The majority of respondents (over 60%) expressed the view that the existing system of licensing, managed by the cross-border Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, should remain in place as the industry standard. Teachers in particular found the existing scheme valuable when making choices about adventure provision.
A large majority of respondents were against the proposal that “the principles of the Scheme should be continued in a non-statutory form.”
Opinion was divided over complementing the present Regime with a parallel scheme of non-statutory accreditation covering those bodies and those activities that are not licensable.
Overall, most respondents welcomed the opportunity to comment on the proposals. There was a view expressed that the current Regime had done much to raise safety awareness within the adventure activities industry. Respondents also noted the societal concerns that underlay licensing and that the current scheme had improved public perception of the adventure activities industry.
If the Government were to act in accordance with the volume of consultation responses, the outcome would be to maintain the status quo or do very little to change it. However, although it is difficult to give a due weighting to each response, the Government has paid particular heed to the views of those bodies which not only favoured the idea of a non-mandatory scheme but indicated their preparedness to take an active role in establishing one.
Sensitive both to overwhelming majority views and to significant minority views as disclosed by consultation, the Government therefore has decided to maintain the Licensing Regime for a further three years and to consider minor amendments that will benefit both providers and users of adventure activity facilities. Despite there being no overall majority for concrete proposals for a complementary scheme, the Department has registered the wishes of a significant number of national representative bodies and will support them as they seek the establishment of an industry-wide system of non-regulatory accreditation to be managed by or for the industry. The Government would, in time, review the future of the current statutory Regime in the context of any successful complementary accreditation scheme or schemes having been established.