Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure for Baseball and Softball
The British Baseball Federation (BBF), the British Softball Federation (BSF) and BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) are committed to promoting the welfare of all involved in baseball and softball. We aim to provide a process that will make it simple and straightforward for people to raise any concerns they may have.
This procedure explains how to deal with a complaint resulting from a safeguarding concern relating to someone under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult by a parent, guardian or carer, or by a young person or vulnerable adult directly. The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is “a person who is 18 years of age or over, and who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation”.
This procedure is mandatory for all BBF, BSF, BSUK officials, staff and members.
Responsibility for ensuring that these procedures are followed rests ultimately with the Executive Boards of the BBF, the BSF and BSUK. Clubs and leagues are also responsible for ensuring that concerns raised in relation to their members are handled in accordance with this procedure. Failure to adhere to these procedures should be considered a disciplinary offence.
It is essential that young people and vulnerable adults are as able to make a complaint as an adult would be. Everyone within the sports should be familiar with this procedure, and should make them as easy to use as possible. The rights of the young person or vulnerable adult involved should be protected and their safety ensured throughout the process. Just as importantly, all parents and guardians of young people involved in the sports need to be assured any concerns they raise or complaints they make regarding the welfare of a young person will be dealt with in the appropriate way. Those with caring responsibilities for vulnerable adults require similar assurance.
The Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure must be followed when a concern or complaint is received from any participant, official or staff member, or someone responsible for the welfare of a participant (such as a parent, guardian or carer), and:
- the concern or complaint involves someone under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult, and
- the concern or complaint is deemed to be a safeguarding matter by the relevant Club Welfare Officer
Joint Safeguarding Complaints Procedure
- Resolve locally in an informal manner
- Time-scale – IMMEDIATE
As an adult member of the BBF, the BSF or BSUK, when a child, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer makes a complaint or draws your attention to a concern, you must first decide whether it is appropriate for you to resolve it. For example, if it is minor and you are in a suitable position to address the concern then you should do so. However, you should consult your Club Welfare Officer before following through with any such action.
As is the case with any complaint, confidentiality must be maintained; only those who need to know should know i.e. the young person's parents, the Club Welfare Officer, the coach. This close circle of people may be extended if the situation calls for it. For example, the Team Manager may need to be informed if the complaint has originated from a team training
If you are unable to address the concern immediately yourself to the satisfaction of the complainant, you must refer it to your Club Welfare Officer to be handled at Level 2.
- Resolved by Club Welfare Officer
- Time-scale – 7 DAYS
The Club Welfare Officer will follow on from Level 1 in much the same way, but on a more official level. Their primary concern to satisfy the child, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer that their complaint has been resolved.
The complaint could be referred to them from Level 1 or the complainant may have come to them directly. The Club Welfare Officer will then consider whether they are able to address the concern themselves. It is anticipated that they will be able to resolve minor issues through the club's own complaints procedures.
The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer may be consulted before action is taken. Regardless of whether support from the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer is sought or not the original complaint, action taken and the outcome must be reported to them afterwards.The Club Welfare Officer should only deal with general welfare matters - matters relating to abuse or neglect must immediately be referred to the appropriate statutory authority and the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer.
The Club Welfare Officer must complete the following duties when dealing with a complaint:
- Record the complaint made
- Record the action taken to resolve the complaint
- Maintain confidentiality whilst dealing with the complaint, including secure storage of related documentation.
If the Club Welfare Officer is unable to address the concern within seven days to the satisfaction of the complainant, they must refer it to the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer to be handled at Level 3.
- BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer
- Time-scale – 3 DAYS
The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer has the right to be involved in any safeguarding matter that they or any of the BBF, the BSF or BSUK deems requires their involvement.
This involvement would primarily come from:
- A complainant remaining unsatisfied that the matter has been resolved adequately at Level 1 or Level 2.
- The matter being referred to the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer by the Club Welfare Officer at Level 1 or Level 2.
- At any stage of the complaints procedure a participant, young person, parent, guardian, vulnerable adult or carer may contact the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer directly.
The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer will liaise with the Club Welfare Officer to ensure the complaint is being dealt with correctly. The Club Welfare Officer will be held accountable for the club following the guidance of the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer. It is the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer's decision alone as to how much
they involve themselves in the issue.
Throughout the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer's involvement they will continue to reassess the situation and may decide to:
- Refer the complaint to a statutory agency.
- Request that the BSUK Welfare Officer or an independent investigator complete a fact-finding assessment surrounding the complaint.
- Make a formal complaint in accordance with the relevant BBF/BSF/BSUK rules.
- Make formal recommendations to the BBF, the BSF or BSUK in respect of required changes to policy and practice, appropriate disciplinary investigation, or any other matter.
- Take further action as necessary to ensure that the welfare of the young person or vulnerable adult concerned remains paramount.
All clubs must be aware that if guidance from the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer is not taken into account when dealing with the matter, this could result in disciplinary action on the basis that the club has failed to follow the Joint Safeguarding Policy.
The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer should decide upon their level of involvement in the matter and inform all of the parties involved of their position within 3 days. The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer will aim to have resolved the matter or decided on any further action needed within three months of the original referral. Where this is not possible
i.e. after the involvement of a statutory agency, the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer will keep the child or vulnerable adult and their parent, guardian or carer informed of the progress of their complaint.
The BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer's decision on whether this is to close the complaint's file and/or recommend an alternative action is final.
Where the recommendations of the BSUK Independent Safeguarding Officer result in disciplinary action, the relevant disciplinary rules will be followed, including those relating to appeal against any resulting sanction.