Risk Management

Camp.co.uk Risk Management

Risk management is the process of evaluating where things are most likely to go wrong, what the consequences of things going wrong could be, and what should be done before, during and afterwards to minimise the chance of an incident occurring.

When an incident occurs, a number of factors typically contribute to the incident. Our role in program planning and our teams’ role in the field is to be constantly looking for and identifying these factors in advance and mitigating them before they can contribute to an incident occurring.

Participant involvement

All participants are taken through a comprehensive orientation at program start. This covers how the program will run, cultural information, mutual support, personal safety and keeping healthy. We insist upon a few simple rules to safeguard participants on the program. Throughout the program, students are then given region or activity specific briefings and safety information relevant to the experience they are embarking on.

Program team members work to create a culture within the group where participants are happy to discuss their health and emotional well-being with their program team and each other.

When there is unstructured time on a program, we have an intentions system in place, so that the program team know what everyone’s plan is. Any time a participant is away from the group, they are also required to be with another group member (buddy system), and to carry their program team’s mobile phone numbers.

We don’t try to wrap our participants in cotton wool, hiding risks from them. Instead, we disclose the risks and give participants the knowledge and tools to assess and make good decisions around risk and safety themselves. The Program Team can’t be with every single participant 24/7, so we find that by giving participants some responsibility for assessing risks and managing their own safety, participants are more present, more engaged and more involved in their experience; and therefore, more likely to make good decisions, look out for one another, and are less likely to come to harm.  Another benefit of this approach is that participants complete our programs having acquired valuable life skills.

Our team members will often sit down with their group ahead of an activity and discuss the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the activity?
  • What could go wrong?
  • What factors could contribute to something going wrong?
  • How will we prevent this?
  • What will we do if things go wrong?

By working through these questions, participants are actively involved in safety management and ready to respond appropriately, rather than the program team alone having this knowledge.

Leadership

Our program team leaders hold first aid certification and have completed extensive in-house training. They know the appropriate leadership style to use in a given situation. They offer challenge by choice, teach by progression, and pitch challenges at the appropriate level for the group. Our team members actively work at really getting to know each individual within the group to assist participants in gaining the most from their experience.

We employ program team members who have extensive experience in the countries they are leading. Each new team member co-leads with an experienced team member so that one of them has intimate knowledge of the itinerary. Our pay rate is the best we are aware of for gap year program team members, and because of this we are able to attract and retain outstanding program team members.

Our program team have 24/7 access to the advice of a medical doctor and psychiatrist for times the group are in a region without ready access to medical care.

Program planning

The Camp.co.uk leadership team have led each program themselves. We have personally met with, vetted and chosen each accommodation, transport and activity provider we use on our programs. This in itself does not guarantee safety, but it does mean that we have a good idea of each provider’s capabilities, and by having direct relationships with these providers, we are able to pass on safety concerns and know they will be acted upon and taken seriously.

Our programs are well structured. 90{0f69674eafd63029998eb2ad8c665d57669c607a3dcfdf5e9a921b44338bc57f} of each programs arrangement has been booked and paid for ahead of program start. This means that our program team are able to focus on their groups, on assessing risk, and on our experiential education goals, rather than being bogged down in logistical details.

We undertake a safety review after each program. Incidents are logged, and team training implemented if necessary. Our procedures and the programs themselves are continually being refined.

Ratios

Our programs have two Camp.co.uk team members accompanying the group for the duration of the program. Adventure activities and service projects are provided by specialist operators, with local guides, and include thorough safety briefings. We ensure that ratios of team to participants for these activities comply with best-practice outdoor industry standards.  We have never had a serious injury related to the adventure activities or service work we do while on the programs.

Trustworthy local partnerships

An advantage of being a small business is that we have a strong personal relationship with every organization and operator we work with. This ensures we get the best possible experience by utilizing unique and local knowledge sources, as well as providing our groups with exceptional on-the-ground support.

Group make-up

By being accurate with the description of our programs, and by screening all applicants, we do our utmost to ensure that participants understand the nature of the experience and are confident that the program will be a good fit. If we feel that a student does not meet our essential eligibility criteria, then we will not accept their application. If during a program we find that a participant does not meet the eligibility criteria they will be removed from the program.

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