Institute for Outdoor Learning

Update – NCS Trust and Invasion Camp Group

Our friends from IOL, AHOEC and BAPA have kindly provided the following update from meetings with NCS Trust.

Update for outdoor providers contracted by Invasion Camp Group(ICG) following meetings with NCS Trust.

Andy Robinson (IOL), Ben Wire (BAPA) & Jim Whittaker (AHOEC) met with Amanda Best, Caroline Hunter-White & Victoria Olsen of the NCS Trust on Thursday 9th April and Wednesday 15th April and have had subsequent correspondence resulting in the following points of clarification on the current approach to ‘re-purposing’ the contracted summer 2020 NCS provision.

The relaying of key points below from this recent dialogue between the NCS Trust and sector representatives of the sector are in the context of a) the Trust being pressed by DCMS to make the NCS ‘different, better and more far reaching for 2021’ and b) NCS not being included in the current PPM following a Cabinet Office instruction to DCMS.

  1. On behalf of the NCS Trust, ICG are expecting to consider in the following days what is possible regarding an improvement to the newly proposed terms and conditions and following the conversations with Phase 1 providers, rather than resort to the FM clause in the contract which is in nobody’s interest. The NCS Trust does not expect DCMS to allow any great movement, if at all.
  2. NCS Trust want to move as quickly as possible to provide reassurance and secure bookings for 2021.  To achieve this there is likely to be a change in approach and requests for increased flexibility from providers.  The challenges and risks associated with this have been acknowledged and we await further information on the specifics of those potential changes and flexibilities.
  3. On the question of sunk costs associated with preparation for summer 2020 contracted delivery, Invasion will engage in sunk costs discussions with each venue, though no capital expenditure can be viewed as a sunk cost. We await clarification on the metrics of differentiation between sunk costs and capital expenditure. NCS Trust will nevertheless require proof, for their audit trail, that the costs being presented are 100% related to NCS.  They will then review them as a whole and make decisions based on the funding constraints the Trust is operating within.
  4. On the issue of why NCS procurement is being excluded from the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 : Supplier relief due to COVID19, designed to ensure service continuity during and after the outbreak.  The Trust are following their DCMS leadership so we are approaching MP’s to help provide an explanation.
  5. Finally, to assist in full understanding of the nature of procurement management between NCS Trust, Invasion Camp Group and outdoor providers the Trust have confirmed that Invasion Camp Group do not have any funds and are not holding any funds destined for providers. The Trust has provided us with a detailed breakdown of the payment and authorisation process which is summarised below:
  • Activity and accommodation providers invoice Invasion group
  • Invasion finance team review against the contracts and invoices the Trust, with a copy of the invoice from the Activity and Accommodation provider
  • 4 layers of due diligence are applied at increasing levels of seniority, each requiring sign-off.
  • Payment is made to invasion group for the exact amount that the invoices total
  • Invasion pay activity and accommodation providers and provide the Trust with proof of payment to each provider, they hold no money from the Trust for any length of time as they pay it out within 24hours of it hitting their account- usually within a matter of hours

 

 

Important Information – Event Cancellation

It is with huge regret that we have taken the decision to postpone the Member Event which was due to take place on Thursday 19th March at the Tower of London.  We were all really looking forward to the event, to meeting the Members and having a great day networking and discussing hot topics.  However in light of the Government’s announcement regarding COVID 19 late Monday afternoon, we have been left with no alternative other than to postpone the event.

We are working with the venue to look at rescheduling the event and will update you as soon as we can.

In the meantime we will be in contact regarding the AGM as we hope that we can still proceed with this by using proxy votes and you as a Member can still raise any issues or queries which we can then answer online or via the AIM website.

Our thoughts are obviously with all our Members at present but thank you for your continued support of AIM and the team at this testing time.

If you have any queries regarding the event please contact cathy.watson@rmml.com

 

Annual Report & Financial Statements 2019

 

Important message about changes to AALA

Please find attached updated information on the changes to AALA from the 1st April 2020.

It details what is changing, the application process and site visits, more information will be available on the HSE website soon and questions should be sent to aala@hse.gov.uk

Valentines Proposal ideas for Outdoor Lovers

You’ve found the one. And as if they weren’t perfect enough already, they love the outdoors just as much as you do. If your ‘significant other’ loves to wake up at 5:00 AM for sunrise hikes, and will jump into any lake, river, or ocean regardless of how cold the water is – and convince you to jump in, too – then you need a proposal that’s going to fit your relationship.

At The Activities Industry Mutual we understand that bearing your soul and going out on a limb to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you can be a daunting prospect! But for all the adventurers among you, we want to help spark your inspiration for your outdoor, adventurous, and nature-filled proposal. So, here’s the scoop on everything you need to know; from the best time of day to pop the question outdoors, to actually getting down on one knee!

If you don’t want to take a big risk when you pop the questions maybe think about a romantic hike and a picnic instead.

Canyoning Proposal

Activities Industry Mutual Members, Adventure Britain, helped adventure loving Dan propose and caught it all on camera for us to enjoy.
https://www.adventurebritain.com/one-unusual-places-world-propose-marriage/

https://youtu.be/uBhA_ZIX9qo

Paddleboarding & Kayaking Proposal

If you and your loved one have an affinity for the ocean, then a kayak or paddleboard proposal may be perfect for you.

  • Why not surprise your other half by making your way to a beach or island together, and arrange for flowers, rocks, or seashells to spell out the all-important question when you reach your destination – “Will you marry me?”
  • Worried about transporting the ring across the water? Place it in the kayak hatch ahead of time and during a break, ask your partner to grab you some water from the hatch. Surprise!
  • Get your friends and family involved – organise for your partner to go out on the water with their nearest and dearest, and surprise them by paddling out to their location for the grand event

When To Propose?

Do: Sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times on the water.  Not only is the sky gorgeous, but the water is often calm. Sunrise has the best chance of glass-like conditions!

Avoid: Midday – There is often boat traffic and strong winds or low tide which just makes for a longer walk to the water

Advice: Be flexible! The weather has a lot to do with the proposal. A windy/choppy day would not be ideal, especially if the ring is going to be on board the kayak or paddleboard.

Rock Climbing Proposal

“Imagine you’re reaching for holds above your head, unable to see the ledge until you reach up and grab it, and instead of an empty hold, you grab a ring!”

If your significant other enjoys pushing themselves to the limits, likes trying new things, and is athletic, but you want an outdoorsy proposal that doesn’t depend on the weather, a proposal with climbing involved may be exactly what you are looking for.

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced

This proposal is recommended if climbing is already a part of your life. For a lot of climbers, it’s an addictive sport that becomes a passion, so it makes sense to propose in a place that is a big part of your lives.

What if this is your first time climbing?

The experts do not recommend this proposal method if you are a beginner! “Climbing is not just physical activity, it is a mental exercise, so it might be overwhelming for you and your partner if it is your first time”.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • Before you get there, arrange to have the staff put the ring in a hold halfway up a route. Guide your significant other up the route and at the opportune moment, take the ring from the hold and propose while climbing!
  • Or why not lead your partner to the correct hold so that they reach up and find the ring themselves?
  •  A popular first date is climbing. Try to recreate the same climb or same events from the first date for the proposal.
  • Invite your friends and supporters to secretly come and surprise your partner and celebrate with you.

Do: If you want a crowd cheering you on after you propose, then a weekend or weekday evening is perfect. But, if you want a more intimate setting, then any weekday before 5, especially in the morning, is when you want to pop the question.

Avoid: Any climb that is too difficult! If he/she doesn’t get up to that point, they might not find the ring – or they may get frustrated from the difficulty, which would ruin the mood of the moment

Make Your Proposal Unique:

“Get your local climbing wall to help put the ring in a particular place at a certain time or reserve a particular climb for you and completely manage the process to make sure that it is perfect.”

Credit: Facebook, Bryan Rafferty Photography

Tree-To-Tree Adventure Climbing Proposal

Treetop courses can vary in degrees of difficulty, but pretty much anybody who’s adventurous can find a route that’s appropriate for their comfort level.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

“Each course has about 15-18 treetop rest stops between the obstacles in which to pop the question…There’s just enough room for someone to get down on their knee on the treetop platforms!”

When To Propose?

Challenge your partner to a ‘race.’ When engulfed in the spirit of competition, get down on one knee and propose – they’ll never see it coming! …Don’t worry!

Special twilight climbing hours in the summer provide the perfect time of day to pop the question and then head to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

Do: Any time is ideal. Want privacy? Any weekday, especially in the morning. Like the lime light? Plan for a weekend proposal.

Avoid: Any day that might rain!

A Mountain Top Moment

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • As long as you and your loved one are fit and healthy you should be able to make it up the mountain. Make sure you plan your route, have all the relevant equipment, clothing and supplies you need- oh and don’t forget the ring!
  • Take your other half on an adventure up a mountain with a fabulous view at sunset. With the adrenaline from the climb and the sense of achievement once you both reach the top, take a moment to relax, take in the view and tell your other half how fabulous life is with them. Finish your speech by popping the question!

When To Propose?

  • Sun rise and sun set are beautifully romantic times to pop the question, especially with an amazing view.
  • Have Champagne and a bubble bath with candles waiting at home so that you can both refresh after your adventure!

When To Propose?

Do: Any time is ideal.

We hope you’ve been inspired by some of our romantic suggestions.

Good Luck!

 

 

AIM Board Changes – Farewell Tricia

 

This month we said farewell to Tricia Rawlingson-Plant from Mill on the Brue who has decided after 10 years to step down from her position on the Board.  Tricia has been an active participant and a source of great knowledge to the team and we thank her for her valued contribution.  We know that she intends to spend more time enjoying another of her loves which is travelling around the world to some far flung and interesting countries and we wish her well.

If you have any questions about the Mutual or the Board specifically please do not hesitate to contact either sophia.reed@rmml.com or cathy.watson@rmml.com

Play it safe: health and safety fines in the activities industry

Leanne Conisbee of Clyde & Co discusses these changes

With the activities sector continuing to grow, as part of wider trend of increased societal health and wellness awareness, businesses should take note of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) enforcement statistics[1]. These evidence the high level of fines companies now ‘routinely’ receive for health and safety breaches, together with confirmation of the upward trend in the level of health and safety fines, imposed by both the Magistrates and Crown Courts.

Small to medium sized businesses have been impacted most, with the level of fines routinely being a significantly greater percentage of turnover than the fines imposed on large and very large organisations, despite the same harm categories and levels of culpability.

Not every accident can be avoided, but to avoid prosecution and potentially hefty fines, companies do now need to have health and safety at the top of their agendas.

High value fines now commonplace

An analysis of HSE data shows a total of 45 cases in 2017/18 where a fine of over £500,000 was imposed.

There were 19 cases with fines exceeding £1m imposed by the UK’s criminal courts for the 12 month period to 31 October 2018 – with less than half of the cases involving very large organisations, dispelling the notion that only those companies with turnovers in the hundreds of millions or billions receive £1 million plus fines.

Whilst HSE prosecutions were down by 16% in 17/18 to a total of 517, the HSE still revealed an impressive conviction rate of 95%.

Although Local Authority (LA) prosecutions are not included in the 517 prosecutions referred to, the data does reveal a significant increase in the enforcement activity of LA’s, showing an annual increase of 7% to 2,580 in the total number of enforcement notices issued by LA’s in 17/18.

Emphatic and rapid change in sentencing landscape

Stark evidence of increased fines for all sizes of business as a result of the introduction in February 2016 of the Sentencing Guideline for Health and Safety Offences[2] is revealed in the average level of fine rising by over 400% from £29,000 in 2014/15 to £147,000 in 2017/18.

Reported cases affecting the activities industry are few and far between. But that does not by any means indicate any sort of immunity.

Center Parcs was recently fined £250,000 when a young girl fell nearly 10 feet from a tree and broke her wrist during an organised activity. Luton Crown Court heard that whilst the company had systems in place to ensure the safety of guests these were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented in respect of this incident.

A leading leisure centre was also fined £330,000 when a five-year-old boy almost drowned in a swimming pool. Despite being a non-swimmer and staff being informed that he could not swim, the boy was allowed to enter the pool without armbands and without proper supervision. The fine imposed was the largest in any investigation brought by Hounslow Council.

Prevention, prevention, prevention

Whilst the above statistics make for sobering reading, organisations can put themselves in the best possible position to avoid or defend prosecutions, or mitigate any fines imposed, by ensuring that:

  1. Any equipment complies with the relevant British Standards, is inspected regularly and is in good working order;
  2. Robust policies and procedures are in place and followed, and this is checked via adequate supervision and monitoring;
  3. Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out, with control measures implemented;
  4. Training arrangements are reviewed to ensure that staff are properly trained in the policies and procedures; and
  5. Customers are appropriately warned of the risks associated with an activity and they acknowledge receipt of such warnings.

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf

[2] https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/HS-offences-definitive-guideline-FINAL-web.pdf