Safeguarding is one of BaseballSoftballUK’s key responsibilities in relation to the two sports. BaseballSoftballUK’s role is to establish proper safeguarding policies and procedures, ensuring that everyone can play the sports safely and free from harm. This section of our site contains information on how safeguarding can and is applied to baseball and softball in the U.K.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is a vital process that protects children and adults from harm, abuse, and neglect. The safety and wellbeing of adults and children in sport is important as it provides a safe space in which to play sport and be active. A key part of safeguarding is spreading the message about keeping participants, especially children, safe and building a culture of always acting in the best interest of all children.
Sport can have a powerful and positive influence on its participants, especially young people. Not only can it provide opportunities for enjoyment and achievement, it can also develop valuable lifelong skills and qualities, including [ positive self-esteem, leadership and teamwork. However, these positives can only occur if the sport is in the right hands – under the protection of those who place the welfare of all participants first and adopt practices that support, protect and empower them.
The reality, however, is that abuse does sometimes take place in sport and in some cases coaches and other trusted adults have been convicted of criminal offences and/or disciplined by the National Governing Body (NGB) of their sport.
The British Baseball Federation (BBF), the British Softball Federation (BSF) and BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) are committed to working together and in partnership with all relevant agencies to ensure that all three bodies fulfil the legal and moral obligations to safeguard and promote the welfare of all participants, and specifically young people and adults at risk.
The following requirements apply to all BBF, BSF and Development Chartered organisations, and covers all formats of baseball and softball.
An organisation is a single team club; a multiple team club; an adult baseball or softball league; a national team; or a regional or national baseball or softball body.
Each organisation that has three or more players under the age of 18 in the membership of its teams, must:
- Appoint a Safeguarding Officer, who has been trained within the last three years.
- Keep the Safeguarding Officer’s contact details up to date with BaseballSoftballUK (click here to do so)
- For teams accepting any young people (under age 18), the organisation must:
- Do a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all coaches or team captains* in those teams, each year.
- Require that at least one coach per team is safeguarding trained. This MUST be the Head Coach or captain unless otherwise agreed with BaseballSoftballUK.
- Collect parental/guardian permission forms for all u-18 players, prior to participation each calendar year.
* Where the team has coaches, they all must be DBS checked. In slow-pitch, this role is often termed ‘team captain’ – the organiser of the team.
The following requirements also apply to National Team Programmes and groups intending to stay overnight, away from home:
- All coaches must be DBS checked and trained.
- National Team coaches cannot take up position until a DBS check has been completed.
- A Safeguarding Officer must be appointed for the organisation, – they must be properly trained contact details registered with BaseballSoftballUK.
- A trained and registered Safeguarding Officer must travel with any group staying overnight, regardless of destination (domestic or international).
- A Travelling Team Details Form shall be submitted to BaseballSoftballUK at least seven days prior to any trips involving overnight stays. This is required so that BaseballSoftballUK holds trip and contact details in order to create a risk assessment and assist in an emergency.
* This is the service that BaseballSoftballUK offers for travelling teams to provide full assistance 24/7 for all teams travelling abroad; to assist, if needed, if an emergency occurs; and to provide a 'hotline'-type service for parents/family members.
The safeguarding training required for Safeguarding Officers and coaches is the NSPCC approved “Time to Listen” Course. For the newly appointed unqualified officers, coaches or captains, online training may be used until a suitable course is available. All Safeguarding Officers should complete a full “Time to Listen” course within a year of appointment, prior to assuming the role.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks
BaseballSoftballUK provides a free DBS checks service to all chartered organisations. In order to process a DBS check, organisations must do the following:
- Appoint a designated Safeguarding Officer for your organisation.
- DBS check all your coaches or captains annually in teams accepting young people.
- Book your Safeguarding Officers, coaches and captains onto Safeguarding training courses.
- Provide BaseballSoftballUK with names and contact details of Safeguarding Officers, coaches and captains for teams accepting young people. These details are securely kept and only used for safeguarding purposes. You must let BaseballSoftballUK know of any changes to maintain accurate records.
- Collect completed Parental Permission forms for each youth player, at the start of the season.
- Inform BaseballSoftballUK when travelling overseas with groups of young people...
The above rules and regulations applies to any organisation that takes membership of three or more young people. Therefore, the following are excluded from the above requirements:
- Any organisation that excludes the membership of young people (for example via an exclusion within its constitution or membership rules).
- Adult-only single or multiple team softball or baseball clubs or leagues, with fewer than three young people in membership.
Full details of what is required by each organisation can be found in the Safeguarding Policy.
The Safeguarding procedures on this website have been produced to offer guidance to all those involved with baseball and softball (including employed staff, volunteers, administrators, coaches, officials, parents and players) to help them implement safeguarding best practices with regard to recruitment of staff and volunteers, anti-bullying, use of social media and planning events and competitions.
Our Reporting Concerns Flowchart shows what to do if you think abuse is taking place. If you want to report a concern, please use our online form.
For more information or clarification on safeguarding issues please contact BaseballSoftballUK on 020 7453 7055 or send us an email.
Safeguarding Advice for Club Recruitment
Volunteers keep grassroots sports running and are a valuable asset to any club. But how do you know the people in your club are who they say they are?
By following the simple steps below, you can help keep your club a safe environment.
New volunteers for roles involving contact with children and young people under 18 years old should:
- Complete a DBS check. This is vital if the person will be working with children, optional if not working in regulated activity. See the section on DBS checks for more information. Once completed, the check will be sent directly to the volunteer, so they will need to show you the result.
- Complete a Self-Declaration Form. - Download
- Ensure they work with some else whenever possible.
You should obtain references for all new volunteers, just like you would if it was a paid employee.
Don’t let the volunteer start until all of the above steps have been completed. A good volunteer will understand what you are doing and will allow the necessary time, which could amount to 3-4 weeks for all checks to be completed and results acquired.
Recruitment checks should be completed on all club volunteers, not just Safeguarding Officers, coaches, managers etc.
It is a good idea to outline a role description for the job you would like a volunteer to do and provide this to them. Volunteers generally perform better if they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and what they are expected to be doing.
Below are some examples of common role descriptions that you can use to help with recruitment. As all clubs are slightly different, you should amend to suit your club as required.
Our clubs and leagues are at the heart of people’s experience of playing baseball and softball – coaching, facilities and competition are all centred around them. Over 10 million adults in England play sport in a club or league environment – and the roles performed by volunteers are vital to the success of our clubs and our sports. It is in the interest of our sports to ensure that volunteers are supported in their roles and given the recognition and respect their commitment deserves.
Through the Development Charter resources we will provide support and guidance to volunteers and to the clubs, teams, leagues and organisations in which they volunteer. Whether it is an example role description you are after, tips on recruiting or keeping volunteers, or ways of developing them our relationship managers are happy to advise.
Why pitch in and volunteer?
Volunteering can be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, gain valuable experience, and hopefully have fun along the way! There are lots of benefits to pitching in:
- Building self-esteem and confidence
- Learning and developing new skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork
- Getting great work experience and boosting your CV
- Being active and improving your health and well-being
- Meeting new people and broadening your social network
- Making a difference and putting something back into the community in which you live, work or study
- Having fun!
The opportunities to get involved are many and varied. There could be opportunities in your local club or league, or through organising baseball or softball where you work or study. Get in touch with your region’s relationship manager for ideas and introductions if you are keen to get involved.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks enable organisations that provide opportunities or services for children and adults at risk to access information to assist in recruitment decisions. The check will show the club if an individual has any convictions relating to abusing children or adults at risk (and sexual offences) and will show if an individual is barred from working with children.
BaseballSoftballUK is a registered body with the DBS and is able to administer checks on behalf of clubs and teams affiliated with the British Baseball Federation or British Softball Federation and all Charter members.
Who requires an enhanced DBS check?
- Those people who are in a position where they are regularly responsible for children and young people, e.g. club officers
- Coaches who work with children (all BaseballSoftballUK Licenced Coaches are DBS-checked)
- Safeguarding Officers within clubs, leagues and national team programmes
For full details of who requires a DBS check, please download DBS Guidance for Clubs from the DBS Documentation section below.
Frequency of completing a DBS check - DBS checks must be completed annually.
Once you receive your DBS Check - The result of the DBS check is sent directly to the person who applied, so once received, the check must be shown to the club and a copy sent to BaseballSoftballUK for them to keep on file.
BaseballSoftballUK must get a copy of all checks completed.
How Do You Apply?
Members of clubs should contact the BaseballSoftballUK office to apply for a DBS check. This can be done by email or by calling us.
It is important that you fill in the DBS form correctly, as any errors will result in the form being returned to you and the checking process being delayed. Guidelines are provided with the form when you fill it in, and the BaseballSoftballUK Safeguarding Lead can help answer any questions you have.
What Does It Cost?
The enhanced DBS check is free for volunteers.
Portability Of Previous Checks
Generally, BaseballSoftballUK is not able to accept DBS disclosure certificates from other organisations. DBS checks are not currently transferable unless the individual is signed up to the update service and the original DBS check that was carried out checked the same information as BaseballSoftballUK would check. Please talk to us to see if we can accept your check carried out by another party.
For further information visit the governments DBS website and read our DBS Guidance for Clubs (in the section below).
- London and East – Jayde Ellis
- South East – Colin Barrett
- Midlands and South West – Leah Holmes
- North – Luis Arrevillagas
- Wales and Scotland – Chris Rawlings
- Fastpitch Softball (regardless of region) – Alyson Spinas-Valainis
We look forward to hearing from you!
The following resources may be helpful to your club; however, please note that BSUK is not responsible for the content of these resources and has listed them as a resource, rather than guidance or policy.
- Melanoma Fund - Sunguarding Sport Campaign
- The Sixth Degree - "COVID-19 and Teen Mental Health - Advice for Parents"