The Safeguarding Officer (SO), also known as Welfare Officer, plays a vital role in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in sport.
The main purpose of an SO is to promote best safeguarding practice and support the implementation of safeguarding policies and procedures in a relevant environment. The SO needs to ensure that all appropriate policies and procedures are followed and that documentation is completed in accordance with BSUK policy and current legislation.
Safeguarding Officers have two key roles:
- Being informed and aware of the league or club’s responsibilities when running baseball/softball activities for children and young people -- for example:
- Ensuring that these responsibilities are well understood by others
- Developing best practice processes
- Helping league and club personnel understand their ‘duty of care’ towards children and young people -- for example:
- Ensuring that all relevant people complete ‘Safeguarding Children’ training programmes
- Making sure trips away are properly organised
- Managing the administration of DBS checks
Safeguarding Officers are required for club teams and National Teams with youth players under the age of 18 (or for adult teams with 3 or more U18 players)
Safeguarding Officers also play a vital link between clubs and BSUK. A good Safeguarding Officer is someone who:
- Always puts children’s welfare first
- Is a good communicator
- Has a common sense approach
- Is willing to learn and seek advice
- Is over the age of 18
Safeguarding Officers don't need to have a professional background in safeguarding children, but they do need to:
- Have the interests of children at heart and the ability to maintain this perspective when dealing with situations that may arise
- Attend BSUK’s Safeguarding Officer training (or have an equivalent qualification)
- Have a BSUK DBS Enhanced Disclosure in place
More than one person can take on the role.
It’s good to have a male and female Safeguarding Officer if you have both boys and girls on your teams. However, BSUK only needs one named person concerned with safeguarding for its main database, so that we can communicate effectively through one person to every league and club.
To become a Safeguarding Officer, let your team or club know that you wish to do so.
They will notify BSUK, who will arrange for a DBS check to be completed and for the appropriate training to take place.
As a club Safeguarding Officer, how can you let everyone know who you are and what you’re doing?
It is best practice to hold an information evening/session at the start of each season, which is the ideal place for you to be introduced. Arrange to meet with the club's coaches and team managers so they know who you are and can introduce you to their players over the coming weeks. Find out when newsletters or other communications will be sent to parents/carers and use them to distribute safeguarding information.
Getting well known within a club isn’t always easy. BSUK conducted a Young Person survey in 2016 and asked three specific questions about Safeguarding Officers. The results are interesting and need to be addressed by SOs and club volunteers so that improvements can be made.
Q1: Does your club have a Safeguarding Officer?
A: Yes 29.31% No 17.24% Don’t Know 53.45%.
Q2: Do you know who the Safeguarding Officer is and how to contact them?
A: Yes 24.14% No 75.86%.
Q3: Do you know what a Safeguarding Officer does?
A: Yes 36.21% No 63.79%.
From these results, it's clear the role of the Safeguarding Officer is not understood by most players in our clubs and that clubs and teams need to do more to educate and inform the players (and players’ parents) what they do, why they do it, who they are and how they can be contacted.
There is no single right answer to this problem, but having clear information on your club website explaining the role and indicating who the Safeguarding Officer is (with a photo) and how they can be contacted is a good starting point. Alternatively, putting posters in the clubhouse (if you have one) can also be effective.
Safeguarding Officers should make sure they are visible at events. Walking around and chatting to parents and players is a positive way of establishing yourself in the role; it takes effort but is very worthwhile.
Safeguarding is the responsibility of the entire club, not just the SO, so get the club involved in whatever you do.
Click to view a role description for a Club Safeguarding Officer.
Click to view a role description for a National Team Safeguarding Officer.
Safeguarding Officers Database
So that BaseballSoftballUK can communicate directly with Safeguarding Officers, it’s important that we keep our database up to date. If any of your information has changed, or you are no longer your club’s Safeguarding Officer, please let us know by using this update form.
Click to view or download the information pack Help for Safeguarding Officers.
Further advice is always at hand. If you need assistance, please contact Mark Caress (Lead Safeguarding Officer) via email.
You can also:
See the How to Report a Concern flowchart
See the advice on the NSPCC website about how to deal with a concern.
Sign up to a safeguarding training course. (Safeguarding Officers are to have appropriate safeguarding training within a year of taking up the post)
Safeguarding in Sport Toolkit
The Sport and Recreation Alliance has put together guidance to provide sports clubs with an in depth understanding of the elements of safeguarding. The guidance is based on the best practice in the sector and includes signposts to various organisations who provide specialised advice and training on this matter.
This resource provides guidance on the following topics:
- Communicating with Participants
- Online Safety
- Training & Further Guidance
View and download Safeguarding in Sport: A Club Guide