Information for parents
It's your right as a parent or carer to be able to check how well a sports club is run, for the sake of your child's safety and your peace of mind. Questions to ask and things to look out for when choosing a club for your child Here are the key points you should check out when choosing a sports club or activity 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.
Policies and procedures
If you are worried that a child is being abused or put at risk during sports activities it is vital that you talk to someone.
The idea of speaking out about abuse or poor practice in a club can be daunting. You will probably feel worried about the impact on you and/or the child. But if you have concerns you must take action. By doing so you will be safeguarding the child concerned as well as helping to prevent other children being harmed or put at risk.
If you think a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999.
If there is no immediate danger and you are unsure of who to speak to, call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for immediate advice.
Find out the club guidelines for recording and reporting concerns and follow them.
Speak to the club child protection or welfare officer.
Does the organisation have a child protection policy?
Sports clubs and 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.
If you or your child have any worries, who can you talk to?
The sports organisation should be prepared to listen and tell you what to do if you have any concerns. They should have information about local or national services that can also offer advice and support.
Does the organisation have a written code of behaviour/conduct?
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.
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.
What about arrangements for away fixtures and other events?
The sports club/organisation 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.
Recruitment of staff and volunteers
Have all staff and volunteers been selected through a proper recruitment process?
This should include interviews, references and police checks for staff working with children. There should be someone in charge to supervise staff and volunteers at all times.
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.
Is the coach qualified and licensed by the Angling Trust?
Your child's coach should have a recognised qualification that includes child protection training from a recognised organisation/body. Along with this, the Angling Trust who are the National Governing Body for the sport also run a 'Licensed Coach Scheme' that supports further safeguarding standards by ensuring all coaches have completed the necessary training and checks to do all they can to safeguard children in angling.
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.