To provide a safe environment and positive experience for all users, it's essential that sport and leisure facility operators implement a range of safeguarding policies and procedures. These should reflect the facility’s structure, operation and use.
What counts as a facility?
Facilities can vary from large multi-function public centres to single-activity sports clubs or swimming pools. They may be operated by private businesses (local or national), community trusts, local authorities, schools, colleges or sports clubs.
The government’s Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance identifies an organisation’s statutory safeguarding responsibilities. In England, local authorities that provide services for children (including sport, culture and leisure services) have responsibilities to ensure what they do factors in the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Operators who've been contracted by the local authority to manage facilities on their behalf share these safeguarding responsibilities.
The resources that the Child Protection in Sport Unit provide include Implementing and Unaccompanied Child Policy, Third Party Use of Facilities, additional resources and their online Self-Assessment Tool.
Check out the CPSU's online resources
Even if a club is accredited, you should check the organisation has:
- A safeguarding policy, with a clear procedure for dealing with concerns or risks of abuse. You should be advised how you can access the policy
- A named and contactable welfare officer responsible for the implementation of their safeguarding policy and issues regarding the protection of children or young people
- Procedures for dealing with complaints or concerns regarding poor practice, abuse or neglect
- Written standards of good practice, such as a code of conduct or behaviour
- A parental consent and emergency details form that you must return to the club
- Safe recruitment procedures for those working with young people that include: a clear job description, appropriate references, criminal records checks (e.g. DBS) for relevant posts and technical qualifications
- Access to appropriate safeguarding or child protection training for its staff and volunteers.
For more information, visit the 'what to look for in a sports club' section of the Child Protection in Sport Unit website.
Remember, a well-run club or activity provider will welcome questions about their activities and policies. They'll know they have a responsibility to give this kind of information to anyone who leaves a child in their care.
No one involved in sport and physical activity, whether they’re a volunteer, participant, spectator or an elite athlete, should ever have to worry about abuse or harassment.