Article - It’s time to take safeguarding seriously
I’m disappointed that it has taken the emergence of issues around safeguarding in the media for the country to wake up to the fact that we need formal monitoring and a set of standard regulations put in place.
Even within Sport England’s quality scheme, Quest, where we’ve offered a safeguarding module since 2014, it’s only since the recent scandals hit the news that we’ve seen a rise in the number of facilities choosing to be assessed on this topic. We’ve now made safeguarding – a unit co-written with the NSPCC Child Protection Sport Unit – one of seven compulsory unscored Quest modules, in order to encourage its uptake.
We’re also adding compulsory safeguarding-specific questions to the overall health and safety declaration assessment for facilities and their resident clubs, so sites must pass these to achieve Quest status. These will determine whether they have a safeguarding policy in place, if they’ve considered DBS in their risk assessment process, if they have up-to-date DBS for staff, if staff know who their safeguarding officer is and how they report suspected issues.
Everyone assumes that safeguarding means protection against dodgy customers but issues can also include staff. Therefore, training needs to be pitched to individual staff levels, to ensure everyone is aware of what signs to look for and the steps in place to report anything problematic.
Some of the bigger operators are leading the way, making the Safeguarding module mandatory as one of their Quest modules.
- Caroline Constantine, Company Director, Right Directions
This article has also been published in Sports Management, click here to view