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Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport

The following Standards have been developed in order to help safeguard and protect children and young people in sport. The Standards are based on current good practice and are informed by safeguarding legislation and guidance; evidence from research; and experience of what works, drawing from the fields of child protection and sport.

The Standards provide a national benchmark of good practice to work towards and can be used to audit organisations’ existing safeguarding arrangements. They raise awareness and help organisations know what they need to do to protect children involved in sport and to minimise avoidable risks. When implemented fully, they should provide parents with increased confidence and peace of mind. Most important of all, they should help create safer environments for children, where they can enjoy and get the very best from their involvement in sport.

The need for standards was identified in the Child Protection in Sport Action Plan published in 2000, and following consultation with key stakeholders within sport and statutory agencies, the Standards were published in 2002. The Standards received strong support from those consulted, and have been endorsed by the NSPCC, Sport England and UK Sport. Achieving and maintaining the Standards is now a requirement of funding through the Code for sports governance. The document was revised and updated in 2006, 2016 and in 2018, in line with changes in legislation, government guidance and safeguarding practice. The 2016 revision introduced some changes in light of evaluation of the application of the Standards by a significant number of sports governing bodies and county sports partnerships.

No substantial responsibilities have been added, but the titling and order of some elements of the Standards have been rationalised.

The Standards have proved applicable to a wide range of sports organisations, from direct activity deliverers to those with a more strategic commissioning or funding role. Benefits were identified for children and young people, parents, staff and volunteers working in sport, and for sports organisations themselves.

Alongside these English Standards, the other home nations have their own standards to safeguard and protect children in sport.

In Wales, the Framework for safeguarding and protecting children in and through sport in Wales provides an overarching approach to safeguarding children consisting of 5 standards that a sports organisation should demonstrate it undertakes at all levels of its sport.

In Northern Ireland, the Safeguarding standards of sport are based on the principles in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport developed by Sport NI. There are 6 standards of good practice for governing bodies to work towards.

In Scotland, the Standards for child wellbeing and protection in sport enables sports organisations to adopt best practice, values and behaviour to create a culture in sport that promotes, supports and safeguards children’s wellbeing.