UK Athletics (UKA) and the four Home Country Athletics Federations; Athletics Northern Ireland, England Athletics, Scottish Athletics and Welsh Athletics have welcomed the publication of the Independent Review of UK Athletics Safeguarding - Executive Summary and Recommendations.
The Review, first announced in December 2019 and launched in March 2020, was commissioned by UKA in collaboration with the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAF) to evaluate existing safeguarding provision in athletics against the highest known standards of best practice in sport. UKA are responsible for leading the area of safeguarding in the sport of athletics, and the Home Country Athletics Federations role is to support clubs to ensure that the high standards are maintained.
Whilst the Review acknowledges that individually UKA and the Home Countries take their safeguarding responsibilities seriously, it recognises that there is scope for improvement and greater coordination and has made 29 recommendations aimed at both developing current service provision and providing a framework to ensure the highest standards are maintained in the future.
The respective CEOs of UKA and the Home Countries have now taken time to review the findings and recommendations and in response are developing a coordinated action management plan which will support the development and implementation of effective and measurable outcomes to the recommendations. For transparency a quarterly dashboard report will update upon the projects progress.
It is recognised that where recommendations require UKA, Home Countries and their member clubs to undertake activities to enhance safeguarding systems, processes and procedures, coupled with the challenging backdrop of the current coronavirus pandemic, timelines for delivery specific to volunteer-organised clubs have been set for an initial 12 months to implement but will be reviewed, and clubs consulted, at regular intervals.
Clubs will be fully supported to enhance their work in this important area through the provision of education and training, resource production, sharing best practice and in supporting club welfare officers to build on their work. However, recommendations which are in the gift of UKA and the HCAF organisations to deliver outside these areas are already commencing, with UKA soon to recruit further independent expertise into the case management process.
UKA CEO Joanna Coates said:
“I welcome the findings of the Safeguarding Review which clearly lay out what is required of UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations through the comprehensive set of recommendations.
“Whilst the report recognised the commitment of all organisations to creating a safe environment, ultimately the number of recommendations demonstrates that there is a lot more work to be done, it’s not enough to be ok or good – we need to strive to be excellent in this area to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people.
“Working in collaboration with the other CEOs the action plan being developed will enable us to adopt the recommendations as well as ensuring a transparency of reporting every quarter so that progress can be fully monitored across the sport.
“The first steps are under way and we will soon be recruiting the independent expertise needed to enhance the new structure and process for Case Management. I look forward to making the changes needed and I am fully committed to ensuring we have the very best people delivering in this area.”