The Nights Away Permit Scheme

The Nights Away Permit Scheme promotes quality camping and residential experiences.  It shows that all those leading nights away events for young people in Scouting have the skills, experience and right attitude to take young people away safely.  It is designed so that it can  be tailored to be as flexible as possible, whilst at the same time providing a robust checking process for leaders of nights away events.

Everyone who leads a nights away event for young people within Scouting is required to hold a Nights Away Permit for the type of event they are running.  There are four categories of Permit:


Indoor for staying in a building that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system and access to running drinking water
Campsite for staying at a site that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system and access to running drinking water
Green Field for staying at any site where any of the above facilities do not exist - for example, a summer camp on a farmer's field
Lightweight Expedition for planning on staying at any site for not more than one night before moving on.  The core activity is a form of expedition, not residential, and all the equipment is transported with the participants. e.g. QSA/DofE hikes, expedition hikes, canoe expeditions

Although managed locally, the Nights Away Permit Scheme is a national scheme, so once gained, a permit will allow the leader to run a nights away event in any District or County

Applying for a Permit

Permits can only be granted by a District or County Commissioner (depending on wether you hold a Group, District or County role), upon recommendation from a Nights Away Adviser.  The Nights Away Adviser will make a recommendation to the relevant Commissioner once they have assessed the applicant against the Nights Away Assessment Checklist.

The Permit is time limited to a maximum of 5 years at which point it expires.  After this time leaders will have to re-apply for their permit in order to continue running nights away events for young people.  However, if the permit is to exactly the same level as the old permit, and the leader has been running residential experiences regularly, there may be no need for a practical assessment.  This decision is down to the Nights Away Adviser.

There are no prerequisites to gaining a permit, so there is no requirement to have attended a Module 16 course.  Indeed the Nights Away Permit Scheme is different to Module 16 (Nights Away), so there is no requirement to gain a Nights Away Permit to finish the Wood Badge Training, and validating Module 16 does not automatically grant a leader a Nights Away Permit.  However, gaining a permit is one way of validating Module 16, and attending Module 16 is the best way to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a Nights Away Permit where training is required.

Application Process

Anyone wishing to apply for a Nights Away Permit will need to complete a Nights Away Application Form.

Once this form has been completed it needs to be sent to the relevant Nights Away Adviser (details below), who will assess the application and applicant against the Nights Away Assessment Checklist.  The Nights Away Assessor is likely to contact the applicant to discuss their application, and perform any of the practical assessments that are deemed necessary.

Once the necessary assessments have been completed, the Nights Away Adviser will make a recommendation to the relevant Commissioner on the level of Permit that they believe the applicants skills and experience are capable of fulfilling.  The Commissioner will then make the final checks before issuing the Nights Away permit.


 Nights Away Advisers


Permit Type East Wight West Wight County
Indoor Julie Quinlan Amanda Rendell Contact CC 
Campsite Tony Elgar  Contact DC Contact CC  
Green Field Tony Elgar Contact DC Contact CC
Lightweight Expedition  Contact DC  Contact DC Contact CC

Contact details for the individual Nights Away Advisers can be found in the County Directory, which is available from your Group Scout Leader or Commissioner

What is Assessed?

There are four areas assessed in order to gain a permit:


Technical Competence This is assessed by the Nights Away Adviser and looks at the eight core areas required to run a nights away event.  It is usually assessed through a practical assessment of running an event
Scout Association Rules This can be assessed by either the Nights Away Adviser or the responsible Commissioner.  It looks at whether the applicant is aware of the Rules and guidance for running nights away events in Scouting
Child Protection This will be carried out by the responsible Commissioner and ensures that the necessary Personal Enquiry checks have been carried out and the appropriate Child Protection training has taken place
Personal Suitability This is carried out by the responsible Commissioner, often in conjunction with a Group Scout Leader or similar, to check that the applicant is suitable (in terms of attitude) to be leading nights away events for young people

 The eight core areas required to run Nights Away Events are:

  1. Planning a nights away event
  2. Ensuring the effective administration of an event
  3. Preparing and co-ordinating a programme of activities
  4. Choosing and preparing the event team
  5. Choosing, organising and maintaining the right equipment
  6. Ensuring the health, happiness and safety of self and others
  7. Organising good catering
  8. Making best use of the venue

Event Passports

To encourage young people led residential events, such as Patrol Camps or Explorer Scout expeditions, a Nights Away Permit holder can grant a Nights Away Passport to an under 18 year old.  This passport will allow the young person to lead the residential event without leaders present, and will last for a single event.

Before granting the passport, the leader will need to be happy that the young person has the skills to lead the event safely and successfully, as the leader will remain responsible for the event.

The young person given the passport will be leading the event, so it cannot be given if there are leaders present running the event looking for a way around the rules as they do not have permits.

Nights Away Notification

Once a Leader has been granted a permit they can start running nights away events.  Each time they run an event they need to notify their District Commissioner, and if they are staying on non-Scout premises the host District Commissioner, before the event takes place.

This is done through passing the information in the Nights Away Notification (NAN) Form to the District Commissioner.