My last communication to you was in May this year, and as we are now a year on from the allegations of non-recent sexual abuse coming to light via a number of former players speaking openly in the media, I thought it timely to communicate with you again.
I wanted to let you know that the football leadership organisations in England – The FA, Premier League, EFL, PFA, LMA and PGMOL – have come together to outline the safeguarding framework that exists around the game and what’s been put in place since the disclosures of November 2016.
The document, entitled ‘Keeping Football Safe and Enjoyable’, outlines Football’s united safeguarding strategy to:
- Implement preventative safeguarding measures and create fun, safe football environments;
- Make the reporting of concerns as easy as possible;
- Ensure safeguarding and child protection concerns are investigated swiftly and thoroughly in conjunction with statutory agencies – and with demonstrable outcomes
The document can be found attached below for your reference.
Your club and your leadership in your club is key to keeping football safe and enjoyable.
You do this in a number of ways, including:
Ensuring children are listened to and have the opportunity to say how they are feeling. Creating an open culture is key to children staying safe
- Keeping the Whole Game System up to date, with all managers and coaches listed against the teams they are working with
- Ensuring that managers, coaches, physios, first aiders and others in regulated activity have an in-date-criminal record check as well as having completed their safeguarding training
- Checking every parent and young player knows who the welfare officer is and how to contact them if needed
- Seeking advice and guidance from the County Designated Safeguarding Officer and making referrals where there are safeguarding concerns
- Having safeguarding and player wellbeing as a regular item on the committee agenda and ensuring all committee members have completed the Online Safeguarding for Committee Members course – 26,000 chairpersons, secretaries, treasurers and welfare officers have done so to date and all will need to have done this to affiliate for the 2018-19 season
- Dealing with complaints in an open and transparent way and making sure the Code of Conduct is alive and enforced
All of this, and more, means that your club is alive to its responsibilities when it comes to keeping children safe.
Other things that clubs have shared they are doing include:
- Increasing the number of welfare officers, so that there is better visibility and access to the welfare officers across all teams. It’s interesting to know that in some recent research, children said they felt less safe in bigger clubs
- Refreshing the content on your club website, so everyone knows who your club welfare officer is and how the club meets it’s safeguarding responsibilities
- Taking advantage of The FAs free online recertification course for those who completed the safeguarding children workshops more than three years ago
And finally, following the safeguarding visits from County FAs early this year and the positive feedback from clubs welcoming this engagement with them, County FAs will once again be making more unannounced visits to club training nights. This enables them to meet club officials, talk with parents and coaches and validate the data held on the Whole Game System from a safeguarding perspective.
I wish you well and thank you once again for the support and energy you have brought to your roles.