Working together to safeguard children

Last updated: 04 Jan 2024 Topics: Case management Safeguarding standards

Working together to safeguard children: a guide to statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, produced by the Department for Education (DfE), outlines what organisations in England must do to safeguard children and young people. 

Author: Department for Education
Published: March 2015, updated Dec 2023


  • a shared responsibility
  • multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
  • providing help, support and protection
  • organisational responsibilities
  • learning from serious child safeguarding incidents
  • child death reviews

Sports specific guidance from the 2023 update

As in previous versions of Working Together, sport and physical activities, alongside all organisations working with children, are subject to Section 11 requirements.

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations, agencies, and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Download working together to safeguard children 2023

Organisational responsibilities

Sport is specifically mentioned in points 316-317. In addition, points 310-315 outline the responsibilities of voluntary, charity, social enterprise, faith-based organisations, and private sectors, where there is considerable overlap with the sport and physical activity sector.

These sections repeat Section 11 requirements with specific reference to the Charity Commission and the CPSU Safeguarding Standards requirement for funded National Governing Bodies and Active Partnerships.

Position of trust

Point 223-228 now applies to sport and physical activity organisations since sport coaches and leaders were included within the legal definition of position of trust . This requires organisations to have appropriate procedures to respond to concerns and outlines the role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who will be responsible for management and oversight of concerns in relation to these people.

Point 226 outlines organisations’ responsibilities around the investigation of concerns and support for individuals against whom allegations have been made. Point 227-228 outlines the responsibilities to report concerns to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) when an individual has been removed from their regulated activity.

Sport, physical activity and education

There is a significant crossover between sport and physical activity, and education. This is recognised in point 82 of the guidance and Local Safeguarding Providers (LSPs) should consider including voluntary, charity, social enterprise organisations (VCSEs), childcare settings, and sports clubs in their arrangements.

Sport and physical activity organisations can be also included in Local Authority multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) on a case-by-case basis where that agency or individual can contribute to the risk assessment and management of a MAPPA offender. 

Some sport and physical activity organisations are involved in providing activities for early years children and Working together states that LSPs should also including VCSEs, childcare settings, and sports clubs in their published arrangements to safeguard these children.


Download the Working together to safeguard children 2023 guidance from the website. 

Further information

Related resources