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Section 11 - Safeguarding

114         Operational Standards

114.1     The Board shall have the ability to, following consultation with the Football Association and Clubs, from time to time implement appropriate operational standards relating to safeguarding on young persons and vulnerable adults (Safeguarding Operational Standards).

114.2     Regulation 2 shall not apply to implementation of the Safeguarding Operational Standards.

114.3     Clubs and their Officials shall observe and comply with the requirements of the Safeguarding Operational Standards and any breach thereof shall be treated as a breach of these Regulations.

 

115         Club Policies and Procedures

115.1     Each Club shall prepare, implement, review regularly and have reviewed by its local authority (where the local authority is prepared to do so) written policies and procedures for the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk.

115.2     Each of the Club’s policies and procedures for the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk shall:

115.2.1  be in accordance with this of the Regulations and shall have regard to government legislation and statutory guidance; and

115.2.2  comply with any policy or guidance published by the League from time to time including, for the avoidance of doubt, the Safeguarding Operational Standards.

 

116         Roles and Responsibilities

116.1     Each Club shall designate a Senior Safeguarding Manager, who shall take leadership responsibility for the Club’s safeguarding provision (in consultation with the Club’s Designated Safeguarding Officer) and actively champion safeguarding at board level. The name of the Club’s Senior Safeguarding Manager shall be notified by the Club to the League at the start of each season, or within two working days of any change during the Season.

116.2     Each Club shall designate at least one member of Staff with the necessary skills and expertise as its Designated Safeguarding Officer.  The name of the Designated Safeguarding Officer shall be notified by the Club to the League at the start of each Season, or within two working days of any change during the Season.

116.3     The Designated Safeguarding Officer shall:

116.3.1  where possible, report directly to (and be managed by the Senior Safeguarding Manager);

116.3.2  in conjunction with the Senior Safeguarding Manager provide strategic leadership on safeguarding provision and issues within the Club;

116.3.3  review and approve the safeguarding provision for all activities;

116.3.4  liaise regularly with and be guided by the advice of the relevant local and statutory authorities and the League with regard to issues concerning the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk;

116.3.5  ensure strict compliance with the Club’s policies and procedures for the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk;

116.3.6  promote awareness within the Club of safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk and encourage and monitor the adoption of best practice procedures in that regard;

116.3.7  report on a regular basis on the effectiveness of, and the Club’s compliance with, its policies and procedures for the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk to the Senior Safeguarding Manager;

116.3.8  act as the lead Club Official in any investigation of an allegation of abuse of a Child or Adult at Risk;

116.3.9  maintain the single central record for the Club in such format as approved by the League;

116.3.10               be made known to all Staff, and (in any handbook or the like which the Club produces to accompany any activity) to Children and Adults at Risk (and their parents or carers) engaged in each Activity and to be available in person or by telephone to Staff and to such Children and Adults at Risk, their Parents and carers at all reasonable times;

116.3.11               provide written instructions to staff engaged in each activity in respect of good practice and what they are required to do if they detect any sign of abuse of Children and Adults at Risk, if they suspect such abuse is taking place or if they otherwise have concerns as to the welfare of a Child or Adult at Risk;

116.3.12               provide guidance to and support for any member of Staff engaged in each Activity who reports suspected abuse of a Child or Adult at risk or concerns as to their welfare; and

116.3.13               be responsible for maintaining clear, comprehensive and up-to-date electronic records of all allegations of abuse or poor practice (including, but not limited to, those subject to referral under Regulations 119.1 and 119.2) details of how such allegations are resolved and any decisions reached.

116.4     The Designated Safeguarding Officer will:

116.4.1  At a Championship Club, be dedicated full-time to the role of Designated Safeguarding Officer and it will be their sole responsibility, unless the Championship Club is not an Academy Club in which case the Designated Safeguarding Officer will dedicate not less than 17.5 hours per week to the role; and

116.4.2  at a League One and League Two Club, dedicate not less than 17.5 hours per week to the role of Designated Safeguarding Officer, unless the League One/League Two Club is not an Academy Club in which case the Designated Safeguarding Officer can be fulfilled by an employee of the Club who holds a different role provided that this employee allocates sufficient time to the role of Designated Safeguarding Officer to ensure that the Club complies with all of the requirements of the Regulations.

Guidance

It is acknowledged that it may take some time to complete recruitment where this is not already in place.  Where Clubs cannot meet the above requirement based on existing resource, they will be expected to demonstrate that they are seeking to engage individuals to fulfil these roles with a view to ensuring any recruitment is completed as quickly as practicably possible and in any event no later than 30 November 2021.

116.5     The Designated Safeguarding Officer may, in relation to a specific Activity, if appropriate, delegate any of the responsibilities listed in Regulations 116.3.9 to 116.3.12 to one or more other members of Staff (“Safeguarding Officer(s)”). In such circumstances, the Designated Safeguarding Officer must supervise the work of Safeguarding Officer(s) and ensure that they are properly trained, and supported including, without limitation, by way of regular, minuted meetings with each Safeguarding Officer.

116.6     Each Designated Safeguarding Officer and Safeguarding Officer shall:

116.6.1  be trained in all issues affecting the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk;

116.6.2  be given a job description that properly records their responsibilities; and

116.6.3  undertake in each football season continuing professional development in the safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk, provided or approved by the League, and maintain a record thereof.

Guidance

Club’s attention is drawn to Youth Development Rule 204 which requires that an Academy Safeguarding Officer must be appointed to undertake the functions set out in Regulation 122 with regard to the Academy.

 

117         Staff

117.1     Staff shall in all dealings with and on behalf of Children and Adults at Risk do what is reasonable in the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the safety and welfare of the relevant individual(s).

117.2     Each Club will be required to ensure that:

117.2.1  each member of staff is given regular training (in a form approved by the Designated Safeguarding Officer) in the Club’s policies and procedures for the Safeguarding of Children and Adults at Risk; and

117.2.2  each member of the Club’s board of directors completes training (in a form approved and provided by the League) at least once every three years.

117.3     Each member of Staff shall be given in writing:

117.3.1  the name of the Club’s Senior Safeguarding Manager and Designated Safeguarding Officer

117.3.2  descriptions of what constitutes poor safeguarding practice, abuse or unsuitable behaviour towards a Child or Adult at Risk;

117.3.3  details of what he is required to do if there is any sign of poor safeguarding practice, abuse or unsuitable behaviour towards a Child or Adult at Risk or if there is a suspicion that such conduct is taking place; and

117.3.4  the League’s ‘Guidance for Safer Working Practice’.

117.4     No person shall be appointed as a member of Staff unless:

117.4.1  they have completed and submitted to the Club a written application;

117.4.2  a written reference has been obtained by the Club from at least two referees named in the application;

117.4.3  they have applied to the DBS for Disclosure;

117.4.4  they have disclosure information has been received and the Club is satisfied that he is not unsuitable to work with Children and Adults at Risk; and

117.4.5  they have particulars have been entered on the single central record.

 

118         Parental Consent

118.1     The written consent of a Child’s Parent shall be obtained:

118.1.1  before the Child participates in an Activity (by the Parent completing and returning to the Designated Safeguarding Officer a written parental consent form); and

118.1.2  if the Child is under the age of 16 before any images or footage of him are taken or used for any purpose whatsoever.

Guidance

While the consent of a Parent (or carer) is not required where images or footage are take of an Adult at Risk, as a matter of good practice, Clubs should ensure that where images or footage are to be taken, the Adult at Risk understands the implication of the images or footage being taken, especially if the images or footage are to be used by the Club (or anyone else) for promotional purposes, or otherwise made publicly available.

 

119         Notification of Referrals to External Agencies and Football Authorities

119.1     On making any referral of an allegation or incident of suspected abuse or unsuitable behaviour towards a Child or Adult at Risk to any external agency (including, without limitation, the police, the local authority, the Charity Commission, the Care Quality Commission, Ofsted or the DBS) the Designated Safeguarding Officer or other official making  the referral shall notify the Senior Safeguarding Manager and ensure that the Senior Safeguarding Manager is kept fully appraised of the progress of the referral and any subsequent investigation or action.

119.2     The Club shall notify the League and The Football Association (through the submission of the Affiliated Football Safeguarding Referral Form) of, and give the League and The Football Association such further information as they may require in respect of:

119.2.1  any allegation received by the Club regarding the abuse of, or unsuitable behaviour towards, a Child or Adult at Risk by any current, prospective or former employee, volunteer or consultant of the Club or any affiliated community organisation or foundation (an “Associated Person”), whether or not the evidence relates to: (a) conduct by a member of Staff in the performance of his duties as a member of Staff; or (b) a non-recent or recent allegation;

119.2.2  a third (or subsequent) incident or allegation of ‘poor practice’ (as defined in Affiliated Football’s Safeguarding Procedures), whether similar in nature or otherwise, in relation to a Child or Adult at Risk involving the same Associated Person;

119.2.3  any referral it has made to any external agency (as described in Regulation 119.1); and

119.2.4  any allegation of abuse of a Child or Adult at Risk committed by an Academy Player (as defined in the Youth Development Rules) or a participant in any activity organised by a Club’s affiliated community organisation or foundation; and

119.2.5  any investigation by such an external agency into suspected abuse of or ‘unsuitable behaviour’ towards a Child or Adult at Risk involved in an Activity of which the Club becomes aware, whether such investigation results from a referral made pursuant to Regulation 119.2.1 or otherwise,

in each case, as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any event within 24 hours of the relevant evidence, incident or investigation being referred to the external agency (where such a referral is made).

 

120         Monitoring

120.1     Each Club will permit the League to conduct at least three monitoring visits each Season to ensure compliance with this Section of the Regulations, which will be attended by a Person appointed for this purpose by the League. Each Club shall ensure that each such Person is given access to all records kept in accordance with the requirements of this Section of the Regulations and is able to meet Staff, Parents, Children, Academy Players, Adults at Risk and their carers.

120.2     Such Person shall:

120.2.1  give written feedback to the Club concerned on each monitoring visit made and, if appropriate, agree with the Club an action plan setting out actions to be taken by the Club to ensure compliance with this Section of the Regulations;

120.2.2  report on each visit in writing to the League; and

120.2.3  at the end of each Season or as soon as practicable thereafter, present to the League and the Club a written annual report on the Club’s compliance with this Section of the Regulations.

120.3     Where, as a result of its monitoring of Clubs in accordance with Regulation 120, receipt of a referral or notification in accordance with Regulation 119.1 and 119.2, or otherwise, the League becomes aware of abuse of or unsuitable behaviour towards a Child or Adult at Risk by a member of Staff or otherwise holds concerns regarding a Club’s handling of a matter relating to safeguarding, it may (in its absolute discretion) conduct a case review, either on its own or in conjunction with The Football Association. Where such a case review is undertaken, the League shall be entitled to have access to all records kept in accordance with the requirements of this Section of the Regulations and shall be entitled to meet Staff, Parents, Children, Adults at Risk and their carers. Following such a case review, the League may make such directions to the Club concerned and/or propose such measures be put in place by the Club as it considers necessary, which must be adopted by the Club concerned in full.

 

121         Safer Recruitment

121.1     Each Club shall prepare, implement and review regularly a safer recruitment policy, which shall:

121.1.1  be in accordance with this Section of the Regulations; and

121.1.2  comply in full with any guidance or policy published by the League from time to time.

121.2     Each Club shall designate a member of Staff as its Lead Disclosure Officer whose name shall be notified to the League. The Lead Disclosure Officer shall:

121.2.1  act as the Club’s principal point of contact with the League on all matters connected with safer recruitment and the use of the Disclosure service;

121.2.2  liaise regularly with and be guided by the advice of the League on all matters concerning safer recruitment procedures and the use of the Disclosure service; and

121.2.3  ensure strict compliance by the Club with its safer recruitment policies.

121.3     All Academy Staff shall be required to re-certify on Form YD2 (self-declaration form) on an annual basis no later than 1 July in each Year. The date of completion of all YD2 Forms must be included on the Single Central Record.

 

122         Publicity

122.1     Each Club shall publish in an easily accessible section of its website:

122.1.1  a clear statement of the Club’s commitment to safeguarding;

122.1.2  the name and contact details of the Club’s Designated Safeguarding Officer; and

122.1.3  a copy of the Club’s policies and procedures referred to at Regulation 115.1.