Keeping your children safe when using our platform

Sports, clubs and other activities are a great way to learn new skills and make new friends. Whether it’s a drama class or martial arts club, arts and crafts or band practice, hobbies and activities can be an important part of growing up and learning to be more independent.

It’s important to make sure your kids are safe and happy, wherever they are. We’ve got advice to help keep your children safe at their club, sport or activity, so they can focus on training, learning and having fun.

What to look for in a club, sport or other activity

It’s important to look for a club, sport or activity that takes the safety and wellbeing of your child seriously. Always check whether the club or organisation is accredited or otherwise affiliated to a body (e.g. a sports governing body or national voluntary sector or faith organisation) as this should mean they have the right safeguarding policies and procedures in place.

Some activities are provided by local volunteers and may not be formally accredited or affiliated. In all instances there are some key things to look for to ensure they take children’s safety seriously.

Keeping your children safe when using our platform

  1. Awelfare or child protection officer you can contact about safeguarding or with any concerns
  2. Clear procedures and processes for raisingcomplaints and concerns.
  3. Written standards of good practice – like acode of conduct or code of behaviour. This should outline the boundaries that staff and volunteers should respect when working with children and young people and should address things like discrimination and bullying and social media behaviour.
  4. Effective consent and emergency processes. You should receive a form asking for your consent to the activity, for your contact details, and any relevant medical information about your child from the club or organisation.
  5. Asafe recruitment process for staff and volunteers, includingvetting. This means they have appropriate references, criminal records checks and the right technical qualifications for the activity.
  6. Staff and volunteers are trained in safeguarding (child protection). NSPCC Learning provides information and online courses if you work with children.
  7. Children and young people are suitably supervised (based on their age, ability, the activity and venue) by adults who are trained to care for them.
  8. The activity takes place in a safe environment and there are separate changing areas for children and adults.

What should a provider have in place?

A safeguarding policy

Clubs should have a safeguarding policy, which outlines their commitment to protecting children and a clear procedure for dealing with concerns of abuse or poor practice. You should be able to see a copy of this policy. Take a look at our sample safeguarding policy statement, which outlines how a sports organisation will ensure children are kept safe when taking part in their sport.

A club welfare officer

Every club should have a welfare or child protection officer who you can contact if you have a concern about how your child or any other child is treated during their time at the club.

This person should not only be able to help you if you have a serious concern but should also be able to advise you on other issues like bullying, discrimination, other parents’ behaviour or poor practice.

If a welfare officer can’t help you, they’ll hold the contact details for services that can, and will point you in the right direction.

You should receive this person’s contact details when you join. If you don’t, their details should be available from any coach, or be displayed on the club’s website or in their venue for everyone to see.

Codes of conduct for staff, children and parents

There should be a writtencode of behaviour(or conduct) showing what is required of staff, volunteers and participants.

The club should also have clear rules on what’s appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to the relationships they build with your children.

Clubs should use these codes to address any poor behaviour but you can use them too. If you witness something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s always advisable to check your club’s code of conduct to see if any specific rules might have been broken and raise these with the club.

Safeguarding training for staff

All staff working with your child should have had some level of safeguarding training as well as some technical training to make sure they have the knowledge to instruct others in that sport.

The level of safeguarding training they need depends on the type of role they have and the frequency of involvement they have with children.

We have information for coaches, clubs and other sports organisations on what type of training staff should have.

Safe ways of recruiting staff, including criminal records checks

All staff should be subject to something called ‘safer recruitment processes’, which means that they’ve been interviewed, the organisation has seen references, and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or criminal records checks for working with children have been carried out where applicable.

Consent and emergency contact details

We advise that any child under the age of 16 requires a parent’s consent to join a club or activity.

Part of giving your consent should mean that you’re aware of the kind of club you’re sending your child to and that you’re comfortable letting them attend.

As part of your child’s registration, you should also be asked for emergency contacts, key medical information (allergies, asthma, and so on) and whether there is anything else the club needs to know about in order to help your child get the most out of taking part.

Rules on how many adults there are per child

The number of adults in charge at an activity can vary, depending on the age of the children and the type of activity. Whoever oversees that particular sport or activity, such as aNational Governing Body or Active Partnership will have recommended supervision ratios in place. If you’re not sure there’s enough adults leading an activity, you can always check with these organisations.

It’s always recommended that more than one member of staff or volunteer is present when in charge of young people.

Arrangements for away games and competitions

The club or organisation running the event should let you know about the event arrangements in advance, including transport to and from the venue and any hotels or accommodation.

If it’s a long way from home, you should be given a contact number to use in emergencies.

In these instances, you can expect the same level of information about any trips away as you would when your child goes away with school.

Basic levels of health and safety

Make sure that the premises are safe and look well kept. The organisation should have guidance on first aid (and ideally a qualified first aider) and should have the following available if an accident happens:

  • First aid box
  • A way of reporting and responding to injuries or accidents
  • Arrangements to administer medication to children if that’s been agreed with you beforehand
  • If your child needs help with using the toilet, changing, feeding or their medication, you should discuss and agree how these personal care needs will be taken care of.

I’m an activity provider – how can I improve my safeguarding standards?

If you’re an activity provider looking to check or improve your safeguarding policies and procedure please use this self-assessment tool from the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit.

I am concerned about a child

If you’re worried about a child, always talk to someone. If there is something wrong, you may not just be helping one child, you could be helping many children who may be at risk. If you think:

  • a child is in immediate danger of abuse, contact the police on 999
  • there’s no immediate danger and you’re unsure what to do please contact the NSPCC – call, email or submit an online form. They will give advice and take action if needed.

I have concerns over the integrity of an activity provider

If you have concerns about an activity provider, whether it be related to safety, integrity, quality, or indeed anything that jeopardises the safety and quality of the activities provided – please inform Playwaze by filling out the report form below. We will investigate your report and can instantly remove the provider’s ability to publish activities through our websites.

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