Writing safeguarding plans guidance

Last updated: 24 Apr 2023
Getting started

This information will help you to write a safeguarding plan for your sports and activity organisation.

Using an effective safeguarding plan enables organisations and activity providers to meet their safeguarding responsibilities by setting out the work being done to make activities safer for everyone.

About safeguarding plans and strategies

Safeguarding plans are sometimes referred to as implementation plans or action plans. In this section we use the term 'safeguarding plan'.

The safeguarding plan is a document that sets out all of the safeguarding work taking place within the organisation or club. This should include any safeguarding priorities, ongoing projects and areas for development as well as the day-to-day work.

Many sports organisations will have an overall strategy aligned to their vision, mission and values. Some organisations also have a safeguarding strategy which outlines their strategic safeguarding goals. Your safeguarding plan should support any overall strategy.

We also talk about writing communication plans and training plans. These can either be part of your overall safeguarding plan or they can be separate documents.

A communication plan sets out how and when you will share the key information about safeguarding to people across your organisation or sports network.

A training plan sets out the specific safeguarding training that will take place for various roles across your organisation or sports network.

Watch: Creating safeguarding plans  

In this video presentation, members of the CPSU discuss how to use our resources to create effective safeguarding plans.

Can’t see the player? You can also watch this video on the NSPCC's YouTube channel

Safeguarding plans

Writing the safeguarding plan 

Breaking the plan into sections will make it easier to write

Before you begin

There are a few things to consider before you begin writing the safeguarding plan:

  • decide who needs to be involved in the development of the plan - this might mean allowing additional time to engage with colleagues, participants, children and young people, partner agencies or funding providers
  • identify who will support and approve the plan at a senior management or board level
  • think about how you will create a sense of ownership of the plan across the organisation
  • complete our self-assessment tool so that you can focus the plan on any areas of development it identifies

Set SMART goals

Know what you are trying to achieve. Make sure your objectives and goals are SMART:

  • specific – be clear and detailed
  • measurable – how you’ll know progress is being made
  • achievable – break goals into smaller actions
  • realistic – be practical about what can be achieved, and the resources needed
  • time bound – use timescales and deadlines to stay on track

Share responsibilities

Everyone has a role to play in creating a positive culture:

  • try to avoid having only the organisation’s safeguarding lead against every action
  • consider whether other people can support certain actions
  • include any managers or board members that have agreed the plan
  • try to include enough detail in the plan that someone else could implement it
  • if using acronyms or abbreviations explain what they refer to
  • include the daily tasks as well as any safeguarding work that forms part of other project plans

Identify resources

Consider what is needed to achieve each stage of the plan:

  • these resources could include staff, time or funding
  • consider who is responsible for making these resources available and their role in agreeing the plan or any subsequent decisions to reprioritise resource
  • try to develop contingency plans for if resources are not available, including timescales

Set timescales

Setting realistic timescales can make actions more achievable:

  • break actions into stages with timescales
  • review and amend the timescales as you go

Regularly monitor

Monitoring progress means plans can be kept current:

  • consider how the plan will be reviewed and updated and who will do this
  • establish how progress against specific actions will be measured
  • consider ways to assess the impact of safeguarding work and how you could use these insights
  • think about how incomplete actions will be reviewed and picked up
  • establish regular updates with senior management or board members
  • consider how individuals’ safeguarding responsibilities could be built into existing appraisals or reviews
  • consider involving children and young people in the review process 
  • encourage people to ask questions of the plan at any time

Related documents

Communication plans

Using a safeguarding communication plan will help you to ensure that the people across your organisation or sports activity are aware of the safeguarding work taking place and understand their own role in keeping children safe.

A communication plan sets out how and when you will share key safeguarding information with particular groups of people. This will include information for young people, parents, volunteers and coaches as well as welfare officers or other safeguarding leads.

Communication plans can be included within the main safeguarding plan or be a separate document. If there is someone in your organisation whose role includes communication, you may wish to include them when developing this section.

You might also want to consider how to share the key safeguarding information in an accessible way. You could think about using larger text, a simple font, contrasting colours or using signs or flowcharts to illustrate written text.

If there is someone within your organisation whose role includes equality, diversity and inclusion you may wish to also include them when developing the materials you will use to share the key information.

Writing safeguarding communication plans

Things to consider when creating your communication plan:

  • identify who the audience groups are and what information each one needs to know
  • ask the preferred method or channel of communication for each group. This might include things like email, face to face meetings, video or printed information
  • use a combination of these methods or channels to reach people. For example, a new volunteer at a club might receive information in a joining email and a leaflet
  • if using virtual meetings, social media or messaging apps consider how to do so safely following your organisation’s own procedures and our online safety advice 
  • assess the effectiveness of your communications. For example, you might ask for feedback through a survey, use software to show how many emails were opened or monitor attendance at meetings and forums
  • you may also wish to tell others about the safeguarding plan itself - the plan could be introduced during staff inductions, referred to during appraisals and discussed in senior management meetings
  • to create wider awareness of the safeguarding plan it could be discussed at appropriate external forums and with the Local Safeguarding Partnership (LSP) or other statutory services

Related documents

Training plans

The purpose of a safeguarding training plan is to ensure the workforce in your organisation or sports activity is accessing the relevant learning opportunities for them to feel confident in keeping children safe.  

Training plans should include all of the safeguarding training across the organisation as well as the training for those that the organisation influences, funds or supports.

Training plans can be included within the main safeguarding plan or be a separate document. If there is someone in your organisation whose role includes training and development, you may wish to include them when working on this section.

Writing safeguarding training plans 

Things to consider when creating your training plan:

  • conduct a training needs analysis (TNA)
  • clarify the safeguarding training requirements and recommendations of your organisation
  • read our guidance about the safeguarding training requirements of different roles 
  • address how the organisation will fill any gaps across the different roles
  • include any internal learning opportunities from your own organisation
  • include external learning opportunities such as those through local safeguarding partnerships, CPSU as well as courses delivered by other providers
  • include continuing professional development opportunities
  • consider how training will be reviewed and evaluated in response to changing technology and organisational culture
  • include ways to reflect changes to legislation, culture and practice in the plan
  • ensure there is a mechanism to highlight when training needs to be updated across the workforce
  • add opportunities to identify training needs in inductions and appraisals

Related documents