Instructors - Club Safety Check

Sport England and the Child Protection in Sport Unit are working together to provide better sports facilities for children.

Sport England is the Government agency responsible for advising, investing in and promoting community sport to create an active nation.

Leisure centres, such as Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, West Sussex, are already deeply committed to Child Protection and insurance requirements. They are already asking clubs that use their facilities to provide them with the following information.

I reproduce their requirements below ..... (2011)

Child Protection & Insurance Requirements - Please can you provide the following information to confirm your current booking with us.

  • CRB Checks - For all clubs that coach juniors/minors, i.e. Any child under the age of 18, please can we have a copy of your Coaches CRB check or confirmation of their name, CRB check number and date of the check. This will allow us to check that all our users comply with your relevant sporting Governing Body.
  • Coach Qualifications - For all clubs that provide coaching, please can we have a copy of the up to date qualifications that your Coaches hold for your sport. This will help us see that coaching standards are maintained to a high level.
  • Insurance Requirements - Please can you send in a copy of your latest insurance certificate.

Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre are not alone in asking clubs to provide this criteria for inspection. Schools and other leisure centres are also following suit. Indeed, anyone looking for lottery funding or Government grants has to adopt this policy before their applications are considered. This is the Government's way of encouraging everyone within sport to adopt and police their own Child Protection Policies.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

The vast majority of clubs are already operating child safety procedures and make sure that their instructors have all been DBS checked. However, a small minority of clubs/instructors may be unaware that they need to be doing this. If you are unsure whether or not this concerns you or if you are wondering whether or not you are covered then check with your own Sensei, association or affiliation who will be more than happy to go through it all with you and explain all the details.

A DBS check costs typically around £40-£50 and gives you security and credibility for you and your club. Most clubs provide regular first aid or coaching courses for the benefit of their instructors or can point you somewhere that does.

If you are thinking of running your own club then glance through the club safety check below. These guidelines will help when you come to plan your clubs constitution and policies that you will be following and are just as important as the grade syllabus that your club will be adhering to.

The following is reproduced in its entirety with kind permission from the Child Protection in Sport Unit. For more information visit their website. If you would like more information on becoming DBS - Disclosure and Barring Service checked then visit their Government website which explains, in detail, how you can do this.

Club Safety Check
Here are the key points you should check out when choosing a sports or leisure group for your child. Remember, a well-run club will welcome questions about their activities and policies. They will know they have a responsibility to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child in their care.

Recruitment of staff and volunteers: Have they all been selected through a proper recruitment process? This should include interviews, references and police checks for staff working for children.

What training has been provided for staff and volunteers? All staff and volunteers should have up to date recognised safeguarding training. National Governing Bodies may be able to provide sport specific training programmes for staff and volunteers.

Supervision of staff and volunteers: There should be someone in charge to supervise staff and volunteers at all times.

Health and safety: Make sure that a member of staff within the sports club/organisation is a qualified first aider and that the following are available within the club:

  • first aid box
  • procedure for reporting/responding to injuries or accidents that occur within club time
  • arrangements for drinks and dissemination of medications (parental consent will be required for dissemination of medication)
  • the premises satisfy fire regulations

Your child's personal care needs: If your child needs help with using the toilet, feeding, or medication, ask about the procedures for personal care needs.

Is the Coach qualified?Your child's coach should have a recognised qualification that includes child protection training from a recognised organisation/body.

What about arrangements for away fixtures and other events? The sports club or centre should inform you about the event arrangements, including transport to and from the venue. You should also be given information about the venue itself. If it is a long way from home, you should be given a contact number for use in emergencies.

If your child or you have any worries, who can you talk to? The sports organisation should be prepared to listen and tell you what to do. They should have information about local or national services that can also offer advice and support if you are unhappy about the way you concern is dealt with.

Does the organisation have a written code of behaviour? There should be a written code of behaviour/conduct showing what is required of staff, volunteers and participants. Avoid organisations that permit bullying, shouting, racism, sexism or any other kind of oppressive behaviour. Any unacceptable behaviour should be challenged and dealt with in a professional manner by the sports organisation.

Does the organisation have a Child Protection Policy? Sports and leisure organisations should have a Child Protection Policy, with a clear procedure for dealing with concerns about possible abuse. Parents and carers should be able to view the policy on request.

What boundaries exist concerning club relationships? The club should have clear guidelines about physical contact and social activities between staff, volunteers, participating children, and parents. Find out who in the club you can speak to if you have concerns about boundaries not being observed.

Club Danger Signals
Be very wary of a club where staff or volunteers behave in the following ways:

  • Parents are discouraged from watching or becoming involved in training or other activities.
  • Rough play, sexual innuendo or humiliating punishments.
  • Individuals who take charge and operate independently of the club or sport guidelines.
  • Coaches who favour or personally reward particular children.
  • Encouragement of inappropriate physical contact.
  • If club staff invite children to spend time alone with staff or volunteers outside of scheduled sports activities, or request this through parents.
  • Poor communication with parents and lack of parental involvement.
  • If one or more children suddenly drop out or stop going for no apparent reason.

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