Thank you very much for volunteering to lead walks for the West Midlands Walking Group. Being a walk leader is an important role for the group. There is a certain amount of responsibility & there are also certain things that you need to take seriously.
Please take some time to visit the RA's Walk Leader good practice toolkit.
Lots of good advice on leading walks is available in the RA's Walk Leader training toolkit.
In particular, the RA would like you to sign up to their newsletter so that they can send you relevant info by e-mail.
There is now a new national walk grading system.
There's a good walk leader checklist (pdf) to help you plan & manage your walk(s).
Its important that you pass round an attendance sheet/participant register at the start of a walk, make sure people have filled it in, carry it with you on the walk & send the info to our membership secretary after the walk. The attendance sheet will normally be sent to you shortly before you lead your walk. This sheet has a number of uses; e.g. if you should lose any people on your walk, you could use the sheet to find out who's missing & maybe contact them if they've put their mobile number on there, we can also use it to manage existing memberships & any potential new members, monitor how many people are participating etc. Obviously, this info should be treated as confidential & should only be used for RA purposes. If you have a scanner or can get these sheets to Rachel via a committee member, this will save you having to type them in. If you can improve the legibility of people's details on this form then please do so.
Regarding the RA's Civil Liability Insurance, the RA have a policy on the recording & reporting of incidents. Here's an excerpt from their Insurance Guide.
The Ramblers require the reporting of all incidents, whether deemed minor, serious or a near miss, or if outside assistance was or was not required. This requirement, introduced in 2009, will eliminate any uncertainty about whether to report or not and will assist the Ramblers to analyse incidents and inform the provision of relevant guidance and training to Groups and Areas.
If any incident occurs on a led walk (or any other Ramblers activity), it must be recorded and reported to the Ramblers. An incident may not always necessarily result in injury, but should be regarded as something that could, or may still, affect the safety and security of an activity.
Now their Incident Report form is 6 pages, so this might deter us from reporting minor incidents. However, if in doubt, please discuss any incidents of import with a committee member, so that we can decide if they need to be reported. There were a couple of major incidents on RA events in 2009, which I think has made them more officious. I wouldn't want this bureaucracy to put you off leading walks, so please ask someone if you need help.