Safeguarding in sport - information for parents and carers
It is important to have an awareness of good practise and what to look out for when selecting sports activities for your children. This will help ensure that they can enjoy a high quality experience and that they are able to undertake these in safe, secure environment.
What to look for when choosing an activity or sports club:
About the organisation:
- Is the organisation accredited by the recognised National Governing Body(NGB)? Clubs/Organisations should hold, or be working to accreditation (e.g Clubmark or similar) by their NGB. This outlines the minimum standards of operation, and ensures the club is committed to providing safe, quality, equitable activities for children and young people.
- Does the organisation have a Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy? Organisations should have a clear policy to outline standards and procedures it follows for dealing with possible abuse, disclosures or poor practise. You should be given this policy, or made aware of it when approaching a club. Often this can be found on their website.
- Does the organisation promote and follow a clear code of conduct for staff, participants and parents? Organisations should have a clear code of conduct that is shared with all people involved in its activities
- Does the organisation hold adequate public liability insurance? All organisations delivering sports activities should hold adequate public liability insurance.
- Does the organisation have clear procedures for managing Health & Safety? All sports organisations are responsible for managing health and safety of people who may be affected by their activities.
Things to look out for are:
- Is the ratio of coaches to participants appropriate? National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB) produce guidelines on the recommended number of participants per coach. These vary from sport to sport, and also vary depending on the age/ability of participants, the risk involved and any additional needs the participants may have. Contact the relevant NGB if your are unsure or have concerns
- Do they ensure they have your necessary medical and emergency information?
- Are the venue, kit and equipment in good condition and issues dealt with swiftly?
- Are staff first aid trained and have first aid kits available?
- Are clear instructions on emergency procedures provided(e.g. fire escape routes)?
About the coaches:
- Are the coaches qualified? All coaches must hold an up to date nationally recognised qualification appropriate to the sport/activity being coached. A coach must hold a level 2 qualification to coach on their own. In general assistant coaches must hold a level 1 qualification and should be supervised by a more qualified coach.
- Has the coach received relevant training? Coaches working with children and young people should have attended recognised safeguarding and protecting children training.
- Are the coaches insured? All coaches should hold up to date, appropriate insurance cover
- Are the coaches suitable to be working with children & young people? All sports coaches, leaders, officials, and volunteers who have direct, unsupervised and regular contact with children and young people must be appropriately screened to establish their suitability to work with this age group. Disclosure and Barring Service Checks should be undertaken on all people operating in such a role. A coach /organisation should be able to confirm/provide evidence of what checks have been undertaken.
How you can also help to safeguard your child:
When taking your child to an activity always ensure that they have the following with them:
- The correct kit/equipment - ask the activity provider if you are not sure what is needed. Sometimes when extra kit is needed a club may be able to help provide this.
- A suitable drink when required
- Sun cream if needed
- Medication if required
Make sure the young people you are responsible for know and understand the following:
- The club/organisation’s code of conduct for participants
- Who they can talk to if they have any concerns
If in doubt contact the club/organisation for any specific requirements. Always ensure that you:
- Ask the appropriate questions to ensure that activities are safe and child friendly
- Are aware of and act in accordance with the club/organisations code of conduct for parents/carers
- Inform the coach of any medical conditions/medication taken and keep them up to date if this changes
- Inform the coach of any disabilities or special requirements that your child has
- Ensure that the club/organisation has your emergency contact details
- Drop off, and pick up your child at the correct times, as advised by the club/ organisation
- Talk to your child about the activity to ensure that they are enjoying it
- Aware of how and when to report a concern, allegation or disclosure about poor practice/possible abuse and that you act swiftly on any issues.
The following websites have good information relevant to safeguarding in sport: