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Last updated: 10.04.18

Safeguarding in sport - considerations for your club

Everyone who comes into contact with children or young people has a role to play in their protection. It is not the responsibility of anyone working in a club to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. However, it is their responsibility to act on any concerns and to report these to the appropriate authorities.

This can only happen, confidently and effectively, if members of staff and volunteers have the necessary understanding of what safeguarding really means for your organisation and if they have the opportunity to develop, practice and implement the necessary skills needed to protect those at risk.

We have long known that staff training and development in sport, specifically around the topic of safeguarding, has been given too little attention by many clubs and organisations for a significant amount of time. The commitment to protect and provide sufficient staff training is often strong; however, clubs can often feel unsure about how to successfully achieve this.

Is your organisation doing everything it could be to keep children and young people safe in sport? Having worked within the safeguarding sector for over 10 years, we understand the importance of sharing best practice. Here we share some considerations to improve your processes and increase your safeguarding standards.

Strive to ensure there is:

  • Effective governance, clear responsibilities and lines of accountability throughout your clubs.
  • Easily accessible safeguarding policies and guidance for all members of staff and for all volunteers.
  • A system that allows your organisation to track training implementation and progress.
  • Engaging training so all staff and volunteers are equipped to identify and respond effectively to safeguarding-related incidents and concerns.
  • A cultural understanding of safeguarding imperatives and responsibilities – it won’t be left to a few specialists.
  • Early identification and assessment of safeguarding-related reports and that they are all treated seriously and as a priority.
  • Consistent use of standard recording procedures throughout all of your clubs.

Putting the right safeguards in place

Staff training and development plays a crucial role within every organisation. It helps keep people safe, builds a ‘let’s do things right’ culture and prevents damaging regulation breaches.

Following your safer recruitment process, staff and volunteers should be trained and supported by your organisation to ensure that they can effectively safeguard and know how to respond to any concerns. In addition to initial training, it is equally important that ongoing training and resources are available.

There are many ways learning providers can support you with this, however, safeguarding training on its own does not ensure effective procedures.

What else can your organisation do?

First, relying on a Learning Management System (LMS) gives you the ability to:

  • Allocate and track the right courses to the right individuals
  • Set club-wide safeguarding objectives and targets
  • Monitor how your staff and volunteers are developing and progressing over time
  • Facilitate, organise and roll out face-to-face and online training sessions

Second, organisations and clubs need to understand whether their safeguarding measures are effective, where improvements can be made, and recognise any patterns of risk. An online audit tool, such as Enable Audit Management Software, can provide clubs with:

  • Self-assessment safeguarding templates for auditing purposes.
  • The ability to submit information, evidence and action plans that are recorded and integrated instantly into the centralised audit tool.
  • Generate detailed and comparative reports and easily analyse progress and areas for improvement.

Having sufficient systems in place that are aligned with your organisation’s overall safeguarding objectives has both preventive and reactive components. It is key that effective policies, practices and training procedures are in place to limit harm occurring, as well as having measures in place to report, investigate and deal with suspicions and incidents. For more information on how our solutions can help your organisation, get in touch with Felicity Bagshaw at felicity.bagshaw@virtual-college.co.uk.