Collections

The Role of a Club Welfare Officer

While safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone within the club (led by the whole committee), having a club welfare officer (or officers) ensures the club has a dedicated person with the primary responsibility for managing and reporting concerns about children or adults at risk.    

The welfare officer gives members a trained and trusted person to speak to about a concern, either within the club or at times outside athletics. The welfare officer is the  lead person who has the right skills and knowledge to manage any concern raised in an appropriate way. They will know how to deal with concerns in a way that wouldn’t hamper an investigation. Their responsibility will be to  ensure the right information is shared with the right people at the right time.   

By completing training provided by England Athletics and understanding the policies and procedures set out by UK Athletics, clubs can be confident that their welfare officers have the right level of knowledge for the role.  This includes how to raise a concern and who to speak to within the sport.  

Steps to becoming a Welfare Officer

Welfare officers should complete the following four steps to ensure they are best placed to be effective in their role; 

  1. Receive DBS clearance from UK Athletics every three years. 
  1. Register as the club welfare officer on the myAthletics portal. 
  1. Complete the online ‘Safeguarding in Athletics’ module every three years. 
  1. Attend a ‘Time to Listen’ course every three years. 

Key Ideas

  • Please ensure you have a direct line of communication with the club committee; ideally a welfare officer will be part of the committee. Ways to include welfare updates in committee meetings may include producing regular reports or updates via email or attending a meeting as a guest to provide an update or discuss a particular topic. 

  • Familiarise yourself with the UK Athletics and club policies and procedures to understand your role and how to report concerns. 

  • It’s important to build positive relationships with club members to develop a sense of trust. Think about how you can be visible to members. This could include having a photo on the club website, attending training sessions and/or events and speaking to members, volunteers and parents.  You should provide clear information on how they can contact you if they wish to share a concern. 

  • Whilst you are a designated person for safeguarding within the club, this does not only sit on your shoulders. It’s important that you and the committee have agreed on the scope of your role within the club as well as the safeguarding responsibilities of the committee. This must be clearly communicated to all. 

  • Keep up to date on current information relating to safeguarding. You can do this by signing up to newsletters, downloading further reading material, accessing courses or linking with other welfare officers. 

Questions

Yes No
Do you understand the UKA and Club Policies and Procedures for Safeguarding?
That’s great. Please ensure you have the most up to date versions by checking the UKA Website.
It’s really important that you have a full understanding of the UKA Policies and Procedures for Adult and Child Safeguarding so that you know how to manage any concern and where to get support. You should also understand any club internal policies relating to safeguarding, for example a social media policy.
Do you take time to build a sense of trust with club members and promote your role (including how to contact you, so that they know who to speak to if they have a concern)?
Excellent. Being visible and accessible within the club environment will encourage members to talk to you and for concerns to be raised early on.
It’s important for the club welfare officers to be visible during training sessions and accessible to club members by providing a method of contact. Being visible allows members to build trust in the welfare officers and see them as a person they can go and speak to.
Do you have a direct line of communication with the club committee?
You are on the right track! It’s important that you regularly communicate with the committee to ensure that safeguarding remains a priority within the club. It should be considered at the heart of all activities and opportunities.
Best practice would be that a welfare officer sits as part of the committee. However, if this is not possible you could attend meetings as a co-opted member or guest and/or have a regular contact person on the committee who you meet with separately.
Do you have a role description that has been shared and agreed with the committee?
Super. Ensure that this information is shared with the committee and wider membership.
Having a role description ensures both you and the committee understand the scope of the welfare officer role.
Are you clear on the procedure of raising a concern?
Super. Ensure that this information is shared with the committee and wider membership.
Please read through the UKA Safeguarding procedures for Children and Adults to find the information you need around raising concerns. Please ensure you have easy access to any contact information you may need. If you have an immediate concern, please contact the UKA safeguarding team.
Are you aware of how to manage a concern?
Perfect. While we hope you will not need to use this knowledge, you are right to be prepared.
The ‘Time to Listen’ training helps you to understand your role in managing a concern. If you have already attended this course and still feel unsure, take a look at the UKA safeguarding policies, procedures and other resources. If you have an ongoing concern, please make contact with the UKA Safeguarding team.

Related Resources

Related Training

Related Collections