Update on the UK-wide safeguarding review

UK Athletics (UKA) and the four Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs); Athletics Northern Ireland, England Athletics, Scottish Athletics and Welsh Athletics are today publishing the first quarterly update following the Independent Review of UK Athletics Safeguarding - Executive Summary and Recommendations.

To support and inform the development and implementation of effective and measurable outcomes to the recommendations, UKA and the HCAFs established a working group that meets on a monthly basis. The group membership includes safeguarding officers from each of the athletics governing bodies with additional support by the NSPCCs Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and support from the Ann Craft Trust.

UKA CEO Joanna Coates said: "We welcome the progress made against the core recommendations of the Safeguarding Review so far which clearly laid out what was required of UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations. “The first steps are under way and the new working group comprising representatives across all organisations is exactly what was needed."

The Review, published this summer included six core recommendations and the following updates can be provided.

Core Recommendations 1,2,3

Core Recommendation 1: Subject to any necessary variations in consequence of devolution - there should be one single universally applicable safeguarding policy for athletics in the UK for children and another for adults at risk in athletics in the UK.

Core Recommendation 2: The UKA child safeguarding policy should be reviewed and amended in accordance with the recommendations herein.

Core Recommendation 3: The UKA Adults at Risk safeguarding policy should be reviewed and amended in accordance with the recommendations herein.


The first three core recommendations refer specifically to the development of new safeguarding policies, and to that end we have:

  • Developed and agreed a revised Child Safeguarding policy which has been endorsed by CPSU
  • Developed and agreed a revised Adult Safeguarding policy which is currently being assessed by the Ann Craft Trust

The next steps will be for these policies to be submitted to the boards of UK Athletics and the HCAFs for formal approval and adoption.

Core Recommendations 4,5,6

Core Recommendation 4: UKA should take operational responsibility for safeguarding in the sport of athletics in the UK.

Core Recommendation 5: That responsibility should include (but is not limited to) the following aspects:

  • Subject to any necessary variations in consequence of devolution, the provision of effective universally applicable UK-wide safeguarding policies for children and adults at risk.
  • Those policies should be enforced by way of a dedicated safeguarding procedure for all safeguarding cases, which has at its heart an assessment of risk.
  • Safeguarding cases   should   be   managed   by   the   UKA safeguarding team, working with the HCAFs safeguarding leads, assisted by a bespoke case management system.
  • Safeguarding investigations   should   be   conducted   and superintended by the UKA safeguarding team.

Core Recommendation 6: In furtherance thereof, UKA should establish:

  • A case management group to consider safeguarding cases which includes the UKA and HCAFs lead safeguarding officers.
  • An Independent Panel of suitably experienced and qualified safeguarding experts to determine safeguarding cases referred to it.
  • An Independent Appeal Panel.


Core recommendations 4, 5 and 6 relate to UK Athletics taking operational responsibility for safeguarding across the UK. To ensure this happens in a focused and consistent manner the working group has:

  • Drafted and agreed standard operating procedures for managing safeguarding referrals across and between the five organisations
  • Established an internal Case Management Group with clear terms of reference and is now exploring how to introduce independent and external representation onto this group as outlined in the recommendations
  • Undertaken a scoping exercise to identify a new Case Management System to underpin safeguarding processes
  • Scoped the role requirements for an independent disciplinary panel/appeals panel

Other Recommendations

Further updates against other recommendations

  • As per recommendation 1, the executive responsibility for safeguarding at UKA and each HCAF has been written into the job description of a full-time member of staff who is a member of the respective senior leadership team.
  • As per recommendation 5, UKA’s “Photographic Policy Guidance for Athletics Clubs and Stadiums” has been amended in accordance with the recommendations made.
  • As per recommendation 10, UKA is now informing HCAFs in writing not less than three months before expiry of a coach’s or official’s licence.

By the next quarterly update, it is expected that most of the core six recommendations will have been delivered in full in addition to certain other recommendations. Thereafter the focus will move to delivery against the remaining recommendations and in particular those related to Training and Audit.

Click here to view the full Safeguarding Review on the UKA website.