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Top tips for safeguarding in sport

Gateley Legal

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With safeguarding in the news following the interim Whyte and Clive Sheldon QC report, it remains fundamental that safeguarding in sport is prioritised, budgeted for and given the recognition that it needs.

In the coming weeks we expect to see further criticisms aimed at safeguarding management and governance within sporting organisations. 

All sporting organisations from grass roots clubs to national training academies should have an appropriate safeguarding system in place. 

Safeguarding basics 

  1. Have in place a comprehensive and appropriate safeguarding framework. This will usually include as a minimum a safeguarding policy, safeguarding report form, safeguarding monitoring process, safeguarding training and recruitment procedure, a full process for recording, monitoring and reviewing safeguarding within your organisation and refresher training.
  2. Create a safe and inclusive culture for all staff, volunteers, children, young people, and parents, carers or guardians within your organisation. This is usually driven top down by management initiatives and reinforcement. 
  3. Ensure there is a full understanding of safeguarding at all levels of your organisation. This includes management and board level responsibility. Training and understanding the risks in your particular sport is key. 
  4. Ensure your safeguarding policy is fit for purpose, reviewed periodically and communicated and disseminated to all staff, volunteers, children, young people, and parents, carers or guardians within your organisation. It will be necessary to review and update your policy documents following safeguarding incidents.
  5. Understand the different levels of DBS check and when they would be most appropriately used in different coaching and training scenarios. In some circumstances it will be necessary to have an enhanced DBS check. 
  6. Have a robust social media policy in place. If safeguarding matters are disseminated on social media platforms this is likely to cause reputational damage to both the individuals involved and the organisation. Once a policy is in place, ensure all staff and volunteers are aware.
  7. Understand when safeguarding disclosures need to be reported to external authorities and regulators such as the local authority, LADO and the police, and how referrals to these outside agencies can impact on your organisation. An external safeguarding investigation can have a massive impact on an organisation and it is imperative to manage it properly from the start. 
  8. Have a full understanding of when it is appropriate to suspend or dismiss employees or volunteers following safeguarding reports or disclosures.
  9. Make sure  you have appropriate insurance cover which will provide assistance in the event of a safeguarding allegation no matter what the nature of the allegation is. 

We have a team of lawyers from across different disciplines at Gateley that can provide strategic support in relation to all aspects of safeguarding, from the preparation of policies and procedures to advice on the employment law implications of any investigation.

To assist organisations in ensuring they are fulfilling their safeguarding requirements we have developed a “Safeguarding Toolkit”, get in touch with our experts to find out more.

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.

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