Merseyside Sports Partnership's application of the Check and Challenge Tool

Last updated: 26 Jun 2013 Topics: Safeguarding standards Community and school sports
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A good practice example - how Merseyside Sports Partnership have applied our Check and Challenge Tool.

Merseyside Sports Partnership (MSP) have made the Check and Challenge Tool - developed by the CPSU - an integral element of the commissioning process for the Sportivate programme.

All partners who wish to deliver the Sportivate programme are required to submit a completed Check and Challenge Tool - with supporting evidence and documentation - as part of MSP's pre-commissioning process. The evidence submitted is jointly reviewed by MSP's Sportivate Lead and Child Protection Officer, and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) put in place commissioning the partner to undertake delivery.

Where MSP has specific concerns about any aspects of the evidence submitted, further clarification is sought from the partner. Only once MSP is satisfied that the partner's processes are robust is an SLA put in place.

Once an SLA is in place and activity has commenced, MSP conduct 1-to-1 meetings with all Sportivate partners. These meetings include reviewing the qualifications of coaches, ensuring that appropriate safeguarding checks have been completed and that the requirements of the SLA, as a whole, are understood and being adhered to.

Where a lead partner has in turn commissioned third parties to deliver aspects of the programme, the review includes ensuring that the Check and Challenge Tool has been applied in order to ensure that the safeguarding chain is complete at all levels.

In addition to the 1-to-1 review meetings, MSP also carry out random session visits to watch the coaches in action and to get a feel from the participants as to their level of enjoyment.

These visits do not focus on the technical knowledge of the coaches but specifically the softer skills and qualities of the coach, such as the rapport and atmosphere created. Equally, the level of enjoyment is assessed by the smiles and laughter displayed by the participants.

Andrew Wileman from MSP noted: 

“During the Sport Unlimited programme an issue occurred where a partner specifically failed to inform us of an allegation concerning a coach despite stating this within our SLA. Despite our SLA specifically outlining the role of the partner in such an event, the communication process failed: this incident highlighted a weakness and was a significant point of learning for us as a team.

As a result, we undertook a comprehensive review of the processes in place for commissioning activity and how we could ensure greater clarity and understanding in relation to roles and responsibilities.

Following this review we identified a specific need to focus greater attention on ensuring clarity, in relation to roles and responsibilities. We believe that building the Check and Challenge Tool into our pre-commissioning process helps ensure a higher degree of clarity and understanding with partners in advance of putting SLAs in place as it specifically draws attention to the issue from the start.

In addition, the 1-to-1 review meetings provide the opportunity to ensure that the minimum standards are being adhered to, and help re-enforce understanding: they also provides the opportunity to directly discuss safeguarding with the partners in the context of Sportivate.

Visiting the sessions allows MSP the opportunity to see how well the coaches are engaging with the participants. As a County Sports Partnership that devolves Sportivate across our partnership it is easy to become removed from the participants. Undertaking these 1-to-1 visits provide the opportunity to gain a snap shot as to the quality of the coaches and more importantly the enjoyment of the participants.”  

Further information

To find out more about Merseyside Sports Partnership's application of the Check and Challenge Tool, contact Andrew Wileman on 0151 427 3889 or a.wileman@merseysidesport.com.

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