As a parent or guardian, it's essential to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your child while they participate in sports and activities. Spond is here to help guide you through the process of selecting a trustworthy sports club, coached session, or activity provider.
The key points to consider when making your choice are outlined below, along with the impact you as a parent can have on your child's experience in sports.
Choosing and evaluating a club or activity provider
When selecting a sports club or activity provider for your child, it's crucial to first verify if the organization has achieved an up-to-date sports body or local council accreditation (such as Clubmark).
An accredited club or organisation demonstrates that they have met specific safety standards as assessed by the awarding body. The Club Matters portal lists all Clubmark-accredited clubs and serves as an excellent starting point for finding a suitable club.
Even with accreditation, you should ensure the organization has:
A safeguarding policy, including a clear procedure for addressing concerns or risks of abuse. You should be informed on how to access this policy.
A named and contactable welfare officer responsible for implementing the safeguarding policy and handling issues related to the protection of children, young people, or adults in sport.
Procedures for addressing complaints or concerns regarding poor practice, abuse, or neglect.
Written standards of good practice, such as a code of conduct or behavior.
A parental consent and emergency details form that you must return to the club or activity provider.
Safe recruitment procedures for those working with young people, including a clear job description, appropriate references, criminal records checks (e.g., DBS) for relevant posts, and technical qualifications.
Access to suitable safeguarding or child protection training for its staff and volunteers.
Working with a freelance coach or instructor
If you're considering hiring a coach or instructor outside of a club or activity provider, ensure they have:
A valid DBS check relevant to their role.
The appropriate minimum qualifications for the role they're undertaking.
A valid registration or license from their governing body to coach, teach, or instruct.
Valid public liability insurance.
Completed safeguarding training, such as UK Coaching's Safeguarding and Protecting Children workshop, the Local Safeguarding Children's Board's basic awareness training, or sport-specific training in line with their national governing body's guidelines.
Remember, a well-run club or activity provider will welcome questions about their activities and policies. They understand their responsibility to provide this information to anyone who entrusts a child in their care.
For additional information and support, visit the Child Protection in Sport Unit or download the documentation from the Sport England website.
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