English football takes safeguarding extremely seriously. The ongoing work to make the game as safe and enjoyable as possible is led by The FA, the game’s governing body in this country. This work is delivered through County FAs such as ourselves in conjunction with leagues and clubs.
A clear safeguarding strategy has been put in place by English football to protect people involved in the national game. It is complete with policies, procedures and regulations. Every club in the country must adhere to the policies which apply to them. If not, they face sanctions, including suspension from playing.
Policies include the mandatory appointment of a Club Welfare Officer(s) for every league or club with youth teams. There is also a requirement for specified club committee officers to complete the free online ‘Safeguarding for Committee Members’ course. While mandatory for specified officers, the course is open to anyone to raise their awareness of potential situations and how to deal with them.
Welfare Officers must have an FA-accepted Criminal Record Check, which has to be renewed every three years. They must also undertake regular FA-approved safeguarding training. With the club committee’s support, Welfare Officers ensure the appropriate checks and training are completed for anyone at the club working with children and young people under the age of 18.
Explanatory films and general information (see below) outline how safeguarding concerns should be reported to the football authorities – and how they are investigated. They also show how we work together across the game and with the statutory agencies to investigate and risk-manage any concerns raised.
The topics below cover the safeguarding framework for everyone in affiliated football in England. Please click on the relevant one to get more information.
In the meantime, should you have any questions about safeguarding please don't hesitate to get in touch with the County Welfare Officer.
- Reporting concerns – the confidential and effective ways to report concerns about a child’s welfare.This section includes two explanatory films: ‘Reporting Concerns’ and ‘The Four Steps to Safeguarding’.
- Criminal Record Checks (CRC) – their importance and how to obtain one through The FA so records are maintained for validity.
- Safeguarding training – relevant and engaging online and face to face courses and workshops for everyone working with children and young people
- Welfare Officers – their role and responsibilities, and how to become one.
- Safeguarding Policies and Procedures – to help ensure appropriate safeguards are in place.
- Best-practice downloads – collectively explaining how to create a supportive, safe and fun environment for children and young people. Given the prevalence of social media use/misuse today, please click here for specific guidance on this subject.
Related organisations and their roles:
- CPSU (Child Protection in Sport Unit)
- CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)
- NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
- Local authority social services