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Nights Away Permit

The Nights Away Permit Scheme

The Nights Away Permit Scheme promotes quality residential and camping experiences. It shows that all those leading nights away events for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to take young people away safely.

It is designed so that it can be tailored to be as flexible as possible, while at the same time providing a robust checking process for leaders of nights away events. The permit should be seen as an enabling device to show a person’s competence and provide reassurance to parents of the young people, while at the same time encouraging adults to acquire and improve the skills required to provide residential experiences.

What Is The Permit Scheme?

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.

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

Applying For A Permit

To get a permit you should apply directly to your District Nights Away Adviser as below:

Stamford -          Trevor Watson (email)              Kev Compton (email)      Graham Hardy (email)



Louth                              Emma Robinson (email)


Skegness and Spilsby     Mick Holiday (email)

Gainsborough                 Paul Marshall (email)


County based -               Howard Nelson (email)

You can find an application form on this page below. You can either print it off and fill it in or can be filled in using MS Word to enable you to email it. Although there is no requirement to get approval from anyone in applying for a permit, it is good practice to let your Group Scout Leader and responsible District Leader know of your intentions beforehand. They can often provide valuable guidance and support.

There are four categories of permit:

Indoor  -  for staying in a building that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (i.e. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) and access to running drinking water;

Camp Site  -  for staying at a site that has toilets plumbed into a waste disposal system (eg. a cess pit, storage tank or mains drains) 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. eg. QSA/DofE hikes, expedition hikes, canoe expeditions:

Those holding a Green Field Permit may lead residential events in the other three categories.   

Those holding a Camp Site Permit may also run indoor residential events.
Those holding a Hill Walking Activity Permit that includes lightweight camping in remote areas may also run Lightweight Expedition events.

Once you have been assessed by the Nights Away Adviser, they will fill in a recommendation for the level of permit they believe your skills and experience are capable of fulfilling. The permit is then approved by your DC and you will be given a permit card and your permit will be recorded on Compass.

All permits last for a maximum of five years, so when your permit expires you will no longer be able to lead nights away events for young people within Scouting. To renew your permit you will need to apply for a renewal however, if you have ongoing experience there is less likely to be the need for a full practical assessment.

Using Your Permit

Once you have gained your permit you can use it to run the activity up to the level permitted by any restrictions placed on it. Please remember that although there is no requirement to hold a first aid qualification to gain a nights away permit, and that your permit will remain valid whether you hold a first aid qualification or not, you are required to have a first aid holder present at every nights away event.

Having a permit does not override the need for all activities to have the (usually informal) approval of the responsible Commissioner, and in the case of nights away events this is done through the Nights Away Notification Form (NAN).

Before any nights away event takes place you need to send all the details that can be found on Form NAN to our Nights Away Adviser you can do this online or hard copy. In addition when you visit other Districts for a nights away event you need to send this information to the host DC unless you are staying at a Scout owned site.

Event Passports

To encourage young people led residential events, such as patrol camps or Explorer Scout expeditions, when you hold a nights away permit you can grant a nights away passport to an under 18 year old. It will allow the young person to lead a residential event with no Leaders present and will last for a single event.

Before granting a permit you will need to check that you are happy that the young person has the skills to lead that event safely and successfully, as you remain responsible for the event. The young person given the passport will be leading the event, so it can not be given if there will be Leaders present running the event who are looking for a way around the Rules as they do not have permits.

You can get hold of passports by downloading one here!

You can find full details of the Nights Away Permit Scheme in the factsheets below.

FS120800 Nights Away Permit Scheme

FS120801 Nights Away Permit Scheme - Applicants' guide

Nights Away Permit Application Form & Continuation Sheet (if required)

FS120802 Nights Away Permit Scheme - Assessment guide

Nights Away Passport (for young People)

The Nights Away Permit Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions