Free online culture programme launched

Last updated: 09 Apr 2024 Topics: Safeguarding children

Today a group of expert organisations launched a new tool designed to support the leaders of sports organisations to better understand and develop safer, healthier cultures in their organisations.

The organisational culture survey is free for the first 100 organisations that sign up, and anyone can access the other tools and resources for free.

The right culture is important. The culture of an organisation has an impact on how people in the organisation behave. This in turn has an impact on how safeguarding is practised - so developing a safer culture is a critical part of safeguarding.

Whilst the culture of an organisation is influenced by everyone who works there, leaders have a significant role to play in developing and role modelling the culture and establishing agreed behaviours.

This one-year culture programme supports leaders in sports organisations to understand their organisation’s culture and develop a bespoke action plan to strengthen it.

Developed with input from our experts, Ann Craft Trust, The Commonwealth Games Federation, the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, LimeCulture CIC, Management Futures, Mission 89, the Premier League, and UNICEF UK, this practical, easy to use tool has been designed with leaders in mind.

Emma Gibson from the Ann Craft Trust who supported the development of the new tool, said:

"The Culture Tool supports sport organisations to assess their compliance, along with their values and beliefs. It will help them work towards creating a safer culture for the benefit of all. A number of sport reviews have identified that a culture that does not support listening, learning, and leading can compound poor safeguarding practice, and even make abuse more likely.

"A safer organisation is one where everyone is confident that, if they raise any concerns, they'll be heard and addressed. Organisations, and the individuals within them, must also take the time to learn from safeguarding incidents and reflect on what they might need to change to facilitate best practice and minimise the risk of harm. They should lead by example to empower everyone with the confidence to challenge poor practice and instigate change."

Simon Gerrard, CEO of the Lancashire FA who piloted the new tool said:

"Working with the NSPCC on this pilot really galvanised our senior leadership team, making us think carefully about the prevailing culture within the company. Whilst the process confirmed existing good practice, it challenged us to go further and explore other areas, such as consideration of the human rights of children, and to create a plan to further strengthen our safeguarding provision."

There are four steps in the programme as well as a range of free resources to promote discussion and spark innovation:

Step1 : What is culture and why is it important?

This step provides an opportunity for leaders to learn more about what culture is, why it is so important for effective safeguarding, and the role leaders play in developing a safer culture.

Step 2: Culture through Compliance Audit and Action Plan

Compliance alone will not change every behaviour, but it is an important basis on which to build a healthy safeguarding culture. The Culture through Compliance Audit focuses on existing policies, systems, and ways of doing things, and by completing the audit, organisations can identify where current practice may not meet recognised standards, and take action to address this. Completion of the Audit leads to the generation of a bespoke action plan.

Step 3: Organisational Culture Assessment

This step aims to develop better understanding of how people experience working and playing sport under an organisation. It does this by asking questions in relation to seven different cultural characteristics:

  • safeguarding, child and human rights prioritised
  • accountability
  • inclusiveness
  • psychological safety
  • learning
  • transparency
  • collaboration

When an organisation begins to conduct their Culture Assessment, they will get access to their own unique culture survey link, to share with staff and athletes. Once the survey is complete, the organisation will receive a bespoke report showing how their different audiences experience the culture.

Step 4: Ongoing Reflections and Actions on Culture

This step provides access to a set of guides that relate to each of the seven cultural characteristics, to help organisations prioritise and plan their next steps to improve organisational culture, based on the findings of the culture assessment.

By using this tool to understand and take action to build a safer culture, leaders of sports organisations can demonstrate their commitment to develop and embed a safer culture for their sport.

Further Information

We would like to acknowledge the inspiration we drew from the BOND: Developing and modelling a positive safeguarding culture: A tool for leaders when developing this tool

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