Walking for Health accreditation

Walking for Health

The 2014 accreditation process has now closed; from March 2015 unaccredited schemes will no longer be part of Walking for Health or have access to the restricted areas of the website. If you are unsure about your status please contact your regional development officer:

Many people interested in increasing their levels of physical activity are nervous about what to expect when trying something new. To help walkers feel assured that their local health walk scheme is a safe pair of hands we ask that all schemes apply for our recognisable badge of quality assurance, the Walking for Health accreditation.

As well as acting as a quality assurance mark for walkers, the robust set of criteria that schemes are required to meet to pass also inspires confidence from funders, partners, and volunteers, helping schemes to thrive and grow,

The 2014 accreditation process has now closed; from March 2015 unaccredited schemes will no longer be part of Walking for Health or have access to the restricted areas of the website.

If you missed the deadline and want to discuss what this means for your scheme please get in touch with your regional development officer, you can find their contact details here.

Walking for Health schemes established in January 2014 onwards

Newly established schemes do not need to apply for accreditation until they have been in operation for 12 months. If you are unsure about whether or not this applies to you please contact your regional development officer. You can find their contact details here. Alternatively, we’ll be in touch with you to let you know when you need to submit your application.

What are the accreditation criteria?

More detailed information is below, but if you’re short on time, download this brief fact sheet on accreditation and our How To Pass accreditation guide.

We reviewed accreditation in 2013 and consulted with hundreds of schemes who told us that they would appreciate clear guidance about what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.

Eight criteria now provide this and deliver a guarantee to our walkers and volunteers that they are part of a high quality local experience with national recognition. These are: 

  • All walks must meet the definition of a Walking for Health walk, including at least one walk between 10-30 minutes per month, which can be a standalone walk or part of a longer walk.
  •  The walker registration form (Outdoor Health Questionnaire) or an approved version of a form is used and completed by all new walkers or walkers who have experienced changes to their health.
  •  Schemes have up to date risk assessments in place which are reviewed on a regular basis and are updated as and when new risks appear. Each should be no more than six months old.
  • Schemes use the Walking for Health database or supply the information needed by the Walking for Health team to demonstrate impact and progress on a quarterly basis.
  • Schemes are recognisably part of Walking for Health, using the brand in materials in accordance with our guidelines.  
  • Schemes keep their pages on the Walking for Health website up to date.  
  •  Schemes take part in the annual scheme audit. 
  • Schemes use a volunteering policy that ensures good standards of volunteer management. 

Detailed guidance on the accreditation process and answers to key questions can be found below. We’ve also developed advice on managing walks that are longer or more challenging than a Walking for Health walk – termed ‘out of scope’.

>>Download the accreditation guidance for schemes (386KB, PDF)

>>Download our FAQs on accreditation (394KB, PDF)

>>Managing progression walks (333KB, PDF)