Professional Compliance

Meeting your responsibilities as an Outdoor Learning Professional

Outdoor Professionals are responsible for compliance with a range of requirements, including employers' policies and procedures, safeguarding, data protection, first aid, insurance and legal requirements. If you are looking to keep up-to-date as an instructor, working self-employed, or managing a business, the following resources can support you in providing safe activities and effective learning in the outdoors.

Safeguarding and Duty of Care

Outdoor professionals are expected to be up-to-date on key duty of care issues where children, young people and adults at risk are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities.

Core training and CPD topics include:

  • Child Protection
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Equality & Diversity
  • Mental Wellbeing
  • Serious Youth Violence
  • Female Genital Mutilation Awareness
  • Child Exploitation
  • The Prevent Duty
  • Health and Safety
  • Food Hygiene & Safety
  • Practical Guide to the GDPR
  • Display Screen Equipment
EduCare Logo.png


Special offer for members of IOL - Online training courses from EduCare, a market-leading provider of high-quality, concise and easy-to-use safeguarding and duty of care e-learning services.

INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS of IOL can access a bundle of 17 courses for an equivalent of £1.76 for each quality CPD training course..

ORGANISATIONAL MEMBERS of IOL can save even more when buying for 10 or more staff.

Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions each year by processing and issuing DBS checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. A similar but different service operates in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

A DBS Check can be:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings (FREE for volunteers)
  • an enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from doing the role

The type of DBS check depends on your role. Find out which DBS check is right for you or your staff.

DBS Update Service

Subscribe to the online DBS Update Service to keep your standard or enhanced DBS certificates up-to-date and allow employers to check a certificate if given permission.





DBS Basic Check

Follow this link to request a basic check for yourself.

DBS Enhanced Check

If you volunteer, are employed or self-employed, ask the organisation you’re working with to get an enhanced or enhanced with barred lists check for you, where the role is eligible.

A number of organisations offer an DBS Enhanced Check service, such as DBS Check OnlineUCheckDisclosure ServicesPersonnel ChecksOnline DBSDue Diligence CheckingOnline Disclosures, and The BMC (Member Service).

The DBS does not have access to criminal records that are held overseas. How you go about getting a criminal record check varies from country to country. Criminal records checks for overseas applicants.

First Aid

First Aid Competence is an essential part of operating as an outdoor learning professional. The IOL Statement of Good Practice describes four bands of Outdoor First Aid (OFA) training, each band describing a different set of competencies for First Aid in an Outdoor Learning context.

Alignment with the IOL Statement of Good Practice is on a voluntary basis. The Institute encourages:

  • Providers of First Aid Training and First Aid Awarding Bodies to self declare that their course content and delivery is aligned with the relevant band described in this statement.
  • Employers, National Governing Bodies of sport, and other interested parties to refer to the bands described in this statement where it simplifies the definition of a required level of First Aid Competence.
  • Outdoor Professionals (instructors, teachers, leaders and coaches) to use the Statement of Good Practice on Outdoor First Aid and list of IOL Approved Courses to assist them in identifying appropriate First Aid training to match their practice.


Outdoor First Aid .png


IOL Guidance

View the IOL Guidance on Outdoor First Aid and the expected content of courses and qualities of the trainers to meet with the requirements from the Institute, employers and governing bodies.

Finding an Outdoor First Aid Course

View current First Aid Courses being run by IOL Members on the events page.

View current IOL Accredited Courses where you can be assured that the course is well designed, delivered by knowledgeable trainers and fit for outdoor learning professionals.


Adequate liability cover is strongly advised as an outdoor professional, either held directly or through your employer or the organisation you are working with.


  • Public Liability cover protects you in the event that you are legally liable for loss, death or injury to a third party or damage to a third party’s property.
  • Professional Indemnity cover protects you if you are legally liable for damages and claimant’s costs and expenses for claims arising out of the conduct of your business.
  • Employers’ Liability provides cover in the event of death or injury to an employee for which you are legally liable.



Exclusive offer for members of IOL - Public Liability cover from just £250* with AIM.

The minimum a non-member of IOL would pay is £650.00. Typical activities covered are: team building acts, low level walking/ hill climbing, archery, low level water based activities.

*Use your (valid) membership number when contacting AIM to find out more about what is included and benefit from this offer.

Outdoor Learning Professional Graphic.png

The Outdoor Professional

Outdoor learning professionals provide safe activities and effective learning in the outdoors for the benefit of individuals, communities, society and the economy

7 Steps to CPD Logo.png

The 7 Steps to CPD Guide

The IOL 7 Steps to CPD guide is designed to help outdoor instructors, teachers and leaders decide the next steps in their continuing professional development. It describes an approach to CPD that can support the needs of an NGB, your employer, IOL and your development goals.

Standards graphic - cogs.jpg

Occupational Standards

IOL is the professional development body for the UK’s outdoor learning sector, committed to supporting, developing and ensuring professionals and organisations are acknowledged for contributing valuable cultural, community and educational assets for the UK.

WOL Image 1.png

Training / Education Guide

Gain the skills, knowledge and qualifications to work in the outdoors, Training / Education Guide, How to Advertise a Vacancy




Will you join us in Championing Outdoor Learning?

Belong To The Leading Network of Outdoor Learning Professionals

Join now