Club Standards: Obtaining the Safeguarding standard by 2025

As our network of clubs is aware, next year will see a significant step forward with regards to our sport providing genuinely safe and welcoming environments, which allow everyone to participate, flourish and share enjoyment of running and athletics.

From 2025, in order to reaffiliate with England Athletics, clubs must achieve our ‘Safeguarding’ standard as a mandatory requirement. Clubs affiliated to British Triathlon can opt out of this mandatory standard, and choose instead to follow British Triathlon’s guidance.

While we know that all clubs share in our desire to ensure running and athletics to be a safe, welcoming space for all, we know that any form of change has the potential to be the source of confusion.

Therefore, we have detailed below – and have distributed to clubs – the key information associated with this change.

What does this mean for clubs?

Before reaffiliation in 2025, clubs will have to:

  1. Confirm that your club agrees to implement the UK Athletics and HCAF Safeguarding club code of conduct.
  2. Confirm that you have ensure your members have agreed to the relevant UK Athletics and HCAF Code of Conducts and are managing the conduct and behaviour of those associated with the club as officials, coaches, volunteers, athletes, runners and supporters.
  3. Appoint a minimum of one Lead Welfare Officer that has completed the online UK Athletics Safeguarding course, the virtual England Athletics Welfare Officer Training (or that from British Triathlon) and complete a DBS check.
  4. Declare all your active coaches and leaders and ensure that they have valid England Athletics licence.

What support is available?

87% of our affiliated clubs are engaged in working towards the full set of seven standards (of which Safeguarding is one), and our existing support – which includes our designated Club Support Managers, online resources via Club Hub and myAthletics – will be complemented and enhanced from April 2024, with the addition of regular virtual clinics for clubs. The schedule for those (including registration links) is as follows:

Why is it so important?

Safeguarding is one of our set of standards, developed in line with legal legislation and Sport England’s Code of Sports Governance, which help clubs understand what they should have in place for good governance and duty of care.

Good governance is the foundation of a well-run club. It protects the club’s values and reputation whilst looking after the club’s funds and people. It also holds those responsible accountable for the club’s actions and decisions. It’s represented by the structures, rules, policies and practices in operation in a club.

‘Duty of care’ is a common law that applies to all individuals and organisations. Clubs have a duty of care towards their members and are responsible for ensuring all club activity is safe. Everyone has a role to play in keeping others safe. All club members should know what to do if they have any concerns.

What benefits are there to clubs?

Some of the benefits of adopting the set of standards are outlined here by representatives from Brentwood Beagles and Rotherham Harriers.

Among the array of benefits to clubs of achieving Safeguarding and our other standards are:

  • You are legally compliant
  • You are able to protect and support volunteers in their roles
  • You can ensure members are accessing club activity safely, protecting them from harm, incidents and accidents.
  • You will minimise club issues and conflicts
  • You give your members the confidence that the volunteers have the interests of the club at heart and are making decisions based on what is right for the club
  • You can engage with your members so they understand how the club operates and can contribute to the success 
  • You have happier members, less churn, bigger growth and perform better
  • You save time when policies or procedures need to be adopted 

Want to know more about Club Standards?