Commissioner with a recommendation after an assessment based on the Nights Away Assessment Checklist.

A 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. That decision is up to the NAA.

A permit is only valid if recorded on Compass.

There are no prerequisites to gaining a permit, so there is no requirement to have attended a module 16 (Introduction to Residential Experiences) or module 38 (Skills for Residential Experiences) course. Indeed the Nights Away Permit Scheme is different to these modules, so there is no requirement to gain a nights away permit to finish your Wood Badge training, and validating modules 16 and 38 does not automatically grant you a nights away permit. However gaining a permit is one way of validating modules 16 and 38, and it is the best way to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a nights away permit where training is required.

Beginning the permit process

To begin the process please discuss your intentions with your Group Scout Leader or District Explorer Scout Commissioner (if you run an Explorer Unit). After this, please fill in a Nights Away Advisor Request form and you will be contacted by an Advisor available to support you. Please DO NOT begin planning your camping event until you have an Advisor there to support you. The Advisor will support you in gaining your permit and will make the necessary recommendation to the District Commissioner based on the required assessed areas of the scheme. 

If you have any questions or queries in regards to the scheme please speak to the ADC (Activities)

More information can be found at www.scouts.org.uk/nightsaway

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