UK Athletics and HCAF Children and Young People Code of Conduct

The UK Athletics (UKA) and the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAF) Codes of Conduct set out national standards of conduct for all clubs, coaches, officials, volunteers and athletes in the sport.

The 2021 revised codes take account of developments in national policy, guidance and practice. Every club, club member and anyone undertaking a relevant role must agree to abide by the codes of conduct either when they join a club as part of the club application process, or when they renew their club membership or UKA licence.

The purpose of a code is to clarify:

  • what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable
  • the standards of practice expected
  • the basis for challenging and improving practice.

The codes are therefore a guide for individuals and clubs to think about, and monitor, how they, and others, conduct themselves in their roles. The codes let everyone know what they can expect from the club, coaches and volunteers, but also what standard of behaviour is expected from club members, athletes and parents/carers.

The codes are a tool for continuous improvement. They can be used prior to or during training sessions, at club or team meetings, and must form part of new member inductions, and at annual renewal of membership.

For all clubs, the codes are an important part of monitoring and improving the behaviour and practice of its members. When a club member does not meet the expectations set out in the codes, disciplinary or performance management action may be taken by the club. Adopting and communicating clear codes of conduct is an important element in delivering the standards for child wellbeing and protection in sport.

Children and young people have their own codes of conduct and should be clear about their club’s expectations in terms of acceptable behaviour and conduct. It can be beneficial to ask children in their group/team to discuss and agree what the consequences of breaking these codes should be for them. This could be done at the start of the year, before a trip away from home, or as part of a training event.

For groups of very young children, it can be useful to have them develop together a specific behaviour code or charter for their group. Such charters are used extensively in primary schools and the children will recognise and understand what they are being asked to do.