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.
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.
Welfare Officer roles
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;
- Size of club
- Structure of club
- Number of training venues
- Type of members (male, female, adult, children and young people, disability)
- Activities delivered.
- Capacity of the Lead Welfare Officer
- Preference of the Lead Welfare Officer
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 email@example.com 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 Time to Listen and/or Adult Welfare Course (see below), depending on the set up of your club.
|Lead Welfare Officer||Additional Welfare Officer|
|Club with both U18s and adult members||
> 18s club
Safeguarding in Athletics eLearning module
This eLearning module provides an understanding of what safeguarding is when it comes to protecting people in athletics. The purpose of the course is to:
- Raise your awareness of the importance of safeguarding
- Help you to recognise indicators of safeguarding concern
- Deal with concerns of abuse, disclosures and reporting procedures
- Show you how to take action if you know or suspect that a child, young person or vulnerable adult needs help
- Promote good practice in your setting and create a safer environment.
The eLearning is self-guided and takes approximately 2-3hrs depending on the person.
Time to Listen
The ‘Time to Listen’ course is an online ‘Zoom’ based workshop with an experienced safeguarding tutor. It’s specifically designed for all club Welfare Officers in athletics to help them understand and deal with safeguarding matters in clubs, know how to report concerns and ensure their clubs are set up with all the required safeguards in place.
Each Zoom course runs from 6-9pm and includes interactive work and discussions between group members. Time to Listen courses are required for Welfare Officers in clubs who have any members aged under 18, including members who participate occasionally in any club events aged 16/17.
Even if you have pre-existing qualifications in safeguarding we strongly advise you attend this course as it is athletics specific and will provide you specific training in the athletics safeguarding environment and case studies.
- Book your place on the Time to Listen course (course costs just £20).
Adult Welfare course
From 1 March 2023, Welfare Officers in an ‘Adults only’ club where members are all aged over 18, do not need to attend the ‘Time to Listen’ course and can attend the new ‘Adult Welfare’ course instead. This course focuses on issues that can arise in clubs without children and also on adult safeguarding.
You can also register your interest by completing the Adult Welfare Training – Register of Interest form. In the meantime you can ensure you have an up to date DBS and have completed the online safeguarding eLearning module course and have familiarised yourself with the UKA and HCAF Club Safeguarding Code of Conduct and other useful materials for Welfare Officers on our Club Hub.
Support for Welfare Officers
Visit Club Hub and filter by role (Welfare Officer) or topic (Welfare and Safeguarding) for extra support and information.
All Club Welfare Officers must have an accepted UKA Enhanced DBS check and complete the online Safeguarding in Athletics eLearning module before attending Time to Listen and/or the Adult Welfare course.
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.
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.
If you have ANY members who are aged under 18, the Lead Welfare Officer must attend the Time to Listen course. It is good practice to also attend the Adult Welfare course, but it is not mandatory.
All Welfare Officers must have completed the Safeguarding in Athletics online e-module and either the Time to Listen 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.
If you have attended a general Time to Listen course through the CPSU, you may be able to use this qualification. You will need to send a copy of your certificate (which must have been issued within the last 3 years) to firstname.lastname@example.org, who will let you know if it is acceptable and can add it to your URN record.
As we do need all Welfare Officers to have training in a sports safeguarding. We do not accept pre-existing general Time To Listen courses but can consider sports specific Time to Listen courses completed in the last three years.
However, we strongly recommend that all Welfare Officers also attend the England Athletics Time to Listen course, as it is sport specific and will give you details of policies and processes in athletics.
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.