A guide to hillwalking supervisor status

When applying for a hillwalking permit, you can be authorised to have a "lead only" permit (where you are in charge of a group you are walking with) or a "Supervisor" permit (where you are in charge of up to three walking groups).

In order to have a supervisor permit you must already have a valid permit for the terrain; region(s) and season that you are seeking to supervise in.

Mountain Leader Training England (MLTE) view remote supervision of groups of young people in the outdoors as a highly contentious area and they have no wish to 'govern' it.  As a result unless you hold the appropriate National Governing Body (NGB) Award (Hill and Moreland, ML or WML), it is likely that you will be given a supervisor permit with restrictions.

Fact-sheet ac120900 states:

What Is A Supervisor?

A Supervisor is someone who is not directly involved with an activity, but is responsible for it. Details of what a Supervisory Permit allows you to do for each activity can be found in the activity specific fact-sheet.

This is detailed on Fact-sheet fs120454 which states:

Definition of Supervision 

If you hold a permit to supervise Hillwalking then you can supervise up to three groups remotely. This should be from no further away than 3km if on foot, or 10km if in a vehicle. You should also ensure that adequate systems have been set up to monitor and communicate with the groups. You remain responsible for all the groups you are supervising, but you will need to designate someone with the appropriate skills to be the leader of each separate group.

With regards to adequate systems and communications, these are dealt with below.

What Is Supervision? ( ac120900)

Supervision includes:
- Assessing the group's level of understanding, training and expertise to undertake the activity.
- Understanding the plan of that group and how it will manage the activity including responses to emergencies and problems. 
- Firm direction of alternative plans to include 'escape'.
- Putting in place a plan of monitoring safety and progress. 
- Being in the vicinity of that activity to make adjustments"

As a Supervisor, you must ensure …
- you are within the specified distances as above
- all the groups you are supervising understand what they're undertaking,
- they have the necessary skills, training and expertise to do that activity
- they know how to deal with any problems and emergencies that may arise
- the group are aware of all the means of communication and when to communicate

As a Supervisor, you are permitted to walk with one of the groups however you cannot be the group leader of that group. You have to ensure that there is a suitable designated "Group Leader" in charge of the group, in case you have to leave.

All group sizes must comply with P.O.R. rule 9.32.

Designations 

Designation as a Group Leader only lasts for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising. 

People designated as Group Leaders should hold the skills and be responsible enough to lead a group safely in the terrain in which they are. There is no problem with making young people group leaders if they are up to the role and it can be used as a useful development tool." 

For Supervisor status to be awarded, the Assessor needs to be happy that the applicant has hillwalking skills of a clearly demonstrated recent competency and experience in the terrain applied for.
Continued experience of supervising groups at the authorised terrain level needs to be logged for ongoing renewal of the supervisory permit.

P.O.R. Rule 9.32f

"POR rule 9.32f: When leaders holding permits are checking on the safety of Scout parties or their routes, the party size may be less than four. All the members of such a reduced party must each have the skills and experience required to travel safely in the hills in such circumstances, must follow rules regarding route plans and should plan to spend the minimum of time on their own."

When applying for a Supervisor permit you will be expected to be fully conversant with all the Fact Sheets and Rules in POR in relation to Hillwalking.  In addition you should have read the Mountain Training booklet "Remote Supervision Guidance Notes" that can be obtained from Mountain Training Downloads.

New and renewal applications should be submitted on an Adventurous Activity Permit Application Form supported by your Log book. With new applications it would be advantageous if a report from someone who has shadowed you (as you gained experience) is submitted along with your application.  Additionally you should submit your own account of a couple of walks you have supervised (together with any other relevant experience you have from outside of Scouting) including detailed accounts of how you supervised your groups.
All new Supervisor applicants will have a meeting with an assessor.