Changes to the AALA Licensing Scheme

Arrangements for the management and delivery of the Adventure Activities Licensing scheme have changed.

These changes apply to existing licence holders and new applicants. Whilst the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004 (amended in 2007) remain exactly the same, the process of applying and the application review process for new and renewed licences has changed.

Prior to 31st March 2020 the HSE contracted out all the operational and administrative functions of the adventure activities licensing scheme to TQS Ltd, operating as the Adventure Activities Licensing Service. From 1st April 2020 HSE have contracted Adventure RMS to provide an inspection service only. These new arrangements are significantly different because unlike TQS Ltd, Adventure RMS are not contracted to provide any pro-active services.

Adventure RMS are required to undertake the review of applications forwarded by the AALA (HSE) and provide them with a report, including a decision on the licence application. All other functions previously delivered by TQS (fee handling, administration, complaint handling, public information and sector liaison) are now completed by the AALA itself. Adventure RMS has a role in supporting the AALA (when requested) with technical expertise and advice in relation to enquiries, complaints, and questions; and in helping to review the existing guidance notes available to providers, their clients, and members of the public.

The Adventure RMS application review process is, in part, designed to provide multiple opportunities for providers to demonstrate that their arrangements are suitable and sufficient and, as a result, avoid a situation in which the AALA might need to take any action other than issuing a licence. The process includes a core inspection (document review, on-line research, communication with the provider) and, in most cases, a further inspection (site visit) to consider how activities are delivered and managed in practice. There are several opportunities within the process for the inspector to provide feedback, some of which may later appear in their reports but more often will be verbal observations and comments from their review of what a provider does and how they do it.

The aim of the adventure activities licensing scheme is to give assurance that good safety management systems are in place which allow young people to continue to have opportunities to experience exciting and stimulating activities outdoors. The aim of Adventure RMS is to undertake application reviews in an efficient and professional manner, which reflects this statement and which, when possible, provides additional value to the provider.

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