Safety is at the heart of everything we do. All of our programmes are undertaken in challenging environments, so to minimise the risks we focus on prevention.
This starts with selecting the appropriate countries to base our activities in, all the way through to educating and empowering our volunteers to understand and use risk management in everything they do. However, just like in everyday life, accidents can still occasionally happen. Our Safety Management Systems are robust, practical, and effective and most importantly, tried and tested for over 30 years.
Raleigh's Extensive Experience
Raleigh International has always endeavoured to be at the forefront of safety and development of systems and procedures for overseas expeditions. Nominated by our peers in the sector, Raleigh contributed to the formation of the British Standard for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities, outside of the United Kingdom.
All of Raleigh’s systems enable us to deliver our programming against the British Standard, called BS8848. Every year we are externally audited to confirm our conformity to the standard by an independent body. "Raleigh uses the Young Explorer’s Trust (YET) as a competent, external and independent “other party” assessor of their conformity to British Standard BS 8848 as laid down in the specification. The assessment includes a sampling process for verification, but all ventures are subject to self-assessment in accordance with the standard. YET is not acting, of itself, as the arbiter of the quality of provision, but assesses provision by Raleigh against the standard to give assurance of good management practice."
BS8848: A parents' guide to adventurous activities abroad for young people explains why this is important.
Expert Country Advice
Raleigh has a permanent presence in each of the countries that we operate in, comprising of full time staff, our own office and a vehicle fleet. This presence means that we have the best networks possible to ensure that we have the latest advice regarding any potential issues, despite the need being very unlikely. We have good working relationships with the National Governments where we operate, as well as representatives of foreign governments such as the British High Commission or Embassy. We are also able to consult with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly to gain further information on their latest advice. Our networks also extend to the, medical facilities, military services and transport agencies, ensuring that we are able to handle any situation as swiftly as possible.
If you wish to keep up to date yourself on the latest travel advice for the country you intend to visit please click below to visit the FCO advice page.
Experienced In-country staff and volunteer management team
Our full time International and National staff team in each country are employed solely to deliver Raleigh’s programmes. . They are all highly experienced, committed and resourceful individuals who have been selected and trained by us to ensure they uphold our high standards of safety whilst achieving the organisations objectives, both for the countries we operate in and for our volunteers.
This full time team is backed by a group of volunteer programme leaders undertaking both support roles in our office and leading project teams on the ground. They are selected from a range of backgrounds all with basic broad skills, plus more specific skills for some roles. This includes a team of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses, in addition all project staff having first aid training. Where necessary we recruit volunteer managers who have technical or recognised national governing body qualifications to run adventurous activities, such as trekking.
Before each programme we provide basic preparation training in the UK for all Raleigh participants. Details of dates and venues will be sent to the individual once they have signed up for their specific programme. This training is then reiterated and built upon in country for all volunteer programme leaders and volunteers. Amongst a long list of subjects this includes; health and safety, risk management, casualty evacuation planning, first aid, use of safety equipment, communications equipment and safe use of tools.
Planning: Risk assessment and casualty evacuation
Before every programme Raleigh conducts risk assessments and casualty evacuation training at both a country level and specifically for every site that our volunteers work at. We then empower responsibility for these onto the teams that carry out their own assessments and update the plans already in place. We believe that this empowerment encourages a vigilant attitude towards safety within the group. Our full-time staff and volunteer programme leaders also visit all relevant medical facilities in advance to ensure that we know what options are available should an incident occur.
All of our project teams are supported to ensure that they have redundancy with regards to communicating with our in country office. These systems vary from country to country, however all teams will have at least two methods of communication, these could be telephone landlines and/or mobiles, in the more remote locations we use Satellite phones and High Frequency radios. Our country teams then have access to support from our UK based Head Office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Head Office Support
Raleigh has a team in our Head Office dedicated to the safe delivery of our programmes. This team have many years’ experience in providing safe activities in the environments that Raleigh operates in; this team also includes our Medical Coordination Manager who is a registered nurse. Raleigh operates a 24 hour on call system to support both our country teams but also for emergency contact by volunteers’ next of kin, while they are on placement, this can be accessed via our switchboard.
We provide comprehensive medical and personal accident insurance cover for all volunteers. In addition to providing the sort of cover you would expect from standard medical insurance, this gives Raleigh access to a medical assistance company that works with us to manage any serious medical issue via the in country medical infrastructure and then manages repatriation, to the volunteer’s home country, should it be needed.
Raleigh does its utmost to support the local economy of the countries we work in by sourcing our equipment and other provisions locally. This is usually possible for items such as work helmets, protective googles etc. However, where this isn’t possible we will import essential items such as satellite phones, emergency location beacons, and medical supplies.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
Raleigh is committed to ensuring the health, safety, welfare and development of all young people with whom it works regardless of gender, age, stage of development, disability, sexual orientation, religion, culture or ethnicity. All participants who take part in activities organised by us should enjoy taking part in these without fear of harm. We guide all staff and volunteers to show respect for and understanding of young people's rights and their safety and welfare and by so doing, conduct themselves in a way that reflects our principles.