Visits and the threat from terrorism – updated 18th September 2017

Emergencies Frequently Asked Questions

Following an explosion on a London underground train at Parsons Green station on Friday 15th September, the Government raised the threat level within the UK to “critical”.  It has now been lowered to “severe”.  In its advice to the public, the Government explains that:
‘Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public.….Sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures which we may encounter in our daily lives.’

As an outcome, the Prime Minister said that we will see more armed police providing extra reassurance and protection. The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner has explained that we should remain “vigilant” but said that people “should not be alarmed”.

Unless the Government or your Local Authority Outdoor Adviser directs otherwise, consider every visit as you would normally, deciding what to do about each event on its merit.  OEAP has created guidance on planning visits when there is a threat from terrorism – 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism.  You can download the guidance here.

As part of your planning, you will be taking into account the natural anxiety of parents, teachers and pupils. If making a decision to postpone or cancel, talk to your provider and insurer and understand the implications for recovery of costs.

Visits and the threat from terrorism – updated

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

Over the past few days we have been in touch with the Metropolitan Police, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the Department for Education to ensure that our guidance on visits and the threat from terrorism is up to date and that it is consistent with what they are saying.

As a result we have updated 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism to include some additional advice that we think you will find useful.

You can download the revised guidance here.

Visits and the threat from terrorism

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

We will all be painfully aware of the terrorist attacks in London on Saturday evening. Following the meeting of the UK’s emergency team (cobra) on Sunday morning, the terrorist threat remains ‘severe’ (it was de-escalated from ‘critical’ during last week). The Home Secretary believes that they have the perpetrators of this attack and the Prime Minister has confirmed that we should stay vigilant and carry on as normal. (Report any suspicious activity to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321).

Consider every visit as you would normally, deciding what to do about each event on its merit. To assist in the visit planning there is helpful guidance for Visit Leaders on the threat of terrorism, which includes when visiting a major city, venue or event.  See the document here.

As part of your planning, you will be taking into account the natural anxiety of parents, teachers and pupils. If making a decision to postpone or cancel, talk to your provider and insurer and understand the implications for recovery of costs.

Visits and the threat from terrorism

Emergencies Essential Frequently Asked Questions Planning and Preparation

With heightened security in the UK following the Manchester incident, here is a reminder of OEAP’s guidance on planning visits when there is a threat from terrorism – 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism.  You can download the guidance here.

Some advisers have been asked what difference does the increased security level make to visit plans?  In its advice to the public, the Government explains how we should respond;
‘Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required….Sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures (for example airport security or bag searches) which we may encounter in our daily lives.’

It may help also to reassure parents if the visit leader telephones the venue to check about its advice to visiting groups and the measures it has in place.

Amendable versions of emergency action cards

Emergencies

Three of the emergency action cards available on the National Guidance website have space for contact numbers and other user-entered information, but, as they are PDFs, they must be printed for the information to be entered manually.

By popular request, we have also made them available as amendable Microsoft Word documents.  You can now customise them for your own needs and add additional information before printing.

The new versions are:

4.1l / 8.1l Visit Leader Emergency Action Card – amendable version

4.1m / 8.1m First Contact Emergency Action Card – amendable version

4.1n / 8.1n Establishment Management Emergency Action Card – amendable version

Updated Foreign Office advice on travel to France

Emergencies Frequently Asked Questions

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its advice about school travel to France.

The FCO now recommends that British schools planning to take groups to France between now and 6 December follow the updated French Ministry of Education’s advice not to travel to the Ile-de-France region (including the metropolitan area of Paris). The French Ministry of Education has stated that journeys travelling through the Ile-de-France region but not stopping are permitted, and that trips to the rest of France are now allowed.  You can read the full FCO advice here.

There is National Guidance advice on visits to places where there is a risk of terrorism – please see the document 6k FAQs: Visits and the threat from terrorism.  You can download it here.

Visits to areas at risk of terrorism

Emergencies Specialist activities and visits

In the wake of the attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015, outdoor education advisers have taken calls from EVCs and visit leaders about visits to areas where there is a risk of terrorism.

The National Guidance document 7r Overseas Visits already includes advice about checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, but we have amended the document today to also add a link to Government advice “Recognising the Terrorist Threat“.  Its “Stay Safe” advice at point 2 raises awareness of what to do if you are involved in a terrorist attack.

As well as amending 7r Overseas Visits, we have also added the Government link to 4.1c Off Site Visit Emergencies: Guidance for Leaders.

New – Visit leader Emergency Checklist

Emergencies Good practice

At recent Emergency Contact Training courses, attendees requested that we provide an emergency checklist.  When you are trying to deal with many issues simultaneously, it can be helpful to be able to refer quickly to a list of everything that must be done – a simple way to check what you have done and what still needs to be done.  The new National Guidance document 4.1k Visit leader Emergency Checklist is designed to meet that need.

You can download the checklist here.