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Applicants - Common Questions

Q1. Who will be carrying out my inspection and when?

Q2. What will the inspector expect to see and how will they arrange this?

Q3. On what basis will the Inspector recommend the granting of a licence?

Q4. How long will my licence be valid for?

Q5. What if I am refused a licence?

Q6. What do I need to do if, after my licence has been issued, my company name changes or I wish to add activities to my licence, or make other changes?

Q7. When will I need to apply to renew my licence?

Q8. Is a list of all licence applicants and licence holders available?

Q9. Will the Adventure Activities Licensing Service investigate accidents?


Q1. Who will be carrying out my inspection and when?

The inspection will be carried out by one of the team of Licensing Service Inspectors, all of whom come from positions within the outdoor industry and have a high degree of expertise within it.  It is an offence to offer specified activities without having first been inspected and granted a licence.  This process may take up to 3 months to complete.  The Licensing service will usually advise you at least one to two weeks prior to a scheduled inspection.

Q2. What will the inspector expect to see and how will they arrange this?

The inspector will generally contact you in advance to arrange a convenient appointment.  This will give you time to prepare and ensure availability of relevant staff.  Inspection should generally take place within 4 - 8 weeks of the Licensing Service’s receipt of your application.  The inspection will be undertaken in such a way as to allow the inspector to sample enough to gain confidence in your safety management systems.  They may wish to interview particular staff, examine equipment, observe activities in progress and/or refer to relevant paperwork.

Q3. On what basis will the Inspector recommend the granting of a licence?

The Inspector will be looking for assurances that your stated procedures are acceptable and translate into actual practice.  They will need to be satisfied that you have minimised the risk of death or serious injury by:

  • identifying the significant hazards created by the activities and having adequate control measures in place;
  • ensuring the competence of your instructional staff;
  • ensuring your equipment is checked and is appropriate;
  • having sound operational procedures in place.

The Licensing Service will take a pragmatic approach to safety management and is not looking for any particular model of operation.

Q4. How long will my licence be valid for?

The maximum period of a licence is three years from its date of commencement.  The actual expiry date will be specified on the licence and could be for any period of time up to the maximum.  The time limit will be set depending on the size and complexity of your provision.  It is not a measure of how well you manage the risks.  The guidance given by the Licensing Authority to the Licensing Service indicates that the maximum three year interval between licensing inspection should be reserved for providers with a very small number of highly competent staff and a stable and robust safety management system.

Criteria used to determine licence duration

Q5. What if I am refused a licence?

A decision to refuse a licence is quite rare and will only be taken after attempts have first been made to assist you in meeting the legal requirements.  Clear instructions as to how you can meet the requirements will be made in the Inspection Report sent to you following inspection.  If your licence application is refused and you wish to reapply at a later date then you may do so.  You would need to submit a new application together with the relevant fee.

Q6. What do I need to do if, after my licence has been issued, my company name changes or I wish to add activities to my licence, or make other changes?

Any significant changes should be referred to the Licensing Service.  A material change that would change the company structure and functions or which would have an effect on safety arrangements may require the licence to be 'varied' (amended).

Q7. When will I need to apply to renew my licence?

You should apply at least three months before the date of expiry of the existing licence.  Your renewal forms will be sent to you 4 months before the expiry of your existing licence.

Q8. Is a list of all licence applicants and licence holders available?

All current licences are on the public register.  The register can be viewed on our website and it is updated regularly.  Anyone can contact the Licensing Service to enquire whether a named provider holds a licence.  A printed copy of the Register (current on the date printed) is available but a fee is payable for this Currently the fee is:

  • List of Centres in England £120.00
  • List of Centres in Wales £40.00
  • List of Centres in Scotland £40.00
  • Full Register £200.00

Alternatively you may make an appointment with the Licensing Service to view the Register free of charge at the office in Cardiff.

Q9. Will the Adventure Activities Licensing Service investigate accidents?

No.  The investigation of accidents relating to adventure activities (and any other part of your operation) is undertaken by the HSE or your Local Authority (LA), as appropriate.  You should continue to report accidents and dangerous occurrences which are reportable under the ‘Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995’ to the appropriate authority.  The HSE or the LA decides whether or not to investigate any particular accident.  The HSE or LA may ask the licensing service to assist them in their investigation.

The Licensing Service does, however, have responsibility for the investigation of complaints relating to licenseable activities on behalf of the Licensing Authority.

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