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Online notifications and approvals system - Evolve

Last updated on 06 December 2021

EVOLVE is now used by over 130 local authorities, academy trusts and independent schools across the UK. As stated in the Policy Statement in Hertfordshire's Employer Guidance for the Management of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) and Offsite Visits, "It is a requirement that all Hertfordshire children’s services establishments use the EVOLVE system" (see Section 4 -bottom of page 5):

The system automatically sends notification of visits required to be notified to the LA (overseas visits or those involving establishment staff leading adventurous activities) through to the County's Offsite Visits Adviser. Please note that paper-based notifications of visits will not be accepted.

It is hoped that establishments see the benefits of using the system over paper-based systems for most, if not all, offsite visits, ensuring there is a clear audit trail for the planning and approval of visits without the need for lots of filing cabinet space.

Amongst many other features, the system allows establishments to maintain their own on-line libraries of documents such as local policy documents, risk assessments and other documents attached to previous visits, as a useful resource of information available to organisers of future visits. In keeping with Ofsted's recommendation that it is good practice to evaluate all LOtC activities against clearly stated objectives for the activity, it includes a post-trip evaluation facility.

As part of the on-going programme of enhancements to EVOLVE a new feature for this year is the ability now to “clone” existing visit forms when repeating an earlier visit. All cloned forms are created in a user’s Staff account and still need to be reviewed, completed and submitted. Cloning will only copy the following details to the new form: 

Visit type, purpose, age range, intended number of attendees, providers/venues, travel providers and visit leader details.

All other details such as visit dates, risk assessments, attachments, names of attendees, event specific notes, etc. must be completed prior to submission. It is still possible to put multiple dates onto one form for a series of non-residential visits but this may be more helpful for more complex residential and overseas visits.

In keeping with other changes to EVOLVE over the years, this change will not require any additional or update training but please contact, if there are any queries It is hoped that all users will continue to find EVOLVE as easy and useful to use as before.

The recommended “rule of thumb” is that if a visit or activity involves putting the participants onto mechanised transport (with the fairly common exception of routine Sports and PE fixtures) it should be recorded, and authorised, on EVOLVE.

Accessing Evolve

EVOLVE is an Internet-based system and can be accessed by staff using their login details wherever there are Internet access facilities via any Internet-connected device.

All Children’s Services establishments in Hertfordshire have been set up to use EVOLVE. If staff are unsure of their login details there is a link, “Reset / Forgotten your password?” on the login page. Users will be asked to enter a valid email address which, if it matches the one against their account, will prompt the system to send the relevant information to that address.

Establishments will be provided with login details for their Offsite Visits Coordinators and Heads/Managers. Individual staff accounts can be set up by the EVCs or Heads/Managers and these can be transferred when required if staff change establishments within Herts. 

Access Evolve at the link below:

What is Evolve?

The system is intended for internal use within establishments for planning, notification and approval of all levels of offsite visits, including repeat trips such as Year 4/5 swimming lessons at the local baths and sports team fixtures. It is also intended for notifying the Local Authority of visits which include self-led adventurous activities, fieldwork trips to open or "wild" country, and all trips overseas.

All visits can be planned on the system which takes users through a step-by-step process until all required stages are complete. The stages can be completed in whatever order suits the user and 'Evolve' allows the user to leave the process and log out of the system and then come back again to a particular visit, without losing any of their work.
External documents, such as detailed Risk Assessments (OV4 & 5) and lists of participants' names and summary details (OV8) can be completed electronically and attached as required.

Once the planning stages are complete, the visit can be submitted to the establishment's Visits Coordinator for checking and initial approval. The EVC may insert a comment and then either refer the visit on to the Head/Manager (or the person with the delegated authority for approval on the Head's behalf) for formal approval and authorisation, or back to the appropriate member of staff for amendment or further work.

The visit can either, be finally approved by means of an electronic signature (PIN), referred back for further work, or refused. As with all PINs, Heads/Managers should be careful about who these are shared with. They will still be regarded as responsible for approving a visit in the same way as they would be with a signature on a paper approval form.

Hard copies of the visit summary details can be printed from the system at any stage if required and it is now possible to print just the Event Specific Notes rather than the whole form.
EVOLVE also provides facilities to generate reports for EVCs and Heads to build up a profile of visits by the establishment by various categories, which may be of use in a variety of situations.

Offsite visit providers

The system contains extensive databases of all kinds of providers from coach operators to activity centres. It should be stressed that just because a provider appears in one of the databases, that is no guarantee of their quality and establishments should take the usual steps to satisfy themselves as to the suitability of any provider selected for use.

It is possible to see which other establishments within Herts have used a particular provider via the Search facility to allow staff to contact previous users for comment/reference. Users can also add details of other providers which may not already be in the databases where they wish. Details can be removed, if required, by contacting the Offsite Visits Advisor.


Whilst there is no formal training provided for the use of 'EVOLVE', introductions are included as part of the Management of Offsite Visits (EVC) Training and twilight INSETs for Group Leader Awareness courses.

Most new users find the system very intuitive to use and the "Help" menu is being constantly refined.
Queries about staff login details should be addressed to the establishment's Visits Coordinator in the first instance.

If the EVC is unable to resolve an issue, queries should be sent either via the system's Messenger function or by e-mail:

Meanwhile, enjoy and, "Have a good trip!"

Mark Falkingham
Offsite Visits Advisor

First published 06 November 2020 - Last updated on 06 December 2021