Safety and support

For over 85 years British Exploring Society has been running challenging and adventurous expeditions to remote, wilderness locations both in the UK and abroad. The safety and support of our explorers, volunteers and participants is fundamental to our work, our staff and our organisation as a whole.

The cornerstone of our expeditions

Safety is the cornerstone on which we build and develop an expedition from conception through to departure and return. Our safety management systems are designed to empower our Explorers and volunteers with knowledge and training.

British Exploring Society welcomes regular scrutiny and audit from the leading authorities within our industry. We have an excellent relationship with inspectors and licensing bodies and we appreciate the opportunity to continually improve and develop our systems, policies and operational procedures as a result of external inspections and compliance.

Before our expeditions.... planning, preparation and transparency

  • Our policies and operating procedures underpin the way we work and what we expect of our leadership teams. They are adapted for each expedition and govern the way we build, conduct and lead any adventure we put into the field to maintain the highest possible standards at all times.
  • We have a network of specialist Technical Advisors who provide advice and consultancy to support the planning and operational development of all of our expeditions. All our Technical Advisors are highly experienced experts in their field.
  • Risk Benefit Analysis is conducted for each and every aspect and activity of an expedition. We continually develop our assessments throughout planning and preparation and take account of changes in risk profile, best practice, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and in-country advice prior to expedition departure.
  • All of our explorers are given an expedition safety summary as soon as they enrol and have access to our full Risk Benefit Analysis prior to departure.
  • We aim to provide all the information you need early on to enable you to make clear, informed decision about your own participation. We encourage parents/carers, participants & leaders to contact us whenever they have a query or concern. Where safety is concerned there are no silly questions.

Prior to departure.... risk management and training

  • Experienced leadership teams: We ensure we recruit the best, most competent and experienced leaders for our expeditions. After a rigorous application, selection and assessment process we build balanced and highly skilled teams.
  • British Exploring Society adhere to comprehensive Child Protection and Safeguarding procedures; all staff undergo a thorough screening before being appointed including reference checks and completion of an enhanced Criminal Records Check with the Government’s Disclosures and Barring Service.
  • All expeditions are appropriately staffed with qualified medical professionals consistent with the nature of the expedition and all leaders undergo courses in expedition and advanced first aid. All Technical Leaders (Adventure, River and Senior Leaders) are subject to further training and assessment conducted by our Technical Advisors
  • Our comprehensive Leader training package is in addition to the qualifications and experience required at selection. It covers technical and specialist skills, safety and crisis management, continuous dynamic risk assessment in a field environment as well as child protection and safeguarding.
  • We operate our expeditions with a leader to explorer ratio of at least 1-5 and 100% of our explorers surveyed described the safety of their expedition as either good or excellent.
  • All of our explorers must attend a comprehensive briefing and training package where they are introduced to their expedition team and instilled with a strong level of risk awareness.

During expedition.... 24/7 support and communications

  • Whilst our expeditions are out in the field, our Duty Operations Team (DOT) provides continuous 24/7 support from the UK, working in close partnership with in-country agents and emergency support services.
  • Safeguarding our teams with this tiered professional back up allows our staff & leaders the capability to manage any situation that may arise on expedition competently and appropriately.
  • British Exploring Society has comprehensive travel, liability and medical insurance for all, with access to emergency response and evacuation, emergency medical care and repatriation services.
  • British Exploring Society supplies technical and specialist equipment on all expeditions, including communications, safety and adventure activity equipment. All our Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is subject to regular inspections and maintenance checks from qualified assessors in line with UK Legislation.
  • British Exploring Society carries out Third Party Provider Assessments when working with overseas agents to ensure the highest possible standards.
  • Communications: we equip our teams with a range of communications; from radios and satellite phones to satellite tracking devices and • Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s). Our UK operations room maintain regular scheduled contact with the expedition teams and have access to emergency response at all times.

Assessment and accreditation

  • BSi8848: Is the British Standard for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the UK. All ventures provided by British Exploring Society conform to BSi8848:2014, declared by Adventure Activity Associates on the basis of the operating procedures and safety management systems evidenced on 6th April 2017 and a sample of ventures examined to the year-end 2017. Click here for the BSi8848: A parents’ guide to adventurous activities abroad for young people
  • British Exploring Society maintain Corporate Conformity status through continuing independent assessment by the Adventure Activity Associates.
  • Expedition Providers Association (EPA): British Exploring Society is a full member of EPA and conforms to the association’s standards. We are a holder of the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) quality assurance badge, which demonstrates that we deliver the highest standard of expeditions.
  • Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS): We are AALS licensed for our activities in the UK and are stringent in guaranteeing our leaders are appropriately skilled and qualified for all activities undertaken abroad.
  • Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC): British Exploring Society is a Quality Badge holder for LOtC’s national award for provision, learning and safety for all types of learning outside of the classroom.
  • Technical Advisors: British Exploring Society utilises a network of specialist Technical Advisors who provide advice and consultancy to support the planning and operational development of all of our expeditions. All our Technical Advisors are highly experienced experts in their field.

Wow! What an expedition. This has undoubtedly been the best 5 weeks of my life… summiting peaks, listening to the Dali Lama and going on glaciers. I have found all the Science really interesting and have learnt so much about the world and myself. I would recommend this to all young people as it really has been amazing.

Katherine - Himalaya Explorer

The expedition has been a life changing adventure that I definitely didn't expect, with some incredible memories and some amazing people that won’t ever be forgotten.

Harriet - Himalaya Explorer

I loved every minute of what was a life changing experience with some amazing people. I feel I learnt valuable skills and am now in a position to go on to do an awful lot more than I would otherwise have been able to.

Isaac - Himalaya Explorer

‘Five weeks in the Zara Valley has been an experience of a lifetime. Trekking to the highest peaks, battling altitude, the crisp ice as we scaled the glaciers… What an incredible adventure. I am not only taking away memories, I am taking home a wider appreciation for the environment.’ Jennie, Himalaya 2017

Jennie - Himalaya Explorer

It’s been life changing. This has been the first programme I've gone on that's worked for me and has really impacted me. I’d describe myself before expedition as a shy and nervous kind of person who worries a lot, but after finishing the expedition I've really changed and I now feel confident in myself and my ability to push my limits.

Young Explorer

As we left the jungle, I realised what an experience I had just had. The bus journey was the first time in 3 weeks where I had been able to completely stop and reflect on my experience. I am certainly more willing to try new things and feel more confident in myself as a person.

William - Amazon Explorer