The following safeguards are a combination of best practice and guidelines to support children and adults in a range of situations. Their purpose is to minimise risks that have been identified through previous experience and risk assessment. Not every situation can be prepared for, however, the following are circumstances which need an informed approach and common sense applied.
Celebration & Communication
Planning & Organisation
Recognising that circumstances will always be different, these safeguards provide generic advice which can be applied as appropriately considered by the member of staff or volunteer who is responsible at a particular time or in preparation of a specific activity.
From time to time members of staff and volunteers delivering football to children may be required to deal with a child's behaviour that they find challenging. These guidelines aim to promote good practice which can help support children to manage their own behaviour. They suggest some strategies and sanctions which can be used and also identify unacceptable actions or interventions which must never be used by members of staff or volunteers.
These guidelines are based on the following principles:
Good coaching practice requires planning sessions around the group as a whole but also involves taking into consideration the needs of each individual player within that group. As part of a risk assessment, coaches should consider whether any members of the group have presented challenges in the past or are likely to present any difficulties in relation to the tasks involved, the other participants or the environment.
Where members of staff and volunteers identify any potential risks, strategies to manage those risks should be agreed in advance of the session, event or activity. The risk assessment should also identify the appropriate number of adults required to safely manage and support the session including being able to adequately respond to any behaviour and to safeguard other members of the group and the members of staff and volunteers involved.
All those delivering activities to children should receive training on these guidelines and should be supported to address issues of behaviour through regular supervision.
Agreeing Acceptable and Unacceptable Behaviours
Staff, volunteers, children and parents/carers should be involved in developing an agreed statement of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They should also agree upon the range of options which may be applied in response to unacceptable behaviour (e.g. dropped from the team for one game etc). This can be done at the start of the season, in advance of a trip away from home or as part of a welcome session.
Issues of behaviour and control should regularly be discussed with members of staff, volunteers, parents/carers and children in the context of rights and responsibilities. It is beneficial to ask children as a group to set out what behaviour they find acceptable and unacceptable within their group or team. It is also helpful to ask them what the consequences of breaking the 'agreement' should be. Experience shows that they will tend to come up with a sensible and working 'agreement'. If and when such a list is compiled, every member of the group can be asked to sign it, as can new members as they join. It can then be beneficial to have a copy of the 'agreement' visible for reference during the activity.
In dealing with children who display risk-taking or unacceptable behaviours, members of staff and volunteers might consider the following options:
Adults and children shall never be permitted to use any of the following as a means of managing a child's behaviour:
Members of staff and volunteers should review the needs of any child on whom consequences are frequently imposed. This review should involve the child and parents/carers to ensure an informed decision is made about the child's future or continued participation in the group or team. Whilst it would always be against the wishes of everyone involved in the club, ultimately, if a child continues to present a high level of risk or danger to him or herself, or others, he or she may not be able to continue participating.
The use of physical interventions should always be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary in order to prevent a child injuring themselves, injuring others or causing serious damage to property. All forms of physical intervention shall form part of a broader approach to the management of behaviour.
Physical contact to prevent something happening should always be the result of conscious decision-making and not a reaction. Before physically intervening, the member of staff or volunteer should ask themselves, 'Is this the only option in order to manage the situation and ensure safety?'
The following must always be considered:
Any physical intervention used should be recorded as soon as possible after the incident by the member of staff and/or volunteers involved using the Concern Recording Form, reported to and passed to the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer as soon as possible. In terms of wellbeing indicators, safety and any others in relation to the circumstances would be highlighted in terms of their behaviour risking their wellbeing.
A timely debrief for members of staff and volunteers, the child and parents/carers should always take place following an incident where physical intervention has been used. This should include ensuring that the physical and emotional wellbeing of those involved has been addressed and ongoing support offered where necessary. Members of staff and volunteers, children and parents/carers should be given an opportunity to talk about what happened in a calm and safe environment. There should also be a discussion with the child and parents/carers about the child's needs and continued safe participation in the group, team or activity.
All forms of physical contact should respect and be sensitive to the needs and wishes of the child and should take place in a culture of dignity and respect for all children. Children should be encouraged to express their views on physical contact.
In the first instance, coaching techniques should be delivered by demonstration (either by the coach or a player who can display the technique being taught). Educational instruction should be clearly explained with a description of how it is proposed to handle or have contact with the child before doing so. This should be accompanied by asking if the child is comfortable. Manual support should be provided openly and must always be proportionate to the circumstances.
If it is necessary to help a child with personal tasks e.g. toileting or changing, the child and parents/carers should be encouraged to express a preference regarding the support and should be encouraged to speak out about methods of support with which they are uncomfortable. Members of staff and volunteers should work with parents/carers and children to develop practiced routines for personal care so that parents/carers and children know what to expect. Do not take on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained e.g. manual assistance for a child with a physical disability.
Within football, as within other activities, sexual relationships do occur. It is important to address sexual activity both between children and between adults and children.
Sexual activity between children involved in football is prohibited during team events, in facilities and social activities organised by the club. Inappropriate or criminal sexual behaviour committed by a child may lead to the information being shared with the child's Named Person and may lead to reports being made to external agencies such as the police or social services.
Sexual interactions between adults and children (16+) involved in football raise serious issues given the power imbalance inherent in the relationship. Where a child is of the age of consent, the power of the adult over that child may influence their ability to genuinely consent to sexual activity. A coach or other adult in a position of authority may have significant power or influence over a child's career.
Sexual activity between adults and children (16+) involved in football is prohibited when the adult is in a position of trust or authority (coach, trainer, official) where they have signed the Code of Conduct for Safeguarding Children's Wellbeing. Inappropriate or criminal sexual behaviour committed by an adult will lead to suspension and disciplinary action in accordance with the appropriate Affiliated National Association Disciplinary Procedures, which in the case of criminal behaviour must include contacting the police.
Sexual activity between adults and children under the age of 16 is a criminal act and immediate action must be taken to report it to the police.
Safe Use of Images of U18 Players
Photographs, films and video clips can be used to celebrate achievements, promote activities and keep people updated. Footage is also recorded for performance development and analysis reasons. The aim of these guidelines is not to curb such activity but to ensure that children are protected from those who would seek to take or manipulate photos and video footage in a way that harms children or places them at risk of harm.
Children and their parents/carers will be informed that the child may, from time to time, be photographed or filmed whilst participating in football. This could be for one of the following reasons:
(i) Video footage for performance development
(ii) Media coverage of an event or achievement
(iii) Promotional purposes e.g. website or publication
Use Of Images and Information
2. Taking Of Images
4. Storage and Retention of Images:
5. Misuse of an Image:
ICT & Social Media
There are various ways in which we can celebrate and communicate using ICT and social media. Technology advances extremely quickly, meaning ways in which we communicate and receive and absorb information are changing all the time. Depending on the football activity that each child is involved with, the club may contact children and their parents/carers via text/email or possibly through social networking sites.
Our website hosts a range of information, photographs and videos which is available for all members of the public. However, misuse of ICT and social media can also put children at considerable risk. There are some adults who seek to harm children have been known to use messaging or areas online to "groom" children.
For children the safeguarding risks of these technologies include:
For adults, risks involved include:
Members of staff and volunteers must consider whether it is necessary to communicate with children via text and email. The general principle is that all communications with children should be open, transparent and appropriate. Good practice would include agreeing with children and parents/carers what kind of information will be communicated directly to children by text message. In the first instance parent/carer consent must be obtained for all children under 16 years. Contact should always be made at the phone number/email address the parent/carer has provided on the child's behalf. Parents/carers should be offered the option to be copied in to any messages their child will be sent. Although consent is not legally required for young people aged 16 and 17 years, it is still recommended that parents/carers are informed of the intention to send their child(ren) emails or texts.
The following good practice is therefore required:
The club may post information, photographs and videos on our website which is available to all members of the public. In terms of publishing anything that includes a child, the following good practice should be followed:
Use of Images and Information
3. Social Networking Sites
Where the club allows mutual access to social networking sites:
4. Internet Forums
There has been an increase in the use and abuse of internet forums to target individuals or to engage contributors in debates which can cause upset and embarrassment to children. Sites should be well monitored and any offending comments removed. A member of staff or volunteer should refrain from being drawn into any debates concerning selection, performance or personalities - even where the subject of the discussion is anonymous. This could be considered a breach of the Code of Conduct for Safeguarding Children's Wellbeing.
5. Mobile Phone Cameras/Videos
There have already been a number of cases where children have been placed at risk as a result of the ability to discreetly record and transit images through mobile phones. There is also scope for humiliation and embarrassment if films or images are shared on popular websites such as YouTube. The use of mobile phones in this way can be very difficult to monitor.
The guidelines for Safe Use of Images of U18 Players should be observed in relation to the use of mobile phones as cameras/videos. Particular care is required in areas where personal privacy is important e.g. changing rooms, bathrooms and sleeping areas. No photographs or video footage should ever be permitted in such areas of personal privacy.
First Aid & The Treatment Of Injuries
All members of staff and volunteers must ensure:
Children With Allergies
The club has a duty to be inclusive and to provide opportunities for children of all abilities and regardless of any medical conditions, disabilities or allergies which they may have. These guidelines focus on how members of staff and volunteers should respond to children with allergies, as they have a responsibility to ensure their wellbeing whilst they are attending their football activity. However, it is equally important that children with medical conditions or allergies are not unnecessarily excluded from taking part in activities with their peers and that reasonable steps are taken to accommodate their individual needs.
When a child joins a football activity, parents/carers should:
East Kilbride FC Responsibility
Members of staff and volunteers should:
Adult To Child Ratios
As a general guide, the following ratios are recommended:
Age: 3 and over - 1:8
If all children are over 8 - 1:10
All activities should be planned to involve at least two adults. The following factors will also be taken into consideration in deciding how many adults are required to safely supervise children:
Collection By Parents/Carers
On some occasions, parents/carers can be late when picking their child up at the end of a football activity. It is not the responsibility of the club to transport children home on behalf of parents/carers who have been delayed.
It is therefore important for the guidelines below to be followed:
1. Make sure that the club paperwork or communications:
2. Where possible make sure that there is more than one member of staff or volunteer at the end of the football activity.
3. Members of staff and volunteers will know how to deal with being left alone with a child. Put preventative measures in place (points 1 and 2) and agree simple steps about how the situation should be dealt with if it arises. Although as a general rule we should not put ourselves in the position of being alone with a child there are exceptions and this situation is one of them. Remember the wellbeing and best interests of the child are paramount and have to take precedence, so leaving children alone is not an option.
4. Members of staff and volunteers should have access to a record of the child's address, contact telephone number and an alternative phone number e.g. of a grandparent or other responsible adult. You need this information to contact the adult responsible for the child and ask them to collect the child. If you are unable to contact anyone then you have to make a decision of whether to take the child home yourself (see point 5) or call the police (point 6).
5. If you are left alone with a child then transparency is the key. Keep a record of your actions (use the guidelines in Transporting Children and make sure that you inform the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer and parents/carers as soon as possible.
6. When all else fails call the police.
Safe Use Of Changing Facilities
One of the areas where children are particularly vulnerable at football facilities is the locker / changing / shower room. Limited changing facilities sometimes mean that people of all ages regularly need to change and shower during the same period.
To avoid possible misunderstandings and embarrassing situations, adults need to exercise care when in the changing room at the same time as children. However, bullying can be an issue where children are left unsupervised and a balance should be struck depending on the situation. In general, it is better if one adult is not alone to supervise and extra vigilance may also be required if there is public access to the facility. If, in an emergency, a male has to enter a female changing area, or vice versa, another adult of the opposite gender should accompany him or her.
The following guidelines should be followed:
Where it is necessary to transport children, the following good practice is required:
1. Where parents/carers make arrangements for the transportation of children to and from the activity, out with the knowledge of the club it will be the responsibility of the parents/carers to satisfy themselves about the appropriateness and safety of the arrangements.
2. Where the club makes arrangements for the transportation of children the members of staff or volunteers involved will undertake a risk assessment of the transportation required. This will include an assessment of the following areas:
3. Where transport arrangements are being made overseas, members of staff and volunteers will be aware of the risk assessment and plans in place for transporting the children, then able to inform parents/carers.
4. Where practicable and planned, written parent/carer consent will be requested or included within the Consent Form - U18 Players if members of staff and volunteers are required to transport children:
Trips Away From Home (Including Overnight Stays)
1. Designate a Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer for the Trip
Those in charge of the squad will be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children in their care. It is essential that a member of staff designated as Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer coordinate the arrangements to safeguard the wellbeing of children during the trip. The Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer should ensure all practical arrangements have been addressed and act as the main contact for dealing with any concerns about the safety and wellbeing of children whilst away from home. A detailed itinerary will be prepared and copies provided to the designated contact for the club and parents/carers, including the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer contact details during the trip.
2. Risk Assessment
Potential areas of risk should be identified at the planning stage through a risk assessment, which should be recorded in writing. Safeguards should be put in place to manage the risks, where appropriate. Risk assessment should be an ongoing process throughout the trip as unexpected situations can happen!
3. Travel Arrangements
Members of staff and volunteers must ensure there is adequate and relevant insurance cover (including travel and medical insurance). If the trip involves travel overseas, organisers shall ensure they are aware of local procedures for dealing with concerns about the wellbeing of children and are familiar with the details of the emergency services in the location of the visit. Children should be informed of any local customs. For more details see Transporting Children.
4. Adult to Child Ratios
All trips away should be planned to involve at least two adults. The guidelines on Adult to Child Ratios will inform an assessment of the numbers of adults required to safely supervise the squad. Where relevant those involved should be recruited and selected in accordance with the Appointment and Selection of Adults in Regulated Work with Children Procedure. Everyone travelling should be familiar with and agree to abide by the club's Child Wellbeing and Protection in Scottish Football Policies, Procedures and Safeguards.
Members of staff and volunteers should find out as much as possible about the accommodation and the surroundings at the planning stage to help identify all practical issues and allow time to address them in advance, in consultation with children and parents/carers where appropriate. The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the practical things which should be considered in advance about the arrangements for accommodation:
Exchange Visits / Hosting
Before departure, members of staff and volunteers should ensure there is a shared understanding of the standards expected during homestays between them, host organisation/families, parents/carers and children themselves. These standards should include arrangements for the supervision of children during the visit. Host families should be appropriately vetted (adults should be PVG Scheme members) where possible or equivalent police checks undertaken and references thoroughly checked. Members of staff, volunteers, parents/carers and children should all be provided with a copy of emergency contact numbers. Children should be aware of who they should talk to if problems arise during the visit. Daily contact should be made with all children to ensure they are safe and well.
Residential at a Facility / Centre
Members of staff and volunteers should ensure the facility is appropriately licensed and has adequate and relevant insurance cover in place. The facility should have policies on Child Wellbeing / Protection and Health & Safety. Adequate security arrangements should be in place and facility staff should have been appropriately vetted. Facility staff involved in the training or instruction of children must be appropriately qualified and trained. Members of staff should ensure there is adequate supervision of the group for the duration of the stay, particularly when the facility is being shared with other groups.
6. Involving Parents/Carers
Where possible, a meeting should be held with parents/carers before departure to share information about the trip, answer their questions and make joint decisions about arrangements where appropriate. A Code of Conduct shall be agreed with children and parents/carers in advance of the trip along with sanctions for unacceptable behaviour. Parents/carers must complete a Consent Form - U18 Players and provide emergency contact details.
In the event of an emergency at home during the trip, parents/carers should be encouraged to make contact with the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer in the first instance so that arrangements can be put in to place to support the child on hearing any distressing news.
7. During the Trip
Members of staff and volunteers must ensure arrangements are in place for the supervision and risk assessment of activities during free time. Children shall not be allowed to wander alone in unfamiliar places. Members of staff and volunteers should have clear roles and responsibilities for the duration of the trip. They must not be over-familiar with or fraternise with children during the trip and remember that they are in a position of trust at all times. The use of alcohol and/or drugs or engaging in sexual relationships (between two young people) should not be condoned during the trip, even if the legislation relating to any of these behaviours is more lenient than in Scotland.
Members of staff should maintain an overview of the wellbeing of all children during the trip. This can help to identify issues at an early stage and resolve them as quickly as possible. Children can participate in this process by, for example, taking turns to complete a daily diary about the trip. This can be an overt or discreet way for them to communicate things (both positive and negative) that they want you to know. Children should also know who they can talk to, or speak directly with the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer if they have any worries or concerns while away from home.
8. After the Trip
Where appropriate, a debrief will take place with all those involved in the trip, including children. This will provide an opportunity to reflect on what went well, not so well and what could have been done differently. Feedback will be used to inform future trips.
Please also see our downloads page where you can download copies of all our club policy documents