Helping clubs recruit volunteers safely

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Recruiting volunteers can be challenging. When someone volunteers it can be really tempting to simply say ‘yes’ and get them involved straight away. Whilst this might be a quick solution, it could cause issues within the club longer term. This could cause a negative experience for your members, stressful for your committee and a poor experience for the volunteers themselves.

Every athletics and running club is responsible for their own governance and has a legal duty of care to all members.

The Ann Craft Trust states that “legally, anyone undertaking a role that involves contact with, or responsibility for, children or other vulnerable adults should be taken through a safe recruitment process. Some individuals may not be suitable to work with (children, young people or) adults at risk due to gaps in their understanding, skills, or knowledge. There may also be some concerns about their previous conduct.”


  • The club is meeting their legal and moral duty to provide care
  • Club members feel safer and have a positive experience
  • Positive safe experiences lead to higher retention rates
  • Volunteers are placed in a role suited to their skills and experience
  • If put across in the right way, a recruitment process can be seen as a positive way of bringing a new person into the club

Key Ideas

  • Club committee to agree and implement a safer recruitment process to ensure a consistent approach is taken.

  • Consider having a designated person to manage the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

  • Identify where you need volunteers and define the role or tasks, you might wish to create a role description or use the templates provided by England Athletics.

  • Actively recruit by promoting the role internally and externally to the club. Use an application form so you can find out more about the volunteer and what role would suit them.

  • When someone shows an interest in volunteering, take time to get to know them. This will help to place them in a role that matches their interests and experience.

  • Ensure you carry out the required checks for each role (License Check, References, DBS or Self Declaration)


Yes No
Does your club have a safe recruitment process?
Great. Ensure that the process has a regular review date and that any new members to the club are aware of the process. The Safer Recruitment Guide will help with this.
A safe recruitment process is one of the ways your club can prevent harm to the people in your care. The Safer Recruitment Guide will help with this.
Are you aware of the checks your club needs to carry out on all volunteers to ensure activity is safe?
Great. It’s so important to recruit safely. Don’t forget to regularly review volunteer checks, particularly when licenses are due to expire.
It’s important that your club recruits volunteers in a safe way and the relevant checks are carried out. You can use the Safe Recruitment Guide to understand what checks are required for each volunteer role.
Does your club provide opportunities for volunteers to access safeguarding training?
Great. It’s recommended to renew safeguarding training every three years to keep volunteers up to date with any changes to legislation.
All volunteers can access the safeguarding in an athletics self-paced online course. You might want to include this in the induction or as part of training for all your volunteers.
Do you maintain a record of volunteers including DBS certificates and safeguarding training?
Well done. It’s particularly important to maintain records for existing and new volunteers as licenses and circumstances can change whilst volunteering at your club.
It’s a real risk to your club and members to not maintain a record of DBS certificates and safeguarding training. You can use the myAthletics portal to check DBS statuses.
Do all your club volunteers receive an induction?
Great. The induction process should be reviewed regularly and be updated as and when club policies change.
You can use the induction checklist to carry out volunteer inductions. The induction will outline expected behaviours that will help with retention. It’ll also help to deter people looking to get involved for the wrong reasons.

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