From 31 December 2016, the July 2016 changes to POR Rule 9.64 become fully operational, with a new Visits Abroad Form (VA) replacing all previous versions, which are now obsolete and must no longer be used.
The new procedure and form VA can be found here. There are Word and pdf versions available but leaders should make sure that they do not “lock” the version they use when saving it, otherwise others needing to ‘sign’ it will not be able to do so, and the procedure is intended to be fully electronic. Where a signature cannot be inserted, the name, date and membership number of the person signing/recommending or giving approval should be added in the appropriate boxes and the form sent from the leaders verifiable email address.
The new rule now specifically covers adult only visits, both by adult leaders and/or Scout Network members, and this includes reconnaissance trips; attending Scout events abroad; meeting with Scouts abroad or being an IST member. For more information on the new procedures for these trips, click here.
More information and general ideas on Going Abroad can also be found here.
The new VA form should be completed and submitted at the beginning of the planning process. Part A should be fully completed (if possible) and as much of Part B as is known at that point. It should be submitted to the Assistant County Commissioner (International), who, if happy, will forward it to the relevant Commissioner (usually the DC) for initial approval. It is then returned to the applicant and ACC (I) by that Commissioner and is then updated by the leader and resubmitted to the ACC (I), as and when further information becomes available but must be fully completed and submitted at least 6 weeks before departure. All documentation mentioned in the leader’s declaration, have to be included so that final approval for the visit can be given. This now includes a list of all members and risk assessments.
A copy of the fully authorised form will be sent by the ACC (I) to the International Team at Gilwell and to the International Commissioner of the country or countries being visited.
Please note that:
• Leaders should remember that travel insurance is required by ALL members in the party, as you will not be covered by TSA’s standard policies. Any insurance company’s policy can be used but must cover any activity which will be (or even might be) undertaken by any member of the party. Many ‘standard’ travel policies may not cover traditional Scouting activities, such as cooking; knife and axe; etc. It is the leader’s responsibility of checking that your planned activities ARE covered and persuading the local commissioner that your policy does do that. The policy issued by UNITY Insurance Services, a subsidiary of The Scout Association, is likely to cover these, but if in doubt, the leader should ask them. Choose “Proposal Form” from the menu on the left of the page. Medical costs outside of the UK and NHS may be very expensive.
• It is usually good practice to arrange cover as soon as money is collected from parents as participants will then be covered and those who have to withdraw – as long as the reason for that is covered by the policy – may be able to claim for any non-refundable costs.
• If travelling to Europe, then all eligible participants should also have an EHIC, which gives the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. This is available FREE from the NHS website. (Other websites might make a charge!)
• The Association’s Rules (for instance on Activities; Accident Reporting; etc.) apply to Visits Abroad. Further useful information on Activities Abroad can be found by clicking here.
• Special arrangements may be used for County organised trips may have different procedures as advised by the organisers of the trip who should be contracted for advice.