NNAS Board members appreciate this has been a difficult and frustrating time for Providers and thank all for their patience and support through the pandemic crisis. Having suspended Provider fees and the delivery of NNAS courses on the 23rd March initially for 3 months, government easing of lockdown now makes it feasible for some Providers to offer a limited range of courses.
With rapidly changing regulations and the possibility of localised lockdowns in future, it is not possible for the Board to offer detailed advice. It will be up to individual Providers to monitor their local Covid-19 advice.
Delivery of courses will not be quite as straight forward as it was, but it is important that we ensure sufficient quality of course delivery and maintain the standards of the awards. Outdoor activity providers across the UK are seeking alternative ways of delivering training, use of the internet, training aids, and detailed session planning. We hope Providers will share ideas through the Provider Facebook group.
Re-introduction of annual Provider fees
Clearly with different regulations in different home countries, this is not a one size fits all, so what follows are the fundamental obligations for course Providers. To manage the reintroduction of the annual Provider fees the Board proposes to restart them on an individual basis between now and 31st Aug ’20, as and when Providers carry out their first NNAS course and submit their first course report. Assuming the lock-down continues to ease, on the 31st Aug ’20 all remaining Provider fees will restart.
[We urge Providers to complete course reports immediately following a course. Being able to monitor the delivery of courses over the next few months can help us make evidence-based decisions in the future.]
There will also be a statement in the Quality Assurance form for Providers to state they have followed the Covid-19 guidance.
Obligations for running courses
From today 8th June ’20 Providers may run public and private NNAS courses where they can meet the following criteria.
• Follow the Government Guidance on social distancing precautions.
• Follow Government Guidance on travelling.
• Respect local communities’ wishes in the area they expect to operate.
• Respect the local Mountain Search and Rescue advice for the area they expect to operate in.
• Consideration of local facilities from accommodation to car parking, toilets, shops and other businesses.
Providers also need to ensure that their insurance properly covers them for activity delivery and the ratios and groupings. This will also require providers to have updated their risk assessments, operational guidelines and client information.
Providers will also need to ensure their first aid certification is up to date to match their outdoor qualification requirements. (Some first aid certification has been extended).
This will be kept under review but, by sanctioning the provision of courses with the onus on the Provider to follow the obligations above, we hope that Providers will be able to operate according to their home nation guidance. Additionally, the NNAS will not be bombarding Providers with updates every time there is a change. It is entirely the Provider’s responsibility to operate according to the current most up to date local and national advice. There is readily available guidance about being in the hills and countryside from the Mountain Training organisations and the Mountaineering Councils.
The office has received a couple of draft client information sheets from Providers asking NNAS to endorse them. This is not something the Board is willing to do. However, below is a list of the sort of additional headings and information that providers might consider adding to their pre-Covid-19 instructions according to their circumstances. It is not exhaustive and is likely to link in with your risk assessments, insurance etc.
• Medical declaration with specific reference to Covid-19 symptoms.
• Client cancellation policy and provider cancellation policy due to Covid-19 infection prior to the course.
• Action should you or the client develop symptoms within 14 days of the course. (Test, track and trace may cover this).
• What actions, precautions and PPE equipment you will be using/providing to manage social distancing, from ratios to PPE provision, etc.
• What actions, precautions and PPE equipment you wish the clients to observe and provide.
• What equipment (maps, compasses, clothing, etc) you will provide and what you expect clients to provide.
• Advice around in-course travel, location facilities – parking, toilets, etc.
• Advice around community accommodation, Mountain Rescue etc.