DofE Residentials Guidance for England

Updated: 20th May 2021

Based on the guidance issued by the National Youth Agency (for England) from 17th May, residential activities will only be permitted for the purposes of DofE expeditions, this is based on the limited group sizes permitted at this time.

There are a number of key requirements which must be followed:

  1. Maximum 6 individuals permitted per group, including children, young people and leaders.
    The six applies to overnight sleeping time. Assuming the assessor and supervisor will not stay with the young people overnight then there are no issues with 6 young people leading their own expedition. By day, the groups are unlimited for under 18’s and max 30 for over 18’s. This means there is no issue with supervision/assessor meeting up with the group.
  2. Each group of up to six are not permitted to interact with any other groups at ANY time, including during dining, free time and during activities.
  3. Multiple groups of up to six are possible, although each group will need to be completely independent including different leaders (i.e. 2 leaders cannot support multiple groups).
  4. Each group of up to six must travel independently of all other groups at all times.
  5. Members of a group should be tested using lateral flow tests before going on the residential and every 48-72hrs, this includes leaders. You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 rapid tests from a local pharmacy or test site. If you do tests at home, you’ll need to report your results online or on the phone. Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests at
  6. Members of a group can share accommodation, although social distancing should be maintained and numbers kept to a minimum (i.e. spread young people out where possible, although it is not a requirement for each individual to be in a separate tent/room). Leaders accommodation MUST always be separate to accommodation for young people.
  7. A separate risk assessment for DofE Expedition residential activities MUST be in place which should include all Covid risks and control measures including how to ensure the group remains independent and separate to any other groups. Groups must follow COVID Secure requirements for all venues including overnight accommodation and any venues being used for specific activities (i.e. need to check venues Covid risk assessment and requirements and incorporate these). See our template Covid-Ready Risk Assessment for Residentials
  8. ALL usual Brigade regulations and policies should be followed including Residential Notification form which MUST be submitted to BB Headquarters at least 14 days before. BB Headquarters may request a copy of the completed risk assessment.


In addition to the above, guidance on maintaining social distancing, use of face coverings and maintaining hygiene should continue to be followed. Please note that venues will be following guidelines issued by Government for ‘Out of school settings’ when it comes to booking and using venues (this guidance can be found at Protective measures for out-of-school settings – GOV.UK).

We appreciate that the limited opportunity for residentials at this time will not be what many will have been expecting and we want to assure you that we are working with the National Youth Agency and other partners to ensure that the guidance is as clear as possible but also reflects the quality of experience for children and young people. We are aware that guidance for schools issued by the Department for Education is different and does allow for larger groups to go on residentials, but want to be clear that this guidance is not applicable to the Youth Sector.  All other residentials activities are not permitted at this time. Whilst it is hoped that further residential opportunities will be possible this summer, from 21st June at earliest based on the next step on the Government’s roadmap, it is important to note that group sizes and other control measures may still be in place. Considering this we would advise leaders to review existing bookings (including contractual/financial risk) for residentials and advise against booking such events/activities until further guidance is published.

If you have any questions please contact our Support Team on 0300 303 4454 or email

For more details on our Operating Status and guidance see our Coronavirus Update Page