Safety & Best Practice

Since 1932, British Exploring Society has been running challenging and adventurous expeditions to remote wilderness locations in the UK and abroad. The safety and support of our Young Explorers and Leaders are 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 Young Explorers and Leaders 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.

Pre-programme 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. Please note that the below is not a comprehensive list of all of our policies, just the most relevant ones for this page.

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.

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 anyone to contact us whenever they have a query or concern.

Risk management and training prior to departure

All of our Young Explorers are given an expedition safety summary as soon as they enrol and have access to our full Risk Benefit Analysis prior to departure.

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 Young Explorer ratio of at least 1:5 and 100% of our Young Explorers surveyed described the safety of their expedition as either good or excellent.

All of our Young Explorers must attend a comprehensive Training Week where they are introduced to their expedition team and instilled with a strong level of risk awareness.

24/7 support and communications during expedition

Our Duty Operations Team (DOT) provides continuous 24/7 support from the UK whilst our expeditions are out in the field, working in close partnership with in-country agents and emergency support services. Safeguarding our teams with this tiered professional back up allows our staff and 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.

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.