Volunteer FAQs - Forms and paperwork

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about forms and paperwork. If you need to download any of these they can be found in our leading a walk kit.

If you have any other queries that are not answered below please get in touch.

All Walker registration forms and walk registers need to be entered onto the Walking for Health database by the local scheme. The only circumstance that requires form to be sent to us is if a volunteer-run scheme folds. Please see the question below.

We don’t need this information – so we’ve stopped asking for it.

But we understand the reassurance that having this information can give to walk leaders. So we’ve provided a template for ICE (In Case of Emergency) cards in our Leading a walk kit and in the new walkers Welcome booklet that schemes can give to walkers instead. Walkers fill in their emergency contact details and carry the card with them on a walk.

Benefits of the card:

  • Walkers are responsible for supplying their own information – not walk leaders
  • Easier for walkers to update
  • Walk leaders don’t have to carry around paper Walker registration forms which, if not needed, can be disposed of securely
  • They can be adapted by your scheme to suit you

The template for prints onto A4 paper. Some schemes which already use ICE cards print onto photographic paper because it’s more weatherproof. Just choose what best suits your needs.

Walkers can decide whether to fill out ICE cards, or have an ICE name in their mobile phone contact list, or not to supply this information at all.


The main thing to remember is don’t keep personal information for longer than you need.

So the first question to ask is: ‘why do we need to keep the paper Walker registration forms?’ because it might be better to keep summary, anonymised information instead. How will you monitor the information, for example, if a walker moves, or fills out a new form? What will you do with the old one?

If you’re sure you need to keep paper forms, how long you keep them for will depend on who administers your scheme and/or the reasons why you keep them.

Walk leaders should explain that any change in exercise regime, even something as safe as walking, may have harmful consequences to a small number of people. For this reason the walker should discuss their intention to walk with their GP.

Walk leaders can’t force people to see their GP but should point out that all walkers walk at their own risk. 

If your scheme has a sound operational need to keep the paper Walker registration forms – and it’s your decision – you can.
Make sure the forms are:
• Sent securely
• Stored securely (e.g. in a locked cupboard)
• Only seen by people who need to
• Weeded regularly (say, every 6 months or annually)
• Disposed of securely

If you use the database:

When you’ve input a walker’s information onto the database, you can dispose of paper Walker registration forms securely. 

If you don’t use the database:

Follow the procedures laid out by your organisation.


If you use the database:

If your scheme is run purely by volunteers and you use the database, you should still only keep paper forms if you need them. All your walkers’ information is available to you on-line so you can dispose of the Walker registration forms securely once you’re happy you’ve input the data accurately.

If you don’t use the database:

You need to store Walker registration forms and keep them for as long as your walker walks with you. Or if they leave, for 5 years. This means that insurers have access to all relevant information in the event that a third party wants to make a personal injury claim against the Walking for Health programme.

If your volunteer-administered scheme folds and you haven't been recording Walker registration form data on the database, please send them securely to the national programme team.

We will store your information for 5 years before disposing of them for you. Your records are kept in case we need to provide information to our insurers if a third party makes a personal injury claim against Walking for Health.

If you have recorded the information from the Walker registration forms onto the database, there is no need to keep them. Please dispose of them securely.

Disposing ‘securely’ means getting rid of the Walker registration form so that it can’t be put back together again by someone determined to steal a walker’s identity.

You can do this by shredding (preferably using a cross-cut shredder), or you can treat them as confidential waste and place in specially-labelled security waste sacks in your workplace.

If you need to send Walker registration forms  in the post, they should be sent using special delivery or a tracked courier service. 

We recommend that they are sent double-packaged to a named recipient. The first envelope should indicate that there is PERSONAL information enclosed. The outer envelope should state PERSONAL or ADDRESSEE ONLY.

Alternatively, Walker registration forms may be handed from a trusted person to a nominated person if they are:

  • carried in a secure container (box, briefcase, etc),
  • kept in your personal possession at all times, unless it can be stored securely,

not left unattended in a public place (e.g. taxi, public transport, hotel, etc).

Currently children do not need to fill in Walker registration forms. But there is the option on the Walking for Health database to record the numbers of unregistered children who attended a walk.

Completed Walker registration forms should only be sent over email if they are sent as an encrypted attachment. 

If you have added the Walker registration form to the database, you do not need to keep a copy of it (either in paper format or electronically) as it is securely stored on the database.

If you do need to store forms before they are added, they should be saved on secured network drives only and the files should be password protected. 

If you have access to walker records on the database you can change the record yourself. Otherwise please contact us.

For as long as you have walkers walking those routes!

If a walker has an accident, you will be asked to show that you have conducted a risk assessment of the route they were on. You will also need to send an Accident Report Form to us as soon as is practicable (you can find these in our Leading a Walk Kit).

You only need to get rid of risk assessments if you stop using that particular route or if you have updated the assessment in the light of changes, e.g. new hazards. Some routes may need a separate risk assessment for different seasons when the conditions under foot can change significantly.

See our page on risk assessment guidance for more information.

Where groups of children are being led by teachers/Sure Start staff/youth leaders etc, the usual risk assessment and parental consent for children to take part will apply.

All walks should be risk assessed, which would include an assessment of the health and safety of children as well as adults.

Walking for Health schemes should only accept children and young people under the age of 18 on activities when they are accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person with equivalent responsibility for them such as a teacher or youth worker. We should only welcome vulnerable adults when they are accompanied by a carer or support worker to assist with their everyday needs. 

It is therefore not a requirement for walk leaders to have a DBS check. However, if you are a walk leader or scheme coordinator and you are currently involved in, or are planning to set up, a walk for people under the age of 18 or young adults, please get in touch. 

View our safeguarding policy here. 

The volunteer survey 2014 prize draw terms and conditions are:

  • All volunteers who complete a survey and state they wish to enter the draw by providing their contact details will be entered into the draw.
  • There are three prizes of equal value: £25 voucher for John Lewis. The winners will be selected at random from all entries after the survey closing date.
  • We will run the draw and get back to winners within 28 days, i.e 28th November.
  • Your name and contact details will only be used to contact you if you win the vouchers unless you tell us otherwise.
  • Terms and conditions of the prize draw:

Walking for Health prize draw contact name and address:

Michelle Roberts, The Ramblers, 2nd Floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW

  1. The closing date for all surveys is 23:59 on 31st October 2014 and entries received after that cannot be considered.
  2. There is one entry per completed survey and one survey per person.
  3. There are no cash or prize alternative and prizes are subject to availability.
  4. Prizes are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  5. The winners will be picked at random from all entries after the closing date. The decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Your chances of winning do not depend on any of the answers given in the survey.
  6. The competition is open to all Walking for Health volunteers in England except employees and families of the Ramblers, plus any third parties or anyone professionally associated with the promotion.
  7. Entrants must be aged 18 or over unless otherwise stated.
  8. Entries received without contact details cannot be considered.
  9. The winners will receive their prize, or notification of when they will receive their prize, within 28 days of the closing date.
  10. No payment, registration or activity other than completion of the survey is required to take part.