Justgo Insights

What are your safeguarding responsibilities and how can you manage them?

Disabled sport safeguarding

Published on 7 July 2022

The world stood still the day seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles testified in court about enduring years of suffering and abuse from a renowned veteran in the sports industry. Over 90 athletes bravely spoke out about the horrors they faced that week, finally releasing the weight of shame, fear and trauma on their young shoulders in public. 

While a lot of issues may be at play behind this (and many other) cases of abuse from trusted members of the sports industry, it is clear that the lack of sports compliance and safeguarding carry a significant role in these inconceivable circumstances. 

 

What is safeguarding and why is it important in sports?

Sports safeguarding refers to the act of qualifying and vetting your staff, coaches and volunteers with the required credentials and certifications to ensure children and vulnerable members of your community can participate in their sport within a safe environment. This requires complying with regulations and policies sanctioned by the public sporting bodies and government agencies to ensure participants are as protected and safe as possible. 

Various governing associations (including Sport England, SportAus and sportscotland) have laid out robust frameworks that prioritise the welfare and protection of vulnerable people. National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) are mandated to implement these safeguarding frameworks to maintain their compliance and continue to be subsidised by these organisations. 

 

What are the recommended standards by governing sports associations?

The recommended safeguarding standards may vary in different countries. A prime example is even the core checks differ from one country to another, i.e. DBS in the UK, PVG in Scotland, Garda in Ireland, and Working with Children checks in some Australian states. This alone poses a challenge to work across different countries or multiple states within the same country.

The rules vary across NGBs and Clubs too. Clubs tend to utilise volunteers in their safeguarding efforts, whereas most NGBs appoint a dedicated Safeguarding Officer. These officials are in charge of ensuring the NGB is following the appropriate safeguarding policies. The organisation’s board members are required to collect periodic reports and updates about safeguarding processes, and may even be responsible for complying with police or local authorities in case of complaints and investigations (read more in the Sport Ireland handbook of Safeguarding). NGBs and clubs of NGBs must ensure various background checks while recruiting, including evidence of identity, appropriate references, relevant qualifications, background checks and up-to-date certifications within their respective fields. The U.S. has an official organisation called SafeSport, which is focused on various resources on abuse prevention including training, courses and in-depth guides (more about U.S. policies on preventing athlete abuse here.)

Keeping participants and team members protected is of paramount importance for all sports organisations, not just NGBs. In the UK, The Child Protection in Sport Unit provides tools and resources to help you understand the best practices in sport safeguarding. While each state and territory in Australia has its own child protection legislation, its Child Safeguarding Policy is a good example of the strict regulations extended to coaches, officials, contractors and support personnel. 

Each official must undergo recruitment and screening requirements—and a breach of the policy may even result in a ban from the sport entirely. Moreover, safeguarding processes must ideally be revised to comply with the changing laws and legislation within the sports industry. It may be important for your NGB to understand how these policies differ across countries while arranging events that welcome entrants from overseas. There is also the obvious opportunity to learn from each other and continually update best practices. 

 

The key challenges to achieving safeguarding and safe sports standards

By this point, you’re already aware that safeguarding is sensitive and critical to an NGB’s reputation. Without proper safeguarding, most NGBs would not be allowed to operate within certain regions and may even lose access to funding. Unfortunately, reaching safe sport standards can be challenging to say the least.

While a risk assessment is the first step to safeguarding, your NGB is evolving and growing. Your community is constantly exposed to newer coaches, volunteers and instructors—thereby making continuous safeguarding an arduous task. Moreover, for members not meeting safeguarding standards, you need to ensure certification and courses to bring them up to speed. 

Anyone applying for coaching, volunteering or official responsibilities within an NGB is required to be certified, and it is up to the NGB to ensure they have the correct qualifications and inform them in case their documents expire. Ensuring members stay on top of keeping their certifications up to date is a task in itself, and continually monitoring member certification can be challenging to even the most seasoned safeguarding professionals. 

So how are you supposed to go about completing all of the administrative tasks that sit behind this crucial aspect of running a sport? 

 

How JustGo helps NGBs and their communities manage their safeguarding

Simply put, the best way to start managing your safeguarding is to ensure that you have a centralised system for all of your data. This should link up with your membership, coaching and club development departments and should provide a live overview, at all times, of each and every member of your community.

JustGo as standard provides the above single view of your community whilst at the same time introducing a Credential Management solution to cater to all of your compliance and safeguarding challenges. We’ve worked with over a hundred NGBs so far and continue to welcome new insight and developments all the time. Our experts glean insights directly from safeguarding officials, coaching managers and executives from a range of sports all over the world and have helped us to develop a fully integrated, well-rounded system that fits the needs of an NGB seamlessly.

JustGo collects all of your members’ certifications as approvable credentials, giving you a dashboard to view, monitor and manage all your compliance in one place. Each credential can be configured to follow smart rules based on your requirements, such as automatically requiring a First Aid certification for someone applying to be a coach.

JustGo monitors credentials and notifies both respective administrator and individual in case of expiration.  Furthermore, should any credential expire or be suspended, then inter-related ones will automatically be inactivated. The system then sends out reminders and emails to satisfy the prerequisites required to re-activate the credential. This helps automate the governance whilst reducing manual admin intervention.

JustGo additionally has integrations with Learning Development and Vetting partners to help you synchronise your processes and save you hundreds of hours every year on background checking, qualification issuing, credential checking and loads more. 

You can read more about effectively managing your compliance here or learn about our membership management features here

Your community deserves and must be kept safe, and we’re here to help you through it!  Our resident expert Phil Robinson would love to talk you through how JustGo can help you manage your safeguarding, so why not get in touch today?

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JUSTGO INSIGHTS​

What are your safeguarding responsibilities and how can you manage them?​

Disabled sport safeguarding

Published on 7 July 2022

The world stood still the day seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles testified in court about enduring years of suffering and abuse from a renowned veteran in the sports industry. Over 90 athletes bravely spoke out about the horrors they faced that week, finally releasing the weight of shame, fear and trauma on their young shoulders in public. 

While a lot of issues may be at play behind this (and many other) cases of abuse from trusted members of the sports industry, it is clear that the lack of sports compliance and safeguarding carry a significant role in these inconceivable circumstances. 

 

What is safeguarding and why is it important in sports?

Sports safeguarding refers to the act of qualifying and vetting your staff, coaches and volunteers with the required credentials and certifications to ensure children and vulnerable members of your community can participate in their sport within a safe environment. This requires complying with regulations and policies sanctioned by the public sporting bodies and government agencies to ensure participants are as protected and safe as possible. 

Various governing associations (including Sport England, SportAus and sportscotland) have laid out robust frameworks that prioritise the welfare and protection of vulnerable people. National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) are mandated to implement these safeguarding frameworks to maintain their compliance and continue to be subsidised by these organisations. 

 

What are the recommended standards by governing sports associations?

The recommended safeguarding standards may vary in different countries. A prime example is even the core checks differ from one country to another, i.e. DBS in the UK, PVG in Scotland, Garda in Ireland, and Working with Children checks in some Australian states. This alone poses a challenge to work across different countries or multiple states within the same country.

The rules vary across NGBs and Clubs too. Clubs tend to utilise volunteers in their safeguarding efforts, whereas most NGBs appoint a dedicated Safeguarding Officer. These officials are in charge of ensuring the NGB is following the appropriate safeguarding policies. The organisation’s board members are required to collect periodic reports and updates about safeguarding processes, and may even be responsible for complying with police or local authorities in case of complaints and investigations (read more in the Sport Ireland handbook of Safeguarding). NGBs and clubs of NGBs must ensure various background checks while recruiting, including evidence of identity, appropriate references, relevant qualifications, background checks and up-to-date certifications within their respective fields. The U.S. has an official organisation called SafeSport, which is focused on various resources on abuse prevention including training, courses and in-depth guides (more about U.S. policies on preventing athlete abuse here.)

Keeping participants and team members protected is of paramount importance for all sports organisations, not just NGBs. In the UK The Child Protection in Sport Unit provides tools and resources to help you understand the best practices in sport safeguarding. While each state and territory in Australia has its own child protection legislation, its Child Safeguarding Policy is a good example of the strict regulations extended to coaches, officials, contractors and support personnel. 

Each official must undergo recruitment and screening requirements—and a breach of the policy may even result in a ban from the sport entirely. Moreover, safeguarding processes must ideally be revised to comply with the changing laws and legislation within the sports industry. It may be important for your NGB to understand how these policies differ across countries while arranging events that welcome entrants from overseas. There is also the obvious opportunity to learn from each other and continually update best practices. 

 

The key challenges to achieving safeguarding and safe sports standards

By this point, you’re already aware that safeguarding is sensitive and critical to an NGB’s reputation. Without proper safeguarding, most NGBs would not be allowed to operate within certain regions and may even lose access to funding. Unfortunately, reaching safe sport standards can be challenging to say the least.

While a risk assessment is the first step to safeguarding, your NGB is evolving and growing. Your community is constantly exposed to newer coaches, volunteers and instructors—thereby making continuous safeguarding an arduous task. Moreover, for members not meeting safeguarding standards, you need to ensure certification and courses to bring them up to speed. 

Anyone applying for coaching, volunteering or official responsibilities within an NGB is required to be certified, and it is up to the NGB to ensure they have the correct qualifications and inform them in case their documents expire. Ensuring members stay on top of keeping their certifications up to date is a task in itself, and continually monitoring member certification can be challenging to even the most seasoned safeguarding professionals. 

So how are you supposed to go about completing all of the administrative tasks that sit behind this crucial aspect of running a sport? 

 

How JustGo helps NGBs and their communities manage their safeguarding

Simply put, the best way to start managing your safeguarding is to ensure that you have a centralised system for all of your data. This should link up with your membership, coaching and club development departments and should provide a live overview, at all times, of each and every member of your community.

JustGo as standard provides the above single view of your community whilst at the same time introducing a Credential Management solution to cater to all of your compliance and safeguarding challenges. We’ve worked with over a hundred NGBs so far and continue to welcome new insight and developments all the time. Our experts glean insights directly from safeguarding officials, coaching managers and executives from a range of sports all over the world and have helped us to develop a fully integrated, well-rounded system that fits the needs of an NGB seamlessly.

JustGo collects all of your members’ certifications as approvable credentials, giving you a dashboard to view, monitor and manage all your compliance in one place. Each credential can be configured to follow smart rules based on your requirements, such as automatically requiring a First Aid certification for someone applying to be a coach.

JustGo monitors credentials and notifies both respective administrator and individual in case of expiration.  Furthermore, should any credential expire or be suspended, then inter-related ones will automatically be inactivated. The system then sends out reminders and emails to satisfy the prerequisites required to re-activate the credential. This helps automate the governance whilst reducing manual admin intervention.

JustGo additionally has integrations with Learning Development and Vetting partners to help you synchronise your processes and save you hundreds of hours every year on background checking, qualification issuing, credential checking and loads more. 

You can read more about effectively managing your compliance here or learn about our membership management features here

Your community deserves and must be kept safe, and we’re here to help you through it!  Our resident expert Phil Robinson would love to talk you through how JustGo can help you manage your safeguarding, so why not get in touch today?

Share