Welfare covers a range of issues such as safeguarding and protecting children, anti-bullying, poor practice in coaching and disciplinary matters. It encompasses policies and procedures to set out minimum standards of expectations, such as codes of conduct, procedures to follow for dealing with child protection concerns, other welfare issues or complaints, and to ensure that England Athletics, clubs and associations meet their statutory responsibilities to safeguard and protect children and adults.
Welfare is essential to contribute to good practice within athletics, develop performance and to ensure the safety and enjoyment of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.
It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the welfare of all those who participate in athletics.
The key roles and responsibilities are set out below.
England Athletics affiliated athletics & running clubs
- Every athletics club should appoint at least one Welfare Officer, preferably two, one male and one female and they should notify England Athletics of the name and email address for each Welfare Officer. This can be done via the Club Secretaries Portal or re-affiliation paperwork.
- ALL club officers and committee members have responsibility to uphold the club’s policies and procedures, to adhere to good practice and to support the club Welfare Officer to respond to any suspected breaches. This is NOT the sole responsibility of the Welfare Officer.
- Under the Welfare Policies and Procedures, if there is any concern about child abuse the Welfare Officer should be informed immediately. If the Welfare Officer is not available, the person with concerns should report the matter to the UK Athletics Lead Safeguarding Officer, please refer to England Athletics Reporting Flowcharts available at www.englandathletics.org/clubs-and-facilities/club-support-services/compliance-wellbeing/club-safeguarding-and-disciplinary-processes/.
- The Welfare Officer, club officers and committee members should ensure that information is available at the club and to all club officers, team managers, coaches, officials and athletes regarding contact details for local Children’s services, the police and the NSPCC. For more details please see www.englandathletics.org/clubs-and-facilities/club-support-services/compliance-wellbeing/useful-links-and-signposting/
- The club officers and committee members should ensure there are club disciplinary procedures to deal with issues of misconduct which are not child abuse. More information is available at www.englandathletics.org/clubs-and-facilities/club-support-services/compliance-wellbeing/club-safeguarding-and-disciplinary-processes/
- All club officers and committee members should ensure that relevant club personnel attend recommended training in welfare and safeguarding and comply with requirements to obtain an Enhanced DBS where appropriate. It is the responsibility of the club (not just the Welfare Officer) to ensure that there is a volunteer recruitment process in place which includes a volunteer reference form and that all volunteers/helpers are recruited using this process.
Club Welfare Officers
The Welfare Officer’s role is to
- advise and support the club officers and committee to implement welfare policies and procedures and to support the club to adhere to codes of conduct and good practice
- ensure that all club coaches / helpers / volunteers have completed a volunteer recruitment process which includes volunteer reference forms & DBS checks (where required). They should assist in ensuring that this process is completed in a timely manner. It would be strongly recommended that a yearly club audit of all volunteers is completed, which should include training needs, awareness and understanding of polices. The Welfare Officer should also ensure there is a process in place within the club for auditing DBS checks and UKA Licences of all relevant Coaches, Officials and Volunteers to ensure they are regularly updated (every three years).
- respond to suspected breaches of the Welfare Policies and Procedures that may be referred to them, in accordance with the club’s Welfare Procedures, and to advise and support other club officers or committee members on how to respond appropriately in accordance with the procedures
- report any concerns about child abuse to the UKA Lead Safeguarding Officer in the first instance. For out of office hours reports, please contact local children’s social care services or the police immediately for advice if a Child is at risk.
Club Welfare Officer Training Check List
Step 1: Ensure that your Club Secretary updates the Club Secretary Portal with your details (name and email address), highlighting you as the official Club Welfare Officer.
Step 2: Apply for a UKA Enhanced DBS. See www.englandathletics.org/clubs-and-facilities/club-support-services/compliance-wellbeing/safeguarding-checks-and-dbs-processes/
Step 3: Complete the Safeguarding in Athletics Online Education Resource. This can be accessed at https://www.ulearnathletics.com/module/161
Step 4: Attend a Time to Listen Workshop; England Athletics will be running a number of workshops in 2019. Please contact your regional England Athletics Club Support Manager for further details. Their details can be found at www.englandathletics.org/clubs-and-facilities/club-support-services/contact-club-support/. Alternatively you can access multi-sport workshops via the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) via thecpsu.org.uk/training-events/
Please ensure that you keep hold of your attendance/completion certificates, England Athletics will be carrying out annual club audits to ensure Club Welfare Officers have completed all the necessary training.