Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility. If you are worried about a child it is important that you report your concerns - no action is not an option.
If you are worried about a child then you need to report your concerns to the Club Welfare Officer.
If the issue is one of poor practice they will either: Deal with the matter themselves or seek advice from the County FA Welfare Officer
If the concern is more serious - possible child abuse - where possible contact the County FA Welfare Officer, then immediately contact the Police or Children's Services.
If the child needs immediate medical treatment take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them this is a child protection concern. Let your Club Welfare Officer know what action you have taken.
If at any time you are not able to contact your Club Welfare Officer or the matter is serious then you can either:
- Contact your County FA Welfare Officer directly on 07960 500723
- Call The FA/NSPCC 24 hour Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000
- Contact the Police or Children's Services
- Reporting concerns to the County FA Welfare Officer
When an incident is reported directly to the County Welfare Officer, it will firstly be reviewed to decide whether there are any disciplinary issues, in line with the FA Discipline procedure.
These matters will be discussed with our Discipline Department and dealt with by the Bedfordshire FA Discipline Committee. The referee will be asked to provide a report and statements will be collected from those involved.
If there are welfare concerns, there will still be involvement from the County Welfare Officer, even if a Club/Individual is charged by the Discipline Department. In this case, the County Welfare Officer will contact the CWO to discuss any safeguarding issues. The FA operates a confidential/anonymous reporting system when it comes to reporting abuse or poor practice but please note, any written allegations may be forwarded to the Club involved for their comments (names will be redacted to protect identity, if appropriate)
Where FA Disciplinary proceedings are not considered, the County Welfare Officer will contact the CWO of the club involved and discuss the incident and ask them to collect further information. If it is deemed to be poor practice, the County Welfare Officer will support the CWO to ensure club Codes of Conduct are followed and advise where necessary.
If the allegations are serious, the County Welfare Officer will contact the FA’s Case Management Team and may involve police/social services. All meetings or communications with external organisations must involve the County Welfare Officer and all serious matters should always be reported to the County FA. Important information will be shared with the CWO on a need to know basis.
It is not Bedfordshire FA policy for a Club or individual who raises a concern to be informed of the result of any discipline procedures and/or best practice outcomes that may arise from the allegations. If we proceed with any action against a Club or individual, it is a matter between the club/individual concerned and the County FA. Details of any action taken will not usually be divulged to any third parties (even if the third party concerned were the ones who raised the original concern). However, please be assured, Bedfordshire FA will act upon every concern we receive and will take action against those where we find there is a case to answer.