The Adventure RMS application review process

The Adventure RMS application review process

The purpose of the application review is to ensure that providers of adventure activities are issued with a licence when they have met the statutory obligations placed on them by the regulations.

It is also an opportunity for providers to engage with highly qualified and experienced activity professionals whose job is to compare their arrangements for the provision of adventure activities with the expectations of the regulations.

Your inspector will follow several stages to review your application and ultimately make a recommendation. These stages are partly designed to provide multiple opportunities for you to demonstrate your arrangements are suitable and sufficient and as a result avoid a situation in which AALA might need to take any action other than issuing you with a licence.

Step 1 – We contact you

When we receive your application from AALA we will email you confirming that we have received it and let you have some key information:

  • The name and email address of your inspector
  • The date by which your inspector is required to complete their review
  • A copy of your last inspection report, if it applies
  • An invitation for you to join our regular, free, safety update service

Step 2 – Core inspection

Our inspector considers the information you have provided in your application, as well as previous reports and other relevant information provided by the AALA. The inspector is ‘getting a feel’ for your arrangements in delivering adventure activities and working out what else they might want to know and what else they might want to see. They will be in touch at this point to arrange a remote management interview and possibly to request further information, particularly if they feel there are gaps which could have implications for the issuing of a licence and which you could address now. During the core inspection they will also sample your website and online profile.

Step 3 – Application consultation

A discussion takes place between the inspector and a consulting inspector to consider the outcome of the core inspection and what should follow it. This is an opportunity for your inspector to consider if there are things missing, or what additional evidence they need to gather during the further inspection.

Step 4 – Further inspection

If required, this involves a visit to your base and/or to an activity venue/session or both. The inspector will have already been in touch to confirm a day and time and to let you know the things they would specifically like to look at. These should not include lengthy periods of time watching your inspector read your documentation, as this will have been done during the core inspection. Instead they will be focused on any issues already identified (and shared with you), looking at any actions you have already taken following feedback from the inspector after the core inspection and observing your arrangements in action. This is a further opportunity for you to demonstrate your arrangements are suitable and sufficient.


Your inspector will give you feedback along the way. Some of this may later appear in the report, but more often it will be their personal observations and comments after carefully and thoroughly reviewing what you do and how you do it.

Step 5 – The Report

The inspector will write a report setting out their recommendations and, if there are any, the actions you are required to take to comply with the regulations. There have been opportunities during the core inspection, application consultation and further inspection for you to have addressed these already, so we expect this to be the exception.

Step 6 – Review & endorsement

When the inspector has finished their report and included their recommendation, it is reviewed by the consulting inspector who previously worked on your application with them. Once this is done our head of service will endorse a decision on your application.

Step 7 – Report emailed to AALA

Your report is submitted to AALA, who will provide you with a copy, together with your licence or the actions you now need to take to get a licence. The application review process should have identified any issues in advance so that you will have been able to address these before an inspector is required to write their report. If this is not the case then the actions you are required to take will be set out in the report along with the timescale within which these must be achieved.

At the same time we will contact you to let you know the report has been submitted and offering you the opportunity to share any feedback on the application review process.

There are a few things you could do to help this process and therefore your application:

  • Engage with your inspector during the core inspection process. If they request additional information try to provide it quickly.
  • Be ready for a video management interview. Inspectors will be trying to avoid situations in which they have no other option other than to recommend an application is refused. Making yourself available can really help.

The aim of the adventure activities licensing scheme is to give assurance that good safety management practice is being followed so that young people can continue to have opportunities to experience exciting and stimulating activities outdoors. (Paragraph 1, L77, Guidance from the Licensing Authority on the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004).

The aim of Adventure RMS is to undertake application reviews in a manner which reflects this statement.

Caver looking down in water-filled cave

Photo: P. MacKrill

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