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.    

Club Welfare Officers  play a key role in ensuring that that club members have a safe and positive experience at their club.  Welfare Officers are key to all members knowing what to do and who to speak to if they have a safeguarding or discipline or conduct concern. They are also key to managing lower-level club issues and disputes, and/or flagging concerns for early intervention to prevent escalation and behaviours which prevent enjoyment of the sport.  Welfare Officers also form part of the club committee and perform a key role in implementing good safeguarding governance locally at your club.

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.  

Welfare Officer requirements

In line with the HCAF and UKA Club Safeguarding Code of Conduct and Club Standards, clubs should appoint at least one Lead Welfare Officer who is appropriately trained. The Lead Welfare Officer is they key contact and coordination person for all welfare matters within the club.

England Athletics recommends that clubs also appoint one or more additional Welfare Officers who are appropriately trained to assist the Lead Welfare Officer. This is beneficial because:

  • They will provide additional support to the Lead Welfare Officer
  • Your club will have more than one welfare point of contact
  • Club members have a second person to speak to if, for example, one of your Welfare Officer may be friends or connected to persons involved
  • It will aid with succession planning.
  • You may wish to consider having a male and female Welfare Officer as, in some welfare matters of a sensitive nature, members may prefer to speak to someone of the same gender.

    Clubs should decide on the number of additional Welfare Officers to support the Lead Welfare Officer by carrying out a risk assessment and considering the following;

    1. Size of club
    2. Structure of club
    3. Number of training venues
    4. Type of members (male, female, adult, children and young people, disability)
    5. Activities delivered.
    6. Capacity of the Lead Welfare Officer
    7. Preference of the Lead Welfare Officer

    Welfare Officer training

    Step 1: All clubs should update the ‘My athletics portal – club management’ with Welfare Officer details.  Please ensure you use the drop down to select the member’s role as ‘Welfare Officer’ or ‘Lead Welfare Officer’.

    This will enable clubs to check that all Welfare Officers are appropriately trained and have an up to date DBS. It will also enable Welfare Officers to receive specific role-based communications from England Athletics.

    Step 2: Apply for a UKA Enhanced DBS.  Even though your Welfare Officer may have a DBS elsewhere, you will need to ensure they apply for a check so this can viewed and kept up to date on the MyAthletics portal.  Once you have selected the person’s role as ‘Welfare Officer’ the system will then give them a link to apply for a DBS when they log in. If they have problems with this or have an enhanced DBS elsewhere AND are signed up to the DBS Update Service, the member can email to get the membership portal updated.

    Step 3: Complete the ‘Safeguarding in Athletics’ eLearning Module. This can be accessed by booking online through Athletics Hub.

    Step 4: Attend either Child Welfare Course (formerly time to listen) and/or Adult Welfare Course (see below), depending on the set up of your club.

    Lead Welfare OfficerAdditional Welfare Officer
    Club with both U18s and adult membersUKA DBS check
    Safeguarding in Athletics
    Child Welfare course
    Adult Welfare course (optional)
    UKA DBS check
    Safeguarding in Athletics
    Either: Child Welfare course
    Adult Welfare course
    Adults only
    > 18s club
    UKA DBS check
    Safeguarding in Athletics
    Adult Welfare course
    UKA DBS check
    Safeguarding in Athletics
    Adult Welfare course (optional)


    Are there any prerequisites to attending the Child Welfare Course and Adult Welfare courses?

    All Club Welfare Officers must have an accepted UKA Enhanced DBS check and complete the online Safeguarding in Athletics eLearning module before attending Child Welfare Course (formerly Time to Listen) and/or the Adult Welfare course.

    I have completed the Time to Listen course in the last three years, do I have to do the Child Welfare course?

    No. We have just rebranded from Time to Listen to Child Welfare course. The course is valid for three years.

    How long is the Child Welfare and Adult Welfare courses valid for?

    Both courses are valid for three years. It’s important to redo the courses to keep up to date as legislation and guidance can change in this period.

    We are an adult only club with a Lead Welfare Officer who has completed the Time to Listen (now Child Welfare course) course last year and it's valid for three years. Will this still be accepted for club standards?

    Yes. The Time to Listen course is still valid and will be accepted for Club Standards. It is recommended that you attend the Adult Welfare course as it will provide support specifically to clubs with members aged over 18.

    We have a mix of children and young people, and adults within our club. Does our Welfare Officer need to do both the Child Welfare and the Adult Welfare courses?

    If you have ANY members who are aged under 18, the Lead Welfare Officer must attend the Child Welfare course (formerly Time to Listen) course. It is good practice to also attend the Adult Welfare course, but it is not mandatory.

    What is the difference between the Lead Welfare Officer and the Welfare Officer?

    All Welfare Officers must have completed the Safeguarding in Athletics online e-module and either the Time to Listen / Child Welfare course or Adult Welfare course. They must also have an accepted UKA enhanced DBS.

    The Lead Welfare Officer is the person who will liaise with England Athletics/UK Athletics on serious misconduct and safeguarding allegations and will be the first point of contact from both organisations.

    Can I use my Time to Listen certificate from another sport?

    No.  All Welfare Officers should attend the England Athletics Child Welfare (formerly Time to Listen) course, as it is sport specific and will give you details of policies and processes in athletics.

    I am trained in safeguarding through my work/other role. Can I be exempt from attending the Child Welfare course and/or Adult Welfare course?

    England Athletics recognises and values Club Welfare Officers who have previous knowledge and training in safeguarding. Your experience will be an asset to your club. However, it is important that you complete the England Athletics courses, which focus on our own internal reporting procedures and policies and case studies in athletics, to ensure everyone in athletics knows how to report within the sport and when and how to report concerns externally.

    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. 


    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 Child Welfare (formerly 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.

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