Players

Safeguarding

WC1

Safeguarding and Welfare

IAG

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Bedfordshire FA is responsible for the safeguarding welfare of children and vulnerable adults involved in grassroots football.

The FA has a three part approach to safeguarding children:

  • Getting the right people involved - carrying out references and Criminal Record Checks
  • Creating a safe environment – ensuring clubs have codes of conduct and use best practice
  • Promoting clear systems- to deal with concerns and reinforce FA policy and procedures

Bedfordshire FA works closely with The FA to ensure that all the relevant safeguarding children policies and procedures are being adopted by all our affiliated youth leagues and clubs to protect children and protect the interests of our clubs.

It is a mandatory requirement that all youth football clubs and leagues have an FA qualified Welfare Officer in place before they can affiliate to Bedfordshire FA.

View The FA's document - Keeping Football Safe and Enjoyable

Contact

Veronique Nani
Designated Safeguarding Officer

Email: Safeguarding@BedfordshireFA.com
Phone: 07960 500723

Useful Information
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.

Football is about having fun, being with friends, making new ones, playing games, trying new skills and being part of a team, if you want. It should be fun to do all of these things - having fun is what is important.

Sometimes adults get it wrong and do things which hurt, frighten or worry children. It doesn't happen often in football, but it does happen.
If you are worried about the way an adult is behaving towards you, feel threatened or frightened, it's important you know who to tell and how to get help.
What you are experiencing might be child abuse.
 
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is what happens when a person, or group of people, harm a child or young person under the age of 18. Often the adult - 'abuser' - knows the child well. Child abuse can happen anywhere. There are five types of child abuse:
  • Neglect - is not being looked after properly, not being fed enough or having warm clothes or a place to sleep or needing medication when you are ill and not getting it.
  • Physical abuse - is being hit, shaken, thrown, poisoned, burned or being given harmful drugs or alcohol
  • Sexual abuse - is being touched in a way that feels wrong, being forced or encouraged to have sex or made to touch an adult sexually even if you don't understand what is happening or being shown sexual films or pictures
  • Emotional abuse - is being bullied or threatened, not being loved but made to feel stupid and worthless.
  • Bullying - is being hit or kicked, called names, being left out, being threatened, having things stolen, being made to give someone money, being shouted and laughed at or being made to feel stupid/different. It can happen via text or social networking sites like Snapchat, Facebook or Whatsapp.
Abuse is never ok. It's not your fault and there are people who can help.
 
Who can help?
If you are being abused or have been in the past it's important to tell an adult you trust. This isn't easy but keeping quiet isn't the answer - you need someone to help. You might be worried about what might happen.

You could be worried about any of these things:
  • You may have been told to keep quiet, that no-one would believe you
  • You might have been threatened or they said they would hurt your family
  • You might have been told you would not be allowed to play football again
  • You might be worried because they are an important person in your club/football team and everyone looks up to them
  • You might be worried about what your mum and dad will think
  • You might feel guilty that you didn't stop it happening
  • You might think it will just stop

Keeping quiet isn't the answer
- by telling someone you can stop the abuse. Abuse is never ok. It's not your fault and there are people who can help.
Every youth club in Bedfordshire has a Club Welfare Officer (CWO) who has received special training and can help you. You should know them and how to contact them, if you don’t know who your CWO is, ask your coach or another adult.
If you want to speak to somebody at Bedfordshire FA, you can contact the Safeguarding and Inclusion Officer Sarah DaCosta on 07960 500723 Sarah.DaCosta@BedfordshireFA.com Sarah is here to help you.
 
Know Your Rights
If you take part in football you have the right to have fun and stay safe. Your coaches are there to help you learn safely and enjoy football. This means respecting you as a person and as a player and:
  • Being a good role model - leading by example
  • Not speaking to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Not bullying you to make you do things
  • Treating you as an individual
  • Thinking about you and your team-mates and not just about winning or scoring goals
  • Making sure the pitch/playing area and equipment are safe for you to use
  • Having the right qualifications to coach
  • Making football fun!
Remember it's your right to enjoy your football - don't let anyone else spoil it. If you are worried about the way a coach, team manager, referee or anyone involved in football is behaving towards you, there are people you can talk to If your coach needs to have physical contact to correct a technique or your positioning, they need to explain this to you and check you are ok with this. If you are not comfortable with physical contact, you have the right to say no.
 
Getting Help
Tell an adult you trust as soon as possible. This could be your mum or dad or someone else in your family; an adult at your club; a teacher; your doctor or school nurse or school counsellor.

Think of who you trust and speak to them now; remember it needs to be an adult. Or call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. It’s free unless you use a mobile, available all day, every day and they have trained professionals who know what to do. If you have hearing difficulties you can use their textphone by calling 0800 056 0566. Your club has a Club Welfare Officer, they will also know what to do find out who they are and speak to them.
 
There are also lots of websites that give advice you might want to email them for advice.

ChildLine
ChildLine offers lots of ways you can contact them:
  • You can send an e-mail
  • Get support on the message boards
  • Send your questions to ‘Ask Sam’
  • Or remember you can call them on 0800 1111
 
Kidscape
 
Visit Kidscape for advice on:
  • Who gets bullied?
  • What can I do?
  • Who can I tell?
  • What if...?
  • Online safety/cyberbullying
Thinkuknow
 
Visit thinkuknow If you would like to know more about:
  • chat rooms
  • mobiles
  • cyber bullying
  • gaming
  • will I get into trouble?
  • customising your profile
  • uploading films clips
  • IM
  • sharing files
  • ‘sexting’
  • harassment
  • what can go wrong?
  • social networking
Then just visit thinkuknow they have a really cool site developed by children and young people that gives advice on all the types of things you want to know about.

There are specific sections for 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16-year-olds. As well as advice you can watch films, play games visit the TUK cyber café or get involved with one of their polls. Don’t just take our word for it – go and take a look…

 

The FA's Policy on DBS Checks

As part of our safeguarding children strategy, The FA requires those working in eligible* roles with children and young people to pass a DBS Check. This is in line with legislation and government guidance and is standard practice.  

We provide the framework and guidance for DBS Checks in football. The leagues and clubs then have to implement this to ensure those required to have DBS Checks done have them.  

Where the DBS Check highlights relevant information, this is investigated further and a risk assessment is carried out to establish whether or not they will be accepted to work with children and young people in football.

Activities that require a DBS Check (Eligibility*)

* Eligibility is governed by legislation and government guidance. In brief this means a DBS Check is required for anyone aged 16 years or over who undertakes any potentially unsupervised roles working directly with children and young people under the age of 18. 

These activities include managing, training, coaching and supervising as well as giving advice or guidance on wellbeing, caring for children or driving a vehicle solely for children on behalf of a club or organisation. All coaches and managers working directly with under-18 players must hold a current, FA-accepted DBS Check. 

Anyone undertaking these activities in football MUST obtain a DBS Enhanced Criminal Record with Children’s Barred List Check.  See the relevant Guidance Notes at the foot of this page for role-specific guidance for clubs, coaches’ referees and FA licensed tutors. These Guidance Notes include one on the DBS eligibility criteria for a DBS Check.

You may have more than one role in football, but you only need one DBS Check to cover all your roles in affiliated grassroots football.  Please note that this may be different if seeking work with professional clubs.

Club and League Welfare Officers are responsible for ensuring their managers and coaches have an accepted FA DBS and completing the online verification process.

If you are unsure what you should be doing you should contact your CWO, or you can speak to the County FA DSO Veronique Nani Safeguarding@BedfordshireFA.com or 07960 500723
or contact  First Advantage on 0845 210 8080 or email FAChecks@TheFA.com for advice.

The Safeguarding Children Course as an online training module to complete at a time that suits you. This course has replaced the Safeguarding Children Workshop.

The course is designed to give you an understanding of safeguarding concerns, as well as how to provide a secure environment for young people.

Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive a Safeguarding Children qualification and certificate that will appear on your FAN account and will be valid for two years. You can return to the course to refresh your knowledge at any time.

Please note that our Safeguarding Children Course is available as a module within Introduction to Coaching Football. If you have completed Introduction to Coaching Football, you do not need to complete the Safeguarding Children Course twice.

Outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • Understand how safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Implement some simple steps to keep environments safe.
  • Identify and respond appropriately to poor practice incidents.
  • Recognise the different forms, signs and indicators of abuse, including grooming.
  • Identify the barriers to children disclosing and reporting abuse.
  • Respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures and concerns.
  • Record and report safeguarding concerns effectively.
  • Seek advice, find resources and organisations who can help.

To access the course, CLICK HERE

The online Safeguarding Children Recertification is available free for anyone who has previously completed The FA Safeguarding Children Workshop or online Recertification, and your qualification is due to expire in the next six months, or it has already expired. 

The course will take you around one hour to complete and will be valid for two years.

To take this course please CLICK HERE

You will only be able to proceed through this link if you have a previous Safeguarding Children Workshop or online Re-certification on your FAN that was completed at least two-and-a-half years ago.

If you do not hold any safeguarding children qualifications, you will need to complete the Safeguarding Children Course.

This course will support you, as a committee member, to identify your individual and collective responsibility in safeguarding, so as a team you create an environment where the wellbeing of children and young people (under 18s) is central to all that you do.

This free online course is written for Secretaries, Chairmen, Treasurers and Club Welfare Officers in clubs with under 18 players.

The course explores the key safeguarding building blocks in clubs such as effective committees, safer recruitment, building safe environments and recognising and reporting concerns.it addresses whistleblowing and stresses how important the committee is in supporting the Club Welfare Officer to embed safeguarding.

To access this course CLICK HERE

For affiliation with the FA, it is mandatory for all clubs with youth teams to have a named Club Welfare Officer who has:

Concerns
If you are concerned about your child or another child in your club, you should usually contact your Club Welfare Officer (CWO) in the first instance. You should be given the contact details of the CWO at the start of the season. If you do not know who your CWO is, speak to a coach in your club and ask for their details.

The CWO will usually deal with cases of poor practice and behaviour within your club. If you would prefer to speak to the County Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) please email Veronique Nani Safeguarding@BedfordshireFA.com or call 07960 500723

 All serious safeguarding concerns should be referred by the CWO to the County DSO who will liaise with The FA, Police and Social Services if appropriate.

 
Information Pack
The FA has produced a Welfare Information Pack which provides Club Welfare Officers with essential information needed to carry out their duties during the season, along with links to more detailed information and guidance hosted on The FA.com. Further information can be downloaded here.

Sarah DaCosta is the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) for Bedfordshire FA. Sarah is keen to help clubs on all welfare issues and is happy to attend club and/or league meetings to ensure the safeguarding message gets across.

As part of its National Game Strategy, The FA is keen to eliminate abuse and poor practice. Safeguarding children is about doing things the right way. It's about allowing children and young people to enjoy the game without fear of abuse of any kind. That means bullying, physical, emotional or sexual abuse and neglect.

Following The FA’s best practice guidance will help to ensure a safe and aware club/league.

All the FA guidance and policy documents can be found here:

Football uses the internet to communicate to coaches, referees, medics, welfare officers, young leaders, players, parents/carers and fans.  This reliance on online communication is also central to children all over the UK, bringing about many benefits and opportunities. However, this also opens up new risks and challenges.  That’s why The FA and Bedfordshire FA have teamed up with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

The CEOP Centre aims to educate children, young people, their parents, carers and fans to understand the risks they may face online and what they can do to empower themselves to stay safe. Thinkuknow is an excellent education programme developed by CEOP, which delivers online safety messages to young people, their parents and the public.

For affiliation with the FA, it is mandatory for all clubs with youth teams to have a named Club Welfare Officer who has:

An accepted FA Enhanced DBS check (within the last 3 years)
Completed the FA Safeguarding Children Course
Attended the online FA Welfare Officer Course
Completed The FA Safeguarding for Committee Members Course

Clubs with youth teams will not be able to affiliate with Bedfordshire FA unless they meet these criteria.