Regardless of whether or not you have statutory safeguarding obligations, if your non-profit club comes into contact with children or adults at risk, you have a responsibility to protect them from abuse and neglect.
This means you will need to have a robust safeguarding strategy, and ensure that everyone involved with your club understands their safeguarding role and responsibilities, and is aware of important developments regarding statutory safeguarding guidance and legislation.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about protecting vulnerable people from harm. While anyone can become a victim of abuse or neglect, only certain groups are considered to be at particular risk for safeguarding purposes.
Children, by virtue of their age, always fall into this category. Adults are also classed as vulnerable, if they are unable to protect themselves against the risk of abuse or neglect. This could be for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: a physical disability, a learning disability, or a mental illness.
While the principles of how you safeguard both of these groups are very similar, the ways in which they are dealt with are very different. There is also different legislation, statutory requirements and responsibilities for each.
To add to the complexity of safeguarding, the UK’s four nations each have different laws, statutory guidance and ways of governing and monitoring safeguarding. In England, the main bodies are, Ofsted and CQC. In Scotland, there is the Care Inspectorate and HMIe. Wales has Estyn and CSSIW, and Northern Ireland has an ETI and RQIA.
But whichever part of the UK your club is based in, it is important to consider the safeguarding requirements of staff and volunteers as well as your members and service users, and put in place a strategy that puts their wellbeing at the heart of decision-making.
Changes to safeguarding children statutory guidance
The second half of 2018 saw important changes to guidance and legislation concerning safeguarding children. These changes currently only relate to children in England, but pave the way for future changes in the rest of the UK.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 (KCSIE) has updated rules for safeguarding in schools and colleges, and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (WTSC) sets out what different organisations’ roles are and how they should work together to safeguard children within society. The WTSC 2018 changes include an emphasis on not-for-profit organisations.
Another useful resource for sports clubs who work with children is the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU). The website includes information on how to create a safeguarding policy, various training and events, and safety and safeguarding help for both clubs and parents.
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Source: Zurich Municipal