Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Expedition Fee cover?
The fee you pay for your expedition covers the following costs:
- Transport to/from the expedition area, from a pick-up point within Oxfordshire (unless the expedition takes place within the county).
- All accommodation and campsite fees
- Fuel for campsite stoves
- Group expedition kit (tents, stoves, maps etc.)
- Some items of individual kit, if required (see the Oxfordshire DofE equipment store page for a list of available items)
- Insurance (see below)
Depending on the location and arrangements for individual expeditions, the fee may also cover certain meals provided at the base accommodation before/after the expedition proper. The expedition brochure will provide information about exactly which meals are provided.
The price of each expedition place is calculated to cover all of the above costs plus any extra expenses likely to be incurred, such as leaders' accommodation and meals and the cost of fuel for any additional vehicles needed for the expedition to be supervised safely. A levy is also added to cover OXPED's annual running costs, which include:
- Insurance - Employers' and Public Liability
- DofE licence fees
- AALA licence fees
- Leader training and Continuing Professional Development
Remember that all OXPED leaders are volunteers - none are paid for their time, which is why our expeditions are significantly better value for money than most commercial DofE Approved Activity Providers.
What are OXPED's Bank Details?
Account Name: OXPED CIC
Account Number: 20516460
Sort Code: 30-93-93
Branch: Lloyds Bank, Didcot
When paying for an expedition, please include the following as the Payee Reference: CODE Forename Surname, where CODE is the unique expedition code as detailed on the expedition's web page, and 'Forename Surname' refers to the participant.
What is the difference between a Discovery-based and a Journey-based expedition?
On each day of an expedition, the team must undertake a certain number of hours of 'planned activity' between the start and finish points for that day:
- Bronze: six hours minimum
- Silver: seven hours minimum
- Gold: eight hours minimum
In all cases, at least half of this time must involve 'journeying' (walking, cycling, etc.).
However, for the rest of the time there is more flexibility. Traditionally, most participants choose a 'Journey-based' expedition, in which the journey itself forms the basis of the venture's aim, and so the distances covered per day are higher. But other people may choose to carry out a 'Discovery-based' expedition, in which they spend less time on the journey and concentrate more on investigation, research and discovery of local features (for instance) along the way.
Note that Discovery-based expeditions must not be considered as an 'easy option'. A far more thorough report will be expected by the Assessor after the conclusion of the venture, and participants must have researched their chosen topic thoroughly before arrival in the area, and to present detailed notes of their project plans at the Planning Day.
Please also note that participants' requests to do a particular type of expedition (Discovery- or Journey-based) can only be accommodated if enough other similarly-minded applicants apply to form an expedition team. Obviously, a particular team cannot do both types of expedition at the same time!
Do I need to do a Practice and a Qualifying expedition?
The Award rules state that 'You must undertake at least one practice expedition at Silver and Gold levels of the programme. You should do this in the same mode of travel and in a similar environment to the qualifying expedition.'
In other words, to do a qualifying (assessment) expedition at either of Silver or Gold you must have done a practice expedition at the same level.
However, notwithstanding the official Award rules above, if you are a direct-Silver or direct-Gold participant, OXPED strongly recommends in nearly all cases that you do a practice at each of the lower levels first. A direct-Silver person should do a Bronze-level training walk and a Silver practice before going on a Silver qualifying, while a direct-Gold person should do Bronze, Silver and Gold practices before doing a Gold qualifying. This is because each level will give you additional skills and experience of different terrains and conditions; jumping straight to Gold is too great a challenge for many people. Expedition Leaders reserve the right to refuse to take you on a particular expedition if they feel that you do not have the necessary skills or are not experienced enough to deal with the expected conditions.
Mixed Practice/Qualifying Expeditions
Unless stated otherwise on the relevant expedition page, most OXPED opportunities are open to both 'practice' participants and 'qualifying' participants.
However, under new OXPED guidelines, we are no longer prepared to have any mixed practice/qualifying teams. That is to say, a team of four to seven participants walking together must now either all be undertaking their practice expedition, or all be undertaking their qualifying expedition. This is to ensure that our leaders can provide sufficient guidance and training to practice participants, which they would not be able to do in the presence of qualifying participants in the same walking group. We cannot sign-off somebody's practice expedition unless we are certain that they have the necessary skills to be able to cope with potentially hazardous or unplanned situations on their later qualifying expedition.
We do not expect this change to affect anybody's chances of being accepted onto an expedition, as it is almost always the case that sufficient numbers apply to allow us to be able to fill the necessary number of places within each practice or qualifying team.
Why do I need to attend the Planning Day?
The Planning Day is an essential part of any expedition, and because it is likely that the Expedition Leader has never met the participants before, it is a requirement that all participants on an OXPED expedition must attend the Planning Day. The Planning Day provides the opportunity for the following to take place under informal (but intensive) conditions:
- Team members meet, possibly for the first time, allowing them to become acquainted and swap contact details.
- The Expedition Leader gives a verbal briefing of the expedition’s logistical details.
- Completed health forms and balance payments are collected by the Expedition Leader, and any health or welfare issues are discussed with the individuals concerned.
- The Expedition Leader confirms the suitability of each participant’s training record and previous DofE expedition experience, by seeing in person their DofE Record Book (or Keeping Track booklet for the case of participants registered through the online eDofE system).
- Each team plans their own routes, and after approval by a leader, prepares a complete set of maps, tracings and route cards, to the satisfaction of the Expedition Leader.
- The expedition purpose for each team is discussed and the format for the team’s post-expedition report(s) chosen.
- Team members decide between themselves the details of the meals that they will eat during the expedition, and who is going to buy the food.
- The Planning Day is the ideal opportunity for the leaders to perform a comprehensive check of the participants’ personal expedition clothing, equipment (see below) and first aid kit, and to give feedback as necessary. In addition, the requirements for team kit (tents, stoves, fuel etc.) can be discussed.
What kit do I need to take on my expedition?
The official DofE advice about expedition kit may be found here on the DofE website. This includes information about DofE recommended retailers (where you should be able to get a discount if you need to buy any kit), and a suggested kit list for guidance. There is also the Dofe Interactive Kit List.
Many items may be borrowed from the Oxfordshire Open Award Equipment Store. Please see the Equipment Store page on the Oxfordshire DofE website for more details.
At Bronze and Silver levels the Expedition Leader usually provides the team kit from the Equipment Store, having included the cost of its hire in the expedition fee. At Gold, it is sometimes more appropriate for the participants themselves to pay for and collect the team kit, with the Expedition Leader providing only a limited number of items such as maps and map cases, water sterilising tablets, tick removers, fuel and fuel containers. The Expedition Leader will inform you of the arrangements at or before the Planning Day.
Please note: You will be required to bring your personal expedition kit along to the Planning Day of your expedition, so that the leaders have a chance to advise you on its suitability for the expected conditions.
What insurance cover does OXPED have?
All OXPED expeditions are fully covered by suitable insurance policies, as summarised below. Full details may be found in the OXPED Governing Document, downloadable from the Documentation for Leaders page.
Personal Accident Cover, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award has its own arrangements for providing personal accident cover for those taking part in DofE activities. This includes all participants, leaders and other helpers. The policy does not cover personal effects, camping equipment, and valuables; insurance for those should be obtained by the individual under their own household policy.
Personal Accident Cover, OXPED CIC
Through our own insurance policy, OXPED provides additional personal accident cover for its volunteers and all participants while under OXPED's care.
Employers' Liability Cover
Employers' liability insurance protects a business against the cost of compensation claims arising from employee/volunteer illness or injury, sustained as a result of their work for the business.
OXPED's employers' liability insurance has a limit of indemnity of £10 million.
Public Liability Cover
Public liability insurance covers the cost of legal action and compensation claims made against a business if a third party is injured or their property suffers damage whilst at the business premises, or when the business is working in the third party's premises.
OXPED's public liability indemnity has a limit of £5 million, including Libel and Slander up to a limit of indemnity of £100,000.
In addition, all accommodation used by OXPED (base accommodation and campsites) holds at least £2 million of Public Liability insurance.
If a business is alleged to have provided inadequate advice, services or designs to a client, professional indemnity insurance provides cover for the legal costs and expenses in defending the claim, as well as compensation payable to the client to rectify the mistake.
OXPED's professional indemnity has a limit of £100,000.
OXPED’s directors are covered to an indemnity limit of £100,000.
OXPED's insurance policy contains cover for legal expenses up to an indemnity limit of £100,000.
What measures are in place relating to the safeguarding of young people?
OXPED accepts that in all matters concerning child protection, the welfare and protection of the child is the paramount consideration.
It is the policy of OXPED to safeguard the welfare of all young people and others involved in its activities by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm. Full details of OXPED's policies and procedures relating to child protection may be found in the OXPED Governing Document, downloadable from the Documentation for Leaders page.
As part of the OXPED recruitment procedure, any adult who will undertake a role that will give them unsupervised access to young people under the age of 18 years will be subject to an Enhanced Disclosure check by the Disclosure and Barring Service.