Dealing with children and young people in the sports sector requires safeguarding issues to be considered on a daily basis.
Understanding the issues which most frequently need to be managed in your organisation as well as spotting any trends enables you to plan and implement effective safeguarding policies and allows you to pro-actively focus compliance regimes and training.
Common issues which crop up can include:
- People within your organisation not being comfortable in being the designated safeguarding lead – this is often an issue with many compliance roles but with the right training and support package it can be overcome
- Malicious safeguarding disclosures and complaints. All safeguarding complaints need to be taken seriously and at face value. A robust disclosure and investigation process should highlight unsubstantiated malicious complaints.
- Parents/carers and guardians not being involved in the safeguarding process – you should involve parents and carers in your safeguarding compliance programme and allow for open discussions; this should drive a better understanding of the specific safeguarding needs in your organisation
- Staff and volunteers not understanding the importance of safeguarding – weaving safeguarding into the culture of your organisation will take time, but it is imperative that it is lead from the top down and that there are ongoing initiatives and communication to re-enforce the importance of safeguarding and the policies and procedures in place
- A lack of understanding about the important interaction between safeguarding and social media/internet policies – this is often the “forgotten” area of safeguarding in sport but it requires the same degree of scrutiny as all of the other elements of your sport which are accessed by young people
- Failing to disseminate policies to all staff, volunteers, children and parents and to keep refreshing the messaging / training provided
- Failing to understand the differences between the different levels of DBS checks – different levels of check can reveal different information that could be particularly relevant to different coaching situations
The list above highlights just some of the issues which can hold back effective safeguarding management. Good safeguarding provides a framework to enable children to participate at all levels in sport, and at the same time protects coaches, staff, parents, and volunteers.
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.