Clubs / Organisations
Adopting good practice
Children and young people face risks in all aspects of their life and sport is no different.
It is essential that sports clubs/organisations adopt good practice when dealing with young people to ensure they are safe. Having the right safeguards in place will help you to:
- respond appropriately to concerns, to recruit responsibly, and to manage bullying and harassment,
- protect your organisation's reputation and make your sport attractive to members and sponsors
- keep sport safe and fun for children and young people.
The leaflet below provides information on what policies and procedures the club should have in place. If you would like a paper copy(ies), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If someone in your club is worried that a child is being abused or put at risk, it is essential that they tell someone. They need to know how to do this, and who to tell, normally the Club Welfare Officer.
They need to be encouraged to trust their instincts, not to wait until they are certain and that it is up to the person that they tell to take it further and investigate.
The idea of speaking out about abuse or poor practice, possibly by a coach, volunteer or parent can be daunting.
People involved in your club might be in the best position to pick up the signs from a child who is having problems at home.
Creating the right culture
The club must create the culture and environment that encourages the young person or adult to speak up if they have concerns.
By doing so, the club will be safeguarding the child concerned as well as helping to prevent other children being harmed or put at risk.
Remember it is not the responsibility of the club to decide if a child is being abused but to act on any concerns.
If you think a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999.
If there is no immediate danger, speak to the club child protection or welfare officer or contact the governing body's child protection officer. You can find contact details for NGBs here https://thecpsu.org.uk/help-advice/deal-with-a-concern/
If you want to talk over your concerns with someone outside your club/organisation you can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for immediate advice. This is a 24 hours helpline. You can also email email@example.com
Make a record of reported details as soon as possible. Your club or organisation may have its own incident report form to use to do this or you can find a template here https://thecpsu.org.uk/resource-library/2013/incident-reporting-form/
Some questions to ask
1) Is your club doing everything it could to keep children and young people safe in sport?
- The Child Protection in Sport Unit has developed a self-assessment tool which will help you find out. You can find the tool here https://thecpsu.org.uk/self-assessment-tool/. You will also find copies of draft policies, codes of practice for participants, parents, coaches and volunteers.
2) Do you have the up-to-date policies and procedures in place and do coaches, volunteers and members know where to find them?
- By having and communicating these policies and procedures, all people involved in the club know what is acceptable behaviour and practice. Hopefully this will help prevent issues occurring in the first place. However when a concern is raised, whether poor practice or possible abuse, it is much clearer what needs to happen when policies and procedures are in place to refer too.
- Key polices a club should have include a safeguarding/child protection policy, anti bullying policy, health and safety policy, equity policy. You can find example policies at https://thecpsu.org.uk/Search?term=policiesand on the Sport England Club Matters website. See below for an example club anti-bullying policy and reporting template.
3) Do you have up-to-date codes of conduct in place and are these distributed to coaches, volunteers, participants, parents and spectators?
- These codes should clearly outline what is acceptable behaviour, what is not and what will happen if the codes are not followed. You can find example codes of conduct at https://thecpsu.org.uk/Search?term=codes+of+conduct and on the Sport England Club Matters website.
4) Do you have a club safeguarding/welfare officer?
- All sports clubs must have a designated safeguarding/welfare officer in place and ideally a deputy to support this officer. This officer should have a clear role description. Click here to find an example role outline http://www.sportenglandclubmatters.com/a-z-resource-library/. Your NGB should provide you with details of training available for your safeguarding/welfare officer.
5) How do you recruit and screen your volunteers?
- All coaches, officials, volunteers and paid staff who have direct contact with children must be screened to check their suitability to work with this age group. A minimum of two references should be taken and followed up.
- Qualifications must be checked. Roles that they will fill must be assessed to see if they are eligible for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. For guidance on this contact your governing body or visit www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service
- Even if a role is not eligible for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, it is good practice to ask all volunteers, whatever their role in the club, to complete a Self Declaration and Disclosure Form. You can find an example template below.
- Remember to annually review the roles of your volunteers. The role an existing volunteer has in the club may have changed/evolved. When s/he first started his/her role may not have required a DBS check, what s/he does now, might require a check.
To find out what Safeguarding training is available for coaches, volunteers or Safeguarding/Welfare officers check out your NGB website, the CPSU website, the Sports Coach UK website or the Coaching section of this website.