September 2017 saw another successful School Games take place at Loughborough University for a second year running. Young people from across the UK came together to compete and enjoy sport.
The School Games, supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England, are delivered by the Youth Sport Trust (YST). Since the inception of the event, YST and CPSU have worked together to strengthen safeguarding practice and create an event safeguarding plan.
Safeguarding has to be considered at an event of any size and having someone lead on this area can ensure that safeguarding is embedded across the event. We’ve outlined an example of a day in the life of a safeguarding officer to give you an idea of the type of responsibility they have.
Getting a head start
The safeguarding lead will meet with key personnel to make sure that everything is in place to welcome athletes to the event. It’s a good time to remind people of the event welfare plan and to ensure people are aware of their roles and responsibilities.
Arrivals and departures is one of the key points in an event that can provide a challenge to those involved. There are many safeguarding considerations around transport and registration that should be clear prior to the event.
Being on the ball
While most children and young people thoroughly enjoy their sport and the camaraderie that goes with it, some experience disruption, danger or injury. Others may bring with them the impact of issues at home or school, so it is essential that there are policies and procedures in place to respond to any concerns that may arise.
As the safeguarding lead, you’ll be the central hub for concerns like these, so it’s important that it’s clear to everyone how to raise them. You could have the best welfare plan in the world but if people do not know how to raise concerns this defeats the object.
At the finish line
If your event is over more than one day, you may want to consider having a brief roundup of issues that have arisen in the day. This could include people from the medical support, event organisers and any other key personnel.
It is important that all concerns are shared so a bigger picture of young people’s experiences at the event can be formed. This will help ensure any future events are improved upon and young people continue to enjoy safe events and the positives that come from their participation.
How we can help
If you’re running a sports event, our Safe Sport Events Management Tool can help you to ensure that you meet the safeguarding responsibilities needed to enable children and young people to enjoy sport safely.