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Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy & Procedures

 

Unacceptable practice

The following are regarded as poor practice and should be avoided by all employees, workers, consultants, agency staff and volunteers:

 

·        Unnecessarily spending excessive amounts of time individually with a child or young person away from others;

·        Being alone in changing rooms, toilet facilities or showers used by children and young people;

·        Taking children and young people alone in a car, or journey. Written consent must be sought from the club’s Safeguarding Team for emergency situations;

·        Taking children and young people to your home or places where they will be alone with you;

·        Sharing a room with children and young people;

·        Engaging in rough, physical, or sexually provocative games, including horseplay;

·        Allowing or engaging in inappropriate touching of any form;

·        Allowing children and young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged;

·        Making sexually suggestive comments to children and young people, even in fun;

·        Reducing children and young people to tears as a form of control;

·        Allowing allegations made by children and young people to go unchallenged, unrecorded, or not acted upon;

·        Doing things of a personal nature that children and young people can do for themselves.

·        Not recording safeguarding concerns on the Safeguarding Concern Form (SCF);

·        Sending inappropriate text messages or social media messages to children and young people;

·        Having children or young people engaged with the club employees, or volunteers, as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ within social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram;

·        Engaging with children and young people on ‘one to one’ personal electronic communications;

 

Searching children and young people

To ensure the safety and security for all club activities, all children and young people may be subject to the club’s search process. Children and young people are asked to self-search as the preferred method; however, should the club suspect that the child or young person may be concealing a prohibited item, consent will be sought from their parent/carer before a Steward or Security member of the same sex who is being observed by a Supervisor searches the child.

 

Lost or missing children and young people

During club activities every effort is made to ensure children and young people remain with their parents/carers or the activity leaders. Should a child or young person become lost or go missing during a club activity every effort will be made to locate the child or young person as quickly as possible. Should a child or young person not be located within a reasonable timeframe, contact will be made with their parents/carers and the police to file a missing child/young person’s report.

 

Children and young people who are not picked up on time

All parents and carers should collect their child or young person on time, in line with the instructions given by the club. Should the child or young person not be collected on time a minimum of two appropriate adults will wait at the venue until the parent or carer arrives. Should the child or young person not be picked up at all, a club employee or worker will contact the HOD or the club’s Safeguarding Team. Should sufficient time pass, the club may contact the police and/or children’s services to take care of the child or young person until their parent or carer is contacted.

 

Risk assessments

For all club activities including, trips, tours, events and activities, thorough risk assessments are completed to identify and minimise potential risks. The club’s Health and Safety Policy outlines the process to undertake, when completing risk assessments as well as how to capture information regarding accidents and incidents and how the club learns from such matters.

 

Where a child, or young person is involved in a trip, activity or event, a risk assessment must take account of his/her particular vulnerabilities whilst in the club’s care. The risk assessment will set out what arrangements are in place for his/her care and supervision and how risks will be minimised.

 

Activity leaders will be required to continually monitor and amend the controls within the risk assessments whilst leading such activities.

Supervision of children and young people

The club adheres to best practise guidance set out by the FA in relation to the supervision of adults to children/young people. Generally, there should always be a minimum of two adults and an adult to child/young person ratio of:

 

·        0 – 7 years of age, one adult to every ten children;

·        8 – 17 years of age, one adult to every sixteen children/young people.

 

Particular activities may require more or less adult to child/young person ratios due to:

 

·        Age, needs and ability of children and young people;

·        Nature of the activity and environment;

·        Risk assessments or intelligence information identifying potential behavioural or other issues;

·        Expertise and experience of the staff involved;

·        Mixed gender children and young people activities will require adults of both genders to supervise where possible.

 

Should the ratio not be suitable, the club’s Safeguarding and Health and Safety Managers decide whether the activity or event takes place.


Working with external partners

The club always ensures external partners and organisations we engage with promote the safety and welfare of children and young people and this is outlined in contracts and/or service level agreements. External partners and organisations are required to demonstrate competencies in safeguarding, and the club assesses this through its own safeguarding audits. Where organisations do not have their own satisfactory safeguarding arrangements, they will be expected to comply with the club’s standards.

 

Referrals

If the club has safeguarding concerns in relation to a child, young person, or their parents/carers, the club may refer these concerns to external agencies. External agencies include, but are not limited to children’s social care, adult social care, the police, health agencies, & The FA (Appendices 1, 2 and 3).

 

Confidentiality

Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality of safeguarding cases is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only which would not normally include anyone other than the following:

 

·         The Safeguarding Team and Sporting Director;

·         The child, or young person, or the person raising the concern;

·         The employee, worker, consultant, agency staff or volunteer who received the concern or disclosure;

·         The parents/carers of the child or young person who is alleged to have been abused, where appropriate;

·         Local Authority and Police;

·         Dependent on role, the National Governing Body.

 

Employees, workers, consultants, agency staff and volunteers may have access to confidential information about children and young people in order to undertake their responsibilities. In some circumstances, employees, workers, consultants, agency staff or volunteers may be given highly sensitive or private information. Confidential or personal information about a child or young person or his/her family should not be used for their own or others advantage.

 

Confidential information about a child, or young person, should never be used casually in conversation, or shared with any person other than on a need to know basis. In circumstances where the child or young person’s identity does not need to be disclosed, the information should be handled anonymously.

 

There are some circumstances in which an employee, worker, consultant, agency staff or volunteer may be expected to share information about a child, for example when abuse is alleged or suspected. In such cases, employees, workers, consultants, agency staff and volunteers have a duty to pass information on without delay, but only to those with designated safeguarding responsibilities (HoD and Safeguarding Team).

 

If an employee, worker, consultant, agency staff or volunteer is in any doubt about whether to share information or keep it confidential, guidance should be sought from the club’s Safeguarding or Legal Teams. The storing and processing of personal information about children and young people is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 (to be succeeded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 25/05/2018).



Information sharing

The club abides by the 7 guiding principles as set out by HM Government on sharing information:

 

1.      The Data Protection Act 1998 (to be succeeded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from 25/05/2018).

and human rights laws are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about children and young people is shared appropriately;

2.      Openness and honesty with the child or young person (and/or their parents/carers or family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so;

3.      Advice is sought from the club’s Safeguarding and/or Legal Team if there is any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the child or young person where possible;

4.      Information is shared with informed consent where appropriate and, where possible, there is respect for the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. Information will still be shared without consent if, in the club’s judgement, there is good reason to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. Judgement will be based on the facts of the case;

5.      Safety and well-being of the child or young person is always considered;

6.      Information is only shared when it is necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure to do so;

7.      Records of the club’s decision to share information in relation to any reported concerns, with whom and the reasons are always recorded on the Safeguarding Concern Form (Appendix 8)

 

The club will share information with the relevant statutory agencies & The FA where appropriate in relation to safeguarding cases.

 

Review

The club shall review this Policy and Procedures at the end of every season, or whenever there is a change in legislation, guidance, governing body rules or learning from safeguarding cases.

 

Procedures

Consent

The first priority in safeguarding should always be to ensure the safety and welfare of the child or young person. If concerns arise, it is best practice to always gain the consent of the child, or young person, before an external referral is made. There are several circumstances whereby an external referral can be made without consent and these include:

 

·        The child or young person is at risk of harm;

·        Other people are, or may be, at risk, including other children or young people;

·        Emergency or life-threatening situations may warrant the sharing of relevant information with the emergency services without consent;

·        Sharing the information could prevent a serious crime;

·        The child or young person lacks the mental capacity to make that decision;

·        A serious crime has been committed;

·        There is a risk of significant harm and meets the threshold for a multi-agency strategy meeting;

·        Employees, workers, consultants, agency staff or volunteers are implicated;

 

What to do if you suspect abuse or poor practice has occurred?

If you are concerned about the safety or welfare of a child or young person or you are concerned about an adult’s behaviour towards a child or young person you must act. Do not assume that someone else will help the child or young person. Safeguarding children and young people is everyone’s responsibility.

 

It is important that you report your concerns to one of the following:

 

·         Head of Department;

·         Safeguarding Team; or

·         Sporting Director

 

Taking no action is not an option.


What to do if you receive a safeguarding disclosure from a child or young person

Children or young people who may be vulnerable, are likely to disclose abuse or neglect to those they trust, and how one responds to a disclosure is crucial.

 

Stage 1

 

Deal with the disclosure as it happens and ensure that the child or young person’s immediate needs are met and that he/she feels supported. When a disclosure is made, it is most important to understand that you must not investigate the disclosure yourself. The disclosure must always be taken seriously and dealt with according to the guidance in this Policy and Procedure, even if the validity of the disclosure is uncertain. You are not expected to act as a social worker, counsellor, judge, and jury or avenge the abuser; you are however expected to act in the best interest of the child or young person who may be at risk.

 

You must:

 

·        Put your own feelings aside and listen as if the information is not sensational;

·        Allow the child/young person to lead the discussion and to talk freely;

·        Listen to what the child/young person is saying without investigating. Try not to interrupt them or ask lots of questions. Being asked a lot of questions can feel like being interrogated;

·        Allow the child or young person to tell you at his/her own pace;

·        Don’t worry if the child/young person stops talking for a while, silences are ok. You don’t have to rush in to fill the gaps;

·        Accept what the child/young person says without challenge;

·        Allow the child/young person to talk but protect him/her from sharing the information with too many other people;

·        Provide reassurance that you are taking them seriously and he/she have done the right thing by disclosing;

·        Let the child/young person know it is recognised how hard it is for him/her to tell you;

·         t is ok to let him/her know if you are unable to answer all their questions;

·        Avoid asking leading questions, for example “Did the coach hit you?”;

·        Never ask questions that may make the child/young person feel guilty or inadequate;

·        If physical abuse has taken place, you may observe visible bruises and marks but do not ask a child/young person to remove or adjust his/her clothing to observe them, and do not take photographs of the injuries, you should make a note of the injuries on the Body Map in the Safeguarding Concern Form (Appendix 8).

·        Tell the child/young person who you will be contacting e.g. club’s Safeguarding Team, or HoD, and that you will support him/her through that process;

·        If you establish that they he/she has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed, do not pursue the conversation any further. This is important to ensure that questions cannot be raised later about possible manipulation of the disclosure;

·        Respect the confidentiality of the disclosure and do not share the information with anyone other than those who need to know. Those who need to know are those who have a role to play in protecting children/young people.

 

You must not:

 

·        Panic or show that you are shocked. It is important to remain calm and in control of your feelings;

·        Document the conversation while the child/young person is disclosing. This should be done as soon as possible after the child/young person has disclosed to you;

·        After the child/young person has disclosed, the conversation must be documented remembering as accurately as you can, the words and phrases used by the child/young person to describe what happened to him/her;

·        Investigate;

·        Give the impression that you might blame the child/young person e.g. don’t ask: “Why did you let him?”, “What were you doing there anyway?” or “Why didn’t you tell me before?

·        Press for details by asking questions such as “What did he/she do next?

·        Ask leading questions;

·        Pass judgement on what is said;

·        Make false promises and/or promise confidentiality – it should be explained that the child/young person has done the right thing, outline who will need to be told and why;

·        Approach the alleged abuser yourself.


Do remember, when a child/young person discloses they may feel:


·        Guilt: he/she may blame themselves for the abuse and often feel guilt for telling.

·        Ashamed: he/she may feel ashamed about the abuse itself.

·        Confused: he/she may be confused about his/her feelings for the alleged abuser.

·        Scared: he/she may be fearful of the repercussions of telling. He/she may be scared of the alleged abuser.

·        Be careful about touching (e.g. hugging or cuddling) the child/young person if they have not initiated the contact. He/she may be upset by physical contact.


Stage 2


As soon as possible, once the immediate comfort and safety of the child or young person is secured, you must inform your HoD, or the Safeguarding Team of the disclosure. You may make a referral yourself directly to a statutory agency if you are concerned about the child/young person’s immediate safety and/or are having difficulty contacting the designated safeguarding person/s or if the designated safeguarding person is the alleged abuser. Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.


Stage 3


You should complete the club’s Safeguarding Concern Form (SCF) as soon as possible after the disclosure has been made and send the SCF (Appendix 8) to the Safeguarding Team within 24 hours of the disclosure.


Wherever possible, you must record information as it was relayed to you using the language of the child or young person rather than your own interpretation of it.


What happens next?


It is important that concerns are followed up and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are. You should be informed by the club’s Safeguarding Team what has happened following the report being made. If you do not receive this information, you should be proactive in seeking it out.


If you have concerns that the disclosure has not been acted upon appropriately, you should inform the club’s Sporting Director and ultimately contact the relevant statutory agency.


A disclosure is not the only way that you may be made aware of an issue. Sometimes another adult or even a child or young person may say something about a possible abusive situation. On occasions you may witness an incident that may cause concern or indeed you may pick up on things that cause concern, or information may be passed to a coach or manager anonymously by a person or persons who do not want to be directly involved for whatever reason.

 
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