Case management refers to the process used by organisations to address safeguarding concerns.
A case refers to any safeguarding concern. It may have come from within sport and physical activity or away from it.
Organisations need to follow a case management process when dealing with these concerns in order to fulfil their responsibilities around duty of care.
Your organisation’s safeguarding principles should apply to the entire process of managing a case as well as the decisions made.
Examples of safeguarding principles include:
- children and young people have the right to participate in sport in a safe and enjoyable environment
- children’s best interests are at the heart of each step of the case management process
- safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility
- individuals who face safeguarding concerns have the right to a fair and transparent process
Children’s best interests need to be kept at the heart of the case management process, whether they are a victim, witness or have potentially put another child at risk.
The way a case is managed can have a direct impact on the safety and welfare of a child, from the response of team mates and other club members, to the impact of appearing before a panel. Steps should be taken to guard against the risk of causing unnecessary distress or retraumatising the child during the process.
Children and their families should be kept informed throughout the case management process.
Recognising safeguarding concerns
There are several ways a safeguarding concern might come to light including, through the safeguarding policy, the complaints system, a disciplinary process or recruitment procedures.
It can be helpful to think of all safeguarding concerns as existing on a scale. At one end of this scale are low-level concerns, this is when small rules are broken. An example of a low-level concern could be about inadequate equipment or a one-off incident where a policy was not fully followed.
At the opposite end of the scale is persistent poor practice or serious breaches of the code of conduct and illegal situations such as abuse.
Your organisation may have its own guidance about thresholds to help identify where the concern fits on the scale.
Safeguarding concerns may include:
- the behaviour of an adult towards a child
- the behaviour of a young person towards other children, including bullying
- risks identified through recruitment processes, such as criminal records information
- information about an individual provided by statutory agencies, other sports or identified through the press
- allegations of abuse
- concerns about harm to a child outside sport