1. Home
  2. Members
  3. Jobs
  4. Events
  5. Good Practice
  6. Awards
  7. News
  8. Help

Adventure Activities Licencing

Adventure Activities Licencing Information & Updates

Adventure Activities

Visit the AALS Info Log below for information about incidents, accidents and near misses that have happened in adventure activities or similar, closely related activities.

  • AALS Information Log
  • AALA Review
  • AALS Inspection Guidance Notes
Below you can find links to information about incidents, accidents and near misses that have happened in adventure activities or similar, closely related activities. Many of these appeared on the former Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS) website as InfoLog entries. They will be of use to anyone who is interested in adventure activities, as a provider, user, enthusiast, organiser etc. This information is updated from time to time with safety developments and recommendations from within the outdoor community. Often an entry results from specific incidents and our intention is to look at the outcomes and implications of these and not at the incidents themselves. The entries have been complied by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority with the assistance of the AALS as part of its advisory role. Licensing Service inspectors and others may refer to this guidance as illustrating good and up-to-date practice. Note - not all of the old InfoLog entries have been transferred to this site. Some entries have been removed for various reasons such as being out of date, superseded or replaced by published guidance. Items for removal were agreed with AALS.


The HSE continue to review their approach to Adventure Activity Licensing. Below you can find information about the most recent meetings and consultations with the outdoor learning sector.

To provide the HSE with a representative and informed point of contact a wide ranging group of representative organisations has come together as the UK Adventure Industry Group. The group has established a simple website to hold notes of its meetings and other pertinent information UKAIG. The group is being supported by the Institute and a list of its members can be found on the website.

Update February 2020
Adventure Activities Licensing Authority - Changes 1 April 2020

The contract for the Adventure Activities Licensing Service, which is currently held by Tourism Quality Services Ltd (TQS), ends on 31 March 2020. HSE recently announced Adventure Risk Management Services (Adv-RMS) as the successful bidder for the contract to provide inspection services for the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). The new contract begins on 1 April 2020.

Update 26/04/2018
HSE would like to thank everyone who responded to the recent Discussion Document on the future of the Adventure Activities Licensing framework.
We are delighted with the response and encouraged by the amount of engagement on this subject. We received hundreds of detailed comments, which are now being analysed. Once complete we will report the findings to the HSE Board for consideration at their meeting on 20 June.
In the meantime, the AALA team thank you for your patience and remind stakeholders that regardless of the outcome, there will be no immediate changes to the licensing scheme. There is still much to be considered, and it will take time for any changes to come into effect.
Licence holders should continue to engage with AALS and ensure they have a valid licence for activities in scope of the regulations.
You will be notified well in advance of any changes and if necessary any transition arrangements to ensure that things continue to run smoothly.

Update 21/02/2018 IOL statement.
You have until 9th March to respond to the HSE’s latest consultation in its review of ALAA. The Institute, along with a wide range of other bodies in the sector, has worked to ensure that the HSE have been able to provide an informed range of options for the sector to consider. This statement outlines why the IOL board feel that option 3 is the most appropriate for the outdoor learning sector.

IOL Statement on the Consultation Update 21/02/2018

Since the Health & Safety Executive’s initial consultation and series of meetings with the sector regard Licensing in 2016 and 2017, the Institute has been working to support the sector to ensure an open and informed debate. The Institute has played an active role in the establishment and operating of UK Adventure Industry Group (UKAIG) specifically established to provide support for the HSE’s review.

In the past 6 months the UKAIG has worked closely with the HSE to develop 3 options for the outdoor sector to consider, regarding the future of adventure activity licensing across the UK. The largest element of this work has been to outline a sector led and managed scheme for inspection and accreditation consistent with the HSE criteria for such schemes. This has enabled the HSE to offer 3 options for the future of licensing to the sector in its latest consultation which closes on 9th March 2018. Those options are:

  • Option 1 Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and increase fees
  • Option 2 Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and increase fees and extend the activities in-scope
  • Option 3 Removal of the AALA regulations and move to an industry-led; not-for-profit accreditation scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, to provide assurance to users of outdoor activities

It is clear that the sector has benefited hugely from the introduction of Licensing. The current inspections and the inspectorate are highly valued across the sector. A survey of the sector by The Institute in 2010 resulted in two very clear messages; that there was very little appetite for the removal of Licensing without any replacement and secondly that any changes to Licensing should result in a UK wide scheme, reflecting the reality of how young people are accessing adventurous activities across the UK.

It is also clear that the current Licensing regime is not financially sustainable and has very little governance input from the sector it is designed for. In addition, the very limited scope of the inspection scheme as defined in the 1995 Act and restrictions on its development as a result of it being embedded in legislation, has led to the emergence of a number of non-statutory schemes. A direct consequence of this is that many providers have multiple inspections for different schemes and both the sector and its users have a complex and confusing array of badges to contend with.

The Institute is seeking to increase the value placed on outdoor learning across the UK. In considering the role of inspections in outdoor learning service provision it is appropriate that the inspections and the standards that drive them be developed and managed by the sector. Shaping and governing an sector led inspection regime should be the responsibility of a professionally led and managed sector and can play an important role in raising the sector’s value proposition.

Whilst the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s board recognises that not all Institute members will take the same view, the Institute is recommending that outdoor learning professionals across the UK respond to the HSE’s consultation by selecting Option 3.

Update 11/01/2018 The UKAIG (UK Adventure Industry Group) has worked through IOL to jointly fund a consultant and has worked closely with HSE officers to inform a range of options that will be presented to the sector for consultation in 2018.
The HSE board met in December 2017 and considered 3 options for the future and the approach to a sector wide consultation on those options. Here is the detailed paper from the board meeting
Essentially the HSE board consider 3 options for ALAA:

  1. Retain the current ALAA with an increased fee
  2. Retain ALAA with an increased scope of activities and an increased fee
  3. Remove ALAA and move to an industry-led, non-statutory, not-for-profit assurance scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work Act

Look out for the formal opportunity to respond to a sector wide consultation in 2018.

Update 12/06/2017 Following the consideration of their 2017 AALA survey results the HSE recognises that there is potential for an effectively functioning, industry-run scheme to meet the aspirations of stakeholders and has committed to work with these stakeholders and others to develop this option further. See further details of the HSE statement and an option to join a webinar on 19th June to hear feedback on the survey results. IOL will continue to support this dialogue with the HSE working closely with AAIAC and other stakeholders representing all the Home Nations.

Note of meeting with Adventure Activity stakeholders British Mountaineering Council, Manchester 20/04/2017

Guidance on AALA licences and inspections from the new Licensing contractor.

These are currently hosted by the HSE at ALAA Inspection Notes


AdventureRMS Safety Management Updates
Lessons Learned Group
The Lessons Learned Group (LLG) is a small group of professionals and practitioners in adventure activities, brought together by a common aim to incorporate into ongoing good practice any lessons that can be learned from outdoor incidents..
HSE ‘pause’ the proposal to abolish AALA
(2/7/12) Following announcements that the Welsh and Scottish Governments intend to retain a statutory licensing scheme for Adventurous Activities, the Health and Safety Executive have written to all License holders to say that they are proposing to consult further rather than withdraw AALA at the moment. The two major issues they plan to consult further on are user reassurance of safe practice and the limited scope of adventurous activities covered by licensing. Importantly the HSE are also proposing to work with the Scottish and Welsh Governments as they develop future arrangements. IOL will seek to encourage and support this in pursuit of a consistent UK wide regime..
Nothing Ventured: Balancing Risks and Benefits in the Outdoors
By Tim Gill. "Explodes the myths about safety on school visits and gives real reassurance to teachers". 28 page publication by the English Outdoor Council (2010). Download a PDF of Nothing Ventured
Scottish Government decide to retain a statutory licensing schemes
The Scottish Government have decided to retain a statutory licensing scheme for the provision of adventurous activities. In doing so they are seeking to reassure users, especially parents, though they intend to also retain exemption for sports clubs to encourage participation. Attached is a link to the Scottish Government’s consultation report.

Read More..

Briefing on progress towards a post AALA regime
27/6/2012. Representatives of the providers and users of outdoor adventurous activities have been working to try and establish an appropriate alternative to the Licensing regime that Westminster is proposing to withdraw. This group of representatives have called themselves the UK Accreditation Transition Group.

Read More..

Advisers act to keep visits running after government withdraws guidance
Last year (2011) the DfE withdrew its detailed guidance on educational visits - Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits (HASPEV) – a move widely condemned by teaching unions and professionals in the field. Now Outdoor Education Advisers have acted to issue detailed advice and support to school staff and others leading groups of young people on visits and learning activities outside the classroom.

Read More..

Welsh Ministers decide to retain adventure activities licensing in respect of Wales
Welsh Ministers have decided that they wish to retain adventure activities licensing in respect of Wales. The Welsh Government have decided that they do not wish to follow Westminster’s proposal to withdraw AALA.

Read More..

MCofS Responds to Scottish Government on Adventurous Activities
Mountaineering Council of Scotland Responds to Scottish Government Consultation on Adventurous Activities. Responding to the Scottish Government's consultation into developing a safety system for Adventurous Activities the MCofS stated that it believes that a licensing scheme for mountaineering club activities is unwarranted and unnecessary and urged member clubs to respond individually to the consultation.

Read More..

Scottish Govt consultation on alternative to AALA
The Scottish Government has opened its consultation to identify an appropriate replacement for the current AALA regime. This is independent of the work currently being undertaken by the HSE working group and reporting to Westminster DWP minister Chris Grayling.

Read More..

Post AALA update - Draft Code of Practice & Proposal for register of providers
Post AALA update - Draft Code of Practice & Proposal for a register of providers. draft of a code of practice designed to replace AALA when it is repealed.

Read More..

HSE Working Group Report - Post AALA Regime
28th September 2011 saw the first meeting of the HSE working group to ‘develop practical post-AALA arrangements to support the recommendation within Common Sense Common Safety’. The group is likely to meet 2 or 3 more times in order to have developed a practical way forward by the end of this calendar year.

Read More..



Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA4 8RR

+44 (0)1228 564580



What we collect and why

Name, Email Address, Phone Number (optional). Only if you provide it to us in order to contact you or to use our services.

Your Privacy

Who we share with

We will never sell your personal data to 3rd parties. We may share your personal data with our suppliers in order to provide our online and member services to you.

Copyright 2023 Institute for Outdoor Learning Terms Of Use Privacy Statement
Back To Top