BeVenturesome – Member Profile

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



Andrew Gardiner

Chairman’s Message, Autumn 2014

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How much are you prepared to risk when it comes to Liability Cover?

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Chairman’s Statement, Autumn 2013

AIM’s Chairman, Andrew Gardiner, shares his views on developments over the past year.

The weather plays a big part in the activities sector and, together with fruit farms and vineyards, we’ve gloried in the long hot summer, particularly so having endured a cold winter and spring and the wet conditions prevailing last year. Despite the continuing economic squeeze, most members of the mutual have enjoyed increased levels of turnover.

At AIM we continue our growth path, the number of members now being over 380, up from a figure of 340 last year. Many of the new members have been personally recommended to us by the current membership. Credit is due to my colleagues on the AIM board for their valuable input to the AIM success, for which I must express my gratitude. The presence of outdoors experts on the board within the mutual gives us an extra dimension that other insurance providers simply don’t have. My thanks are also due to the  managers at Regis who run AIM very efficiently indeed. They take a close interest in all areas of our sector, as well as the risks and liabilities within it.

Next AIM Seminar

Our next national seminar, which will be wide-ranging, informative and entertaining and will include the mutual’s AGM for members, is due to take place on Wednesday 5th February at the splendid Crewe Hall and I really hope to see you there.

Claims Experience

Despite the cold winter, no member reported major weather related damage to buildings and only a few minor claims were submitted, reflecting members’ high standards of stewardship. On the liability front, whilst there is no guarantee that the past is a reliable guide to the future, I can with caution report that the incidence of liability claims, for which we provide key cover, currently shows a downward trend. The work of people like David Ball, who contributes to this newsletter, and Tim Gill has served to highlight the importance of adventure activity and being less sedentary, especially for the young. Managing the risk is, of course, key for us and our members. On the legal front, Ministry of Justice reforms, which seek to curb legal costs and level the playing field in personal injury claims England and Wales, were introduced in August and should be helpful to the mutual on the legal costs front. However in Scotland a recent report from Sheriff Principal Taylor on civil litigation costs took a less encouraging view, seeing (unlike AIM) no evidence of a “compensation culture” there.

AIM has represented members in Court, successfully defending personal injury allegations on four occasions, the most expensive to the mutual being a case in Scotland. We’ve had one surprise adverse judgment too. The successes are largely due to the ability of the member to provide documents showing what actually happened: risk assessments; staff training; briefing and acknowledgement of risk; incident report and investigation documents and evidence of the exact location. This is the evidence that helped to demonstrate that the risk and benefits are balanced and proportionate.

Post Incident Investigations

The importance of post incident investigation and documentation for lessons learned purposes, as well as for providing evidence to rebut a claim if necessary, is a recurring theme of AIM seminars. It was also a key theme at the Crisis Management Conference we held in Birmingham last autumn. This led to the Crisis Management Service we offer to members in partnership with Pharos Response. Subscription to this service provides an on line audit and a follow up consultation. It’s worth noting that each member audit to date has led to the implementation of some risk improvement measures.

Over the past year, in addition to my role here, I’ve completed a period as chairman of the British Activity Providers Association (BAPA) and a member of the English Outdoor Council (EOC). Organisations like these play an important role in leading the outdoors sector and working to make it easier for providers to deliver the outdoor and adventurous experience in these challenging economic times.

Finally, I hope you will agree that it is vitally important for the outdoor and activities sector to have a degree of influence and control over our key insurance cover, especially with the probability of uncertain times ahead. AIM will continue to grow as a strong mutual, looking after its members and providing a voice for the sector and stability and support for its members.